Sunday, 24 May 2009

Wrapit cofounder offers some whine with that cheese

It's a good thing Pepita Diamand has told the Daily Mail that she "can live without the businesswoman-of-the-year accolades". Because after this interview, it's a safe bet she won't be getting any.

Diamand was a cofounder of Wrapit, the online gift registry that went bust last summer. According to the Mail, 72,000 wedding guests and 20,000 weddings suffered when paid-for gifts were never delivered. 

But while Diamand is more than happy to take credit for creating Wrapit ("I saw an opportunity to sell sexy housewares in a new way"), apparently its demise had nothing to do with her. 

No, much of the blame goes to the company's bank ("They believed we were in trouble – when in fact we had a business plan that would have enabled us to pay our suppliers and deliver the gifts. It was despicable"). And the rest goes to her cofounder, Peter Gelardi. Yes, she was regularly briefed on the financials of the business, just like the other company executives. But "whenever I voiced my concerns to Peter or the other three gentlemen on our board I was dismissed. They always said we’d make a profit the next year. Peter and I had screaming matches but, ultimately, I believed him. I was 20 years younger than three of the others and had no experience of setting up a business". Gelardi had plenty of business experience all right: According to the Mail, he "had resigned from eight companies between 1991 and 2004 – one of which was put into administration".  Not that Diamand knew anything about that, she says. Due diligence? Feh.

Poor Pepita (and yes, the Mail refers to her by her Christian name throughout the article, while the men are addressed by their surnames). She tried. But the mean old men wouldn't let her do what she thought was right. She was as much of a victim as the Wrapit customers. Not only did she lose all her savings in the venture, but her marriage had withered several years prior, because of all the hours she was putting into the business. You know how women can't be successful in business and maintain a relationship. 

What did Diamand do? She "bawled [her] eyes out" in front of a supplier who accused her of lying about Wrapit's financial duress, and proceeded to "cry solidly for three days". Women, eh? Only when Gelardi announced in March that he was helping to launch a new online endeavor did Diamand dry those tears, step back into her four-inch stiletto shoes, and get back to work. "She is now doing consultancy work," according to the article, "and is soon to launch the gastronomy website, which will eventually sell tableware."

So after going to great pains to proclaim her innocence on the grounds of naivete, and providing plenty of fodder to those who believe women simply weren't made to run businesses, or at least the noncreative aspects of them, she wants support for her new venture? She doesn't even trot out the usual guff about having learned from her mistakes. Even though that she has clearly learned the art of taking no responsibility for her actions.--SC 



1 comment:

  1. This woman is making a bad name for all business women.