By Katy Ray
As the first African-American female to own her own vodka label, Chanel Turner knows first-hand what it takes to make a brand successful.
FOU-DRÉ began amidst a social gathering when Turner’s friends ran out of mixer. “We decided that was it for the night because we didn’t want to drink the vodka straight,” explains Turner. It was then that she decided to create vodka that could be consumed by itself. After researching and investing her savings into the brand, FOU-DRÉ was a dream that quickly came into fruition—but not without its challenges.
To say the alcohol industry is a man’s world is an understatement, and as a queer woman of color, Turner experienced bias in various intersections. “I remember sitting down in multiple meetings and feeling like I was never taken seriously because I was a woman.”
Instead of waiting for the industry to catch up, Turner decided to take matters into her own hands and get her own distributor license. Partnering with a unique distillery in South Carolina, the company has found success in a bottle.
“It’s very important when you’re establishing and creating a business that you know the trends, as well as the voids that need to be filled in the market,” says Turner. “When I walk into the room, I don’t look like the woman they’re expecting. I’m more masculine. But when I open my mouth and talk about my journey and what I’ve done right, then I gain their respect.”