At the end of last year, Caldwell partnered with Elio Mercado, an amazing and creative artist, to launch Evoca1 brand clothing.
Wynwood evokes images of warehouses and art galleries with eccentric street art murals painted on every wall. But amongst the art lies a cigar factory right in the center: Wynwood Cigar Factory.
Owner Robert Caldwell started in the industry five years ago when he opened The Hotel Humidor, a company distributing cigars to Miami’s top hotels. It rapidly grew to become the leading hospitality cigar distributer in the U.S., serving over 150 of the top hotels. But this past January, Caldwell and his partner Christian Eiroa, former owner of Camacho Cigars, felt it was time for Miami to embrace a real cigar factory.
“The purpose was to build a true Miami brand,” said Caldwell. “The industry in Miami is not what it was, and I wanted to put the city back on the map.”
And so, he opened Wynwood Cigar Factory that is true to Miami and truly atypical in the industry. Caldwell stuck to Wynwood’s roots and made a highly artistic brand. He not only stores the cigars in hand-made boxes, each painted by a local artist, but he also features many artists’ works on the factory’s walls.
Wynwood Cigar Factory is made up of 5,000 sq. ft. filled with 24 roller stations and 10 rollers – soon to be 20. All of Caldwell’s cigars are rolled by talented beings hailing from Honduras, who are able to collectively put out as many as 1,200 cigars a day. Cigar aficionados almost always prefer Cuban tobacco, Corojo, which is what Caldwell grows. “Our tobacco is authentic, and no one can replicate it. Cuba stopped growing Corojo and started using a hybrid seed because it is affected by blue mold, which kills tobacco crops,” said Caldwell. “There is one farm my partner Christian Eiroa owns in Honduras, and there, for whatever reason, the tobacco is immune to the mold.” Now, Wynwood cigars are being sold in over 100 retailers nationwide.
His successful ventures don’t stop there. At the end of last year, Caldwell partnered with Elio Mercado, an amazing and creative artist, to launch Evoca1 brand clothing. They joined forces to create oneof- a-kind shirts and hats and are currently in the process of adding items from leather polo bags and shoes, to café racer vintage leather jackets.
This young entrepreneur isn’t afraid to take risks when it comes to business, and he shouldn’t. Wynwood Cigar Factory, alone, is a top manufacturer with an incredible fusion of art and cigars, which Caldwell’s partner was surprisingly not accustomed to. “Christian is one of the top manufacturers worldwide, but he is exceptionally traditional. He looks crookedly at what I do, but I’m trying to hit connoisseurs and appeal to the ‘apple generation’ at the same time.”
Caldwell won’t let anything come in the way of his vision, which is to create a new breed of consumers who sincerely care about what they smoke. “I think outside the box when it comes to business,” said Caldwell. “The primary purpose of the factory is to manufacture ultra-premium cigars; but a great side effect is the factory’s capacity to reach out and touch consumers and really showcase the artistry of manufacturing.”