Semi-finalist Q&A: Bella Vita Designs

The first semi-finalist Q&A presentation is for Bella Vita Designs, a company, that specializes in quality, fine, hand-painted furniture. Information from their grant application is available here. Read below for more, and if you have questions for our semi-finalists don't hesitate to ask them in the comments section.

Also, don't forget to cast your vote! YOUR vote will determine which entrepreneurs most deserve to be amongst the finalists.

How did you come up with the idea for your business?

My mother suffered a massive stroke 3 years ago and my husband and I moved back to my hometown to help my father care for her. I was unable to find a corporate job and take care of my mother at the same time. A friend got me into vintage furniture and showed me painting techniques, I was able to incorporate my marketing background into helping him make his business more successful. My current partner asked me to start a business with her and we had a newer vision for the business, recycling old furniture while making it trendy and getting our furniture in stores and at shows throughout the U.S. Together we had fantastic design ideas and have recycled many things people throw away into valuable reusable items. Ideas just come to us daily by talking and yes sometimes disagreeing, but we are very well intune with one another.

What makes your business unique? Why do you think it will be a success?

We are unique because we are constantly changing. We are not stuck doing the same thing over and over. We constantly change our colors, we can do whatever our clients want. There are no boundaries to what we can use or recycle in the furniture or accessory world. We are beginning to be successful because the economy is heightened to reusing resources and to getting better prices. Our prices our competitive and people love the vintage look of older pieces. People are always decorating or redecorating their homes and this helps us build a customer base.

What are some of your top business-related accomplishments, or business lessons learned?

Marketing, and sales follow-up. If someone is not interested in purchasing an item today that does not mean they will not be interested in the future. Keep in touch with them, drop in and just say "hello", eventually they may need something from you. We have followed through with this idea and it has payed off for us, time and time again. I feel a strong sense of accomplishment when we get repeat business from clients, that is the true meaning of good business. If I wouldn't buy it, then I wouldn't sell it to someone - I need to be proud of the work that I have done on a piece of furniture and believe in it to sell it to a customer! Last but not least, never go to any show or meet with any client unprepared.

Why should the Idea Cafe regulars vote for you?

They should vote for us because we are two women who are working hard to build our own business. I have been able to care for my mother and she for her kids, if we are able to start a business with an idea and a small amount of money, anyone can. If the world is unable to provide the type of job that fits your lifestyle go out and create one that does.

Thanks to everyone who votes for us!!

Cally Apicella & Kelley Yeomans

Bella Vita Designs


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