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San Francisco, California
USA

415.548.1718

Have you ever wanted to pick an entrepreneurs brain to find out more about being a business owner? At Champagne Wishes TV we interview entrepreneurs so that you don't have to. Our mission is to educate others about being a business owner through the experiences of business owners.

Entrepreneurs

Alvin

...is a native of The Big Apple, "if you can make it there you can make it anywhere". That's where he was born, but both his parents got their start in a small country that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti; Dominican Republic. As a child his parents owned a bodega, knowing Alvin and his siblings I'd say that's how the entrepreneurship spirit was born. His parents were sure to raise him to know his culture; from the Tostones to the Merengue the Dominican culture in his home was so thick you could cut it with a knife. As many Dominican boys, Alvin grew up playing baseball and can't remember a time when he didn't have a glove around. He joined the neighborhood pickup games at 8 and has never looked back. To Alvin it was always a passion, an escape, a way to express himself and embrace his culture by playing one of the greatest games that has ever been played.

4 years later Alvin was requested to represent the USA in Japan in a baseball game. It was through this experience he realized that not only were his talents being recognized, but that he wanted to see how far would this recognition take him. Six years later Alvin was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks, he received his biggest check and put all his focus on one thing other than family; baseball. After a short but significant career with the Diamondbacks Alvin returned to New York to get into accounting. He eventually worked his way to being an accountant for The Bob Marley family which gave him incredible insight on licensing, copyrights and many other financially sensitive legal formalities regarding managing an estate for a musical icon.

Currently Alvin is living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He is in pursuit of his calling in sports management. He found a way to get back to his true passion. Though he isn't stepping up to bat and swinging to get a grounder so he can sprint to first. He is doing something more meaningful, that goes beyond the field. Alvin has chosen to return to his parents' country to be a sports manager to represent the players the way that they ought to be. As we've seen in other sports, players are returning to represent the young participants in a way that they wish they had been represented in the beginning of their careers. Many young athletes when they are first drafted they have no choice but to trust the individuals who are representing them. Especially when they are as vulnerable as children from foreign countries coming to play ball in the USA. Quite often these young people are misguided, misinformed and robbed of their earnings. Alvin has returned to put a stop to these bad practices and represent the players properly while helping them achieve their goals of playing the game that they love, making money and taking care of their families. Check Alvin's take on entrepreneurship below.

CWTV: How did you get started in Baseball?

Alvin: I started to play baseball at the age of 8 at Heritage field where the new Yankees stadium presently sits.

CWTV: When did you realize that you wanted to play Baseball professionally?

Alvin: I realized I wanted to play professional baseball in 1992 when I was chosen to go to Japan and represent USA. I was only 12 at the time.  It was a great experience and I really played well, catching the eyes of a lot people.  

CWTV: What was it like being drafted so young?

Alvin: Being drafted out of high school was a great feeling. Actually I remember being at the ESPN Zone on 42nd street in NYC on my draft day. My friends and I were watching sports center. All of sudden, my name appears on the bottom half of the Television saying I was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 14th round! Great feeling!

CWTV: What is your favorite memory from playing with the Diamondbacks?  

Alvin: It was a great experience, I wish I would have been better prepared mentally to continue to play the game longer. My best experience was sharing time with the ballplayers that actually made it to the big show, the MLB. 

CWTV: What was it like working for the Bob Marley Family?

Alvin: It was great working with the Marley family. I learned a lot on how the music industry works and what to expect from it if you consider to have a career in the industry.  

CWTV: When did you decide that you wanted to be a sports agent?

Alvin: I decided I wanted to be an agent, after I learned business management at Bob Marley Music Inc and at Berdon LLP.   I figured with my baseball experience, business management, speaking spanish and English that I would be a great addition to Latino professional athletes.  

CWTV: Tell us a little about what your company does?

Alvin: My company recruits, prepares and represents elite players from Dominican Republic Venezuela and other Caribbean countries to become professional baseball players.  

CWTV: What was the transition like moving to DR to start this business?

Alvin: I thought the transition moving to Dominican Republic would be easy since I come from a Dominican culture. My parents are from Dominican Republic. But it was actually difficult getting accustomed to because I had to learn the country and the ways they do business here which is totally different from the USA. But eventually, I learned a lot and things started getting better quickly.  

CWTV: What was the greatest thing you learned while starting this business?

Alvin: Starting this business I learned that I had a good eye to recognize talent. I found this to be a great thing because I didn't know this about myself before. 

CWTV: What was the hardest thing that you had to overcome while starting this business?

Alvin: The hardest part was learning different parts of Dominican culture that I wasn't exposed to and learning the business culture here in DR, because it's different than USA.  

CWTV: What keeps you going?

Alvin: What keeps me going is that I love what I do.  

CWTV: What are your future plans?

Alvin: I have plans to represent players from Colombia and Cuba.  There is a lot of good players coming soon and I want to be in with the best prospects.  

CWTV: What is some advice that you would give to young entrepreneurs?

Alvin: Before starting your company, do a lot of research and development before getting in.  If you do this, you will avoid a lot of unnecessary expenses.

CWTV: What do you want to be remembered for?

Alvin: I want to be remembered as an honest agent who didn't take advantage of his players inability to not understand contracts and negotiations.  

Click the logo below to connect with Alvin via Linkedin.


Paul  

...is an energetic, goal-oriented, serial entrepreneur, a proven sales person, who has mastered networking and has spent significant time building his personal brand. And that's a lot to say for someone who's only 27. Paul started his first company at 16 years old, selling sneakers. Back during a time when most of his peers' internet experience comprised of instant messaging. Back before Facebook's original algorithm was mapped out and during a time when the only place you would think to purchase sneakers was at Foot Locker. Young Paul had a vision. A vision that was developed when he asked, "where do my sneakers come from?" Understanding the concept of middlemen, commonly referred to as the layer cake, he set out to disrupt that. At least for himself and his classmates. He sought out a supplier in China via eBay, back when most teens were still drooling over sneakers in "Eastbay".  

From that point on Paul was hooked with the idea of turning an idea into money. He went on to be a successful sales person in several industries, while maintaining a side business at all times. His last venture, concert organization, generated him significant profits and earned him his biggest checks. He showed me a picture of his first 5 digit check from a concert, I think I'm in the wrong business. Through that venture he got familiar with marketing strategies by utilizing grassroots teams and radio advertisements. He also worked with many investors and got loads of experience with raising money. Paul started from humble beginnings, in a family where entrepreneurship was taboo. Like most entrepreneurs his parents followed very traditional routes with careers in military service and medicine. Paul's currently looking at a particular area in the tech space to dive into, he's more interested in bringing his sales and strategy expertise to silicon valley. He's currently working on something that is sure to not only lead him to disrupt another market, but earn additional significant profits.  Check out his take on Entrepreneurship below.

CWTV: When did you realize that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?  

Paul: It's something that I believe was always in me. However, the light bulb went off at my first job which was at Baskin Robbins.  The owners were never there! The only time I would see them was to pick up money.  I was 15 at that time. It was the only place that would hire someone at age 15.

CWTV: Were either of your parents entrepreneurs, if not what did they do?

Paul: No, my parents both went to school for things other than business and worked in non-business fields. My father, he's a retired Colonel from the United States Air Force. My Mother who recently retired, is a Registered Nurse. 

CWTV: What was your first business and what made you realize it was a good idea?  

Paul: My first business was an online business. The domain name was www.latestfashionsonline.com.  I used to purchase shoes on ebay, which is how I met a supplier from China. I would save $40-50 per pair. This gave me the idea, I knew other people would enjoy saving money too. I would have him send the shoes directly to the customer's house from China, I didn't even need a warehouse! The website would make it seem as though I had them on hand. I would keep my profits, send the money to china and he would send the shoes.

CWTV: Tell me about how you got into organizing concerts?  

Paul: Honestly, it was by accident. My friend and I were at a new venue drinking champagne and we started talking with the owner. At the time he needed help bringing people to his venue. He told us how we could profit. He broke down exactly how the money in that business works. We got really excited, we then decided to hire 30 people to help us create the first event. He ended up tripling his profits and we exceeded our goals tremendously.

CWTV: What's your greatest memory from all the concerts you've organized?  

Paul: My greatest memory is the relationships I built on the way. Business, good business, is all about gaining and maintaining good relationships.

CWTV: What is the most important factor when it comes to organizing successful concerts?

Paul: The most important part, like in any business, is making sure that you have the right team in place.

CWTV: Would you suggest entrepreneurship to others? And if so, why?

Paul: Yes, absolutely. Only if it's what you enjoy, if not it will just feel like a job. And if it feels like a job, then what's the point? If you do what you enjoy you will never have to work another day in your life. You'll hate going to sleep, you'll love waking up. Because you'll love what you do with your time when you're awake. If you enjoy sleeping more than being awake then something needs to change in your life, quick!

Connect with Paul via Linkedin below.


Noah 

...is a musician and lyricist that hails from Washington D.C. but has made a name for himself in London, Paris and Atlanta. He’s made money doing music in three different currencies with no major record deal and can still return to the same neighborhood where it all started. That says a lot about this guy. I caught up with Noah to discuss his new single, his career in the music industry and what he has planned for the future.

CWTV: How and when did you get started in music?
Noah: I got started in the music when I was a child. My mother use to tell me I use to to walk around making up words plus I have a lot of family members that was in the music industry. My uncle Jesse was a jazz musician and my cousin Louie had a go-go band called Pure Elegance with the hit, “Put Your One Leg Up”.

CWTV: How did recording and performing overseas effect your music career?
Noah: It was a big experience, it gave me motivation to start thinking International.

CWTV: What inspired you to right your new single “HardBody”?
Noah: What inspired me was what I was going through, I had just moved back to Atlanta and I was just ready to go hard at everything.

CWTV: Will it be available on iTunes?
Noah: Yes it will be on iTunes.

CWTV: What excites you most about the music industry and being an artist?
Noah: What excites me is everything I been through. I’ve experienced so much in this game. I’ve been through the ups and downs and I’ve worked with a lot of people. I’ve had deals on the table, I’ve had talks with Coke Boys South and Ty Citi. As far as management, I’ve been managed by Akon’s old manager Eskor Ladder. He’s actually the reason I went to London and gave me the game on thinking international.

CWTV: Are you working on any other projects and if so, when can we expect them to drop?
Noah: Yes, I’m working on my mixtape called “Empire”, that will be coming soon I’m thinking late august early September.

Check out the new track by Noah Da Don and this summer’s banger. You need to have this one in heavy rotation; whether you’re on the way to work, last set at the gym or heading out to the club. This is the one you’re going to need to remind yourself, to leave nothing to chance and go hard for everything.