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From Bootstrapping to Bootlegging with Mitchell Hayes, Founder and CEO of Los Sundays Tequila

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As Ernest Hemmingway wisely said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” But trusting blindly doesn’t come without risk and if someone ultimately proves they didn’t deserve your trust to begin with, it may already be too late.. That is the devastating lesson that Mitchell Hayes, founder and CEO of Los Sundays Tequila had to learn the hard way.

“We had some people involved with the business in the early days where a lot of money went missing,” Hayes said. “There was no way for us to get it back. And it nearly sunk us. We were working out of my lounge room at home, around the dining room table. I stopped paying myself cause the money disappeared out of the account to keep paying the three employees that we had. The bank account literally hit zero twice.

This was a sink or swim situation for Mitchell and Los Sundays. But, frankly, Mitchell was made to swim. He had been finding his way through all kinds of choppy and unfamiliar waters his whole life. Where did that grit and determination come from, and where did it ultimately lead? Let’s find out. Welcome back to The Journey.

Main Takeaways:

  • Compensate for your Weaknesses: Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and so does every business. Learn first what the demands of the industry are, learn your competition. Then take stock of your own store of goods; what are you especially talented at, what are your strongest skills?  Then think about where you might be able to utilize your skill in an area that your competitors are weak in. This tactic can be enough to toe the line with your competitors.
  • Any Means Necessary: Every business owner comes across trying times and difficult challenges, but sometimes overcoming those things takes superhuman effort. Owning your own business will likely involve a good bit of personal sacrifice and struggle at some, if not many, points. Go into entrepreneurship with the mentality of getting it done by any means possible.
  • It’s Okay if Dreams Change: What we start out wanting to do as kids is rarely what we end up having a career in. When you dedicate your entire childhood and younger adult years toward achieving that same goal, the transition to something else can be difficult. Know that changing your dream doesn’t mean that you failed at the first one, you just re-negotiated the terms of your dream.

Key Quotes:

We had some people involved with the business in the early days where a lot of money went missing. There was no way for us to get it back. And it nearly sunk us. We were working out of my lounge room at home, around the dining room table. I stopped paying myself because the money disappeared out of the account to keep paying the three employees that we had. The bank account literally hit zero twice.”

“[You need] money, distribution, connections and celebrity to get the awareness. We hit the market and we had no money, didn’t know one person that worked in alcohol distribution, and we were just a couple of immigrants from Australia in America, trying to sell a Mexican liquor.”

I knew what we didn’t have with money and distribution I had in connections. I knew that we had creativity. Me and my friends, we were good at marketing or good at design. We knew how to use social media and felt like the big guys really didn’t know how to use social media. So there was this huge window where it opened up. That hadn’t been that way before, where you could come into this industry and use social media, use your network and use creativity to be able to get the consumer’s attention before they go into a bar or a liquor store.”

“[In] the early days I was going to travel the world and stuff and live the good life. I did realize earlier on I didn’t really want to work for other people. I always wanted to work for myself and I always wanted to create something. I always had this vision of being older and looking back and seeing something in the market that I created and [see] people drink it and love it.” 

Bio:

More than just a tequila company, Løs Sundays looked beyond the bottle to create a modern brand, appealing to millennials and capturing our culture through strategic marketing. Løs Sundays was born to provide high-quality, great-tasting tequila for the trend savvy, culture conscious consumers of the modern twenty twenties. 

 The disruptive brand Founded by CEO Mitchell Hayes, has proven themselves by earning award titles with the International SIP Awards, San Francisco World Spirits Award and Best Tasting Spirit. They’ve captured the most sought-after consumers (millennial females) through their dominant social channels, and have developed a collection of premium custom tees and merch that set the brand apart from the crowd, capitalizing on the growing tequila culture.  Løs Sundays has helped pave the way for other tequila companies to think unconventionally.

This season of the Journey is produced by Mission.org and brought to you by UPS. To learn how UPS can help your small business, go to UPS.com/pivot.

Episode 99