Entrepreneur Grows a Business ... Literally

Johnson & Wales University student Pete was 17 when he started his own business. “It was a crazy idea,” Pete says. But at JWU, he built the marketing skills to turn that crazy idea into Rosemary Pete’s. Now, business is blooming.

Starting a Business with One "Crazy" Idea
Pete doesn't take "No" for an answer. When he suggested selling his family’s rosemary plant, his parents told him, “Everyone grows rosemary. No one buys it.” Pete thought, “Why not? I could get them to buy it.”

So he marched into the Charlotte’s farmer’s market with 50 batches of rosemary. And he got some strange looks. “I was the hippie kid selling herbs,” he laughs. “My hair was down to my back. One person thought I was an orphan.”

Pete's marketing materials, from Facebook to blogs and beyondSuddenly an Entrepreneur
But customers bought his herbs, curiously swarming this new kid’s booth. “It took off,” he says.

Suddenly, with no prior experience, he was the owner of Rosemary Pete’s. But he knew his novelty was bound to wear off.

If he wanted to make his company actually work, he was going to have to learn how to run a business — and get customers to keep coming back. 

The (Marketing) Education of Peter Vinci
That’s where JWU comes in. “I found myself subconsciously doing what I was learning in class,” Pete says. Build your brand, his professors said. So Pete started with a website, blog and Facebook page.

But one professors advice connect with your customers stuck with him. So he took it a step further, updating his customers weekly with free giveaways, new recipes and shout-outs to his fellow growers.

Rosemary Pete’s, Now an Institution
Demand is rising, as word spreads through Charlotte about this eco-friendly foodie favorite. So Pete's going to get his Culinary Arts degree at JWU, and keep Rosemary Pete’s ahead of the curve.

"Keep growing,” he laughs. But he gets serious, looking out over the business that blossomed from one plant. Pete's found his dream career. “This is a beautiful job,” he says, and gets to work in his garden.

6 Tips for Marketing Your Business

How do you overcome the challenges of marketing your company (especially if it’s new)? Get some tips from your JWU professors, Pete says. Here are his pointers. read more