Black Business Spotlight: Lovejoy’s Bloody Mary Mix

Submitted photo Charles Lovejoy

‘Best thing I’ve ever done,’ says businessman of his cocktail mixes   

Entrepreneurship runs in the Lovejoy family. Local entrepreneur Charles Lovejoy launched Lovejoy’s Bloody Mary Mix (LBMM) in 2018. He told us, “My sister [Susanne Lovejoy] is my business manager, my main motivator—she is a serial entrepreneur.” Together, they ensure the business runs smoothly.

 A native of the St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, Lovejoy said he “started in the restaurant business when I was 18. So, about almost 30 years ago.” 

The road to success wasn’t easy. “I started off as a dishwasher and eventually, a couple years later, a bar manager,” Lovejoy said. He successfully worked his way up in the restaurant industry. 

“I fell in love with cooking,” Lovejoy said. “I cooked for a long time. Then I got an opportunity to get behind the bar and fell in love with making cocktails.” He added, “It became my passion for a long time.” 

Lovejoy has invested much time perfecting his product line. “I’ve been a bar manager and bartender for the last 15-20 [years], and that’s kind of where I developed my recipes for the Bloody Mary mix and the cocktails I make now,” he said. 

“My mother ran a nonprofit for years and years in St. Paul called The Family Place,” he recalled, “and I used to volunteer down there. We’d do Christmas dinners—and serve them [to] some of the families experiencing homelessness.” As a result of his experience, he wanted to figure out a way to keep giving back. 

Lovejoy elaborated, “Cocktails don’t really flow in a homeless shelter,” so he made gift baskets that were used to raise money in the auctions. “I do different cocktail mixes; I did a few Bloody Mary mixes—so I’d put them in a basket,” he said. The baskets were a big success. 

The LBMM business values social responsibility. “We’re a for-profit company, Lovejoy explained, “but we have a SBC [Specific Benefit Corporation]…so we donate to charities that are trying to help our community right now,” Lovejoy said. 

The product line is infused with unique ingredients. “We have our original Bloody Mary mix, we have a Thai Basil, and then a Burn Yo Face Hot Sauce and a Rim Seasoning,” Lovejoy said. 

Submitted photo

The process of formulating his products required time, passion and patience. Lovejoy explained, “It’s all trial and error. I worked at a bar called the Happy Gnome in St. Paul for 10 years, and I was the bar manager and bartender there.” He received helpful and “honest feedback” from patrons, he said. 

“I love putting different flavors together and using different flavors from different cultures. I worked in a Thai restaurant for years, so I took some of those influences.” 

He added, “I’m still developing some. I have many ideas to come, but for now, we have those three or four that we’re offering.” The price range is $8-$14. 

Although Lovejoy said business is good, there have been challenges along the way. “It took some start-up [money], not a ton, but when I was starting I found it difficult to find any answers anywhere, 2017-2018.” Despite obstacles he remained focused on bringing his dream to fruition. 

He said, “I met with one inspector, and he basically told me not to do it. It took some time, a lot of research and phone calls.” Luckily, his supportive sister assisted him in the process of launching the business. 

To his surprise, “Since I started the business, I’ve found lots of resources for people to start food businesses especially. A lot of the places that offer these services aren’t great at advertising.” 

He added, “I would strongly encourage anybody out there that’s interested in starting a food business to contact me if you want. I think that it’s very important to knock down those initial barriers, because that was very discouraging in the beginning.” 

The flavorful Lovejoy Bloody Mary Mix products can be found in “35 different retailers, 15 restaurants—we’re in liquor stores and gift shops,” Lovejoy said. The business will be expanding in the future because they now have a distributor. 

Lovejoy offered advice for young and upcoming entrepreneurs: “There are resources out there. The State has resources, and they are free. Make sure you use them—I’ll help you.” 

He added, “Know that it’s hard work, but it’s super rewarding. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s a great journey. I highly recommend it. Get your own.” 

For more information visit www.lovejoysbrand.com or call 651-829-9950.