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Finance NFT

12 NFT Business Ideas You Can Start Today

NFTs are swiftly becoming the new standard when it comes to social signaling. Spend a few minutes on crypto twitter and you will notice that everyone’s profile picture is some sort of avatar. 

This isn’t just some hyped up fad that will soon blow-over. Rather, it is a shift in culture as well as the way that humans interact and conduct transactions between each other.

The opportunity to build something great is upon us, which is likely the reason why various celebrities and Fortune 500 companies are investing both personally, and in a way to leverage their own brand.

Fortunately, we can all use NFTs to start our own business as well. Here are the top 12 NFT business ideas that you can start today:

1. Build an NFT Investment Firm

Although NFTs may be a new avenue to grow your investment portfolio, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a ton of deep-pocket investors looking to put their fiat into something new, innovative, and exciting—such as non-fungible tokens.

Keep in mind that people nowadays are busier than ever. Most of us don’t have time to sit around and study the NFT market all day. That’s where you come in: the NFT investment firm.

Essentially, investors would give you their money so that you can invest into NFTs with your expertise, in the hopes of a profitable return on their investment. For your services, you receive a percentage from the profit and call it a done deal.

If you are someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about the NFT market, then this business idea may be an excellent fit for you.

2. Grow your own NFT investment portfolio

Maybe you are a great NFT investor, but you’re not interested in handling other people’s assets. That’s okay. Fortunately for you, you can simply invest in your own investment portfolio. With NFTs, there are a couple ways you can play it.

Short term NFT investment (the quick-flip) is when you buy an NFT with the intention of holding onto it for a brief moment and then quickly selling it for a profit. If you can do this many times over, then you can turn into a profitable business for yourself.

Long term NFT investments (diamond hands) are investments that are intended to be held for a period of at least 5 to 10 years, in my opinion. The long term investments should be considered extremely risky however.

3. Open your own NFT restaurant

Do you really enjoy food? Then opening an NFT restaurant is something innovative you could do. No one has done this yet, but that’s not to say there isn’t already an NFT restaurant in the works.

In order to give you a better idea on how to accomplish such a task, I will use Gary Vaynerchuk as an example. Gary will be opening the very first NFT restaurant in Fall of 2022 in New York City. 

To experience the restaurant, guests will require a membership, which will be purchased as NFTs. Gary is planning to offer three different levels of memberships, all offered in the form of a non-fungible token. This may seem far fetched now, but this is only the beginning.

4. Create NFTs for the metaverse

In the macro, the metaverse is an up-and-coming system of virtual worlds that are linked together on the blockchain. Within this virtual world lies a whole lot of opportunity for creators and consumers alike.

Metaverses such as Somnium Space and Cryptovoxels allow users to create their own virtual assets and monetize them. From virtual wearables, to games and events, creators have an opportunity to put their creative talents to work. As a metaverse asset creator, you can sell and trade any virtual assets that you create.

As the metaverse continues to scale upwards in terms of popularity and social acceptance, so will the demand for virtual assets. The multitude of people who visit the metaverse do so to consume and connect. The concept is no different than hanging out at the mall with your friends.

I know there are many creators in the NFT community. So if you are looking to hone in on a new creative skill and maybe even turn it into a business, there’s no better time to start than now.

5. Build a brand as a full time play-to-earn NFT gamer

Earning money playing video games is becoming a more common phenomenon with influencers and sponsors joining hands to build a completely new perspective around the gaming industry. We’re witness an emerging perspective that gaming is much more than locking yourself in your bedroom for 12 hours a day, with nothing to show for it.

Today, gamers run ads, share affiliate links, and earn sponsorships from brands in order to earn a full time income and build their own brand. However, imagine playing a game where you are able to collect valuable in-game assets as you play.

These assets aren’t only for in-game use mind you, they are virtual assets which are stored indefinitely on the blockchain and can be sold on secondary marketplaces for real currency.

If you are a gamer who is not yet gaming on the blockchain, I highly recommend you look into it. For more guidance on creating a business out of NFT gaming, make sure to give Swole’s article a read: How Gamers Can Monetize with NFT Technology.

6. Structure an online NFT course

Some people are exceptional teachers. You know those people. The ones who appear to have a natural act for guiding someone through any task, whether large or small.

If you love teaching/coaching and you just happen to be good with NFTs as well, then you should consider offering your expertise to folks who are looking for it.

Regardless of whether you are an NFT artist who has built a strong community around your personal brand, or even if you are an avid NFT collector, both of these useful skills can be taught to others for a fee.

Depending on your client’s goals, you can offer multiple rates with varying levels of depth and coaching. Perhaps for your higher paying clients, you can offer live support 3 days a week, for example.

Ultimately, it’s your NFT course. You can structure the course however you think will best suit your clients needs.

7. Write a book covering NFTs

Books are full of information. Considering NFTs are so new to society, we can assume that numerous people are seeking to increase their knowledge by studying books and educating themselves on the NFT space. 

There are a lot of ways you could go about publishing your own NFT book. You could go super niche and just cover the buying and selling aspect of the NFT industry, or you could write an “NFTs For Dummies” type book.

Now, if you’re passionate about writing but you don’t want to deal with the headache of producing physical copies of your novel, then you could always offer your audience an Ebook.

An ebook covering NFTs would be simple to sell, convenient for both parties, and beneficial for your customers as long as you provide an insane amount of value in the book.

8. Be an NFT freelance writer

If you love writing but you aren’t sure you want to take on writing an entire novel, I don’t blame you. In that case, building your own NFT freelance writing business may be a great option for you.

With an increasingly large number of websites trying to cover all the NFT and crypto related news in the space, offering your writing skills to these brands could potentially be very lucrative.

As well, considering the NFT community is overflowing with news and updates every day, it’s safe to say that you could keep busy if you put in the effort to find writing opportunities.

I think one of the best things about becoming an NFT freelance writer is the freedom you have to express yourself and your knowledge, as well as having the ability to work from anywhere, anytime.

Seriously, if you enjoy writing and you like NFTs, then starting your own freelance NFT writing business is only one article away.

9. Make an NFT app (DApp)

Considering there are already millions of apps which consume our lives on a daily basis, it should come as no surprise that building a decentralized app, aka a dapp, is a solid business idea. The main difference between an app and a dapp is the backend coding. 

With a dapp, the backend coding is on a decentralized peer-to-peer platform known as the blockchain. The dapps are controlled by the logic written into the smart contract technology, giving the dapps a truly decentralized platform to build from.

As of today, there are not nearly as many dapps as there are apps, but that’s a good sign for opportunity. Some possible categories of dapps you may want to consider creating would be anything related to gaming, social networking, collecting, and—of course—NFT marketplaces are huge right now.

10. Become an NFT influencer

Everyone wants to be an influencer, but have you ever thought about niching down and becoming an NFT influencer? As an NFT influencer, you are able to build your personal brand all while providing your community with valuable and helpful content.

Once you build up a large enough following, you can start monetizing your own products and services. If you aren’t interested in creating your own products or offering your services, then you can just as easily reach out to other brands and let them pay you to represent their brand on your influencer profile.

To be fair, becoming an NFT influencer isn’t an overnight task. However, considering that the NFT community is so new, I believe this means that there is huge potential to start early and get ahead of the pack.

11. Use NFTs to raise capital for a startup

Maybe you don’t want to necessarily build a business around NFTs, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t at least use NFTs to help you raise capital for your future business endeavors. Believe it or not, many small startups are already doing this.


If you have bought any of the several 10k PFP NFT projects available, then you have helped someone raise capital. Many of the NFT projects that drop are taking their money they earn from the drop, and reinvesting it back into the business. You can do the same thing.

Although, I must warn you that as time goes on and the supply of NFT projects increases, so will the competition.

12. Become a metaverse DJ

The metaverse is a virtual universe containing smaller virtual worlds within. In these worlds are virtual assets in the form of NFTs. These assets range from virtual land to wearable goods for your avatar.

Virtual assets aren’t the only thing you will find in the metaverse though. The metaverse is a virtual space where people come to hang out and socialize. I’m talking about virtual parties, conferences, and other events similar in nature.

These events already take place within the metaverse. Considering how popular these virtual events may become in the near future, it may be an excellent idea to bring your DJing skills to the metaverse. You can build your brand around your avatar as the best DJ and perform at events all across the metaverse.

I understand that some of these business ideas may seem a little out of this world, and that’s because some of them are. Remember though, that’s how everything starts at first. Look at dial-up internet, or the very first computer.

It all seems infeasible at first, until it isn’t. I believe this is exactly where NFTs fall in terms of businesses surrounding the technology. If you are reading this article, congratulations. You’re still early.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

The 20 Best Celebrity Alcohol Brands

It’s almost a given these days that when someone become famous and some money starts rolling in for them, some kind of alcohol partnership is coming sooner or later. It’s par for the course now, so there are a heck of a lot of brands out there to choose from, even if you’re just going for something with a celebrity attached to it. There are vodkas, whiskeys, tequilas and more from rappers, singers, actors and more.

To help make your decision a little bit easier, here are a list of some of the best celebrity alcohol brands.

1. 818 Tequila – Kendall Jenner
InsideHook

This past February, Kendall Jenner took to Instagram to reveal that for the past four years, she had been working on a tequila by visiting her distillery, taking blind taste tests and anonymously entering world tasting competitions and winning. Her alcohol was finally ready and it’s called 818 Tequila. It consists of the variants 818 Blanco, 818 Reposado and 818 Añejo. It’s being rolled out in select locations now, despite the controversy about Kendall appropriating Mexican culture and naming it after her Calabasas area code.

2. Armand de Brignac – JAY-Z
Decanter

Though Armand de Brignac was considered to be new in the mid-2000s, in reality, it was just making its North American debut. And though JAY-Z bought the entire company in 2014, he has had a stake estimated to be worth $50 million in it since around 2006. Originally a Cristal drinker, JAY, like many, was turned off by Frederic Rouzaud which had racial undertones. In his own words, he “he switched gold bottles onto that Spade shit”.

3. Aviation American Gin – Ryan Reynolds
Amazon

This is widely respected as arguably the best celebrity alcohol brand on the market, another feather that Ryan Reynolds can add to his cap. Aviation American Gin has been around since 2006, but Reynolds acquired his stake in February of 2018. The amount wasn’t public, but it was clear it was significant, because he took an active role in the business as well as the creative direction. In the summer of last year, the gin company sold for a whopping $610 million.

4. Casamigos Tequila – George Clooney
BienManger

Launched by George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman in 2013, the intention with Casamigos Tequila was originally to make a drink specific to their tastes and not for it to be a public success, but that’s what happened anyway. Eventually it became the fastest growing ultra-premium tequila in the States. In 2017, Diaego, the same company that bought the aforementioned Aviation American Gin, bought Casamigos for a massive $700 million, plus up to another $300 million based on their performance until 2027.

5. Cîroc – Diddy
Country Wine & Spirits

Since the 90s, Diddy has been known to be one of the best marketers on the planet. That’s why when Cîroc was struggling to move 40,000 cases of its vodka in the mid to late-2000s, they wanted the rapper and entrepreneur to hop on board. In a very short period of time, they were moving millions of cases annually. Today, Cîroc Vodka is one of Diddy’s main sources of income and a great asset to his net worth of nearly $1 billion.

6. Código 1530 Tequila – George Strait
Drinkhacker

When he was on a vacation in Los Cabos, during rounds of golf, George Strait and his friends would drink a tequila produced by a small family-owned distillery in Amatitán. They loved it so much that they started to purchased barrels of it for their own consumption. Then came the idea to buy the entire thing and to work with the family to produce it for the world. This happened in May of 2017 and ever since, it’s become a great success. He even has a song named after it.

7. Conjure Cognac – Ludacris
Liquor

Credit to Ludacris for getting into the alcohol business relatively early, in the grand scheme of things today anyway. Luda launched Conjure Cognac in the summer of 2009. He created it himself from a blend of over a dozen samples and his inspiration was to make something like one of his favourite drinks, Louis XIII, but for a more affordable price.

8. Danny DeVito’s Premium Limoncello – Danny DeVito
Pinterest

In November of 2006, legend Danny DeVito made an infamous appearance on The View where he was still a little drunk from the night before with George Clooney. He said “I knew it was the last seven limoncellos that was going to get me”, which he became the butt of some friendly jokes for. Turning a negative to a positive, he launched his own limoncello in May of 2007. It’s a 60-proof liqueur that’s genuinely top of the range.

9. Dos Hombres Mezcal – Brian Cranston and Aaron Paul
Mezcal Reviews

Brian Cranston and Aaron Paul will be forever paired in our minds for the pair of classic roles they played on Breaking Bad, which many consider to this day to be the greatest TV series of all time. When they teased something on social media a few years back, fans assumed it was about the Breaking Bad film that was due. Instead, it was the launch of Dos Hombres, a brand they wanted people who didn’t even like Mezcal to like.

10. Haig Club – David Beckham
Campaign

Haig Club was launched In 2014 with David Beckham as the face of the company. It’s described as a light and sweet single grain scotch whiskey. Beckham credited the experience with teaching him how whiskey is made and enjoyed best. In the years after his soccer career has ended, Haig Club has become one of his main business ventures.

11. Heaven’s Door Whiskey – Bob Dylan
Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Legend Bob Dylan was approached about a trademark he filed for “bootleg whiskey” by Marc Bushala, asking him for his pitch. The drink was released in 2018 and was partially named after a classic song of his (which you might know from the Guns ‘N’ Roses cover). Bushala raised $35 million for the project. Since the launch just over three years ago, they’ve entered new markets successfully, with people praising it as a premium whiskey.

12. Longbranch Whiskey – Matthew McConaughey
Breaking Bourbon

Matthew McConaughey went about his own alcohol brand the right way. The actor spent years with Wild Turkey as a creative director, all the while working on his own whiskey. Longbranch launched to rave reviews and it was respected as a genuine competitor to other bourbons in its space, despite being a celebrity brand. You might remember some of the minimalistic commercials to promote this.

13. Maison No. 9 – Post Malone
Reserve Bar

Post Malone surprised most last year when he announced the launch of his own wine. If anything, based on one of his album names, we expected him to have his own beer. Nonetheless, Maison No. 9 is a French rosé which was launched in the second quarter of last year. Post started getting into wine through Mark Wahlberg and was inspired to do his own thing after meeting James Morrissey.

14. Teremana Tequila – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Teremana

Given that he is one of the biggest (figuratively and literally) stars on the planet, it felt like it was only a matter of time until The Rock got involved in the alcohol game.

Meaning “spirit of the Earth”, Teremana aims to “create a high quality, responsibly sourced tequila that brings people together. One that starts conversations, creates laughter, and moments to appreciate those along with us on this journey of life.”

15. Mulholland Distilling – Walton Goggins
Living Out Loud LA

Mulholland Distilling has been an incredible success for Walton Goggins who co-founded the L.A. company a few years ago with friend and cameraman Matthew Alper. The pair aim to capture the spirit of Los Angeles in a bottle and have done so with vodkas, gins and whiskeys, amongs others.

16. Proper No. 12 Whiskey – Conor McGregor
Urban Drinks UK

Some thought this was a cash grab when this was originally announced, and perhaps it was, but either way, it’s clear that The Notorious One was genuinely passionate about his Irish whiskey venture. It was worth it too. It recently sold for a deal worth up to $600 million.

17. Recuerdo Mezcal – Jorge Masvidal
Uptown Spirits

Masvidal had been wanting to get into the alcohol business for a while, but there was no better time than after his win over Nate Diaz last year. Having to be conscious of what was going into his body as a professional athlete, he was impressed with Recuerdo’s process from start to finish. He also made it a point to become an owner as opposed to just a brand ambassador.

18. Sauza 901 Tequila – Justin Timberlake
Drinkhacker

Justin Timberlake partnered with Sauza back in 2014 after he was inspired to create his own tequila after seeing it made in Jalisco, Mexico firsthand. The 901 tequila (which was named after the Memphis area code) can be served on the rocks or as part of a cocktail.

19. The Pogues Irish Whiskey – The Pogues
Malt Review

This is 50% a 10-year-old single malt Irish whiskey aged in sherry oak casks with a similarly old Irish whiskey aged in bourbon oak casks and 50% a four-year-old Irish grain whiskey aged in bourbon oak casks. It’s a unique blend that makes for a great Irish coffee.

20. Virginia Black – Drake
DrinkSupermarket

Drake teamed with Deléon Tequila in 2016 to launch Virginia Black, a strong American whiskey. The brand was based on 70s nightlife and interestingly, was made 80-proof to help appeal to women too. It seemed to work, selling 30,000 cases in its first year.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Mark Cuban Talks With ONE37pm About The National Anthem, New Ventures, And More

During the week of February 9th, Mark Cuban made headlines after a story was released by The Athletic revealing that the Dallas Mavericks were not playing the national anthem before home games and didn’t plan to move forward.

“It was my decision, and I made it in November,” Cuban told Marc Stein of the NYT.

Cuban’s actions caused the NBA to release a statement on the matter, which read:

“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” said NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass.

Not one to take things sitting down, Cuban issued a response::

“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country. I have always stood for the anthem with the hand over my heart — no matter where I hear it played. But we also hear the voices of those who do not feel the anthem represents them. We feel they also need to be respected and heard because they have not been heard. The hope is that those who feel passionate about the anthem being played will be just as passionate in listening to those who do not feel it represents them.”

Cuban spoke with ONE37pm to discuss his new partnership, his thoughts on TikTok, and if his stance on playing the Anthem had changed  following the blowback. 

ONE37pm: A week later, how do you feel about your stance on the anthem?

Mark Cuban: Nothing has changed. There are a couple of things, and I am a national anthem guy. That is just the way I was raised, and it is a habit more than anything else. And over time, I have learned that not everyone looks at the national anthem the way I do. When that starts happening, you start doing your homework, and you read about Francis Scott Key, the second, third, and fourth verses; and, understandably, there is a reference to free men, slaves, and you can see how it makes people uncomfortable. With that being said, people have habits, and for me, for 20 years with the Mavs, I would be out there [on the floor] or even in my office bunker; I would stand and put my hand over my heart. During the anthem the stands were not full, people walked around on the concourse, and I did see their response to the anthem; some stopped, but most didn’t. And it is not important to them that they are on time for it. It is not important to stop on the concourse. For some, they will not stop and put a beer down, while some won’t even take their hats off. That always bothered me; if this was so important to us, and it is to me. My dad was military and fought in two wars, and was wounded. My uncle was in the Air Force and fought in two wars. If it was so important, then why do we disrespect it like that? It always bothered me, and then over the last couple of years, The anthem has gotten weaponized, and certain people felt their form of patriotism was the only form of patriotism. If you didn’t do it their way, you are not patriotic, and you didn’t love this country, and to me, that was wrong. There is no one way to love this country other than the definition of liberty.

You get to love this country or not. I truly believe 99.99 percent love this country; there are no ifs and about it. Some don’t, but 99.99 percent do. There are people now that feel like their way of honoring our amazing country is the only way. They try to weaponize it, and we saw that with our players. So, going into the season, they had come out of the bubble where there were many messages and emotions. I was like, one: people don’t fully respect it initially, which really bothered me; two: everybody watched what people did with the anthem in those first couple of games; three: we weren’t going to have fans, so let’s see what happens if we didn’t play it. That is actually what I did, and after the lineup, I went over to our PR guy Scooter and said, “Has anybody said anything? Not a word. “Did you tell the other team  and their media what was going on?” Told everybody, not a word, and it continued until the 13th game. A reporter said something, and then that’s when everybody found out. It was never going to be a situation where we weren’t going to play the anthem. It wasn’t a situation where I was against playing it. It was more of a situation where let’s see what happens.

The Mavericks host an event called Seats for Soldiers every year except for Covid. We celebrate more than 100 wounded service members from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and veterans from the Adaptive Training Foundation, and reserve troops from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. 

ONE37pm: It was recently announced that you partnered with a company by the name of Fireside. Can you share with our audience what the company entails?

Cuban: It’s called FireSide Chat, and it is not going to be out for a couple of months, but effectively it’s podcasting 2.0, and what it says is, if you go to a conference, and you sit down, there is a moderator people asking questions or a keynote speaker then they open it up for questions. We will enable that using audio, and you can invite whoever you want to your keynote or podcast. You will be able to take questions from them, interact with them, and they will have the features applaud and make noise to get feedback, but they will also be able to tip you, and you will also be able to save it. Clubhouse is meant to be in the moment, and that’s great, but with FireSide Chat, you will be able to have that entire conversation and then save it. So, people can download it and listen to the whole thing. That is what I think is missing as much as anything. So, you want that interaction, and you want it to live forever. Instead of it being in one spot like Clubhouse is. 

ONE37pm: What are your thoughts on TikTok?

Cuban: I think the cool part about being a tech geek I look at the tech side, and I think it has many other content applications. In traditional social media, it is driven by advertisement first. It used to be about who you follow and follow somebody. It would be in chronological order. Then artificial intelligence started jumping in like Facebook. They will optimize for what you like to hear but maximize their ad revenue, wherewith TikTok doesn’t appear in any way that it is an ad maximization strategy. It looks like it showcases more of those videos, even if it is not someone you follow. So, I watch a lot of basketball highlights, and so does my son. He also likes to watch business-related stuff, which is crazy for an 11-year-old. So, his feed is different from mine, which is different from my daughter, who knows every dance, but they get a separate feed. I have shared with the NBA that kids might not sit and watch an entire game. So, we might have to deliver our games more like a Tik Tok presentation. Where instead of the entire game, if it is someone that likes dunks? Then every dunk is coming from the Mavs versus the Blazers. If somebody likes Luka, every possession with Luka is coming nonstop, and so on. 

The Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star finished the interview by sharing that he was excited for things to come in the tech space. 

Cuban has never been one to shy away from sharing his thoughts, regardless of the topic, and it’s clear that he has a strong opinion on the National Anthem. Whether you agree with him or not is another issue, but it’s safe to say that Cuban is going to speak his mind, and we’re here for it.

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Grind Productivity

Green Street’s Magic Hour Is The Best Cannabis Conversation Around

As the taboo around cannabis continues to dissipate, the industry’s business side is becoming increasingly complicated and interesting. As members of such a new legal industry, cannabis innovators are faced with numerous questions regarding how to build their brand and how to do it appropriately. The best way to learn is by asking questions and hearing from successful folks in the burgeoning space.

That’s where Green Street‘s “Magic Hour” comes in. Formerly a real-life party, the event has now found its home on the exploding social media app, Clubhouse. Clubhouse was actually a great medium for the event; speakers took turns answering questions from people in the industry, moderated by Green Street president Rama Mayo.

They covered a wide array of topics over the course of the three-hour Clubhouse chat last night, February 4th. Co-founder of Green Street/lawyer Joshua Shelton spoke a lot about the unique legal positioning of cannabis companies over the past few years. Jamie Feaster, the co-founder of Eaze and current CEO of Country, spoke about the emergence of data mining for cannabis companies. Team GaryVee’s very own D. Rock and Andy Krainak spoke about storytelling and its role in marketing a successful brand. The artist Greg Mike spoke about working with clients from the POV of an artist, his mural project, NFT tokens, and the future of art. Rapper Harry Mack did a themed freestyle for the event. The Hall of Flowers team jumped on to chat about some upcoming physical shows this fall and how brands can make the most out of these kinds of events. Comedian Mike Glazer pitched some unique business ideas to the Green Street team and Josh, the owner of RAW papers. The list goes on.

One through-line throughout the entire evening was federal legalization. How will it impact brands? Are brands preparing for it already? When do leaders in the space foresee it happening, if ever?

Magic Hour is just that, magic. Whether you work in the cannabis space or are an aficionado interested in learning more about the fledgling industry, keep your eye on Green Street’s IG to find out about future events. The next Magic Hour will take place on Thursday, February 11th, so make sure you get onto Clubhouse before then. You won’t want to miss it.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Staying Spicy in Lockdown with Trop Flavor Co.

“It’s not about getting knocked down…it’s whether or not you get back up.”

In other words, you can’t control what happens to you. You can only control your response. 

When COVID hit, like many other people, Kenny Cousins and David Zheutlin were left with time on their hands. They decided to do something with it. 

The Trop Flavor Co. sat down with ONE37pm’s Bo Templin to tell their story.

ONE37pm: When did things take that next step and kick things into another gear?

Trop Flavor Co.: Quarantine. This was a quarantine project to start. We are roommates, friends. This became something where it went from two people who love sauce…to making hot sauce, blending things up, and giving them to friends.

ONE37pm: So this is nitty gritty, in the dirt, you are creating something.

Trop Flavor Co: I was legitimately trading hot sauce for things like radishes. It was your classic tale of a quarantine hot sauce company…It was pretty organic. 

When it comes to the actual ingredients of the sauce… they have a secret they are willing to share with ONE37pm. 

Trop Flavor Co.: Some experimentation with mezcal…there are a few drops in every bottle. 

ONE37pm: See, now you are speaking my language.

Trop Flavor Co.:   We threw some in sauce and brought it to our bartender friend. They loved it and we decided that we should drop a product. 

ONE37pm: When you are putting out a product like this, I feel like you could go two different ways. You could have your product vary greatly from your competition. Or you could go in a different route with marketing and branding, where you think your company has a bigger difference from your competition. 

Trop Flavor Co: I feel like it’s the local aspect. During this time, it was about being opportunistic. We had to use our two skills to launch the brand—the equity between us, our friends. And our skill sets, we leaned into them—our similarities and differences. So people feel part of David, part of Kenny, in the sauce. As a startup, whether you already knew us pre-existing or at a pop-up, That differentiated us. Flavor-wise, we take that seriously. The idea of hot sauce is generally “metal.” The flavor of peppers is delicious. Prickly pear, mango, or papaya, so the chance to surprise people in the flavor profile that won’t crush you, I think it’s a marriage of both.

ONE37pm: When you have two people leading the way, a duo. Do you think you are your yin to your yang or are you both with the same vision, the same goal. What do you think your dynamic is?

Trop: I wouldn’t say yin and yang. We def have a number of shared interests and traits but are different people. I think we balance each other well. People say don’t go into business with friends. I think the reason is often because the friendship will overcome the need for business. We might be on the fire escape right now, but we are going to have a meeting. We are going to treat it with that same respect. Hot sauce is not our job, it’s our side project that is turning into something fun and exciting. 

Kenny: I have a more social media, strategic background. David doesn’t have an Instagram. As friends, partners, we have moments where we see things from different angles, but are saying the same thing. 

ONE37pm: I ask this to a lot of people. But when you are in a business where your product is determined by the public… the people get to decide if your hot sauce is good. How do you guys balance-taking what the audience is saying versus trusting your gut? “I know this is a good hot sauce. We need to trust our vision.”

Trop Flavor Co.: It’s def a lot of trial and error. You put something out and get feedback. But that’s the benefit of doing these pop-up events. We get the first-person testimonial. When we come across those really niche hot sauce heads, they taste our sauce and want it hotter. And that’s not what we are about. That’s some of the tough-guy stuff that we don’t want to deal with. When people actually taste our hot sauce and give us feedback that they want it a touch hotter, that is an easy fix for us. We can always add peppers… With any event we do, we bring experimental hot sauce. That’s rare to get that unlabeled, untested, you are the test market. We are looking for feedback. We are not the hot sauce experts. We are learning too.