Our founders - Part 1
Hi there! Welcome to the Waku Blog! A space dedicated to sharing information, ideas and cool fun facts about our company and everything related to the food industry, health, wellness and living your best life with the resources at your reach.
This is a very special and exciting edition because we are going to introduce one of our founders. Yes, we know you've probably already read the short bio we have listed on our website or saw a photo of one or both of them here and there. But we want you to get to know them and understand a little bit more about Waku and the human resources behind the brand that make it so fun, fresh and loving.
Alongside this text you will find the letters “Nfw” which mean: Note From Writer. Hi! My name is Dome and I am Waku’s Social Media Specialist. Besides managing Waku’s social media and having lots of fun recording TikToks to embarrass myself, I also write all of the blogs found on our website, and today I will be leaving little notes throughout this text so that you can also get to know a little bit more about me as well and hopefully relate to my comments.
Without further do, here's everything you need to know about Juan, one of the (2) Waku founders:
He is in charge of B2B sales and fundraising but depending on the state of the company, he can also take over operations and finances. Nfw: B2B sales is short for business-to-business sales.
For Juan, the hardest part about creating a business is that since he is from Ecuador and the company is in the US, he had to move there 6 years ago and say goodbye to his friends and family back home to go through the whole process on his own without being able to go back and visit his loved ones for 4 long years. Fortunately, he now has his green card and is able to visit Ecuador whenever he can.
As for the best parts about starting a business, he considers the whole journey to be a joy and "even though it is hard, it is as rewarding to do it". Also, since Waku sources all of its ingredients sustainably from Ecuador, he can work with small farmers and support the Ecuadorian economy by supporting them and their families, while also sharing with the world the flavor and tradition of the tea. Finally, he loves the opportunity to continue growing and building teams along the way. Whether it is with investors, employees, distributors… he finds this fantastic!
Nfw: Ok Juan, tell us something fun! One of the funniest anecdotes he has since starting the company is that back in 2018, as they were just getting started with the idea of Waku, Nico and him made a road trip through the Ecuadorian Andes mountains to meet and learn from indigenous communities, trying up to 52 different tea blends! They did this for a week and by the end of the journey they met a girl who talked to them about how she almost died when she was younger due to a kidney problem and how her grandmother treated and cured her with a natural blend of herbs (which are the herbs used to prepare Waku) and they took this testimony as a sign from the universe to start the company.
Juan’s favorite memory with Waku was back in 2020 (before anything pandemic related), when they were starting to build a small but mighty team and took them all to Vermont for the first ever Waku retreat to align on the goals of 2020 and were all able to sky for the first time! He describes this experience as "fun and awesome". Nfw: Just in case you wondered, I didn’t go on that trip, I was too busy graduating from college though! So fun times for everyone I guess…
The biggest lesson Juan has learned throughout the years is that every brand should really make an effort to listen to the consumer and pay attention to the market. “If you ask the right questions and listen carefully you will most likely have the answers to guide the overall strategy of the company”, he says. As for the rest of the Waku team, Juan thinks that each person has skills and values he can learn from every day and believes since he is also in a self growth stage in his life were he is developing as an entrepreneur and businessman, the more the team grows the more he grows as a leader himself. Random fun fact: Juan's favorite Waku flavor is Passion fruit.
Nfw: At this point I was curious to know, what is the best advice Juan’s ever gotten?… Turns out Juan really admires business man, entrepreneur, investor and millionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann and he says that you should dream big because it will take the same amount of energy to dream big as to dream small so why would you dream small? Juan took this to heart and also took his bags to embarc on the amazing journey of opening a company in the US to sell a hundred year old recipe from his home country to improve thousands of lives both in Ecuador and in the United States.
To close this amazing Blog where we’ve gotten to know a little more about Juan and his life in relation to Waku, it must be said that his true passion and calling is business. Juan understands and appreciates the complexity of it and keeps himself curious and invested in how to start, grow and manage a company. He loves to keep himself updated in terms of how business, communication and marketing co relate to each other and evolve.
Nfw: It was a pleasure getting to briefly interview Juan and understanding more of this dream that has now become Waku. Thank you for reading this and keeping up with us, we truly appreciate each and every persona who has, is and will continue to be a part of this incredible journey.