Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are tequila couple Alex Lacroix & Monica Sanita, who were once and many times called crazy but have since launched an incredibly successful luxury spirit business with roots in Mexico…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
We produce craft luxury single estate 100% blue weber agave tequila and ship it from Jalisco, Mexico to Canada. (We make booze and sell it.)
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
Apart from it being a great excuse to travel the world with the one you love, if your grandmother made Mezcal, wouldn’t you follow in her footsteps?
When we decided to create a business and build a legacy to leave our kids, we wanted to make sure that whatever it was we would be passionate about it, that it would allow us to express ourselves artistically.
When you create a product that’s authentic, true to your roots, and is an expression of yourself, it makes it a lot easier to love what you do and a lot easier for consumers to be advocates of your brand.
We also just wanted to build our own lives, shape our own future, and call our own shots. Climbing the corporate ladder just felt like it was building someone else’s machine.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Monica: After over a year of hard work, chaos and sleepless nights, seeing it all come together right here and now is a pretty big one for me. Overseeing of our first batch of tequila being bottled at the distillery was unreal. Doing interviews, entertaining media and press tours have been pretty fun too. Thanks, Notable!
Alex: When I realized I was in a small rural town called Tequila located in the valley of a volcano, making an alcoholic beverage out of a plant the Aztecs considered to be a gift from the gods. Oh, and when my executive creative director gave me a high five for giving my notice and heading out to live the dream.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Monica: In the mirror, as always. Whether it’s in five years, 10 years, 20 or each and every day, I see myself constantly learning, laughing, making sure we’re enjoying every bit of the journey and sharing our tequila with the world.
Alex: Although we’re pretty focused on the present, in five years we’ll be well rooted and in the position
to start thinking really big. It takes craft, attention to detail, and thinking tight to build something beautiful and you need a solid foundation to build big on. I learned that from my career in advertising and working construction with my uncle Louis. ‘Sup, Louis!
Ten and 20 years down the road I’d like to be in family mode with Monica, be there for my daughter Aaliyah, and make more children to leave behind what we’re building towards. After reading the four-hour workweek by Tim Ferris and a few other books, I’ve learned there’s a way to live life to its fullest and stay above the water financially along the way.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Here are our ten commandments:
1. If you have an idea, write it down. Write everything down. What seems insane now could actually seem brilliant later.
2. Think of what the press headline is. What would they say about your start-up in the news? If it sounds big, it’s probably a big idea.
3. If it looks bad and smells bad, it’s bad. Anthony Kalamut taught us you can’t polish a piece of shit. So don’t be afraid to walk away from something if it’s really not working.
4. Work like hell, go with your gut, and don’t be afraid to take risks.
5. Sometimes you just have to take that leap. Big risks = big results (but don’t be stupid, do your research and test everything you do).
6. Be the employer, not the employee. No matter what. Work towards that.
7. When you die, make sure you’ve got a great story to leave behind. Work hard, but don’t regret not living life to its fullest.
8. Fear success more than failure. Being afraid is a good thing, as long as you face your fears.
9. Bend the rules as much as you can without breaking them. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, inside the box.
10. Don’t be an ass. A big ego will close a lot of doors.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
We do good deeds whenever we see the opportunity. This one time, late at night, we saw a truck parked on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Then, an old man walking with a gas can. We pulled over picked him up drove him to the nearest gas station, then brought him back to his car. The relief, joy and surprised look on his face was priceless, straight up.
It starts with giving your seat up for people on the train and ends wherever you want it to, but if everyone did a little good every day then the world would be a better place and that’s a good start for us. In the future, we’d love to empower urban youth in a positive way and give back to the underprivileged in rural areas of Mexico.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Learning how to not do what we’ve been taught to do our entire lives. We were told we were crazy more than once. I think we had the advantage of not knowing all the rules to the business. That kept us so blissfully naive to the maze-like and unexpected obstacles that would soon suck us in, until we became so tangled in it that quitting was no longer a possibility – and thank goodness for that. This one time, we got stuck at the Edmonton airport with a bunch (like LOTS) of tequila. Missed our flights, learned a few airline regulations the hard way. But we made the best of it and it was fun. The whole airport knew our names. We were the tequila couple.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
Monica: Doing things worth noticing.
Alex: In life some details are worth writing down cause it’s important we remember them. Being notable is being important, admired and respected.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Monica: Any place with a nice patio, cold beer and good tequila.
Alex: I’m with Monica on that one. Bonus if it’s owned by someone like ourselves, grinding to make it all succeed and loving what they do. That stuff makes the food and drinks better.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Monica: Gmail, sadly. Anything Beyoncé.
Alex: How many bonus points do I get for saying Notable? But really, face time with my daughter gets tons of screen time. As an art director, Pinterest is inspiration god (thanks user generated content). I try to stay away from social sites unless it’s for Siempre; going on social media can really up your productivity.
I’m a golden era hip-hop guy. Nas, Scarface, Sean Price and Masta Ace. Git up get out by Goodie Mob gets tons of airtime when I need motivation. Curtis Mayfield is my homie and I can do the hotline bling dance.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Monica: Any person that inspires you, makes you mad, or puts a smile on your face.
Alex: Tim Ferriss and both Rogans – Seth and Joe (I know, it’s Rogen and Rogan). But really, what Monica said.
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Monica: Mexico, because it feels like home. Oh! And the tacos. Next? Anywhere hot with a beach.
Alex: Well, I’ll follow Monica OBV. Mexico feels like home. Love me some ‘Merica, especially Vegas, but I’m thinking Iceland seems like a thing I wanna do. Moni, you want to come with me? As long as we’re living like locals I’m up for anywhere.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Monica: My phone on 5% battery without a charger nearby. Eek!
Alex: Missing out on time with my daughter, Monica, and family because of my day (but usually working super late) job. Oh! and my phone at 10% battery without a charger nearby.
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Monica: Just one? Netflix binges, staying in bed ’til noon and dark beer. And green sour Skittles.
Alex: Poutine. Real poutine, like squeaky fresh cheese curd poutine. Did I mention I’m from Quebec?
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
Monica: Dollar store knick-knacks that aren’t even a dollar. My parents because they’ve worked so hard to build a life for my sister and I.
Alex: Popping bottles in the club and diamonds. Investing in super awesome start-ups, education by any means, and philanthropy.
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Monica: Being the best version of yourself.
Alex: Waking up excited about your day, completing a checklist before the end of it, not being worried about money, being notable, and living life without fear (basically, when we’re literally living out “Juicy” by Biggie Smalls).