Angela Aiello – Canadian Small Business Woman of The Month of July 2013

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Destined to become a Wine Entrepreneur, Angela grew up beside a booming local food and wine industry and stems from a family of entrepreneurs. She is a true city girl with country roots who has a passion for building wine confidence.

She got her start in the wine industry at the tender age of 16. Her story begins at the Prestigious Vineland Estates Winery Restaurant (a CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award Restaurant). Her experience at VEW lasted for a total of five years and she then continued for another four years at Peller Estates Winery Restaurant (which recently receiving the highest possible rating for food by Zagat readers). Follow that with a couple years of wine retail experience downtown Toronto, a growing passion for wine and a friendly and bubbly personality and her career seemed to form itself.

After completing her degree in Business Communications at Brock University, Angela moved to Toronto to pursue her interest in media and marketing/communications working in both television production and Radio. It started out as a personal hobby – blogging about wine – to create a network of wine lovers, share information and help people learn about wine. But, as more people began to subscribe to her blog, she realized she was on to something great. Using a quirky play on her last name, the iYellow Wine Club was born.

Founder of the Toronto Wine Revolution Angela believes in making wine accessible to everyone and has built iYellow around her vision of empowering people with “Wine Confidence”. iYellow Wine Club now consists of over 6500 members and hosts regular events, classes and tours to allow members to congregate and learn about wine in a fun, friendly, open and casual atmosphere. iYellow also has a powerful online social network and sends members monthly e-news and offers an interactive community based environment both online and offline. Angela is determined to help members build their own sense of wine confidence no matter how they learn about wine whether it’s socially at a wine event, formally at wine school or experientially on a wine tour.

She not only loves wine, but she also truly appreciates food and has worked and learned alongside well known chefs such as Chef Marc Picone (Marc Picone Culinary Studio), Chef Jan Willem Stulp (Vineland Estates Winery), Chef Jason Rosso (Toronto’s Distillery District) and Chef Jason Parsons (Peller Estates Winery & City Line Guest Regular).

As a respected wine and food expert, with over 13 years experience in the industry, she was the exclusive wine host for the CBC’s Steven & Chris Show, Le Gourmet.TV, as well as being a contributing writer for Toronto Star’s WineFox.com, Grapevine Magazine (and grapevinemagazine.ca), and the iYellow Wine Club blog. Her passion for wine has taken her to all over Ontario, as well as Italy, Chile, California, France, London, UK, Germany and Argentina.

She was also featured in a CBC Wine Documentary titled “Wine Confidential” and has been recognized in several print, television and online media sources, including Cosmo TV, Twenty Something TV.com, Sweethome.ca, Canada AM, Global TV, The Toronto Star, Post City Magazine, City Bites, Metro, The St. Catharine’s Standard, TasteTO.com, Toronto.com, SheDoestheCity,com, HUG (hipurbangirl.com), Virgin Radio, Classical 96.3 and CBC TV. She has hosted the Ontario Wine Awards as well as various videos with the LCBO.

In 2010 Angela was awarded the prestigious Top 40 Under 40 Award by Niagara’s own Business Link Magazine and most recently she was selected and by the Ontario Hostelry Institute to receive an award of distinction in the hospitality industry, the Annual Top 30 Under 30 Award. Aiello was recognized amongst thirty top young performers as one of Ontario’s leaders in hospitality for her dedication and innovation in the wine industry.

Our Q & A with Angie Aiello

*What inspires you?

Having my own business inspires me. So does working at what I love. I’ve always been inspired to be my own boss and work for myself. I also love having a team around me who I can inspire and work with to achieve business goals. I love being around the people and feeling of the wine industry. Everyone is always so happy to be going to work and to love what they do that that always inspiring to work around.

*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?

I am most proud of the fact that I had a vision and through all the ups and down’s I’ve made it to the place I really wanted to be at. I now have an office a full time employee and am in the midst of new developments. Making and achieving goals is a great way to make any business owner proud. It makes you feel good when you can work hard and get rewarded for all the blood, sweat and tears you put into your business. The other great aspect is that over time you build credibility from your trade around what you do, this also makes me proud.

*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

 You need to have perseverance, flexibility and passion to survive.

Perseverance  – Pushing through to reach your dreams in a skill that many don’t have. Motivation comes very close to this skill. You need to be personally motivated to persevere and in turn be what I feel is successful.

Flexibility –The ability to be flexible is a crucial skill to have. Life is ever changing and being able to flex with the changing times will surely make you easy to work with and will assure relationship retention when it comes to business relationships

Passion – I believe that passion is one of the most important skills. Best of all you can find it inside of yourself. Finding a real way to monetize your passion is a true skill that takes time and patience to discover.

*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?

Over the course of the next year, you will see many fun things from iYellow Wine Club. From the development of an app, to a new website to many great tasting events – 2013 has been a banner year, and 2014 is looking the same!

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