We talked with Tami East, owner of Have Bar Will Travel, all about her special occasion mobile bartending service! We cannot wait to taste her delicious treats at this BNO. Are you ready for champagne, mimosas, and signature drinks? We are! See what she has to say below!
1. How did you get started?
"After working at my last corporate job for 14yrs and being released, because my position was eliminated. After getting over the shock and pondering, what shall I do with my life now? I knew after that experience, I definitely wanted to go into an industry that would “never” go out of business. “They say” You know what your passion is if you were to do it for free. I thought, hmmmm, what is it that I like to do, even if I don’t get paid for it. After several days of deep thought, I decided that I definitely had time to attend Bartending School now! A couple of months before my dismissal, it was something that I was contemplating. So, I researched where to go, cost, class time and decided YES, this is a step in the right direction. My inspiration came from being released from the corporate world and now having no choice but to either go back into that environment or see what I can make of this beverage industry. So, I prayed a lot, I mean a lot and decided to go to bartending school and see what happens after that."
2. What's your experience like from point of contact to the wedding day?
"In the beginning I knew that I didn’t want to work in the typical bartender environments, clubs, restaurants, bars, etc. Attending bartender school really opened my eyes to all of the responsibilities a bartender has to endure on a daily basis. With my back injury being what it is, that was not the life for me. So, I decided that “If I pass my test”, I would start a different type of bartending service”. And that I did, I looked at the industry and said, what’s missing, just in the central Arkansas area. I saw there was not that “personal bartending service” available to cater for special events and private parties. Yes, you can hire a bartender for your special occasion, but they just show up and serve what you have available. Knowing that I am very particular about how my drinks look, how they are prepared and the feeling you get once you taste, I saw an opening to what I later learned was a “Niche Business” that lil ole me could start."
3. What do you love most about your job? What challenges have you faced or do you face?
"The thing I love most about my job is, the reaction a person has when there taste buds are delighted by the drink that I have prepared especially for them! The second thing is the flexibility for my life! You don’t realize how confined you are by the 9-5, until you are no longer there."
"Challenges that I face are probably no different from most beginners. Financial backing, getting clientele, equipment for your business, lack of experience at the beginning and wondering do I have what it takes to make this idea work. There are definitely things, (as in any industry) that you learn along the way. What to do, what not to do, sometimes the toughest decision is “charging what you are worth”! All the while, praying for longevity!"
4. What's the funniest/most inspiring wedding story/moment that has happened to you?
"Most inspiring story: I was just tootling along, going into Dollar Tree to purchase my usual, shot cups and napkins, occasionally some mints. You know, just minding my own business. When I received a call, I answered, the person on the line was just sobbing while they were speaking. Through the tears I heard that her wedding is this weekend (it was Thursday) and her bartender called to let her know that they will not be able to be there and that someone had given her my number and she called. After I was able to calm her down, the first thing I did was to let her know that “I was available and that she shouldn’t fret anymore that I am happy to bartend for your wedding.” So, she did calm down and we were able to work out all of the particulars and by the end of the call she was smiling and laughing and ever so Thankful and assured that everything was going to be ok! She yelled to her fiancé Huny, I found someone and they both shouted with joy YES!YES!YES! Knowing that I had brought such relief to this couple in such a short amount of time, made me know, I have chosen the right profession! Now, I had to Show Up and Show Out and that I did Have Bar-Will Travel to the rescue!!!"
5. What are some tips you’d give couples on planning their wedding or choosing a vendor in your category?
Best piece of advice –
1. Keep your Faith First in your marriage and never go to bed upset!
2. Planning your wedding: Start as early as possible. Lock in your venue first and one by one secure your other areas with deposits.
3. Develop a budget and a payment plan, this will allow you to stay on budget and you won’t be overwhelmed by trying to do everything all at once.
4. Ask for referrals, do your research on different vendors per category and on the vendor, you choose, schedule Tastings, (where applicable), ask for pictures of their work (where applicable)
5. Review your contracts carefully, make sure you are clear on deposits, cancellation policies and the exact service you are due to receive for the amount of money you are paying
6. When things change on your end, notify your vendors asap
7. Stay in contact with your vendors, especially if you are planning early, either your vendor should be in touch with you every two-three months or you should be in touch with them