Merrilee Kick

CEO and Founder of BuzzBallz

What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

Some of my challenges were based on being a woman in a male-dominated field, but other challenges were just a lack of experience in the alcoholic beverage field. I think, in a male dominated field, when you are accepted as one of the guys, that is fun. I don’t get all ruffled about comments, because I know I can put them in their place. I’m pretty confident about limits.

What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

Be the best at your craft, work day and night, flash your charm, and work-it.

What three traits define you?

Perseverance, Determination, Public Speaking

What women inspire you?

I like Madeline Albright. She is older, experienced, smart as hell, and she has her wits. My mom inspires me, she was always able to make something out of nothing.

What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?

Trying to stay ahead of the trends, We are trendsetters!  We are on the cutting edge for technology, new R&D, new flavors, new packaging, and names that make you laugh. We have serious brands, and non-alcoholic brands too. We also will start R&D into infused products in the next year.

How do you define success?

Being happy. Being satisfied with me, seeing my family succeed and learn. Seeing my employees thrive. Getting hugs from my team.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Get a buyer before you try to get a loan.

What’s your favorite career moment?

Seeing my new brand at Cesar’s Palace in a trophy case, winning a major Double Gold award in the Wine & Spirits Wholesaler’s of America…I squealed. During that tradeshow we landed 15 new states for distribution. It was the first time I felt like we had made it.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

Build another business! I love building businesses, and I always have ideas. If I was older/retired, I’d hang with the grandkids. I’m hoping I’ll have some one day!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to set the world on fire. I was sure I would be someone important, I just didn’t know who or what. I expected it of myself. I pushed myself to always try to be the best, and to work really hard. I didn’t like failure, and I hated laziness. I feared being broke. I feared not being capable of taking care of myself. I wanted to never have that happen to me. I wanted to take care of me, my kids, my family, and my inner circle.

How do you unwind after a long workday?


What do you like about your workspace?

We have a bar! Lots of colors on the walls.

Fill in the blank:

When I face a challenge, I... jump in head first. I can’t wait!
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself... to have confidence and go go go!
The one thing I couldn’t live without is.... my kids.
By this time next year, I will be... adding more building space, expanding our distillery.
The best thing that happened to me last week was... I got to speak at an event at the Omni Hotel called SharpHeels – a women’s conference. I loved that.
To get my creative juices flowing, I...  design art for new products, write down ideas on how the structure would work, and start creating a new business!

About BuzzBallz

BuzzBallz/Southern Champion is a Distillery/Winery manufacturing company in Dallas, that specializes in making ready-to-drink cocktails (BuzzBallz), as well as premium spirits like vodka, rum, gin and bourbon. Learn more.