Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The first event is nigh...

The image of The Wonder Bar has changed a lot over the last few years, months, even weeks. I've been piecing together what's inexpensive but of good quality, practical, sustainable - and what's not! For years I had an image of an old caravan. Gutted of all its furnishings and fitted with booth seating and a few tables. A bar on the front; a bar on the side; a bar on top. Every possible outcome - whichever would most suit at the time. Of course, this is a distant dream as I start out.

Whilst the actual wooden bar is being built and I start preparing for events in the summer, I'll be purchasing some kind of gazebo or marquee. Something wind-resistant, durable and of a decent size. Enough for a bar and a couple of old, pub tables & bar stools. Roll out the tarp & some old pub carpet - Your local comes to you! 
Before I invest in a decent marquee/gazebo (and any recommendations or advice about some good quality tenting would be greatly appreciated. It will essentially be the pub walls!) I'll be making do with what I've got/can acquire easily: Knowledge, a licence to sell alcohol, a bar, staff, bar tools, glassware, stock, wonderful décor and fantastic service!

My boss, Gareth, kindly let me have a rummage through the old rooms at the top of the restaurant I work in. I'm now the proud owner of 2 wooden tables and 13 red leather bar stools. Perfect! As well as the furniture, Gareth has also agreed to let me use one of these rooms for storage (my tiny flat is already full of stuff!). Currently it's full of wood, paint, general building supplies; as well as some old furniture. If any one is after a chest of drawers, a 3 seater sofa, or even just some firewood - there's a lot of it and you'd be more than welcome to take it for free! Just send me a message and we can arrange a pick up!

It was my birthday last weekend and my family and friends were on top form for gift-giving! I had a few birthday backers on Crowdfunder from family and friends which I'm eternally grateful for. (I'm still way off on my target, so feel free to share the word...)
My lovely little brother bought me a bar fridge which I'm yet to see, but excited to get my hands on! My house mate and good friend Elli bought me a beautiful menu board for displaying drinks, prices etc. And another best friend, Hannah Dunne, hand made me THE most incredible sign which I can't wait to put on display! (Credit must also go to her boyfriend Sunny, who did the manly thing and nailed it all together!)

Thank you, you fabulous people!

It's awesome isn't it?! She got a round of applause when I unwrapped it!

The versatility of The Wonder Bar being a portable pub, is that it can be dressed up or down as appropriate. If you're having a corporate event and you want to promote your brand, I can provide the bar service and professionalism you're looking for. Delicious, fresh cocktails can be served up for your wedding; unusual, highly recommended beers for your stag/hen do or even non-alcoholic cocktails and fresh juices for your baby shower! For now, I'll be looking at indoor-events. House parties, business bashes, music events...

And on that note, here's my most exciting update... The Wonder Bar has it's first gig!

Black House presents: New Years Eve Soundclash

If you haven't heard of it (and if you live in Aberystwyth, where have you been?!) Black House is a multi-genre musical collective. 
Showcasing internationally acclaimed artists as well as up and coming performers, and local DJ's. The best artists across the dance music scene come together under one roof for an evening of musical madness; Jungle, funk, house, reggae, ska, drum n bass, electro-swing, garage, and everything in between. Not only does Black House bring the best sound to Mid Wales, this indoor utopia is host to stunning visuals, lucid lights, live art and a sense of community!

This New Years Eve, DJ's from the area are coming together to bring a smorgasbord of tunes to the table in a battle of the decks. Confetti, CO2 cannons, stalls from other local businesses and a bouncy castle RAVE CAVE(!) will also be present to charge us into 2016!
And what's any blow out without a bar? Providing the party juice for the revellers, The Wonder Bar will be serving up prosecco galore, the finest of tinned lagers/ciders and some tasty cocktails if you're feeling fancy!

If you would like to join our wonderful team this NYE, please don't hesitate to get in touch - The more people that apply, the more time we can spend dancing!
Just send your CV and an informal introduction to yourself to:

I imagine the next blog post will be in the new year. As always, thank you for reading and following and sharing. It is all greatly appreciated! Have a lush Christmas and hopefully I'll be seeing many of you in Borth on NYE!!

Monday, 30 November 2015

Community is Key

I've been meaning to update this for a while. I took a bit of time off from work due to a recent hospital trip (nothing serious!) and had a bit of a holiday at home with my family and friends in South Wales. I've also been preparing my for The Wonder Bar's debut, which will be a lot sooner than I originally anticipated...

Keep an eye out for updates on:
and Instagram

Now, this is where I reach out - To those of you who have unwittingly been roped into a conversation about this project. Whether it be my ever-supportive family & friends with their constant encouragement or those of you who've left comments and messages with offers to help out in the distant future... Well, the time is here! I'm in the very early stages at the moment: thus far, I have no logo, no brand, no suppliers. I have experience and knowledge in the field, but I'm asking for the advice of others. Right now, I'm looking for networking opportunities!

If you know someone that brews and bottles tasty beer, locally (and legitimately of course) then help us to get in touch!
Do you know someone who runs events and needs a bar set up? Holler!
I want to help people that help me. Supporting other small scale businesses is an important value and I'd like to open up my venture as an opportunity for others too.

I won't pretend I have a lot of money, but I don't expect a free meal either, as I work hard to save dollar and not immediately climb into a start up loan.
I currently don't have a vehicle to transport stuff (I'll be hiring a van in the meantime) so if you know someone who is selling something suitable - link me up!
If you frequent a pub and the landlord has thousands of old pint glasses or bar stools to get rid of, make them known to me!

I'm all about upcycling/recycling/seeing what I can do with what I've got! Feel free to pass on the stuff that you want to get rid of, that I may find useful. One man's trash is another man's treasure and all that!

Flavoured home made syrups for cocktails and mocktails!
Coloured bottles from Stars, Aberystwyth

The amount of people that have already put forward their services has been astounding. My mate Colin is currently designing my logo, business cards and flyers - so my makeshift banner will be having a professional revamp very soon and I'm excited for the results!
I also have a local carpenter friend of mine, Tom, building me a wooden, transportable bar, which has been a thing of dreams for a long time... It's all coming together now!

The advice and guidance that I've had off website designing friends, accountant friends, friends who have also set up their own businesses, has been priceless. You shall be rewarded with constant advertising from me! More about those lovely people when things are up and running.
This industry is a tough one and I'm anticipating many ups and downs. Getting to where I need to be is part of the exciting challenge of setting up a business. I just may need a kick up the ass when things don't go as planned (I thankfully, have many people in my life who will happily oblige)!

So for those who've been asking what I want for my upcoming birthday - it's for my business idea to grow even more!
Here is my crowdfunder: A little online goal to keep myself and those that are invested in my progress, in the loop.

The Wonder Bar now has an email address for you to contact - whether it be for bookings, donations of old furniture or suppliers - get in touch at thewonderbar.uk@outlook.com

The next post will be a sneaky look at what The Wonder Bar will start out as and hopefully, what's to come!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Why? What? Where?

They say you make your best friends in uni. Living in a student town has provided me with so many close people in my life that may come and go, but always leave a special place in my heart. I've also met a tremendous amount of lovely people through work, most of you reading this, I will have met at a bar on one side or the other! Not to go all soppy, but the supportive and kind words of people from far and wide has been what's pushed me to go on. Realising my crazy business idea might not be so crazy after all! 

When I first came to Aberystwyth, there was a legend that the tiny town held the most amount of pubs per square mile. 52 pubs; one for every week of the year. (If anyone has done a recent pub count, please let me know!) 
Unfortunately, the pub trade is a dying one and not all of the pubs here are doing that well. Business rates and council tax are inconceivably high. Supermarket deals on booze blow pub prices out of the water and “pre-drinking” is becoming the norm. Especially in a student town where the tuition fees have sky rocketed. 
Opening a bar in the town would be a financial (and emotional) drain which I cannot afford. A portable-pub is a far more economical way of running things. No empty, late night dwellings with dimmed lights, over-heating, bored staff and tumble weed. Something that is bespoke: hired with the customer’s needs in mind. Cutting down on waste of stock, costs and energy.  
With mobile bar events becoming more popular in other parts of the country, it seems something that Aber hasn't quite got yet. But word on the street: it’s what the people want. Slowly, but surely, the idea I have is a unique and suddenly achievable goal/business plan. 
But no man is an island (or something along those lines…) and I'm reaching out to my friends, family and the general community. I'm bringing the idea to the public and just checking that it’s a good one. 

So far, I've been taking baby steps into the business world, focussing on teaching myself how to undertake this ginormous task at hand. Having worked in the service industry for nearly 8 years, I have seen, and been employed by, the good; the bad and the downright ugly managers in the trade and I've learnt a lot about how and how not to do so effectively. My current job is a huge learning curve and it’s really interesting to see the inner workings of how to run a business like this.
I started thinking a bit more seriously about things at the beginning of the year. Through the job centre, I found out about Antur Teifi a Welsh organisation that advises businesses. Through a government backed scheme, I was allocated a lovely business advisor called Samantha Allen. She referred me to a 3-day start-up business course which was free and included lunch!
I met some great people whose business ideas ranged from selling charcoal, to managing a band (A bloody excellent band by the way, if you have a minute, check them out: Gypsy Unit). It was hugely useful, answering questions that I hadn't even known to ask. It also outlined the huge amount of work it takes to run a business, especially trading alcohol portably! 

It didn't put me off and after passing my BIIAB Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders, obtaining a DBS check and filling out several forms with my name on, I finally received my (misspelled) licence to sell alcohol...
-It's OK, I have a correctly spelled one now, thanks Ceredigion CC- 

When I first wrote this blog post, I had planned to start trading at a small, local festival. In the last couple of weeks, as interest has generated, other events and opportunities have arisen, so who knows what will happen as this business progresses!
Money is, of course, key in all of this. I’ve managed to climb out of my student overdraft and saving is well under way! A start-up loan is an obvious option, but for now, I’d rather gain some more capital and look to further my career as debt-free as possible. 

My birthday and Christmas are fast approaching –so family and friends- if you were wondering what’s on my wish list this year, I have an easy solution, Watch this space for details.  
For now, I’ll end on this: The encouraging words of the people around me has always been a huge push, so thank you to those who have told me to just get on with it! Hopefully this is just the beginning…. 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

An Introduction...


I’m Bethan Trevett. Or Trev to most people who know me.
For a while, I’ve had an idea brewing. For a number of years, it has been a business idea that has always played on my mind. Here I am, finally putting my plan out there. This blog is a way to track my progress and keep a record of this idea as it hopefully becomes a reality.
In it’s very simplest form (and a lot of research and experiments are under way to fine tune the minor details):

The Wonder Bar!
A mobile-bar. Suitable for hire at parties, weddings, corporate events. Festivals, local events, markets. Wherever you fancy a bar! (Subject to licensing, of course.) Selling tasty, unusual, locally sourced and home grown products. Beers, cider, wine, spirits, cocktails, mocktails. Refreshing and different. A comfy pub atmosphere decked out with upcycled furniture and handcrafted décor made by talented local craft-wizards!

That’s the vision anyway.

As I finally put pen to paper fingers to keyboard, I feel I should explain where this idea came from…

I’ve met quite a few other people who have grown up with landlord/lady parents like myself and we all share a love of the pub life. The smell of stale smoke reminiscent of the time before the smoking ban. That beery-floor smell… Not the nicest of aromas, but a pleasant reminder of days sat at the bar whilst mum and dad worked, pretending to drink cider & black with the regulars. This is not to say my parents were irresponsible and I was hanging out with drunks. They worked hard!
A public house: all of your mates (and the rest) sat around drinking, listening to music and discussing life’s most important topics. It also means early mornings, late nights and rarely a day off. The bar industry is more of a lifestyle than a job, I knew that from a young age.

That didn’t stop me getting a job behind the bar as soon as I could. At 17, I worked in my local rugby club and since then I’ve worked (mostly) on and off in bars, pubs, clubs, cocktail lounges, restaurants and hotels. I did my fair share of travelling around, trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life – as many of us do! Teaching English in Africa, au-pairing around Europe, but the social side of the service industry always drew me back in.

In 2010, I started uni in Aberystwyth, studying English and Creative Writing. I partied my loan away pretty much instantly, so got myself a job in the Student Union. It didn’t take long before I was swapping lectures and seminars for shifts behind the bar. Much to my nan’s dismay, I discontinued my studies about halfway through my degree and fell into a series of bar/waitress jobs throughout town.

Last year, I landed a job at Irie’s: A new Caribbean restaurant/cocktail lounge, serving speciality cocktails, delicious curry goat & jerk chicken and playing reggae all day – perfect! Seeing a brand new business grow has been really interesting and I’ve gained a lot of priceless experience. I recently got promoted to bar/front of house manager, so I have a stable, full-time job to help me fund my side venture.

I’ve often been asked (even whilst stood behind the bar) “What do you do?” – As if what I’m currently doing isn’t enough. I’ve been cautious about saying “I’m in the process of setting up my own business.” For years, friends have been telling me to take over a bar, open my own pub, something along those lines. It’s in my blood to be a “barmaid”! I see a mobile bar as a perfect small business to run alongside full-time employment. And it has the potential to grow and grow!

I’ve always known this is what I’ve wanted to do, but now I’m really taking steps towards this goal. If you’ve read this far – thank you! And if you're still interested, I will be posting regularish blogs on what to expect from The Wonder Bar, so please keep updated on my progress and cheer me on as I embark on this journey!

Any ideas, suggestions or advice are greatly welcomed, please don’t hesitate to get in touch