22nd December 2021

From farm to table

Alice Tiberio left her native Italy 11 years ago to discover new cultures. She lived in Canada, the USA and moved to Luxembourg to start her business. Whether in a market or in a shop, the products from her family farm in Rimini, such as olive oil, jams, juices, etc. are worth a visit. What made her decide to change careers? In this article, she explains her journey. Enjoy reading it!

Meet Alice

Hello ! My name is Alice I am Italian but lived abroad for the past 11 years. I obtained a Master in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Siena in 2008 and soon after that I left Italy to live in Canada, USA and now Luxembourg. I am a very curious individual and I love discover new places and their cultural heritage.  My dream is to live a meaningful life and to leave a positive impact on the people I meet along the way.

The idea of creating a business

The idea of Volio has been lingering in my head for many years but the time was never mature, or more likely I was not ready yet. Then in 2019 after almost 10 years of working for a multinational company, things started to not make sense anymore. I felt like I lost the purpose of what I was doing and that gave me the courage to pursue and listen to this idea that was inside me for such a long time.

The stages of business creation

1. What is Volio

Volio for me becomes the instrument trough which I can bring the right recognition to a world that has been taken for granted for far too long.

To understand why I launched Volio it is important to understand where I come from and the struggles and joys of that world.

I was born and raised on my family farm in Rimini Italy. Despite all the romanticism that surrounds the country life, farming especially in Italy, is far from the bucolic life that every other person imagines. There is a lot of beauty in this life’s choice but the socio-economic context in which farmers operate is characterised by under appreciation and unfair economical practices.

Volio for me becomes the instrument trough which I can bring the right recognition to a world that has been taken for granted for far too long.

Volio’s mission is in fact to connect the consumers directly with my farm and other extraordinary producers while educating people on the agricultural production processes and cycles. In an upcoming future I envision my customers in Luxembourg to come and visit the farm in Rimini and to live the full experience of our “from farm to table” philosophy.

2. Institutional Partners

To implement the idea and turn it into a reality I leveraged the expertise of different branches of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.

House of Entrepreneurship: here I received guidance for all the admin steps that were needed to obtain the business permit, TVA, etc.

Nyuko : here I received business coaching on a variety of different topics from networking to building a business plan, etc.

Luxinnovation: I leveraged the Fit4digital packages to obtain technical support in creating my website.

3. Difficulties and Satisfaction

Volio was officially launched at the beginning of 2020 and unfortunately the Covid crisis started right after. This obviously caused some disruption in my business plan and slowed my ramp up period as many events and commercial occasions were put on standby.

To face this unexpected event I started to look outside the Luxembourgish boundaries and attended events in neighboring countries. In the beginning, for logistic reasons, I envisioned Volio as an ambassador of only few selected products such as oils, jams and juices. This approach left out many more products as I didn’t have a way to bring to Luxembourg and that due to Covid.

Once the Covid crisis started to ease I fully embraced Volio’s mission (as scary as this was due to very low cash flow) to bring to consumers many more products. At this point in time I was also accepted to attend weekly markets in Luxembourg City as well as in other small towns in the Country. I had also opened two pop-up stores, one in Differdange and one in Esch-sur-Alzette which helped me getting tuned with the consumer’s expectations as well as what Volio could bring to the table.

Launching a business is never an easy task and the global pandemic did not make this any easier, in fact quite the opposite.

I just very recently signed a lease for a stock room/commercial space which for me is truly a milestone considering how difficult the real estate market is in Luxembourg. This space will allow me to grow and make my business stronger while expanding my product selection.

A year and a half later I would say that one of my biggest satisfaction is seeing people coming back every time with a smile on their face and recommending my business and products to their friends and family. The support and the welcoming attitude of all the people I meet at the markets is the fuel that keeps me going and gives me the confirmation that what I am pursuing is not just an unattainable dream.

Alice’s advice to future entrepreneurs

To open a business or to leave a “safe” job to adventure into entrepreneurship an individual has to be ready to embrace and accept that the road is not clearly paved but it is built step after step. Yes you need to have the overall idea of what your business will look like but you also need to keep an open mind on the fact that things change and that 9 times out of 10 you will not have full control over them. To me an entrepreneur has to have three talents to be successful: resilience, patience and determination.

Nyuko has signed a partnership with Spuerkeess, in order to foster entrepreneurial spirit and strengthening the bank's position with company founders from the start of their businesses. More info in our article: https://www.spuerkeess.lu/en/blog/experts-corner/nyuko-fostering-entrepreneurial-spirit/.