Driving around Italy in a vintage Volkswagen Beetle to personally source and carefully select the most authentic and delicious Italian food for the UK market.
Food, travel and Italy are passions equally shared by the whole family.
How did it all begin?
What are the books on your shelves? This was the question from which it all began. Mine being all about food and travel, I only added a little bit of my Italian heritage to complete the recipe. The vintage family car added that personal touch and a very romantic background story to differentiate us from the rest of the competition.
What sets your business apart?
From the outset, The Red Beetle created a very personal connection between the products, their provenance and our customers. Travelling around Italy, visiting our producers and learning more about their products, is the only way we can establish a personal connection and create trust. The customers purchasing from us will always know that the products are genuine, and that someone did the leg work for them.
What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?
We don’t really solve problems, but if you are in need of incredible Italian food in your life, well… you’ll get it in no time!
Where to next/What is your brand vision?
We are becoming distributers for most of our range and the next steps are to bring authenticity and quality into restaurants and deli shops across the UK.
The Red Beetle
What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?
Where to begin! Women empowerment and saving our planet are my top priorities right now. And am also working on projects within The Red Beetle to contribute to both these causes even more.
Share an example of early life that has shaped you?
Seeing my mum and grandma running their retail business has definitely contributed to the way I run mine. I was exposed to margins, the importance of cash flow and customer service first hand from a very early age, but is their resilience through the tough times that I will never forget.
Highlights of your business journey so far?
A really high customer satisfaction and great PR for my products.
Key lessons you have learned along the way?
How important it is to say no, and always look at the numbers: they never lie.
Best piece of advice you have received?
Time is precious.
Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?
Find a career or a business that you can fuel with passion, everyday. Surround yourself with a network that will support you, challenge you and help you get through the tough times. Particularly if you have a business, it is a lonely endeavour…but it doesn’t have to be.
What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?
Self-funded. There is little to no funding for women in their mid 30s, starting an import business.
Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?
Being taken seriously is definitely one of them. A woman, with an import business, especially in the Italian food industry, is not common, therefore seen with suspicion. I was always mistaken for a food blogger! I guess the numbers proved otherwise, and the fact that we are expanding into becoming a distributor is quite appealing to most of them.
Why is it important to support women-led business?
Personally, I find women-led companies to be more transparent, with ethics and values I can easily associate with and therefore stand behind and support.
My inspiration is...
Whoever is trying to make a difference and have a positive impact to those around them.
My greatest fear is...
To compromise. And forget the values I stand for.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...
Baked cakes and cookies for 6 months, raised $10,000 (in Australia) for charity and went to Uganda to see how the money was going to be used. Life changing experience!
Chocolate or Pasta all'Amatriciana (not at the same time!)
Mantra you live by?
Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. G.B.Shaw.
Female role model?
Women-led brand you love?
Deakin & Blue, Luks Linen, Saltwater Rose Studio, Business Chicks (AU).
Top productivity tool?
Notebook. To write down a list of things for the day, and mark them off. It gives clarity, purpose, direction. Easy and great!
The Red Beetle has created a SPECIAL OFFER exclusively for Women's Chapter Members