Founded by best friends Jess Blakley and Willow Sprague, BarBees is a mobile cocktail class company shaking things up with private groups in eleven locations nationwide and virtually. In January 2024, the founders took BarBees to ABC’s Shark Tank, negotiating a deal with guest Shark and founder of KIND, Daniel Lubetzky. BarBees creates memorable and connective experiences through cocktails. Whether it’s a corporate team building or bachelorette party, you’ll walk away from a BarBees cocktail class with drinks in hand, a new skill in your back pocket, and a deeper connection with your classmates!  


In the world of entrepreneurship, success stories often begin with a unique idea and a relentless drive to turn it into reality. In this episode of Brett Gilliland’s podcast, we dive into the inspiring journey of Jess Blakley and Willow Sprague, the founders of BarBees, a mobile and virtual cocktail class company. From their humble beginnings to their appearance on Shark Tank, Jess and Willow share their experiences, lessons learned, and the importance of resilience, teamwork, and confidence in building a successful business.

The road to Shark Tank is not an easy one, and Jess and Willow knew they had to be well-prepared to make a lasting impression on the Sharks. They emphasize the rigorous preparation they underwent, from refining their pitch to anticipating tough questions. The nerve-wracking experience of pitching to the Sharks was both challenging and rewarding, as they secured a deal with guest shark Daniel Lubetzky. Their success on Shark Tank serves as a testament to the importance of confidence and belief in one’s business.

One key aspect that Jess and Willow highlight is the significance of investing in expertise. They discuss how utilizing Google Ads played a crucial role in their business growth. By leveraging the power of online advertising, they were able to reach a wider audience and attract more customers. This investment in expertise not only helped them expand their business but also solidified their credibility in the industry.

Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride, filled with ups and downs. Jess and Willow stress the importance of resilience and quickly bouncing back from setbacks. They share their experiences of facing challenges head-on and learning from their mistakes. By embracing failure as a learning opportunity, they were able to adapt and grow their business. Their story serves as a reminder that setbacks are not roadblocks but stepping stones toward success.

Behind every successful business, there is often a supportive partner. Jess and Willow emphasize the importance of having a partner who shares the same vision and values. They highlight the significance of effective communication, trust, and knowing each other’s strengths. Their partnership strengthens their business and provides a solid foundation for personal growth and fulfillment.

At the heart of BarBees is the desire to create memorable experiences for their clients and friends. Jess and Willow discuss the impact of shared activities and effective communication in building lasting connections. Their unique virtual reality bartending classes offered by Go Barbies provide an immersive and interactive experience that sets them apart from traditional cocktail classes. By focusing on creating unforgettable moments, they have built a loyal customer base and a strong reputation in the industry.

The journey of Jess Blakley and Willow Sprague, founders of BarBees, is a testament to the power of resilience, teamwork, and confidence in building a successful business. From their appearance on Shark Tank to their investment in expertise and the importance of a supportive partner, their story is filled with valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs.

By creating memorable experiences and embracing challenges, Jess and Willow have carved a unique niche in the mobile cocktail class industry. Their story serves as an inspiration for anyone looking to turn their passion into a thriving business.

Interview with BarBees