We’re back with another explosive interview! Today, with Luke Battiloro, the founder and CEO of Vavoom Vodka and otherwise one of the eclectic minded entrepreneurs of this age! Luke dips his toes into just about everything — whether it be technology, production, engineering, design, marketing, and philanthropy, he’s your guy!
And today, he’s here to tell us all about how he got his start and what he has in store for all of us in the future. So, sit back, relax, and spend a couple of minutes with us as we unpack all the hidden secrets and strategies of this highly inspiring CEO.
Hello! Before we go any further, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start?
Luke Battiloro: Hi! My name is Luke Battiloro. I got my start as a marketing producer — basically, as someone who produced leads for companies. At the time, companies would come to me, ask for a specific amount of leads per day at a specified CPA, and I’d get it done. I bounced around a lot, industries-wise, because of that. And, all in all, I was pretty good at it, if only because I wasn’t afraid to take risks in terms of how and where I would advertise.
I got pretty deep into the supplement industry in 2013 – when supplements had been a pretty big deal. I got into CBD for quite some time too, back before anyone knew of it, even. That had been a pretty big deal to me. I remember that we spent over $860,000 on testing how it would sell on Facebook. All while creating an audience and educating them at the same time. It was complicated, to say the least, but definitely worth the effort, and a lot of fun for someone like me, who really enjoys that kind of challenge
And, in what way did your past experiences affect where you are today?
Luke Battiloro: Well, my experience with CBD gave me the confidence and the know-how that I needed to move towards other businesses — specifically, to selling Vodka. Which is where I am right now with Vavoom Vodka.
I ended up being the first to ever put Vodka up for sale online. And, in turn, be the first to have my Vodka available for express shipping — way before any of the other big companies could do it. Big companies that, consequently, since COVID has hit, have been coming to me asking me how I was able to do it.
About COVID, how have things been for you at Vavoom Vodka in the midst of the Global Pandemic?
Luke Battiloro: Things are different, definitely. But, even with COVID, Vavoom Vodka has been on the up and up. We’ve been quite resilient at pushing through, no matter how challenging things got and how strange the economy has been lately. It’s been quite thrilling, even. Vavoom has grown over 300% since then, so I’m positive about our continued growth and success.
What aspect of your business have you been focusing on lately?
Luke Battiloro: Shipping. Trust me, shipping is a big deal these days. As I said earlier, a lot of companies have been coming up to me to ask exactly how I’ve been selling Vodka online. It’s just a must these days, you know? Everyone’s gotten used to Amazon’s Next-Day shipping – no one is willing to wait the standard 7-10 days anymore.
So, if you’re in the e-commerce business as well. Shipping is definitely something to keep in mind. That, and ease of checkout. Efficiency is the name of the game these days, and the customers have high expectations that you need to meet if you want to continue selling to them.
Now, going back to you for a second. How would you describe yourself as a person?
Luke Battiloro: Well, one thing’s for sure, I am not a quitter. It’s kind of a thing for me. No matter how hard things get, I always get back up on my feet. To be honest, the harder it gets, the better things are for me. I’ve always been the type of guy that just loved challenges. I crave it, even.
I like trying out new things. I like learning new things. And in that same vein, I hate just doing what everyone else is doing. And I hate holding back. So, it’s when I’m breaking through barriers that no one else has ever broken that I’m having my most fun.
Adding to that, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in your industry?
Luke Battiloro: Alcohol is still new in the e-commerce industry so, if you’re just starting out, you have to be ready to walk the path less traveled, if you know what I mean. This is definitely not the industry to be in if you’re not up for a challenge. There is little to no data that you can follow, so you’ll have to make your own. You’ll have to trust your instincts too. Which may be harder now more than ever with COVID — since almost everything is happening over the phone or on Zoom nowadays.
So, basically, be prepared, but try not to overthink things.
I know it’s hard to ignore all the little voices banging in your head about sales and numbers but try not to over-analyze. Step back when you need to and get a wider view of things so that you can focus on tackling your core issues head-on.
How about tips for people that have a bit more experience in their belt? What advice do you have to give to fellow CEOs and Founders?
Luke Battiloro: Something that I learned recently, is to not depend too much on agencies. Sure, they’re great if you’re low on manpower and just general things like that. But don’t forget that they don’t always have your best interest in mind. Some are worse than others too, I know quite a few agencies out there who think of their clients only as numbers — they don’t really care about you or your business.
If you find that you really need that extra help though, just be careful. Pay attention to how others are talking about this agency and do your research until you can find one that actually cares about what you’re doing and what you’re hoping to achieve.
How do you stay on top of the latest trends or strategies?
Luke Battiloro: When it comes to media and content, I do consume a little bit of everything. As I said earlier, I’m a pretty avid learner. I also enjoy learning new things from all kinds of people. But, if I had to pick, then my favorite channel for that kind of thing is YouTube. There are tons of people on YouTube, and I learn a little bit of everything from every person that I watch there.
As for when I’m not on YouTube. Well, I’m usually listening to audiobooks or podcasts with my headphones on, just to really soak in as much information as I can.
And, lastly, can you please tell us about I Choose to Live and what it means to you?
Luke Battiloro: I Choose to Live is my nonprofit. It’s a movement that I created to help those with cancer with their everyday bills. Something that we at Vavoom Vodka have always been very passionate about. In fact, this last November, we spent the whole month matching our customers for every $5 they gave for breast cancer.
Little things like that. Just making sure that we’re helping out as much as we can, anytime that we can. It’s something that all of us here at Vavoom Vodka try to keep somewhere in the forefront of our operations.