The Sybarite speaks with Clara Latham, one of the empowering women behind the success of Prosecco brand Della Vite.
‘’Redefining what celebration really means in today’s world, is at the heart of one of our beliefs at Della Vite.’’ The Sybarite speaks to Clara Latham, General Manager at Della Vite about challenging the norms of Prosecco, bringing something new to the market and how proud she feels working for such a strong women-owned business.
Tell our readers a little bit about yourself. Where are you from?
I was brought up in London town, I’ve been really lucky to grow up in such a fantastic city, one that has so much going for it with a lot of great opportunities. When I finished training as an actress I decided to dive into the world of food and drink. I’ve always been quite passionate about brands but also the fact that London has such an amazing food and drinks scene to offer. I certainly spent my time and energy enjoying it as I grew up into adulthood.
What is your background? What first got you into the industry, more specifically into the beverage industry?
I have worked in food and drink for the last fifteen years initially working in health and wellness industry with healthy food and drink brands. After spending a lot of time working with these brands in the retail world, I was really excited about what hospitality had to offer. That’s when I took a role as Head of Sales for a brand called Seedlip which was the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit. It was a very peculiar concept at that time, which involved working with bars and restaurants and talking to them about creating fantastic drinks for those moments when you are not drinking alcohol. That’s really when I found my groove. I really appreciated what it meant to work on projects which involved building brands but I got to so in an environment that was fun.
That’s what it brought me into hospitality. After 4 and a half years of working with Seedlip, I took on the opportunity to start a journey with a new brand: Della Vite. I wanted to dive into another opportunity from the start of their journey. It was about getting into the hearts and minds of what these sisters, the Delevingne sisters, really wanted for their brand and bringing that concept to market.
Della Vite is a very different concept from Seedlip, what made you take a step forward and move from Seedlip to Della Vite?
From the offset people might think that the Seedlip opportunity is quite different from Della Vite – but I see a lot of similarities between the two. What Seedlip was doing was creating a category in the spirits industry which was its own brand. Before Seedlip, no one thought of the world of non-alcoholic spirits, so it was a brand that created that category and that takes a real challenge, a mindset for the brand. When I connected with Della Vite and understood its company vision and mission, what it was trying to do, it was trying to come to a category that existed but completely repositioning the brand within that category. With Seedlip it was creating a category, with Della Vite it was recreating a category, but actually you have to take on quite a lot of the similar priorities and you have to do things in a similar certain way. I was able to use the benefit of my experience from Seedlip to help look at how to challenge the norms of Prosecco and bring something new to market which ultimately is a brand that’s never quite been created before.
What is the Ethos behind the brand?
At the heart of Della Vite, we feel really strongly about the fact that the way in which people celebrate has changed quite a lot. Years ago, we thought of celebrations as big moments – weddings, anniversaries – and actually, nowadays, we are more focused on enjoying more informal celebrations, more everyday moments. Celebrations have been redefined, it’s about the small moments being big moments, connecting with your family, friends. So I think, for us, redefining what celebration really means now in today’s world, is at the heart of one of our biggest beliefs at Della Vite.
What makes Della Vite special and different from the rest?
First and foremost, the Prosecco category itself is quite vast and there’s a real variety of different qualities of Prosecco out there. For us, Della Vite was about really elevating Prosecco to be of fantastic quality. The liquid quality is really important as well as our sustainability credentials. We have solar panels at our winery which means we have a reduced carbon footprint. We are vegan certified which is fantastic and the other thing, we take the time with our fermentation process. The taste is not too sweet and is very refreshing, it is light. We really feel that those elements are what differentiates on a product level.
Our big thing is that we have some fantastic founders, three pretty well-known names, amazing women. I think the category was calling out for a brand that was really going to have a voice and trigger some lifestyle credentials as well, not just be a producer led Prosecco. All of those things combined mean that we have created something quite unique and hopefully people agree, something a little more special than the majority of the market.
Prosecco has become more popular in the past years. What should we be looking for in a good Prosecco?
Great question. We certainly feel that there is meant to be a lightness to Prosecco unlike perhaps other sparkling wines. It’s meant to be enjoyed in these more informal moments so it is important for it to not be too sweet or have too many elements of fruitiness – we developed our Prosecco to be extra dry. I also think that having that smoother bubble, taking the time to ferment longer.. you get a more defined flavour. This means a more enjoyable experience when you sip it.
How has the brand responded to these unprecedented times ?
We were able to really look at the market, see what was happening and be very agile in our plan. We made sure that we were focusing on really being in places where consumers could engage with us. So we prioritized and made sure we had a fantastic website where people could learn about the brand but also purchase our Proseccos.
We also focused a lot on creating content for digital and social so that people could experience the brand through that lens. Obviously, people were not able to see us in more of a face-to-face experiential environment like what this sector is used to. We were winning the right accounts for the brand that were really important for us. We’ve had to adapt but we’ve had great success so far.
We’ve read that Della Vite is launching in the US this year. How different do you find the market there? Are you expanding to other countries?
We’re obviously in the UK now. We are considering the US, we have not launched there yet but we see it as a huge opportunity and it is something that we are working on at the moment in terms of developing our plans. The British people’s perception versus the American perception of the category is quite different so it is an exciting opportunity. Also, Cara, one of the founders, is based out in America. She’s very excited to really built the awareness with that target audience.
Della Vite is a wonderfully women-owned business. How has it been working with the Delevingne Sisters?
Fantastic! They are such a powerhouse. Three wonderful women unique in their own way, something very different to the norm within this industry which is fantastic. They are brilliant. What I love about them is that they don’t pretend to be wine experts, they are simply really passionate about the project. They want to learn, get involved in a lot of key decisions that we make, events that we go to, key meetings that we have… They are super fun, very passionate about the product and depending on different moments, Chloe for example was on Sky News the other day, Poppy is always involved in connecting with key people… A really nice blend in terms of the three of them and what they bring.
In a male dominated industry like this one, have you faced any struggles as a woman throughout your career?
I feel incredibly lucky, I always worked in businesses where there were really valued women as much as men. I haven’t personally had or been in situations where I really felt that it’s been a challenge to me. I’ve always taken great pride in being a woman in business. I wanted to do the best to elevate other women but I think that probably comes from positive experiences I’ve had to date.
How do you empower women through your business?
We are so lucky that we have fantastic women. The founders are great, they elevate an element of empowerment through the fact that they are such a key visual part of what the brand is. I think it is all about seeing women and men as equal. You just don’t treat them any differently. You set up a business that supports women and also gives men as much freedom as women. Make sure you are always checking in against those fair comparisons ensuring that you are not doing things or prioritise either gender.
What does the future hold for the business?
We are still young, we are 6 months old but I think the future is going to be continuing on the success in the UK, success relaunching into some other markets that I previously mentioned. Really focusing on making sure that people really understand what we are trying to do. As long as we are continuing to change perceptions of what people think of when they think of the word ‘Prosecco’ I think we would be doing things along the right lines and would be performing in a way that we are really proud of our achievements.