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Meet Mia Valenzuela of Mia’s Martini

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mia Valenzuela.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Mia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The beginning is a long way off, but in short, I have always had a love for food, beverage and hospitality. I have been in the industry since I was 17 years old (nearly half my life) and grown to love the energy and excitement in the service industry. Having grown up in a latin household, we were exposed to very strong cultural ties to food and hospitality. It’s a way of taking care of people or welcoming people in our culture, so, naturally I see the services I provide as an extension of myself. It’s a platform I have been given to love on people in a tangible, authentic and consistent way. I don’t have to wait for people to walk into my doors to offer them a cocktail or show them hospitality. I have the privilege of walking into their’s and offering the same level of attention and care as I would in my own home.

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?
Not at all. The past few years I watched my brother struggle to balance 3 businesses of his own and always thought to myself that he made it look easy. I think anytime you’re looking from the outside in it looks easy. You work from home, you make your own schedule, you can make your company anything you want it to be. Easy right? What people don’t see is the literal blood, sweat and tears we put into our craft. Launching my company took multiple years of honing my skills, developing my business model, building a client base full of people who I love like my friends, even some like my family. It’s extremely personal to me and it certainly didn’t come easy. I worked for 15 months building my company before I launched it full-time. I worked 60 hours a week as an Executive Assistant, and then worked weekends building my brand. When I was laid off in 2016, you would have thought having 60 more hours a week would be a cake walk. But Mia’s Martini was hired more in those first 5 weeks of launching, than in the previous 15 months combined. I was alone at that time. It was a lot to take on and was a bit of a scramble to focus, follow-through, and execute — every time. Since then Mia’s Martini has grown to 7 staff, with 20 – 40 events a month. It’s been a totally humbling process, but when you don’t have anyone else to help carry the load it can be overwhelming.

This is my baby in a way. I’m a mother, full-time to my baby of a business. I nurture it, I spend all day with it, I answer it’s calls and emails in the wee hours of the morning (like today at 4:00 AM). There’s nobody else taking care of my baby. Only me. You cannot neglect it, you cannot leave for a day and ignore it, you cannot take a vacation without it being in the back of your mind or in front of your face via phone, text, email, computer, etc. This is FULL-TIME. No work-home separation. And that pressure can be a LOT.

There have been days when I’ve broken down under the pressure. There have been weekends when it was hard to work 4, 5 6 events back to back and still maintain that high-level of energy, professionalism, personalization. The work is very physical. When you’re dripping sweat working on a set up in triple-digit heat, or when you are running on 4 hours of sleep because you have 3 set-ups and an event you’re personally bartending and only so many hours in the day, it can take a lot out of you. Yet, you have to be on your A-game, every single time. There’s no cutting corners, at least not in this company. But, anytime I feel exhausted or challenged, there’s always a deeper self that knows that this is a facet of my purpose. My purpose (or what I believe it to be anyway) is to love this world deeply, to build relationships and community intentionally, and to create beauty. Mia’s Martini is a reflection of that. We are committed to being the best. We know there is PLENTY to learn on this journey. We don’t consider ourselves better than we are. We admire the people who have learned this craft better than ourselves, and we constantly develop. We challenge ourselves, we grow, we do better, we give more. I’m so adamant about it. I firmly believe that complacency is equivalent to recession and excellence takes commitment. In order to be the best you have to be willing to develop and that takes adaptability, refinement, consistency, and tirelessness in your efforts.

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Mia’s Martini story. Tell us more about the business.
I am the sole owner of Mia’s Martini. We have an incredible staff who are personable, fun-loving, energetic, and committed to making our client’s vision a reality. We provide private bartending services throughout Central and Southern California for events as little as 10 guests or as large as 600. We specialize in cocktails, bar consultations, bar planning and bar staffing – usually for private events or corporate events, but also within the restaurant industry. We’ve had the privilege of assisting in launching a few restaurants, co-creating their bar cocktails and bar menus, and training their staff.

Although we do tend bar for many receptions, we also provide services for concerts, grand openings, ribbon cuttings, bachelorette/bachelor parties, dinner parties, corporate events, charities and fundraisers, etc. We work very closely with every client to put together a bar that is unique to them, and since there are no two bar experiences exactly alike, we are most known for our personalization and customization of each and every bar experience! We want to make sure the bar is a reflection of our clients tastes and preferences, and this requires complete customization with items such as bar and glassware rentals, cocktail creations, etc.

More than anything, I am very proud of how personal this company is. Most of our clients say we are “friends for life” or jokingly call us “cousin” – because we feel like family at the end of their event. On the Mia’s Martini website it says, “If we’re not true friends by the end of it all, we wouldn’t say we’ve done our job.” I am SO serious about that. When I hire staff, I take them out for cocktails or coffee and get to know them because I want to make sure they are a good fit professionally, personally, and in terms of their passion, not just for cocktails but also for people. When I train my staff, I have them work events with me so I can see how they engage with people and what they’re like, not just professionally behind the bar, but personally with each and every guest. You can teach anybody how to make a cocktail, but you cannot teach someone how to be personal, intentional, and engaged. That is a personality thing. And I’m dead-set on having my team reflect my own heart for this company. I’m very proud that they do. They’re intentional, fun-loving, personal, sociable, responsive, authentic, honest, hard-working men and women. They value my clients as much as I do and I LOVE that!

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?

The only “luck” I can think of is that I was lucky enough as an EA to connect with a co-worker (at that time) who’s primary skillset is print and design. He created my logo, we worked together on the website, he created all of my marketing and branding. If I didn’t have him on my side, I’d be a good person with a good heart and a good skill set getting gigs off craigslist. He’s my go-to, my sounding board, my business mentor in many ways. He’s also become one of my best friends. Other than that, everything has come down to consistency, persistence, refinement, and plain and simple hard work. My brother has a saying, C.H.W.P.O. (Cause Hard Work Pays Off), and I live by that, every day. I have the most amazing and supportive family and network of friends, and they inspire me in so many ways. But luck? No luck at all. Maybe fate, maybe readiness, maybe persistence, but not luck.

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Image Credit:
Greg Cali – The Cali Life

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