You’ve likely heard the story of XanGo’s founding days. Joe’s mangosteen discovery in Southeast Asia. Unearthing decades of research. Rounds of phone calls and visits to investors and leaders. Putting our homes, cars and savings on the line to get started. Did you know that it all nearly ended on the docks 72 hours after we opened the doors? It took all of 3 days for every start-up dollar we had to be at risk. How did we get through it? Read on.
Day 1 in November 2002 felt historic. We opened the doors, turned on the fax machines and the applications began to roll in. The momentum continued on Day 2. The business was immediately moving. I told my partner, Gordon Morton, “I hope we got enough financing to fulfill all of these orders!”
Day 3 changed everything. Dock strikes were announced in California. The impact of the work stoppage was far reaching. The whole world seemed to be thrown into commotion. With the holiday season fast approaching, all types of goods were coming from Asia to the U.S. by boat. But the boats couldn’t dock to unload.
Mega-companies like Wal-Mart made drastic decisions to ship by air. XanGo was three days old with orders rolling in. Fresh mangosteen had been harvested, frozen and flown out of Thailand. The refrigerated containers only had a few days of power. The plane with our first stock of mangosteen landed in Taiwan to refuel when shipping companies got word that the price per kilo of air cargo had skyrocketed from $2.73 to nearly $14…and major companies continued to drive the bidding for air freight.
Our mangosteen containers – our first orders, our life savings – were unloaded and lost in a vast sea of dumped shipments. LOST!
We picked up the phones and began a frantic search to fund our lost crates of mangosteen…to be sure they were refrigerated…to be sure the refrigerator was plugged in! Four days later, the container was found, unrefrigerated, with spoiled mangosteen.
We could have thrown in the towel there and taken the loss. But we didn’t. Failure was never an option. My partners hit the phones. Joe Morton stayed up for three days straight, working on harvesting, packing and shipping. Bryan Davis was on the phone with Taiwan trying to find the original containers. Kent Wood was reassessing our finances and coordinating the reorder and our upcoming ADP. Gordon, Gary Hollister and I continued to do pitch after pitch to distributors that were coming in by the hour.
We made a decision: XANGO had momentum and nothing was going to stop us. We closed a round of financing, reharvested in two days, chartered a plane and flew our mangosteen direct.
And we fulfilled EVERY order, on time, as promised.
Sometimes people talk about XanGo like the company was born under a lucky star. We have certainly been very blessed. Yet this kind of success doesn’t happen by chance. It happens by CHOICE.
In just a few days at our Convention in Orlando, I’ll take the stage to tell more of the story of what XanGo faced in our founding days. And the challenges we continue to face today.
Check back after Orlando for a recap…and exclusive content here, where some fun surprises await our faithful visitors.
I look forward to continuing our discussion