May 10, 2022

Episode 84 - Branding Against the Grain With Brett Berish


 You’ve heard your hosts give the blueprint from today’s special guest before, but now, he’s actually “in the building”. 

Mr. Brett Berish, entrepreneur and CEO of Sovereign Brands joins Nicky and Moose on today’s episode, giving all the game on branding, business relationships, and failure. mindset and much much more.

This is one you have to tell all your entrepreneur friends to check out. Got your pen and paper or favorite device? Jump in and get all the gems from today’s conversation.

 

What You Will Learn:

  • What to prioritize in branding
  • Where to find the courage to tell the story
  • What to include in a brand story
  • The importance of making mistakes early in business
  • Don’t force the brand on anyone, love the people that take to it.
  • How to research for your brand
  • The importance of having principles in business and branding
  • Learn to be your own personal brand
  • How to build authentic relationships in branding
  • Relationships in branding take time
  • The need for patience in brand building
  • Tips on starting and growing a brand or business
  • The importance in the person who wants it
  • Tips on making deals with influencers and celebrities
  • Brand building vs. business
  • The importance of being involved in the day to day in your business
  • Be uncomfortable and fail to get better
  • How to know which idea to use
  • Love what you do

 

Transcript

Nicky Saunders  
whats poppin whats poppin whats poppin welcome to Nicky and Moose im Nicky that's moose whats up moose?

Mostafa Ghonim  
What have yall?

Nicky Saunders  
and man we have a special episode. Yeah look I'm not even gonna play the air horns as much you need to listen to who we have today. We've covered Bel Air, we've covered Bumble, we've covered the relationships that this man has had it's he's been on Forbes he's been everywhere and he I call him a branding genius moose may call him something else moose tell the people who we have.

Mostafa Ghonim  
Yeah, this one's for the books man we got the one and only Mr. Brett bearish man

Nicky Saunders  
listen this is heavy branding talk heavy business talk though. Let's just get into his intro

Jaymie Jordan  
two kids from Queens cut from a different cloth. Now joining forces helping you to elevate your personal brand Yeah, I'm talking about Nicky and moose bringing you a never before seen perspective instead the mindset, the mentality, the behaviors, the driving force, and more importantly, the stories behind the people and brands that you know and love the most.

Nicky Saunders  
Now, without further ado, let me let's let's bring the guests and let's bring the guests. You see the bottles in the back. i Oh, I didn't even show what Hold on. Listen, I had to replace the Jordans for the people who aren't our viewers watching this? I had to replace the Jordans yall know, I don't ever touch the jordans they stay there. But I had to replace it. Because Brett gave us amazing gifts and but you see his background. Sheesh, Brett how are you feeling?

Brett Berish  
Don't worry Michael would replace his Jordans for a couple of bottles of Bel Air.

Nicky Saunders  
Michael himself would talk about it. How are you feeling?

Brett Berish  
We're both Chicago Boys so I feel good.

Nicky Saunders  
That listen that's that's A dope feeling moose. What we doing?

Mostafa Ghonim  
Man I am excited for this one. Listen, y'all we got a special episode. We were able to connect with Brett and his team from covering him on the podcast. So we got that clip of him where he was talking on Shanzas podcast and really sharing his perspective and his experience and we're like okay, hold on, Nicky and Moose alerts came up because we realize that this is definitely an opportunity for us to share a different side of the story with those of us who are interested in expanding their brands and reaching their or expanding their reach through business and things of that nature. So you see him here CEO and President of sovereign brands, well established the accomplishments are all over the place if you haven't already. Make sure you just Google the name Brett bearish Okay, for now, let's just jump right into it. Mr. Brett, man give us for those for the few people as Nicky would say who don't know. Three? Yeah, just a couple. Just a couple.

Nicky Saunders  
Our audience knows they'll do that our audience knows.

Mostafa Ghonim  
Right so tell the world who is who is bearish

Brett Berish  
um I as I always say I'm a nobody and it's always been about the brands it's always about the brands and for me the brands are Bel Air which if you guys don't know and it just happened we're the single largest champagne premium sparkling in the United States now we pass mo at Vogue as number one. Which is amazing. My other brands bumbu rum, which is now the single largest premium rum in the United States and it's about 80 countries. I get another brand McQueen and the violet fog my gin which is just awesome. And then the newest one is V own and my past brands ace of spades and d’ussè but I love them all.

Nicky Saunders  
Okay, let me let me let me ask this question like for for my branding folks. The name story quality, what comes first? Okay, because I've done my research, you're big on all of them, especially as a story part, right? But the quality is so important. But then I couldn't figure out well, what was what so what comes first and why?

Brett Berish  
To me, it's a great question. It's not about it. I've interviewed a whole bunch of musicians and I almost think it's somewhat similar to musician where Sometimes they hear a beat they like and they hold on to it, sometimes there's a hook that that they like and they hold on to it, sometimes it's, it's a story they want to tell. And then they're combining the three of those together and come up with something. And for me, and for what we've been doing, it's the same thing. So maybe there is a, maybe I get inspired by a design I like, and I'll come up with something and I kind of just hold it and sit on it. I'll have a name that that I love and hold it and sit on it. And then I'll start drinking a category and getting familiar with it and come up with an idea of how can I make it better. And that's the one that's the most important because if I don't have, I need them all to launch anything. But the liquids most important because you can get them on the package, meaning they can see it, they love it, they'll pick it up off the shelf, and they try it. If they don't like it, then we'll come back again. So you need a little bit of everything. But for every brand, it's different. It's there's a different story of how they got started and, and how they ended up on the shelf.

Nicky Saunders  
That's good.

Mostafa Ghonim  
One of my favorite things about what I've heard you say in past interviews, Brett is your emphasis on the story.

Brett Berish  
Yep.

Mostafa Ghonim  
Like you really like to highlight that. And I feel that there's a lot of pressure that maybe people feel when they're looking to grow their brands, because they feel like it has to be curated perfectly. It has to be an almost like this esoteric type thing where for you, you actually are really just documented how it came to be the origination. So how did you gain that courage? Really? Because I feel to some extent, it's a it's a courage to say, I'm going to just tell it how it is

Brett Berish  
it what in terms of the brand itself? Or is it? 

Mostafa Ghonim  
want to tell the stories? Yeah, the currency just tell the stories, and capturing that whole timeline together?

Brett Berish  
of the brand? Or, or what I've done?

Mostafa Ghonim  
Both really

Brett Berish  
Ah, it's, well, the story comes, I mean, for me personally, it's, I look at this, I'm constantly evolving. I'm constantly trying to own and figure out how to how to be me if that makes sense. And the more you can do that, and you know, I wish I was the way I am today, 30 years ago, but I just wasn't I didn't have the confidence, I didn't have the trust, I have the gut, i didn't have the, you know, depending just on me mentality. So it's, it's, I feel like I'm just continuing to evolve and trying to get better. And that's what a brand is, it's a brand is trying to, you know, find its way in the world. And you got to manage it and build it and make it progress. I tell stories about you know, I don't know if I'm going to answer your question, but I'll answer it. You know, it's, it's like children, I have six kids in my family. And they're all They're all great. They all have the great DNA, you know, but they're all different. And you don't know what they're good at until you put it out there. And that's what branding is to me is you just kind of got to put it out there and figure out where is it? Who who's attracted to it? What kind of friends will this one like? Or what kind of friends does this one like? Or what's this one into? And to me, that's branding? That's real organic brand building?

Nicky Saunders  
What what do you feel has to be in a brand story? Right? Like, what are what are the elements that you've seen, that are common with each of your brands that always has to be there?

Brett Berish  
I think it the best way to describe it is is and I think when I was on the podcast that you guys saw, he's like, he asked me, you know, David asked, because you seem really passionate. Actually, when I first met him, I was at Ross's house and he asked so I'm really passionate about what you're doing. And I don't know what that means other than I can't fake it. And if it's real, if everything's real, and it's real to me and the brand story is real and the brand identity is real and that the bottles they're all you know, there's always something special whether it's the top or the name or or there's no paper on the package or could be embossments or de Bosmans like I gotta have all this stuff because I want to know that I put it all in there. And when I go out and share that story to a consumer to the trade or to you all, it's you it's got to be palpable. I got to feel it so I have to believe in it. If you don't believe It this is why I have a hard time launching brands and moves getting back to your example of some people do need to have everything down. That's me, I gotta have it all down. Because if I if I can't look in the eye and and tell you my brand is is absolutely better than the next person's, then I can't launch it. I can't believe it. I can't do it. So it's you can't fake it.

Mostafa Ghonim  
Did that mentality always? Did you always have this mentality from the very beginning, like thinking back to the beginning of your career, whether you had to, maybe you weren't as established and you had to earn the trust and get people to say, Okay, this is pretty cool. Yeah.

Brett Berish  
It's a good question. And you're making me think, I think from the branding side of a brand, yes. there that hasn't changed. I think what's changed is, and I've said this, said this, the David is an example, which was the opposite of what he tells people is I said, sometimes not having a plan is a great plan. And that was my, I've made lots of mistakes. And I tell people all the time, everything I do today is based on making tons of mistakes early on. And I think one of the mistakes I made early on is, you know, I created this, this brand, you know, here the bottle is perfect, the liquids great, the story is great, the names perfect, there's pedigree, there's, it's got everything. But it early on, I had this plan that, okay, this is where it should go. And this is how it should exist. And I stuck to it for a year or two. And my mistake was Jesus, if you're wrong, if you're wrong, you just stuck to a plan that's not going to work for the next year or two. And that won't happen. That's not healthy. And for me, it's, it's It's constantly being really close to it and watching where does it work? Where is it working? How does it you know, how do I how do I manipulate it and see where is it better off? I use an example. In the music space, I'm sure you know, Ross. And I interviewed Ross, Russia telling me the story about he'd put his music on SoundCloud. And he'd see, boy, I got fans in the state of Washington. Who knew then what did he do, he went to Washington. And he he supported his fans in Washington, then he saw he had fans in the Middle East, they all assumed he was Middle Eastern, he went to the Middle East, he supported his fans, the Middle East. And that's what I do, I want to go support where the brand is working. And then I'll backfill later. And that's brand building. That's a That to me is good brand building. Because you're going where you're you're wanted, you're going where you're needed, you're going where the brand, for some reason, has taken hold. And I like that side of it. I'm not forcing, I can't force the brand in anybody. And I want to take to it and those the people I love first.

Nicky Saunders  
Now the thing that I got from that was was also a piece of research, right? Like, understanding where your audience is. That's what Russ did. And he went there now for you, what is your process for researching, when starting some of these brands like everything from, you know, the ingredients to even some of the markets that will accept it, and I got a part two to that, but I don't want to overload you, but the research process first.

Brett Berish  
So, um, well, it's funny, you know, big corporate companies have, they'll do focus groups, and I can tell you stories about great stories about that. Focus groups and have all sorts of input from different people. Again, I gets back to this idea that I got to trust my gut, I gotta trust my instincts. I gotta believe in this. And it's it. If anything, Nicky, the only thing I do, I am afraid of is when something's hot. When something's hot, I don't want to jump in. Because I'll be last. I'd rather jump in where it's not hot, or it's the last place people will go or no one's really talking about it because that to me is interesting. Now my job is to make it special to grow something that doesn't exist. But it's it starts it sounds silly. It starts with drinking, I drink I drink a category I start getting used to it. I started getting a feel for it. I started figuring out how can I make it better? Who's my competition? So I always start with who's my competition? What are they like? What are they like? What are they story? Are they telling now my job I literally think like this is I want to make a better product. I have a gin. Gin is McQueen, my competitor is Hendrix, I want a better product than Hendrix. I want a better taste and Hendrix, I want it to taste better. I'm going right after them, I want a better story. I want a better name, I want a better everything. That's what I'm after. So it's putting those pieces together to get their Bel Air, I'm going against monad, I'm going into I want something different. I want something better tasting. And it starts there and then building that brand that bottle that identity. But then it's again, it gets back to this idea of trusting instincts. So I'm jumping ahead, but it's a good example this brand when I first introduced it, and as I said, it's the single biggest brand the United States. Now, when I ever one thing that all my brands have in common is everyone in my industry said they're going to fail. Bread, don't do it. Bread, it's mistake bread, this bread, you're launching a Rosè bread, you can't do that you got to launch a brute first. That's what everyone does in the champagne category. Brett, you're doing a Rosè you're putting in a black bottle, you can’t see the liquid, you're not you can't compete with those other brands at that price point. If it was six, seven years earlier, I would have changed everything. Because I didn't trust myself. And I didn't believe in what I was doing. Luckily, I made lots of mistakes. And I learned from them. And I said no, I'm committed to this. This is what I want to do. This is how I want to do it. And look what happened. But that's hard. That's hard. trusting your instincts. That's hard sticking to your gut. That's hard. You know, when when somebody was 35 years or 40 years in this industry telling you that's not the way others do it. Brett, you can't do it like that. Oh, well. It's being comfortable with who I am and how I want to do it. I'll get there. I'll get there mentality. Thinking Does that answer your question?

Nicky Saunders  
Yeah, no, that answers it. And actually, it brings up a completely different one than the other one so that I will save that that other one. But did you with BelAir? Did you go more for your instinct and what other people didn't want you to do? Because maybe of how the past brands were like you listened to everybody before? With I remember you speaking about the first brand. I think it's three. Right? So and you can speak on that too. But your past one, you listened to everybody and it didn't succeed the way you want it to. Now you're saying, Nah, you said do this. I'm not doing it this way. So Was that intentional? Like every advice? Not advice, but like everything that they said you couldn't do? You're going to now prove them wrong based off your past?

Brett Berish  
No, it's No, the short answer is no, it's more about you got to have principles that you believe in and what you're trying to do. And trusting those principles. It's not because someone said do it this way. And you know what, I'm going to do the opposite. It's just I'm going to do with how I think it should be done. And if I think that's the right way, if any, in the early days, you know, I have a philosophy now, if anybody's going to screw it up, but I want it to be me. Want it to be me. And I think back in those days, not think I know I made decisions, because I assumed everyone else is smart. Everyone else is just they're wiser than me. They know they've been in the business longer. And I think that's my demon, you know, I didn't have that confidence, or, you know, or things like I'm saying or having a plan and sticking to it too long or not being close enough to the brands are or relying on other people that you know that they're going to make it they're going to make it successful, I have to make it successful. It's lots of little things. It's, it's, you know, in in I tell people this all the time, and it's I tell my team this all the time, you can justify anything. You can justify anything you do. It was the right decision. It's the right decision. It's the right decision I should have, I should do this event, I should do this spend this marketing dollar. But the key is to not justify the key is to really rip it apart and see Was it worth it? Should I have done it this should I could I have spent it differently? Should I have tried something else? And I think those are the things that I constantly learn. And because I'm very good at making mistakes, but I'm learning from them. And I'm analyzing them questioning, always questioning things, and I think that's a healthy thing to do. Not everything is worse. Not everything is justifiable. That's good.

Mostafa Ghonim  
I like that. I like that. And I noticed that. A few things from what you've mentioned so far, right? The brand always comes first, which I love that idea. But I also noticed that you're very competitive. Like you said, I want to know who's number one. I'm gonna go after them. Like I want to compete with the best. I will. Now I'm seeing that you're starting to do More of like personal interviews a little bit more, right? It was brand first. And now you're showing face to show to show, hey, I am the brand like I'm the person behind the brand. Is that a strategic move to help accelerate growth and maybe be different than competitors? Is that like, is that a competitive thing?

Brett Berish  
It's a great question. And I think it gets back to my original comment, which is I'm evolving. So if you if if we knew each other years ago, I would constantly say what I said earlier in, in, in this talk, which is, it's all about the brands, I didn't want it to be about me, it's not about me, who cares about me, it's about the brands, it's about what's in the bottle, it's the stories, but I but but I'm also learning that, geez, if I can help my brands, if I can help support them in a different way to get there faster to get there better to tell that story. Boy, I can be as I can be something I can add more value to the brand's I can do more. And that's just an organic thing that's kind of come about and I have to get comfortable with and I have to accept that geez is this is kind of cool. I can be my own brand ambassador And I and I'm learning how to do that.

Nicky Saunders  
Now, now with you creating so many brands, have you taken some of the lessons from that to your own personal brand?

Brett Berish  
It's definitely it's the same thing. It's, you know, how can I do better what's working and what's not working? It can be, it can be as simple as I remember, we shot a video a little video with, with little Wayne for bumbu. And oh god, it was amazing. It was funny, it was cool. Wayne posted it and, and it didn't get any reaction. Like nothing, and then Wayne posted something else afterwards was nothing to do with bamboo. And boy got tons of reaction. And what we saw was, our video was too nice was too perfect. It was too clean. And what it should have been is just more raw, and we changed it. But that's an example of constantly. You can say, wow, it worked. Sure worked. But the key is, make it better. How do you don't justify it make it better? And I think that's what I'm doing in my personal brand is how do I make it better? What can I do? What can I do to improve either what I'm doing or what the brands are doing. But at the same time? It's also, you know, this is why I love having these conversations because I wish there was the Brett bearish for me when I was 20 years old when I'm old when I'm 2425. And and someone I could listen to who made lots of mistakes who it didn't happen overnight. So that's a different side that I really enjoy now is just being blatantly transparent on all my failures, because that's how I got here. And if it wasn't for those things, if it was I joke, and you mentioned my first brand, I tell everybody, my first brand is my most success, successful brand. It doesn't exist today. But it's my most successful because it's basically all my brands that are successful are based on what I learned from that first one. It's all the same thing.

Nicky Saunders  
Oh, yeah, we're gonna get into that. I got that's part of my question . That's part.

Mostafa Ghonim  
You've mentioned a few names so far, Brett. So I'll probably just jump into it now, as far as at least the relational currency of brand building, because, of course, we were doing some research and we came across your show self made and a lot of incredible guests on there as well. And it's it makes you wonder like, Oh, my goodness, there's a lot of great relationships here. I mean, the content is great, but the relationships, it seems that there's some relationship there as well for people to be willing to sit down with you and have such an honest and real conversation about their journey. How did the relationships come about with such a wide array of people there?

Brett Berish  
Uh, well, I think I think it gets back to again well, you'll hopefully I'll ask me later about the failures. But I think it gets back to this idea that I want to be around people I like I want to I don't I want to be around people where it's a real relationship. I want to be I don't want anything to be transaction, a transaction and I try to find people that that one I that they love what I'm doing They love the brands, their supporters, the brands, and I can feel it, I can literally feel it, that that's part of them or it's been part of the culture done something. And and that's the tie. That's the tie between us. And I built great relationships whether it's Ross wiz Khaled boogie Gherbo post. And those are the big names and then you've got all the up and coming ones I want I want real relationships, I don't want it to be a one off thing. It's not meant to be a transaction. So it's, it's all part of, it's not a plan, but it's all part of who we are. You know, it's as simple as that. It's part of who we are.

Nicky Saunders  
Okay, I'm gonna transition to the failures. I got so many questions. Oh, my goodness, but I'm gonna transition to the failures. In a little bit, actually. Now I am. Um, what was the biggest relationship failure? Don't have name, name, name, no names. But because it seems you are, like a master in relationships and just have so many great ones. What was a, What was a thing, a hard lesson that you learned about relationships?

Brett Berish  
Yeah, the it's the easy one is you got to you can't it's like, it's like getting married, you can't run. You can't meet him today and marry him tomorrow. You got a it takes time. You got to build a relationship. It's like dating. And I think that's always everyone's biggest mistake is you're caught up in the limelight of who they are and what they are. But you don't know that. You don't really know. And so to me, this is where patience comes in. You can't rush into this stuff. Partnerships and brand building and relationships take time. And it starts out another conversation. But maybe it's six months later, you realize, boy, this is I liked this person. And they liked me and they liked what we're doing. But it took us six months to get there. But that's okay. So I think it's there's you can't rush into this. You can't you can't do that.

Nicky Saunders  
Follow up follow up. Now with the brand building side, what was the biggest failure that you got from you said your first brand is the one most successful one but which failure? Which Which thing popped out the most that is always in all your brands from now and an ongoing?

Brett Berish  
I said this word earlier patience. You know, I when I started out, I thought I assumed it would happen fast. Because then it's always seems like everyone a you know they're successful fast. They have money fast. The growth is fast. I assume that And I was completely wrong. Brand building takes time. There's no There's no rush. You know, you'll get there eventually. I have tremendous patience today. tremendous patience. And I didn't have that early on. I wanted it. I just assumed everything happens fast. And it doesn't. Or it didn't for me. It may happen. God bless. If it does for somebody Bel Airs happened very fast. It's that's not normal. That's not That's if it does great. But that's not normal. And I have to keep reminding myself. That's not normal. I'll get there, though. I'll get there. So having patience matters.

Mostafa Ghonim  
Yeah, like I like how organic It seems that you take your approach to building relationships because, quite frankly, a part of brand and business theories, that strategic portion of oh, if we connect with this person, we can create a viral moment. You know, like that's actually a thing today, in on the internet or as part of marketing. It's like, let's create the next viral moment by getting these two people together. So I love that for you. It's very organic. So a fun question for you here, Brett. Let's say and this may might help fellow introverts or people who may have made may be struggling with confidence. And let's say you're stripped of all your success, or your relationship, you don't have any of the brands. What would you do if you were starting over today to build relationships that can help you in growing a brand or business?

Brett Berish  
I think it's, I would I would start over and do the same things. It's it's Meeting, if I had something that it's, I would try to do what I do now, which is sharing my brands with people to get a reaction to see what people think, to let them feel the experience and to make that connection. But again, I'd realized it's going to take time to figure it out. It's going to take time, because there's a time to, to know who you like and don't like I but most of the get back to something you just said, is, you know, in the music space, I'm blown away by this, which is, if you ask a musician, what their most if successful commercial song is, will tell you nine out of 10 will say they never expected it was going to be that song. Never, never. And what that tells me is for those people trying to find that, but what you call it like that marketing Kinect, viral, viral, you don't know what the hell it is. No one's smart enough. You can't No one that I think even know what No. And to me, that just means you're going to put a lot of stuff out there and see what clicks because you don't know. You don't know what's going to happen. So I don't this is again, another one of those things I rely on. I don't rely on any one thing. I'll never rely on any one thing I did early on and don't do that anymore. I want lots of options. I want to talk to lots of people. Because one thing I'm not I'm not even smart enough to know who that is. I have no idea.

Nicky Saunders  
Let me go back to the relationship situation. Question. What was the first celebrity relationship that taught you the most about relationships? So you don't have to name the person if you don't want to? But what was the what was the first celebrity relationship? What did they teach you about how you go about your relationships now?

Brett Berish  
I'm such a good one. It's it. It's a tough one about relationships. I don't know I have to answer differently. Ross has taught me and I wish I tell all musicians this follow in his footsteps. I want to be around people like Ross that he doesn't wait for you to chase him. He'll go chase you. And that's not normal. Most musicians when they're successful, or celebrities, they want everything to come to them. Ross is the opposite screw that I want. I frickin love Wingstop I'm going after it. I'm gonna go tell him I love and I'm gonna go do something with them. I love Bel Air. I'm gonna go find out who the hell owns this brand and I want to do something with him. That is exactly how people should be. Because if anything that's corporate America saying, God this is awesome. This guy loves me. And this guy is chasing me and that shows he's hungry. So to me that he's taught me he had reinforces that idea that go after it go after it. He also reinforces the idea that that I love which is you know if something if something great happened today, okay, now I gotta work harder. I gotta work harder. So it's not take it easy. You don't take the foot off the gas you got to actually step on it harder now something good to happen. So I want to be around people like Ross I love being around people like Ross who they weren't the everyday they're more excited if you get them excited.

Nicky Saunders  
Now I gotta do a follow up moose because he mentioned Ross Yeah, let me double up on this one. So is it safe to say that Ross? Like raise the bar. And when you look at brand ambassadors, because we've covered Ross multiple times here, and from the standpoint of he will champion a brand for like a year or two before even like approaching you and being like let's do business for real for it. Like he needs to embody it. He's showing he's putting in the clubs, it's all on his social media. After you've seen what Ross has done for the brand, is it safe to say that like you almost not expected but if they don't even have that kind of work ethic or grind? You don't necessarily take them serious as a brand ambassador? Or do you just have a different outlook ever since Ross came in?

Brett Berish  
Nicky what you just said I live by. That's it. That's the answer. Wayne, Wayne did that when he you name a brand that Wayne's ever supported. Like, there isn't. Wayne love bumbu Wayne was a supporter of bumbu they wanted to be involved they showed it wiz wanted to be involved wanted to show it love McQueen, Khaled he all over I want to be involved with Bel Air, I need to be involved with this brand. I want it look at what I've done. Look what I'm doing. Like, that's the where the patience comes in. That's where, you know, show me because be for that same reason. That's, again, those are relationships that's building over time. But that's the kind of again, to me, it's I'm not chasing stats, and I'm not looking at who's hot. And the hell when when we weren't are working with Wayne, this is before he and he hadnt put an album out years and everyone's shitting on him. You know, to me, if anything, I like that even more. Because I want that guy who's got a chip on his shoulder, you know, I want the guy who's no one's looking at who's going to come back and do anything. So I don't care about that. I just want I care about the guy who's hungry and who wants it and wants to show it off and wants to be involved and wants to do things and gets excited and like, I need that energy. I want people like that on my team. I want that those people in my army.

Mostafa Ghonim  
Wow. You know, it's so funny because as I'm listening to you speak, excuse me, as I'm listening to speak, I feel that what we've been taught just as children growing up some of those cliche sayings where it's like, Hey, don't do business with Friends And it's and I'm listening to you speak. And I'm like, man, we probably need to do a little bit more business with Friends here, based on what you're saying. I mean,

Brett Berish  
you know what you're getting.

Mostafa Ghonim  
Right? Is that an uncomfortable conversation when you start transitioning from friends into okay, hey, we may need to sign a contract.

Brett Berish  
No. It's all business. It's all business. It's a business relationship. It's business, it's business. So it's no different than family. If everyone knows their role, and understand what they're supposed to accomplish and what they're now but you got to, you know, you got to you got to you guys working together, you got to trust each other. You got to trust each other. You got to know what each one is bringing to the table. You got a I don't know, life's too short. I don't want to be around people that that. Don't show up. I want you know, you know when it says silly example, but it's a good one. When Ross got in some trouble a few years ago in Atlanta, I flew down to Atlanta to the courthouse. It was me his mom and his sister. And that was it basically, couldn't believe Wow, no one frickin shows up. No one shows up. Except for a couple of lawyers. But that's depressing. Like, you want to know who's on your team when shit bad shit happens who's there for you. So that's, that's the relationships I want. Whether it's employees, whether it's part of my team, whether it's in Brand ambassador it's, you know, when when when Kodak Black put us in a in a song I did. My a friend of a friend of the family's daughter who is like 15 told me you're in this song called patty cake. I'm like, I Kodak Black. Lo and behold, I find out he's in jail. So I contacted my his attorney and went down to Florida and saw him in jail. Like you did me a solid dude you put me in this song? That's amazing. How can I help you? What can I do for you? What are you going to get out of here? You got to you know, let me let me do something like that's, that's real to me. I want that on a relationship.

Nicky Saunders  
So what would what would be the advice because, you know, they, they see you and they're like, Oh, I gotta reach out to these influencers. I gotta get people to support my brand just like Brett like, what is some advice do you give people because there was a great story that when we watched the David Chan's interview, that celebrity that you not going to mention asked for some aces space, and you were like, No, right? And they ended up paying like, almost, I think half a mil or something on that same product. And you really stand on the power of No, but not everybody does that. They're like Give me this. And they always believe they have to give out their product. Now, what is some advice that you would give upcoming brands when it deals with different influencers and celebrities?

Brett Berish  
Yeah, I say, giving giving product is not a bad thing. It's just it's, it's you've got to, again, at the end of the day, you're giving money to somebody, that's what it is. I'm literally handing money to somebody. Right? But you have to make the call. Does this person get it? Do they appreciate what they're getting? Do they respect what they're getting? Are they going to? Are they going to share what they're getting in a special way with other people so that you're benefiting off this? That's the decision that has to be made? So you can you know, you could I remember going to Kanye West's birthday party. This is in New York, probably 10- 15 years ago, I won't say the brand. And there was probably 1000 people there amazing event. And they were serving a brand of champagne all night long. I bet you I was the only person there who knew what they were serving? Hmm. Because it's just free product. It's just free product. It's just everyone's just drinking. So to me, that's not respecting the brand that's not caring about the brand. So it's, it's I do believe in, you know, 99% of the time you are saying no to things because it doesn't make sense for brand building or doesn't make sense for how, what you can do, because you can't give it all away. You won't have anything to sell, you won't have any money. So I think it's there's, there's a line there, there's a line there

Nicky Saunders  
Very true

Mostafa Ghonim  
What's what's a what's a business non negotiable for you. And also Brett just just for clarity sake, do you look at brand building and doing business as the same thing? Or are they two separate sides of the coin for you?

Brett Berish  
Well, most let me say let me say this, I'm just one person. So there's many different ways to brand build, there's many different strategies that work. Sure. I'm, you know, when someone that is such a great example is someone asked me, you know, I'm going to launch a brand in the United States and and, you know, he gave me some advice. My first question is, what was how much money do you have? Because that's gonna set the tone that'll decide dictate where you go and how far you go and what you do. So to me, you know, out, I'll look at it the same way you like, what are my resources today versus what they were 10 years ago, they're different. I now have more resources, I have the ability to do more things. But it's still the same plan. It's still the same thing. I'm still letting it breathe, I'm still, you know, I create a great brand like bumbu where the liquid do I think we got the highest rating ever for for rum. The package is beautiful. The cork is big and long. It's like you could bite it like a pirate. There's embossments all over the bottle a big X on it. It's gorgeous. I put it out in the world who knew our biggest single market in the world outside of the US is Canada. I've never known for my company's ever been there And I not let it go there. I never would have realized we'd have such fans there and they love the brand in the country of Latvia is probably we should probably sell more cases per person than any market in the world. It's not a rum market but they love it. They love it to death. Like if I hadn't let it go. I wouldn't have known this. So it's the same philosophy today it's just today I have I have more resources to try more more ideas. And that's what I'm doing.

Nicky Saunders  
That's good . Now let me go into the packaging. Which one of your products do you love the packaging most like the style the look and like break down? Why?

Brett Berish  
It's the clip of asked me which kid which of my six kids do I like?

Nicky Saunders  
Okay, pick and pick a feature from from each one. How about that? So you don't have to say favorite?

Brett Berish  
They're all I think the Bel-air I love because we started with the black bottle and it became it so this is a great example. We saw on Instagram. Someone started black bottle boys. Someone in Paris started Bel Air girls and Bel Air boys. And you know it that's an example of being close enough to the market and Seeing how people are using your brand. And now Bellaire black bottle boys and black bottle girls is us. So we've leveraged what a consumer did. We shared in that success with them. So it's kind of leveraging that. So I but I think the name is so strong, I love it. It's the most powerful icon for the brand. And then you've got a brand like bumbu that acts I love because it reminds me of, of, you know, like X marks the spot. It's like a treasure. You've done something the name bumbu comes from the 14th century merchants would travel the West Indies and, and they didn't like the taste of traditional rum, which was his Grog and they blend their own out of it and they called it bumbu And Nicky that gets back to this idea of where do you get the inspiration? Boy, that name is a real name, who knows. And that became the brand or, or McQueen? I love McQueen. It's it's McQueen in the violet fog, we're probably the only brand if you ever have a chance to read the back of the bottle. It's a poem. It's a poem about this rock'n'roll band called McQueen in the violet fog and we're probably the only brand in the world with a poem on it. Villon with our snake and sword I love this logo. For it veon was named after France Swabian was a 14th century poet from France was an iconic class he went against the grain he fought against bad people he was ultimately killed by a monk. Some people say the word villain comes from villon but they each have and I hope you can feel it they each have a story to tell and and but it's in the bottle. It's in the bottle they taste better than any other their brand competitors.

Nicky Saunders  
Thats good

Mostafa Ghonim  
That's so cool. That's so cool with with as much passion as you have for the message in the story. How involved are you in the day to day? It? Like do you feel the need to be super involved? Because you want it to be very, a very particular way? Or do you feel that? Well, I need to be far enough away that I can look and see and catch trends and and do it that way.

Brett Berish  
I need to be as close as I possibly can. I need to be on the street cuz I need to feel what's going on out there. So you asked me I think Nicky or moose. One of you asked me like, Who did I learn from? One of the early people who I love was Jermaine Dupri and Jermaine used to have young people around him all the time, because it allowed him to know what the hell's going on, you know, to know what music people are listening to how they're listened to. And he would break songs by going to the strip clubs in Atlanta to get a feel as the song successful, but that that's brand building, that's knowing music. And to me, it's the same thing. If I'm not touching it, if I'm not feeling it if I'm not, you know, out there then I'm I'm not feeling the brand it literally it's it's it gets back to this idea for me personally, it's like parenting. It is. I tell a story my my eight year old is wicked at math and a wicked writer. Oh, we can read and and he's terrible at at at. He can't draw it. He's a horrible artist, you know, he can't he's not creative. My daughter is seven. She's the opposite. She's great, are great artists, she can draw, but she can't read or do math. It's just crap. What do you do as parents, you lean in on what they're good at, and then you backfill later. But if you're not close enough to the kids, you're not going to know what they're good at And I think that's, that's the same with brands you got to come from, I came from a place of not having a lot of money. So I gotta, I gotta know what's working, I have to be close to it, because then I'll know what's working and where to push, or I'll know what's not working and where not to focus. And that saves money and time.

Mostafa Ghonim  
That was just gonna I was just gonna ask, actually, on that note, have you ever made a drastic change because of what you saw out in the marketplace? Or just how people were responding? Maybe you put something out and said, man we got we'll keep it but we just got to do it differently. Is there something that comes to mind? 

Brett Berish  
I think the biggest one, it wasn't a change other than it reinforced the philosophy of letting things breathe. mentality is when we had ace of spades, ace of spades was a you know, 90% of the sales were nightclubs on premise. They call it that's bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, and it was nightclubs and we assumed Bel Air would be the same thing. It's been nine years and retail has been the major focus of it. There's a saying in our industry, you sell it on premise bars and restaurants and sell it to retail. We built a brand the opposite way Um, it wasn't the plan, but it it what it became the plan based on what worked. If that makes sense. You know, when the plan so bumbu great example in, in Belgium, this brand is 100% retail sales were the number one premium Roman Belgium, in Czech Republic. Were the number one premium rum as well, but it's 100% bars and restaurants. They both work. But who cares? They both work. So there's no you know, it's so I again, I like to let things breathe, because then we'll figure it out. Where is it working? If it works at a at, you know, a local bar, great build around it, if it works at as a C store or convenience store, great build around it. It's it's finding people, it gets back to this idea of finding people who are behind your brand and support them. It's like a fan.

Nicky Saunders  
Yeah, so true. So okay, let's talk about a imma ask a selfish question. Self Made, tastes better your content series, right? Selfishly, everybody knows, I love Nipsey. Okay. Talk to no talk to us. Talk to me, right. Sorry, audience I love you. But what was the biggest takeaway that you got from that episode, when you interviewed Nipsey Hussle.

Brett Berish  
As Ross would say, too easy. Let me go better, too easy. I just interviewed. We had done two interviews that day. And we had just finished the wrap the first one at this house, and Nipsey shows up one by himself. And he shows up early. Never happens. Never happens. No one ever does that. No, he's the only person today. And I've interviewed hundreds of people who show up alone. And this might, there's always a bit I take away from somebody and Nipsey tells me this story about about living, growing up and popping your trunk. And I didn't get the hell that meant. When he goes on to explain, you know, I saw how you had to do it. And in order to make it you got to get down and dirty, and go to the street corner and open your trunk and sell your goods. And that's how you're gonna get there. And he's 100%, right? And I believe in that. And that whole mentality of I gotta go do it. I don't care how dirty it gets, I gotta go make it happen. And if I can make it happen myself, it and I can do everything myself, I can get there. Because I'm gonna make it easier every day that goes on, but Nipsey you know, that that was a great takeaway for me. And I will I won't forget it. And I've used it constantly because I think about that all the time.

Nicky Saunders  
Okay, for the follow up. Okay, so the the actual content series, like where did that come from the self made tastes better that it's, it's, it's amazing and I've learned a lot from from just some of the episodes that you've had, but what what made you do that? 

Brett Berish  
So, it started we started trying to understand like, it's I was amazed on Instagram and seeing people hold our bottles and show them off and they hold them like a trophy and it made me feel exactly how I feel which is I've done something I've achieved something something's happened I'm opening this bottle I'm sharing this bottle I'm holding this bottle because I've done something and it gets back to that and it came back to this idea of of for me is this idea of everyone has that self made story that I did it mentality I've gotten through it I've achieved it and what I wanted to hear from people I don't get energy from successful stories I get energy from the shit that people went through to get there. You know when I tell people that that I had my bank account swept from the by the IRS because I stopped paying taxes to put it all my money back in the business or I lost my house I had a federal marshal come and you know, put the lock on the doors of my house because I stopped paying my mortgage because I put it all back in the business that we used to. I used to call liquor stores and my mom would do it too just to hear him just to get get them to hear the name ace of spades because I wanted people to become aware of it. Like that grind that shit side is is what I aspired to. And that that drives me. And that's the part I wanted to hear from other people is that drive whether it's yesterday I interviewed an up and coming artist named aspect Xavion and, and he was saying to me, Brett, I'm in, I'm in my new apartment, and I don't have all my furniture and I don't want all my furniture, I want to be uncomfortable, I need to be uncomfortable. Because if I get comfortable, then I don't have that drive. Like, that's the stuff that gets me. That's what I want to hear from people. I want to hear their nuggets that tell you a story. For for for that young me who thought it should happen fast, and it doesn't happen fast. And it can suck until you get there. But that's kind of normal. And that's how it's supposed to happen. But that's where it started. And I love it ever since.

Nicky Saunders  
So dope, such a good content series.

Mostafa Ghonim  
Yeah, Brett, this has been a very rich conversation. This will be my last question. At least from my end. We definitely you know, it's funny, because you mentioned stories, our podcast, our show really came together by mistake. It happened doing COVID. And it was a crazy time, right? Because Kobe had Kobe had just passed, and no one thought that would ever happen, although he's human. But it was just a complete shock for us. And we went on a rampage of wanting to do a cliche thing. But nonetheless do it anyway, which is give people their flowers while they're still around, you know, where they can still receive them. And let them know that we appreciate them that we're inspired by them. And take away that macho type feel that I don't want to give compliments to another male or another female because it makes me you know, less than them. So this is literally our way of doing it. So to allow the work to go out there and reach you and actually have you on the podcast as a guest is it's really cool. So this is our way of saying thank you for inspiring us as a generation. It's been an awesome conversation. My final question, what are some maybe mindset tips or hacks that you would give or that you practice? To help people go through the daily, the daily processing the daily grind?

Brett Berish  
Ah, I think there's never one meaning you find nuggets every day do what's inspire you. So, you know, yesterday's as I said, nugget was, you know, don't be comfortable, you know, be uncomfortable, you know, and I feel that right now. But it's it's everything from failing is amazing, you know, because that's how you learn. And I make mistakes every single day, every day. And I I tell David, I think this example of I think brand, even brand building and even your own personal building is like improv, you know, where comedian tells a joke, one day too, and the audience gets, you get the reaction and the comedian. He then tweaks the joke, because he wants to try differently to see if he gets a better reaction. And then he tweaks it again and again. And I'm tweaking myself as a person. I'm trying to get myself better or trying to learn. But it's trusting your instincts, relying on yourself. trusting your gut. It's okay to be different. My my, my mother is my inspiration. She's the title of every single presentation I have. There's a title page of her. Nine different pictures of her. She's She's 90 plus years old, she rollerblades every day, she wears our T shirts or hats or sweatshirts. She has her own business card, she'll go up to anybody and talk to them. She's fearless And the title of the presentation is always we're different. You know, and that's okay. I don't you know, that's who we are. And it's perfectly fine. But it's whatever speaks to you is that nugget. Like that's how I look at it, whatever speaks to you works for you.

Nicky Saunders  
Alright, my my final questions before I go into my like, I want to give you flowers speech Because I have so much to say. But, um, ideas. I'm such an ideas person. Right? Yeah. And your ideas have turned into powerful brands, right? What helps you figure out which I did to run with? Like, I think anybody who comes up with ideas, have that question and since you've executed so well, I had to make that my last one.

Brett Berish  
It's a great question, Nicky And it's if you ask me, Brett, what were your struggles? That was my issue. I had so many ideas. And what happened was I didn't pick any because I was afraid Am I picking the wrong one? You know Oh, am I picking up when I run out of ideas. So when you have lots of ideas, you don't end up doing anything. And I spent years thinking like this. And it wasn't until I just, I was, I don't know, 31-32 years old. And I just said, I'm decided I picked this, this is what I want to do, I'm entering the space of an idea for a brand. I just focused on it, and I loved it. And I just love what I'm doing. And you know what happened, the ideas don't go away. They still keep coming. But what you've done is you focused on one thing to get you to the next thing. And I always tell people, Nicky, you know, it's, anybody can have an idea is the heart the it's not about the idea. It's an idea. It's about executing, you just gotta go execute, you got to pick one, go execute it, and then everything else can come through after that.

Nicky Saunders  
That's so good. For me, you get all the flowers because I've learned so much from you from the interviews that you've done from just the movement that you have. So I definitely want to say thank you for even blessing this podcast because we're really big on not only showing the people but definitely showing the people who built the brands, like you build powerful brands, so I definitely want to give the flowers what's next what's next I didn't get moose we didn't notice that what's next. 

Brett Berish  
next is more brands. So I can't go into too much detail because it's it's it's it's like show and tell you gotta have to show an order. But I've probably have 5,6,7 new brands coming new categories great stories. Great liquid. I'm you know, it's amazing. I've been doing it for 20 plus years, my the idea is still the same come out with great, great products, great brands. And if I run out of ideas, I'll stop but I'm excited. We've got new categories, I promise you you'll get bottles to taste because you deserve them And you'll see what we're doing but they're they're there they each have a story to tell they each have a story to tell.

Nicky Saunders  
That's so amazing. Look, Brett, thank you. Where Where can people find you? And we normally have final words and we want you to give the final word for the people.

Brett Berish  
Find me at me personally hit me at Bretbearishceo on Instagram. You can hit any of the brands as well, official Bellaire, original bumbu McQueen, the violet fog, and V on France. Hit us hit us hit us. If you want to work with us. If you want to be involved with us, that's all it you just got to reach out.

Nicky Saunders  
The work ethic of grace and correct

Brett Berish  
you got to last word. Love what you do as long as you love what you do and have some patience, you'll get there you'll get there rely on yourself because you'll never get disappointed. Ever. And, and the goal in life is to get other people to start believing you and you build your own army. But it's not easy. So don't get frustrated. You're gonna have bad days but the key the key is to have more good days then bad days.

 

Brett Bearish Profile Photo

Brett Bearish

President & CEO of Sovereign Brands

Brett R. Berish is the President & CEO of Sovereign Brands, a family-owned, international wine & spirits company headquartered in New York, which sells its portfolio of products in more than 100 countries globally. Brett and his company have developed some of the world’s hottest brands, including the smash-hit Luc Belaire line of French sparkling wines, which has earned global acclaim for its exquisite taste and striking package, and is the fastest-growing French sparkling wine in the world. Sovereign’s portfolio also includes Bumbu, a craft rum from Barbados that ranks among the world’s most critically acclaimed rums and is already the best-selling brand in the U.S. premium rum category, as well as McQueen and the Violet Fog, a small-batch gin from Jundiai, Brazil, which was awarded a 93-point score by Wine Enthusiast. Sovereign’s newest release, Villon, is revolutionizing the cognac category. Brett’s past brands include Armand de Brignac (“Ace of Spades”) Champagne and D’Ussé Cognac, two of the most successful brands in the super-premium Champagne and premium Cognac categories, respectively. Mr. Berish has been profiled by Forbes, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Market Watch, among others, and was recently recognized by Goldman Sachs as one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs at the Goldman Sachs Builders + Innovators Summit. He has also been invited to speak on popular radio shows including The Breakfast Club and Young Money Radio. Brett’s self-made success has informed his company’s values, culture & celebrity partnerships, culminating in Sovereign’s prolific marketing campaign “Self Made Tastes Better”, which includes a series of interviews hosted by Brett alongside some of the world’s biggest celebrities, from recording artists to athletes, actors, TV personalities and influencers – all of whom are also confirmed fans of Sovereign’s brands. Together with a proven ability to create powerful, resonant brands, the international partnerships Mr. Berish has created with some of the world’s finest wine and spirits producers have given Sovereign Brands an extraordinary and unique portfolio of wines and spirits..