Lauren Kniebes

Name

Lauren Kniebes

Company/Organization

Lazy Ballerina Winery

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What Does Your Company/Organization Do?

We produce wine, cider and spirits (coming soon!) made with grapes and fruit grown here in Southwest Michigan. Our production facility is located in Benton Harbor and we operate two wine tasting rooms in St. Joseph and Bridgman, Michigan.

Age

29

Accomplishments

Started a business at the age of 24 and grew it to 3 locations in 5 years, received the SW Michigan Regional Chamber’s Young Professional of the Year Award in 2018, member of the 30 Under 30 recognizing WMU Haworth College of Business alumni, started a local women’s group called Women Among Women that is a way for women in our area to make meaningful connections both professionally and personally with other women in the community, led a successful campaign in 2020 for the American Cancer Society ResearcHERS Campaign to raise funds for cancer research and promote/fund women-led cancer research projects.

What else do you hope to accomplish by the age of 40?

Ohhhh I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I’ve already done a lot before 30. 🙂 I’d love to find more time to get involved with underprivileged youth.

Education

Bachelor of Business Administration in Sales & Business Marketing – Western Michigan University

Residence

Stevensville, MI

Where were you born?

Berrien Center, MI

What was your first job?

Technically my first job was helping my dad at his nursery, Grapevine Nursery in Coloma.  My first job outside of that was at Contessa Wine Cellars in Coloma at 16.

Best advice you ever got?

Never settle.

Who inspires you most?

My family.

That one thing about you we’d be most surprised to learn.

My first “dream job” was to be a magazine editor. In high school I wanted to be a photojournalist for Rolling Stone magazine.

What do you love to do in your downtime?

Visit area wineries, breweries, restaurants and attend concerts with my fiance, CrossFit, and hang out with my cat, Bronx.

What book are you reading now?

Stalling for Time by Gary Noesner

Volunteer activity you love the most.

I love getting involved with organizations/projects/events that help promote SW Michigan or the Michigan wine industry.

What motivates you to give back to your community?

I grew up in SW Michigan so my love runs deep for this community. Our small community is always giving back and willing to step up and support those in need. It’s easy to be inspired to do the same.

What Superpower would you most love to have?

Ability to teleport – definitely!

What has been the most eye-opening thing about the coronavirus pandemic for you, personally?

People have reacted very strongly to some of the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic. Taking a break from news and social media can be the best thing! However, our community has supported not only my small business but others in the area during these difficult times to make sure we survive and succeed during these tough times and that love and support has not gone unnoticed!

What does the honor of being named to the 40 Under 40 most mean to you?

I love to represent a community of young, female entrepreneurs. I hope my experiences and successes can inspire young women to achieve those tougher professional goals they set for themselves and overcome some of the adversities women face as leaders in business.