Peter Vinci ’10 started his own business, Rosemary Pete’s,
when he was 17. While working on his marketing degree
at JWU, Vinci grew his specialty herb company into a
thriving Charlotte, NC, enterprise.
With lots of determination, Vinci took 50 pots of rosemary
to the Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market. Curious
customers swarmed the booth of “the young hippie kid
selling herbs,” Vinci says. “My hair was down to my back.”
But they bought his herbs, and Vinci went back the
next week. “It took off.” Knowing he’d have to learn all he
could to keep his business growing, he paid close attention
in class. “I found myself subconsciously doing what I was
learning,” he says.
Lessons made sense as he put them to work, and
Rosemary Pete’s expanded to a greenhouse brimming with
heirloom and cherry tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, habanero
and tabasco chili peppers, paprika, peppers, zucchini and
Marketing classes were a big help. Vinci created a
website, blog, Facebook page and e-newsletters. He used
different images of ripe tomatoes and leafy greens on business
cards. “I figure people are more likely to pick up the
cards if they’re different,” he explains, noting a professor
told him to make his materials stand out.
The most important lesson came from his professors’
collective mantra, “Network, network,” he recites.
“I talked with a lot of people — chefs, restaurant
owners and farmers,” Vinci says. Being a teenager and
lacking shame made it easier to approach chefs, he
recalls, even JWU grads. “I got a feel for how to generally
run a business.”
Vinci returned to JWU in fall 2010 to pursue a
culinary degree, another fertile field.
Email Pete Vinci
Digital Marketing Dominates Ad World
Leah Peterson ’01 is versed in digital marketing, a vital tool to gain customers and sell more products
and services in today’s technology-driven world.
Peterson is vice president of client development for Response Mine Interactive in Atlanta, Ga., a direct
marketing agency specializing in digital media. Although there’s still a fair amount of traditional, “offline”
marketing, the majority of businesses are spending more time and money on search engine optimization
(SEO) and paid search advertising, the two most common forms of digital marketing.
SEO, a.k.a. organic search, increases traffic to websites through various cost-free ways, including using
targeted keywords most likely to be picked up by search engines and through inbound website links from
ads, blogs, digital press releases and other online avenues.
Paid search involves paying search engine sites like Google or Bing every time a keyword you’ve “bid”
on is clicked through a company’s ad on the sites. Competitors can out-bid each other by paying more for
the same keywords (e.g., “recliner” for the retail furniture industry) in an effort to get their ad to appear
higher in the paid sections of search engine sites.
Digital marketing strategies and methods will continue to develop, and consumers and businesses will do
even more marketing and selling online than they do now, Peterson predicts. Companies will advertise more
through online directories including yelp.com, whitepages.com and superpages.com; advertisers will focus
closer to home.
“It’s going to be a lot about local, and making sure you’re working to compete with the moms and pops,
rather than taking on a more national approach,” says Peterson.
Email Leah Peterson
Image above l-r: Leah Peterson ’01 with
co-worker Claire Adams at
Response Mine Interactive.