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Meet Monyea Shell of Firebird Beverage Company in Metro

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monyea Shell.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Monyea. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Growing up in one of the most violent and financially deprived cities in the USA, I knew that I would not be afforded the opportunities for a better future if I did not change my atmosphere. I worked several jobs, trying to make a way without the change, feeling as if I was going backwards. With so much death and destruction around me, I knew I had to find a way out. Through prayer and faith, I got my answer. 14 years ago I was given the opportunity from a distant family member to relocate from Gary, Indiana to Georgia to start a new life. Throughout these years I have worked a few jobs here and there, until I landed my current position at a globally recognized company. However, I still wanted more from life, for my family and I. I knew that meant having my own. Fast forward to 2014, I came across an ad for a survey on Cognacs, from my now business partner, Michelle DiAugustino. After meeting and knowing that we would excel together as business partners, Michelle offered me the opportunity to join Firebird Beverage Company, as Co-Founder and Vice President. Over the course of time we have built a dynamic team, cultivated long-lasting relationships in the industry, and turned an idea from paper to reality. We are ready to introduce Noir King Cognac VSOP to the world.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been everything, except smooth. Being new in the industry, getting others to recognize the greatness that we already see has been one of our main obstacles. We thought, “A black spirit company, starting in Atlanta, people will be knocking our doors down to get in on this.” But our experience has been completely opposite. We are self-funded as of right now. During this journey we have met many people, and promises have been made to no avail. One challenge that was unexpected, was the attempt to steal our brand, from someone that we enlisted to help us.

The spirits industry, kind of works just like any other main consumer industry, by word of mouth. We want to create the conversation on ownership, not just consumerism. We want to change the dynamics of the spirit industry within our culture.

Firebird Beverage Company – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Firebird Beverage Company is a new look on an old industry standard. Our CEO, Michelle DiAugustino is the first African American woman to specialize in this field at originator status. This alone sets us apart from any other brand. We are breaking into the industry with our innovative way of attracting the alcohol consumer, through previous taste tests. We are putting out a product so smooth that it will be a name in every Cognac household. Not only are we about our profit, we aim to help the community as well, through various charities and creating job opportunities. We also believe in paying it forward by helping future entrepreneurs in their plight for business ownership.

Our team consists of myself, Michelle DiAugustino, Adora Collins, Gwen Jackson, Melvin Dean, Christian Bowden, Producer Natural Disaster, and hip hop artist Von Vintage. We believe and trust in each other’s strengths individually, which keeps us functioning as a whole. We believe in operating as a family.

We want our community to know that they too can make it out of their situations with faith and persistence. It doesn’t have to be the same road as ours, but as long they know it’s possible.

The name of our Cognac “Noir King” VSOP represents exactly how we want our patrons to feel when they try our drink. Like royalty. When they see our bottle, we want them to become so inspired by the Harlem Renaissance that they join in with us to create multiple revenue streams to rebuild and strengthen our communities.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
As I am walking into an event solo at a restaurant, I hear a waitress say aloud, “Hey, I know you, I follow you on Instagram! You’re the King of Cognac! I really like what you’re doing!” This has been my proudest moment so far. Before her acknowledgement, I was tired and unmotivated about introducing the crowded building to our brand. Having someone recognize me and follow our movement, gave me the push I needed and ensured me that Noir King Nation was going in the right direction and that finally my dreams were on their way to fruition.

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Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Monica Leverette

    May 16, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    This is awesome big cuz I am so proud of you!! Keep doing great things!!!

    • Sauide

      May 23, 2018 at 12:36 am

      Great opportunity to see faith and hard work come together! Keep the belief in the entrepreneurial spirit.

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