Let me ask you something. Does your business have a social mission? If so, would you like to share it with us? 💭
But if not, maybe you could start considering it. Having a social impact or a mission-driven brand has many advantages:
👉It brings the right people for your business, including advisors, investors, suppliers
👉 Increases customer loyalty and sales
👉 Has a higher brand recognition
👉 Keeps you highly motivated, even in the shadiest moments
Hear more details from Juan Giraldo, the CEO and co-founder of Waku, a CPG beverage brand of ready-to-drink herbal teas infused with prebiotics, whose business model creates a positive social-economic impact in Ecuador.
Discover Juan’s story of starting a mission-driven brand and how you first need to satisfy customers’ tastes and functional requirements before you earn the right to enlist them in your mission.
Listen on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here.
Ken: Welcome to the Physical Product Movement, a podcast by Fiddle, we share stories of the world’s most ambitious and exciting physical product brands to help you capitalize on the monumental change in how, why and where consumers buy. I’m your host, Ken Ojuka.
Ken: In today’s episode of the Physical Product Movement podcast. I have the opportunity to speak with Juan Giraldo from Waku, a beverage brand behind the popular line of ready to drink herbal teas infused with prebiotics. One had a lot to share about starting a mission driven brand and how you first need to satisfy customers taste and functional requirements.
Ken: Before you earn the right to enlist them on your brand’s mission. Since he is from Ecuador, he wanted to make an impact in his home country by sourcing organic high quality and pure ingredients coming directly from the farms of Ecuador. He talks about the challenges of setting up a co-manufacturer and a raw ingredient supply chain in another country.
Ken: He walks us through the steps he took to get his first products to market and how he repositioned his product several times based directly on customer feedback. I think you’ll see big things coming from these guys in the next few years. It’s a great product in a great market. Juan was a fantastic guest.
Ken: I think you’ll learn a lot from him. Enjoy. Yeah. Hey Juan. How are you doing, man? Thanks for jumping on the podcast with me. How are you doing today?
Juan: Hey, Ken, my pleasure. I’m doing well, sunny day in New York City. So I can’t complain.
Ken: And you’re in Brooklyn, right?
Juan: Brooklyn, New York? Yeah.
Ken: Okay, cool. How long have you been there?
Juan: Almost a year now. I actually moved to this. I’m originally from Ecuador Canon. I moved to the states about six years ago and I spent five years in Boston, went to grad school then and there. And then I, we started Waku there, but, with the pandemic, a few things changed in my life and in our business. So I relocated to Brooklyn May, 2021.
Ken: Okay. Very cool. Yeah. As we were talking about, I have a brother out in Brooklyn and I keep meaning to go visit him. I visited New York many times, but I want to go get the real experience from someone who lives there. So that would be fun.
Juan: Yeah, no, it’s, it’s definitely a place that you need to visit and we live in Yukon.
Juan: It’s a wonderful city.
Ken: Very cool. Very cool. Let’s just kick it off, man. We like to start it off with a quote, something that gets you out of bed or inspires you, or has been impactful to you in some way. Do you have one in mind that you could share?
Juan: Yeah. This is a quote from a businessman, a Brazilian businessman that I really admire.
Juan: His name is Jorge Paulo Lemann, and once he said it takes the same amount of energy to dream small, as to dream big. So why wouldn’t you dream big?
Juan: Yeah, that’s a motto that I live by in that our company has as our core values, dream big.
Ken: Yeah. It’s interesting to think about that from the entrepreneur’s standpoint, because these businesses, it’s so much work to get off the ground, you might as well be working on something that can make a big impact and can have a much larger reward.
Ken: It really is. I totally believe that quote that you’re going to put in about the same amount of effort.
Juan: No, I agree. And as you said, the amount of energy that it takes to get a company off the ground is ridiculous. So I think that it’s not only like big ambitions or big impact that is, what does big means to you?
Juan: It could be something that for other people is not as big as it is for you. So it’s just speaking the right thing, something that you’re passionate about, that you believe in, and then, you know that you’re going to evolve the next five to 10 years to it so you better like it.
Ken: Yeah. Yeah, and it’s interesting that I would think that most people are, the person who may be, picks a small mission instead of, like a big one.
Ken: It might be a little bit of apprehension or, just self-consciousness Hey, can I actually do this? Can I pull this off? And, it kinda touches on one of my favorite things about entrepreneurship, which is, it’s, the journey grows you as an entrepreneur, right?
Ken: Like you are forced to level up and to become greater and to become bigger. So it’s almost like in the process you become the type of person that can run a big business, or a big opportunity that have you noticed that at all in your
Juan: Yeah, no, I was about to say that you’re exactly right.
Juan: Nothing else that I’ve been through in my life that has pushed me to improve myself as entrepreneurship has. So is the mental strength that you develop, resiliency, communication skills, leadership skills, even tolerance for pain. I would say these are all things that are making you level up, as you said.
Juan: We’ve definitely felt it that way with Waku, and I felt it in the past with other startups that I’ve had in the past . That’s why I love this journey so much because it’s a personal development journey.
Ken: Let’s hear just a little bit more about you. You said that you’re from Ecuador, maybe describe, household you grew up in and what you were like and what you were interested in and what led you to come to the United States?
Juan: Sure. So I was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador. Both of my parents are immigrants. They’re from Columbia. So I spent half of my time in Columbia and then Ecuador while growing up very lucky and fortunate cause I grew up in a very loving family. So my mom and my dad are very supportive and I have two siblings.
Juan: Very happy memories of where I grew up. I grew up in Quito, which is the capital city of Ecuador and I saw entrepreneurship at first glance since I was born because both of my parents are entrepreneurs. And the family business is still up and running right now, second generation, both of my siblings run that business now.
Juan: It’s in the education industry. So for us, growing up, it felt like the business was like another sibling at the table because my parents would always bring up the business discussion on the table. We learned at first glance, the amount of work ethic and commitment that you need in order to grow a business.
Juan: And then, I’ve been in and out of Ecuador since I finished high school, I’m fortunate to live in Europe, then my undergrad came here for some time, and then for my grad school, I always wanted to go to business school at Babson, which is a school in Boston that has a very good entrepreneurial program.
Juan: And that the goal was always to come here, go to school as a stepping stone to then start a company in the US. And in 2016, I left my job as the CEO of a tech company in Ecuador and my co-founder and I started discussing what we can do in order to launch a business in the U S but at the same time, have a positive social economic impact in Ecuador, that is really the main driver for our business.
Juan: And the passion that brought us together, Nico and I, and, we analyzed many different industries. We ended up deciding on three characteristics that we wanted this business to have, one, regardless of whether we will operate the business overseas for Nico, it needed to be a business that could allow us to have direct impact in the economy there second, it would be in an industry where Ecuador has a comparative advantage, and so that left us from the agriculture and tourism, because I call it both of those industries very, very well, and third was a business from Ecuador to the world and not from the world to Ecuador, and mainly because Ecuador is a small country and again, we have big dreams and so we then picked agriculture.
Juan: But we wanted a value added business, not exporting commodities as the past century of Ecuadorian businessmen have done, we are big exporters of fruits, grains, herbs, everything that comes from the soil. We’re very rich as a country, and so we learned about the consumer goods industry.
Juan: We used the MBA at Babson as a platform of research and networking, and we learned about the trends in the industry, and one in particular got our attention, that is, gut health. And so more and more science and research is behind the importance of gut health in your overall performance, well-being and happiness.
Juan: And when you look at the categories, all of them are being disrupted by new entrance positioning dysfunction, but if there has only been one that has made a splash, that is kombucha. And when we dug deeper in the research, we realized that kombucha is facing some limitations in growth, mostly because of the acquired taste.
Juan: And so we could bring to market a product with similar benefits, but in a category that has 92% of household penetration and that is beloved by pretty much all American consumers, which is ready to drink tea, and so, we’re bringing to market, a prebiotic herbal tea that has zero added sugars,
Juan: and is brewed with only the finest natural ingredients that are sourced ethically from farmers in Ecuador, and it’s a fantastic product, really delicious, and we have a strong social impact program in Ecuador as well.
Ken: Okay. Yeah. Excellent. Yeah, I was gonna ask you about that transition, right?
Ken: And you said you were running a tech company and then you decided to start a CPG brand and you’ve outlined it, the main reasons why, but I’m curious about some of the differences that you’ve noticed between running this type of business and then running a tech company, what are the biggest ones?
Juan: The main one that comes to mind right now is the obsession with consumers that you need to have in CPG. I mean, I was running a B2B enterprise software services company. So our customers would be banks or big retail companies, usually businesses that run a lot of data that have a lot of information because all of our services were around Oracle databases.
Juan: And then from when I left that job, that was again, mostly enterprise sales, now we’re consumer, then there is a component of B2B sales and relationships which I think I learned in my previous experiences, but the consumer piece was new to us. And that took a while to learn and frankly I think that,
Juan: Consumer obsession and product in CPG are the single most important things. You know, moving your company from zero to one.
Ken: Yeah, yeah. Let’s double-click on that a little bit. So consumer obsession, I think most companies would think, okay, we need to care about our customers, that’s an important component of our business.
Ken: That’s how we grow, we need to make sure they love the product. Is there anything in particular that you feel like, that you learned it, maybe the hard way, or that really brought that to your attention?
Juan: I think that the thing we learned the hard way is that the most important thing is to listen to the market can, so as entrepreneurs we usually bring
Juan: concepts to market that we’re in luck with, for us early on, was this idea of positioning a mission driven brand in the U S of a company that will be impacting hundreds of farmers in South America, and we thought that brand positioning could attract consumers. And what we learned was that first and foremost, consumers care about taste, and then what’s in it for them. So it’s the function of the problem that is bringing more people into our brand and our social impact message goes in third place. It’s important, it builds loyalty, but it doesn’t drive a trial, if you know what I mean. And so that was one of the things is look, the entrepreneurs that I admire the most are growing
Juan: faster than the average early stage company is because they are really tuning in with the market and understanding what resonates and what doesn’t, and then tweaking product branding, pricing distribution, in order to get to that consumer where the product is resonating.
Ken: Yeah. Yeah. That’s interesting.
Ken: So you said it goes third, right? In terms of the mission, just in terms of driving trials and getting people to just use your product. So just to be clear, what are the first ones is the same? Is that what you said?
Juan: The first one is taste. It’s what consumers cared about the most.
Juan: So people, you probably can have all the benefits in the world as a food and beverage brand, but if it doesn’t taste good, no one would buy it again.
Juan: Okay. So that’s them counting. We’re proud to say that our products taste fantastic, and we use only the best quality natural ingredients, and then its function. And so it’s the new generation consumers, they want a little more out of the products they buy, and so for us, we add six grams of prebiotic fiber, which is 25% of the daily intake that American consumers are supposed to get.
Juan: And most of them don’t get the minimum intake that they should, and so we provide 25% of that fiber and besides that, we don’t have any sugars which are usually causing inflammation, and in addition to that, we use a blend of anti-inflammatory herbs that are the ones that come from the Andes mountains of Ecuador.
Juan: And so all of our brand positioning is around, gut health, and that’s the second one. Even though I would say Ken, that 60% of customers that are new to the brand in our direct to consumer business, try Waku for the first time, because they want more digestive support.
Ken: Function is really important.
Ken: Yeah. Yeah, so why digestive support, so you mentioned that you guys were looking at some trends when you were thinking about starting a business, why did this one stick out to you?
Juan: It’s just the importance of it. So we dug deeper into the science and the research,
Juan: and when you think about your gut health, it’s the place of your body, where you have the most nervous terminations, so it’s literally like a second and so when you don’t have, when your gut is not operating well, you start filling it in many different areas of your body so it can, this can be cognitive function.
Juan: This can be mood, obviously performance, and so there’s more and more research that just is implying how the microbiome is important for your performance, and that was what caused our attention.
Ken: Yeah. Obviously there’s plenty there, and I love that priority.
Ken: In fact, I’m looking at your website right now and you can always kinda tell what people care about based on what you see on that sort of the top fold of the website. And I have seen some CPG brands, and in particular, some that have really struggled, where they would actually lead with the mission.
Ken: So I think they would make that same mistake that I think you guys made early on, really leading with the mission, where you would see that on the top fold on the homepage. And it’s been my experience, exactly as you explained it right first it’s what’s in it for me, right?
Ken: Like it’s got to taste good, it’s gotta be, do something for me, and then, it’s like the mission can help to solidify it and give them more confidence in the company and the sale. And ultimately, you could still, I think it doesn’t mean that you have to limit the good that you do in the world because you prioritize it that way.
Ken: In fact, if you can make more sales and get more people to try your products, then you can actually do more in terms of your mission. Is that the way you guys look at it?
Juan: Yeah. You’re exactly right. Yeah. That’s a pragmatic way to look at it, you can have all the best intentions in the world, but if your business doesn’t get traction, then you will have no impact.
Juan: And so that’s why it’s so important that even if you are a mission-driven company early on, you need to get your, you need to understand your consumer, you need to focus on the market first, and then as you continue to scale, you’ll have more bandwidth and resources to continue to improve your social impact strategies.
Ken: Yeah. So let’s talk about that social impact just a little bit, you could have started this business without a social mission at all. And I just want to look at it selfishly, right? Like what has a mission attached to your brand? What has that done for your business?
Ken: Have you felt a pull forward? Have you felt more support from the community or, why don’t you tell me, what it’s done for you and what other entrepreneurs who are thinking about maybe, maybe going down that route, what they can expect.
Juan: That’s you know, that’s a great question
Juan: Ken, I think two things come to mind right now, the first one is, alignment with partners. And so usually when, at least this has been the case for us, having a social impact or a mission-driven brand, brings in a specific type of people in talking advisors, investors, even suppliers, customers, consumers.
Juan: So it creates alignment with stakeholders, and also it weeds out people that,
Juan: are not the right partners for the first one, also employees, by the way, it’s really good to attract employees and like-minded people in that area. The second one is very, I would say personal and even very selfish, as you said, early on, because the second one is having a bigger mission than just making money has made my co-founder and I keep going, even in the darkest moments.
Juan: And this was something that a mentor of our store does when things get tough and they will always get tough when you’re in the entrepreneurial journey. Remember why you started and why you should give you the fire to keep pushing, even if things don’t look good and that’s exactly the case for us. That deep desire that we have to create a positive social economic impact in Ecuador has been decisive for us moments where we thought that things were not working out.
Ken: Yeah. Yeah. And it seems like, there’s a lot of benefits. I can just hear the passion in your voice. When you talk about your mission, and you talk about your business and you talk about the people that you impact, I think it just makes it so that passion comes out and which I think can help you in all areas of your business.
Ken: You know, this isn’t just another beverage, this is a mission for you. Yeah. It looks like you guys are working on a crowdfunding campaign, that looks like it’s going really well. Can you just tell us a little bit about why you decided to do that and, I guess it’s not crowdfunding, it’s crowd equity, is that right?
Ken: Yeah. Why’d you guys decide to go that route?
Juan: Yeah. So we’re running a crowd equity campaign in republic.co/waku, and yes, we’ve raised almost 100k there and the thought process behind it was, we’ve in the past couple of years, we’ve focused on distribution direct to consumer.
Juan: And so we have thousands of people in our email list and we have thousands of fans now of the brand. And so these are people who are buying from us frequently and they love the brand. And we figured this could be a great way to give them an opportunity to invest in the company that they already love so much and love their products so much.
Juan: That was the first thing. The second thing is that both my co-founder and I are international expats and we wanted to give our friends, our friends from around the world, also a chance to invest with people who are not creative investors. Our network is still late twenties, early thirties,
Juan: There’s not a lot of people who have more than $1 million in assets. And so, we figured if we could give them a chance to invest a thousand bucks, 500 bucks, a lot of our friends would invest from other countries, and that’s exactly what happened. And so it’s, I think it’s fascinating how innovation in the U S works right now.
Juan: I think Republic and the likes platforms are giving retail investors an opportunity to invest in private companies that were, these opportunities were only close to accredited investors and native investors in the past, and now is democratized. We can all invest in things that we like and that we think are going to be successful in the future.
Juan: So I love that.
Ken: Yeah, no, that’s great. Anything that you’ve learned from doing the crowd equity campaign, any tips that you could give to other people who might be thinking about doing it?
Juan: Yeah. So I think it’s very important. This may not be only for crowdfunding, but in general is the importance of creating a community around you, and in your company.
Juan: And usually the people who have done well in these campaigns are just brands and companies who have built strong communities around them that support them. I think that’s really important. When you go through this process, your financial statements need to be reviewed.
Juan: So it’s a step below audit, let’s say. And so I really recommend founders to get on top of their books from the beginning because then when you’re trying to do things like this, it takes a lot of time and effort to actually clean up all your books and get them ready for a review or an audit. And I think those two for now.
Ken: And so how does this work, does that mean that you end up with a lot of different people on your cap table or are they lumped into, like one single group? Or how does that actually work?
Juan: They are lumped into one single group. You’re right. Yeah. So the public actually gets through your cap table and then, it’s only one institution, the cap table. And that’s it.
Ken: Okay. Let’s switch subjects a little bit. I always want to know about the early days and how you were able to set up your initial supply chain and get your initial product manufactured and made. And then, your first sales, and so let’s go back to the very beginning, when you and your business partner had this idea, and you knew that you wanted to source this from Ecuador, obviously, what are some of the first steps that you took in order to start?
Juan: I’m glad you asked this because for us, the problem is a lot more than a product that was created in a lab because the base of all of our products is a traditional recipe that we actually grew up drinking that comes from Ecuador. And it’s a very popular drink in Ecuador that is used everyday, mainly because of the digestive benefits and great taste.
Juan: And so what we decided to do when we figured we were going to launch this is let’s find out where this tradition comes from. And so, we basically ended up making a road trip from Quito which is the north of Ecuador to the south, the border of Peru, where these traditions come from and we stopped in 52 different farmers’ communities and tried 52 different recipes and learned all about these traditions. And then we ended up partnering up with a farmers community that was the most open, the most welcoming and that their blend of herbs, that is the base of this product, was the most delicious one.
Ken: And so we learned the recipe and the ingredients from them, and we started sourcing all of the ingredients from them as well. And so then, the next step was only to find a food scientist that could actually industrialize the recipe, let’s say, to produce it at scale. It’s a very particular story on how we did it.
Ken: Okay, and how did you find a food scientist?
Juan: Then, the food scientist, this is, You know how my dad, so my dad in Ecuador obviously we were doing all these in Ecuador. A news article from a couple of young brothers that had started up a beverage manufacturing company, Wilner and D-lab, and he was like, oh, look Juan, this is what I read this morning, you should call them up, and, we called them, and they are still our manufacturing partner today.
Ken: Huh. And so when you called them, what were you trying to accomplish? See if they could help industrialize your beverage or what were you?
Juan: Yeah, I literally was trying to understand absolutely everything. I love business. So I was, yeah, I was trying to, so my questions were like, look, we want to sell these in the United States, we want it to be ready to drink and bottled. We have some sort of a recipe that we can bring one of these farmers to your lab and for him to share what he does, and then we want to replicate all that with less sugar, with a shelf life of 12 months. And so they, we just asked them a ton of questions basically. And they were very helpful at that moment. They had experienced manufacturing problems that are exported to the U S so they had all the regulatory parts set up, and that kicked off our commercial relationship and it’s been great.
Ken: And were they a brand themselves? Did they have their own product?
Juan: They do have their own brands.
Ken: But they also manufacture for other people?
Juan: They started to call back in just for us. I think now they have a few other customers, but at that moment we were the first ones.
Ken: Okay. I think that’s actually an important lesson. The first thing is you just reached out to them, right? What do you have to lose? Like the worst they can do is say, no, not interested, don’t call back or something like that. But it seems you’re able to strike up a friendship with them and they’ve ended up becoming a really important partner to you. Are there any lessons that you learned through that experience? In lining all that up?
Juan: I think the biggest one, I think that both my co-founder and I have experienced that before, but it’s, don’t be scared of not knowing about something because you can learn by asking the right questions to the right people and so we, weren’t scared to say, look like we really don’t have experience, we would love you to guide us, like walk us through, what does it mean to have an industrialized recipe? What does it mean to have an FDA approved product so that we were really humble. Let’s say. We learned that, being willing to be humble, being willing to talk, save that there are things that you don’t know are the most important things to continue to develop on your journey as a businessman and entrepreneur.
Ken: And then, the other thing I think is, maybe somebody else might’ve been a little apprehensive about reaching out to a potential competitor, right? These guys also had a brand, you could have looked at it as, Hey, we compete against each other, why would they help me? What did you think about that when you approached another drink brand?
Juan: Yeah, you’re right. But look, we, early on. You should talk to us, well, about your idea and don’t be afraid that as someone who’s going to, he’s going to steal it from you because at the end of the day, 99% is execution and 1% is ideas so there’s no valued idea first. And then obviously you want to protect yourself, when you start sharing confidential information. So we share a lot of information without an NDAs time. But then as soon as we started talking about specific ingredients and quantities, and all that, we signed an NDA that protected both bodies of confidential information that don’t want to be shared.
Ken: Yeah, and then just in that, hey, this is a competitor, but they had everything set up already, and they had experience, and ending up partnering with them, it was a shortcut to setting all this up yourself or trying to find something. And I think that other brands could do that.
Ken: And, so you want to start a protein bar company, here in the United States, you might actually consider reaching out to other protein bar companies to see if they could make your product, in manufacturing too, often people have additional capacity and they’re looking at ways in which they can bring in additional revenue or protect capacity to use or things like that. So I think people are more open to it than you would probably think.
Juan: Yeah, that is true. And we also knew that our main focus is the US market, right? Their main focuses is Ecuador, now they are expanding in two other countries in South America but, we knew from early on that even if they would want to penetrate the U S market, It’s so hard to wait if you are not close to the consumer, and you need to be here in order to create a successful consumer brand in the U S you can’t, you cannot do it operating from overseas. So it wasn’t, we didn’t have competing markets. Let’s say.
Ken: You sold a similar product and like it’s a beverage, right? A bottled beverage. You weren’t actually competitors cause you were in different markets. Is that what you’re saying? Okay. Okay. Yeah. That makes sense. Yeah. So you guys nailed the formula on the first try. Then it’s been smooth sailing ever since, or why don’t you tell us about that experience, what did you learn? How did it go?
Juan: Yeah, no, I wish, but I think that the problem now, the one that I just described, I think it’s our fourth iteration in terms of packaging, branding, and positioning. And yeah. We’ve learned many things about the process. We’ve learned first to listen to a consumer, to understand what are the key attributes that they are looking for.
Juan: We learned about distribution because remember CPG is, half of the business is distribution, so the right channels and the other right channels for our brand, what are the right distributors for our brand, understanding which ones can bring the most ROI at this stage or over venture and all of the challenges around supply chain and logistics, help to scale manufacturing of products.
Juan: That is a lot of planning, a lot of forecasting because it can not happen from one day to another.
Ken: Right, especially in this environment where supplies are all over the place, do you have a concrete example of something that may be surprising that a customer told you, about the product and then, how you guys responded to that feedback?
Juan: Yeah. So for example, in terms of positioning early on, we tried plant-based tonic. We were positioned as a plant-based tonic. And then what we learned after we launched that product was that consumers were confused on whether the product had bubbles because of tonic water, they didn’t know if it was flat or had bubbles that was creating a lot of confusion.
Juan: And as a consumer, I think it’s very important to set the right expectations. So when people buy a plant-based tonic, they think it has bubbles and then they try it and it’s a problem without carbonation. They’re disappointed in it, it’s a bad experience. They will never come back. And so that was one of the specific things that I can remember right now that
Juan: We launched it, and then the market quickly told us, now you need to clearly articulate what this is, because this is confusing for the consumer.
Ken: And I actually think your current positioning, as a prebiotic herbal tea I think that reaches just a much broader, basic consumer, right?
Ken: Like so many people, I think I read somewhere that tea is the most popular beverage in the world, second to water. Something like that. And so on. So I think that this is positioning that you had to come to. It sounds like you had to work your way towards your current positioning.
Juan: Oh yeah, absolutely. And to your point, I think that the ready to drink tea category is massive in the U S it’s a little over seven billion dollars, and when you think about the category Ken, is, all of the leading brands so-called is Napoles, the Arizona’s, the Gold Beaks, the Pure Leaves. All of these brands are loaded with sugars, and, up to 45 grams, empty carbs, up to 150 calories and artificial ingredients.
Juan: And so we think we bring a very different product to a category with zero added sugar, very low calorie. Only natural ingredients, but also we have the prebiotic fiber. So to your point, this is a lot more mainstream than the product that we have before, and as you said, it’s a work in progress.
Juan: I don’t think this will be the last iteration, but I think we’re getting close to it.
Ken: Okay. Great. Great. We’re almost up on time here. I did want to make sure to touch on what’s coming up. It sounds like you guys are launching a new product or, why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?
Juan: Sure. Yeah, we’re super excited, because the prebiotic herbal tea with prebiotic powers and zero added sugar is coming to market. Right now this is brand new, we’re calling it Waku 2.0, because we did a bunch of improvements on formulation, packaging, messaging and positioning. And so the main launch of this new line
Juan: is on April 12th, And we are having a big launch party on April 15th that is open to the public if anyone wants to join the information is on our website. Just super excited because, I think we did a terrific job on having incredible taste, sweet, but zero added sugar sweetening with natural sweeteners, such as mung fruit, and then the prebiotic fiber again, a lot of people most of Americans don’t eat enough fiber during the day, and we’re gonna provide 25% of the daily intake. So I highly recommend everyone to listen. Who’s listening to this to try it out? You won’t be disappointed.
Ken: And if somebody is interested in trying that out, how do they do it? What’s the best way to do it?
Juan: Oh yeah. So you can go to the Amazon Store, you just search Waku Tea in the search bar or www.
Ken: Okay. Yeah. Got it. Let’s quickly do the quickfire round. I’ve got four questions for you. And then, and then we’ll wrap this up. What’s one tool or resource that has helped you the most in your current position?
Juan: One tool or resource. I think that in our industry, the research that has helped us the most is BevNET. It’s a trade publication. They are covering all the trends in the industry and doing analysis on categories and product reviews. So I spend a lot of time learning about the industry there.
Ken: I’ve got one of their magazines right here on my desk right now. What is one book that you can recommend to the audience?
Juan: So I’m going to ask, I’m going to share one that I read at the end of last year and that we implemented in Waku, and it’s been very helpful, it’s called Get a Grit and, from Andy Wickman and this book is about implementing a management system for entrepreneurial companies called entrepreneurial operating system.
Juan: So think about it as OKRs on steroids. It really helps you get alignment and clarity throughout the organization. It’s really helpful when you’re starting to scale.
Ken: Awesome. What is one piece of advice that you would give your 21 year old self?
Juan: Dream bigger.
Ken: Goes to your early quote?
Juan: Yeah, exactly. I think that sometimes in your 21 year old self. You haven’t had the opportunity to explore the world, read many books and all that, but when you start opening up to the world, and read more and understand how there are so many people around the world that are self-made that have conquered everything that they want to just through discipline and commitment that they are not extraordinary.
Juan: They just have really committed to a goal and have the discipline to execute on the plan. You can achieve whatever you set out to.
Ken: Yeah, I love it. And, last, who is, one person, in your field, maybe another entrepreneur or another brand that you keep an eye on, that you would love to take to lunch?
Juan: It’s this Brazilian businessman that I told you.
Juan: He’s mostly a private equity guy, but they are the group behind AB Beth and Kraft Heinz. So they are behind consumer goods companies, big ones, but the most inspiring person that I’ve learned about is a Brazilian billionaire. And the amount of impact he has had in Brazil is incredible.
Juan: And so I think that Jorge Paulo Lemann is his name and that’s the person that inspires me the most.
Ken: Okay, awesome. As we wrap up here, I just wanted to say, I think it’s been a fantastic interview, tons of value for other entrepreneurs. Are there any parting words for other entrepreneurs out there that are in the grind right now?
Ken: They’re working through their business, what would you say to them?
Juan: We like to talk with Nico. Always move forward is a concept where no matter what challenge you’re facing right now, there’s always a solution, if you keep grinding, if you keep trying to find a way.
Juan: And so some of the listeners might be going through very challenging times in their business, just remember there’s always a solution. Just keep moving forward.
Ken: Okay. Yeah, that’s a great note to end on. Hey, I appreciate it Juan. Thanks for coming on. And, we’ll talk soon. I appreciate it.
Juan: And this has been great. Thank you so much for the invite. Ken: All right, awesome. Physical Product Movement podcast is brought to you by fiddle to find out more about fiddle and how our industry leading inventory ops platform is giving modern brands and manufacturers full visibility into their inventory and operations visit fiddle.io, and then make sure to search for Physical Product Movement and Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts, or anywhere else podcasts are found. Make sure to click subscribe. So you don’t miss any future episodes on behalf of the team here at fiddle. Thanks for listening.