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Life and Work with Argelia Martinez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Argelia Martinez.

Argelia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My vision is to become the Frida Kahlo of cocktails. Inspired by annual trips to visit family in Mexico, my Chicago roots, and my mom’s cooking, I began Vida Mia Cocktails in February 2018 to celebrate the diverse culinary traditions of Mexico through food & beverage pairings. Vida Mia Cocktails uses fresh local ingredients, alchemy, and storytelling to create an experience.

In 2013, I attended my first mixology class. I fell in love with the combination of fresh ingredients and potions that were poured into extravagant tiny glasses with eye-catching garnishes. This enthusiasm, along with the joy of sharing authentic Mexican cuisine, inspired the creation of Vida Mia Cocktails. As a first generation American, I grew up listening to my parents and uncles gathered around a dining table, recounting their childhood memories in Mexico and their journeys to new lives in Chicago. These stories fueled my passion for cuisine and kept me grounded as I learned more about my history and ancestors. Over the past five years, I spent time talking to industry mixologists and studying cocktails in a library of books on techniques, philosophies, and spirits. I applied my experience as a marketing professional to build my business plan: I needed to create an original, own-able brand in a beverage industry that is male-dominated. Vida Mia Cocktails was born as a way to celebrate history through the experience of food and beverage. In the future, I’d even like to curate travel experiences around these things, the things that I love.

Services for my business include:

a. Teaching the art + science of mixology with history

b. Leading team building events through food and beverage pairings

c. Designing a cocktail inspired experience for restaurants and pop-up events

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?
It’s a challenge to keep the sales pipeline active while you’re wearing several hats in your business as a solo-entrepreneur. In addition to my business, I have a full-time job at Hauswirth/Co that makes me happy. However, over the years, I have learned how important it is to have something to fall back on like a business that feels uniquely yours to build equity. I make the time to nurture important relationships for my business in order to create meaningful collaborations that set me apart from others. I also invested in a business coach (Ms. Alex Batdorf) that helped me create smart habits and make connections with like-minded businesses. A clear vision, heart, and self-discipline will go a long way as you build new relationships and business opportunities.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Vida Mia Cocktails – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I pride myself in working with small business owners from the Latinx community in Chicago and female-owned businesses. For example, I hold mixology classes at DeColores restaurant in Pilsen. I enjoy helping them find ways to drive traffic to their restaurant while working together to design a unique experience for our guests. I also partner with organizations like Sacred Agave which uses agave spirits to improve the quality of life of people living in rural Mexican towns. I find ways to intertwine history with the art of alchemy to make my guests feel like they are experiencing something unique and authentic.

What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
Don’t undervalue your worth when you are negotiating the cost of your services and setting your bases. It is so important as a small business owner to not give anything for free or to low ball yourself because you are just starting out. If you have a solid business plan, preparation, and solid referrals, you are setting yourself up for success to demand what you need to financially support your business.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photographer: Rebecca Mezzich

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