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Growing Business - 868 Cocktail House

Giving up a secure job to start a cocktail bar from scratch has been a leap of faith for Kandana Hamilton


868 Design House Limited, trading as the 868 Cocktail House, is a brand new pop up cocktail bar experience, hosting events in different areas in South London offering classic and signature cocktails.


Founder Kandana Hamilton started the business after joining the Enterprise Steps programme in October 2018. She wanted to create much more than simply a cocktail bar, aiming for a new and authentic after-work drinking experience in great locations, where guests could order unique cocktails, from a classic martini to signature cocktails, which are rum based or inspired by Kandana’s travels to Central and South America.

“I had been thinking about setting up the business for a while and had discussed it with my family who thought I was mad! Joining the Enterprise Steps programme has enabled me to confidently move forward with the business. Working with a mentor who could help me realise my vision and access to a range of workshops has been really useful.” Says Kandana.


As a new business, Kandana knew that one of the biggest challenges she would face would be to build the 868 Cocktail House brand and to get people to attend her events so she focused on how to best market the business to her target audiences.


“During the programme I have been given a lot of help and advice through the workshops available and by my mentor Jo Sealy on building my brand and how to best use social media.  This has been hugely important in helping my business grow, I now have over 600 followers on Instagram, great reviews on, and my Facebook posts are regularly reaching over 1k people.”

Kandana is building the business through monthly pop up events throughout southeast London, and promoting 868 Cocktail House for private and corporate bookings; however she has her sights on much bigger plans.


“I would like to have my own cocktail bar in London within the next 12 months. In the meantime, doing the pop up events is giving me more information on how the industry works, helping me understand more about my target market and how to successfully run and sustain this kind of business. I have been able to develop the cocktail menu which is tailored for each event or client and I now have two bar tenders who work alongside me during the pop up events.”


“It’s been so satisfying to see people have a good time at my events. When my customer/clients are having a good time makes it all worth it.”

Take the next steps with your business
Enterprise Steps has developed an innovative programme for London-based pre-start up, start-ups and established businesses to support them in growing to their full potential.

Find out more here, and about our latest workshops and events here.


The Enterprise Steps programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).