Abbie Roden – Creativity, Friends and Wine
In 2018, after five years in New York, Kentucky-born Abbie Roden moved to London. That’s where she founded RODEN, a boutique marketing agency that specializes in social media and photography for people and brands. In 2020, Abbie co-founded two other companies with her fiancé, Will Sandbach: their wine brand, amie, and their wine tourism platform VIND.
How did you start working in content creation and marketing strategy for brands?
I've always loved photography, from a young age. I went to the University of Kentucky and my college counselor there suggested I major in Marketing - she said, 'it's business, but you can still be creative.' As I was graduating, social media for businesses and brands was becoming a real thing. My first job was as a Social Media Assistant for a small digital agency in Sydney. I absolutely loved it. What I still do to this day is the perfect mix of photography, content creation and marketing. RODEN was founded in 2018 and we now are a small and mighty team of four!
Are there some characteristics you’re looking for in a brand before collaborating?
I have to believe in the product and see that I can help the brand. If I don't think there's any way I can help the business, it probably isn't a good fit. Branding and aesthetics are super important to me as well - from a consumer perspective, not always from a work perspective, because sometimes we can help change these things for the better.
“I do love a day of shooting for clients where I can create a huge mess in our tiny London flat. Collaboration is always more fun.”
Your second business launched during the first lockdown in 2020, how did you make the leap?
Amie was my fiancé, Will's, ideas. He came home one day and said he had 'an idea.’ I never would have imagined that he'd say 'let's start a rosé brand.' We marched on because everyone was at home in the pandemic, and it truly was the perfect timing to launch a DTC (direct to consumer) wine brand. It has gone from a passion project to a real business. Amie never would have happened without lockdown.
What’s the meaning behind the name “amie”? (female friend in French)
Amie was created during lockdown, a time where we craved nothing more than being with our friends. Will and I brainstormed a huge list of names together, and we wanted the name to have meaning. We just started jotting down everything that felt meaningful at the time. Amie is a French wine, so we started thinking about those words in the French language. ‘amie’ looked right, as soon as we wrote it down and made so much sense in the time that we were living in. Plus, a female friend felt so right for a rosé, our bottle shape is super feminine as well which tied it all together nicely.
Indeed, the idea of friends coming together to create the ‘amie’ brand quickly became a reality and the team managed to conceptualise, build and launch the brand within just a few lockdown months. It was only fitting that the team opted to work on the brand’s design with another close friend and fellow Australian living in Notting Hill, acclaimed artist Jessica Yolanda Kaye. Lending her fashion-forward illustration style to the logo and label design, Jessica was inspired by the vision of friends drinking amie, imagining the final setting for the bottle, and seeking for the illustration to ‘blend’ into that scene.
What is your vision with VIND?
VIND is a tool for helping you find and experience the world's best wineries. My fiancé's family is in the wine industry, and it was on a trip to France when Will realized that there was an opportunity for something like VIND. We were in France and not even a family with loads of wine contacts could find a nice vineyard for a lunch and a tasting. We have wineries signed up all across the world, and we're gaining more and more each week. Whether you want to find your local vineyard, discover incredible wineries on your travels or immerse yourself in an epicurean experience, VIND will show you the way. We have an interactive map so when you're in the middle of France - like we were - you can search what's available around where you are staying.
From the 971 wineries you offer the experience to, which ones are your favourites?
Wow, this is a tricky one! There are so many amazing wineries and experiences to discover on VIND. Some of my top favourites would have to be one of Querceto vineyard dinners, the vineyard dinner at Domaine du Meteore. Understanding the Champagne process. Some of the amazing personalities and characters you meet, like Gio at Terre de San Vito in Puglia.