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Keedie’s Corner Company Review: Fine Wine Enterprises

By: Keidra Ponder

We sat down with business owner Sarah Sanford of Fine Wine Enterprises at one of her bartending gigs. We were able to get an interview in, in between Sarah making drinks and assisting patrons at Sidiq’s Bistro. She had such a beautiful smile while her eyes gleamed of joy as she spoke of Fine Wine Enterprises. It’s evident she has crafted the art of customer service and she puts love into her work. Continue reading as we tell Sarah’s story.

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What is your hometown? Give us some background on you as an individual.

I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. I moved to Atlanta right after Highschool on a partial academic scholarship. I started to meet different people get invited to different parties. I wasn’t much of a drinker but I made good cocktails. So instead of bringing dishes to the cook-out, I was the one who would bring the drinks.

Where did you receive your education?

I went to Life University in Lowell, Ga. then I later transferred to Kennesaw State University. I was forced to leave school due to my appendix rupturing. I went back home to New York to heal and when I returned I started my company and a fulltime job with Delta Airlines. So college yes, a degree no, but I studied Psychology. 

What material did you study to gain knowledge of your craft?

My mom used to host a lot of parties back when Mike Tyson was fighting. We used to have card parties, boxing, and Superbowl parties. She used to make punch and that’s where I learned to create different cocktails. I crafted her style and I took over.

86846CED-F114-47CD-9F1C-525AF1C8DEDBWhen and where did you start your company?

I started my company in 2015 here in Atlanta, Ga. I took my time and did my homework before I went to work. I didn’t rush out into corporate America or to a bar. I wanted to create my own lane and start my company. Instead of spending money going out to eat and buying clothes I saved my money. I was working for Delta Airlines at the time, little by little every paycheck, even if it was just five dollars I would save something. I didn’t take out a loan to start my business, I planned for it. 

What is the vision behind your cocktails?

I make my cocktails with the working people in mind who don’t have time to go to the store after work every day. The ones who want something prepackaged at home. I don’t make them super strong for the quote-unquote alcoholic, but they are a nice wine down beverage after a long day. I make drinks for the people who like the feeling of alcohol but not so much the taste. 

What are some of the struggles you have had to overcome in the food and beverage industry?

I didn’t want my drink to fall by the waste side in liquor stores as just another wine cooler. I’m not too keen on distribution, I take pride in custom beverages and services.  Another obstacle is my own people of color. Everyone wants to sample and get a deal, no one wants to pay for my product. Once they do purchase a drink they are satisfied customers, I’ve never had someone bring back a drink they didn’t like. Getting people to happily spend money on my beverages as they would a retail product at times becomes a hassle. 

What are some of Fine Wine Enterprises highlighted achievements?B9E7D91E-908C-41D4-8CDA-62CEBE31CE11

Well, I was very impressed, my first time as a vendor at Atlanta Indie Market. I completely sold out with a few hours left to vend. The crowd was so impressed, now they look for me at the Indie Mart. I have bartended events for Killer Mike, Faith Evans, The Dungeon Family, Big Boi and many more.

What is the current status of Fine Wine Enterprises? Any upcoming events?

We are currently hosting pop up shops at barbershops, salons, tattoo parlors, it doesn’t matter. Where ever you’re hosting an event and need drinks I’m there. I plan on being at the Atlanta Indie Market this Fall. I’m always at Sadiq’s Bistro 3762 Campbellton Rd. SW Atlanta, Ga 30331 6 days a week bartending, so you can always get a drink from the pretty brown Queen behind the bar. 

What direction are you taking Fine Wine Enterprises in the future?

I would like for Fine Wine Enterprises to be a full-service event planning service where we would handle all your party needs. All you would have to tell me is the day of the event and your theme, I will be able to find the venue, the catering, the bartender and of course my drinks. I would like to also have a sprinter van to stay mobile and venture out to different events. I would like to provide the full mobile party experience where you come aboard and wine down.  

What are some unknown facts about your company?

Hmmm, let me think…… Maybe the fact that I’m really not a drinker, the only time I drink is when I’m drinking my own drinks. I don’t know if it’s a fun fact, but it’s a fact I have Crohn’s disease. It hasn’t stopped me from doing anything, I’m sick every now and again, but I can’t let sickness stop me from doing anything. I’ve had it since I was 14 and I’m 35 now and I’m still getting to it. And I’m a saver, I save all my change and its usually a couple hundred dollars at the end of the year. Being a business owner is not cheap! 

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Who are some of your influences in the business and in life?

My Dad, he is an ex NFL player, he played for ten years. I am the oldest of three girls, he has no sons so I chose my college major because of our connection. My father is very hands-on when it comes to my events, he is always supportive. He doesn’t drink but he will sit at the bar and have a cranberry juice with me. Definitely, Oprah, I admire women who are in business. Also Killer Mike’s wife, Shay Bigga, she’s a true businesswoman!  

Do you have any words of wisdom or encouragement for our readers?

Your face card is more important than your name, that’s where your support comes from. When you have a plan in motion you also have to learn how to save money. A business is not going to take off in the first 3-5 years typically, so you have to plan for those occurrences. But all in all the sky’s the limit, there are no ceilings!  

Do you have any networking partners you want to mention?

I would like to thank my silent business partner for believing in me and trusting my vision. I would like to thank Killer Mike and his wife Shay, they’ve allowed me to do events at their barbershop, he respects the hustle. He told me, “When you get your business together call me.” that meant I’ll help you but you have to help yourself first and I definitely appreciate that. Anyone who has booked Fine Wine Enterprise for an event, I thank you. To all my friends and family at Delta Airlines who continuously buys my product, I thank you. 
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If you are interested in booking Fine Wine Enterprises for your event or following the movement see the links below;

Facebook – @FineWineEnt

Instagram – @finewine_enterprises

Email – finewineenterprises@gmail.com

Keedie’s Corner Company Review: Nerv

By: Keidra Ponder

As an avid supporter of Atlanta Indie Market I come across many great finds, but I was in awe when I met Dr. Michael Jiang. He was so calm, even cool under the Atlanta sun as shoppers filled the atmosphere. He introduced me to a new supplement that supports mental clarity. When I heard those words my eyes lit up! I have the hardest time staying focused and retaining thoughts. I am one of those people who make to do list just to finish a to do list. The product has zero calories, is caffeine free, and naturally flavored. I love healthy drinks so I was obliged to try it out.

I had a kickball game that I wanted to be ready to play and that’s exactly what I was. The shot didn’t make me feel jittery at all, it made me the polar opposite. I felt at ease as if I could see things in a different light. I felt light on my feet and my head was clear as well. I was able to focus on one task at a time as I picked the most important one to focus on. We had a good game that day and I was still happy even though we lost. Needless to say I am a firm believer in Nerv and I would recommend any and everyone to try it. I had a chance to ask Dr. Michael Jiang a few questions to get a better understanding of Nerv and the science behind it.


Dr. Jiang when and where was Nerv started?

We were founded in 2017. We launched our product in Feb 2018. Started in my kitchen with the formulation and testing. Took it to Emory for focus groups with students. Crowdfunded on Indiegogo and will be launching all across the country at CVS in two weeks!

So what was the vision behind Nerv?

Nerv is all about helping our customers be their best selves and we do that by supporting and destigmatizing the sense of the overwhelming overload we feel day to day. We provide products that help balance brain chemistry so that people can de-stress and re-focus.

What are some of the struggles you have had to overcome to be able to make Nerv a retail product?

The drink market is highly competitive and retail is a difficult space to start in. Fortunately, we have been able to overcome both by differentiating our product from what people are used to seeing and finding shelf space in gyms, pharmacies, and university campuses.

What are some of your highlighted achievements?

We find our greatest satisfaction in hearing from our happy customers that Nerv has been able to help them in their lives and made them happier. Nerv was completely crowdfunded. We have won multiple pitch competitions. Within 6 months of launch, we will be retailing all across the US at CVS!

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Dr. Jiang what is the current status of your company?

We are currently looking to expand our retail reach to more locations. However, anyone anywhere can always find us on the web at www.getnerv.com. We are also seeking investment to fuel our expansion.

Where do you see yourself taking your company in the future?

Nerv’s mission is to provide access to innovative products that help people be their best selves. Right now, we feel stress and anxiety are major problems holding people back from reaching their potential so our product provides an accessible solution. We also aim to provide expert opinion, discussion, and engagement with the community on matters of the brain and mental health at the Nerv Center: https://www.getnerv.com/blogs/nerv-center

What are some unknown facts about your Nerv?

Nerv started because Dr. Michael Jiang wanted to help formulate a solution to help his friends and family de-stress and re-focus. That ultimately resulted in the production of Nerv and made him an accidental entrepreneur when it turned out lots of people needed his solution!

Where did you receive your education? What was your field of study?

I got my bachelors in Neuroscience from Furman University and my Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University. My research focused on translational solutions for neurodegenerative diseases and the treatment of stress and anxiety.

Dr. Jiang where were you born? Give us some background on you as an individual.

I was born in a very normal and poor family from Inner Mongolia. My parents shared $25 a week in salary and we have no car, only bicycles. In 1994, immigration to New Zealand opened up and my parents became the first people in their families to leave China. On my first day of school, I didn’t know any English so I had to improvise sign language to ask to use the bathroom. I got my name because the only Western person my mom knew of at the time was Michael Jackson. I attended elementary school in New Zealand and went to high school in Australia. My family currently resides in Sydney, Australia. I came to the USA on a full scholarship to study Neuroscience at Furman University and I just graduated with my Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University in 2017.

Who are some of your influences in business and in life?

I wouldn’t be able to be where I am today without the help of my parents Andy and Susan, my loving wife MC, and my partners Holly Ash and Graeme Warring.

Do you have any words of encouragement for our readers?

It is hard to set yourself on a journey when you only look at the destination and see that is so far away and the way is so unclear. Instead, just start and soon when you look back you will see how far you have come.

Do you have any networking partners you want to mention?

I would like to thank the Robin Harpak and the Emory Alumni Network, Emory University, CVS, and Rangeme.

 

If you would like more information about Nerv follow the links below:

The Power of Lemongrass

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Lemongrass is native to tropical regions such as Africa, Australia, Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania and India. It is from the Poaceae family of grasses, which has therapeutic, dietary and cosmetic purposes. It has been noted in history for its ability to boost immunity and eliminate harmful bacteria. Lemongrass is becoming more prevalent in conventional uses as holistic medicine is on the rise.

In tropical native regions Lemongrass is used for numerous purposes. It was widely used for dietary purposes as the herb have fibrous stalks. The flavoring agent can be found in beverages and desserts for its ability to aide in digestion. Some natives make teas and soups from Lemongrass to treat fevers and infections. Lemongrass properties boost circulation, reduce body aches and detoxify the body of inflammation, fungus, viruses and microbial diseases.lemon grass

Lemongrass essential oils alleviate stress and tension making them very useful for aromatherapy. Lemongrass is known for its neural abilities as an anti-depressant. It is known to boost energy and increase alertness. It can be used in lotions to treat acne and fungal infections as well as reduce the appearance of cellulite. Lemongrass can also be used to make soaps, deodorants, shampoos and even insect repellant.

lemongrass oilHolistic medicine is on the rise and Lemongrass is on the bill for general health. Its healing properties are abundant ranging from dietary to medicinal to cosmetic. Some have called it “fever grass” and “fever tea” for its ability to reduce fevers. Even still true to today, Lemongrass is among the most popular essential oils in use today. It is highlighted here on Keedie’s Corner for its health benefits and effectiveness.

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By: Keidra Ponder