Young Entrepreneur: Sarah Liberatore

Sarah Liberatore, a 23-year-old entrepreneur, has taken her passion for wine and fashion to heights some only dream of: She recently launched STLTO, a “seriously stylish wine” that can be found at your local LCBO. Find out more about this Italian-Canadian in today’s Young Entrepreneur feature.

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
STLTO is a seriously stylish wine from Italy, where both fashion and wine making are world-renowned. With its sleek bottles and stunning glitter cap closures, the STLTO collection is playful, seductive and versatile – just like a pair of fabulous stilettos. Finally we have a product at the LCBO that makes a statement but doesn’t lack in taste or quality what it packs in style; both the Chardonnay and the Malbec/Merlot blend are delicious and deliver gorgeous colour and density.

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
I wanted to create a product that women can share and pair. When my girlfriends and I get together, we want good quality, easy-drinking wine that’s affordable – and looks fabulous on the dinner table. As an Italian-Canadian, I wanted the STLTO collection to embody Italy’s best assets: its fashion and its wine. Like many women, my love affair with shoes took hold at a very young age. Just glancing down and marvelling at a gorgeous pair can actually lift our spirits, and I happen to feel the same way about a great glass of wine.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
There are many “best parts” of my day…where do I begin? I really love that I get to work with people locally in Toronto and internationally. I am always learning new languages out of necessity!

The most challenging part is making decisions quickly and ensuring that what I have decided is the best possible choice. Another challenging part of my day is relying on people in other parts of the world, the time changes can get tricky.

With STLTO, the biggest challenge by far was creating the glitter caps for the wine – sourcing the right material and finding the perfect sparkle was a huge feat. We went through so many versions. It is the very first glitter cap to be used on a wine bottle, ever, and I am so glad I persevered. The glitter cap completes the look. Just like shoes complete an outfit!

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
I hope to see STLTO available across Canada and in the United States.

What does success look like to you?
To me, success is all about feeling fulfilled and happy with your accomplishments. There is nothing better than reaching your goal and sharing it with family and friends. I also believe that success is synonymous with balance. While it is difficult to remain balanced, I feel that when you are truly successful you should be able to work and play. Taking breaks has allowed me to come up with STLTO’s best features.


What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
In April, I went to the winery and watched the first bottling of STLTO. I’ll never forget seeing the first bottle come off the line with the sparkling glitter cap. I decided to watch every single bottle clear the assembly line – everyone thought I was nuts. It may sound silly, but I wanted to make sure that every single bottle was impeccable. I even wore stilettos. Talk about living the brand.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Constantly repeat these words: determination, perseverance, dedication, and confidence! Take your wonderful ideas and execute them accordingly. Nothing is impossible – but you may need to approach the situation differently or find that one key connection. It may cost you blood, sweat and tears but it will be worth it. Stock up on vitamins and Kleenex and make it happen.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I contribute regularly to and participate in events held by Camp Oochigeas and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation because I have personal ties to both of these causes. With STLTO, I want to become involved with charities that support women and children, like Look Good Feel Better and Habitat for Humanity.

What is Notable to you?
To me, Notable is exuding inner confidence, being expressive and having savoir-faire. A pair (or more) of great heels doesn’t hurt either!