Single Serving + Fine Wine: Moxie Sozo Proves It Can Be Done with Wander + Ivy
by Theresa Christine Johnson on 09/23/2020 | 6 Minute Read
It’s never a fun discovery when you go to open a bottle of wine you uncorked a couple of days prior only to find it’s oxidized and turned bad. For people who share a bottle with a friend or significant other, polishing off 750 milliliters isn’t too troublesome. For some ambitious wine drinkers, it might not be too difficult either. But for people who crave a single glass of freshly opened wine to relax at the end of the day—without having to worry about the time limit of an open bottle—smaller packs are best, but quality is hard to come by.
That is where Wander + Ivy comes in. These organic wines from around the world are individually packaged, and they make single-serve look good.
“When people eat or drink, they do so with all of their senses, not just their taste,” said Evan Faber, CEO and chief strategist at Moxie Sozo, the design agency behind Wander + Ivy. “They do this with their eyes first, and then texture and all of the senses play a role in it.”
Founded by Dana Spaulding, Wander + Ivy came to life after she got tired of opening a bottle of wine she could never manage to finish on her own. But she still wanted the fine wine experience—elegant glass bottles and organic grapes sourced from around the world.
“Dana came to us with the dream, the bottle design, and the business plan,” said Brie Schaezler, senior account director at Moxie Sozo. “She needed us to help with the creation of this dream, to name it, and get her started.”
The team at Moxie Sozo appreciated Dana’s distinctive bottle shape choice. Not only was it functional—the glass was thick enough that there weren’t concerns about bottles breaking in transit—but no competitors packaged their single-serving wines in something quite like it. Many options relied instead on cans, and the Wander + Ivy glass bottles made the brand more premium. While the bottle itself wasn’t a custom design, it still disrupted the category because it wasn’t the conventional pick.
Aside from the bottle, though, Dana trusted Moxie Sozo’s expertise to help develop a name, packaging, a website, and identity, and they took an approach that considered the brand as a whole.
“We don’t like to do identity first and then packaging,” explained Derek Springston, chief creative officer and partner at Moxie Sozo. “Because how is this brand going to come to life on the pack? It’s more holistic. We do the logo and the packaging as a full, finalized thing so you can really see that it’s going to work, from a brand name, hierarchy, and personality standpoint.”
Derek added that this is especially important with startup brands where big marketing campaigns and elaborate websites may not be in the budget. The packaging has to do more than just house the final product—it needs to relay information, help advertise, and yes, entice the consumer.
Nate Dyer, one of the creative directors and principals at Moxie Sozo, was responsible for much of the design work on Wander + Ivy, including the illustrations. “Animals and the outdoors have always been a big part of my life and artistic journey,” he said. “Anytime you’re dealing with a natural product, it’s nice to incorporate nature. It harkens back to being organic.”
For the illustrations, Nate selected animals native to the region from where the wine originates—a kiwi for the sauvignon blanc from New Zealand or a beaver for pinot noir from Oregon. The adorable critters have personalities of their own and are holding their own glasses of wine, possibly having imbibed a little too much (or just the right amount, who are we to judge?). Combined with the sophisticated illustration style, the lovely fonts, and the monogram logo, the brand embodies high-end without coming off as stuffy.
Derek developed the Wander + Ivy website to act as an extension of the brand they’d built. Aside from giving consumers a different kind of single-serve wine experience, he worked to bring the personality of the label to the site. “Our goal was to humanize the brand, and Dana, by translating her dynamic personality into the design,” Derek said. “We wove humor and sophistication throughout the site with our animal illustrations.”
Moxie Sozo also helped prepare Wander + Ivy for something no one could have ever predicted—a pandemic. The brand started on sale in stores, but as alcohol sale laws became more lenient since March 2020, Dana could lean into DTC purchases. It benefitted her to have a fully fleshed-out brand identity, eye-catching packaging that can jump off the shelf (or in this case, computer screen), and a solid website that was more about the brand’s personality and the people behind it.
“Selling direct to consumer was always something that she had talked about, it just wasn't a possibility when we first started that design,” Brie stated. “We needed to make sure that what we were doing would be able to migrate to make sure that user experience was seamless.”
Moxie Sozo knew from the beginning that Wander + Ivy was a passion project. Dana had big goals but still had to be mindful of her budget. Their work got her business started and paved the way for whatever the future would have in store.
“She’ll grow and add more SKUs as she adds more varieties,” Brie added. “We have always kept in mind that this brand will continuously be growing. Think large and execute strategically.”