‘Drinks and Things’ marked the fourth day of Global Entrepreneurship Week. It was a night of mixing cocktails and mingling, as we learned what it takes to run an events management business and what goes into our favourite colourful drinks.

What Went Down?

The air was filled by the sweet sounds of lounge jazz and the murmurs of the crowd waiting for the night’s activity to begin. The man of the night, Lerato Mpila – Founder of member business Satori Events Management and Promotions, grabbed the audience’s attention by clanking his glass with a spoon.

Lerato founded his liquid catering company in 2009; specialising in mobile cocktail bars and draught tap rentals. He recounts all the challenges he’s had to overcome to make it as far as he has. The biggest challenge being that they were incapable of mobility in the sense that as a liquid catering company you have to be able to dispatch your services to the venue you are catering for.

“Essentially we host parties, but it is not as straightforward as I make it sound — Thabo and Perfect can vouch for me [These are two employees of Satori]. We faced multiple challenges like the lack of branding and no means of getting around.” – Lerato Mpila

Makeshift Mixologists

Thabo and Perfect are mixologists with years of experience behind the bar & they were tasked with teaching the attendees how to mix their favourite drinks. We were divided into groups of 6 and were given the chance to mix two out of three cocktails.

The man tasked with an equally important kind of mixing, DJ John Junior, blessed the stage with his presence and served a chilled set to put us in the mood. The glasses clinked as the makeshift mixologists put together their concoctions.

“In the 1500s the martini was made popular in Cuba by slaves. It was then popularised by James Bond in modern times. We all know that he likes his martini shaken not stirred.” – Thabo

Q&A

As the night proceeded you could feel the optimistic energy radiating from the attendees because most of them were entrepreneurs in the events and alcohol beverage industry or aspiring mixologists.

John Junior switched up the vibe with tracks to complement the mixing that the guests were doing – this presented the perfect opportunity for Lerato to answer a few questions from the crowd.

Question:

Percy & Hloxx Mooki, Co-founders of Skylyn Shooters Company asked, “How do you tackle having many gigs without personnel?”

Answer:

“We utilize the services of strategic partners who we collaborate with, the intention being reaching greater numbers.  In addition, we further in-source a number of contract employees that we utilize in order to assist when we have an influx of orders.”

Question:

Gcobisa, Owner of Sigwili Legal Advisory Services asked, “How do you know if you have made it? Is it based on you having big clients or are small clients enough?”

Answer:

“Success is a relative notion depending on the strategy one employs — whether they are primarily focused on smaller events such as pop-up markets and private individuals, or prioritize bigger clients who will give you business on a greater scale although infrequent.”

Question:

Gcobisa had a follow-up question and she asked, “How do you confidently price in the market in light of competition and what sustains your balance sheet?”

Answer:

“The key is to sell your core service along with other additional services that may interest the customer. In our case, we offer a branding suite that goes hand in hand with the customers’ need for branded drinkware if they have a campaign running. Alternatively, we can cross-sell our service offering to the customer to utilize more services than they had initially enquired about.”

Question:

Gcobisa being the inquisitive person she is, had one more question to ask, “Does exposure help you stay relevant or do customers go with the cheapest offering?”

Answer:

“Exposure to a certain degree assists with getting your name noticed and also having people have an affinity with your brand, but ultimately what the customer views to have value will lead to them either utilizing your services or that of your competitors.”

In a field where we are saturated, it is necessary to differentiate your service offering and also be able to also offer more for the buck”

Who Shared A Drink With Us?

Seasoned comedian Loyiso Gola came out to share a drink with us. Ngoako Mailula, the Founder of member business – His and Hers Jams event production was one of our mixologists and he explained how J&B Hive and creative entrepreneurs are better blended.

“It is extremely difficult to explain to your parents that you want to venture into a creative field. However, it is nearly impossible to explain how you will succeed as a creative entrepreneur especially if you come from a predominantly traditional background. J&B Hive was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.” – Ngoako Mailula

Mixologists In The Making

If you’re reading this and didn’t attend Drinks and Things then you’re probably suffering the aftereffects of FOMO. Don’t sweat it – get creative! Whip up your own cocktails with J&B Pocket Scotch, show us how you are blending it with your favorite mixers and share your posts by tagging us @hivejoburg and #BetterBlended.

Written by: Sandile Dube ( from I am Multeemedia) // Images taken by: @dayphotolife

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Sandile Dube is a Digital Copywriter based in Johannesburg South Africa. His storytelling marketeer career was sparked by a passion for poetry – to cope with the pressure of being a young black man eMzansi. He’s soft spoken and not as intimidating as he looks. The proof is in the poetry.

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