On the up Rebecca Smith · 6 October 2015
Bonny Vita: An unlikely marriage between the best of Scottish and Italian products
The founder of Bonny Vita, a truffle producer and distributor of artisan foods, sat down with Business Advice to discuss how the idea of pairing the best of Scottish and Italian produce came about, and the difficulty in marketing to a different culture. Francesco LoretuccI is the fourth generation of a truffle hunting family on his father’s side, while his mother came from a fisherman family. Suffice to say food has been a huge part of his life as long as I can remember, he said. He moved from Umbria in Italy to Scotland in 2007, after working for a number of Italian luxury brands, before startingan MBA in 2012. It soon came to his attention that there was something troubling about his new home. I realised I couldn’t find a lot of ingredients we had in Italy even looking at supermarkets or specialist places online, I couldn’t find them. Trips back to Italy for the holidays meant his university friends reaped the rewards, when LoretuccI came back and cooked them meals with food from Umbria. They were gobsmacked, and I saw an opportunity to open up a new kind of market, he explained. While the idea was born during his time at university, LoretuccI admitted it was a journey rather than a eureka moment. The aim was to share the fantastic regional foods in Italy that can be tricky to locate elsewhere, and Bonny Vita sources artisanal foods from small producers, while they import truffles straight from Loretucci’s family. The initial period proved tricky, as although he had a background in marketing at a big agency, LoretuccI said it was a real challenge to adapt his Italian culture to British culture, working out what would be appreciated and mesh well. I had to understand communications and work out how to approach this kind of market in terms of brand identity and social media, he said. LoretuccI stumbled upon the accelerator programme Entrepreneurial Spark purely by chance he was driving in a storm last year and had the radio on to help him focus. It could only tune to one station and they happened to be advertising Entrepreneurial Spark. Having won Entrepreneur of the Moment there, with 10, 000 in his pocket he put it to work on a budding pet project pairing the best of Scottish with the best of Italy. LoretuccI met his business partner Ian McKenzie at university. He was very interested in drink, and their united interest helped develop the idea of meshing Italian produce with Scottish goods. The award was, he feels, a particular achievement because of the numerous setbacks he suffered along the way from personal troubles to business obstacles. It was because I was really stubborn and carried on despite all this that I won the award. They said it signified that entrepreneurial spirit, and his determination to push on when everything wasn’t going to plan has seen his business idea begin to blossom. Entrepreneurial Spark provided assistance when it came to cash flow guidance, finding partners from Business Gateway and financially ‘so we’ve been able to boost the digital side and get the ecommerce right, he added Most valuable from Loretucci’s perspective was the access to specialist food and drink industry experts who were on hand to help develop the brand and provide inside information and tricks, knowing the market inside out. Our concept was very unique so we needed that expert support, he said.
ABOUT THE EXPERTRebecca Smith
Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.