ElevenTwelve is an e-commerce business specializing in Italian foodstuff and wine founded by four Italian-born American soccer players. By way of their passion for American football and Italian meals, co-founders Giorgio Tavecchio, Vincenzo D’Amato, Davide Merlo and Paolo Tempo are on a mission to share their tradition and local community with the United States.
“Our intention is to be the premier Italian life style experience in the United States. There are several Italian importers, but we supply exclusive and reliable encounters as opposed to just offering goods,” describes Giorgio Tavecchio, CEO of ElevenTwelve.
“Our mission is not to sell Italian products and solutions but to instruct individuals to understand and love the Italian way of lifetime. To do this, we are frequently including to our bouquet of items, picking out not only dependent on top quality, but also on uniqueness and specialness. We are an American Dream sharing the Italian Dream!”
Tavecchio grew up involving Italy and the United States. Although he believed his path was to enjoy colligate soccer, he was provided a very last moment walk-on spot on the Cal Berkeley football staff. “As the Godfather famously said, ‘it was an supply I could not refuse.’ I showed up on campus 3 times just before the very first activity and ended up starting for 4 yrs — a really exceptional incidence,” he remembers. Tavecchio finished up continuing his soccer occupation in the NFL, participating in for 6 teams in nine decades.
Tavecchio fortuitously fulfilled each and every of his co-workers by way of the game of football. It has been their adore of Italian food items and wine that has solidified their bond, past just friendship, and into the entire world of company.
“We made a deep bond of friendship which seemed to centre all over the table that exceptional time and area in which we shared everyday living together. Reflecting on this deep perception of link, two completely distinct worlds — American Football and Italian foods and wine — appeared to unite fantastically.”
We chatted with Tavecchio on how ElevenTwelve arrived together, his enthusiasm for Italian cuisine, the ElevenTwelve crew, and far more. Here’s what he had to say.
How did you go from professional football to co-founding ElevenTwelve? When did you make a decision you preferred to make the shift into this new field?
Possibly the most impactful experience from my formative faculty yrs was my friendship with Vincenzo D’Amato. His tale is quite identical to mine: born in Palermo, Sicily and moved to the US close to age 9, he also grew up playing soccer but found his route to faculty using the form of an American soccer.
In a rare stroke of coincidence, had been the only two Italian-born university football players in the entire region: at the very same school, at the exact time, enjoying the identical situation (kicker).
Nevertheless we competed for the starting up spot on the area, we turned the ideal of friends off the discipline due to our shared values and cultures, usually internet hosting substantial crew dinners ourselves. After four formative many years at Cal Berkeley, I had the fantastic fortune of continuing my football journey into the NFL. Because of our unique soccer backgrounds as Italians, Vincenzo and I would return to Italy to enable mentor soccer clinics.
It was at one of these clinics in 2018 (although I was on the Oakland Raiders) exactly where we met Paolo and Davide. And just like the serendipity of my and Vincenzo’s assembly in faculty, we straight away felt a close link to Paolo and Davide, spending lengthy several hours close to a meal desk sharing tales and reliving (… and exaggerating) our football glory days.
We observed that lifetime is much better when lived with each other, just like playing far better when enjoying as a workforce. Like in a football huddle, we seemed at every single other and claimed: ‘Let’s perform this video game so we can share this feeling with other people’. In this way, two worlds united into one trigger: support other folks celebrate life, just one food at a time.
The seed planted in Italy then sprung fruit in the United States as we released ElevenTwelve in 2019. Whether kicking field goals in the NFL or producing tackles on dirt fields in Italy, we chose our jersey figures to characterize our manufacturer: “Eleven” following Davide’s jersey amount and “Twelve” soon after Paolo’s jersey variety. We personified our union of American soccer and Italian meals by creating the first at any time soccer-shaped pasta!
Communicate about your enthusiasm for Italian delicacies and lifestyle. Did you increase up cooking or in the cafe marketplace?
Certainly, the two my dad and mom are excellent cooks so I have vivid childhood recollections of sitting down close to lengthy tables entire of foods and family members, eating and chatting for hours on conclude. I arrived to cherish these activities as they were actually existence-giving!
A single matter I fondly keep in mind when returning to Italy as a kid was the each day simplicity of Italian food stuff. The simple fact that each individual instant at the table — whether a exclusive situation at a cafe or a mundane Tuesday lunch — could be unique. The secret is simplicity: a couple excellent elements with nominal planning, like Tagliatelle with Excess Virgin Olive Oil and Parmesan cheese (… primary Parmigiano even though), can be unbelievably satisfying and made in below 5 minutes!
Also, my mom will come from a restauranteur loved ones so I grew up in-and-all around kitchens my entire daily life. In actuality, when I turned 15 my mom informed me: ‘you have two months to discover a occupation or I’m getting 1 for you,’ so I in a natural way gravitated in direction of getting a bus-boy at the community Italian cafe.
Last of all, moreover inheriting my mother’s curly hair, I also inherited her ‘hanger’. As these kinds of, most of my working day is centered close to meals and selections usually designed with my tummy.
Has pro football prepared you in any way for what you do now? Has your passion for this sport carried into your team’s passion for ElevenTwelve? Discuss about what every single of your co-founders brings to the table.
Soccer has taught me to be resilient and stay fully commited to a dream and to a group, just like in Al Pacino’s halftime speech in “Any Offered Sunday”. Our team is committed to supporting others rejoice lifetime a person food at a time! Like any other team, we each convey distinctive competencies to the desk.
Davide has put in far more than 30 a long time in the wholesale meals and wine obtaining business in Italy and has intimate information of and connections with artisanal producers in Piemonte. Paolo’s history in finance will help structure our corporation and his deeply charismatic temperament is the soul of ElevenTwelve.
Vincenzo delivers a southern-Italian flare to our group, dealing with a lot of the in-particular person duties though I handle significantly of the advertising and marketing and enterprise growth element. Our enthusiasm for living everyday living entirely is what brought us jointly and is the pleasure we wish to share with others, in particular all around a table!
Have you had to pivot in any way for the reason that of COVID?
Yes, our initial technique concerned a a lot more B2B and foodservice (eating places, caterers) solution for strategic and financial motives. However, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated our launching into e-commerce, where we are able to transmit much more of our personalized mission and intent to people by means of our resourceful content.