22 minutes | Jul 1st 2014

058: Leigh Foster and Rachel Virtue, Founders of Nella Pasta

An oh-so-simple idea: to make pasta using the finest ingredients possible for superior quality, nutrition, and most importantly, taste. Our name in Italian means “in the” because what goes inside the pasta is the trademark of our products. So what exactly is in our pasta? A unique, handcrafted mixture of produce, artisanal cheese, our signature wheat blend, and a profound respect for the freshness you find in Italy. We choose vegetables picked locally and in season whenever possible; roast, sauté or steam them for the best flavor, and complement them with creative and unexpected ingredients like specialty cheeses, fresh herbs, nuts and dried fruits. Then there’s our secret ingredient, a sustainable food movement, which is blended into each pillowy bite. Put it all together and you have a truly exceptional ravioli that’s good for you too. A notion worth chewing over-- indeed!       On Today's show Leigh & Rachel will share: - Personal Mission Statement: We take care in making our product from how its made to the ingredients we use to make it. We feel that it's important to share meal time with family and we do our part to create a nutritious product that you can be proud to serve to loved ones. We aim to help our customers embrace the values of the slow food movement by encouraging this together time with an emphasis on quality food. A delicious, wholesome bowl of Nella Pasta ravioli shared with loved ones, what could be better! - Biggest business mistake: We've had several instances where we should have trusted our gut instinct and we didn't. Often people will tell you how you have to run your business differently, adopt new technologies (vacuum packs), create new recipes (gluten free!), etc.. We've found that sometimes harping on these suggestions can only delay doing what you do best- your business! - Handling business stress and uncertainty: Map out options, use one another for a different view, or a martini or two?! - Greatest business decision that changed everything: Stepping away from every part of the business: first, hiring farmers market associates, next: help in the kitchen, and so on. Delegating tasks and allowing new talent to help you with your business allows you to grow. Letting go of control can be hard, but it allows you to focus on your greatest strengths. Or  The creation and innovative design of our packaging. We worked with a design team and local company to dream up very unique package for a freezer shelf. Traditionally, you will find plastic in all freezers and we decided to divert from that pack and create a more natural looking kraft box with a window to see the actual product instead of just a photo of the cooked product. We want people to see the product in its natural form because it's just as beautiful uncooked then it is plated and garnished on your dinner table. Today, our packaging along sells our product and we couldn't be happier with the decision made years ago while designing it and again, going with our gut! - Best Book For The Entrepreneurial Mindset It's not a book meant to be about entrepreneurship in any way, but we have both found after reading several books by Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman, we were encouraged to think about our food business as a larger picture-- one where we can make a difference and not just through taste! We were encouraged to seek out local, sustainable produce for our ravioli during our growing season and educate our customers about seasonality and making good food choices not just for health but the environment as well.  Also another quick little read for the sales minded folks is a book by Jeffrey Gitomer's called Little Red Book of Selling. It's a quick and short read that you can reference back to and re-read several times over. It's filled with principals and strategies that teach you how to sell and make sales forever. It's a great read for any entrepreneur because it not only teaches you about selling a product but also selling yourself and understanding why people buy. - Plus much more...
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