If you’ve ever visited one of the popular daiquiri lounges in Atlanta or Savannah, Georgia, chances are it was owned by Kechia Matadin.
A vet in the industry since the late ’90s, Matadin got her start with managing bars and lounges in Savannah with her well-known establishments Island Breeze and Frozen Paradise. In 2010, she expanded her territory to Atlanta by opening the now-popular Daiquiri Factory on West Peachtree Street. Her empire has gained increasing notoriety with the recent opening of her daiquiri and seafood lounge Cirque in West Midtown. We caught up with Matadin to find out how she learned the tricks of the trade to become a successful African-American female entrepreneur in Atlanta.
She dished five key essentials:
Know yourself, your product and your industry:
Matadin says that any entrepreneurial hopeful must find a unique niche and truly understand the nuances of that specific industry. “You’ve got to find something you love, and you’ve got to do your research,” said Matadin. “And you’ve got to have a plan on how you can raise the cash, especially in an industry that is as high risk as nightclubs. It’s really about believing in yourself and your product, and having faith that it’s going to work.”
Have a mentality that is tough as nails:
In a male-dominated industry like nightclubs and lounges, Matadin said she holds her own by having a “tough as nails” mentality. “When it comes to your livelihood, you have to grow a backbone and make it happen. You have to take the mentality that it’s either going to be me or them,” said Matadin.
Be transparent to your clientele:
“When I first opened up the Daiquiri Factory, I was there every day,” said Matadin. “My customers knew exactly where they could find me: to the right by the window with a cranberry and vodka in my hand, getting the job done.” Being hands-on, approachable and present are qualities she says differentiates her as a business owner.
Be adaptable and change with current industry trends:
Matadin said that while operating clubs in Savannah in the early 2000s, she saw a shift in nightlife from larger, crowded clubs to smaller, intimate lounges. “I saw the trend changing, and I wanted to change with it. That is when I decided that 2010 would be a great time to get into the daiquiri business in Atlanta.”
Implement a sound, consistent business philosophy:
Having the utmost confidence in herself and her product, combined with tactical financial planning and monitoring of industry trends, has proven to be a successful business model for Matadin thus far. She encourages female entrepreneurs to take control of their individual success and be adamant about their personal business plan: “You can’t let anyone take advantage of you — people are always going to try to run your business for you. But you have to be adamant that this is what you want to do.” Matadin urges Black women in entrepreneurship to take the leap of faith and have confidence that they can be their own bosses: “My motto has always been, ‘If someone else is doing it, then why can’t I?’”