Photography by Danny Fulgencio | Art by Johnavich

Moms need a break. Nikia Woods is here to help facilitate that with her “Stay Home” cocktail pouches. “Us moms need to unwind sometimes,” she says. Woods owns Nikia Woods Bartending Services, a business that provides event waitstaff and bartenders. When COVID-19 hit, the lack of events led Woods to pivot her business toward to-go cocktails. “People are getting to-go food, online groceries and everything else, so why not alcohol to go?” she says. Woods has an 8-year-old son named Jaxan, who will be a third grader at Merriman Park Elementary next year.

How she started her business:

I’ve worked in various clubs and restaurants. My very first bar job was in Oklahoma City at a New Orleans-style cuisine, small dive bar. When I moved to Dallas, I stayed with restaurants and bars. While working in establishments, my regulars would ask, “Hey, my sister’s getting married, can you come serve drinks?” or “We’re going to have something at the house, can you come serve cocktails?” I saw the demand for it, and I made a business out of it. It was just me initially, and it grew from there. Now I have a team of 12.

Biggest challenge as a business owner:

The biggest adversity would be that leap of faith. Working in corporate America, having that stability, you know exactly how much your check is going to be every two weeks. Stepping out of my comfort zone saying, “Hey, let’s do it,” that was my biggest hurdle to climb. I’m glad I did it, and I haven’t worked in corporate America for three years. 

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Where the pivot idea came from:

I was talking to a girlfriend of mine, we were having a conversation about what we were going to do because she’s in event planning. She said, “There has to be some kind of way you can do drink deliveries.” I came up with my pouches. I had done it once before for a festival. People want to drink at the end of the day. They’re stuck at home with their kids. Why not relax at the end of the day and have a cocktail?

Inspiration for her cocktail menu:

I, like most women, like fruity cocktails, so that’s kind of how I came up with the menu options. I like fresh juices and fresh fruit, so I incorporated all of that into my cocktails. The mojitos are probably the most popular, that’s one of my favorite cocktails. 

“People are getting to-go food, online groceries and everything else, so why not alcohol to go?”

On her “sneaky” tea:

We’re in the South, so it’s a sweet tea combination with vodka and fresh juices like peach and lemon. It tastes just like sweet tea until all of a sudden, you’re like, “Whoo, I feel good.”

Support from the community:

I’ve been surprised at how well it’s been doing. I knew people would be interested; they’re cute little cocktail pouches, but I am in awe of how much support I’m getting. It’s helping with bills and things for my kid during this time. Being a woman, not only a woman but a Black woman-owned business, it speaks volumes that I’m getting so much interaction from everyone. 

Advice to other women wanting to start a business:

Go for it, girl. You’re never going to have the right amount of money. It’s never going to be the perfect timing; you just have to do it. You’d be surprised where you can go if you work hard and stay with it. You can go far.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.