The Human Spirit

Dear Friends,

Each of us is a unique individual. And each relationship we have is unlike any other.

Our artisan crafted treasures, made one at a time, have been touched by the spirit of their creators, who delight in knowing that the works of their hands are bringing joy to others.

Thank you for considering Uno Alla Volta for the special gifts for those you treasure in your life. Together, we are honoring the individual, while strengthening the bonds that connect us all.

In gratitude,
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Terri S. Alpert
Founder & CEO
T.Alpert@unoallavolta.com

 

Better CT Joins Our Una Grande Famiglia

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From left: Founder & CEO Terri Alpert, CMO Robin Bavin, Co-Hosts of Better CT Scot Haney & Kara Sundlun, Public Relations Specialist Marissa Bray

We had such a great day at WFSB 3 yesterday filming our artisan segment for Better CT! What a wonderful experience it is to meet new people who share your value & appreciation of connecting with others.

The vivacious and warm personalities of Scot and Kara are no act, and we were met with the same friendliness behind the scenes as you see on screen. We welcome Scot, Kara, and everyone from the Better CT and WFSB team to our Una Grande Famiglia!  We hope to see and work with you all again very soon.

Here are a few more behind the scenes photos, or you can watch the full segment on our video page here.

 

Building a Brand that Touches the Human Spirit

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By: CVM [Branford, CT] November 2015

“Bringing the artisan into your house is a deeply human task. When you have a treasure in your hand made by an artisan, you have a little piece of that person’s soul. They know that treasure that they are shaping is going to put a smile on someone’s face that they’ll never meet, and if they’re lucky will be passed to another generation, and will be still on the earth after they no longer are. If you talk to artisans, there is a deep human yearning for legacy and the sense that your life matters. What we do, with bringing handcrafted treasures to you, is reminding you of that.” – Terri Alpert

From Functional to Emotionalterri_n6f

Fresh from a career on Wall Street and with a baby on the way, Terri Alpert started her first company, Professional Cutlery Direct, as a “maternity leave project.” Despite success at a major firm and excellent project management and IT skills, she recalls realizing that she didn’t truly know how to sell an individual product to an individual customer and turn them into a loyal client. Resolving to learn those lessons as quickly as possible, she put aside $10,000 and set out to see if she could grow a real company, all through internally generated cash flow.

 

Professional Cutlery Direct took off. The company made the INC 500 list of the fastest growing private companies in the United States 3 years in a row, at one point earning a place as the second fastest growing firm in Connecticut. After 7 years, PCD employed 40+ people and boasted some of the best information and selection for high end chef’s tools. Terri brought lines that had only been available in Europe to the American consumer, and to all appearances, the company seemed to be stronger than ever. But, upon a closer look at the core metrics, Terri saw cause for concern.

“The top and bottom line growth looked great, but financial statements are a rear-view mirror”, Terri explained. She focused on the non-financial metrics, the “spreadsheets”, as she called them, and saw a more unsettling picture. It was costing the company more and more to acquire customers, and those customers were worth less and less. The startling reality was the PCD was coasting on its current client base.

During a period of intense soul searching, Terri wrote down the essential attributes of the PCD brand and the ways each limited their business model. She then took those characteristics and reversed them, flipping white to black, and the concept of Uno Alla Volta was born. The new company would be emotionally, not functionally meaningful, it wouldn’t confine them to categories, and it would offer an infinite supply of new product.

The transition from PDC to Uno Alla Volta – spurred on by significant increases in overhead, a 30% hike in catalog postage rates and the Great Recession – took years. Terri led a major reboot of the organization, restructuring it to include a parent company, Stoney Creek Brands, which operated both PCD and Uno Alla Volta for a time before ultimately divesting the former. Over the past four years, this hard work doing the blocking and tackling of revitalizing a culture and breaking down silos has begun to bear fruit: the first year value of a customer for Uno Alla Volta has increased 2.4x.

“This is what happens when everyone is singing from the same hymnal, but not because of brainwashing or groupthink”, Terri explained.

The Power of PrintUno Alla Volta

If you are looking for an absolutely fascinating conversation, ask Terri to elaborate on print as a medium. Uno Alla Volta distributes a beautiful catalog, which is the primary way customers interact with the brand.

In her business, “Print is more effective than any other medium, and print often drives the other media.”

In fact, across the world “More ecommerce transactions are still driven by print than all of social media combined.”

Unlike webpages (like this one! It’s great to see you’re still here, by the way) that visitors linger on for mere moments, people typically spend much more time with print catalogs. Additionally, the tactile and sensory aspects of the medium are very powerful. A grid of products on a website pales in comparison to a two-page spread, which can show you how items look together and create an overall brand persona and story.

As Terri put it, “The basic shopping experience online is a collection of items. The basic shopping experience of print is conducive to creating a lifestyle.” In their business, where a customer often doesn’t know they want the items Uno Alla Volta offers, print allows them to discover new treasures in a relaxing and relatively undistracted way.

Even if customers don’t immediately order from the catalog, seeing treasures that catch their eye drives online visits, and ultimately, sales.

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Technology to Enhance the Human Experience

“Technology, when used right, unleashes human potential and allows us to focus on things that are uniquely human.” Terri prefers to automate mundane processes wherever possible, giving her team more time to truly get in the heads of their customers to find ways to make the brand more meaningful to them.

This past year, the company underwent a major upgrade to their ERP system, which is helping facilitate the next phase of growth. They have also invested in a system that allows customers to write personal messages to accompany their purchases, which are printed along with a certificate of authenticity, certifying that the product was made by an artisan, one at a time. The system works seamlessly with their warehouse and pick ticket application. When an order is placed, the certificates are printed on beautiful paper, complete with the custom message, along with a pick ticket. Tickets and certificates come out together, in walk sequence order, allowing the warehousing team to be as efficient as possible.

Proudest Moment

For Terri, there two moments that stick out in her mind above the rest. The first was conceiving of Uno Alla Volta as a way to keep their staff employed when she realized that Professional Cutlery Direct wasn’t going to thrive, long term. And the second was the painful but successful reboot of the company that created a culture where she truly wanted to come to work every day. “If it’s right for you, you’re going to grow. I’m going to grow. We’re all going to grow”, Terri added.

“The touchy-feely stuff is the biggest competitive advantage in the world.”

CVM.com

 

STYLE: Uno Alla Volta

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By Susan “Honey” Good

I’ve discovered a new website that I simply adore, and so, just in time for the holidays, I am sharing with you.

Meet unoallavolta.com, the creation of a lovely woman named Terri Alpert, who set out to curate artisan goods from around the world and make them available with the click of a mouse.

Uno Alla Volta means ‘one at a time’, and it flawlessly describes how Terri’s artisans handcraft each treasure on her site ranging from fashion accessories to jewelry to collectibles, gifts and beyond.

I love Terri’s concept, rooted in the idea that these pieces are not simply objects, they are treasures graced with the gift of human connection, from the artisan that creates each item lovingly to the recipient who wears or shares each piece with joy.

The necklace I am wearing above, like all of Terri’s offerings, has a story. Crafted from stones hand-picked from all over the world, this necklace was brought to life by a woman named Lorena, a Venetian glass jeweler. Lorena’s great-grandmother, Nina, began working with glass at the age of nine. Since then, the torch has literally been passed from mother to daughter through three generations.

The appearance of pearls is achieved by a process called lampworking. Each Murano glass “pearl” is lampworked over a small flame, one at a time, and then hand-strung into three opulent strands. This is no ordinary “pearl” necklace!

Here are a few of my favorite gift ideas from unoallavolta.com

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For Him: History, woodworking and optics create a keepsake kaleidoscope in this World War I style biplane created from zebra wood, walnut, ebony, and holly wood. Get it here.

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For Her: Since you know I walk on the sunny side of the street, naturally I adore this Sunflower Yellow Suede handbag. Alessandra and Elisabetta handcraft this bucket bag in Florence, Italy, one at a time. Family business owner and beloved father, Maurizio left his business in their hands after passing away. Get it here.

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For Me: I love this Lapis cuff!  Karen, a Tennessee artisan, adorns a brilliant lapis stone with gold-filled wire. No two bracelets are exactly alike, and each is one of a limited edition. I just adore unique pieces like this, don’t you? Get it here.

Shop the site here: www.unoallavolta.com/honey.

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To read more from Honey, visit her blog at honeygood.com

The Joy of Creation

Dear Friends,

I invite you into the handcrafted world of Uno Alla Volta. My merchants and I travel the U.S. and the world in search of artisans with whom we collaborate to create for you our very special designs, and collections – a great many of which are not available anywhere else in the world.

Talk to our artisans and you will feel their primal urge to create. They will tell you of their belief that each work of their hands has been touched by their human spirit. And, they will tell of the joy that comes from knowing that each work will be cherished by its new caretaker.

We, too, feel something soulful as we hand craft these collections and bring them to life in the pages of our latest catalog, and online at unoallavolta.com.

If we touch you, please tell us. In doing so, you bring joy to our lives.

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Terri. S. Alpert
Founder and CEO
T.Alpert@unoallavolta.com

Keeping The Legacy Alive

Taking things in life, uno alla volta, is at the core of our philosophy. We dedicate ourselves to the celebration of the human potential, and to the soulful riches in life that come through in our connections with others.

Families are at the heart of each of our lives. Your families, our families, and the families of our artisans.

In recognition of all that we have built together, I’d like to call your attention to two multi-generational family workshops in Venice Italy.

In the Veneto, three siblings keep alive the legacy of their father, Giovanni, blowing scientific borosilicate glass into our best-selling vase and the glorious creations which adorn the cover of our upcoming issue.

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Luigi, Monica, Terri and Roberto with photo of their Dad in the background

On the isle of Murano, Lorena works with both her mother and her son to create magnificent lampworked jewelry for you.

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Lorena and Terri in the Murano workshop

Together we unite into our una grande famiglia – our one big, glorious family!

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Terri S. Alpert
Founder & CEO
T.Alpert@unoallavolta.com

The Human Connection

Each and every day, my team and I strive to live true to our vision – to bring the human connection into every interaction!

Many an entrepreneur can build a business that brings products to market, but how many can be as proud as I am to have shaped a company around a common set of values and a unified vision?

It brings me such joy to hear of the various ways we have made a difference in your lives and those of our artisans.

Let this holiday season – and all seasons – be a celebration of the individuality in each of us, and the infinite connections among us all.

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Terri S. Alpert
Founder & CEO
T.alpert@unoallavolta.com

Collaboration with Artisans Around the World

I have the best job there is! Enabling artisans around the globe to make a living doing what they love. Collaborating with them to develop exclusive handcrafted treasures that you love. All of you certainly love our annual Jack-O’-Lantern!

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Weronika and I have been working on this design for nearly two years. It is absolutely our best one yet. As you explore our latest product collections, please do think of the many artisans who infuse a bit of their spirit into each work of their hands. Know that you touch their lives. Thanks for allowing all of us here at Uno Alla Volta to touch your life.

The Joy Of Discovery

I have been a member of the handcraft community for nearly two decades now.

Yet it is still a thrill to discover a new artisan and to get to know the person who pours her heart and soul into each work of her hands.

Allow me to share this joy with you. 

CynthiaCynthia of California, a master of many media, is inspired by all kinds of trees. While discovering our newest treasures, you will find her tree sculpture, hand twisted from fine copper wire. In addition, you’ll find another beautiful tree from Cynthia rendered in fused glass.

Lorena

 

Lorena of Murano, an old friend, has a beautiful eye for color, and loves working beside her mother and sister, keeping alive the traditions of their ancestors, bringing beautiful murano glass and crystal beads together in her latest stretch bracelet design.

AnnAnnee of Appalachia, loves bringing together textures and colors when she designs jewelry, but what she loves the most is being blessed with the opportunity to create purposeful,
meaningful work for herself and the five young women she employs.

Thank you for allowing our artisans to touch your lives.

 

Terri Alpert, CEO of Uno Alla Volta

 
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Terri S. Alpert
Founder & CEO
T.alpert@unoallavolta.com

Growing Toward The Sun

Walk into a field of sunflowers. Okay. Now frown. Yes, I am serious. I dare you.
What do you mean you can’t do it? I know. I know. I can’t either. No matter what’s going on in the world around me, no matter what I may be facing in my life at the moment, bring me to that field (or even a tiny patch of sunfl owers next to a decaying urban parking lot) and my brain is flooded with happy chemicals.
What is it about these beauties? They are anything but delicate. Meaty. Strong. Nurturing (providing essential nutritional and medicinal qualities throughout most known cultures and times). As they drink in the sun’s rays, they climb and they climb.
Have you noticed that no matter how big and how tall any individual sunfl ower grows, she never blocks the sun from reaching her brothers and sisters? Rather, she seems to inspire them to be the best they can be. Shhh…. I think I hear her.
Smile with me.
Grow with me.
And, pass the message along.

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Terri S. Alpert
Founder & CEO
T.alpert@unoallavolta.com

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