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Active Botanical Serum: A multi-correctional infusion of 22 of the world’s most active botanicals.
There are few things we admire more than someone who has mastered a craft, and April Gargiulo of Vintner’s Daughter has done that twice over. This fine wine maker has taken her experience formulating wines and used it to create something equally as luxurious and desirable: a cult-status face serum. The serum includes 22 perfectly balanced ingredients that make our skin glow and our hearts sing. Her product is perfect, but what is even more impressive is what she has managed to build with it. Vintner’s Daughter is beautifully branded, carried on the worlds most enviable stock lists, recognized by every major beauty publications and, donates a portion of sales to charity. April runs a business many would love to emulate, and lucky for us she shares her advice with Above the Glass readers on how to do just that.
What is Vintner’s Daughter?
Vintner’s Daughter is a skincare company committed to producing the highest performing, multi-correctional products from the finest ingredients in the world.
Before you started your skincare company, what did you do?
I was running marketing and sales for my family’s wine business, Gargiulo Vineyards.
Did you have any formal business training before launching?
I don’t have an MBA, but I have years of experience working with incredible entrepreneurs.
How did being a wine-maker influence your skincare product?
Vintner’s Daughter shares the same dedication to the very finest quality and time-honored processes as fine wine making.
What was your biggest fear before launching Vintner’s Daughter?
As crazy as this sounds, I didn’t really have any fears about it. If no one wanted to buy it, I would be left with 500 bottles of the most incredible face oil in the world. Win/win.
Your Glass Ceiling Turning Point
What inspired you to start Vintner’s Daughter?
I struggled with my skin all my life. I used every product under the sun and could never find one that addressed all my skin issues in one bottle, at the performance level I wanted and without toxins. Active Botanical Serum is the answer and my desert island product.
Do you approach Vintner’s Daughter as a full-time businesses?
Yes, but balance is always something that is critical to me, so I never approached it as a 70 hours/week, start-up. I was lucky that my husband came on last year and we split the CEO role.
Is there anyone in particular who influenced your journey or is a mentor? If so, how did you meet that person?
I love talking business to other entrepreneurs and hearing about their successes and failures. There is so much to learn from both. I would say that unknowingly each of these entrepreneurs that allowed me insight over the years has played mentor roles in a way.
The Business of Your Business
How did you finance your business?
What were the first 5 steps you took to launch?
Identify need, develop product, source ingredients, find laboratory partner, launch.
Did you start with a business partner or as a sole founder?
Where did you find your first clients?
Very gratefully Vintner’s Daughter has been built on word of mouth. My first “clients” were my friends and family and word grew from there.
What outside contractors have you hired to help build your business?
Accounting, design, PR, social.
What kind of growing pains have you experienced?
Our formulation process is an ancient one that relies on methodical and time-consuming extraction methods. Sometimes our production cannot keep up with demand and we sell out. This is a good problem to have, I know, but one that we have had to grow and learn from.
What obstacles have you faced that you were most surprised by?
How much misinformation is in the beauty world. It makes it so hard for the average consumer to wade through it all.
Where do you want Vintner’s Daughter to be in 5 years?
I want to stay on our course of making the finest quality, highest performing products that make a dramatic difference in the lives of our clients.
Where do you find inspiration?
Travel, music, people, wellness.
Your product is non-toxic and all orders include a donation to charity. Can you please share your philosophy behind this?
We believe we have a responsibility to give back and to that end we joyfully donate 2% of every purchase to charities benefiting women and children. We are currently building a well in Ethiopia with Charity Water that will bring clean drinking water to an entire village. Clean water affects women and girls most in these communities because they are the one’s responsible for obtaining it. When hours of time each day is regained once the well is installed, women can focus on their family, starting small businesses and girls can go to school more regularly.
Do you have any business role models?
Stella McCartney, Coco Chanel, Anita Roddick
How has branding played a role in your business?
We have three brand pillars that we base all our decisions on. The highest quality, performance, and customer experience. They are our north stars and are reflected in everything we do.
How do you find and develop relationships with strategic partners?
We are very much focused on building a lasting brand and we approach our partnerships very thoughtfully. We invest a lot in our partnerships and want to form successful relationships that last.
What unique challenges do you face specifically as a female founder, and how do you overcome them?
I think the biggest challenge for a female entrepreneur is the expectations we put on ourselves to do everything successfully.
How do you balance work and family?
It is a priority and I work hard at it.
Are you still a wine-maker? If so, how do you split up time between the two businesses?
I am still on the board of my family’s winery, but not as involved in the day to day.
How do you draw boundaries, or not draw boundaries, between work and personal life?
My husband is my co-ceo in Vintner’s Daughter and my parents are co-owners at Gargiulo Vineyards. Work and personal life is all happily co-mingled.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
Seeing my dreams become reality and getting to share them with people.
The most difficult?
Always trying to see what is around the corner.
What are you most proud of?
My family and friends.
At what point did you think, “I made it”?
Every time we receive a glowing email from someone who says that Active Botanical Serum has changed their life.
What advice would you give to people who are just starting out in business?
Invest in great people.