Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Laura Giraudo, Co-Founder of OAX Original, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm one of the founders of OAX Original, a wild-agave mezcal company. All of our mezcales are produced in Oaxaca, Mexico by our third generation Maestro Mezcalero Enrique Hernández Zenea. Our customers vary from mezcal aficionados—those who have loved mezcal for a while—to those who are diving into it just now. They all search for a unique experience that goes beyond taste, a combination of all senses. We want our products to be a full experience from the moment you open the box, grab the bottle and have your first sip. We want to surprise our customers with something unexpected.
Tell us about yourself
My background is in Graphic Design, and I'm currently a Creative Director and Sommelier. My partners and I started OAX as an art project that eventually became this amazing brand where we are bringing to consumers an incredible experience that transcends the product. Our motto is "The Constant Search for Beauty." This is our compass. We've used it to develop our branding language and choose people with whom we want to collaborate and make art. We work on art collaborations with photographers, musicians, and other artists to develop our look and feel. In the same way, our motto demands us to become these curious mezcal drinkers—we're always looking for beautiful, artistic expressions of mezcal we can bring to our customers. We want to share with everyone the craft and heritage behind mezcal and hope everyone enjoys it as much as we do.
I'm motivated by the incredible feedback we receive from customers and beyond. The fact people get to experience the unboxing of one of our bottles in their hands makes me really proud of all of our (small!) team. It's an incredible feeling to have, something you have worked tirelessly to bring to life, it's finally out, and it's creating an impact.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
This is a hard question to answer; being a business owner and entrepreneur, you get to have multiple challenges every day. I think seeing our company grow and move to the next stages is something that makes me very proud. Once you start a project, you have many goals you want to accomplish as a business; it's not all about revenue. For example, I have a strong interest in fair trade and sustainability. I'm happy to announce that as per Batch 3 (coming next October!), we will be replanting one endemic agave in Oaxaca per bottle sold. This effort has been made in partnership with our Maestro. Wild agave is not an unlimited resource, and this is the right time to start working on keeping the environment balanced.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is maintaining a healthy business; this comes with a lot of hard work from all the parts involved. I'm happy and grateful to have a great business partner, Camilo Mendoza, who works side by side with me every day on this project. We share the vision of what we want for OAX, and we definitely strive to bring the best to our customers. Small businesses like ours are usually managed by a small team. You get to wear different hats every day, but that being said, what is the hardest part of being a business owner is also the part where you learn the most from.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Always follow your vision, but be flexible to changes if they are needed.
- Be patient and trust your gut; if it feels right, it's right.
- Last but not least, make sure you partner with the right people!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I'm honored to be able to share my thoughts on OAX Original with you all. I hope we get to chat again soon! Meanwhile, I cheer with OAX Tobalá, Salud!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.