Lindsay Trivers is a sommelier who has worked in the wine industries of Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, The United Kingdom, Spain and the UAE. She holds wine accreditations with The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), The Court of Master Sommeliers and Auckland University of Technology.
Lindsay founded The Tasting Class in 2014. It was the first company in Dubai dedicated to wine, beer, and whiskey education.
1. How did you come up with the concept for your business?
When I first arrived in the UAE I struggled to find like-minded people to enjoy wine with or grow my knowledge. So, I decided to create a community for wine-lovers and provide that education myself.
2. What was your mission at the outset?
Part of it was that I saw a gap in the market for wine education for both consumers and hospitality industry professionals in the country, and I felt I knew exactly what needed to be done. My husband and I were planning to start a family and I wanted to take control of my time and career progression, and I didn’t think that a job that could offer the flexibility and job satisfaction I wanted existed.
3. Do you chose your current location or did it chose you?
It chose me. My husband and I are from New Zealand and Canada. We were based in London when our work sponsorship fell through. We heard there were great work opportunities in Dubai. I didn’t even know If I would be able to work with wine. We thought we’d give it a try for a year or two. Six years later, plus a business and a baby, we’re still here.
4. Do you think being an expat contributes to your success at all?
Yes. I started travelling to work in different wine regions in my early 20s. By the time I had arrived in Dubai about a decade later I had worked in the wine industry on five continents in a huge array of wine-related roles. While having relevant qualification is core to success in the wine industry, the varied and global first-hand experiences I’ve had that make me well-rounded expertise and confidence that make me a natural at my job.
5. Do you face any unique challenges because you are an expat running a local business?
The UAE is very nurturing of entrepreneurship. Wrapping my head around all the laws, rules and options of setting up a company was tough in the beginning, but once you’re set-up you’re off and away.
6. If you had one piece of advice for an expat entrepreneur just starting out what would it be?
Draw motivation from the nay-sayers. The reason your product/service doesn’t already exist is that no one else has recognized the potential, and if it was easy someone else would already be doing it.