art classThe UCI community might just encounter a friendly face at their next paint and sip event thanks to alumna Karen Nguyen. Nguyen, political science ‘05, decided to forgo her corporate career several years ago in order to establish Inspired Art WineWine CMO, and Wine Down OC, three ventures that combine her creativity and marketing skills with her love of vino.

Nguyen’s new path started with Inspired Art Wine, an art studio and wine bar where visitors create their very own masterpieces while sipping on a variety of wines, craft beers, and cocktails. Having just celebrated the company’s two-year anniversary, Nguyen says what sets the Costa Mesa-based business apart from the competition is its hybrid nature and exceptional customer service. Part wine lounge, part art studio and gallery, visitors are treated like family whether they arrive solo or as part of a larger crew, and the venue often hosts bachelor and bachelorette parties and corporate bonding events. In addition, Inspired Art Wine offers classes in multiple mediums including a variety of painting styles, sculpture, and photography, and some courses include specially curated wine flights to add to the experience.

But Nguyen’s entrepreneurial endeavors aren’t limited to just one company. Thanks to connections made through Inspired Art Wine, she was able to utilize her extensive experience in the marketing world to found Wine CMO, a digital marketing firm that specifically caters to the wine industry and focuses its research on women, Millenials, and Gen X-ers. And, most recently, she launched Wine Down OC, an event production company that produces women-focused speed dating and  business mixers to create love and business connections. She still makes time for her alma mater, too, and has even worked with UCI’s Student Alumni Association to host “Dinners with Anteaters” at the Inspired studio.

So, whether you need some expert advice on expanding your brand or just feel the need to get creative, be sure to check out one of these Anteater-run establishments for a warm welcome and some tasty sips.


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