The Blonde Italian
How and when was your business born?
I love cooking for my family using fresh ingredients, I felt like all I did was run to the market then prep and chop all day. I thought it would be nice to have fresh, quality ingredients on hand and ready to use at all times. So I designed a line of specialty sauces and seasonings – fabulous taste without all that work! In 2013, I studied food safety, earned my own license from the Department of Agriculture in a commercial kitchen, designed all the labels and signage from free hand drawings, did my own food writing then began cooking and selling my jars at a farmers market and to local stores. My brand name ‘The Blonde Italian’ was easy to choose, all I did was look in the mirror!!!
How do you get to be creative?
Thinking up new recipes and uses for a particular sauce which I then share with my customers. Also, the most fun part for me is when I create a new item or recipe in my head, draw it out on paper, name the product, write descriptions, design the label, perform research and development, and finally bring that product to market – it’s exhilarating!
What product are you most proud of?
My Garden Garlic Seasoning. It is sold in many stores under The Blonde Italian brand name, but I turned it into a brand of its own with a different label just for Walmart stores. It’s currently sold in many other states as well and online.
I’m also very proud of my Crime In Italy Irish-infused Saucy Topping. It’s made with mild banana peppers, toasted pine nuts, fresh parsley & Celtic sea salt. I made it for Italian sausage and it has a recipe on the label.
How were you creative as a child?
As a child, I loved to draw, paint, and use my dad’s wood cutting tools to make decorative plaques in the shapes of animals. After my grandfather gave me a sewing machine in seventh grade, I became a self taught seamstress. I walked through stores with a notepad and drew pictures of clothing on mannequins I liked, then would recreate them from my drawings using no pattern. I actually wore the clothes to school and even earned money making clothes and doing alterations for others throughout high school.
Do you have any artistic hobbies?
My artistic hobbies are mostly drawing when I have time. I like to draw people’s faces and animals.
What’s in development right now?
My vinaigrette collection of four flavors. These are recipes I created long ago, that will finally be available in the Spring of 2021.
What’s next for The Blonde Italian/Livita/Garden Garlic Seasoning?
My Garden Garlic Seasoning brand in Walmart stores will also be available on walmart.com soon. Limited items from The Blonde Italian brand will be available on Amazon.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Having a stronger online presence and more products developed from my library of recipes, making them available on my website. From conception to market, each new item takes months and thousands of dollars to complete. The process can be frustrating at times, but it’s very interesting to me. I’ve learned so much and am often asked so many questions from other entrepreneurs in food and non-food related businesses that I now offer business consulting by appointment.
What have you always wanted to do creatively but can’t find the time?
Drawings & acrylic paintings of wildlife & domestic animals. I love to read as well and have been fitting that in. I always have a book or two going.
How do you appreciate art locally?
I buy it. I love going to art and craft shows and buying handmade pottery and paintings. In fact, my most prized possessions were made by local artists. My artist brother Dominic Falcione has an Akron studio and was commissioned by the city to create art and fixtures you may have seen around the city. I also visit the Cleveland Museum Of Art once a year. I love gazing at Bouguereau and Dali is my other favorite.