Artisan Pasta Shop
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Interview with Isabella Moreno, founder and owner of Pasta Bella Co. in Portland, Oregon.
1. How did you develop a passion for pasta making and decide to start your own pasta shop?
I grew up in a big Italian family in Brooklyn, where homemade pasta was a staple at every Sunday dinner. After moving to Portland for college, I struggled to find fresh pasta that lived up to my family's standards. Eventually, I decided to take matters into my own hands and start making my own. It became a passion, and before I knew it, friends and family were placing orders.
2. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when starting your business?
One of the biggest challenges was finding the right location for the shop. We wanted to be in a vibrant neighborhood with foot traffic, but rents in Portland were sky-high. Another challenge was sourcing high-quality ingredients at affordable prices. We were committed to using local and organic ingredients, but that can be a challenge when you're working with small margins.
3. How did you overcome those challenges?
We decided to launch our business online first, using a Shopify store to sell our pasta and sauces. This allowed us to keep our costs low and build a customer base before committing to a physical storefront. Once we had established a solid customer base, we were able to negotiate better prices with our suppliers to bring our costs down.
4. What role did Shopify play in the success of your business?
Shopify was a game-changer for us. It allowed us to sell our products online, reach customers all over the country, and manage our inventory and fulfillment processes more efficiently. We were able to focus on the creative aspects of our business, like developing new flavors and marketing our products, while Shopify took care of the technical backend.
5. What makes your pasta unique compared to other pasta brands?
We make our pasta entirely by hand, using traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations of Italian families. We use high-quality semolina flour and eggs from local farms, and we're constantly experimenting with new flavors and shapes. Our sauces are made from scratch using fresh, local ingredients, and we never use any additives or preservatives.
6. How have you marketed your business and reached new customers?
In addition to our Shopify store, we've used social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to reach new customers. We participate in local food festivals and events, and we've partnered with other local businesses to cross-promote our products. One of our most successful marketing strategies has been offering cooking classes, where we teach customers how to make pasta from scratch.
7. What unexpected benefits have you experienced as a result of starting your own business?
Starting this business has been a truly transformative experience for me. Not only have I been able to turn my passion into a career, but I've also been able to build a community around it. We have loyal customers who come back week after week, and I've been able to hire a small team of employees who share my passion for artisanal food. It's been incredibly rewarding to see how far we've come in just a few short years, and I'm excited to see where this journey takes us.
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