Today’s interview will be featuring Luke Battiloro, the founder and CEO of the premium spirits brand, Vavoom Vodka! Here to tell us how he was able to grow in the chaos of last year and how he plans to continue moving forward into this year as well!
What does it take to be able to step so bravely towards unexplored business opportunities? Tried and tested strategies? Or just pure gut instinct? Find out below!
Let’s kick this off with an easy one! What career led you to start your own business?
Luke Battiloro: I’ve been entrenched deep into marketing for a long time. But, let’s see. I think it was my work as a marketing producer that jump-started everything for me. My work at the time had been pretty cut-and-dry—score major leads for the business that I work with—but my methods were far from methodical.
Producing leads for different companies (all of which were from different industries) meant that I had to be creative about how and where I advertised. That was the only way I was able to succeed at the time. Which was a mindset that, unsurprisingly perhaps, helped me a lot (and continues to help me), after I pitched myself into building and managing my own businesses.
What kind of work did you do before entering the alcohol industry with Vavoom Vodka?
Luke Battiloro: I was in the business of selling supplements online for a while, back in 2013, when supplements were the ‘big’ thing. I would run whatever was popular was at the time, learning as I went along. And later, I’d use that experience to jump into CBD — a product that my group and I were able to sell online successfully (before anyone else at that.)
I took away as much as I could about that experience too. CBD was completely new back then, and a big part of our efforts was spent on educating our audience so that we could create a market for it and then be able to create a company that we would sell CBD from — which is as complicated as it sounds, yes. But was an undeniably exciting and irreplaceable experience for me — as someone who has always loved trying new things.
And why did you decide to start Vavoom Vodka? (Was there any particular reason you chose to enter into this space?)
Luke Battiloro: While my work in supplements and CBD did give me the push I needed to explore the alcohol online retail industry; the shift was not calculated on my part. It really just came to me one day. I was looking for something to bring along as a ‘talk piece’ of sorts to a party I was invited to. And, I guess my standards in Vodka were a bit high even then because I found the choices offered to be very lacking.
Of course, as a person that dislikes backing down from challenges, I took that bad experience and turned it into a personal mission to create my very own Vodka brand that would satisfy my high expectations.
What do you think has made Vavoom Vodka so successful?
Luke Battiloro: I believe the key to our success was our ability to push forward no matter what with creativity and innovation. That’s what it takes to survive the economy these days. You need to stand out as a brand. You need that ‘edge’ that will allow you to shine brighter than your competitors. Which means:
- Constantly upgrading, or even, completely replacing business processes to promote maximum productivity and efficiency
- Enhancing the quality of our product to continuously meet the expectations of our current customers and those to come.
- And, introducing new marketing strategies that will allow us to capture more leads.
Of course, we don’t forget the little things either! A large part of our growth last year was in-thanks to our willingness to keep trying new things. Even simple things, like changing the colors of the buttons of our website, or improving our checkout process a bit at a time, were enough to make a big difference for us. Allowing us to scale our efforts more for this year.
What do you do to keep improving on a personal level?
Luke Battiloro: Well, first things first, I’ve always done my best to learn something new. Every day, I watch influencers in my industry or listen to podcasts and learn about how I can improve as a leader and as an individual. Adding to that, I also like to be mindful about how to ‘push’ my mind to its limits. Sounds strange when I put it like that, but it is, in essence, one of the simplest ways I describe neuro-hacking, which I do whenever I can.
Now you’ve got me curious! What is neuro-hacking? And, how has it helped you push your limits?
Luke Battiloro: Neuro-hacking, as you can probably guess from the name alone, is the practice of ‘hacking’ one’s mind. In this case, I’m using it to refer to what I do when training my brain’s stress-response (which you may know better as the fight-or-flight sense.) I practice this kind of training to kind of reprogram how my body responds to stress.
Put it simply, let’s say one is afraid of sharks (which I personally truly am). By training one’s stress-response, you can get your body used to the idea of moving, of doing something (anything really), when it’s in high-stress situations. I’ve come to the point in my training that now I’m able to get myself to swim with literal sharks (something that the child version of me would never have done, no matter how much I liked to challenge myself.)
As for its application in business. Well, as someone in such a high-stakes industry (the alcohol industry is over $30 billion large in the US alone, after all), I need to be ready to be constantly moving forward. And that means being willing to take risks, being open to trying out things that people would have otherwise never tried. That’s the only way one can keep improving. And, the results speak for themselves. Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a 300% increase in our sales, something that we’re incredibly proud of.
Thank you very much for answering all our questions! Before we let you go, what social media channels are you most active in?
Luke Battiloro: I like to keep myself busy, so I’m not the most active on social media. But, I make a point to at least keep up with Instagram. You can find me there on the handle, (@lukebattiloro).