MINGLE MOCKTAILS & TORY BURCH FELLOWS
AUGUST 27, 2019 LAURA TAYLOR
They say don’t always judge a book by the cover and I am a living example of that.
I am and Chief Mingle Officer of Mingle Mocktails, which I launched with the BeyondBrands team in 2017. Our mission is to make drinking occasions fun for everyone. My journey has many twists and turns which led me to where I am today. This year was a milestone in growing my business, quitting my job and being selected for the Tory Burch Fellows Program.
BEGINNINGS & INSPIRATION
I grew up in San Diego and was a great student and athlete. I set out to be a successful businesswoman wearing power suits and making a nice income. I discovered alcohol at an early age. I loved the feeling of escape after that 3rd or 4th drink. I enjoyed drinking but managed to stay focused – I became a successful businesswoman, married a wonderful man and had two children.
I continued to drink at work events and neighborhood gatherings knowing I enjoyed the feeling of escape more than I should. I applied my goal-oriented approach to everything else, but for some reason I could not apply that discipline to my drinking.
Photo: Joy Jacobs
I finally accepted that I drank too much and I needed to make a change for myself and my family so I quit drinking four years ago and never looked back. Quitting was hard but the pure joy of solid sleep, clear-headed mornings and being fully present for my friends and family was worth it.
Photo: Joy Jacobs
I was invited to a girls’ weekend and knew there would be plenty of drinking, so I decided to make my own mocktail. I used fresh juices to blend my Cranberry Cosmo Mocktail and brought it on the trip. As soon as gals popped the corks, I poured myself my Cranberry Cosmo Mocktail and sat down to join the group and fit right in. I felt an instant connection and a jolt of inspiration AND when the idea to create Mingle Mocktails was born!
GROWING TOOLS: BECOMING A TORY BURCH FELLOW
It’s almost 2 years since I’ve launched and 2019 is a banner year for me and Mingle; in April I was selected as a 2019 Tory Burch Fellow. I used tools provided by the Tory Buch Foundation early on to build my business plan and summon the courage to move forward in pursuing my dream of launching Mingle Mocktails as their mission is to enable female entrepreneurs ‘Embrace Ambition’.
I set the goal to apply for the Fellows Program when I met the qualification criteria knowing it would be an amazing experience. I was thrilled to be selected and can truly say the Tory Burch Fellows Program has had a dramatic impact on me and my business. I engaged with key business leaders from companies like Coca Cola and Whole Foods, established a strong peer network of fellow female entrepreneurs, and most importantly, I gained the knowledge and support I needed to embrace my ambition with an unwavering commitment to build and grow my brand with unapologetic confidence and strength.
As a Tory Burch Fellow, I spent 1 week with 49 other amazing female entrepreneurs. When I first met those women I was initially intimidated by the sheer knowledge, experience and success of everyone. I did not want to squander this opportunity so I made a decision to humbly and authentically open myself to every interaction as a means to learn how to be a stronger entrepreneur.
I’m thrilled to share that those women who initially intimidated me actually inspired me to embrace my own ambition, reinforcing that entrepreneurship is all about making smart risks and continually pushing yourself outside your comfort zone to try new things. So many of us are afraid of failure, but, as entrepreneurs, we proceed anyway knowing we won’t succeed if we don’t give it our best shot. It’s so important to build and maintain a network of people to support you personally and professionally.
I have 49 new advocates, supporters, mentors and friends I can call on to support me; If I’m struggling with preparing for a sales pitch or need guidance on finding a new vendor, I ask for guidance. Now I tap into an unlimited source of strength and confidence knowing I have what it takes to build and own the Mocktail Beverage Category. I may be a small brand right now, but I will grow my business so it’s a national brand that is recognized for making drinking occasions fun for everyone to enable all to enjoy that next party with laughter and social connection but not necessarily with alcohol. I learned that being different is a great thing and I’ve learned to embrace myself and my story.
I am grateful for my journey which led me to being the Founder + Chief Mingle Officer of Mingle Mocktails. When I quit drinking I challenged myself to live life without regrets and convert my fear to faith and that approach has provided more joy and strength than I could have ever imagined.
I have been inspired by so many others who took the brave step of going outside their comfort zone to launch a brand and push forward with conviction to achieve their goals. Because of the support of BeyondBrands and the Tory Burch Fellows Program, I am taking those brave steps to make Mingle Mocktails a success and help everyone feel part of the fun with an upscale alcohol-free option at their next gathering!