We recently connected with Bill Tsatsos and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Bill thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. What’s the backstory behind how you came up with the idea for your business?
When I moved back to Detroit in 2015, I didn’t see much creativity in the cocktails here. They looked just normal. Jack and cokes, gin and tonics. I spent nearly 13 years bartending in Hollywood for famous celebrities, working the Oscars every year, and also bartending at big illustrious movie premiers. craft cocktails were always a great addition to our bars out there, so I took that concept and brought it to Detroit but I stepped it up a notch and put a creative twist on what a craft cocktail should embody, so I began my creations, such as the Beet Rosemary Cosmo which I call “Beet Of My Heart” and other visually stimulating cocktails made with fresh lavender, mint, thyme, rosemary, cucumber and even carrot ginger. When the demand for my mobile mixology services got so popular, I decided to create a business out of it and brand it as Motor City Mixology LLC.
Bill , love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
When I was 25, I fell into the hospitality industry in Los Angeles, primarily banquets, for big caterers such Wolfgang Puck Catering & Events. I started off as a banquet server, then eventually became a bar-back. From there I watched and learned how to bartend. It looked to be pretty simple; cosmos, martinis, vodka sodas. Nothing too extreme. You just had to pick up the pace, and keep up with high volume. That was most important. I eventually moved up to being a banquet bartender and became one of the top bartenders in the company and was placed on the big VIP events. That list includes working in the home of Tom Cruise, Cher, Quincy Jones, and serving top list celebrities like Stallone, DiCaprio, Rihana, The Olsen twins and the list goes on and on. It’s a huge list, I’d be writing for hours. But my greatest achievement, I believe, was being hired to work at the Playboy Mansion, which I did, for 7 years. At first I only worked the outdoor parties like “Midsummer Nights Dream” but eventually was invited to work inside the home and be 1 of Hugh Hefner’s hand selected Butlers. I got to serve Hef breakfast in bed, walk his dogs, tidy up his office, taking food orders for his girlfriends… typical Butler work. I was also on the very first episode of “The Girls Next Door”, the reality show that was filmed at the Mansion. After 13 years out West, home was calling for me. The Motor City wanted me back. I made that decision to go back home, to my family, and start a new venture. I didn’t know what was next, all I knew is I had a mortgage and I had to start working. I fell into banquet management, because of my illustrious experience. Most people interviewing me thought I was full of it, and my resume was fake. Eventually I landed my first management job, which was definitely a learning experience. That led me to a new management position at a major hotel in downtown Detroit. That also was a huge learning experience. I very quickly decided that management was not for me. Working under other people was not for me. Working above other people was not for me. I found out the hard way that once you put a suit and tie on, people don’t like you anymore and try to even sabotage you. So, I decided that I needed to go back to what made me happy. To what made me creative. To what lit a fire under me. So I quit management and went back to bartending at venues. From there, I got crafty with my cocktails and created visually stunning drinks and I slowly started booking private clients on the side, that turned into recurring clients, that referred me to their friends and colleagues. I started to get busy, too busy. I needed help. So I recruited friends to help me cover my double bookings, and taught them my process. It came to a point where I decided it was time to make a business out of this. That’s when I created Motor City Mixology LLC, and trademarked my brand. I created logos, printed business cards, shirts, hats. I made sure people saw my logo everywhere and that it made an impact on them. I made sure I dropped business cards off anywhere I stepped foot in. I’m now considered 1 of the top mobile bartender companies in all of Metro Detroit. My business has now become the most important thing in my life, because I created it, it’s mine, I have passion for it. I’m creating my vision and my art. And nobody gets to boss me around. I’m my own boss. My clientele to this day has quadrupled. I’ve now branched out to not only people having weddings or house parties, but to realtors all over metro Detroit, who hire me to craft up signature cocktails for their open house events. It’s now gone beyond owning a business, it’s now enjoying the fruits of your labor and looking back at the steps that you took to get where you are at, and taking a breath and saying “I created this. I’m proud of myself. I’m finally happy.”
We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience?
Instagram by far has been my only social media outlet that actually helped me build my audience. All my clients have Instagram, so it’s easy to communicate and tag each other on photos and videos. A lot of my photography that’s on my Instagram is even from professional photographers who took pics of my cocktails and tagged me. That’s free photography for me. Instagram has always been the best networking outlet for me. The more pics and videos I post to my Instagram page, the more people see it, and follow me. And new clients reach out to me. It’s the best free marketing out there. I don’t need anything else. Just my Instagram.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
I believe word of mouth helped me build my reputation. 90% of my business is a new client calling and saying “Hi, a friend referred you to me” and “I grabbed your business card from a party you did.” I was also fortunate to be a guest on Chad & Kristi’s morning show on 98.7 called “Dishing in the D” and a guest on WWJ news radio 950, plus I was a special guest on Talkish, a local Detroit podcast.
- Website: www.motorcitymixology.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/motorcitymixology/?hl=en
- Yelp: https://m.yelp.com/biz/motor-city-mixology-detroit