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Get your creative juices flowing with Sip 'N' Stroke

ARTSY: Guests at Sip 'N' Stroke

WASSUP PEEPS? Over the weekend, many events took place across London and one in particular stood out for me.

Sip 'N' Stroke, is an initiative which gets people together to embrace their artistic talents in a social environment and create some cool masterpieces!

It's then followed by a chance to get on the dance floor, let go and turn up! So, this week I decided to catch up with the founder, Merch Millions.

The Miami-born creative entrepreneur successfully started Sip ‘N’ Stroke and after reaching advance sold out status, the event has become very successful with the next one taking place nn Easter Weekend (Apr 20).

Find out more about the event and its founder below:

Q: Who is Merch Millions?

A: I am a Miami-raised entrepreneur living in London for the past six years. From events marketing and business branding, I get it all done.

Q: How long have you been a creative marketer?

A: I've been an entrepreneur since I was 12 years old when I started my first business. I bought a snow-cone maker from my neighbour’s yard sale in Miami. My mom took me to buy about five different flavours of simple syrup and BOOM, overnight neighbourhood Donald Trump (pre-presidential non-idiot Trump that is).

I gave myself the title creative marketer when I moved to London and learned that not everything sells as easy as snow cones in 30°-degree heat. I was good at taking a product or service and making it look new and exciting like it’s a brand-new item just invented by me.

Q: What type of skills do you need in your role?

A: I definitely think it helps to be well rounded in terms of skill set, especially in the early stages. I also step out of my shoes and look at the product or service from the customers point of view.

Merch Millions (@merchmillions) with an attendee at Sip 'N' Stroke

In terms of the process, I get involved in everything from conception, graphics design, editing videos, finding venues, marketing the event through several media channels to managing all aspects of the event on the night.

Having these skills has saved me a lot of money, which is vital in the early stages of any business as well as keeping the event out the bow. I have a weird mind.
As good as it is being able to do these things myself, I can't stress enough how important it is to have a team and delegate tasks to them that they are strong in allowing them the freedom to express and showcase their skill.
 Quick shout out to Naomi @officially_nai and Yvonne @yve_noelle for basically helping me turn some of my crazy ideas into reality.

Q: Where did your concept of Sip ‘N’ Stroke come from?

A: I was already running Old Skool Sundays @ossundays and Hip Hop Soul @vibeldn and noticed that the crowd was very artistic, creative and afrocentric so I thought to myself, what's next up?

I always had it in my mind that I wanted to pioneer a new type of an event in the UK and to be an industry leader so my significant other and I were just brainstorming, and she gave me the confidence to just do it. After talking it through with the team, we set the date and boom, Sip ‘N Stroke was born.

Q: You run a club night straight after your paint party Sip ‘N’ Stroke, is it easy to do both?

A: As mentioned before, having Hip Hop SOUL’s same eclectic crowd, I knew the two events would blend perfectly. Soulful hip hop, alternative hip hop and RnB, future sounds and all the stuff we listen to while relaxing and turning up and the same time - the two events are a match made in heaven.

While we’re finishing up the paint party, our Hip Hop SOUL guests slowing peek in and ask, “what’s this and how can I get involved”. Another factor that made us put the two events back to back was Junction House being a pleasure and stress-free venue to work with.

These days it's very hard to get venues to host urban events with the hip hop culture so instead of stressing to find an art gallery to paint in, we stayed were we loved. Shout out to Matt @mattbridgemanuk, Darlene and all the Junction House staff @junction_house.

Q: Biggest accomplishment for the brand so far?

A: That's a tough one as I feel everytime we run an event and see people enjoying themselves that’s an accomplishment in itself. However, I do remember one of our Hip Hop Soul events, the queue literally was the span of two city blocks.

Having people come out in those numbers for an idea you've had in your head a few months prior is just astonishing to me. I stood across the street and just smiled for a few minutes before having to run back inside to sort free drinks for a birthday booking.

Q: Who is your inspiration?

A: My main inspiration comes from people I’ve seen start from the bottom. The ones that had an idea, worked at it, and made it pop. The ones that didn't quit after they failed. Celebrity inspiration would probably be Puff Daddy. Take dat take dat.

Q: Any advice for entrepreneurs trying to get into creative marketing?

A: Be innovative. Be creative. Be yourself. Do something you would do even if you didn't get paid to do it. Do it for the love and passion over the want of money. Be strategic and plan for long term.

Build a team and hang around like-minded people. Maybe ask to shadow someone already working in the field. Next, I would say put those techniques into practise whether it's for someone else or for your own project, it doesn't even have to be a big project, it's just to make yourself familiar with the business. Oh yeah, and network. 

Q: Any plans to expand on your promotional events brand?

A: 10000%. As a brand we are always looking to improve and expand, but we definitely have a few exciting projects in the pipeline for this year.

An amateur art show, BBQ paint brunch, concerts and my dream to host a #HIPHOPSOULFEST, a festival idea we want to bring to life with and ten+ artists all in the Hip Hop SOUL music genre.

Q: Where can we follow you and your events?

A: On all social platforms: @vibeldn @merchmillions

Weekly contributions by Steph D'Sa (@Ms_Dsa)

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