Host Cory Ames sat down with Giancarlo Marcaccini, a successful social entrepreneur and the CEO of East West Tea Company, which parents Yogi Tea and Choice Organics, to get his advice for up & coming impact driven entrepreneurs.
Without a doubt, starting your first business has been or will be one of the most challenging ventures you’ve ever set out to accomplish.
However, as a social entrepreneur, you’ll face even greater challenges. From the beginning, you’ll need to have a much grander vision for the influence and impact your business might potentially have. Additionally, social entrepreneurs must solve problems in a way that doesn’t involve cutting corners, putting people or the environment in harm’s way, or sacrificing the core values that are at the heart of their personal beliefs and businesses.
Beyond this, successful entrepreneurs operating within the sustainable capitalism movement must use their mission-driven business to create solutions for the large-scale issues that we face to lead their industry into a future of sustainability and regeneration.
Needless to say, that’s a lot to have on your plate!
You’re going to need help, and since the road to success often means heeding the advice of those who have already succeeded, we sat down with Giancarlo Marcaccini, a successful entrepreneur and the CEO of East West Tea Company, which parents Yogi Tea and Choice Organics.
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Throughout the conversation, Marcaccini gives us his best entrepreneurial tips and pieces of business advice for aspiring social entrepreneurs, and he explains how and why they are necessary for entrepreneurial success.
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Cory Ames 0:07
Hey y'all, it's Cory here with the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast. so grateful to have you listening. In today's episode, I'm joined by john Carlo market Genie, the CEO of eastwest tea, or maybe more commonly known as Yogi tea. I've been looking forward to this conversation with john Carlo for some time, I am a avid consumer of yoga in their teas. And we really span the gamut in this conversation talking really all things entrepreneurship, john Carlos, professional basketball career in France, Spain, in Italy, as well as the business that he founded with his brothers schelotto business, and how all that connected together to become the CEO of such a really profoundly successful and example, purpose driven, mission driven business that is Yogi tea, really a phenomenal conversation here. We'll dive in very shortly. But before we do, I want to invite you to sign up for our better world weekly newsletter if you have not yet. This is a newsletter I write since a publish myself every single Monday, go to grow ensemble.com backslash newsletter to join the community of changemakers and innovators from all sectors literally all over the globe, who get this email in their inbox on the latest in sustainability, sustainable business, and really all things building a better world. Again, that's grow ensembl.com backslash newsletter. Alright, y'all. Without further ado, here's john Carlo market Genie from Yogi tea.
Giancarlo Marcaccini 2:00
So i'm john Carlo market Genie, I'm the CEO of eastwest. Tea Company, technically, I'm saying technically because everyone knows us as Yogi Yogi. And we're also the, you know, proud owners of the choice brand as well. But most of our business is Yogi, and we, that's a company that's created about 40 years ago. So boys was an acquisition we did about a year ago. But technically, we're eSports D company, but known as the CEO of Yogi.
Cory Ames 2:32
Well, a lot in there that we'll touch on. But you know, maybe you didn't think we'd start here. But I'd love if you could share with us. How might your your professional basketball career, spending some time playing in Italy, France and Spain? How does that relate or perhaps benefit your role as the CEO of a business like Yogi? All right. You know, what, I
Giancarlo Marcaccini 2:56
have never asked that question. I think it's a great question. But how do I incorporate it? I don't, you know, as a business leader, I wasn't really brought up in any traditional way, or really had any specific training, I just think I lead just from my experiences and who I am, and being a basketball player or an athlete, at that level, it has shaped me. And it's a big part of just who I am. And I think the good things that translate into being a good leader from those basketball days. Thing is the commitment and the discipline and hard work, obviously, and camaraderie and teamwork, my deep appreciate. So I think those are attributes that carry over. And yeah, and to what I do and who I am today. So.
Cory Ames 3:51
And I mean, I just think, you know, for our listeners, you know, it's it's not an insignificant amount of time. Yeah, I think it was about eight years or so that you played professionally, abroad.
Giancarlo Marcaccini 4:00
Yeah. All right. I mean, I think that was a lifetime in the making. That was the eight years professionally, but I feel like I was groomed as a young kid to be an athlete started versus swimming, and then as tennis and then I moved to the United States in high school, and then, thank God, I got into basketball because I was like, that was just a lot of fun to be able to play basketball in high school, and college. And then eventually that, you know, culminated into a professional career, which was so awesome, you know, doing what you love. And not only that is having the experience to live in these amazing countries and integrate yourself in those cultures. I think that's another thing now that I've mentioned that it's basketball gave me you know, also the experience to live in different countries in different cultures. So I just think that just opens up your mind to, you know, just seeing how things can be done amazingly well and completely differently. And there's always one Other ways to look at things?
Cory Ames 5:01
Hmm. And so from what I understand you grew up in Italy to early teenage years, is that right?
Giancarlo Marcaccini 5:08
Yeah, I grew up I had American mother, Italian Father, I grew up in Italy. And I went to an American school there, and then moved to California for high school.
Cory Ames 5:17
And then I guess at what point after the basketball career, did things start to shift into entrepreneurship for you?
Giancarlo Marcaccini 5:25
Yeah, I think I was always an entrepreneur, because even before you know, I remember going to college. You know, during our recruiting trips, I have two other brothers, we all play college basketball. You know, we had like a short sight and T shirt business. And, you know, they were telling us, Hey, you guys are gonna have to shut that down. Because it messes around with your amateur status. I thought that was interesting. That's a total different compensate. So but I think that entrepreneurship bug was always there. And then basically, when we were retiring, my brother retired a couple years before I did and the funny part is, I think that's the defining moment. And what's curious, the thought of ever getting a job never, it was just never a thought or conversation is like, we looked at each other. And he's like, Hey, what are we gonna do next? And from there, we're like, okay, when we were young, we really missed like, gelato and pizza, when we moved to the United States. So I think at that point, we, that's, I think, how we made our decisions. We got into the gelato to the ice cream business. And that's how it started.
Cory Ames 6:42
What was that experience, like working with your brothers?
Giancarlo Marcaccini 6:45
Oh, that was awesome. I mean, wow. I mean, I think just That in itself, I think it'd be a whole segment in terms of this isn't dynamics, I mean, the most amazing and the most challenging, because, you know, you're bringing a lot of history into every conversation and there's a lack of professionalism. All three alpha, kind of like athletes, college athletes, my other brother played professional basketball as well. And so pretty intense, guys. So it's amazing. So I think it's, there's difficulties to it. And the reward of celebrating together and building a company together is, is amazing, you know?
Cory Ames 7:27
And a still active with your brothers. Correct?
Giancarlo Marcaccini 7:30
Correct. Yeah, I stepped away from my day to day responsibilities. When I stepped in as CEO and Yogi Are you Swiss Tea Company and my brothers are taking it that business has evolved. It's doing awesome things. And I guess more the dessert space than ice. We started out as a gelato, business, we still do a lot of gelato, food service, nationwide airlines, but a lot of our business, also co packing and manufacturing for a lot of these innovative companies that are out there doing plant based stuff. And yeah, so it's having a lot of success. And it's been fun watching them do that. And so yeah, very satisfying.
Cory Ames 8:10
And so how do we get connected with the folks with Yogi because I understand you were a member of the board for a couple of years right before your position now. Okay.
Giancarlo Marcaccini 8:19
Yeah. Wow. Okay.
So, um, yeah, I mean, that's a whole evolution in itself. So eventually, I stumbled into yoga. And it played a big, big part in my life. And, you know, one of the mentors I had at this yoga studio asked me to help out with their studio, their business, he knew I was avid, you know, I was all in on the yoga part and the self development part. And he knew I was a business person as well. And he asked me to help them out. And I did that I didn't know that this yoga studio was also owned by a bigger entity. And I think somewhere to make a long story really short, I think some they were pleased with what happened there as from a business aspect, they were surprised as someone you know, just that of Seva, you know, just that, uh, I was just donating my time. And, and everything I put into it, I think they were surprised that when they saw this board that I guess oversaw, that I didn't really know existed or the correlations with yo he found out about my food background and kind of did, they want to know if I would be open to you know, serving on the yogi board. And that's how it started. So total coincidence, and you know, just kind of following my heart and what I wanted to do and, and really, I was in a place in my life where just the selfless act of giving back feeling super full a lot of is because of the yoga practice. I was just in this place where I was, had a lot going on, but really was in this place of just happy to be able to contribute and give back and it's funny like everything that came out of That decision and that giving back, I think I was I was given a lot more in return.
Cory Ames 10:06
It's nice when it works out that way. But it seems you can't go into that planning on that. And that seems to defeat the the whole initiative. But it feels to me that's a bit of the threat of the high level athlete in your you mentioned getting very into yoga, in all in on it that. I mean, I didn't play at any sort of level as you did with my sports, but transitioning from a competitive level to meditation very seriously. Mindfulness is like, Okay, what are my next disciplines and habits that I can pick up? You know, I'm glad they were very healthy ones for sure. And so what did you start to notice about Yogi, as a company or, you know, eastwest T, however, we would like to interchange them? In your two years on the board? What did you start to pick up about the company, the culture and the environment? Yeah, I
Giancarlo Marcaccini 10:54
think at the beginning, too, I think there was a lot of learning process, I was grateful for the ability to learn, like all my learning was really been an experience. So like, it's not really something when I, you know, when you're in college, and you're playing basketball, you're there to play basketball. And right after college, I was right, went right into playing professional basketball. So my experience was through my business and just growing and scaling our business, so to be able to look in and to see what yo he was doing, and what was awesome. And just from a business perspective, and then I just remember, speaking with one of our board members, I was like God, you know, I was like, super impressed. With Yogi, I was like, we were so far ahead of even the trends, if you will. And you know, the giving back part, the organic part. I mean, we've been in business, and it's been our ethos all the way through we are it's not, we're not like adapting to be part of the times here. This is thread that's run through our company from day one. And I just remember with all the enthusiasm is it's like, you know, and we're here, and we're giving back and it's so awesome. And he just looked at me, you know, really in a great way. He's like, you know, we're not here to give back. We're just here to be of service. And I thought that was like super powerful is like something that stayed, he probably doesn't even remember having that conversation. It's just one of those things. I was like, wow, like, this is awesome. The Spirit and the see that runs through this company. And then just all the successes company has as a business and as a brand was just amazing.
Cory Ames 12:33
And so what's that, like, I mean that from what I understand Yogi's is nearing 40 years in existence coming up on it a few years from now, what's it like to take the CEO position at a company with such a legacy long standing legacy already?
Giancarlo Marcaccini 12:51
I mean, I think I have to sit on that one for a few seconds. How did it feel? I guess when I first started, I was like, Okay, what happened? Because even when I was on the board, like I said, You know, I was I had my business, I invested a lot of time and money, and growing that, that I feel the first resume or, you know, to be on the board of Yogi as like, how do you, you know, given up my history and who I am, and then, you know, basically this, I felt like, this was my first job ever. So I was like, you know, I'm going in, I'm like, Hey, guys, let's see how this goes. You know, I felt like they really believed in me and really wanted me to take this job. So I was going in, kind of, I would say confident, I don't know if it was foolishly confident. I just know with time, I think this is something an entrepreneur has to have the sickness, where you just believe you can do anything. It's just like the learning curve. So I felt confident in that way. But I really did not know what to expect or in terms of day to day operations and what it would be when I got there, even though we're a 40 year old company. That's not how I approached it, because I was there to kind of also change things up because the 40 year old company who were going through cycles, and I think they also we as a company went from a cycle of being all like kind of these Yogi's, you know that were living in ashrams building this company, I think it went from you know, we they did this also because they they felt they were unemployable at the time and the seven, and they're like, Hey, we're just got to build our own businesses to like, how can we build a business that reflects our lifestyle, and that's where Yogi was born out of, then as our growth went on. And this evolvement we also became, you know, started bringing all these corporate people in, you know, and then you go also as a business transitioning from working from intuition, and I think, grow from zero to 50 million and then beyond. The company also transitions from being an entrepreneurs idea. You know, you see Something's missing in the marketplace or you're passionate about something, you think you can do something better. And then it also transitions to then at that point, then becoming your customers company, and meet and exceed your customers expectations. So, you know, we went through all these transitions. Where were you know, then I feel like when I came in, I didn't really come in and be like, Oh, we have these 40 years of tradition, I kind of came into, like, how do we merge the bridges between like this yoga company, this corporate company, and kind of find our true north again, in a way, you know, so I guess that's how I approached it. So it wasn't really when I came in, like, Okay, I've got this 40 year legacy to keep bringing it was kind of like, where do we go from here?
Cory Ames 15:50
Sure, I was surprised myself to find that that was the founding date, like 1984. Because I think there are still elements of Yogi looking at, for some reason, it feels like a young brand. Although it's always, you know, in just about any grocer, I'm in, you know, in the US, it's, I find it there. And that to me. So there. I mean, there's an interesting thing of that exact balance just in you know, how you received the company. But now three, coming up three and a half years into your role do you feel settled in yet? Do you feel like you're still the new CEO? Or do you feel like the CEO,
Giancarlo Marcaccini 16:22
I feel awesome, I really have, you know, that we went through a lot of transitioning and shaking things up. And it feels awesome. And especially I love I'm a people like, even before product for me and everything. As an entrepreneur, as an investor as everything I do. It's people and creating that environment for people to be successful. So I love my team, I love the way we're able to communicate and grow the trust. So it feels I feel at home, it feels awesome. And I think not only for me, I think even the people who have been with us for 20 years, it's been a big shift for them. And I think everyone's feeling really, really good and proud of themselves. I think we've just evolved tremendously. So in that short time, all of us, so let's feel good about it.
Cory Ames 17:14
And it may be contrast in this and I, you know, hate to make you maybe bring some of these up, but what do you feel like your understanding is of business now versus when it was, you know, when you're a younger entrepreneurs starting that business with your brothers, I might be referring to maybe there were mistakes that you made earlier on or something? Where do you feel are some comprehensive understandings you have of business, perhaps the best, you know, most effective way it can be done in contrast with, you know, when you first started with your brothers, wow,
Giancarlo Marcaccini 17:47
I mean, I just feel like, my learnings have all come, you know, you learn through successes, but I think even you learn more through your failures. You know, as an athlete, you know, you watch when you went a basketball game, you know, you go out and celebrate when you lose your, you know, your x day, like breaking down film, and this and that with. So I've really just learned through failures and missteps and mistakes, I think that will always continue. And that's kind of what I push. I think one thing is, yeah, people, there's a lot of fear of making mistakes, even in my teams now. And now we have, you know, these bigger corporate people that come in, and I'm just challenging them. Like, if we're not making any mistakes, we're just not going fast enough or thinking big enough. So, so it's not like, I don't think the mistakes will ever be over. I think the biggest transition for me, I mean, you know, I just think you evolved, I don't know if it's hormonal cycles or everything, the calmness and the patience. And, you know, when you're starting, we started from nothing, you're just trying to survive, you're just trying to make it, you know, you're not taking paychecks. So you're in survival mode more, you know, and you don't know, there's less and less things, you know, and I don't know if that you know, but sometimes I don't know, there was such a gap of things I didn't know I maybe I thought I knew Moore's. So I mean, I think I'm just a different person in the way I approach things. And when you get out of survival mode, you can just take the longer view and you can think bigger and you can give more and so I think that's the biggest shift, I think a lot of the things will be the same. I think my evolvement has just not been through business, but like through my yoga practice, as well. And my mindfulness practice and meditation practice. So um, you know, just putting your 10,000 hours in and seeing things and for a lot of the things I just have to experience and that gives you a sense of calmness and, and be able to sit back and, and you know, also having more money at your disposal gives you a level of comfort as I don't Wanna say comfort because I think that comfort can bite you in the ass. When I say comfort, I think it allows you to not look at things as narrowly, you know, what happens when you're in survival mode, you know, you just start looking at things very narrowly, instead of, you know, having a bigger perspective, that gives you the ability to see more possibilities. So I think that's the biggest shift, if that makes sense. Absolutely, I
Cory Ames 20:23
think I mean, there's edges to each side. And he's certainly in the survival mode, it's like someone can tell you, as an entrepreneur, like, just be patient, you know, like, it's all, like, that intellectually, can kind of go in your brain, or it just kind of goes in one year in the out, because you're like, yeah, you know, no, I'm thinking about, you know, what income we're generating next week, or, you know, next month. And so that bandwidth issue it is, you know, that's a difficult thing to balance in, you know, to actually practice some semblance of patience, when it's that survival mode. But likewise, you know, with that survival mode, you're very critical of every single, you know, perhaps effort, investment, whatever it might be to a fault. And sometimes, you know, you don't use things with proper time to pay off, but maybe on the other side of it, you know, you're a little, you know, a little less, I guess, cognizant of every single, you know, dollar or investment of effort and time where it goes, so I, I'm following what you're saying there, you
Giancarlo Marcaccini 21:21
know, giving someone the chance to learn and grow, and, you know, you're just expecting those results quicker. And then, you know, not being able to see everything and making decisions. Yeah, from just different places and experience. So,
Cory Ames 21:34
yeah, I mean, it's interesting to have you be on really, you know, kind of both ends of this spectrum, starting a company from the ground up with your brothers. And then now coming into an existing one Yogi, I mean, you know, not the most massive company world, but a few 100 employees, if I'm not mistaken, and a very significant size biz, it's interesting, you know, to have those two perspectives. Do you imagine that that, does that provide you some sort of benefit in your purview of Yogi to have an understanding of kind of that, you know, very kind of young, hustling? scrappy?
Giancarlo Marcaccini 22:07
Yeah, it's just different worlds, the way you approach things, and you know, and you also see, like, you know, and also in what we do in our business, we're co Packers, and we see these brands that come in these new brands. And so I've also had an experience with other entrepreneurs at startup, to see them come in and see what makes people successful and not successful. And then I think you also see, you know, the Unilever's and the Nestle's going out there, and buying these smaller companies for it crazy. multiples, right? Because these entrepreneurs are touching on some magic with akustik. Because it's not just all, go hire a consultant do this, because they have all the money, all the data. So there's some magic being in that startup. And I think if you can merge the both worlds and I think you get the best of both worlds, that's where I'm at so far in my journey. I appreciate learning from the people that had the corporate careers, and appreciating them. And then I really enjoy my path to where I am today. And you know, it's really just getting the best of both worlds and combining those.
Cory Ames 23:15
I imagine that some of those folks in the corporate Layne maybe had to help you with that resume first to get you on the board of directors,
Giancarlo Marcaccini 23:22
my wife, my wife, she knew what I was getting myself into more join Yogi or he's supposed to the company more than I did, because she was a corporate consultant for Gala. Oh, yeah. She helped with that resume as well.
Cory Ames 23:37
I know a lot of folks, you know, in these communities have sustainable business, sir. Purpose Driven business, the B Corp community for one. I know a lot of folks look up to companies like Yogi or eastwest T. And so I'm curious, as we're bringing up, you know, some younger brands in this space, do you happen to have any kind of bits of advice for maybe some younger consumer products brands in this space? If they're, maybe they feel like they're listening in they're really resonating that thing? Or like, Oh, that's survival mode. Like they're really resonating with that sentiment? Is there any advice that you might share with them to perhaps break through to some either not necessarily completely changing the business but maybe a different experience of the business?
Giancarlo Marcaccini 24:18
I love the questions you're asking I'll Korea, these are awesome. I wish out. You know, I think, you know, we've talked about you're gonna fail. So it's not about like trying to avoid failure. It's about how quickly do you bounce back? You know, how long do you want to sit there and feel sorry for yourself. And I think that's one where we excelled. We just just keep moving forward. And I didn't realize like 10 years later how many failures we have. So you just got to keep going. I mean, I would start with if I had advice, make sure you love what you're going to do. As man, it's going to be your life. And it's going to be a grind and it's going to be much more difficult than you think it's going to be so just love What you're going to do? Number two, his most important ingredient for me is people even beyond product because you can. I've worked with people that I thought had amazing products and people that Yoker products, and you just see the even mediocre products with good people eventually then figure out the product side. So you want to invest and bring into your circle, like just talented people. And yeah, I think those are probably the if do something that you really love, because you're going to use so much of your life is going to be this is your child, this is your partner, this is everything, at least it was for us. And the sooner you can afford or you know, maybe you get a lot, is just learn how to hire good people, and learn how to create an environment to make people successful. And yeah, so those are the, I guess my two words of wisdom today.
Cory Ames 25:55
And then and perhaps diving a little bit deeper into the the environment component, as you're approaching that as a leader in in Yogi, how are you attempting to foster an environment? Yes, for people really to thrive and succeed? Yeah, and
Giancarlo Marcaccini 26:10
why that's so important to me and how that became because it wasn't part for me, when I started as a business person, it was like, hey, how, you know, how are we going to make money? And what are we going to do and, and I love business as well. So I think that just evolved as I evolved as someone as a person and also got out of survival mode. With a yoga I think that is how we approach how I approach business today, I guess is how I approach life, not business. You know, I think how you approach anything is how you approach everything is just I've had that experience of oneness, you know, you can you know, you say oneness, and I think that's a beautiful word. But you know, like in basketball, you maybe 234 times a year you have the you know, in the zone where you can't miss fall in the zone for meditation is, you know, you're at it, I've been added for 1415 years. And you know, if you've had a handful of moments, maybe it's like hitting that golf ball correctly. It's like, Man, you experience oneness. And it's not a concept. It's not an idea is full blown out experience of like, we're just all one, you know. And so I guess from that place, then, is how I approach how at eastwest Tea Company, the approaches from that experience of knowing? How do you interact and participate and be in relationship with your growers? How are you in relationship with Mother Earth? How are you in relationship with your supply chain? How are you in relationship with all your employees? What products are you putting out for your customers? So for me, the environment piece is that's how we approach it like, a oneness as a being as an entity, earth I mean, Earth and the planet. It's like this is a living entity that I'm one with like, how do we do we just take take take the we rack, and when it comes to the environment, I don't even think sustainability is the right word from now it's almost you know, we're in a hole. It's about regenerate and, and fill up the hole and leave and put more back. And we're on that journey. And in all those aspects. I think they're all important for us from the grower aspect to our relationship with Mother Earth to our employees, even there, it's sustainable, how can you set up your employees to be sustainable, where they're not leaving work exhausted, or a strength based culture, and I think that's awesome. It's really putting people with their talents on the right team and the right jobs. So when they're done, they're not exhausted because they're doing what they like what they're naturally good at, and they go home and be good parents or great people in their community have energy and prana to give back to their community and everything. So I think when I look at sustainability, I look at it and just a broad word. And then the way we are with the environment is a huge piece of it and also a common language for us at our company. Hmm.
Cory Ames 29:28
I wholly agree with you. I think it this sustainable term is something that it's just it's more commonly used, I suppose, but right. Absolutely. We can't sustain the status quo. That's, I mean, that's important. You know, what's got us?
Giancarlo Marcaccini 29:43
Like, we're the whole so just sustaining where we're at, right? You know, and I think maybe people don't realize that we're in a hole just because they are everything seems okay. But you're putting it's like a titanic, you know, it takes you're gonna see the repercussions maybe 10 years from now. And then it could be too late as well.
Cory Ames 30:03
So what's on the Ford thought for Yogi and East West? He, you know, looking out in this next year, the years to come? What has you most excited enthusiastic, like, Where are y'all headed? Where else do you need to go?
Giancarlo Marcaccini 30:16
Yeah, I mean, I think so that excites us now, is this refocusing? Because you said at the beginning, you know, yoga doesn't feel like a 40 year old brand. And it's, you know, it almost feels more like a startup because, you know, there before herbs and spices, and, you know, wellness kind of all came into vogue, but our growth, you know, our growth over the last 10 years has been more like a startup, right? Because now, it Okay, it goes from Whole Foods and all the natural markets, even before Whole Foods to your Kroger's, and Albertsons to Walmart. So now, we've just gone from being, you know, a niche product to mainstream products. So a lot of our focus has just been like, Oh, my God, you know, keeping up and holding on and catching the wave that we were waiting for building LEED certified plants and all this. So now I think really, what excites us is almost a refocusing to a lot of it is the sustainability piece, you know, really refocusing and re understanding our commitments to it. So that's super exciting. We're starting new regenerative projects in India, run regenerative agriculture projects with the tumeric and ginger. And we're doing it with mccormicks with you know, which is one of the biggest spice company in the world. Oh, geez, ed. And in Germany, what we're going to teach farmers, you know, when you dig in deep regenerative means a lot of different things for different products. And, you know, what is the earth calling for here in this region of the world. So it's not like a one size fits all. So really understanding what that means and what we can do with it, and bring in these NGO and these other big partners. And to really also track as these farmers grow conventional, they grow our organic ginger and tumeric. And now we're going to do this regenerative project. And so measuring, because I don't know, you know, it, yeah, I'm huge. I have my neighbors here who wrote, you know, kiss the ground. And I've just the enthusiasm from that has been huge. But now it's like, okay, let's take it to the lab for our experience. And we're going to, you know, train these farmers, right now, we're going to have this NGO really measure the carbon sequestration, we're going to be partnering up with this other huge company, and then be able, and let's see where we end up, I'm assuming it's gonna be an awesome story. But we're gonna go through the process, and then just share those best practices. With the rest of you know, we started really integrating ourselves into I think we were also siloed, because of this ramp up. And now we've re integrated ourselves and the ethical tea partnerships, sustainable spice initiatives, and working in partnership with, you know, what people would consider competitors, or, you know, just different people in the industry and really doing this project, learning from this project, sharing what we learn, and scaling it. I think that's, that excites us, excites me and excites us. So that's one big thing. grower projects, sustainability, living wages, I think we're huge on that. And I think when I came back in as a CEO was really understand what, you know, we went, like I said, we had this yoga culture and this corporate culture, and really blending us in together. And I think the environment was a big piece of common ground, that's common to our employees common to our customers, even especially in Europe, I think there's a lot also, I feel like they're further along even as a customer base, and really understanding, you know, the sustainability regenerative agriculture, space. So that's awesome. Because when you know more as a customer base, you hold the companies more accountable. And I think that that's really what needs to happen in America. I think that was a big piece of our common ground to get excited, because when you talked about my brothers, is we were just so much on the same page, going for the same thing. So when we had wins, it was multiplied, because it's all so I love having common ground and having common passion and interests and building, you know, that company culture, right. And like I said, we started from a place and everything, you know, webs and flows, when you're around for 40 years. So really concentrating and refocusing us on that is huge and exciting. That business part, you know, it's like where's the T category going to go and we did this the first acquisition ever and in Europe. We launched her ready to drink. And now is it going to be like, this Yogi will go into different sectors? Or do we do acquisitions and, and try to add value? You know, I think as we're evolving, you know, whatever we do is like working we bring value. And you know, we you can bring capital you can bring know how, or maybe an acquisition brings value to us, you know, where are those opportunities? So, I think that's where we are as a company.
Cory Ames 35:28
Well, I mean, a lot of things working that I know, I'll be very excited to follow along with john. Carla, I really appreciate your time and want to be respectful of it. But before I let you go, could I hit you with some rapid fire questions? Let's do it. All right. So first one, is there maybe a book or film that you always come back to, or maybe something that's impacted you recently, that you might recommend to our listeners,
Giancarlo Marcaccini 35:53
I read the book that I just love is, you know, the afterlife of Billy finger? If it wasn't a rapid question, I want to give you that, but it helps that perspective to everything as well. But I love the book, you know, I think for our topics and what we're focused on today, you know, I mentioned kiss the ground before, I think that's a, that's an awesome book. recommend that
Cory Ames 36:16
perfect. Next one for I might have an idea of where this is going. But do you have any particular daily habits, morning routines that you absolutely have to stick to?
Giancarlo Marcaccini 36:26
I do. I mean, this could be sound a graph, I mean, I wake up, I mean, I pushed it back about 430 in the morning, but I've been going out for about 14 years, about 330 in the morning, and then doing yoga meditation, and, and I just think that helps set the day, you know, just, you know, I think you just set yourself as like, though, I used to say, open up the door and go to work. But you know, I'm working in home, but you know, making sure I'm leaving with my glass overflowing before I start my day, and that's what you know, fills me up with gratitude. I think you can orchestrate that and set yourself up in my way, you know, do I wake up and just lead habits or the outside world influenced me? Or do I set myself up for success, give my self in that place of, you know, of mental balance and gratitude and approach my day from that place? So definitely a habit that I cherish and need.
Cory Ames 37:27
I thought it would be something like that based off of how our conversation has gone. But next one before Yeah. Are there any particular companies or organizations that you've really been inspired by recently, or whose work you admire that you think is deserving of a plug or some recognition here? Yeah, I
Giancarlo Marcaccini 37:44
mean, I love one of my favorite companies, which is really right down the street is Patagonia. You know, I admire them. I think maybe my executives are. I don't know how they, I mean, I know they love him, too. But every time we have executive meetings, you know, we bring a gift out and just they're all geared up with Patagonia. I think they're like, the jackets, everything. They're probably like, you know, what else can you give me? That's Patagonia. Yeah, I just admire their total commitment is excellent. And it's inspiring, and I truly appreciate them.
Cory Ames 38:16
Hmm. And last one for you. What's your favorite flavor of Yogi tea?
Giancarlo Marcaccini 38:22
Man, I think is the honey lavender stress relief. And I really just because it I think it tastes good more than everything. You know, it's probably good for me.
Cory Ames 38:33
We just bought our first box of that one recently. So we're just trying it out. And it was pleasantly relieved to get you guys some over. So make sure you give me give me all your info. Please do. Please do. All right, john. Carl. I really appreciate it. Finally, any last places we should keep up with you. East West t Yogi? Where would you like to direct? Yeah,
Giancarlo Marcaccini 38:52
I guess our website or Yogi here in the United States is Yogi products calm choice organic calm for the choice brand. And yeah, that's it. And Cory, I want to just take a minute to just thank you for your doing. You know, I was truly inspired by the message you put out what you're doing. Just who you are, and how you ask these questions to people is awesome. And it just really comes through I was touched and thanks for having me on.
Cory Ames 39:22
Now. I really appreciate it. All right, we'll have all things linked up at the show post at girl ensemble.com Thanks again. Thank you. Okay, that is a wrap another episode of the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast in the books. I hope you enjoyed it as always your host your Cory Ames. I always really enjoyed knowing that you're you're out there, listen to this episode, engaging with the content, perhaps the folks that we featured doing this exceptional work in the world. If you enjoyed the show and you haven't already, please leave us a review wherever it is that you get your podcasts And hit the subscribe button if you haven't already that really helps other folks like yourself discover the show. And lastly, if you have not yet, sign up for the better world weekly newsletter This is our weekly discussion of building a better world with our global community of changemakers and innovators from all sectors in all walks of life. So go to grow ensemble comm backslash newsletter to get the next Better World weekly in your inbox. Alright y'all,
we'll talk next time
CEO (Yogi Tea & Choice Organics), Co-Founder/Owner (Villa Dolce)
Even as a college student and athlete, Giancarlo Marcaccini had an entrepreneurial disposition and sold t-shirts and gear during recruiting trips.
After spending many years as a professional basketball player in Europe, Giancarlo continued along his entrepreneurial path and began a gelato company with his brothers (Villa Doce). Together, they grew that gelato business into a national food service company that serves nationwide airlines and offers co-packing and manufacturing services for other food-related firms.
Over the years, Giancarlo began his yoga practice and was eventually asked by those running his yoga studio for business advice. Once they saw his flair in this area and learned about his background in the food industry, they asked him to be a part of the board of East-West Tea Company, another business venture they owned.
In 2018, Giancarlo Marcaccini was brought on board as the CEO of East-West Tea Company, which parents Yogi Tea and Choice Organics brands. Through his dedication to mindfulness practices, he has maintained the values of service that the company was founded on and has breathed new life into every aspect of the business.