Building a Bigger Table: CEO Dia Simms Invites Black Enterprise to the Lobos 1707 Den

Tucked in the heart of NYC’s Lower East Side, the Lobos 1707 Den was my escape from the chilly city. Days have gone by and I am still intrigued by the Den’s cozy aroma of award-winning tequila and artistry.

For this premium tequila brand, the eclectic Lower East Side is just the place to house its swanky haven for creative nourishment and realtime cultural engagement. “Protect The Pack, Enjoy Responsibly” is the motto. Whether you’re looking for an intimate getaway to cheers, convene, or create, no matter the season, the esteemed Lobos pack has got you covered.

During my visit, I had the pleasure of meeting an alpha of the Lobos pack, Dia Simms, a proud Elmhurst, Queens native who brings her winning spirit to the growing table of wealth within the spirits industry.

While embracing the Den’s cabin-feel amenities, Simms filled me in on the intricately designed vibe. From the chic bar and plush performance stage to the vibrant seating and wooden tables, I could imagine the flowing of Lobos-infused cocktails like The Exciting Eclipse or the original 1707 on a Friday night.

Images Credit: Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal

“When you think about a sensory immersion into any new project or new product, you want to have a cool space, a beautiful space, great things inside, and your ears popping, and we wanted to build a space that has that vibe and reflected what it means to be a pack,” Simms told BLACK ENTERPRISE.

With enthusiasm, Simms extended me an invite, with possibilities of using the space, as she would any creator. She gave props to her team of two young ladies, Brittany Fox and Jeralyn Thrower, who both beam with ambition. The pair welcomed me with warm hospitality and a Lobos bottle with my name engraved on it.

Then my wandering eye caught the bar standing in plain sight. Shelves were adorned with bottles of the internationally renowned tequila and mezcal, designed with the mesmerizing Osorio coat of arms composed of wolves, the escutcheon animal. Between the smoky smooth mezcal and the aged joven, the potency of the brand’s Spanish and Mexican heritage couldn’t be overlooked.

Images Credit: Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal

“We just want things to be performed at the highest degree of excellence, and I think if you can hit your mark to the best of your ability, in some ways, opportunities show up on your doorstep,” said Simms.

As chief executive officer of Lobos 1707 Mezcal & Tequila, Simms takes pride in what she offers to an industry that has been historically stacked against Black owners. She has a brand-building superpower that amplifies her fearless spirit to motivate among the Lobos pack.

“We are the sum of our parts. And there is always room at our table. Pull up a seat and take a moment to get to know us” ~ The Lobos 1707 Pack.

When we talked about her work, Simms expressed to me how  grateful she is to be in the room, despite how small she may feel. It was instilled in her early on that she was the spirit and race to be excellent in every moment she was in, so she remained above the misconceptions of her caliber.

“The bridge between good to great was relatively small, but the return was actually quite significant, so I definitely grew up in a, “If you can get a B, get an A,” right? So anything worth doing is worth doing the hell out of,” Simms explained.

Teamed up with founder and chief creative officer of Lobos 1707, Diego Osorio, and shareholder, LeBron James, Simms took flight in an unfamiliar territory where she recognized the gap between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.

Journey through our conversation as we lean into the experiences that have molded her leadership style.

Images Credit: Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal

A business icon among the pack

Simms is a true New Yorker. She acknowledges where she comes from and how it shaped her mindset about wealth, not just Black wealth.

In a historical, thriving city for Blacks, the people of East Elmhurst were a demonstration of the different methodologies of collecting wealth, for Simms. She grew up witnessing global phenomenons unfold right before her eyes. And the rest is history.

Images Credit: Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal

In 2017, Simms took her training in high value negotiations and went on to serve as President of Combs Enterprises, making her the first president in the company’s thirty-year history, other than Sean Combs himself. She oversaw multi-billion-dollar brands under the Combs empire, including CÎROC Ultra-Premium Vodka, Blue Flame Agency, AQUAhydrate, Bad Boy Entertainment, Sean John, and Revolt TV.

Thanks to the power of connections and positive rapport, Simms and Osorio were connected. She not only fell in admiration with Osorio’s family history, but she couldn’t deny the extraordinary Lobos 1707 liquids.

“If I’m going to do this right again, I have to believe in it,” Simms said. “if we’re going to invite people to be a part of this Lobos movement, when they get there, I want them to be blown away, and that liquid just blew me away.”

In joining the movement, Simms is paying it forward by making a bigger table for the Lobos team and beyond. She said, “We have to really respect what each other person brings to the table. I know you might not see it, because she’s in Kansas and you’re in Vermont, but the way he’s weaponizing those numbers, the way you have the sexy brand campaign, it all works together for the benefit of the brand and it’s important to give the team or the pack, Lobos wolf pack, the chance to shine for one another and have opportunities to learn from one another.”

Building a bigger table

As CEO, Simms is an advocate for creating more opportunities for women and people of color. She is not in the business of doing anything small or halfway.

‘I think my legacy would be that we’re chipping away at the concept that diversity is some not-for-profit, it’s something to do in your spare time, right? My legacy, I hope, is the proven commercial case for diversity,” Simms said.

Images Credit: Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal

Pronghorn, named after the fastest land mammal in America, was born. Simms co-founded the 10-year initiative to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion in the spirits industry. These efforts include its commitment to generating $2.4 billion in economic value for the Black community by 2030 by providing funding resources to black-owned brands, as well as work with the Black community to develop a pipeline of talent that will fill over 1,800 roles within the industry.

Simms hones in on on her prowess in executive function to help Black American owners “put together an incredible action plan to say, ‘You have a cool idea of a great liquid, but you’re giving too much to your distributor. We’re going to help you negotiate your points,’ or ‘Your bottle is bomb, but we can help you drop a dollar off of every glass, and then you can make more profit.'”

“If I’m the first of anything, I really want to do whatever I can do to show I’m not the last of anything,” Simms said.”I hire hard, manage light. I want to hire people who make us better, who are smarter, who I could learn something from.”