Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal CEO Dia Simms is at the forefront of the spirits industry. Sims highlights the magic of a woman growing up in the spirits industry and leading her one of the industry’s leading brands, as well as her own personal dominance by leading another company to great heights.
Before taking over Lobos 1707 as leader of the Wolfpack, Simms led Combs Enterprises as its first president in its 30-year history. Showing that being a minority in a male-dominated industry was not an obstacle, Sims flourished in the Combs empire, where he led the CÎROC vodka brand, along with Bad Boy Entertainment and others. Her work at CÎROC has helped the brand grow to its current $2 billion valuation.
Dia Sims is also the co-founder of Pronghorn, an independent organization committed to supporting the future of Black founders and entrepreneurs to increase diversity in the spirits industry. This commitment will lead to her industry-shaking $2.4 billion economic value for the Black community by 2030.
in a conversation with origin For Women’s History Month, Dia Simms talks about being in the driver’s seat of Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal, her work at Pronghorn, how all companies should approach female leadership, and more.
origin: Just a quick question, how does it feel to be a member of the Wolf Pack?
It feels great and actually puts me at ease with everything that’s going on in the world. We are all kind, very hard working, and I am so lucky to be working on something like my core mission of being committed to winning but not sacrificing kindness. I don’t take it for granted. I feel very blessed to be able to choose what I want to do. I wouldn’t choose anything other than to be surrounded by Diego and great investors like LeBron. [James]Arnold [Schwarzenegger], Lindsay Vaughn, and the wonderful female business owners I work with, many of whom I have worked with for many years. There are different ownerships in what it means to be a pack of wolves from a community perspective, caring for each other, and true leadership within the industry in line with our award-winning ethos. i am having the time of my life. I really, I really mean it.
It’s amazing. Dive into it and you’re familiar with the spirits industry.You’ve taken many brands to great heights. What made Lobos 1707 your next spot?
Two things: one bite and the second was the truth of the brand’s story. When we’re in the business of building and marketing brands, it’s often our job to tell stories, but it can also involve writing and creating stories. is to always tell the truth. Discover the history of the founder’s family of 1,700 people, why all expressions have a common finish, and why he’s won over 40 awards in the past nine months. When I first met the founder, he said, “I’m allergic to gimmicks.” And I’m like, oh yeah, that’s where I want to be. I want to be allergic to gimmicks. The fact that everything written on the bottle actually means something is really thoughtful, and when you crack open the bottle, you can actually experience that truth. how wonderful
I think a lot of people are starting to experience that. We’ve seen the Robos 1707 brand expand across sports and music culture, and of course, consumers.I think a lot of people will try to do you and the brand’s job a disservice by saying ‘oh we got LeBron and Draymond’ [Green] And all these celebrities are pushing brands. It’s easy for them. ’ But I know that’s not the case. What are your strategies for securing an imprint across those specific markets, and what challenges do you face to ensure your presence is felt?
Listen, today’s consumers are very smart. I don’t think anyone is more famous than consistently fooling customers with half-baked products over a long period of time. Maybe a shot or two, but there’s a graveyard of celebrity brands gone wrong. try this. Luckily the product is a heartbeat and the original star’s first. I fell in love with it when I drank it and signed me up.I’m writing a check.This is where I want to be.And it represents a lot of the way he’s moved in his life, right? His same high school crew are now killing it in their own way.The spirit of the Wolfpack.It’s certainly not easy, but more importantly, of course, LeBron, Draymond and Arnold are taking to the table.? But more importantly, if a product I backed doesn’t live up to its promise, I will never invite anyone to join it. It means not to
Earlier, you spoke about the importance and power of having a female management team. What is that bond like and what has nurtured the creative field to show that women really matter in this field?
First of all, thank you to the women’s team. A woman leads the team at Lobos 1707. But much bigger than the Lobos, right? There are countless studies continually showing that when you have women in leadership, it’s quite simply good for business. You get a good retention rate. As a responsible business person, if you look around and you don’t have a significant percentage of women in management or across ranks, you’re actually hurting your company financially. Women aren’t even a mathematical minority. So it has to be almost intentional about not having women. I challenge any business owner, investor, or meaningful stakeholder and keep an eye on your team. If female leadership isn’t somewhere in her 50% area, you’re just loosing money.
So this is a two part question. Coming from the heights of Combs Enterprises’ presidency to a new position, were you apprehensive about transitioning to a new opportunity? And gaining internal access to what it takes to succeed in that new position How do I do this?
I was always told to act in faith, not fear. I am not easily scared. So I wouldn’t say the transition was scary. Because I think that what is meaningful to me is meaningful to me. What’s exciting and what I love is building things from scratch. And that’s the geeky geek side of me that I absolutely enjoy. Coming up with concepts no one has heard of, combining bricks, mortar and branding. The excitement of inviting people to experience and seeing something go from a piece of paper, a whiteboard and a brainstorm to a globally recognized product. Don’t get me wrong, the journey is a terrifying challenge, but I love doing it.
You play an important role in society. What is needed to balance the importance of the Lobos 1707 brand with Pronghorn’s leadership in promoting diversity across the spirits industry?
Listen, Lobos is a manifestation of what Pronghorn stands for. This is a case study, an economic case study of a variety of commercially successful owned brands. When he first launched in his 12 months, he tripled his projections because of its versatility. Pronghorn’s idea is to act as a template for how to effectively diversify any industry, starting with the Black American community or the spirits industry. Lobos 1707 is basically a hallmark of what we do and plan to invest in 57 black owned founders.
In the spirits industry, blacks are predominant in the consumer base and almost non-existent at the owner and executive levels. So why not change it? What does it take? How do you hire someone like that? what’s the mathematics of it? The stat I always say is a two-part statistic, the average white American is worth 13 times what the average black American is worth in that group. If you double-click on a group of people who are doing it, the multiple will be tripled. So even now, there are historical systemic inequalities, and owning a nail salon or even a few stocks puts you on a much higher road to having a meaningful net worth. If you double-click again on that black community that owns , the average black person who owns something is usually worth 12 times more than the average black person who owns nothing in America. I mean, we’re all talking about having a lot of good intentions about changing the world, but we’re not talking enough about ownership, entrepreneurship, and economic foundations.
That’s why we’re investing in 57 Black-owned founders, bringing 1,800 new Black American employees to the industry’s top suppliers over the next decade, and equipping them with the information and awareness to become part of this industry. We provided a supercharged service to help us catch up. We did the math and modeling and got commitments from some of the industry’s biggest suppliers.And we’re driving a $2.4 billion economic impact over 10 years for both the Black community and the industry.
In some cases, we may not truly appreciate or understand the importance of ownership. Especially for what it can give you later in life. What do you think is the best way for community leaders to keep emphasizing its importance or breaking down its message?
Well, one thing as a family is to make sure entrepreneurship is on the table as an option. I think there are incredible examples of ownership. Look at Beyoncé singing “pay me inequity” or what Puff and Jay-Z recently did with their deal with Dasse. With Diddy, every time my artist wears something, it sells out, so I’m starting my own company, Sean John. So I think we’re looking at it. I think some of the biggest challenges are that even if you want to have a way, you need access to cash capital and information. Because it won’t happen.
The spirits industry and hip-hop have long gone hand in hand. It’s the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. What are you looking forward to this year or would you like to participate >
I grew up in Queens, New York. I grew up in an area East He called Elmhurst near LaGuardia Airport. Around the age of ten, I had to do real math. We often saw Salton Pepa practicing in his backyard and kid-n-playing at Brock’s parties. I saw my neighbor’s hobby first hand, suddenly it’s like house parties and movies all over the world, and now he’s a trillion dollar industry. I needed to get a front row seat to this cool and fun thing we did on our way to becoming this incredible business. I think it’s because we continue to seek respect for the permanence of the genre. Have you listened to see what the new vibe will be like? 50 years is a good time for us to really get back in the studio.