NELP Client Spotlight
Mansi: The New Citrus Experience
While on a family vacation in 2005, Charles Medenilla came across street vendors who were selling an unusual fruit by the bag at the busy intersections in the Philippines. A few years later, he discovered that the fruit is calamansi, a citrus fruit that has the sweetness of oranges and the bitter, sour taste of lime. He learned that calamansi is widely cultivated in the Philippines and used to make a drink similar to lemonade. Upon realizing the cultural values attached to this commonly homemade drink in the Philippines, coupled with the lack of availability of the fruit and drink for Filipinos living in America, Charles seized the opportunity to create his own beverage.
His background and experience as a finance analyst led him to believe that the right product at the right time could amount to a highly successful business. Charles was determined to act quickly to capitalize on consumer demands for a healthy, natural alternative to other fruit beverages like coconut water. Taking advantage of his own roots and knowledge of his family’s native country, Charles traveled to the Philippines, intent on creating the perfect product. After purchasing fifty jars of calamansi juice from a local fruit supplier in the Philippines, he was able to formulate what he considered was the perfect blend of fresh calamansi juice.
In 2014, after developing his drink and brand name, Mansi, Charles reached out to the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP), seeking legal assistance to trademark his business name. He wanted to secure his product and legally protect it from existing brands or potential product ideas in the same industry. Since our initial contact with Charles in 2014, NELP has placed Charles in contact with a number of volunteer attorneys who have assisted him with a broad range of legal matters essential to starting a successful business. Some of the legal issues NELP’s pro bono volunteers have helped him with include filing for and obtaining a trademark for his brand and ensuring Mansi products were in compliance with labeling requirements for all-natural products. Furthermore, he received legal assistance with drafting contracts for distributors in an effort to expand the sales of his product outside of New York City, which he eventually accomplished.
When we asked Charles to tell us about his experience with NELP, we were thrilled to hear he was beyond satisfied with the legal assistance and support he received through the program. “NELP has been nothing short of a blessing,” he said. “As an amazing resource and through its extensive network, they connected me with top firms that catered to my needs. They have helped me build the foundation to my business and I will be forever grateful.”
Mansi promotes a natural, healthy citrus experience by using only calamansi fruit and organic sweeteners. It calls the attention of many health-conscious consumers looking to try something new. Mansi can be found in local supermarkets or can alternatively be purchased through Amazon.
To learn more about Mansi and where you can find its latest bottle design (as shown in the photo above) near you, please visit https://www.drinkmansi.com/.
By Cheryl Lopez, Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project Coordinator