Making the product is the easier part, selling it a totally different game. Focus on the things that produce revenues!
Flor Palacios & Salvador
What were the key driving forces to bringing yourself into the AlcoBev industry?
Over 30 years ago, I started in an entry-level position in the food industry, without speaking English, as a single mother of a nine-month-old boy, and with no education. The need to support me and my son, lead me to go to school to learn English to be able to communicate; Then, I decided not to stop until I earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Within this time, I was promoted to different levels of responsibility up to Vice-President of Operations.
Even though the food and Beverage industry is hard, I decided to continue in the industry because I fell in love with the fast pace, the risk taking, and the people. However, it’s very different to work in a structured company with systems and process already established than a startup. Luckily, the skills I developed and learned throughout the years are transferrable to my own business. Because the alcohol beverage industry is more regulated than other, I continue to learn, meet new people, and stay in the field.
How did you come up with the name for your brand?
Every great drink has a story. Salvadores, mean rescuers in English, is a name of high strength and great message, which is easy to remember and will be timeless because of the strong desire and will to rescue our family tradition to make artisanal mezcal.
What are the secrets to your success?
There is no secret sauce! If you have motivation and discipline to do what you enjoy doing, even when things get tough, you succeed. In this industry, I have met generous people that have shared their knowledge with me and that has helped me to achieve my
goals. Over the years, I have learned that the secret to succeed in any business is to build a support system that includes family, mentors you can call, and experts in your business that can give you feedback to help you improve specific area.
How did you raise funding for your venture?
My husband Salvador has supported me in all my endeavors. Saving for a decade and a half gave us the funds necessary to start our adventure. It is important to have a business plan that serves as guide to stay in track. Part of our business plan was to bring our family tradition back. First, we selected and bought a land that once belonged to my husband Salvador’s father, which it has a significant emotional value because Sal learned from his grandfather how to ride horses there. That’s the same location in Tlacolula, Oaxaca where we built our Distillery Casa Palacios.
The tough time of covid accelerated our plans by a couple of years and helped us create other streams of revenue. Salvadores Mezcal brand was born in 2020 instead of 2023 as planned and we started providing bottling services as well. Be ready for the unexpected!
What are your biggest successes and failures?
One of our big successes is becoming international in 2021. We founded our startup in 2019 in Oaxaca and Salvadores Mezcal brand was launched in September 2020 and crossing the border to USA in April 2021 was a great accomplishment.
In failures, I see opportunities. In my need to save funds, I was not using my time in the most efficient way by taking on more things than I should have, and the results were not what I expected. An evaluation on how I was spending my time, helped me made changes that saved me frustrations, money, and time. Time is priceless!
How did you persevere through the tough times?
Through tough times, I remember why we started this journey, and that fills me with joy and energy to keep going. I create a positive environment around me, that’s how I live my life. I always find the positive even in negative situations, it’s my perspective to life. In addition, I am not afraid nor embarrassed to ask for help. In tough times, it’s when I have learned the most and it has been the most rewarding.
What do you want to achieve next?
I want to open a non-profit organization to help single moms and abused women. I was one of them, as a single mom for a decade and a little person depending on me, I learned how difficult was to survive. I want to help those women that feel there is no way out; those that need a hand to finish that degree to better their life and the life of their children, those women that feel that must stay in abusive relationships because they have no place to go and can’t support themselves. I want to create a support system for those that have the desire and are willing to thrive to improve their lives.
What are some of the challenges you faced or are facing regarding catalyzing innovation?
I stay open and supportive to new ideas. Focusing more on developing a innovating culture, It’s important for me to allocate unstructured time to encourage innovation. Everyone has a seat at the table to provide their unique perspective. As an organization, we understand that internal as external collaboration is equally important. I value our customers’ perspective which help us understand changes in demand and stay tuned in to their needs. Changing circumstances affect the competitive race in the long term; Therefore, adapting our product in the way we produce it and delivery to our customers is critical to stay relevant and meet our clients higher expectations. Innovation is an important factor for our success.
What are your tips for growing a company?
We are in the people business, no matter what your trade is. My recommendations are to take care of your people and they will take care of you. Your team makes you or breaks you by their actions which are influenced by how you make them feel. Therefore, involve key members of your team on the selection of the new hires, after all, they are the ones around them must of the time. Furthermore, their continue development is necessary for their growth and the growth of the company. Invest on training!
Take care of your own mental and physical health. Be passionate, be consistent, be committed, but also manage to leave room for the important people in your life. Treasure your time! Another tip is set a strong financial foundation, have a business plan (Be able to adjust accordingly to the business needs), review your financial reports monthly to manage funds properly, remember it’s not what you make that matters, but
what you spend every month. Lastly, manage your time wisely. Yes, you can do everything, but doing everything robs you the time to do more important things like networking and building a strong sales team. Making the product is the easier part, selling it a totally different game. Focus on the things that produce revenues!
What do you have to say to the future aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Those women entrepreneurs out there, I say, follow your dream. Do not allow anyone to tell you that you can’t do it or that you are dreaming too high. There is a price to pay for women entrepreneurs, fight resistance, sometimes it feels like you are swimming upstream, and you get tired, shake it off and go on. Continue to educate yourself, seek guidance from other successful businesspeople, and build a support system, you will