Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Luigi Ambrosi, Co-Founder of Cardenxe Sotol, located in New York, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I would say that my typical customers are those constantly seeking new and exciting adventures and identifying their own persona with the brands they consume. They are leaders of their groups, and I like to call them the “curious mavericks.”

Tell us about yourself

“You don’t choose the spirits business, the spirits choose you.” That’s a direct quote from a former manager. And how right they were. Six years later, after a brief hiatus, I am back in the spirits industry with a unique proposition: Cardenxe Sotol - a brand reinfusing life into an ancient Mexican tradition that risked getting lost. It all happened with a serendipitous strike of lightning. I discovered sotol while working on a music project in Northern Mexico and immediately fell in love with the flavor and its mysterious history.

My biggest motivator since day one, which I’d say still persists, is that of being among the first people to bring this product to international markets. I am driven by an insatiable passion and excitement for creating and shifting trends. And to do that, one must foster a ‘subculture.’ Every time a new sotol cocktail is born, and each time we produce a special event or come up with creative ideas to market our product, that’s when I am reassured of why I continue being excited about my project.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

In my specific case, though I believe many would agree, it is to see a small seed grow into existence and reach a proof of concept with positive feedback. Starting a consumer business in a very niche category, such as sotol, was a challenge in itself, given my conviction that people would start drinking sotol was simply based on my own beliefs and a small sample of focus groups. I poured my heart and soul into convincing bars, restaurants, and stores to push Cardenxe to their customers. I also had to spend time creating and marketing situations where people could experience the product. Six months later, I am finally starting to see a pull from the target consumers. This alone is the biggest motivator and reassurance that a business owner needs in order to scale to the next level.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

I’m sure many business owners feel this as well, but being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of resistance and negative feedback that can happen when launching a product or brand. One of the other challenges is navigating who to trust and who to associate your brand with. This means hiring the right talent and finding individuals who are as passionate about your brand and product as you are.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. While I am a firm believer in following your gut when it comes to making decisions, I’ve learned it’s important to slow down and reflect before coming to a conclusion. You’ll find that something sparks in yourself at the beginning and end of the reflection period as well.
  2. Embody the voice of your brand - there’s nothing that can sink a brand faster than a founder who doesn’t own their product.
  3. Know when the right time to scale is. Master your strengths and then proceed forward and grow. Take your time, and don’t take in more than you can handle.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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