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Between Two Worlds

Posted on October 12 2018

Author: Michele, Founder of STIFINEFOOD 

Since I was young living a bit outside of traditions always appealed to me.

When building my career in the Food and Beverage industry, I sought a job that was not within the traditional work environment and that could lead me to have a balanced lifestyle. 

In many ways, as a Food and Beverage Director within the hospitality industry I did.  I had the chance to have alternative work schedules, live in new countries, and constantly connect with people from different cultures.  Although I still did not have very much time to visit my family and home in Italy, my career path gave me a freedom to explore the world and eventually led me to my second home, South Florida.

After working in Switzerland, when I was being recruited to work in the U.S. I immediately gravitated to Florida—its beaches and warmness felt a little closer to home.  I grew up by the sea, Apulia has the most wonderful beaches of Italy, and at heart I had been looking to move somewhere more familiar.  Giving me little reminders of home, with the warm weather and people, I immediately fell in love with everything Florida had to offer.

When it came time to branch on my own, I wanted to carry forward a business model that would truly bring me a balanced lifestyle.

Looking back to my time living in rural China, where I was training in Shaolin Kung Fu, I wanted to incorporate in my business a lifestyle recipe I learned there: do something you love, cherish simplicity, make time to connect with family and friends (new and old), promote self-care, and look for freedom to travel.

In practice, that meant I wanted to build a business that would allow me to live in two places that I love (Florida and Apulia), be flexible to have borderless connections with people, work on projects promoting vegan Italian food, and above all prioritize the wellness and health of my wife.

And so, after much searching, and only possible through the benefits of technology, STIFINEFOOD was launched under a business model that takes out of the traditional office environment.  

The nature of having an e-commerce allows more flexibility, so it was quite easy to opt out of renting a commercial property for an office space; especially when we found out it would also be a great step to reduce our carbon foot print as a business and give us more freedom to work from different places. Instead, we use fulfillment services to warehouse our products and have developed a mobile office workflow and telecommuting workforce structure. We use enterprise tech tools for project management and time tracking to helps us along the way.

What that means is that I can be in Florida, Italy, or anywhere I need to be without leaving my business behind. For my wife’s health and wellness this is huge help as we can spend more time in Europe, where she is treated.

This is also a great benefit, as I have the flexibility to search for the best Italian vegan products and connect face to face with my Italian partners, all while also working on small projects (in different locations in Europe) that help promote Italian cuisine through a vegan perspective.

It also through this structure that I have been able to have access, without limitations, to like minded people passionate about veganism. My team and collaborators come from different places in the U.S. and Europe. All of us sharing a vision to work in what we love without sacrificing quality of life.

I prioritize productivity, meaning I care about final deliverables rather pushing my team to meet a 40-hour workweek. As such, STIFINEFOOD adopts Alternative Scheduling, supporting our team members to enjoy a balance lifestyle. No burnout in my team!

Choosing to move outside of a traditional office environment it is without a doubt the best business decision I’ve made. I can enjoy the best of two worlds, Florida & Italy, and live a balanced life.

I am lucky to be able pursue my passion, my business goals, and my family’s wellness!


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