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Meet Ivo Peshev of Flair Project

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ivo Peshev.

Ivo, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am from Bulgaria, I have been bartending for over 13 years now in both Europe and USA. I signed up for a bartending school at the tender age of 16 and I can honestly say that the time I spent in that Bartending School in Sofia is to this day the best time of my life. My academy focused on teaching classic bartending with cocktail knowledge and heavy emphasis on product knowledge and proper techniques. In addition, “FLAIR FOREVER ACADEMY” (the name of the school) devoted a good amount of time to teaching Flair Bartending – like Tom Cruise in the movie cocktail.

After graduation, I started working in some of the best clubs and bars in Sofia and kept practicing and developing my flair and entertainment skills. In 2007, I moved to the US to attend college and in America is where I really started focusing on advance my mixology skills and develop an entrepreneur mind. I have competed in many flair competitions over the years and have had the pleasure of meeting some of the best people in the industry – People I admire and have learned from. But after a few years of having fun traveling and competing I wanted to take the next step and open my own business. Because I love bartending and owe so much to the craft, I wanted to give back to the community. So I opened a private bartending school that was modeled after the school I finished back in 2004. The school was going great and I loved teaching but in all honesty the school was just the first part of my plan. I wanted to open the school to (1) give back to the community and teach aspiring bartenders to become really good bartenders that take pride in what they do (2) bring awareness of Flair Bartending in Santa Barbara – something really unknown in the area – I wanted to show how Flair Bartending can be a great was set yourself apart as a bartender and really entertain your customers. (3) and lastly, I already had the plan to turn Flair Project into a full time bartending catering and bar consulting agency so I used the school to train some talented bartenders to later recruit in my team.

After almost two years of teaching, we started getting so many calls for events I just couldn’t do the school anymore and Flair Project was turned into a bartending agency. Myself and some of my best students (who are now solid member of the Flair Project team) working corporate events, weddings, bachelorette parties etc. and our focus in to always have the whole nine yards at events – We bring custom made mobile bars that are so elegant and efficient, we always have craft cocktails tailored for each event individually, and of course we bring the best bartenders around that are not only very skillful with their cocktails but very personable and entertaining.

Our mission is to bring the “so often dull” event bars to life and genuinely entertain and indulge guests. This year. myself and my now business partner and former student Michael Gallop started the Flair Project BLOG – an online journal that educated and inspires professional bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts and exhibits the craft of bartending as something more than just pouring drinks. And this is basically it. Bartending as profession and business has given me so much in my life and I am extremely lack to wake up every day know that I am doing something I love and bringing the best out of all aspects (classic, mixology, flair) of bartending has been a passion of mine for a long time and Flair Project both as a catering company and online blog gives me the opportunity to live my dream.

Has it been a smooth road?
No, entrepreneurship in never an easy road. Starting a small business (with not much of a capital) means countless hours working. One of the best struggle(s) is the fact that as an entrepreneur you have to be reliable for so many things that are your specialty (bartending) – juggling marketing, building a website, filling paperwork and learning to operate a business while simultaneously trying to develop the actual craft of the business can be very exhausting and when results are not instant it could be very discouraging. But, I am grateful for these experiences because they thought me how to be patient (something I have always struggled with in the past).

We’d love to hear more about your business.
A bartending agency offering a variety of bar services. From catering private events to bar consulting, our goal is to be the ambassadors of flair bartending, mixology and excellent customer service. Whether it’s bar basics, advanced cocktail creation, or Flair Entertainment; you are sure to find something new and exciting to add to your flair project.

I am most proud of my team that I manage to build over the years -I have surrounded myself with talented, motivated and hardworking people – it is really great feeling to know that in some part I am responsible for inspiring those individuals to reach higher levels.

What sets us is apart id the fact that we bring two (usually clashing disciplines) together – Mixology and Flair Bartending and complimenting it with personality, enthusiasm and never endless thirst to learn more and improve ourselves and the business in general.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think the central cost is a great place to start such a business – because of the climate, it is a wedding destination (all year long pretty much) and you also have lots of parties and events happening in big cities like LA.

Plus in LA (Hollywood in particular) people want the “entertainment” element in pretty much every aspect of life (especially drinking and going out, events, etc.)

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