The Empowerful Podcast was created to share the profound stories of movers and shakers who are positively impacting the world. Together, we believe we can amplify that change. We live by the motto of an old African Proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
On the second edition of our Founders with Founder podcast series, we are joined by Marc Farrell from Ten to One, a CustoMiiR partner. Marc has a fascinating story including attending MIT at age 16, becoming the youngest VP at Starbucks, and setting out to redefine the premium rum category. Along the way, he learned countless lessons about how to innovate, manage, and use empathy to help build your dream. Tune in for an insightful conversation with the man behind the brand.
Marc's journey began in the small Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The son of a well-known economist and author, Marc understood from a young age the value of learning by osmosis and applying knowledge from past generations. His work ethic and dedication had him ready to ship off to Cambridge, MA at age 16 to begin what would be a long and illustrious academic career. By age 26 — with degrees from Harvard, Cambridge, and MIT under his belt — Marc set out on his first entrepreneurial venture.
Fanlime was a new age marketplace connecting fans with their favorite athletes in innovative new ways. As with many initial entrepreneurial pursuits, Marc worked harder on this project than anything he had ever embarked on. However, he admits the timing was wrong and the writing was on the wall for this to come to an end. As this chapter was coming to a close he had a chance encounter with Howard Schultz.
The two instantly hit it off and Marc could feel the entrepreneurial energy still alive in the man behind one of America's most iconic brands. After agreeing to come join Starbucks, he quickly ascended the ranks to become the youngest ever VP at Starbucks, helping to spearhead their e-commerce platform. Despite his comfortable position at Starbucks, the desire to build his own dream still lingered. Amidst late nights in NYC, he was slowly plotting his next venture. This time he set his sights back on his roots and the most popular drink of his Caribbean homeland: rum.
"Rum Reimagined." Ten to One is on a mission to redefine the premium rum category. For all too long, rum has occupied a space on the bottom shelves of the bar, reserved for beach-inspired mixed drinks with little umbrellas. For Trinidadians, like Marc, rum represents a premium sipping spirit and an extension of their culture.
Marc's vision is to bring this vision of rum to the U.S. by offering a product that's elevated, but not exclusive. Ten to One offers two products: White Rum and Dark Rum. The minimalism and elegance extends beyond the product catalog to the core values of the brand. Everything is done intentionally, and with impeccable design in mind. Even the name and logo have hidden symbols and meaning behind them (tune in to hear Marc describe it himself!). Ten to One is a physical representation of Marc's relentless drive and attention to detail.
Along Marc's journey, there have been countless lessons and learnings that have stuck with him. The one learning he holds in highest regard is the power of empathy. As a manager/leader/inspiration for many across his career, he knows how important it is to connect with coworkers on a human level and find commonality to work together towards a shared goal. This lesson has become exponentially more important as he navigates launching his business amidst a global pandemic. By leaning on core values and keeping his team motivated, Ten to One has managed to keep finding light spots in the midst of a dark year. With so much uncertainty about what the future holds, Marc still feels optimistic for his company and the core beliefs it was built on.
For anyone interested in what it takes to find the drive and passion to create your own brand, you will want to hear what Marc has to say.
Thanks for joining us, Marc!