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An interview with Tiff Graydon

An interview with Tiff Graydon

Our interview series is all about powerhouse women and men who inspire us through their work, creativity, business and passion. At Papier hq we are all about supporting and uplifting one another. These amazing individuals are here to share some of their expertise. Introducing Tiff, CEO of Yealands wine...

This week for our interview series we had the privilege of sitting down with the lovely Tiff, the CEO of Yealands wine. A powerhouse business woman who has managed to to navigate her way through a challenging 12 months with the covid pandemic. We caught up with Tiff to have a chat about her business ventures, what she is looking forward to most in 2021 and any advice she may have for future and current entrepreneurs.

1. Here at Papier hq, we are always finding ways to be more sustainable in our practices. We love that sustainability is at the heart of your winemaking philosophy. From the careful management of your vines and land, to the way you operate your winery and craft your wines. What does an environmentally-minded workplace look like for you?

For us at Yealands, sustainability is more than just how we farm or make wine. It’s an ethos that runs throughout all parts of our business – we call it Think Boldly, Tread Lightly. This can be interpreted in many ways from how we care for the land and protect our environment, to the values that underpin our culture and how we approach business challenges and opportunities.

2. What was the most significant business challenge that you have encountered and grown from?

Facing a global pandemic and NZ lockdown during harvest and only 6 months into my first CEO role – it was definitely baptism by fire! It forced us to think outside the box in terms of how we could safely operate through harvest, whilst adhering to the new COVID guidelines that were introduced by the Ministry of Health. Thankfully the Yealands team are a resilient bunch and we’re renown for doing things differently so the team adapted quickly and I’m incredibly proud of how everyone rallied around to support each other. In terms of personal growth from this, it just reinforces how people are your greatest asset in business and in times of crisis, our people, their families and our community are the foremost priority.

3. What has been your biggest achievement? When was the last time you thought “wow, I can’t believe I just accomplished that!”

It’s a cliché but genuinely my three kids are my greatest achievement and I couldn’t do my job without the phenomenal support of my husband Todd and my mum, Val. I honestly get such a buzz from seeing my kids do well and be happy, balanced, normal kids. From a career perspective, the moments where I feel most proud are to do with my team achieving their goals - whether that’s their own professional development, career progression or just seeing the business strategy landing and the positive impact that has on the team and business. From a business point of view, I’m a real believer in momentum – that feeling when plans are being executed well and you’re starting to see it in the results and the team engagement behind the strategy…. That’s the stuff that gets me excited!

4. Which upcoming project or endeavour are you most excited for?

Well we’re right in the middle of harvest as I write this – the fruit quality is excellent and so far, the weather has been kind to us, so I think we’re in for some fantastic quality vintage ’21 wines in a few months’ time!

5. Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs or women and men wanting to start a business?

Take some risks and don’t be afraid to break a few category rules (just not all of them). Create a genuine brand story that will endure. Seek advice from people who have done it before (learn from their mistakes so you don’t make the same ones). Create a strategy with your target consumers and customers at the heart of your plan. Get good financial advice.

6. Here at Papier hq we love nothing better than sharing a bottle of Yealands wine on a Friday! Can you tell us what your go to wine is in your fridge at the moment?

Me too! Yes, I’m loving our Yealands Single Block L5 Sauvignon Blanc. Even if you’re not a savvy fan, you’ll love this drop! Also, a good dry Riesling can always be found in my fridge and Champagne of course.

7. Work life balance can sometimes be a huge challenge. How do you manage this and how do you unwind after a long day at work?

It seems we’re all challenged at some stage in our careers with needing to reset or rebalance work/life. There’s a few things I set in place years ago now which have helped me. I exercise in the morning because even though sometimes I’d love that extra hours’ sleep, I love the kick-start that it gives my day. I work from home on a Friday so that I have one day where I’m not tackling traffic into town or to the airport and it’s also allowed me to do the school drop off and pick up, meaning I get to see all the cool stuff my daughter is doing at school. And of course, later in the week, sharing a glass of wine or two with my husband helps keep us both real!

8. Lastly what are your favourite Papier hq pieces?

I love the silhouette prints and the gorgeous notebooks! Beautiful stationery helps the creative juices flow!

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            Visit Yealands Wines on Instagram or visit their website

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