Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ramon Sandoval >

Ramon Sandoval, Founder,  Vino Latino

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
A dream and the ambition to achieve it.

What inspired you to start your business?
I fell in love with Napa and was excited to learn that there are many Latinos making wine here and actually, all across the USA.  This gave me the idea to combining two things I am passionate about wine and supporting Latinos.

How did you finance it? day at a time.  The term “Boot Strapping” comes to mind.

Does being Hispanic/Latina have any influence on your business?
HUGE. IT’s the inspiration behind my business.  It also helps me find customers because Latinos love to support other Latinos.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead?
Faith in Jesus Christ, perseverance (never give up), out-of-the-box thinking, and a supportive wife who is also my business partner.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Marketing to consumers on a shoestring budget. 

If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?
Nothing, I love my business and if there is something I don’t like I can change it.

What was your childhood ambition?
To get out of the ghetto.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
Steve Jobs, Rolando Robledo, Mark Zuckerberg

For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Breakfast or Lunch, I’m an early riser.

What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
My corporate job, my fancy car, and vacations.

What is your favorite quote?
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”  ~unknown

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Not for me, just the opposite in fact.  Following the crowd, towing the corporate line, doing everything the same old way bores me and makes me feel stifled. 

Biggest mistake made?
When I first started I would fall for everyone’s promise of “exposure” by pouring wine for free. I quickly learned the only thing it exposed me to was more requests for free stuff while my bills went unpaid.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I do because I’m always looking for new and different ways of doing things. I think you have to when you are small.  I don’t have to money and influence of big corporations so the only way I can compete is to come up with new and fun ideas.  Vino With Amigos is a perfect example.  I had to figure out how to get in front of consumers so I started doing in-home wine tasting parties.  I am also launching my own wine label, “Vino S Vida” because no Latino winemakers made an affordable moscato so I decided to make my own.

Description of the company:
Vino Latino is a wine company that supports and promotes Latinos in the American wine industry by selling wine made or owned by Latinos in the USA.  We sell wine via newsletter specials, wine club, Vino With Amigos (in-home wine tastings), and tours.

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