I am a French entrepreneur, self-made man and built my first company when I was 18 years old. I am 45 now! I have been living in Miami for the past 9 years with my wife and 2 children, and this move change drastically my entrepreneur life. I owned a marketing and communication agency specialized in the Luxury sector and luxury hospitality for more than 20 years. After extending and stabilizing this company, 2 years ago I decided to take up a new challenge and venture with launching an alcoholic beverage brand, fun, different in order to reach the huge scalability of the US market distribution. Here is born, ICE DREAMS - a POPTAIL brand. You would ask me what is a poptails? it is simply the contraction between POPSCILE & COCKTAIL...We can name them freezies or ice pops, you nailed it, it is a boozy ice bar remembering our childhood but only for grown up. Innovative, colorful and super tasty, ICE DREAMS is 100% made in the US, with natural flavor and premium spirits. ICE DREAMS, beyond a very challenging business story, is a wonderful human adventure with my team. This is my main pride and pleasure, working with people I love, who are passionate, committed to the brand and their work and in return I am committed to them the same way. With all the efforts, headaches, sweat and passion poured in this project, we are now distributed in 10 states across the USA and should extend soon!!
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?
How did the idea for your business come about?
I was on the beach in Key Biscayne, freshly arrived from France. We were with friends, sharing a beer in a glass bottle. A park ranger came and explained us that glass container was prohibited on the beach. Behind me there was a kid enjoying a Mister freeze… I connect the dot and told myself “there is a fun new alcohol brand to do with this ice pops packaging!” In fact, the ready to drink segment is booming! with huge demands from millennials for innovative, crafted and on the go product. The growth is so big worldwide that it is now disrupting the Alcohol business distribution with a new generation of product.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Let’s be honest, I did all the mistakes an entrepreneur can make! I still do some of course but this learning curve has been so important and even necessary. 2 years ago, my knowledge was closed to zero about alcohol business. The US market is very regulated, with a lot of compliance and rules from legal perspective, administrative work, production and distribution. We learnt the hard way, facing delays and unexpected issues, the main issue was about the production. I overcome them, and with my team. Always stay calm and focus on the objective with keeping in my mind that behind an obstacle there is a solution and it is often an open window for opportunities and a better outcome.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I basically stay discreet with my family and friends about all my businesses. It is so stressful to be an entrepreneur and not everyone is built for it and can support the stress and emotional hick up we are going through. I have always been like that to protect them. I can handle all this, but if the persons I love are impacted emotionally, it is tougher for me to handle their stress and worries. My way to handle this: I am optimistic but always realistic, I never give up and always sleep on problems to figure out their reasons to be, because there is only one… My family know my deep personal goal, they still trust me to make it happen, it is the most important.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Business are running by human being. The human factor is the key in every business. Partners, vendors, team, client… this factor drives me every day. I have a strong skill to adapt myself to every situation in business, the goal is always to serve the cause and make everyone happy at the end. If all your partners feel that you are honest, sharp of course and devoted to your business and theirs, if you understand who they really are as human including their business mindset and obligations, then mixing all this create a mutual commitment to make things happen in a fair way. Passion and honesty are the keys. People need to be inspired, finding the little keys to unveil them every day is highly rewarding.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
27 years ago! what is a cash flow line!! and not being confused between annual gross and net margin 😊 the problem when you are a young self-made man. Now for sure, I have learnt a lot.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Believe in your dream for sure but always drive your dream not the opposite. Be prepared emotionally because all the ups and downs are exhausting. Be agile. You will always have to adapt yourself and your business along the path. Be creative and passionate, people will follow you. Be wise, you can climb very fast, but as soon as you have reached your objective, you must stay consistent to maintain your growth. More than every time, we can see it today with this Covid-19 crisis that is disrupting all our economy, businesses and comfort zone.