From selling coconuts on the beach to building Tampa's coolest creative agency
Updated: Jul 13, 2020
When you look at the following they've amassed in Tampa Bay, it's hard to believe a few years ago they were selling coconuts on South Beach.
As he recalls the struggle during that time, Roberto’s shoulders drop.,
“We kind of fell into a weird rut of going to work, coming home, making food, watching Netflix, and doing it all over again the next day. [We were only] early on in our adult life and we were hitting a midlife crisis.”
Marissa and Roberto Guido felt like their days were dull and simple while living in a slow-paced and predominately elderly community in Ft. Myers, Florida. Roberto was a high school science teacher and Marissa a photographer. In an effort to escape their reality, the young couple booked a trip to Miami.
While in Miami, the couple noticed a vendor on South Beach selling coconuts for $14 each and they thought, why not try this ourselves? This was their first taste of entrepreneurship. Although selling coconuts only lasted for the summer, they needed more than what was waiting for them in Ft. Myers.
Back at home, Marissa and Roberto became more involved with using cameras and teaching themselves how to edit pictures and create videos. They would stay up until 1 a.m. working relentlessly to improve their skills in an effort to create a photography and videography business, which is now known as Dos Cocos Locos Productions. After five months of developing their skills, they made the drastic decision to quit their jobs and start a new venture in Tampa.
The couple struggled to launch their new business as their five months’ worth of savings slowly diminished. They knew they needed to build network for themselves, but weren't quite sure how to make it happen.
“We started reading books and one of them is called Sell or Be Sold and it talks about the importance of always having lunch with someone new. We were a little nervous, it sounded almost impossible, but we had no other options,” said Roberto.
The couple sent 20 to 30 messages a day through Instagram to anyone they found interesting and invite them for coffee and conversation.
“We just went through hashtags. It was when hashtags were more of a thing. We would just look up Tampa photographer, Tampa videographer, Tampa creatives or Tampa business owner, and whatever posts we like we would message those people,” said Marissa.
Coffee dates became the key to building relationships within the creative community in Tampa.
As the duo continued to meet more people, Roberto had an idea to have a popup event where they'd find a unique location, clothing, and props for photographers, videographers, and models to collaborate and showcase their work.
“We create zone sections, that give the models chances to change outfits so that they are not having the same outfit the entire time and the backgrounds are different. So that literally expedites the process of content creation. You get like a month’s worth of content in three hours,” said Roberto.
Their first pop-up event was held on April 28, 2019, at 7 a.m. on a Sunday. Tickets were free and about 50 people attended. They did not have permits at the time, so greenery had to be used as props in the streets of Ybor City. Photographers and models worked together to create their own backgrounds and captured different shots. Their friend, Cris Saponora, provided vintage clothes for the models as Roberto and Marissa set up small popup tents for them to change in.
“It was such a good turnout. People loved it and there were so many photos,” said Marissa.
Dos Cocos were instantly flooded with thousands of new Instagram followers, so they held three more popup events that had a DJ, props, clothing, and food vendors for the community. Pabst Blue Ribbon was a sponsor that provided free beer and Good Mood Food presented vegan food at one of their events.
“People come from Miami, Orlando, and Lakeland. It’s really cool to house a space for all this creativity to happen,” said Marissa.
Now their network has grown wildly, and it's hard to talk to someone in the creative space who has not met or worked with the young couple. From their podcast to their GIF-making to signature videography and photography services, the Tampa art community has become Dos Cocos superfans.
They've worked with some of Tampa's coolest companies, and have been even been involved with national brands. They even have their own merch.
And to think it all began with Instagram DMs and coffee dates.
Dos Cocos Locos Productions continue to build relationships within the Tampa community and have been working diligently to host another pop-up event in April 2021.