Building a Successful Tequila Ecommerce Business – Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal

INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 36:58)

PODCAST AUDIO

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Intro

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal shares how he has built a successful tequila business as an immigrant in a highly saturated market after spending a month in Mexico to research the product and gain brand awareness.

People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode

Book: Sapiens

What You’ll Learn

Interview with Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal

00:00Introduction
00:59About the business
05:00Selling Tequila via E-commerce
06:50Product research in Mexico
11:46Retail vs E-commerce
13:43Finding the Customers
17:31Creating brand awareness
19:37Branding in a saturated market
22:35Advertising campaigns and social media
26:01Exit strategy and brand vision
28:06Maximizing the business
30:08Mistakes made, lessons learned
32:30Rapid fire round

Rapid Fire

In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal

  1. One book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: Sapiens)
  2. An innovative product or idea and the current eCommerce, retail, or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Yoga)
  3. A startup or a business that you think is currently doing great things (Response: Square Block)
  4. A peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (My co-founder Michael)
  5. Best business advice you ever received (Response: When the heart is not beating, don’t worry about the bleeding. You need to focus first on making sure your company can stay alive before you start doing all the bells and whistles and all the little things that are happening on the side.)

Interview Transcript

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Hey there entrepreneurs My name is Sushant and welcome to Trep talks. This is the show where I introduce successful ecommerce entrepreneurs, business executives and thought leaders and ask them questions about their business story, and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow their businesses. And today, I’m really excited to welcome Carlos Soto to the show. Carlos is the founder of North rose, tequila and mascara. The sore throat is a small batch Agave spirits brand headquartered in Los Angeles. It is now California’s largest independently distributed tequila brand. And today, I’m going to ask Carlos a few questions about his entrepreneurial journey, and some of the strategies and tactics that he has used to start and grow with us. So thank you so much for joining me today. Trep talks, Carlos.

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

Pleasure. How’s, how’s everything today?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Everything is great. So I know I read a little bit about your story online. And it’s a very interesting story. Can you share a little bit about how you got the idea for your business? I think it was some sort of school project or something, and what really motivated you to go into spirit?

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

Yeah, I’ll take a step back here and kind of give you the rundown of how things happen. So I’m originally from Costa Rica, I was born and raised over there. And then I moved to the US specifically to California, like nine years ago, I got really lucky, I got a scholarship to study out here. And it was an awesome experience. I learned a lot about business, I learned a lot about American culture. But more importantly, I learned a lot about here. Because Turkey is more of a rum country. So I grew up a little bit more exposed to rum. And when I moved out here, you know, California, by all means is very, very influenced by Mexican culture and gastronomy. So you see tequila everywhere. And it really became my drink of choice. And when I was taking my last year of school, I was taking a class, I focused a lot on pitching business ideas. So this professor gives an assignment. And it was come up with a business idea that has nothing to do with technology. And that was in 2015. So kind of taking a step back, you know, that was right, when Uber was kind of like at the peak of like everyone’s adoption, everyone was freaking out about it. And, and every class I would take, it was like I wanted to Uber for this Uber for that. So our professor was like guys, like, forget about your phones for a little bit, like just put the thing down. It’s too much. And he gave us the assignment on a Friday, and we had to pitch in and on Monday. So I went out that night with some friends and I was sitting in a bar and I was drinking, drinking, well tequila. And for the first time, I like paid attention to how many people were coming to the bar and ordering tequila, and it sparked a little bit of interest. So I looked into the industry. So I had been growing by a really interesting CAGR, I think at that point in time was about 15%. Of course, the last five years. And bear in mind, this was like before every celebrity and their mother had a tequila brand. And you know, that’s something we’ve seen very, very recent in our industry. But there are a lot of legacy brands. So you know that the old school, tequila brand that kind of made you feel like you’re in US yanda and like very, you know, traditional Mexican heritage. As I was doing the research, one thing I discovered was, there’s a lot of like environmental issues that were happening in our economic category. So I pitched the idea of starting a brand that would be one more youthful to less like legacy style, but still keeping a lot of like the old school techniques and making small batch high quality products. And three that would have a sustainability focus to it. Because those are the whole whole sector of our industry that people were in talking about. And from there, every time I’d go out afterwards, I’d be like, Man, I couldn’t really be drinking my own stuff. And I got to a point where I just had to figure out if this could actually be a thing. So I ended up going down to Mexico, I spent about a month over there just learning about the process here. visiting different farms, different distilleries, men and awesome family has been in the industry for over 80 years, started working with them creating some samples brought them back. And you know, we did some blind tastings, there was one specific profile that we had created that was absolutely insane that people were really, really enjoying. And by the time I was about to graduate, you know, we had a brand name and identity, the taste profile that we really liked. And it really came down to making a decision of whether or not I was going to pursue this as a kind of like life career. Or if it was just going to be like a bit of like a fun side project that I was working on. Especially being an immigrant there’s like some, you know, some visa stuff that I had to work through and everything so at that point, it was really like when I was like okay, let’s let’s jump into this. Yeah,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So as you said, you know, the assignment was don’t go for tech business. But ultimately, like, do you consider your business to be more of an E commerce business selling this product killer? Or is it more that, you know, your sales channel is really the liquor stores, and you have to distribute the product to the store? To sell them? Yeah, it’s

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

interesting, because there’s, I mean, from from, like, an actual sales standpoint, most of our sales aren’t 100% of the physical world. Because I’ll call it still at a state where, you know, you walk into a store, it kind of becomes like a, like, spur, oh, let’s go for a drink. But let’s go buy a product, right. But there’s such a big component that really follows the pathway of E commerce, in the sense, especially for like a brand like ours that’s up and coming. And it’s talking about like the discovery, right? You talked about leads you talked about, like, how do you go through the process of finding your consumer, and we’re in a really, really saturated environment. So really finding people through the E commerce platform, even though they’re not necessarily making the final purchase there. You know, it’s digitally that we’re finding most of our consumers that are interested in more small batch products, and they don’t want to keep drinking, what they’re what they’re been drinking for a long time, or they’re willing to take a risk into, into a category. I definitely, definitely see like, from the discovery style side of things, it’s a huge part of our business, even though the actual final transaction snapping a little bit later on.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay, so it’s more about brand awareness, and really just educating people on your brand and the product, and then they go out and buy it. I’m really interested, you know,

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

only about 15% of our sales are actually for ecommerce.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Okay. I’m very interested in that month, where you went to Mexico to really do the product research. I mean, that definitely shows that you wanted to do the research and learn about the product, even though you know, you, are you, you know, you knew what to do. Can you share a little bit more about you know, what that process was like, did you just reach out to some of these, you know, distilleries that built and you know, build appointments with them, like how did you actually make that happen? Just that learning experience? And if you’re tequila, if the product really all manufactured in Mexico or in literally the US? Are you building it in us?

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

Yeah, so all manufacturing, we do Mako we have, as of right now we have three main skews. We have a fourth one that’s actually coming in later this week. But we have tequila and mezcal, so tequila we do down in Jalisco. And Mezcal comes from Wahaca. So two different regions. And we work with two different groups basically, to create the product in terms of how the Soto started that hillside. To be completely honest, you know, I knew absolutely nothing going into into the industry. So I was I basically just wanted to become a sponsor, I like well, we’ll go in there and like really understand how everything works and, and to give us an Appellation of Origin. If you’re familiar with that term, it’s basically kind of like champagne from France, in order to call champagne it has come from Champagne, or otherwise, it’s only called sparkling wine right and there’s a lot of other spirits around the world that have that in and together very much has that there’s an actual town called tequila and the state of Jalisco that is kind of like the you know, the starting point for all tequila. The experience was awesome I honestly like had no expectations whatsoever women and just did a lot of tours, a lot of visiting a lot of a lot of going into different places. To be completely honest, I sat down before going and just started Googling and stuff and trying to understand how the industry worked and I called people and I was basically telling people that I was like representing a fund that I really wanted to see if there’s an impossibility there to go out there and build a brand with them yadda yadda yadda I landed in a in a very lucky place in the sense that the one of the families I met with they’ve been in the industry for a long time super sweet you know generational tequila makers, their master distiller really opened the doors to sit down and create something that was different than in you know, in tequila, a lot of things that people a big thing that people don’t realize it’s it’s actually very similar to wine, in the sense that a lot of like the areas were you harvest really determined the taste profile and the flavor and everything. So, you know, a big part of this of this journey down to Maple was how can we do something that’s different than what everyone else is doing in the industry. And what we ended up doing was that we we blended a goddess from two different regions. So at least we could have the highlands of the highlands done. To be a little sweeter, a little bit more citrusy. And this is a direct result from more exposure to sunlight and less water because the water kind of flows down, then you have the lowlands, also known as the valley, the valley tends to be a little bit more peppery, more earthy, it’s a direct reflection of all that water kind of coming down. And being in being in that in the bottom part, it makes the exotics a little bit more more herbal. So no, so it’s actually a blend of 50% from the highlands and 50% from the loions. And that what this yields is a very balanced taste profile, and very unique taste profile, comparatively speaking to a lot of other killers in the market. That was really what you know, at the end of the day, what keep kept us in business after after graduation. And you know, I started my visa application process and took out a loan from from Bank of America to start the company was $18,000 at the time was the most I could get out of my credit card. But it was just enough to do a little first batch down in Mexico and we brought it up in the first four or five months of our company’s history were absolutely miserable, we couldn’t really get any sales. But right up down was I was pretty much packing up my bags, because my temporary visa was about to expire. This taste profile that we curated, earn those an award from the San Francisco world spirits competition, and it was that outside validation that really kind of gave it to us, it was a we ended up winning, best tequila of the show across all categories and competing against like every possible brand you can imagine. In and it gives that outside validation. So people started reaching out, and I was able to go full time to the business. But it all came down from from that trip down to make right it was like, let’s go and figure out how everyone else is doing it. And let’s see if there’s a way to do it differently.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

That’s pretty interesting. So you just basically took this risk with your money. And, you know, if you had failed, of course, you would have lost your $18,000. But, you know, you never know what can happen. And that one thing kind of changed you and gave you the exposure that you needed. Where you to what happened after that. So initially, were you selling ecommerce? Or were you still like how were you getting reports at the beginning. So liquor,

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

and the US has a really intricate ecommerce structure. So it is a the alcohol loss in the US are very, very tight in the sense that they’re a three tiered distribution structure. So legally, we can only sell wholesale, so meaning we can only sell to a distributor, then Ben says sells to a retailer who then sells to a consumer. However, there are some digital ecommerce solutions that basically use some of these licenses. And we found the system we’re in basically allowed us to bypass some of this while still being compliant with the law without having to work with third parties. In yes, some of the very first sales that we’ve put out there, we’re actually we’re actually through the systems of E commerce and being able to tell people like hey, here’s here’s the product, what’s the biggest issue with our with our category, a lot of times when people want alcohol, they want it now, it’s not another thing that they’re like ordering in advance unless it’s a specialty item that you’re like been hunting for or something like that. And thankfully, we fall a little bit in that category in terms of being like a small batch and like a treat. But a lot of the volume also does happen outside of the E commerce world, right. So as we’ve granted, the Vive has definitely separated more towards the retail side.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So as you were saying, you know, this is really a saturated market, like the market of tequila, it’s not necessarily a new product. Who is your? Who’s the target market for this brand? And just, I mean, everybody who drinks is it really about, you know, them discovering your product, and they’re saying, you know, let me try this new brand out, let me try this new flavor profile. And then based on that first experience, either they’re going to be a repeat buyer, or if they didn’t like it, you know, toasted but whatever they were doing before? How do you find your customers and how, you know, can you share a little bit differently thing unique about the customers that buy from you?

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

I think the biggest thing we realized early on was you know we’re never gonna be able to beat some of the people that do mass volume products. We’re not a price we can’t compete in price because we simply are a craft product that’s going to be more expensive than most skills out there. Right. So are your target demographic is definitely somebody who has a little bit higher for discretionary income. We’re not We’re not a cheap product by any means. You know, you look at our line of products they start at 45 US Dollars Go all the way up to 140. And range and kind of gives you that that idea of like we’re, we operate right? Under that understanding, we realize too, that as a small business, sometimes you can’t try and fight the big guys and try to out market them right in our category. And I’m saying our category as liquor not only to deal but just like alcohol at large. A lot of people drink what they know, they don’t necessarily drink what they like, they drink what they know. So meaning a lot of people go to the bar and order the beer that they heard loud laughter, the beer that they’ve been buying for years, you know, a lot of people are a little bit doubtful about stepping out of their way. Same with spirits. So you go to the bar, and you might order a you know, the tequila, you might know for a little bit, or you might order the Scotch that you’ve known for a long time. So that really, what we realized through that is there’s a whole niche of people that are used to buying certain products that if we can convert, they’re going to be loyal for a long time. So how do we go about converting these people within our target demographic, huge thing is buying tastings, we’ll we’ll try to push as many by tastings as possible, especially in our retail level. And that’s where the obviously the real world world component, from an E commerce standpoint, and from a digital standpoint, how do we grab people’s attention, that’s where you bring in a lot of the other parts of the brand, right? Like talking about the sustainability and talk about these things that differentiate us from from from other brands, and larger brands, our problem is not necessarily the second purchase, a lot of these first big brands get the first purchase, but then the quality doesn’t take them to the second purchase our problem, our biggest challenge is always getting that first sale in and then the second one and third and fourth come a lot easier, because we know we have high quality products to kind of wrap up your question or demographic is definitely a consumer has to has a little bit higher as discretionary income, somebody is willing to take a risk and try something a little bit newer. And in terms of you know, the age range, we found that this, this profile of consumer usually sits between like 25 year old all the way up to 60 year old in the sense that it really depends on what channel we’re talking about, like what which one of our product selections, really we’re targeting, right, which has been really interesting also seeing like the spread of demographic depending on on the skew that we’re talking about.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So So there’s definitely a blind tasting element of it. And I’m very interested to know how you set that up, like the retailer that you’re working with, you basically say, you know, do you need to have your own people, they’re standing there and helping people taste it? Or how do you how do you set that up? And then the next question that I’ll ask is really around, you know, how do you brand? How do you create the awareness around this product, really making it a more of a luxury product that someone would put by? So I’ll go into that next. But we’re interested in the blind testing aspect of things.

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

For sure. The blind tasting is just, it was a result of really looking at our brand and seeing like, Hey, what is our strongest suit? What is that one thing that we know, we feel completely confident about? And it’s, it’s a core competency, and it’s like a core strength of our brand. The answer to that was released, it was our taste. So we made the decision. Hey, like, let’s double down on that. Let’s get as many people tasting it. And that’ll really, you know, make an impact. We call it the the liquid lips basically. How do we go about that, as you mentioned at the start, we’re the largest self distributed brand, and in the sense that we have our own sales team kind of going out and about, and what we’ve really accomplished is actually ourselves, our whole team going out there and you’re spending two to three hours at a time at a point of sale and telling people Hey, what are you looking for tequila? Yeah, what are you looking for? I’m looking for this brand. I’m looking for that brand. Do you know where it is? Yes, we know where it is. But would you be willing to do a blind tasting against that bottle for something that we can we can tell you it’s it’s you’re probably gonna, like better. And most people don’t say no to like, Hey, let me tell you some tequila, you know, it’s like, it’s not like a unless you’re like that said on the brand. And then you know, that’s totally fine. But most people are pretty open to the idea of tasting and just seeing how, how it goes and comparing taste profiles. And that’s been really one of the strongest things that we found.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

In terms of branding, and really, I know you mentioned that a lot of that occurs online. Can you share how do you establish a brand that is more of a high end brand in a very saturated space and getting people you know, familiar with your brand name, your logo, your identity and everything else? Can you share a little bit about that? for how you started, the home started from the beginning and what lessons have you learned along the way?

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

For sure? Well, we, you know, what we realized is, we started with the quality and that was the first thing. And obviously when when this started, we didn’t really have the community that we have now or the brand aspect to it. It was more so just the product. And then we started building on top of that. What is what is the big appeal about nosotros? You know, you look at the name of Soto’s in Spanish means us. When you start from that premise, and why do people drink at the end of the day, it’s a social experiment is bringing people together, it’s lowering your guard down and connecting at a deeper level with one another, right? So we took that that idea, and we’re like, how do we get this and really make it the ethos of our company, and we’re about building connections and bringing people together. And then we pair that with, with the main things that we really see our brand. And where do we see our brand coming up? The ones that were realized there, and then that environment is our brand is not a you know, it’s not, hey, I’m at the club with like, the flares and all this type of thing. So it’s a bottle, you open under special occasions with friends. And it’s something that you cherished. And it’s something that you’re doing things that are a little bit more unique. Actually, let me bring in one of the bottles over here just to show you something really quickly. So one thing, one thing that we found a lot of success was to us on the back of the bottle, there’s our blanket, for example is or first day SKU, we have a space, that’s an open creative environment. This is something that we did for you know, Valentine’s Day, and people have really enjoyed that. And because at the end of the day is fully shared that with or special creative outlook, kind of having that space has been really cool with the name. And we build brand on that we’ve been bringing brand on community of bringing people together really focusing on on the health and wellness space do funny enough, we do a lot of stuff with yoga studios, we do a lot of stuff with we’ve worked with a lot of brands out there that focus in that category in and the really cool thing has been that public has received this really well. And through building this community, you’ve basically been adding and adding people to our network and creates a little bit of a network effect. We’re more people and more people are drinking, there’s an enjoyment soldiers in a healthy and balanced way. There’s just some of our competitors that focus too much on like the clubbing aspect or the whatever aspect. Right.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Cool, very interesting. Are you online? Are you on social media? Like? What kind of advertising? What kind of marketing campaigns work the best for you in terms of awareness? And also driving?

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

For sure, yeah, we do use a lot of social media you can find us on Instagram at and also our website, Masato secure.com YouTube tick tock and you know, we’re, we’re and all that stuff. It’s, it’s tricky, because as a brand, you know, you need to find that balance between the point of how much are you posting a day? How much are you selling? And like, what’s your value proposition to the people that are following you, right? And what is the value proposition that you’re creating for someone to be like, oh, I want to follow up, or a brand and versus a person, the whole idea of social networks and everything was created, so you could follow people that you care about. And then the whole concept of brands were added to this. And at the end of the day, you need to have like a bigger and larger presence there to make it worth it. Right. So what are the main things that we do online, we focus not not only on selling product, obviously, that’s a component of it, where we’re on paid social and we run, you know, giveaways, and we run newsletters and incentives and everything. But we also vote and you know, focus on for example, creating cocktails, like stuff that hey, like, this is a cocktail that someone if someone sees they might might want to make and this is why we do it with a citrus share with your friends. We focus on doing events, lots of events that then we share through our social challenge channels, and then we and then people come in real life and it’s basically a value add for them for social following on our on our social. What else? Events, the, you know, cocktails, we do, we do a lot of like informational stuff. What we found out too is there’s a huge gap in between consumers to gather products or spirits at large. And really the understanding of how a spirit is made, for example, like a lot of people don’t really understand like, how does it work? Where does it Where does it come from? What are the differences like what are things in the industry that are okay, and like we talk a lot about that. Because at the end of day, if we can really talk about like how things are made, we can really separate ourselves from the more industrial brands that are perusing, you know, millions of cases. is an irregular basis and they’re very industrialized product versus what we’re doing, which is a lot more small batch and more curated and a little bit more seasonal. I’d say those are like the main four things that we focus on our, on our, on our social, and obviously just trying to keep engagement at the highest level to really create that sense of community. It always comes back down to that it’s how do we how do we really create a community around our brand?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

What does your team look like right now, and a lot of a lot of your marketing and branding and all these things are in house or be worked with, like, outside vendors also,

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

I’d say 99% of everything we do is in house. The main reason for that it’s just a matter of quality of presentation, I think when we’re able to do it in house, we have a much better understanding of what the brand needs and what the brand is about. Versus if we if we outsource things much like to the heart that you’re looking for right?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Now, I know you did mention that, you know you started this business, not knowing if it’s going to be a part time thing, or it’s going to become your life’s work. Looking back, you know, what are your thoughts? Do you think that this is kind of like your life’s work or this is, you know, you’re going to build this brand, you have an exit strategy? What is your vision for the business?

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

It’s wild, man, it’s well, I mean, it started as a school project or in a passion project or in life project. You know, now I’m obviously fully invested into this, it’s been, we’ve been in officially in business now for about five years, we’ve grown into four different countries and just continue growing. The brand, I think, for as of 2018, we did do a little capital raise, that just helped us float some stuff. And from there, you know, we hadn’t really done anything else. The goal is definitely to keep building and keep growing, the categories hot, both in tequila and mezcal, there’s a lot of growth that is happening in the category where people are learning more and more and the interest seeking, it’s really funny looking at some of the studies, at least here in the US we are tequila as a category is actually stealing a lot of market share from vodka. So we’re obviously happy about that. But the goal is definitely to keep building and just continue to taking the brand to more and more places. We’ve opened a few markets in the last year, like a few like different states, every state in the US has different regulations. But now the next two to three years are really going to be a lot in depth. How do we how do we focus on getting much as much depth as possible and really going into these places and finding the right partners to work with? Right? We we work much better with boutique restaurants, for example, people that care about what they’re serving and what they’re putting in front of the customers versus, you know, medicine, like chains that are focused a little bit more on the on the bottom line.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

How do you think about you know, so you built your brand brand around this tequila Mezcal product? Now, of course, you have some brand recognition in the market and your business and growing cash flow and so forth. How do you think about just building this product line versus adding new product lines, so you can have, you know, maybe add additional revenue streams? Do you ever, you know, we ever think about, you know, let’s just maximize what, you know, the products that are working right now, do you ever think about can we add new products to the business also

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

100%. And I think, you know, we’re a lifestyle brand, by all means of what we’re doing. As long as it’s aligned with our ethos of building community 100% like we are, so that’s something we would definitely explore. To give you some examples. We’ve done some a lot of collaborations in the past, we worked with, like retail brands, for example, we worked with a company called New Republic, they’re a shoe company, we’ve been to specialty shoe what that was like, you know, so this new republic branded shoe that came out, came with a bottle of mascara. And it was awesome, like if people loved it. And we were always looking at things like that, you know, we do a lot of a parallel to here and there that people really enjoy and it’s all about brand. We started doing some more and more in the event space type of thing and kind of creating that physical world for the, for the for the commerce, kind of connecting the bridge between the physical world and the in the E commerce platforms that we have. It’s It’s fascinating, especially coming out of a pandemic, how open people are now to like actually go out and about and experience things at a physical level because I feel like we have like a bit of a hole there. Now After a year and a half of just being complete shut down. And then obviously, depending on where you live, that’s a different conversation.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Yeah, yeah, definitely. I know in every business, every entrepreneurs journey, there’s always some mistakes lesson learned failures. Could you share maybe your biggest mistake while growing the business or, you know, big failure? What did you learn from it? And what can other entrepreneurs learn from that?

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

And there’s, there’s plenty of mistakes that we’ve made, you know, we’ve had so many thankfully enough positives to get those keep us in business as the mistakes gonna happen, right. I think I think a big part of a big part of what what we’ve learned in mistake that we did at first was really not focusing enough on the on the human component for our type of brand, and, you know, this may not apply to all businesses, before that brand brand, there’s nothing more important than the human capital, but people behind the brand and the people that are out and about putting the face out there, we’ve come to realize like finding like the right brand fit in terms of like the people who represent the brand and work with us and really go to bat every day to build muscle just has been the most important thing. And, you know, we’ve kind of switched a little bit like to focus on that and versus before, we’re focused a little bit more similar stuff. And it’s made a huge difference in the last two years, we’ve been able to really build a really, really awesome team.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

So but you’re the you’re the main founder, right? You don’t have any, any co founders.

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

I do have a co founders name is Mike. He came he actually went to LMU with me and here in LA and we went to school together and we’ve been friends for a long time. His background was a little bit more on the on the finance side of things. Michael urbanas in in he it’s just been funny because we kind of have like a very, we have a healthy marriage in the sense that I’m very type B’s very type A he definitely focused a little bit more on the on keeping things nice and tight and the numbers side of things and whatnot. A little bit more than the operation a little more on the creative side. But with that said, obviously we’ve learned a lot of stuff from from one another in in you know, it works.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Now, I’m going to move on to the the other segment called the rapid fire round. And in this round, I’m going to ask you a few quick questions and you have to answer them maybe in one word or one sentence. So the first one is one book recommendations that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals.

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

Sapiens, it has to be Sapiens I think that book in Syama gave me a lot of context, why it’s a book that has not much to do with business. But it’s just the backstory of humanity and where we come from and how we think. And I have to say like that book changed entirely the way I see life in the way I see business because at the end of the day, every business you see is a direct reflection of people and understanding like the psychological triggers that everyone has is it’s quite interesting

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

and innovative product or idea and the current ecommerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about the blockchain a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tool

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

or tool the side I would say business I’d say it has the yoga it has to be on the on the mental side. Focus on doing yoga and finding a way to meditate and keep your body working. Nothing’s gonna give you better productivity that kind of keeping the body working.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Are you a yoga practitioner?

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

I love yoga. Yeah, I’ve also had some some back issues in the past and yoga was the saving the saving life saving thing that I found I would really face everything all the physical problems I had before

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

a startup or a business that you think is currently doing great things

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

I’m not making considered a startup still but I absolutely love what square block is really doing there the different reaches and things that they’re going into is quite remarkable and I’m I’m a fan of Jack Dorsey as a leader to

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

appear entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you.

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

Definitely my co founder Michael

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

and best business advice you ever Theodore you would give to other entrepreneurs.

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

That’s business advice would 100% have to be? There’s these words from a from a professor that I had in college that said something, for some reason that always stuck with me. He goes in business, when the heart is not beating, don’t worry about the bleeding. Which means you need to focus first on making sure your company can stay alive before you start doing all the bells and whistles and all the little things that’s happening on the side. I’ve seen that a lot a lot entrepreneurs get out there and fail because you know, they focus too much on on doing huge marketing things and all the fun and all this stuff and and then the backbone of the business is not there and the flow, the cash flows are just not there and focus on your core product first and focus on building the main main structure, your business and then everything else will fall.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

And then bonus question since you mentioned blockchain, I’m curious, are you using Blockchain in your business in some way? Or are you like a crypto investor?

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

We have we have some stuff in the works. Nothing we can publicly share yet. But definitely part of what we’re what we’re looking at is just it’s, you know, both Bitcoin and blockchain and different for different purposes and use cases. It’s going to completely change the way we see the world and the way we’re used to interact with things. That’s something I’m really excited about. And we’re definitely putting some efforts in that direction.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks  

Perfect. Carlos, thank you so much. And those were all the questions that I had. Thank you so much for sharing your time for sharing your story and all the business strategies and tactics that you shared with us really, really appreciated. So yeah, thank you again for joining me today. Trep talks.

Carlos Manuel Soto of Nosotros Tequila & Mezcal  

Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

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