You know it is #EntrepreneurTuesday so prepare to learn something new.
It is trite to say that we can never really measure the impact of our words, actions, challenges and victories on those around us, those who observe us from a distance, and those who look up to us.
When the US President Obama gave his election victory speech on 4 November 2008, he was laying down his operational strategy and thanking those who had reposed their trust in him, but Brian Owango in far away Kenya heard much more than that.
After President Obama’s speech ended, Brian typed his resignation letter and left his job working with a chain of luxury hotels. It was time to get his show on the road.
His show? Kenya’s first cocktail and mobile bar service. You see, Brian is a mixologist of great repute.
Aqueous Mobile Bar was started with an initial investment of about $2000 in his garage and with one foldable bar made of stainless steel and sporting some wheels-it was a mobile bar after all. Aqueous which means watery, illustrated the services he offered.
The company has since become a name to be reckoned with in the industry, serving drinks and canapés at corporate functions, weddings, private parties and even presidential events at the State House.
With austere measures which included working out of his own garage and only hiring staff that he absolutely needed -most of whom he trained- , Brian broke even in his first year, and made appreciable profits by his second year.
In order to stay ahead of his competition, Brian expanded his service offering to include canapés and barbecues, so as to provide a complete package for his clients. On the average, Aqueous caters for three events of 200 people each per day and the bar comes with two bartenders and two cleaners.
How did a Surveyor with a degree from Nottingham University ‘end up’ mixing drinks? It’s not a mystery actually. To earn a bit of extra money as a student, Brian worked in bars and restaurants, learning techniques from the bars and the kitchens where he worked. His love for cocktails did not wane and when he returned to Kenya, he worked with some of the best lounges and hotels where he pioneered his art of contemporary mixology, learnt financial management and understood business strategy.
Brian also trains budding mixologists, and it is safe to say that a new generation of cocktail connoisseurs in Kenya will pass under his tutelage at one point or the other.
Away from work, Brian is the founder and creator of Tandawazi, a festival of contemporary culture with a focus on movement art , music martial arts. He also runs a martial arts academy, the Capoeira Balanco Negro which is Kenya’s first capoeira school and is the sole representative of the Senzala De Santos group in East Africa.
Brian still works out of his garage office, which houses his bars, freezers and stock and that alone is a lesson all by itself.