Fabrizio Di Carlo is a CyberSecurity consultant by trade, but some time ago, he decided to restore his family legacy, as his grandparents used to make wine back in Italy and spend some time and energy around the wine business. So he decided to create content around wine, targeting people who want to know more but do not necessarily want to study to become a Sommelier or Wine merchant.
What motivated you to start Wines&Joy? How did the idea come about?
It was a quiet September night when I got a message from a friend asking which wine I would suggest for dinner. I often got this kind of message from friends and family, and I wondered what I could do to share what I know in a better way… so, I registered the domain, social media, had the logo designed by a professional and Wines&Joy was born. Now we have three full-time staff and a few occasional contributors for ten people.
What was your mission at the beginning of starting your business?
The initial mission was to spread knowledge around wine and winemaking, which is what we are doing with our social media posts, and soon within our blog. As time passes by and we get more interest in ourselves and in the wine world, we offer three different services:
- Educational (the initial W&J);
- Wine consulting (people who want to have their cellar or wine menu);
- Wine investing (either in vineyards or fine wines for ROI)
What do you attribute your success to? Is there a trait you have or a person who helped you along the way?
I don’t know. I think that every content creator you will “compete” with is good at creating content (video, a good copy, or a fancy picture)… So, how are you going to stand out? Well, an excellent way to stand out and, in my eyes, a way to avoid competition in some way is trying to be you because that’s hard to copy. I am an engineer in the first place, I have travelled quite a bit and lived in several countries; since I am Italian, I have quite a funny accent, and I am obsessed with understanding how things work, and all of these traits (either bad or good) contribute to creating your personality. These, I think, are why people like me and W&J.
Of course, you can have a model to be inspired from, but your journey will most likely be different because it is your journey.
When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going? To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals.
W&J is a side business, so, in some way, I can get relaxed, hit the snooze button, and leave… but I created W&J to help other people out by giving them a job experience; another reason is to advertise local wineries that cannot otherwise promote themselves on a global scale, so, thinking that I am making something good out of it is what help me going.
Employees are one of the most important players in success in business. What do you look for in an employee?
We are friends before being colleagues, and we work in one of the most exciting fields, so there are a few reasons to be unhappy. Attitude is the most important thing. You can always teach skills, but changing a person’s attitude is way more complicated. I also like this article on disrupt magazine.
What is unique about your business? Is there a competitive advantage that you have over the rest?
As mentioned earlier, being authentic to ourselves is what differentiates us from others. We don’t try to copy or be someone else, we try not to be biased when we advise for wine, and we focus on the customer needs, listening to them and listening to their feedback.
Have you ever gotten a disappointed client or customer? If so, how did you handle the situation?
Disagreement is typical and is part of every job. The important thing is not to take it personally, understand the issue, put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and remediate the situation. Not saying it is easy, but it works.
Is there a type of marketing that has worked amazingly for Wines&Joy? If so, how did you stumble upon it?
Most of our traffic and leads are coming from Instagram, where we were “born,” so Instagram is definitely the focus of our campaign. In 2023 our priorities will be more collaborations with other content creators and freebies (in addition to our educational posts), and we will probably start to upload some YouTube videos.
Is there any resource or resources that helped you on your journey to becoming a business owner?
As a digital entrepreneur, you have to be a jack of all trades in different things: Social Media Marketing, Content Creation, Copywriting, Image or Video editing, etc., so it is quite a challenge.
I think to understand the options for specific tasks, master them, or at least reach a reasonable level. Knowing when to delegate to someone else is also important, and learning from mistakes. These are the resources that helped me.
What are the three best pieces of advice that you would give to someone starting a business? What do they need to know from the very beginning?
I see a lot of business starting “with fireworks”: “We need to scale!”, “We need a huge infrastructure,” “we need this and that.” When we started, we got lucky as we got recognized as an EdTech startup and got some funding (in terms of cloud computing) from AWS; from there we pivoted to what Wines&Joy is.
So I would say:
- Understand who is your audience is and what is their need.
- Understand what you can provide
- Listen and pivot your idea, if needed
You don’t need to start big. Start from scratch but let the business grow organically.