"Desiree Sylver: Crafting Excellence and Breaking Barriers in the World of Drunk Chicken Cigars"
Welcome to the world of Drunk Chicken Cigars, where a deep connection to farming and a passion for cigars have come together to create something truly extraordinary
"Desiree Sylver: Crafting Excellence and Breaking Barriers in the World of Drunk Chicken Cigars"
Welcome to the world of Drunk Chicken Cigars, where a deep connection to farming and a passion for cigars have come together to create something truly extraordinary. As the CEO and Founder Desiree Sylver tells us, her journey has been shaped by a childhood spent on goat and chicken farms in Jamaica, fostering a profound love and understanding for these beautiful creatures. Combined with her expertise in organizational leadership, cultivated through a PhD in the field, I have harnessed the art and craftsmanship of cigar blending to become the master behind all six brands offered by Drunk Chicken Cigars. It is through her vision and dedication that this brand has flourished, upholding the highest standards of quality and delivering exceptional smoking experiences. So let’s all join her on this incredible journey as she continues to grow and share her passion for cigars with enthusiasts like you.
The Birth of Drunk Chicken Cigars:
In the idyllic setting of Desiree’s backyard, a haven filled with love, delicious food, and the company of cherished friends and family, a unique idea was born. It was a place where they gathered, not only to enjoy each other's company but also to indulge in the pleasure of smoking cigars. A little slice of paradise was adorned with a flock of over a dozen chickens, their faithful dogs, and occasional visits from curious wildlife. Tranquility and joy abounded in this oasis.
One Saturday evening, during normal festivities, something extraordinary unfolded. As they watched their feathered friends make their way back to their roosts, a peculiar sight caught their attention. The chickens seemed to stumble and sway in a manner that could only be described as reminiscent of intoxication. They couldn't contain their laughter, as their comical antics filled the air. In that moment, the name "Drunk Chicken" was spontaneously coined, perfectly encapsulating the carefree and unforgettable moments they all shared.
These backyard gatherings quickly became known as Drunk Chicken events, gaining popularity among their social circles. Their humble abode transformed into the go-to destination for friends and family, a sanctuary where authenticity and acceptance reign supreme. To join in the merriment, we implemented a simple yet meaningful entry fee: guests were required to bring one cigar to smoke and another to share. This simple act sparked a shared quest among us to uncover unique and intriguing cigars, ones that would surprise and delight our discerning tastes.
Embracing the spirit of adventure, they embarked on a relentless pursuit of hidden gems that would tantalize their palates. With each new discovery, the Drunk Chicken experience grew more vibrant and fulfilling. They knew they had stumbled upon something extraordinary.
Driven by their shared passion for cigars and a burning desire to share their findings with the world, they set out on a new endeavor—the birth of Drunk Chicken Cigars, LLC. In October 2019, the Druck Chicken Cigars brand was officially launched, eager to extend the essence of those enchanting backyard gatherings to a wider audience.
Their mission was crystal clear: to curate a selection of exceptional and unparalleled cigars that would ignite the same sense of wonder and joy they experienced in their early days. Drunk Chicken Cigars transcended mere branding; it became a celebration of friendship, laughter, and the pure bliss of savoring a superb cigar. They wholeheartedly invited others to join them on this remarkable journey as they explored the vast and captivating world of cigars, one unforgettable blend at a time.
Welcome to the realm of Drunk Chicken Cigars, where the spirit of camaraderie and the relentless pursuit of exceptional smokes converge. Together, let us raise our glasses and ignite our cigars, for the adventure has just begun. Cheers!
Dr. Psomiadi: Desiree, how did you enter the cigar industry?
My entry into the cigar industry was an exciting journey sparked by my love for travel and exploration. As I ventured to different destinations, I made it a point to seek out various cigar bars and shops, eager to immerse myself in the world of cigars. Little did I know that these encounters would pave the way for my own entry into this fascinating industry.
During my travels, I had the pleasure of meeting numerous cigar aficionados who shared their knowledge and passion with me. I crossed paths with shop owners, cigar diplomats, Cuban hand-rollers, and fellow cigar lovers and enthusiasts. Each encounter brought new insights and experiences, deepening my appreciation for the craftsmanship and artistry behind cigars.
As I delved deeper into the cigar world, my creative instincts kicked in. Inspired by the freshly rolled cigars and the array of brands and flavors I encountered; an idea took hold. Together with my fiancé, we decided to try our hand at creating our own blend of cigars. Our aim was to impress our fellow enthusiasts and bring something truly unique back to our cherished gathering place, fondly referred to as the "Drunk Chicken Crew."
We sought out the finest tobacco leaves and meticulously blended them to create our first cigars. With care and dedication, we rolled each one by hand, ensuring that every aspect of the process was infused with our passion and attention to detail. When we presented our creations to our friends, they were an instant hit.
The Drunk Chicken Cigars "Chicks" were born, becoming the pride and joy of our gatherings.
The positive reception and encouragement from our friends and fellow enthusiasts fueled our determination to venture further into the cigar industry. We realized that we had something special to offer, and the seeds of Drunk Chicken Cigars were planted. It was a natural progression from our backyard enjoyment to sharing our unique blends with a broader audience.
With our newfound expertise and the inspiration gained from our travels and encounters, we set out to refine our cigar-making skills. We were driven by a desire to create exceptional cigars that would captivate and delight fellow cigar lovers. The journey had just begun, and we were excited to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.
That's how my entry into the cigar industry unfolded - from the exploration of cigar bars and encounters with passionate individuals, to the creative spark that ignited the birth of Drunk Chicken Cigars. It has been an incredible ride, and I am grateful for the experiences and the people who have shaped this unique and fulfilling journey.
Dr. Psomiadi: Which was your most important obstacle and what solution have you found to overcome it?
Desiree: As I entered the cigar industry, I quickly realized that there were numerous obstacles to overcome on this exciting journey. The transition from being a cigar enthusiast to navigating the world of selling and manufacturing my own brand of cigars came with its fair share of challenges. Here are some of the main obstacles I encountered:
First and foremost, there was a significant learning curve involved in this industry. While I had extensive experience in enjoying cigars, I had to familiarize myself with the intricacies of producing and selling them. Understanding the manufacturing process, the art of blending tobaccos, and ensuring consistent quality were all areas that required in-depth learning and exploration.
Navigating the complex web of state laws and regulations was another hurdle. Each state has its own set of rules regarding the sale, distribution, and taxation of cigars. Complying with these regulations meant investing time and effort in understanding and adhering to them, which was essential to operate within the legal framework.
Establishing a robust distribution network posed its own set of challenges. Building relationships with retailers and wholesalers, negotiating contracts, and ensuring timely deliveries were all crucial aspects of getting our cigars into the hands of customers. It required careful planning, persistence, and effective communication to create a strong distribution network.
One of the greatest obstacles was maintaining consistent quality in our cigar production. Delivering a premium smoking experience to our customers was non-negotiable, and we had to implement strict quality control measures. From sourcing high-quality tobacco leaves to monitoring the blending process and overseeing construction, every step had to be carefully managed to ensure that our cigars met the desired standards.
The cigar industry is highly competitive, and standing out from the crowd presented its own set of challenges. With numerous established brands and new entrants, it was essential to differentiate ourselves and capture the attention of cigar enthusiasts. This required effective marketing strategies, creating unique offerings, and providing exceptional customer experiences.
Another challenge was sourcing premium tobacco and managing the aging process effectively. Building relationships with reliable tobacco suppliers and ensuring that our leaves were properly aged and conditioned added complexity to the production process. Striving for excellence in every aspect, from the selection of tobacco to the final blending and rolling, was crucial for our success.
Despite these obstacles, my passion for cigars and the drive to create something exceptional kept me motivated. Overcoming these challenges required perseverance, continuous learning, and a deep commitment to delivering the best possible cigars to our customers. Each hurdle became an opportunity for growth and improvement, shaping our journey in the cigar industry.
Dr. Psomiadi: Is the situation the same after so many years a cigar brand owner or it doesn’t exist?
Desiree: The situation is mostly unchanged but now I have to also have to keep up with changing consumer preferences and trends was a constant challenge. Cigar enthusiasts' tastes and preferences evolve over time, and it was important for us to stay informed and adapt accordingly. Conducting market research, staying ahead of emerging trends, and continuously innovating became integral parts of our business strategy.
Dr. Psomiadi: You have a PhD in Leadership. Have these studies and your title help you develop your business activities and especially the “the Drunk Chicken Cigars”? If yes how?
Desiree: My PhD in business organizational leadership has been instrumental in developing the business activities for Drunk Chicken Cigars. The knowledge and skills I gained throughout my doctoral studies have provided a solid foundation for effectively managing and leading our cigar venture.
One of the key areas where my academic background has been valuable is in **strategic planning**. Understanding how to assess market opportunities, analyze competition, and develop a comprehensive business strategy has been crucial in positioning Drunk Chicken Cigars for success. My PhD training has equipped me with the tools to conduct thorough market research, identify target markets, and create a clear roadmap for our business growth.
Additionally, my expertise has helped shape the culture and structure of our company. By applying concepts such as motivation, leadership styles, and team dynamics, I have been able to foster a positive work environment and effectively manage our team. Understanding the intricacies of human behavior within organizations has allowed me to build a strong and cohesive team that shares a common vision and is committed to our company's success.
Moreover, my studies have been invaluable in navigating the dynamic nature of the cigar industry. Change is inevitable, and being able to adapt to evolving market trends and consumer preferences is crucial for long-term sustainability. My PhD training has equipped me with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage change, minimize resistance, and facilitate smooth transitions within our business.
Another area where my academic background has played a significant role is in **decision-making**. The ability to analyze complex situations, evaluate different alternatives, and make informed decisions has been crucial in guiding our business activities. My PhD studies have honed my critical thinking and analytical skills, enabling me to weigh the pros and cons of various options and make strategic decisions that align with our company's goals.
Furthermore, my understanding of **organizational dynamics** has been instrumental in establishing efficient processes and systems within our company. From supply chain management to quality control and customer relationship management, I have been able to leverage my knowledge to streamline operations and enhance overall efficiency.
Overall, my PhD in business organizational leadership has provided me with a well-rounded skill set that directly translates into the development and management of our cigar business. It has equipped me with the knowledge and expertise necessary to navigate the complexities of the industry, make informed decisions, and create a strong organizational structure. As a result, I am confident in my ability to lead Drunk Chicken Cigars towards continued growth and success.
Dr. Psomiadi: Which advice would you do to your daughters and to every woman in cigar industry?
Desiree: If my daughters or any other woman were entering the cigar industry, there are a few key pieces of advice I would offer them:
1. **Embrace your passion:** Pursuing a career in the cigar industry requires a genuine passion for the craft. Encourage them to embrace their love for cigars and the unique experiences they bring. Emphasize the importance of staying true to their passion and using it as a driving force behind their work.
2. **Knowledge is power:** Encourage them to continuously educate themselves about cigars, the industry, and the market trends. Urge them to invest time in learning about different blends, tobacco varieties, and the manufacturing process. The more knowledge they acquire, the better equipped they will be to make informed decisions and provide valuable insights.
3. **Network and collaborate:** Encourage them to build relationships with others in the industry, both men and women. Networking opens doors to valuable connections, mentorship opportunities, and collaboration possibilities. Encourage them to attend industry events, join professional organizations, and engage with fellow enthusiasts and professionals. By fostering relationships and exchanging ideas, they can enhance their own knowledge and contribute to the growth of the industry.
4. **Challenge stereotypes:** The cigar industry has traditionally been male-dominated, but it's important for women to challenge stereotypes and break barriers. Encourage them to embrace their unique perspective and contribute their talents and expertise with confidence. Encourage them to celebrate their individuality and demonstrate that gender should never limit one's capabilities or opportunities in the industry.
5. **Maintain professionalism and integrity:** Emphasize the importance of maintaining professionalism and integrity in all aspects of their work. Encourage them to be reliable, accountable, and ethical in their business dealings. Building a reputation for trustworthiness and professionalism will contribute to their long-term success in the industry.
6. **Stay true to your vision:** Encourage them to have a clear vision for their career in the cigar industry and to stay true to it. Remind them that challenges may arise, but by remaining focused on their goals and persevering through obstacles, they can achieve their desired success. Encourage them to be resilient, adaptable, and always open to learning and growth.
7. **Support and empower other women:** Encourage them to support and empower other women in the industry. Collaboration and lifting each other up can create a strong and inclusive community. By fostering a supportive environment, they can contribute to the growth and representation of women in the cigar industry.
Ultimately, the advice I would give my daughters and any other woman entering the cigar industry is to embrace their passion, acquire knowledge, build relationships, challenge stereotypes, maintain professionalism, stay true to their vision, and support fellow women. By embodying these principles, they can make a lasting impact and thrive in this unique and fascinating industry.
Anastasia: Tell us a little about the Ambassador Program at Drunk Chicken Cigars?
Desiree: The ambassador program at Drunk Chicken Cigars plays a vital role in increasing brand visibility, educating customers, and creating brand awareness. Our team of dedicated ambassadors, including Eric Story from Maryland, Tanya Pritchett from Georgia, Alexis Wilson from Texas, James Johnson from Georgia, Chauncey Ross from Virginia, and Kaci Spenser from Las Vegas, are instrumental in spreading the word about our cigars and sharing their passion for the brand.
The ambassadors serve as influential advocates for Drunk Chicken Cigars, representing our brand in their respective regions and communities. They are passionate cigar enthusiasts who have a deep understanding of our products and embody the values and culture we strive to promote. By engaging with customers, hosting events, and sharing their experiences and knowledge, they contribute to educating consumers about our brand and the unique qualities of our cigars.
Increasing brand visibility is crucial in a competitive market, and our ambassadors play a significant role in achieving this. Through their social media presence, participation in industry events, and personal connections, they generate buzz and intrigue around Drunk Chicken Cigars. Their genuine enthusiasm and authentic experiences resonate with customers, creating a connection that goes beyond traditional marketing efforts.
Moreover, our ambassadors help bring brand awareness to new markets and expand our customer base. With ambassadors located in different states, they provide a localized touch, understanding the preferences and nuances of their respective regions. This allows us to tailor our messaging and offerings to specific markets, effectively reaching and engaging potential customers.
Education is a key component of the ambassador program. Our ambassadors have a deep knowledge of our cigars, including their blends, flavor profiles, and production processes. They are equipped to answer questions, provide recommendations, and offer insights into the world of cigars. By sharing their expertise, they help customers make informed decisions and develop a deeper appreciation for our products.
Overall, the ambassador program at Drunk Chicken Cigars is of paramount importance in increasing brand visibility, educating customers, and creating brand awareness. Through the efforts of our dedicated ambassadors, including Eric, Tanya, Alexis, James, Chauncey, and Kaci, we are able to connect with cigar enthusiasts across different regions, share our passion for our products, and establish a strong presence in the market. Their invaluable contributions help us build a loyal customer base and establish Drunk Chicken Cigars as a respected and recognized brand in the industry.
Anastasia: In the near future, what changes would you like to bring SOTL Global Movement for women in the cigar industry?
Desiree: As a participant in the Sisters of the Leaf Global Movement, there are several changes that I would like to see implemented within the cigar industry. These changes aim to foster inclusivity, promote education, and create a supportive environment for women enthusiasts. I would certainly like to discuss some of the key areas where I believe the movement could make a significant impact:
1. **Representation and Visibility:** One of the changes I would like to see is increased representation and visibility of women in the cigar industry. By showcasing diverse female voices, talents, and expertise, we can challenge the traditional male-dominated narrative and inspire more women to become involved in the industry. This can be achieved through highlighting women cigar makers, retailers, reviewers, and enthusiasts, both online and at industry events.
2. **Education and Mentorship:** Promoting education and mentorship opportunities for women in the cigar industry is crucial. By providing access to resources, workshops, and mentorship programs, the Sisters of the Leaf Global Movement can empower women with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in various aspects of the industry, such as cigar blending, retail, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
3. **Networking and Collaboration:** Facilitating networking and collaboration among women enthusiasts, professionals, and industry leaders is vital for fostering a sense of community and support. By organizing meetups, events, and online forums, the movement can provide platforms for women to connect, share experiences, exchange knowledge, and form valuable relationships that contribute to their personal and professional growth.
4. **Advocacy for Gender Equality:** The Sisters of the Leaf Global Movement can play a pivotal role in advocating for gender equality within the cigar industry. This includes promoting equal opportunities for women in all facets of the industry, addressing gender biases, and encouraging inclusive practices among manufacturers, retailers, and event organizers. By raising awareness and engaging in constructive dialogue, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and diverse industry.
5. **Promoting Responsible Enjoyment:** Another important aspect is promoting responsible enjoyment of cigars among women. The movement can advocate for educating women on proper cigar etiquette, cigar selection, and responsible consumption. This not only enhances the overall experience for women enthusiasts but also contributes to breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding women and cigars.
6. **Philanthropic Initiatives:** The Sisters of the Leaf Global Movement can also take part in philanthropic initiatives, supporting charitable causes that align with their values. By organizing fundraising events or partnering with existing charitable organizations, we can use our collective influence to make a positive impact on communities in need.
By undertaking these changes, the SOTL Global Movement can contribute to creating a more inclusive, supportive, and vibrant cigar industry for women enthusiasts. Through representation, education, networking, advocacy, responsible enjoyment, and philanthropy, we can empower women and promote positive change within the industry.
In the world of Drunk Chicken Cigars, Desiree Sylver's remarkable journey has united her deep connection to farming with her passion for cigars, resulting in something truly extraordinary. With her childhood spent on animal farms in Jamaica, Desiree developed a profound love and understanding for these beautiful creatures, which, combined with her expertise in organizational leadership, led her to become the master behind Drunk Chicken Cigars. Through her vision and dedication, Desiree has elevated the brand, upholding the highest standards of quality and delivering exceptional smoking experiences. As she continues to grow and share her passion with enthusiasts, let us join her on this incredible journey into the captivating world of Drunk Chicken Cigars. Cheers to Desiree Sylver and the extraordinary legacy she is creating!