Arturo Fuente cigars are consistently rated among the highest in the world. The Fuente name is synonymous with perfectly crafted premium cigars and is one of the most respected names in the industry. The stories of founder Arturo Fuente, his son Carlos Fuente, and third-generation cigarmaker and current president Carlos Fuente Jr. are well-known, but we wanted to get to know the fourth generation: Lidiana, Liana, Sofia, and Carlos Fuente III. We sat down with the four siblings while we were in Las Vegas for a round table discussion about cigars, their passions, giving back, and the power of family.
Cigars & Leisure: To start this off, let’s talk about what drives you.
Liana: What’s your why?
C&L: Exactly. What’s your why?
Liana: As the oldest of the four siblings, it can be hard to fulfill my great-grandfather’s dream. I don’t want to fail my siblings, and I don’t want to fail my dad or grandfather. My why is not failing them. Plus, I want to be happy and to get up every day and be the best part of me.
C&L: Carlos, what’s yours?
Carlos: I want to just do my best all day and always be positive around everyone. I want to spread my love to my family and to those I love.
Sofia: Every day I wake up and try to figure out what’s the purpose of this day, what’s the purpose for tomorrow. And, like Liana said, I know this is a huge dream of my great-grandfather, and my grandfather followed just like my dad. I think it’s a great purpose for us to be here, the four of us, and follow that as well.
Lidiana: My why is my family. Whether it’s my three siblings, my parents, my grandfather, my grandmother [or] my cousins, but also my family at the factory. Also being someone who is a positive influence and being true to my character.
C&L: Liana and Lidiana, you have been in the industry for a while now. Sofia and Carlos, you guys are stepping into a role that may seem a little daunting. How are you guys managing that?
Sofia: My siblings have always set a great example for me. I’m literally just following in their steps and what my dad has taught me. Last summer, I got to work in the factory for about a month, and I started rolling cigars. I like starting from the bottom and seeing what it’s like to work in every part of the company, not only sales or communications, but where it actually all begins.
C&L: That’s awesome! Carlos, what about you?
Carlos: This industry is all I’ve dreamt about since I was a little kid. I’ve always wanted to work alongside my father and, of course, my sisters. I just want to be a team player and take the industry, and the company, to incredible heights.
Liana: One thing I can say is they aren’t just starting, they’ve been in it. We have pictures from when Carlos was little of him holding cigars. By the time they were born they were smelling the aroma of my grandfather’s cigars. It’s part of our DNA; we started at birth. And if that wasn’t true, I think my dad would have it out. I mean, that’s his dream to have his kids fulfill the destiny. That’s a huge thing.
My sisters are in the factory and I’m on the road, and I, too, started in the factory. You have to. The only way you can appreciate the whole is starting from the bottom up. You can’t just be the boss. You have to put sweat and equity in the game. And honestly, that translates. You can appreciate every role.
C&L: That’s a perfect explanation. So how do you guys stay so closely knit while traveling all over the place?
Liana: Have you heard of WhatsApp? (Laughs.)
Lidiana: Yeah, family chats. We get together all the time, though. We started a tradition where we have brother-sister-cousin day where we get together and just do something fun all together. The last one we did we watched Coco, and I don’t think anyone else in the theater heard what was being said in the movie because we were all bawling. But stuff like that—we go to dinner and watch movies.
C&L: Outside of work, what are you passionate about? What are some hobbies?
Liana: I’ve been salsa dancing since I was a kid, and professionally for about 8 years. No one knows that, but I love it. So, every time music comes on, it’s hard for me to stay still. I also love to work out, and I have six dogs at home ….
C&L: … Six dogs! What breeds are they?
Liana: They’re all mutts. They’re rescued. I do a lot of work for the humane society, and you get so close to these dogs who come in, and you can’t give them up. They become your kids in a way.
C&L: Carlos, what about you?
Carlos: Honestly, I just like spending time with my family. Right now, though, I’m focusing on studying and doing the best I can to achieve my purpose in life.
C&L: Sofia, what’s up with you? What are your passions?
Sofia: I’m very dedicated to everything I do. For example, in high school and middle school, I was very passionate about soccer, but later when I got into college I decided to put that aside and really focus on studying. So right now, I’m very dedicated to my friends and family and trying to travel together and just spend time together.
C&L: Lidiana, what’s up with you?
Lidiana: One of the best things about being in the industry is you get the opportunity to travel to so many different places. I get to eat all over the world and try new foods.
C&L: You’re a foodie!
Lidiana: I’m a foodie! And it helps that our cousin is a chef because she finds all the best places. Also, I have to say it, I love Sephora. People ask, “What’s your happy place?” And most say, “Serene, calm blue waters,” and I’m like, “The fluorescent lights of a Sephora store.” It’s the best, and I get so happy when I walk in there.
I’m a learner, and I’m the kind of person who researches, so I love finding new stuff. My friends are always texting me and asking, “What do you use for this or that?” And I’ll be like, “Well, I actually just read about this or that.” I love that. So, there’s a little advice for everyone. If you have a bad day, just walk into Sephora and try a few things. You’ll feel pretty, and maybe your bank account might not be feeling too good, but it’s fun.
Liana: You know? I think you’re on to something! A blog about makeup and cigars? Why not?
C&L: Let’s shift a little and talk about what Arturo Fuente is doing now and what’s coming down the pipeline.
Liana: My grandfather passed away two years ago, and these past couple years have been a reconstruction phase. My dad wants to fulfill my grandfather’s dream, and his dream was to go back to Nicaragua.
Nicaragua right now is going through some tribulations. And I want people to know my dad made a commitment to my grandfather to be in Nicaragua, which is very exciting news. We also broke ground in April on another factory that will be right in front of our newly renovated factory. We’re expanding, and there are a lot of positive things.
My dad is the Willy Wonka of cigars. You go in the factory and you don’t even know where to look. Before, you’d go in a factory and only watch the rollers, but now you’re looking all over at the walls and the paintings. There’s a story of 108 years of our family legacy depicted in every single room. You’ll see the characteristics of my grandfather, my dad, and my sisters.
And, of course, we have the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. We have 400 children whose lives we helped change. When we started this school, it was just elementary age, then it went to pre-k, then it went to middle school, then we went to high school. We got recognized by the United Nations as an example school for everyone else to follow. Children that would never have had an opportunity, that never would’ve known how to read or write, are now becoming brain surgeons. I mean, how insane is that?
It’s a little cliche, but my dad always says that it’s not about the cigars; it’s about the people. But it truly is. Because if it wasn’t for cigars, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to help so many people, so it’s truly a blessing.
Lidiana: What my father and the team are doing, and what they’ve accomplished, is absolutely incredible. The factory is stunning. My father always says that the goal at the factory is for people not to feel like they’re going to work, but to feel like they’re coming home. And that’s what the factory looks and feels like—like a house, like you’re home. The artwork, and colors, and music, and the spirits there are unbelievable.
Everything has been about telling the story, and, for the future, we want to invite people to be part of the story, see the story, live the story, breathe the story, and come visit. Come check out the factory, come visit the foundation, see the kids. Come see what we do and what everyone talks about and why it means so much to us. You won’t have a doubt in your mind why we love it so much.
C&L: Last question: Carlos and Sofia, what do you see as your role in the company as it continues to grow?
Sofia: While it’s hard to fill my grandfather’s shoes, we can definitely follow in them, and I have great examples. But I have to present my resume just as my sisters had to and work my way up. I have no problem even just making cigars. It’s not just about filling a cigar and selling it. It’s an art. I really appreciate the work that goes into each cigar and what the company has become.
Carlos: Like my sister said, I just want to make my father and grandfather proud. I want to work alongside my father and my beautiful sisters and just do what we love as a family.
For more on Arturo Fuente cigars, visit arturofuente.com.