Episode 27: Julian A. Giacomelli

Rise And Shine

“Rather than saying we’re a conscious business, let’s just be conscious. At the end of the day, it’s all about the relationships and the people we work with.”

“Growth is one of the most destructive forces in business. It’s great, everyone wants it, but it doesn’t stop.”

“Somehow, the inner voice was coming through. And I had the distinct feeling that if I didn’t pay attention to it, bad things were coming”

Adventure On The Horizon

Julian Giacomelli is the President and Chairman of RISE Kombucha, and a Venture Partner at edō Capital. He is also a long-time yoga adept, a talented photographer, and an avid traveler.

On The Run

In our sit-down, Julian talks us through the moment he left a promising career in business following a revelatory Central Park run. He tells the story of how he met Crudessence founders David Cote and Mathieu Gallant, and what convinced him to join them and help them develop Crudessence and RISE.

Julian’s forthright and curious personality make him a phenomenal podcast guest. We covered a lot of ground in this one, from the technicalities of expanding a brand into the U.S. to paying attention to one’s inner voice when making big, life-changing decisions.

The Big Picture

Julian’s own experience is reflected in his leadership style. He’s as passionate about doing good business as he is about create a company culture that prioritizes the happiness of its employees.

It was a real treat for Scott and I to absorb some of of Julian’s wisdom!

Julian Giacomelli on the SpiritBros Podcast!

SHOW NOTES

TIME MARKERS

  • [5:41] What is the recipe for a great photograph?

  • [7:01] Julian’s earliest formative memory. “I was a builder. I must have been about six years old when I started building in my dad’s workshop.”

  • [9:16] How University life helped and hindered Julian in finding a purpose.

  • [10:16] “A lot of the time, I was chasing other people’s idea of success, and not mine.”

  • [12:16] What motivated a change of direction and choosing to pursue an MBA.

  • [14:06] What he learned as a management consultant.

  • [14:16] How a run in Central Park changed Julian’s life.

  • [19:06] On learning to say no.

  • [19:51] “Somehow, the inner voice was coming through. And I had the distinct feeling that if I didn’t pay attention to it, bad things were coming.”

  • [22:56] On being drawn to Tibet and its mythical caves.

  • [25:56] On India. “India was shocking, and I loved it.”

  • [31:01] On his first encounter with yoga.

  • [31:51] “What happens beyond boredom?”

  • [39:06] On choosing Montreal as the place to get started again.

  • [43:56] On facing expectations from those who knew him best.

  • [46:26] Julian on choosing his first projects post-travel.

  • [51:36] The “beautiful woman meditation.”

  • [54:06] Julian describes how a clearer sense of purpose helped set the stage for joining Crudessence in 2008.

  • [1:00:51] On becoming a more active part of Crudessence and Rise in 2010: “It was like quicksand!”

  • [1:05:06] On Crudessence closing down.

  • [1:05:26] “What I loved about Crudessence is that we were so dedicated to our values that we were willing to let the ship go down rather than change them too much, so that it was a good time to sell. And I think that a lot of those values, as Crudessence closed, got sprinkled across Montreal.”

  • [1:08:36] What was Julian’s biggest challenge or learning during his years at Crudessence?

  • [1:10:36] How did it feel to see the Crudessence project come to an end?

  • [1:11:46] On becoming more involved in Rise Kombucha.

  • [1:13:46] What were his first impressions in leading Rise?

  • [1:15:06] “Growth is one of the most destructive forces in business. It’s great, everyone wants it, but it doesn’t stop.”

  • [1:16:36] On finding the right investor for Rise.

  • [1:21:36] On building the state-of-the-art new facility for Rise in St-Leonard.

  • [1:24:06] On Kombucha.

  • [1:27:06] On the bottle design for Rise.

  • [1:30:36] On re-branding Rise. “We wanted a product that felt more approachable, that wasn’t going to beat you over the head by being organic, and didn’t force you to do yoga.” “Rather than fight it out in the shelves of the small health food stores, we wanted to bring it to the IGAs of the world, and to do that, you had to bring something that looked more mainstream.”

  • [1:34:21] How is Rise approaching a breakthrough in the U.S. Market?

  • [1:40:21] So what is Kombucha, anyway?

  • [1:44:36] New flavors for Rise: Lychee Jasmin and Orange Tumeric. The R&D of the flavors.

  • [1:49:06] On limited edition flavors.

  • [1:52:56] What is Julian’s current growth edge?

  • [1:55:36] How does he approach recruitment?

  • [1:57:36] What does the new vision of culture at Rise look like?

  • [2:02:06] “Rather than saying we’re a conscious business, let’s just be conscious. At the end of the day, it’s all about the relationships and the people we work with. And if we lose sight of that for the sake of bottom-line, maybe there will be more bottom-line, but I think it won’t be an as enriching experience for our staff.”

  • [2:03:06] Is B Corp in Rise’s future?

  • [2:04:36] How does Julian manage stress?

  • [2:07:56] Communities that Julian draws inspiration and kinship from.

  • [2:11:26] Teachers or mentors who were influential in Julian’s life.

  • [2:14:46] What was Julian’s best failure?

  • [2:17:06] What is Julian’s vision for 10 years from now?

  • [2:19:26] Were there any other names in play when they choose Rise?

  • [2:20:36] En-Lightning Round.

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