The Story Exchange, LeeAnn Maxwell, Vixen Vodka Your Name: LeeAnn Maxwell

Business Name: Vixen Vodka, a vodka brand designed for women

Type of Business: Food & Beverage

Business Location: Alpharetta, Georgia, United States

Twitter   @drinkvixenvodka

Reason for starting
We went on a girls’ beach trip – packed bathing suits and vodka – and decided to start our own vodka brand. We realized that no true vodkas (not a flavor, not a mix, not a skinny) targeted a woman’s palate. So we had our “why not” moment and took our branding, marketing and sales backgrounds to start a revolution called Vixen to empower women not only at the bar, but in life. To go for “it” whatever their “it” is!

How do you define success?
Success to me is putting action behind your dream. “A dream without action is merely a fantasy”. It’s one thing to have a great idea, it’s another to actually do something about it. The success we see every day is not in a bottle, or a cocktail, it’s in inspiring others to follow their dreams with action.

Biggest Success
My biggest success is not in getting placement in the top 100 liquor stores or being asked to be in the top food & wine festival. It has been being asked to be on a leadership panel for young girls, it has been being asked to lead a brand workshop at a college, it has been being asked to be a mentor. It goes way beyond the vodka.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My top challenge has been breaking into a male-dominated industry. The liquor industry is mainly men and they simply aren’t used to having to deal with a female CEO. But like every obstacle, I’ve turned it into an opportunity and now have an 80 year old guy working for me as our Director of National Sales:)

Who is your most important role model?
My most important role model has been my father. He told me at the young age of 13 when I went to him to have him sign a work release so that I could go to work at a local movie theatre, “kid, you’ve got moxie!” To date, that’s the best compliment I’ve ever received. He’d be very proud of me right now reinventing my life after a 30 year marriage and subsequent divorce.