Maria de la Paz Barbirotto builds business with a nomadic and diverse pattern
When the places and the experiences that made you be what you are become part of your entrepreneurial career, Maria de la Paz Barbirotto has a lot to say. She is an Italian business woman that has a lot to share with who wants to start a business following a nomadic and diverse pattern.
FROM SOUTH AMERICA TO EUROPE TO NORTH AMERICA, YOU ARE EVERYWHERE AND YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT SEEMS TO FOLLOW YOU EVERYWHERE YOU GO. HOW DID YOU START AND WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE STARTING YOUR CAREER?
Actually, it’s more accurate to say that I bring a little bit of everywhere I go into my entrepreneurial spirit. I was born in Argentina from Italian family and moved back to Italy when I was four. I grew up in the Tuscan hills, so I spent my childhood riding my mountain bike in the woods and harvesting olives and grapes to make extra virgin olive oil and wine with the local farmer. Those years have been extremely important for the formation of my personality cause I started my life switching from the energy and stimuli of a big city like Buenos Aires to developing a deep contact with the wilderness and the centuries-old historical and cultural Italian traditions. Both sides became part of myself from an early age and I kept the capacity of adaptation and absorbing new impulses that I developed the first years of my life. In the past years I lived or spent long periods of my life in Washington D.C., Milan, Rome, Florence, Canary Islands, Los Angeles, and my entrepreneurial spirit shaped itself in different ways in each of the places I lived in. When I decided to start my first business I only followed my instincts and the ambition of believing that everything that you can think or imagine, it can turn into reality with hard work and creativity. Of course, then I figured that also all the business management, communication and marketing classes taken in college were definitely an important piece. I learn how to combine my instincts with my skills and knowledge and I also had to learn how to balance it to bring to life something personal but valuable for my clients. I started taking the risk of changing my life when I was 20, I figured that I had to move quickly to build my experiences cause time runs by in the entrepreneurial world. So, when I was studying in college to get my degree in Communication and Management of the Markets of Arts, I started represent a few friends that were artists, created their portfolio, wore my best shirt and start knocking at the door of every single art gallery in the north-west side of Italy. I was probably ridiculous to some gallery owner’s eyes, but someone loved my courage and I started to curate art shows in several Italian cities and to create my network. I need to partially thank Max Papeschi if I kept pursuing my career with such a strong ambition. Max is an amazing international artist, which I set up an interview with when I was really young and with no experience, and that agreed to spend some time with me becoming in a certain way and for a certain period my mentor, opening the doors of his studio to me and giving me precious advices. From there, I started to get more confident, I started to achieve some satisfactory results, I started to create an international network, and I started to take a risk also in other industries, like music for example. I think the biggest challenge has been to fight against my fears and insecurities each time that I wrote an email, that I knocked at a door to introduce my projects and ideas, each time that I had to accomplish another little bigger step in my results. That feeling is also the feeling that feeds my dreams, the fuel to excel myself and confirm that I can do whatever I dream to do.
TEN YEARS WORKING IN THE ART INDUSTRY, MUSIC MANAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATION, ENTERTAINMENT NOMADIC BUSINESS CONSULTANCY, AND NOW WRITING A BOOK “STARTING FROM EARTH” AND STARTING A COOKING BUSINESS. HOW DO YOU FIND THE INSPIRATION TO RECREATE YOURSELF AND FIND NEW INCENTIVES AND RESOURCES FOR YOUR CAREER?
Life gives me inspiration, my family gives me inspiration, my passions give me inspiration. Everything that I do comes first of all from a strong personal interest for that field. I love art in all of its forms, I love literature and different languages and their etymology, I love to eat good food and have a relationship with the nature from where that food comes from. Every time that I feel I need to start a new cycle or a new entrepreneurial adventure is cause I’m exhausting the fuel to keep things interesting to my own eyes. And then it starts a new cycle, it can be also just signing a new artist to my roster or planning a new completely different business. I never stop learning so every experience prepares me better and gives me more knowledge to improve my standards. That’s an exciting part for me, I feel like I’m constantly trying to study new possibilities and resources to see how I can apply them in my business models.
“STARTING FROM EARTH” IS A STORY OF SELF-AWARENESS, A JOURNEY THROUGH A SELF-MADE CAREER, PRIVATE BATTLES AND DEFEATS, SHARED VICTORIES AND RE-DISCOVERY OF YOURSELF. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN REFERENCE TO THIS BOOK? AND HOW MUCH OF YOUR PERSONAL STORY WE WILL FIND IN IT?
It’s not an autobiographical book but there’s definitely a lot of my personal experiences in it. The entire book is inspired to what I do, what I live and who I am. “Starting from Earth” is a reminder to the self-awareness I reached in my life and after the re-discovery journey I took with myself to find out who I am in this world starting from essential things. The book is still on the works, I don’t know if it’ll be ready in six months or three years and I don’t have any plan for it yet. I consider it more as a self therapy. When it’ll be done Marco R.Capelli from the magazine Progetto Babele will be the first one to read the full final version of it. He started to publish my writings and translations when I was around 11, so he’s the person I want to receive the first feedback from. Of course, besides my mother.
IS THERE A LEITMOTIV THAT KEEPS ALL YOUR BUSINESS MODELS TOGETHER? AND HOW DO YOU MANAGE SUCH A DIVERSE PORTFOLIO?
Me, myself and I. The leitmotiv is definitely that everything comes from me, the interests I live for and the experiences that shaped my identity. Of course, there’s also the concept of creating a business with real human values and thought for a human size reality, a business that is inspired to small and local models but blinks an eye towards a more international market. When I study a business plan, I always try to recreate my business model in different parts of the world, also considering different developing techniques or at least make them easy to manage from the long distance, including the world wide web. That probably comes from the fact that I can consider part of my businesses being in the digital nomad sphere and I always prefer to reduce the obstacles that could trap me in only one location “forever”. It’s important to have a leitmotiv, especially when you’re working with a diverse business portfolio, to make sure you’re following the right path and keeping it as real as possible. Once that the business comes from your heart is part of you and managing a diverse portfolio it’s not such a hard thing when you put yourself in it.
FOOD, COOKING AND YOUR ITALIAN CULTURE ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS OF ANOTHER IMPORTANT MILESTONE IN YOUR LIFE, THE STARTING OF A COOKING AND LANGUAGE BUSINESS. HOW DID YOU BRING IT TO LIFE AND WHAT ARE WE EXPECT TO FIND?
I noticed in the United States it’s really hard to come across real and healthy Italian food. There’s a great Italian-American tradition but the meals for what all Americans go crazy when they travel Italy are missing in the everyday places-to-go list. The idea definitely comes from my passion for Italian food, its simplicity, its attention for the products, its history. It’s hard for me to go to the grocery store and buy tomatoes without knowing where they come from or buying boxed pasta instead than making it from scratch at home cause I know the flour and the water the industrial pasta is made of here are not the same of Italy, so the taste and the consistency are different as well. People around me was fascinating from the fact that I can make a delicious tomato sauce or ragu’ with just a few ingredients and from scratch. The main question is always “How does this taste so good and it’s so simple to make?”. Well, I wanted to give Americans that love Italian food and culture a place where to eat like at the Sunday grandma’s lunch in Tuscany, Sicilia or Emilia-Romagna. A place where come to grab dinner as in a “gastronomia” [Italian local, usually family owned, homemade style meals and traditional products store], a place where you go cause you know that the tomatoes they use come from a specific farmer and have been cultivated in a specific way, and with those tomatoes you can make a sauce that tastes in a specific way. I wanted to think of a place where to share the same tradition and respect for food you can find in Italy, just a few basic 100% Italian traditional dishes, with a story in the label, with no exceptions to the recipes, an Italian purist kitchen. A place where to come take cooking classes and enjoy Italian conversations and aperitivi. There’s still a lot to do but the business plan is coming all together and it’s very exciting cause I can see my project shape in what I exactly imagine when I think of home.