Tal Cooperman Makes Networking Look Like Art

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Written By: Leah Marsh Tal Cooperman Makes Networking Look Like Art Form
Photographed By: Shane Radacosky

Not many people can make money off of natural talent, nor do many people just stumble into that kind of luck. Trendsetter Tal Cooperman is a force behind many brands in the surf/skate fashion industry and is about to make his mark into food and beverage. After years of partying and connecting people, his focus as a newly-married man is settling down and staying healthy. His new venture, RESQWATER, aims to save you from your next hangover by preventing one in the first place. The 8-oz skinny bottle is sexy and filled with nourishing ingredients that you’ll want to ingest in between alcoholic drinks.


We sat down with Cooperman to discuss his history and success connecting people and brands, his own business ventures, and what we can expect from him next.

Q: It sounds like you’re always connecting people.
Tal Cooperman: Yeah, people always say I’m the dot connecter. I’ve never been the guy about the money, which is why I’m still not a millionaire. I’ve always tried to be the guy that helps people. I have a lot of people in my life that take advantage of that or have called me a social climber, but I’ve been doing this since I was 16. I’ve never asked for anything in return. I always try to get people to the next level and then I’m out. I’m an idea guy. I’ll be at a dinner party, and I’m like, “Yo! You need to meet each other.”

Q: How did you get involved with RESQWATER?
TC: My friend Troy Michels did all the lifestyle marketing for Target, including the Shaun White deal, and was recruited by the company. When he decided to leave, I said, “Well, if you leave … I’m going to do that, too. You are leaving the dream job!”


Q: I had some friends party at the RESQWATER house at Coachella this year. Were you there?
TC: Yeah, I was there. We were also at Bonnaroo and EDC. I just got back from Aspen actually. I was up all night at EDC then took a helicopter to go river rafting, then got back on a helicopter and drank for 2 more days. We also went to the Aspen Food and Wine Classic and plan on being there again for the Summer X Games.

Q: What’s your drink of choice?
TC: Tito’s Vodka with lots of lemon.

Q: I bet you needed RESQWATER after partying all week at EDC! You’re saving people one hangover at a time, but what makes RESQWATER different than coconut water?
TC: Milk thistle and more nutrients. Our flavor is more lemon-lime. I can’t stand coconut water; I hate the taste!

Q: Visual design is your talent. Is your clothing line CRSL another creative outlet for you?
TC: For sure. I come from fashion. My best friend, who I call my brother, Aaron Levant, started the Agenda Trade Show and I helped it get where it is at, but I got bought out of it 2 years ago. I grew up with him and had a room up until 2 years ago at his house. His mom raised me, and she breeds talent. Agenda is one of the biggest action sports trade shows out there. Aaron is a self-funded boss and my idol. I brought him into the industry, and he outgrew me. I think I noticed it at my wedding; it was rad. In his speech, he said that he wouldn’t be here without me, and I’ve been waiting for him to say that for 15 years! But I wouldn’t be here without him. With him and I together, we were unstoppable. It was the best.

Q: I noticed there are also more fitness brands coming to Agenda.
TC: Yes. Aaron has lost about 50 pounds over the last year, and a lot of the brands are getting into it. People are going more plain. It’s really interesting. I think street wear is in a lot of trouble. A lot of the graphics on T-shirts, it’s done. I never used to wear James Perse shirts, and now I go in and take all the black shirts.


Q: Are you taking CRSL into more of a classic design then?
TC: Yeah, I took a little break because I saw the market was hurting, and I’m going to change it up. It’s going to be way more clean — still cut off shirts, but the graphics are going to be more mild. I love CRSL, but I think it will be more of my brother’s project because he lives it and loves it. RESQWATER is my focus. It’s going to be the next Red Bull. I want to say that because Red Bull to me is the new generation of Coca-Cola.

Q: But I love a can of Coca-Cola sometimes!
TC: I was just saying that! I was at In-N-Out the other day and sat next to my wife, Abbi, and said, “Sometimes you just gotta have a good soda. You can’t have a burger with water.” It doesn’t make sense. I’ll go run an extra 5 miles just to get that. I can’t actually drink a whole can of soda, so after three sips, it’s just so good. I’ll squeeze lemons in there. Lemon and coke will change your life.

Q: When did you move to the U.S. from Israel?
TC: I moved here from Israel when I was 6. We were first in New York, then came out to California and settled in Sherman Oaks, and I went to school in Agoura Hills. I changed my hair color every week in high school. Brody Jenner and I became friends at 16. He’d bring Malibu girls, and I’d bring valley girls to each other’s parties. I just moved to Vegas for RESQWATER a couple years ago.

Q: Where can I find RESQWATER? I would even sell it in my fitness studio.
TC: I would love it to be in there. We’re in Las Vegas gyms. Vegas is actually where Red Bull took off. We have a lot of people working with us from Red Bull. But I love going anywhere in Vegas and seeing RESQWATER in any club, any hotel. I’ll walk in, and I’ll see at least 10 people have it in their hands. It’s the best feeling. It’s in every hotel room and gift store and almost every club. Tao Group backed us first, and they have 25 properties there. And now people are starting to ask for it. It’s right near the cash register. People like that the bottle is sexy, too.

Q: Would this be considered a whole new market with the purpose of offering hydration and nutrients while at parties?
TC: We did help start a market. As much as I secretly want other brands to fail, I also want them to work because it helps us get bigger. We are the original brand. People at first took us as a joke. The category is new, and there were a lot of stores that weren’t sure about where RESQWATER would fit in, but, through connections, we were given a chance. Our street team works really hard, and we love passing it out to friends.

Q: Your connections in Vegas from hosting Agenda Trade Show there must help RESQWATER.
TC: I really always try to help. So many social media guys are big or bands with a huge audience and don’t know how to turn into money. My goal is always to help the brand, and maybe I overstep boundaries sometimes. Managers hate me because if they don’t find it, then they don’t get their cut.

Q: Street art and graffiti seem to have shaped a lot of your style. Do you still spray paint?
TC: Yeah, I’m part of The Seventh Letter Crew. Aaron and I have been doing graffiti art forever. He bought a gallery for Seventh Letter, but it’s more of a clothing line. They also have a vape shop called TSL. But, life is different. I’m married now.

Q: Does that mean life is slowing down? Do you plan to stay in Las Vegas?
TC: We are actually moving to Miami and taking RESQWATER to a new city. We’re not slowing down, yet. My wife, Abbi, and I want to take a couple years before we have a kid.

Q: Sounds like more nights in with your beautiful wife. Do you have books on your nightstand?
TC: My good friend Holly Madison just wrote a book, and I’m going to read for the first time in 10 years. She calls the whole world out. She is single-handedly putting a huge dent into “Playboy.” They deserve it. They put her through hell. She’s married to my good friend who owns Insomniac, Pasquale, and they have the most beautiful child ever.

Q: Knowing so many people, you could write your own book.
TC: That’s actually in the works. I could go to prison for some stories, but I have the photos to prove it! I just went through an old computer the other day, and there’s like 14, 000 photos of awesome. I thought, “This is gold! This is my retirement.”


Native Knowledge: Cooperman is in the works of starting a hot sauce company called ACE. “It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, ” he says. “We’re going to have artists come in and design the bottle. Shepard Fairey is only a phone call away.”



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