Founder of The County Wine Tours
Sheba is the founder of The County Wine Tours. The County Wine Tours is a bike wine tour company based out of Prince Edward County (PEC). PEC is Ontario’s hottest vacation destination for wine-loving foodies and our company organizes guided bike tours through the area’s most fun and unique wineries for the best wine tastings in the region (we even stop at an alpaca farm!). Our tours cater to small groups of 2-12 people and our tour guides all grew up in the County so they give all our customers great intel about the area’s history.
Sheba Zaidi is a PR consultant, marketer and communications expert with over a decade of agency experience helping brands grow in the health and wellness space. For the past three years, Sheba has also become an entrepreneur by combining her love of travel with her marketing expertise and founded a bike wine tour company, The County Wine Tours, in Prince Edward County. Her company “research” has taken her on wine tours across the world, including, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Peru, South Africa and more locally in the Okanagan Valley and Niagara-on-the-Lake. She previously interned at the United Nations in New York City and fun fact: Sheba is followed by Barack Obama and Britney Spears on Twitter.
How did you get started?
I run The County Wine Tours with two of my friends (and now biz partners!) and it started because we used to go up to Prince Edward County (PEC) annually for over a decade and we noticed that the wine scene was really blowing up in the region. We also realized that no one was offering fun, active wine tours. The only wine tours available were in stretch limos and we knew that wasn’t something that would appeal to young professionals from Toronto, Montreal, Kingston, Ottawa (since PEC is close to all those areas!). So we essentially noticed a gap in the market and decided to take a chance.
What's the most exciting thing that’s happened since launching your company?
So many exciting things have happened since launching - and continue to. We've gotten amazing press in outlets across Canada and internationally, including, Condé Nast Traveler, The National Post, Chatelaine and the Daily Hive. We've also been featured in a book called "100 Side Hustles" by Chris Guillebeau who is a New York Times bestseller. We’ve been able to support charities and we recently pledged 1% of our company to the Upside Foundation. The Upside Foundation is an organization that allows early stage and high growth companies to give back by donating equity to charity. Through them we've pledged to Sick Kids Hospital which is an important organization for us. Currently we’re also working on an exciting partnership with a massive Canadian-brand. The partnership is currently confidential but we will be publicly announcing it this Fall.
What's the biggest roadblock you’ve faced running your company?
To be honest the roadblocks we’ve faced are the struggles any entrepreneur deals with when running a company. It is a juggling act between your day job, your side hustle and the rest of your life that involves your social network, travel, fitness, hobbies. It is finding the balance to do it all well and making sure you don't burn out.
What do you wish you knew at the beginning?
I wish I knew that starting a business is only intimidating at the beginning. Once you dive in, you figure things out as you build and scale. No one has all the answers and you have to trust that you have the resourcefulness and smarts to find solutions. We actually had the idea for The County Wine Tours for two years before we decided to jump in and I wish we had started earlier.