By AFRO Staff
Just one week after being laid off from her job due to Covid-19, Northeast, D.C. resident Alfreda Brooks, decided to turn her passion for bartending into a tool to keep her followers on social media uplifted during quarantine.
On March 24, Brooks, 33 began ‘Virtual Bartending Classes’ through Facebook. The bartender was already used to being creative with her skills, as she already owns Bardiva, a mobile bartending business.
As the founder of Bardvia, Brooks was no stranger to live showcasing of her bartending as well as teaching others. With Bardiva, Brooks appeared on local news stations, such as ABC 7, educating and entertaining audiences with her craft cocktails.
After the success and following she built from Bardiva, the demand for virtual classes was high.
Once she was laid off, Brooks knew she wanted to stay busy, but also desired to give back to other aspiring bartenders in some way. Being faced with due dates for her own bills, Brooks said she knew others were grappling with financial challenges as well and opted to offer free virtual bartending courses.
Brooks’ first virtual happy hour and “Sunday Day Party Brunch” allowed viewers to learn how to make cocktails. Some people were so inspired they asked Brooks for her cash app account to send tips.
“The tips came pouring in. I was very shocked, and grateful,” Brooks said.
The millennial entrepreneur and bartender soon realized her first virtual class was the force to push her to want to “do more for the people and Bardiva.”
Since her launch in late March, Brooks has hosted several virtual bartending sessions and taught her viewers how to create drinks such as Mimosas, Tropical Fruit Cocktail Cosmos, Peach Margaritas and Frozès.
In addition to her bartending tutorials, Brooks has spent her time in quarantine educating aspiring entrepreneurs on how to start and run a business.
“Choose what you want to do first. I don’t care if you’re doing hair, you’re doing nails, selling purses, you’re making wine. I don’t care what it is that you’re doing, just make sure that’s what you want to do. That’s number one,” Brooks said on her session called “Let’s Talk Business.” “Believe in your dream, be passionate about it and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons,” she added.
“Second, pick a short and catchy name,” the Bardiva founder said. “How did I come up with Bardiva? Because I’ve been called a diva my whole life. I’m a Gemini. And Bar? That’s the field I chose to go into.”
“Once you know what you’re going to sell, once you know what you’re going to be promoting and branding that’s when the fun stuff starts to come in place. Create a logo,” Brooks advised. “The logo that you see on my pages, that will forever be my logo… I created that,” she added passionately.
While Brooks is teaching how to make the way she prepares them and offering advice based off of her own experiences, the bartender, entrepreneur and educator emphasizes that’s it’s important people add their own personal touches to their work.
“Please be original. Don’t be a copycat,” Brooks said. “Take what you can learn from me, dissect and make it your own.”
Although the coronavirus pandemic has presented an unfortunate time for many businesses, and the hospitality industry in particular, Brooks said she feels “inspired and positive about Bardiva.”
“I am confident that when this pandemic is over business will be booming,” she told the AFRO.