Joscelyn Kenon and Mark Mann loved cocktails but wanted an alcohol-free alternative. Recently, they partnered to start J and M Enterprise and to create MockTails, non-alcoholic frozen cocktails. Although both work in other full-time fields, their side hustle is taking off. They bring their MockTails to events across Atlanta. So much so that Mann, a government contractor, will soon focus all of his energies on MockTails. A school administrator, Kenon is currently a vice principal at an international school in Chongqing, China.
Kenon and Mann might be on to something with Mocktails. According to the USDA, consumer expenditures on non-alcoholic beverages in the U.S. amounted to US $81.6 billion in 2009, up from $80.4 billion in 2008. And the compound annual growth rate from 2004 to 2009 was 4.4%. While this category also includes water, soft drinks and sports drinks, the trend toward alcohol-free leisure drinks are on the rise.
TNJ.com: How and why did you start the company?
Joscelyn Kenon: Mark and I want to bring something refreshing and great- tasting to people as they are having a great time - but without the alcohol. We want to especially let the young people know they can have a great time without alcohol. We have daughters who were teenagers at the time the business started. So we wanted to make sure we were setting a positive example to them as well as other children.
TNJ: What has the response been?
JK: The response has been very positive. Many people express their love for the concept. We are stopped all the time and asked about the business. We are constantly asked for business cards. We love serving the community our drinks. They always come back for more and we give them their money's worth.
TNJ: How and where can people buy MockTails?
JK: MockTails right now are sold only at events. You can hire us to serve at your event(s). We can come to the event and set up the machines with the flavors of your choice and serve the drinks at the event. We are looking to branch out into the stores soon where you can purchase from a local market.
TNJ: What have been some of the obstacles and how have you overcome them?
JK: One obstacle is that we are out of the country quite often working/traveling abroad. So we are not able to commit to our product the way we would like at the moment. This is something that we are not able to avoid. We do love to travel. So we are doing what we love....selling MockTails and traveling abroad. Perhaps we will look into combining the two.
TNJ: Any advice to other small business owners?
JK: Don’t take “no” for answer and to follow your dreams and live them out. Don't let anyone steal your dreams. I think many times people don't go for what they really want because they are afraid of failure. I think it is better to go for what you want and fail then to not try at all. If you do fail, find the good in it, see it as a lesson, learn from it and try again if you like.