Loni Paige had been working in the event production space for decades when the Pandemic hit. When she found all her work had dried up overnight she knew she had to find a way to keep herself afloat. Paige decided to translate her hospitality skill set into a COVID-19 friendly iteration, and thus Mixology Mixer was born. Her company began shipping at-home cocktail kits, with all the mixers, garnishes and bar tools needed, to create unique libations with the help of expert mixologists through virtual cocktail making classes. The Miami, Florida-based entrepreneur’s business obviously hit a pandemic niche, but a huge plus side of the whole endeavor for Paige has been being able to give work to her fellow hospitality industry friends through the mixology classes and cooking classes her company offers.
Paige’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
What was your reason for starting your business?
Well, COVID-19 certainly had a lot to do with launching my business, Mixology Mixer, a virtual cocktail experience startup that has brought groups together during the pandemic. I had spent the last 20 years of my life producing live events and then they were all cancelled in a matter of 48 hours due to the pandemic. Suddenly I needed something to do, not only for myself to keep busy, but I was also driven to help people in the hospitality industry, who like me found themselves out of work.
How do you define success?
I define success as having happiness, financial stability and freedom. It’s a balance of all three.
Tell us about your biggest success to date.
I would have to say starting Mixology Mixer is my biggest professional success to date. Launching a brand new business, let alone a successful one, in the confines of a global pandemic was a huge win! From what started as a way to keep me busy and help my friends in the hospitality industry, Mixology Mixer has transformed into a real company that continues to grow. Most recently we launched a monthly subscription based cocktail club for consumers called Club Mix, and we are continuing to build new experiences into the mix.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Work life balance has always been my biggest challenge, and I still struggle with turning off my computer at the end of the day. But I’m finding as I get older, and definitely after the pandemic, that I am finally realizing how important it is to spend time with the ones you love and make more time for yourself outside of work.
Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?
Basically all roads lead back to the pandemic for me. As an event planner I personally had all my events canceled due to the pandemic and like so many others I had to navigate through unemployment, rent assistance and food stamps to come out the other end. This is what pushed me to launch my startup business Mixology Mixer.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
Surround yourself with positive, successful people that inspire you to be equally confident, and get yourself a mentor!
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
Seeing the results of our Mixology Mixer events and how happy we make people by connecting them with each other, especially when times have been pretty rough this past year. It’s really great to see a smile and a laugh as a result of something we helped to create.
Who is your most important role model?
My mother without a doubt is my most important role model. She was a single mother and always taught me to be self-sufficient and not to count on anyone else to support you. That continues to drive me to this day.