PROGRESS ISpulling together

Nicola Nice of the Women’s Cocktail Collective reflects on the wins women can achieve when they have a strong support system.

Photographed in NY & LA

Three women in a brewery holding drinks

The Women’s Cocktail Collective started at the end of 2018 as a way to bring more diversity to the back bar. We were finding that bartenders and their customers wanted to support women makers, they just didn’t know how to identify which spirits on their back bar were made or run by women. In the beginning our efforts were focused specifically around promoting female founders in bars and liquor stores for Women’s History Month, but we very quickly realized that the opportunity was much bigger. I began calling other female founders and they began making introductions to others, and before we knew it we had 25 members around the country.

a woman holding a drink and standing in a back room
“One of the most striking features of this group of women is their openness to share information and their genuine desire to help each other out. Some members are running multi-million dollar companies and have been in business for years; others are just getting started.”

Since founding the group, we have been able to help each other garner tangible wins like new account placements, press opportunities and distributor introductions. We have also been able to pool our resources to buy larger spaces at trade shows that would normally be too expensive for us individually. There have also been the more intangible successes. Since forming the group, we have seen many of our members go on to secure big wins—from launching new products, to completing fundraisers, or starting joint ventures. While these may not be specifically attributable to the group membership, being there as cheerleaders for each other as well as a sounding board for advice has been invaluable during these pivotal moments.

a group of women holding drinks and chatting together

For me, the most rewarding part of this group has been having the support network of the other founders themselves. One of the most striking features of this group of women is their openness to share information and their genuine desire to help each other out. Some members are running multi-million dollar companies and have been in business for years; others are just getting started. All are equal in their desire to lift the rope and pool resources where they can.

Unfortunately, the hospitality industry has been decimated by the shutdowns due to the pandemic, and most likely it will take many years to fully recover. We are going to see a lot of fallout and the permanent loss of many businesses. Let’s face it, running a business of any size is tough! It’s not all about the wins. Sometimes it’s just about survival, and having the motivation to keep going each day. So, mostly we have been there as a support group during this difficult time, sharing business resources and offering a collective shoulder to cry on where we need it. I’m personally incredibly grateful to have these women in my life.

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