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Conversations with the Inspiring Melodie Murphy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melodie Murphy.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am originally from Long Beach, CA. I got my first job in a restaurant when I was 20 to help pay the bills while in school. The day they decided to train me to bartend was the absolute starting point of this endless cocktail adventure. My friends would come in and it seemed as though their favorite words were “just make me something”. The creation process was always my favorite. Every bar I worked in had a new set of spirits I’ve never heard of before and opened up new flavor patterns for me to explore. I had been bartending for about 6-7 years when I got my first job at a farm to table restaurant. I was the only female bartender and had minimal knowledge on how to work with fresh ingredients. I was working with a team of men who had extensive knowledge of classic/craft cocktails. I could have let this discourage me, but instead, I took this as an opportunity to learn everything! Working here was like boot camp, but for bartenders. We had cocktail labs, worked side by side with the chefs to learn how to cook our own ingredients, shopped at the farmers market, had classes on techniques, mandatory Bar Smarts certifications, cocktail competitions, and complete creative control over seasonal cocktail menus. I had the fellas I worked with teach me all about their specialties. One was from New Orleans and all of his drinks were made with a sprinkle of magic. Another had a fancy mustache and wore suspenders, he was the master of pre prohibition-style cocktails. Eventually, they hired another female crafty cocktailer, with the most delicate but in your face Latin flare on all of her drinks. We thrived there, building, learning, and playing off of each other’s creativity. They were the foundation that helped fine-tune my pallet for great cocktails. When I decided to move to Texas, I transferred to their sister restaurant in Dallas. I was excited to add Texas flavors to my resume and found myself surrounded by yet another team of super creative bartenders and chefs to help support my transition. At this point, I’m 12 years into bartending and loving almost every minute of it. The idea was presented that I should start a small business to make my drinks for private parties. I put together a huge plan, prices, packages, supply list, you name it! But as I transitioned down to Houston, I had to prioritize a few other things in order to stay on my feet. So I tucked those beautiful plans away in a drawer for two years. While here in Houston, I’ve been in a couple bartending competitions, just to keep my creative spirit alive. The last one was a national competition hosted by Marriott hotels, and I placed 3rd in Texas, narrowly missing the opportunity to try for the national title. This lit a fire in soul!! I was so proud of myself, so much that I knew it was time to pull those plans out of the drawer and give it a try. Two days later, I was at the courthouse to register my name. So here I am, creating cocktails that everyone will love, as Mixed Bar Services.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
This isn’t exactly the smoothest road for me. I am not the most tech-savvy individual. So I’m doing lots of research to figure out how to take better pictures, how to build my website, and making sure I’m crunching my numbers correctly. I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur, but if I’m doing something I love, I should be able to share it with the world in a way that benefits me as well. This is a personal growth project for me. I’m actually enjoying the struggle. The advice I would give, and that I’m working hard on remembering myself is not to get frustrated with the process. Everything is going to happen at just the right time. Just keep working at it and learning more about the things you don’t quite understand.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Mixed Bar Services story. Tell us more about the business.
Mixed Bar Services provides a variety of private party bartender needs. Outside of supplying bartenders who have over ten years of experience, Mixed hosts cocktail classes, cooks up their own specialty syrups and shrubs and has package pricing to fit any budget. Creating well-balanced cocktails with fresh ingredient tailored to any pallet is our specialty. As a brand, I am proud to provide a service that I love, and you can taste it in every drink.

Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
In terms of finding a mentor, never be afraid to ask questions of those people whom you feel know more than you. I have reached out to many friends who have also chosen to start a business in similar fields. We’ve sat down to lunch, emailed back and forth, and found time to squeeze in quick phone calls to bounce ideas off of one another. I’m still looking for one solid mentor to help me focus my business growth but thankful for the many friends of mine in the industry who weren’t afraid to take risks and do some research.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
First Photo: Marty Perlman Photography

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