THE COCONUT CARTEL

Hola! I’m Vero Cangas, Creative Producer at El Autobús. Recently I came up with the idea of starting a project that allowed us to step into the minds of the people who give Wynwood its identity; the Wynwooders. The objective is to reveal the experiences, thoughts and ideas of Wynwooders – artists, vendors, locals, entrepreneurs, visitors and everything in between. This is an interview I did with The Coconut Cartel Co-Founder and CEO, Danielle Zig. She is not only a dear friend of mine but also a successful entrepreneur who I deeply admire. Any young or aspiring entrepreneur might want to pay attention to her words.

 El Autobus, Wynwooders project

El Autobus, Wynwooders project

 The Coconut Cartel CEO and co-founder Danielle Zig

The Coconut Cartel CEO and co-founder Danielle Zig

Tell me about Coconut Cartel. What do you do?

Coconut Cartel imports some of the most amazing tasting coconuts to bring pretty much the only real raw coconut water on the market that hasn’t been pasteurized or processed in any way.

How did the company start? How did the idea come to be?

The idea started basically just my brother being so surprised at how easy it was to open a coconut. It was literally just poking a hole in it with a key and sticking a straw in it like a natural juice box. So he wanted to figure out a way to bring that to the States.

 Coconut Cartel coconut

Coconut Cartel coconut

 Coconut Field

Coconut Field

What was the hardest part of starting the company?

The hardest part was setting up a cold supply chain that was able to keep the coconuts fresh without using any preservatives and abiding by food safety laws. So for me that was the hardest, and then I guess for my brother who’s more on the marketing side, the hardest part was to be taken seriously as a real business.

Why was that hard?

We were literally two kids selling coconuts out of the backs of our cars. So when we would come to establishments like Soho House or The Standard, it’s hard to take two kids seriously, but when they tasted our product, and they saw that we were really passionate about it and worked hard to make sure they were accommodated for, they gave us a chance and it worked out.

 Coconut production

Coconut production

 Coconut Cartel coconut

Coconut Cartel coconut

For you personally, not on the business side, but for you, what’s been the hardest part of being such a young entrepreneur?

The hardest part about it is … I guess it’s hard to accept the unknown. It’s hard to accept that you don’t know how much you’re going to be making in six months, and it’s hard to not know exactly where your future is going. I’m not on a corporate track where I can climb up the ranks and have a stable job. It’s really up to me and waking up every morning and being like, “ok, today you can either choose to be productive or not” and that’s really hard.

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself for 15 minutes right before you started the company, what would you tell yourself?

I would say to be patient, and not get so stressed out about wanting things to happen at a certain time or in a certain way, because it doesn’t necessarily always work out that way. And also to take care of myself. Starting a business is really hard and stressful.

 Danielle Zig and Mike Zig

Danielle Zig and Mike Zig

What’s your definition of an entrepreneur?

I really believe you can be an entrepreneur in so many ways, but it’s basically having the ability to take a product or a service, and it can be anything from art to medicine, or a musician — and being able to monetize on it; make a career out of it.

Did you always see yourself as an entrepreneur?

Yes. Always, always. Since I was a baby. Literally I can remember being 7-8 years old and creating fake business plans and always talking to my dad about my business ideas. I used to draw out jerseys and shirts and color them with markers and go sell them to my neighbors. I would take orders from all these people and pretend to have my dad make them, but he would never make them. The execution wasn’t there yet, but the idea was. That’s what I can remember.


Post by Veronica Cangas

PHOTOS
El Autobus, Inc
Coconut Cartel

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