college of business

college of business

Young Entrepreneur Grows Herb Business
JWU Magazine 2011 Spring Busn Rosemary Pete 230x160

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 squash.

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 

JWU Magazine 2011 Spring Busn Digital Market 170x150 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, and; 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.

quick take:business
The JWU student ADTEAM from the Providence College of Business placed first in New England to advance to the National Student Advertising Competition in San Diego, Calif., in June. This is the third time in six years that JWU students have gone to the national championships.