While most thirteen-year-old boys are busy playing video games, Tom Gearing was taking trips with his father, Philip Gearing, to the Cote d’Or, which most teens can’t even pronounce, and upstaging wine professionals at Christie’s auctions. (A favorite childhood story of Tom’s is when he realized—at thirteen—that a 12 bottle case of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1959 had been reconditioned and not actually sold in the condition stated at sale.) Maybe not your typical teenager anecdotes, but typical for Tom whose passion for wine never wavered. Now the younger Gearing is CEO and Co-Founder of Cult Wines Ltd., a leading fine wine investment and collection management service, and he’s tagged his father, a seasoned former investment banker for well-known firms like Goldman Sachs, to join him. Together, the father and son duo have gone from a small family-run start-up to one of the leading wine investment companies in the United Kingdom, bringing in over £120,000,000+ (157,019,880.00 USD) worth of assets to a wide range of clients.
“Our investments are pretty different,” says Marcus Allen, Cult Wines' Business Development head. Cult Wines investment and collection management services are unique, maybe even niche to many people who never thought wine was good for anything more than drinking, but the idea is gaining popularity and acclaim. In fact, the company was recently awarded The Queen's Award for Enterprise: International Trade.
With three distinct high demand clients—wine enthusiasts, people who are more interested in the investment than the wine, and high net worth clients who wish to diversify their wealth into tangible assets—presentations from the Cult Wines team must fit every customer’s need while telling an instant and complete story. That’s where Beautiful.ai comes in.
“We use a template to create one presentation for every event or every client meeting,” says Allen, “But we have a standard presentation with all the slides I use for prospective clients.” Every month, Allen refreshes and updates the presentation with new data and numbers, adding or taking away slides and figures to make it relevant to a soon-to-be investor.
Their former presentation platform, Prezi, was “good,” explains Kelly Liang, Cult Wines' content manager, but she notes it just didn’t have any style.
“It also was not necessarily easy to use,” says Liang. “It’s story-based, which we appreciated, but we had issues with Prezi not having foreign language support and that company hasn’t developed that feature yet. That turned us off. Then we found Beautiful.ai. It worked out very well.”
In addition to having what Allen calls a “wow factor,” Cult Wines was also happy to find Beautiful.ai isn’t blocked by the Chinese government.
Allen says, “It’s very important for us to establish our credibility, especially in Asia, where people are not familiar with alternative or wine investment. We’re also excited about expanding into Japan, so it’s helpful that Beautiful.ai already supports these languages.”
Allen explains Cult Wines also had a list of other immediate needs such as “a platform that was simple to use, good animation, the capability to synchronize with a cloud service, and the ability to impress our partners while hitting all our needs.” Beautiful.ai checked every box, so Cult Wines decided to take it a step further and go pro.
Allen emphasizes that going pro on Beautiful.ai was a game-changer for presentations, giving his marketing team the ability to put a personal touch on slideshows with their own logo and color scheme. “These are the small details that make Cult Wines Cult Wines,” he says, “And it’s the corporate component we want to give.”
The Beautiful.ai platform has helped with internal communication as well, Allen notes. “Internally we create a monthly report and proposals,” he says. “We work with different influencers and different PR agencies and we create presentations to bring everyone up to speed really fast. It gives us the ability to propose information in a new way.”
But technology can be fickle. What happens if there’s ever a problem with Beautiful.ai?
“Beautiful.ai has responded really fast when we’ve needed them,” says Allen, “When I had a problem, they fixed it overnight. Customer service did a really good job. It was very impressive.” However, calls to customer service are far and few between. That’s because Beautiful.ai is constantly updating with new functions and new templates. “Everyone always has the latest,” says Allen.
That’s a good thing when you’re working with three different global offices. Companies want everything to be seamless and they want everything to work right the first time. Allen reveals he knows Beautiful.ai is doing its job when his clients comment on the data, not the slideshow.
“We present to clients a lot,” says Allen. “People think our presentations are great, and that’s all part of the package. The templates are set up already so that allows us to simplify a bit. You can’t just put a few graphs on a page. Beautiful.ai helps us limit the amount of information we put on a slide so it can be properly delivered. Overall, it’s just a better way of doing things. Beautiful.ai makes it very easy to create a presentation.”
So, what if you were going to invest in wine for yourself or say, a party—what wine should you choose? Cult Wines has you covered, and you don’t need to be crazy rich to buy them. Liang chose three mid-priced wines for us to explore:
For the fancy, a “rare” Piper-Heidsieck Brut champagne ($100-$150)
An “absolute gem” of a Pinot noir (and the perfect hostess gift!) a 2015 vintage Pascal Marchand-Tawse Gevrey-Chambertin ($40-$50)
And for a sweet gift, the Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile ($50-$60)
Looking to invest in your presentations instead? Beautiful.ai is free presentation software that helps you visualize your ideas into a professional-looking and cohesive deck. Wine not try it out (see what we did there?).