Lizeila Martijn, the wine taste of exotic. Founder of L’Vine
#05 The wine taste of exotic, founder of L’vine.nl
Lizeila founded one of the best companies in all the Netherlands for the importation of premium Romanian wines. Her professionalism, approach and spirit is what makes the company one of the best. Her customers are famous restaurants, wine bars, wine experts and wine lovers. I have interviewed Lizeila and I was pleased to learn from her many interesting things, starting from her origins, ideas and an extraordinary passion for wine. She comes from the island of Curaçao and she speaks Dutch, Spanish, English, and Papiamentu.
“It’s never enough to discover.”
Lizeila martijn, from Curaçao, born in 1981.
The Impact Quote (?), is a standard of ciaobasta.com
Less than 10 words without using the letter of the initial name.
Let’s see what curious and interesting story is behind an entrepreneur with an international profile like Lizeila has.
I met with Lizeila in Amsterdam. I have asked Lizeila some questions, and she was glad to answer and to reveal the secret of her success, while her lovely dog called Kellogg’s sat on her lap.
What is an idea for you?
An idea is something that pops up in your mind after seeing something that you -maybe- see in the everyday routine. It is, indeed, seeing the same things but from a different perspective. It has to be unique when seen in different mindset. An idea is just not enough, you have to build an identity out of it. A weak idea is like a bottle of wine without a label/story.
So you are originally from Curaçao, where is it exactly?
Curaçao is an island on the coast of Venezuela, formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles and from 2010 became a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. We speak Papiamentu, which means “talking” and it’s a way in between Creole, Spanish and Dutch influences.
Why you are in the Netherlands now?
I currently live in Amsterdam, I came in the Netherlands to study international communication management. I decided to stay here after my graduation. Currently I am working as product specialist for a American company and dedicate the rest of the time to my passion and my company. Of course I miss my island, even do I visit every year for at least 3 weeks to find peace and relax a bit. I miss the “exotic” part of the life, and the “exotic” wines I am selling give the perfect replacement.
About the Idea. L’Vine.
How come that you are in the Netherlands and you sell Romanian Wines?
I was in a business trip in Bucharest, Romania. During lunch I tasted a very interesting merlot. I wanted to know more about the story behind that wine and I was told its of Romanian origin. I was so amazed after tasting some other Romanian wines that I took some bottles back home. Since there weren’t many brick and mortar/online stores in the Netherlands to find Romanian wines, I saw the opportunity and the passion grow to make a business. It was the perfect occasion to make 6 bottles packs became massive orders. I soon became a premium re-seller for Romanian vineyards, offering a broad selection of products that clients can buy. I saw the routine of drinking a glass of wine in a different perspective. Wine is not just France and Italy, other countries are great exporters such as Argentina, Australia and Eastern Euope. Romanian wines are now a premium level and very exclusive product to offer to Dutch restaurants and bars.
How many efforts did it took to open the company?
Many efforts also because time is essential. I started the company in 2010, and built the website by my own. The website is my main channel and point of contact, but I still like the human touch. I sometimes make the delivers personally to get in touch with clients, and meet on regular basis the wine producers. For a startup with a business model in trading it is important to build a strong business plan. I also give tastings which includes lectures of how-to taste the wine, there is a lot of curiosity around exotic tastes of wines coming from Eastern Europe.
Do you prefer white wine of red wine?
Rich red wines with strong flavors and aromas. Every wine has a different story, so I don’t have a favorite one. I will tell you more: enjoying the wine is the biggest gratification of my venture. I have learned a lot of how to taste wine since I opened the business, I took many courses. I never thought I had the entrepreneur spirit…but ones I realized this, it was like an uncorked dream (with a big smile).
Behind the success.
What is your first thought in the morning?
A new and busy day. But I never give up, I work hard with an eye on delivering excellent results.
How do you manage when you fail?
Well, failure is part of the success. It depends how you approach it. You can cry out, or try to find a solution. In 2009 I lost the job due to the crisis. I was very upset and disappointed at the very beginning. Then I soon realized that another door opens, and in few months I found another job and worked hard at starting a business for myself. I dare say that if I didn’t lose that job, I wouldn’t have the gratification I have today.
What you already did before turning 30?
Overcome one my biggest fears. I got stronger after that. Fear limits us in so many ways.
What was your fear and did you try to manage to win it?
Don’t laugh….I was scared of dead people, honestly. Of all living things, I was scare of the death. I managed my fear by taking on a job during my student years working in a funeral center. I just arrived in The Netherlands and a friend approached me. She said: “I have the perfect student job for you. They pay very well, but are you willing to work in a funeral center”. I took it as a challenge for myself. I can say that it was one of the best jobs I had and now I am not scared anymore. At least, none of them, stood up and started chasing after me….
Can you tell me a relevant person who inspired you?
My mother and my father. My mother makes me strong. She keeps me focused. My dad no matter how crazy my new future career seemed he supported me. I remember, when I was a child I wanted to be a professional tennis player. Soon my father bought me a racket and always brought me to training every time. Then I changed my mind after some other crazy ventures and started thinking of my career. I still play tennis, just as a hobby though.
What would you like to do before turning 40?
Become a wonderful mother.
What is the suggestion you would like to give to a young entrepreneur to open a start up?
It really depends on how you will approach the venture to make it successful. Once you have an idea you have to see it from a different angle. Take a pen. Look at it from different perspectives. And try to sell it from different angles…
10 fast questions. Max tree words.
Do you feel lucky?
Yes I do
Do you have something to bring luck?
Are you religious?
Have you ever felt truly happy?
Yes, many times.
Do you watch TV?
Have you ever written and sent a paper letter?
Do you live alone currently?
With my dog.
Do you cook?
Wine or beer?
Strong red wine
Did you get bored from the interview?
What I have learned from Lizeila?
An entrepreneur must be sociable and able to approach diverse public when he/she is speaking Lizeila is the perfect example. She has very good public speaking skills. She explains very well and she is able to keep the people interested.
Lizeila has an extraordinary personality. She is positive and full of energy. I learned from her a new word in her mother tongue language: the word is “papimentu”, it means”talking”.
A lot of success Lizeila.
Interview and post by Riccardo Guggiola.