Female Voices: My Interview with April Gargiulo of Vintner’s Daughter

After a long hiatus, I am thrilled to be relaunching Erin’s Things with a focus on the women who really inspire me. I couldn’t be happier to lead this refresh with my interview of April Gargiulo, the founder of Vintner’s Daughter – one of my favorite skin care products. Not only has April created a product that is heralded as one of the best products out there, she is an ardent supporter of other women in business and generally, women helping other women. Both her business acumen and the way she lives her life inspire me and I’m happy to introduce her to you, as she talks all about success, the challenges along the way, her favorite quotes and books!

  • Was there one big catalyst to start your own company? Or a series of events?

    • When I was pregnant, I started paying attention to the labels on what I thought were my “luxury” skincare products. I found that these products had very little active ingredients, sometimes as low as .01{54c12dad2cc2b53ae830e39915b1a3e70288dbcbbeb8bbf8395437c5dc3c512c}. The rest was filled with low-quality ingredients, which were often times toxic. Beyond that, they simply weren’t effective at treating my problem skin. After that, I decided that I was going to create my own holy grail, can’t-live-without-it skincare product. That’s how Vintner’s Daughter was born.

  • What were you hoping would be the big difference between working for yourself vs. working for somebody else?

    • Honestly, I never thought about it like that. I have really enjoyed working in the past for different companies, but with Vintner’s Daughter, I had such a vision for what I wanted. I had to give it a go and try for myself.

  • What is the biggest personal victory you’ve had so far (as it pertains to your work)?

    • Maintaining our commitment to the very finest quality and not succumbing to the beauty business playbook of cheaper product and faster introductions.

  • What has been your biggest failure or disappointment so far (as it pertains to starting your company)?

    • We gratefully make a coveted and beloved product and as a result, we sell out sometimes and this is always devastating to not have product for people. Our formulation process is painstaking and time-consuming and unfortunately, it cannot be avoided sometimes.

  • Any big surprises that you didn’t see coming?

    • I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be to find a lab willing to work with our meticulous, unique formulation methods. We were turned away many times because they wanted to use cheaper, faster, lower quality alternatives to our slow beauty methods.

  • How has starting your own business affected your personal/family life?

    • I hope I am setting a good example for my daughters by doing something I am incredibly passionate about. I work to keep a balance in place, but I still miss things here and there. Thankfully, they do not worry about it as much as I do.

  • Did you have to re-prioritize things in any meaningful way (or were you able to keep a healthy balance from the start – if so, how?)

    • One of the very first things I learned when Vintner’s Daughter began was how crucial brutal prioritization is. It is everything. You have to set your priorities and ladder everything back to them. It is a simple exercise, but not always easy to follow.

  • How does where you find yourself now, align with where you thought you’d be when you just started or just graduated college? Would you say your journey was a straight line? a heavy zig-zag? or something in between?

    • My journey was definitely nothing short of a huge zig-zag. I went from the design world to the winemaking world and landed in skincare. I couldn’t have predicted it. As disparate as the three may seem, there is a very common core theme that runs throughout them all: always being in pursuit of the finest quality. Whether it be related to design, wine, or skincare, when you dig a bit deeper, it actually feels like it all flowed very naturally.

  • Given your answer to the above, what advice would you give a young woman in her college years about how to approach her future?

    • I would say that if you know exactly what you want to do, go do it. Take any job in the industry you love and pursue it hard. If you do not know what you want to do, I would say go work at really well-run companies and for great managers. Learn how they tick, what makes them great. You can apply that to anything you eventually find your passion for.

  • How important have women been in helping your journey? How important is that network now?

    • In short, everything!!! The smart, creative, amazing network of women I have met as a result of Vintner’s Daughter is awe-inspiring. From our customers to the stockists we work with to other entrepreneurs, I feel incredibly lucky to be a small part of this world today.

  • What is your favorite quote?

    • One of my favorite quotes about aging comes from Pablo Picasso: “It takes a very long time to become young.” This quote really says it all for me. Age isn’t about a number.

  • What is one of your favorite books?

    • I love to read, so this is hard. A Half Dozen just popped into my head and then a flood of a dozen more after that. I read mostly fiction though. A few authors I like are Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace, Murikami, and Joan Dideon.

  • Other than, Vintner’s Daughter (of course!!), what is the one beauty product you can’t live without?

  •              That’s easy: a good essence. If you have that and Active Botanical Serum, you are golden.

GET THE BOOK BY
ERIN FALCONER!

Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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