Noah Cohen: CEO of the Team Who Put Pittsburgh's Nightlife On The Map
|Noah Cohen, CEO of Premier Innovations Group|
"It's a monopoly", Cohen explains. "We own the company who owns its own vodka, the company that plans the parties and the design company, so clubs actually pay us to promote Clique Vodka." Black Friday, for instance, Faded Industry Entertainment is hosting the "Black Out Event." According to Noah, Diesel is paying to host the event, buying Clique Vodka at full price and selling it via special prices. "This is very unique, very special, because most companies pay to promote their own products, we don't have to. We get paid to."
Aside from Faded Industry & Clique Vodka, Premier Innovations Group is also the master company to Primo Designs and Don Panteleon Tequila. Primo Designs does all of the ads (marketing) for Clique, so again, Cohen & his team have it set up so that nothing is done outside of the company. Everything is done in-house. Premier just recently merged with Faded and launched Clique Vodka this past August at Pittsburgh's PPG Aquarium. Clique Vodka has just finished its first "quarter" and Cohen notes business continues very successful. This is remarkable since this is the first time Pittsburgh has seen anything like this; also, a city's nightlife scene that drinks its own vodka. Also very notable, they have one of the largest social network followings in America. Noah explains this success is the product of a great team who puts everything they have into this company every single day. “They key to great business is surrounding yourself people who do things better than you”, he states. His job might include a lot as CEO, for instance traveling to the factories that make Clique Vodka, but he is humble enough to admit that the success wouldn’t be possible without his entire team. Noah takes pride in the fact that his whole team flourishes from an environment that they have all created: one that provides membership and belonging and ultimately provides the success that you see in the events happening here in Pittsburgh.
So, why Clique Vodka? Why, out of every vodka on the shelf, should we go ahead and spend $15.99 on a bottle of Clique Vodka? "The Latvian formula", Noah insists. "Clique Vodka is from Latvia, Russia and is made according to Russian standards and with Russian equipment, which are amazing. It's made with Latvian water, which comes from natural springs and is much better. This makes for a more pure, clean product. We had the opportunity to taste hundreds of different vodkas when choosing this formula and we chose the formula for Clique, so it is something my team and I are really proud of." Cohen says that when he started out, he knew he wanted a midshelf priced vodka geared towards the young drinker. The name "Clique" was chosen by the entire team to promote this idea; the vodka for the young drinker, the young professional or the young socialite.
Within the first few minutes of talking with Noah, you're able to see how passionate he is about the vodka, as well as the company he runs. "Working for something you are not passionate about is no life at all. My entire team is unique in that everyone is truly passionate about the work they do." He is truly an inspirational person. "I am internally and externally happy. I never complain because that denotes a negative attitude. I always have a positive attitude because when you're positive, you'll attract opportunities. Sieze every opportunity. When you're negative and 'down in the dumps', opportunities will pass you by."
"Talk about what you are passionate about to every single person you meet and one day, you'll meet somone who will change your life", Cohen says on the importance of not only networking, but perserverance. Another key component that harnesses success for Premier is his approach to scheduling his staff. "I hate mornings, so I avoid them. I want my team to achieve their optimal performance level and that doesn't always occur within a 9-5 shift for everyone. I don't work my best in the morning; everyone who knows me knows not to call me before eleven. When I am awake though, I'm always working." Noah finds that his team does phenomenal when they work without a time limit. If everyone that works for him is truly passionate about their job, the man must be doing something right.
"Society makes us feel bad for doing what we love", he adds. To someone who looking for a few key points on finding success, what better person to take advice from than a man who was already wildly successful before the age of 30? Don't try to squeeze into a mold that won't get you anywhere anyway. Find your own way of doing things. Noah Cohen is a perfect example of this.
When asked what he would say to someone who is struggling with finding success, Noah suggests keeping a positive attitude at all times. "To weather the storm, continue to push forward. Don't be afraid to share your vision and surround yourself with great people who are positive and supportive. Sacrifices and struggling is part of the business. No matter what anyone told me, I did what I was passionate about”. It's delightful to see a true example that a positive attitude (and a lot of hard work) really does bring success into your life.
The Vintage Rush: What is your choice way to drink Clique Vodka?
Noah Cohen: Clique Vodka and diet. I like a good dirty martini. Of course, though, I drink it straight. I have to do my due diligence and sample my product.
TVR: Why did you choose to start this business in Pittsburgh?
NC: Well, I was living here. More importantly, Premier would be one of the only spirits importers on the East Coast. It's also close to my family.
TVR: Being that The Vintage Rush is a bit of a foodie blog, I'd love to hear what your favorite restaurant is in Pittsburgh? Favorite city to eat in the world in the world?
NC: Here in Pittsburgh, Capital Grille (Downtown). Also, Springfield Grille, which is in Mars and Youngstown, Ohio. In the world, I loved the food in Venice. Gnocchi, chicken, bread.
NC: Yes, I love reds. Mostly Shiraz and Syrah. I like Malbec. No white wine, though.
TVR: What is your favorite cuisine?
TVR: Let's talk some more about your travels. What was one of the craziest experiences you had while traveling?
NC: There were many, but in Degollado, Mexico, I was staying in my factory owner's house. They wanted me to ride a donkey in their town parade. No one spoke English at all. I rode the donkey for a little while, I tried, but it went crazy. I don't think it understood English commands. Another crazy thing that happened to me was getting stranded in Europe because of a volcano eruption for over ten days.
TVR: Who has been the most influential person in your life? Personally and in business?
NC: Personally, my father. He has always been very supportive of me. On a business level, I'd say Nicholas Geanopulos. I've learned a lot from him about business. He's the only person I know who could get the President on the phone.
The moral of the story: work hard, play hard and drink Clique Vodka.