We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Cristobal Toral. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Cristobal below.
Cristobal, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today One of the toughest things about entrepreneurship is that there is almost always unexpected problems that come up – problems that you often can’t read about in advance, can’t prepare for, etc. Have you had such and experience and if so, can you tell us the story of one of those unexpected problems you’ve encountered?
Since I started the business in the US, we faced multiple challenges including clients going under, 2008 financial crisis, 2010 earthquake in Chile, trademark issues with brands, covid pandemic, etc. I would say that out of all of those issues probably the most challenging was the covid pandemic because business increased but we had issues getting dry goods to our facilities in Chile and then getting containers to ship from Chile.
We focused in working one day at a time and focused dramatically in the issues that we could control such as the communication with our clients and within our team.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
As most Chileans from the central part of Chile I grew up around family dinners and barbecue with wine on the table. In 2002 moved to the US to play tennis with a scholarship at the University of Toledo in Ohio and from there to Miami.
I started working importing wines in 2009 and the ride has been incredible. I understood quickly that competition was fierce and that the most important ingredient was getting to know my customers and what the US consumer was looking for.
I am proud to say that 10 years later, the project that started very small it became the 2nd most important from Chile in the US in terms of volume.
I learned after 13 years in the industry that the US consumer is always looking to find a new exciting wine. What’s important is that the producers make it easy to understand and find the product.
Today the market is looking for fresh and innovative products that can be exclusive. My main goal is to provide that exclusive product by tailoring customers needs.
Exclusive products will continue to rise and I will be there to capitalize that opportunity.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
I come from the heart of the wine country. My family is from Curico, Chile and we know the importance of having a good reputation in business. My Greatgrandfather arrived from Spain to Chile when he was 15 years old and worked very hard to build a family business that endured multiple generations. I have always a “can do” attitude and a smile in my face since I value relationships more than anything.
Also, my grandfather and father introduced me to my biggest passion; tennis and i learned quickly that I was made for the competition.
People that know me value the drive and the passion that I put day after day.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
When I started my career we had multiple companies not paying their bills. The experience was terrible since at that time we didn’t have insurance and funds were always limited.
When I was visiting one of those customers that was not paying their bills they took me to an account that ended up introducing me to our biggest client.
It was one instant that changed the faith of my project exactly when everything was looking very dark.
Life teaches you that opportunities are where you least expect it.
- Website: www.cristobaltoral.us
- Instagram: cristobaltoral
- Facebook: Cristobal Toral Cardemil
- Linkedin: Cristobal Toral
Image Credits: Sara Valles, Florencia Toral