" I thought about this idea for three years instead of taking action. I could have just set up a landing page and validated the idea in less than a day."
Guido Pedrelli grew up in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. Sundays for Guido were all about the family. His entire family would reunite, drawn together by the traditional recipes and cooking of his grandmother, or nonna.
Today Guido works with local producers in regions across the country. He discovers new authentic Italian products, pairs them with wines, creates recipes and shares stories from nonnas across the country. He founded his company Nonna Box with the vision to bring traditional Italian flavors across the Atlantic, sharing a piece of his culture and delicacies.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your company – what is Nonna Box all about?
Nonna Box is a monthly subscription service that allows individuals and families to enjoy authentic Italian products and recipes delivered straight to their door. Each month, Nonna Box features a different Italian region, providing customers with six of its traditional, imported and hard-to-come-by products from producers of that region. Each recipe also comes with regional wine pairings from an Italian sommelier. Through showcasing each part of Italy, Nonna Box brings foodies closer to the country via its flavors, gastronomical history and the monthly story of a local Italian nonna and her favorite traditional recipes.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company?
I always loved food. My nonno and nonna owned a two generation family-run trattoria in San Carlo di Cesena, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The trattoria was frequented by Giosuè Carducci, an Italian winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. On Sundays, my family, uncles, aunts and cousins used to spend the day at my nonna’s, and she would cook for all of us. So much of her love and affection went into that food. Since I moved to the U.S. in 2013 I have tried to recreate the same feeling and food that my nonna did, but it wasn’t quite the same. I remembered my nonna saying, “The ingredients are an important part of my cuisine. I’ve always relied on local products, and since I know every single producer personally – because they’re my neighbors – quality isn’t a concern.” I know the products and the quality of the products are very important to cooking the kind of food my nonna used to make. With Nonna Box I hope that people will enjoy the box in a family setting, cooking the recipes of local nonnas included in the box using the high quality Italian products, while at the same time learning about authentic Italian traditions and culture.
Q: What are some of the projects you are working on right now?
We are constantly working on the production of new curated boxes. Each box requires extensive research. We want to make sure the producers we choose are top notch and produce a high quality product, as close as possible to the original traditional recipes. We also research the gastronomical history of the products and why they are traditional in the featured region, and add this information to the cards that are included in the box.
Q: What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?
We want to continue adding more curated regional boxes and finish our Italian regional culinary tour. After that we plan on adding different types of curated boxes and opening an ecommerce store.
Q: How do you bring ideas to life?
We have weekly brainstorming sessions where we decide which new projects to focus on. After that, we implement and test that idea quickly to see if it is working, or if we should move on to the next idea.
Q: What’s one trend that really excites you?
I am really excited about the trend in the food industry that connects local artisans with consumers. I’m passionate about the idea of returning back to the family meal, cooking together at home and enjoying a day with family and loved ones around a table with great food. This is one of the objectives of Nonna Box. We want people to give people the opportunity to spend time with their families, enjoying the products and the experience of Nonna Box.
Q: What were the top 3 mistakes you made starting your business and what did you learn from it?
- Not starting sooner. I thought about this idea for three years instead of taking action. I could have just set up a landing page and validated the idea in less than a day.
- Giving too much weight to other people’s opinions. I should have trusted my instinct.
- Procrastinating. I ended up having to spend more money because I’d put things off, for example, ordering products.
Q: How do you go about marketing your business, and what has been the most successful form of marketing for you?
Like many businesses right now, our marketing efforts focus mainly on social media and email marketing, these have been the most successful so far.
Q: What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur – and why?
Patience: nothing happens overnight, especially a business.
Perseverance: It will take time before you actually see the results of what you are working on, competitors will jump in and you have to be able to stay focused improving your product.
Confidence: Even though I believe you can still be a successful entrepreneur without being a super confident person, if you are determined I think you can overcome uncertainty more easily. You don’t let other people convince you that your idea or business won’t succeed.
Q: What are the top 3 online tools and resources you’re currently using to grow your company?
Q: What are three books you recommend entrepreneurs to read?
Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?
I am a big fan of the well-known inspirational phrase,
“Done Is Better Than Perfect.”
Q: How can our community get in touch with you?