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Liquor House co-founder talks striving for financial independence through his business

Wandera Isaac alias Estone is a young entrepreneur who is the founder of Liquor House UG. He takes us through his entrepreneurial journey that started way back at University. Estone had dreams of becoming a financial analyst since society always attaches success to being formally employed as an engineer, lawyer, doctor, etc.

As a student, Estone got involved in some businesses such as selling phones, brokering land and cars and did some DJ gigs. He hosted several house parties at home and hostel, which did not relate to his course or dream profession as a financial analyst.

When he failed to graduate in Actuarial Sciences, he discovered his passion for analyzing people by identifying why they bought what they bought and the element of trust. He decided to focus on this untapped passion and potential.

His first idea was to open a liquor store somewhere at a corner house on a busy street as they taught them in school, but he did not have capital. He decided to sell the idea to his parents for financial support but he was given the condition to first complete university to get the capital from them, something that did not sit well with him.

Social media influencing became his next plan since it was the thing at that time and, it did not need capital to start. He decided to take self-education on social media marketing and personal branding and together with his few followers, his influencing hustle blossomed. He managed to hook up a few clients and even started a digital marketing company which did not last a year because it was not the company that attracted the money, it was the social media influence. So, he chose to grow his personal brand and promised to revive the company a few years later.

 In January 2020, Estone reignited and shared the liquor house idea with his brother and friends who, quickly bought the idea and came on board. The initial plan was to stock the alcohol in their houses since they only collected UGX 3 million as start-up capital, design a logo, and set the social media pages up before launching.

Liquor House Experience photo by Raymond

“In choosing my partners, I looked for particular skills relevant to our business, procurement, accounting, financial knowledge, marketing, and public relations so that we could not incur labor costs in the beginning,” he said.

 They designed a short menu of the few drinks they had and within one year, they have grown irrespective of the pandemic. They now own a physical shop, a website, and three active socials, and a strong enjoyments community and partnerships in such a short period.

When asked what success means to them,  Estone said, “To us, success means building a community that associates with Liquor House as a way of life, fun, laughter, storytelling, friendship, networking, and happiness. It has nothing to do with selling a bottle of Uganda Waragi or Four Cousins.”

We asked Estone what he looked forward to achieving as a founder, and we quote, “A brand that will stand generations getting people together through stories, friendships, love, and fun.  I want to build a brand of that kind, together with my team.  In a few years to come, I  see myself on panel discussions on television, in conference rooms, and in mentorship programs sharing the liquor house story and how we got where we would have gotten by that time.” He revealed.

Liquor House in partnership with Oceanic ventures photo by Kabuye Derrick

Lockdown restrictions have affected all businesses in one way or the other but closing down was not an option for Liquor House UG. The drop in alcohol orders challenged them to get involved in events business earlier than planned and also accelerated their partnerships with tours and travel companies so as to serve their clients even during the trips in a bid to keep in business.

When asked to highlight a few successful and unsuccessful moments he said, “The most successful thing that has happened to us is the Liquor House experience that we organized in May. We have also had successful partnerships with travel partners like Oceanic ventures, Almost Famous Entertainment, and Ecstacy Ventures. Our biggest downside has been the pandemic and especially curfew. It has been so bad that at a certain point we thought of closing shop for a while. But because that is not the promise we made to our customers, we had to hang in there and serve the few that we retained”.

“We deliver, and we have a pick-up point in Kira for those close and want to pick up a bottle quickly without having to go through the process of ordering online. You can also order through our website (liquorhouse.co.ug), which is currently down for maintenance. We can also organize small home events with music, lighting, pallets, a DJ, and sound if need be. Plus bbq if you may wish.” He concluded.

You can follow them on their different social media handles below;

Liquorhouseug on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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