Vintner's Daughter Founder April Gargiulo and Jenna discuss a few of the foundational tenets April relies on — Gratitude, non-attachment, nature, and trust — to guide her life and work. April shares specific practices related to each that can help us follow our truth and live a more peaceful and fulfilling life.
The Path To Clarity Is Paved By Gratitude
When April Gargiulo was in the midst of launching Vintner's Daughter’s second product — a process that required five years and three teams of chemists to complete — she needed to pause and ask herself a crucial question.
“I had very deep, soul-searching conversations with myself asking: Am I going to be okay if we only ever have one product? If we just put one category-defining skincare product out there, am I okay with that?
I was, and I am. That is the standard I want to live up to…I had to follow my truth.”
It’s not an exaggeration to say that April’s products have been bestowed with the highest praise — Vintner’s Daughter has literally been described as the holy grail of skincare multiple times — but it’s her response to that question that compelled me to reach out to her. I didn’t just admire her unparalleled commitment to excellence, but more importantly, her belief in the process. I wanted to know how one remains optimistic creating a single product for five years.
Nature plays a foundational role in April’s life; Her family’s work as winemakers and her own are rooted in it. She also believes it’s where we can find the answers to our questions, including mine: “You can’t hurry nature,” she said. “It must take the time it takes.”
Much of this wisdom stems back to April’s Buddhism practice and I was very excited to hear about its guiding principles. Here are a few that really made me think. You can learn how she practices them in our conversation.
Find joy in your journey
Non-attachment is a Buddhist virtue that not only helped April navigate the five years but accept that they may not have culminated in a product. I was curious how she remained present during those years and avoided being consumed by the arrival fallacy. Here’s her powerful response:
“We are taught that it’s about the outcome. It’s not about the journey.
It’s about the answer. It’s not about asking the questions.
The reality is it’s about asking the questions.
It’s about the journey.
Otherwise, what answers your questions won’t be the truth.”
Be grateful for everything
April believes “gratitude is the virtue that underscores all virtues” and is admirably committed to grateful living: Viewing everything through a lens of gratitude.
“Gratitude brings contentment…An equilibrium to your life,” she says. “It’s a tool to have a deep appreciation for everything, even the hard or small things. You may not like folding clothes, but you can be grateful you have clothes and a washing machine, so you don’t have to wash them by hand.”
For April, gratitude is a daily practice and one she makes a core value in her family and company. She shared two rituals, we may all adopt, that enable her to do so:
— Create A Gratitude Circle: Go around the circle and have each person thank someone for something they did for them or the group. This can be done after gatherings like a family meal or a team meeting.
— Adopt a “Rose and Thorn” Practice:
Each night, individually or with others, share:
Your rose: One thing you’re grateful happened today.
Your thorn: One challenge or setback you learned from.
“Gratitude helps you have a growth mindset,” April added. “You can say: I’m really grateful that stumbling block was put in front of me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have seen how I can do better next time.”
Strive to be mindful in every moment
I’m always inspired when spiritual teachers share that meditation, at it’s core, is a moment to moment practice.
April has been meditating for over a decade, and after her morning meditation, similarly aspires to practice throughout the day, especially while doing tasks, like laundry, she may not typically enjoy.
She also does walking meditations and, as she shared, looks to nature for truth, inspiration, and connection. Keep her insight in mind next time you step outside…
“Nature is sophisticated in ways we can’t see or know. Think of what a colony of ants can do; How much they can carry…It makes you appreciate the world around you and reminds you of your own strength…All the answers we are seeking are in nature. Nature is the answer.”