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Meet Marco and Arlene Pacelli of Fatto a Mano, The Pasta Shop in Redondo Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marco and Arlene Pacelli.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was the second of three siblings raised by a widow father who expected all his kids to take over his engineering family business in Milan, Italy.

Having lost my mom at five years old, my brothers and I were blessed with family and friends who took care of us while my father was at work, exposing us to many different experiences that eventually developed different types of talents and passions. In my case, I have been fascinated by food & beverage and traveling since a very young age. I think that most of all, in this profession you have the privilege of making people happy by embracing aspects of your identity.

Starting this career for me, meant a lot more than having a job, it meant to be able to gain my independence while doing something I truly loved. This was very important to me as I wanted to make sure I could walk on my own feet as soon as possible.

With this in mind, I started hospitality management studies in Milan while working as a dishwasher at a luxury hotel in Milan. My life at 15 years old was essentially, eight hours of school, eight hours of work, few hours on public transportation while traveling from point A to point B and the remainder of the hours some sleep, to do it all over again the next day. In addition, four years out of five, I was also the elected President of the Student’s Council at the hospitality school that I was attending and would also spend my summer breaks working in different parts of the world such as Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom. By the age of 18, I was able to speak fluently three languages that I was able to learn by working abroad.

Most people who leave this type of lifestyle would do this because of financial necessity, in my case my father was very supportive in taking care of our primary needs and worked two jobs to make sure that my brothers and I had everything we needed. Yet, It has always been very important to me to be able to go to sleep at night and have some sense of accomplishment.

With the same enthusiasm as soon as I graduated from Hotel Management School in Milan, I started working with more widely known organizations in luxury hotels and Michelin rated restaurants such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Mandarin Oriental, Orient-Express, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and few others high Luxury establishments. This experience allowed me to live in 12 cities in three different continents between Europe, the Middle East and the United States, eventually becoming a Hospitality Executive at the age of 33.

Down the road, I found that these experiences allowed me to gain a valuable skill sets, yet as I was growing into higher positions and responsibilities, I found myself working more for my bosses then my team and customers, ultimately feeling lost about my identity and what was important to me.

I started reading all kinds of books to do some serious soul searching and understand me better. The outcome of my research was that I needed to go back to my roots and do what I love the most, a fuss-free business executed with at the highest degree to quality and sense of hospitality accessible for all.

I took a few months off and started scouting all businesses in Los Angeles that I had reason to believe were somewhat close to the concept I had in mind. I was literally sitting in front of the restaurant, observing, counting the people that were going in and out. I started planning the business of my dream not having the remote idea of where I would even find the financial means to start.

One day, after a few months that I have started doing all this, I finally felt ready to prepare a business plan and in two weeks, I found the financial resources and the location where to open what would be the first Pasta Shop in the South Bay.

Throughout this all experience, my wife dealt with the good, the bad and the ugly of my life crisis, providing an incredible level of support and never doubting my abilities, even when I was doubting them myself.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When I decided to open my own business, I knew from the beginning that the road was going to be less than smooth. I think that struggling on a regular basis eventually help you becoming an effective entrepreneur. As long as the problems are not the same, struggling is simply part of the entrepreneur’s life and becoming comfortable at facing all kinds of issues is just part of the job.

In my case I struggled to find funding to start the business, hiring passionate people who would take pride in their job, choosing reliable suppliers whom I can trust in providing consistency the highest quality of ingredients, managing my time effectively so that I can successfully fulfill all business obligations while managing my family life, etc.…

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Fatto a Mano, The Pasta Shop – what should we know?
Fatto a Mano, The Pasta Shop is an Italian Take Out created for people who appreciate traditional homemade pasta and Italian food made from quality ingredients, sophistication free and following traditional recipes from the Mediterranean peninsula.

At our Pasta Shop, you can find just about any type of pasta from Spaghetti to Pappardelle as well as Gnocchi and Ravioli, and you can have them with any traditional sauce: Pesto, Zucchini and Prawns, Tomato and Basil, Cacio e Pepe, Bolognese and more.

In addition to Pasta, we are proud to offer Roman Style Pizza, by the sheet or by the quarter, made with our 72 hours matured dough that makes the pizza a lot lighter and enjoyable. A variety of appetizers, salads and Italian pies are also available.

What sets us apart from others is the ability to provide an authentic Italian product at reasonable price, made with quality of ingredients for the most part imported from Italy.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The essential quality to the success of any business is to be passionate about the product you are in the market for.

It is amazing how far a human being can go for love.

I personally think that love is what moves the world and being passionate about your product is what give you the creativity to find solution to all kinds of opportunities and the strength to overcome all kinds of challenges and setbacks.

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