Before April Gargiulo founded Vintner's Daughter, an all-natural, toxin-free skincare line, she was the director of marketing and sales for her family's Napa vineyard and wine label. As her aptly named company suggests, her years in fine winemaking heavily influenced her process for creating what is arguably the most sought-after serum on the market.
Deemed "the face oil to end all face oils" by Into the Gloss, the line's Active Botanical Serum is a radiance-boosting, line-reducing miracle worker that devout users proclaim is worth every penny, which isn't something to bat an eye at considering each bottle is priced at $185. While the transition from winemaker to serum creator may seem like an unexpected one, April's small-batch-produced serum is formulated with the same attention to quality as fine wine, boasting over 22 botanical and essential oils.
In this installment of Second Life, we ask April all about how she turned her love for fine wine into a best-selling serum, including the biggest risk she's taken, the inspiring mantra that keeps her grounded, and the most surprising thing she's learned from being an entrepreneur.
Tell us about your first career path.
Straight out of college, I wanted to be an architect or designer, but that melted away when I actually worked in the industry, and then I moved to California to work with my family's winery in 2001.
How did you make the transition from winemaker to serum creator?
This isn't as disconnected as it may seem at first. My family is committed to making some of the very finest wines in the world. In order to do that, quality and attention to detail must reign supreme with every decision made. This is how I believe you make anything truly great. I realized the expensive, cult skincare I was using at the time was anything but, and set out to apply the same ideas of refinement and quality that go into fine wine into skincare.
Tell us about your current career path/business.
I founded Vintner's Daughter in 2012 and launched our first product, Active Botanical Serum, in 2014.
What have been the biggest challenges in your many careers, and why?
The biggest challenge, for me, was simply understanding what kind of industry and organizational structure lit my fire and energized me.
What triggered your need to change this time around?
Having kids was my big trigger. It rearranged my priorities entirely.
Why is your current path suitable for your personality?
I love women, and niche beauty is dominated by strong, smart, creative women, both behind the brands and as consumers. It has been a thrill to get to meet so many of them and forge bonds and connections with them as well. I'm so excited for what's happening with women entrepreneurs right now. It's a really special time.
What's the most important thing you have learned in making a big change in your career life?
Setting your goals and priorities and making sure that everything you are doing maps back to those goals. This requires rigorous prioritization and saying no a lot. It's simple but not easy!
What's the biggest risk you took that paid off?
Saying no to some really big distribution opportunities that would have made me lose sight of the true mission of my company. We're smaller today as a result, but our commitment to the highest quality and my integrity is intact.
How did you move past the fear of change to pursue your passion?
I'm not sure I have, but mostly it's about baby steps for me. Small wins that lead to the big-picture goals.
What are some mistakes you made along the way that ended up helping your success?
So many, but a big one was early on was when I hired someone who had a lot of industry experience, thinking that she could tell my story better than me. No one can tell your story better than you can.
What do you love most about your current role, and why?
I love being in an industry composed of so many woman founders. It's inspiring and rooting in equal parts.
When you look back and reflect on your previous career, do you have any regrets? Or are you still really happy with your decision?
I'm grateful for where I'm at every day.
What advice do you have for other women who want to take a leap but fear the change?
No risk, no reward. Just go do it.
What mantras or affirmations do you use often to keep you motivated and inspired?
Always remember to be grateful is my only mantra. It keeps me balanced and happy no matter what is happening.
What's the most surprising thing you learned from becoming an entrepreneur?
How utterly exciting it can be one minute and totally nerve-racking the next.
What's one thing you didn't know before you started that you wish you knew?
The honest answer? How hard it is to create balance. There is no leaving it all behind.
For more inspiring stories from successful women who've made major career changes, tune into MyDomaine's Second Life podcast.