Jon Wolfe: “Treating people with kindness is always at the top of my list”

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Treating people with kindness is always at the top of my list. I think getting people in business to go back to the basics and just treat people the way that you want to be treated. I think that’s really important. If I could inspire a movement around taking pride in your product, that would be huge. Nowadays, folks that take pride in customer service or they take pride in their product typically have very successful businesses.


I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jon Wolfe, founder of Juan Lobo.

With 8 consecutive no.1 singles on Billboard’s Texas Regional Radio Chart and 12 Top Ten hits under his belt, Jon Wolfe’s ability to connect with an audience is unmatched. Expanding his concert experience with tequila was a practical next step.

Jon is the creator of Juan Lobo. Juan Lobo is an Austin, Texas-based startup offering hand-crafted tequila from the highlands region of Jalisco, Mexico. Each bottle of Juan Lobo 100% Agave Azul tequila is slow-cooked in a wood brick oven for over 48-hours and distilled in copper pots.

Thank you so much for doing this with us. Can you tell us a little bit more about the story of how you grew up?

I was born and raised in a small town outside of Tulsa, OK called Miami. I was raised in a strict home with parents that set high standards for me, but was encouraged to chase my dreams and to be creative. I was involved in athletics growing up, but was drawn to country music and the lifestyle.

Was there a particular story behind why you decided to branch out and start a tequila company?

My career is in entertainment, I’m a country singer, but my past was in business. I graduated from Colorado State with a Finance degree. I think the general idea of business and entrepreneurship always appealed to me, and while my career as a country singer has elements of that, I wanted to branch out and get back into the traditional business world and really challenge myself with this new project. My fans gave me the nickname, Juan Lobo, on tour — so it was the perfect opportunity to marry my passion for country music and tequila, while dipping my toe back into the traditional business world.

Can you tell us an interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I have two careers as a country singer and launching Juan Lobo. Of course touring has birthed plenty of interesting stories throughout the years. I’ve had the privilege of playing a private show for George Strait, I’ve had the opportunity to open for Merle Haggard and perform with a lot of my heroes. We’ve driven thousands of miles to play one, 90-minute show. On the tequila front, I’ve been fortunate enough to have met many people who are well-respected in the tequila industry. To me, meeting Don Javier Delgado Corona, who invented the Conga cocktail in Tequila, Mexico was such a privilege. To be introduced to him and to have his blessing in my tequila venture was really meaningful to me.

Can you tell us a story about a funny mistake that you made when you first started out in the tequila business?

When you’re starting a business, it’s only natural to make a lot of mistakes, and I’ve made plenty. It’s important to be patient when building a brand or a company. I was impatient when I printed my labels, I wanted to print the labels before I had approval from the TRC (Tequila Regulatory Council) so I printed out twelve thousand labels, and the day that they were finished printing, I got a notification from Mexico that I had to change some of the verbiage on my label. That was a mistake that I made early on that could have been avoided if I didn’t try to rush the process. I’ve learned to listen to my gut, and stop to reflect.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects that you are working on now?

Now, we’re focused on growing and developing the tequila brand. Launching a business isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. I think the most exciting thing that we’ve done so far is the launch of our short film. I think it’s really stood out and is out of the ordinary for the industry. We’ve been really dedicated to the short film launch for several years now, so seeing it be released out into the world and getting positive feedback from it has been a really rewarding experience.

What are five things you wish someone had told you when you first started and why?

In my music career, I jumped around a lot when making decisions early in my career, so I think it’s important to stick to your gut and be confident in your decisions. I didn’t realize the value in blooming where you’re planted. I think it’s also important to have a singular focus. Taking time to enjoy the process, although it can be difficult at times, is important to me because each chapter is so different and unique, especially the tequila journey. I’m still in the process of becoming bilingual to become fully immersed in the tequila industry and culture around it. Something that has taken a long time to develop is learning the cohesiveness around marketing and branding of a product. Growing into my role at the company has been hard; it’s hard to be held accountable for mistakes made or issues that need to be faced. It’s a challenge to find people who hold the same value and passion for your brand that you have.

What tips would you recommend to your colleagues to help them thrive and avoid burnout?

Try not getting bogged down in the emotion of what you’re currently dealing with, I think it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. If you’re really bogged down in the daily minutia of things, you can get really discouraged and you can burnout. I think it’s important to keep your personal interests at the top of your list. Whether it’s mountain biking, running or exercising, if something is important to you, you shouldn’t sacrifice it, especially during times of stress. I’ve found myself working too much over the years and not taking care of myself like I should, not exercising or not eating the way I should, and that really affects your mentality.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people what would that be?

Treating people with kindness is always at the top of my list. I think getting people in business to go back to the basics and just treat people the way that you want to be treated. I think that’s really important. If I could inspire a movement around taking pride in your product, that would be huge. Nowadays, folks that take pride in customer service or they take pride in their product typically have very successful businesses.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you get to where you are?

In my country music career, I could list off so many people that have helped me achieve my goals. I think that without naming one specific person, the key to success is to be willing to learn from people and accept help and align yourself with people that can really help you be successful. I could point to songwriters and producers over the years that have made a huge impact on my career. On the tequila front, my wife has put in so much hard work on the marketing front and our president, Randy McCann has really imparted so much information to me in sharing all of his years and experience with our brand in the beverage industry. We are so grateful to have Randy’s invaluable guidance and expertise that he imparted upon me in this project.

Can you share your favorite life lesson quote, or something that has stuck with you over the years that has helped with your career?

I think the biggest thing that I’ve had to learn that I’ve learned from country music is the ability to handle rejection. I don’t think I would be here today doing what I’m doing in country music or in tequila if I hadn’t learned to process rejection. I lost a record deal with a major label about six years ago. I think that had I not learned to dig myself up and get back on the saddle, I don’t think I would be here today. So, I think the biggest life lesson that I’ve learned and can impart on people would be to learn how to process rejection and accept it because we’re all going to go through that, and then learn how to beat it. What can I do to grow from that and what is my next step to success?

Is there a person in the world or in the US with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with and why?

I’m a huge Ralph Lauren fan, and I think the reason why I’m so inspired by how he built his brand is how he took his passion and turned it into a business, and then turned it into a lifestyle. It goes beyond just shirts and shoes, it’s turned into an icon and Ralph Lauren’s brand is that lifestyle, not just a clothing label. I find that really interesting, and that’s something that I’m inspired by as we are building Juan Lobo Tequila.

How can our readers follow you online? and — We really love people to follow us on Instagram and all social platforms @JohnWolfeCountry and @JuanLoboTequila. We would love to hear from folks that have enjoyed this article to reach out to us.

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