#289: Sandro Roco, Founder and CEO of Sanzo, an Asian-Inspired Sparkling Water, on the Ins and Outs of Building a Successful CPG Company and How They're Making the Industry More Inclusive

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By Justin Gordon. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Sandro Roco is the Founder and CEO of Sanzo, an Asian-inspired sparkling water company on a mission to bridge cultures by connecting people to authentic flavors. Sanzo uses real fruit, not "natural flavors," and has no added sugar. Sandro, a Queens-born Filipino American, was walking through a popular Asian supermarket in Manhattan’s Koreatown when he noticed a huge gap between the modern, clean labels of the new-age “American” beverage brands and the preservative- and sugar-laden labels of the legacy Asian brands. His goal was simple: celebrate high quality Asian flavors that for decades have been masked by added sugars, artificial flavors and preservatives.

Sandro started out as an engineer at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, worked for two years on a trading floor for J.P. Morgan, and then became head of growth and later chief-of-staff for an online personal styling service. This unconventional career path equipped Sandro with a unique skillset that ultimately led to the founding of Sanzo.

Some of the Topics Covered by Sandro Roco in this Episode

  • What makes Sanzo sparkling water different and how Sandro came up with the idea
  • Getting Sanzo started and moonlighting for a year
  • Why Sandro is a solo founder
  • How Sandro was scrappy while approaching manufacturing for his CPG
  • Getting a "scheduled process," or food scientists' approval
  • The importance of developing relationships with distributors and retailers and being prepared before starting those relationships
  • How Sandro made the decision to leave his day job and go full time with Sanzo
  • How Sandro got his first sales
  • Deciding which retailers and distribution partners to work with
  • How distribution has shifted as Sanzo has grown
  • The impact being a child of immigrants had on how Sandro chose to finance his company
  • How he raised 1.3M (from a $600,000 goal)
  • The feedback Sandro was getting from early high profile investors
  • How Sandro has approached building community and how this was reinforced during the pandemic
  • Sandro's eye test rules for packaging design
  • How their packaging design shifted over time
  • Launching D2C during the pandemic
  • How Sandro has gone about product development regarding flavors
  • Sandro's hiring methodology and how the focus has shifted from pain to opportunity
  • What has helped Sandro as a founder and how he steps away from work
  • Why Sandro is passionate about what he does and what's next for Sanzo

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296 episodes