Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sheila Donohue, founder, and CEO of Vero, located in Ventura, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Vero forages from around the world farm-to-glass wines and olive oils from small farmer-wineries that are not yet present in the US market. We import them and sell them to businesses and consumers across the US. Our customers are those seeking authentic, sustainably made natural wines and olive oils that are ripe for discovery.

Tell us about yourself

I am a New Yorker who has been living in Italy for 20 years. While living in Italy and working in my first career in banking/technology, I became a sommelier. I got to know hundreds of small producers with great-tasting authentic wines and olive oils, which you could not get in the US. I decided to start 'spreading the love' and open a new category of limited production artisanal products which were ignored by other importers and allow anyone in the US to purchase them with my company. I felt that after 20 years of discovering these wonderful, passionate artisans and products, I wanted to start a company that is a bridge between these 'small guys' and the American buyers and consumers, which allows our customers to learn, explore and experience more out of wine, food, and life.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Having started my company from scratch and out of my home in Bologna, Italy, to have it today operating out of a state (CA) which is far away from both my 'homes' in New York and Italy and selling across the US with increased interest day to day by businesses and consumers who hungry for something real and authentic which my company delivers.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Get your business to scale while you're still bootstrapping.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Have a long timeline. (They say that most small business owners quit too early.)
  2. Try to keep your costs as variable as possible, especially in the early startup years.
  3. Continue to reach out to your network for mentors and support.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

This sounds trite, but really you have to believe and have faith in your mission. When times get tough, it's what drives you forward.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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