Things I Have Learned’ is a series of short interview articles in which the same set of questions are put to members of the bar industry who have launched their own business, changed career path, or done something interesting. The aim of the series is to provide guidance and inspiration to bartenders who might like to launch a new project of their own.
Who are you?
I’m Chelsie Bailey, I’ve been in the industry for 12 years. I started out in nightclubs and student bars and eventually landed myself a job that involved cocktails. The past 7 years have been in Bristol and I was the bar manager of Red Light for 3 of those years. Whilst being in Bristol I’ve been lucky enough to have won various cocktail competitions and travel the world.
What are you doing now?
During the week I’m a brand advocate for Mamont vodka, Aviation gin and Heaven Hill whiskies in the South West. On Saturdays I moonlight at Milk Thistle so I can pretend I’ve still got it.
Expectation Vs Reality – Have things turned out the way you though they would?
I wasn’t too sure what to expect! I only had a day in between roles so didn’t really have a chance to create ‘fantasies’. I had already had a rough idea what was expected of me as I had met loads of reps and ambassadors in my management role. It was quite a drastic change from getting home at 4am to waking up at 9am… my body definitely hated me in the first week.
Hard Yards – What has been the most difficult challenge to overcome?
I love a good old natter so booking meetings 45 mins apart was my first big mistake! Then getting used to timings and getting across cities to your next appointment… in my first week I think I walked about 50km. Another hard yard would be dealing with dismissive people, some people do not like reps popping by unannounced but most of the time people are happy to see you.
Pleasant Surprise – Describe something you have enjoyed during your adventures
I’d never really spent much time in Bath and they have such a cool cocktail scene. The community there is absolutely amazing and I’ve made some really cool friends. The most rewarding aspect is definitely meeting new people. Staff training sessions are really rewarding as you see bartenders interested and excited by you and your products.
Need to Know – Describe a vital lesson you have learned
The upmost important thing is you have to love the brand or brands you are working for. I couldn’t talk about brands all week and drink them unless I honestly liked them.
Change is Good – What do you think the industry should be doing differently?
This is always a difficult one to answer. I think the biggest one for me would be creating more support groups and platforms for current and younger generations of bartenders. This would be focusing mainly on alcoholism, health and the LGBT community.