The first Greek woman in history to start a liquor brand shares her tips!
Effie Panagopoulos, founder and CEO of KLEOS Mastiha Spirit, knows a thing or two about breaking into the spirits industry.
Panagopoulos encourages more women to get in the business. After all, “35% of women are supertasters—meaning they have refined palettes—heightened sense of smell and taste—vs only 15% of men are supertasters.” It looks like women may be more suited to take over the boys club! She adds that women are “better communicators” and “salespeople,” who bring a “breath of fresh air” to the industry. Panagopoulos may be the first Greek woman in the space, but she encourages other women to stand beside her.
Panagopoulos’ 6 secrets for success cover everything from working out to raising funds:
- Get an education.
- Master your craft and soak up all you can from mentors in the industry.
- Research, research, research. Never start a product or a concept on a whim just because YOU like it. Test, test, test, within your target demographic (so many people don’t hone in on a target consumer when conceptualizing products and restaurant/bar concepts).
- Be bold when raising money. I sent letters (snail mail) to high net worth, high profile individuals and got meetings.
- Raising money is a numbers game. Treat it as such to remove the emotion from it. The more people you pitch, the more money you will raise. I reached out to 169 people to close 8 investors.
- The biggest key to entrepreneurialism is the ability to ride the waves. I practice 6 days of exercise a week, meditation, having an advisory board I trust, and tiding—volunteering 3 years for Big Brother Big Sister always put things in perspective when I am in the trenches.
Effie Panagopoulos is an inspiration to all of us and an amazing example of women making it work in a male-dominated industry. Check out this video to hear more about her journey as a woman in the spirits industry.