Sunday, 5 March 2017

2016-2017


Writers block, coupled with constant fear that I have too much to do to sit down and summarise it all can explain the length of time it's taken me to write this blog. 
The last 6 or so months have been a whirlwind of change and development of the business as well as a lot of personal growth.

Moving back to south Wales presented me with a new set of challenges. I first started a job in Cardiff Metropolitan Student Union as the Assistant Bar Manager. Rush hour traffic and paying for city parking coupled with generally crappy hospitality wage
 got old fast. When my own business got completely sidelined I knew it was time to find something different. I took a short stint to manage the bar at The Castle Hotel in Aber before touching back down in Risca to look after my mum whilst she recovered from a hip replacement. Living at home was a strange experience after having my independence for so long, but it meant becoming closer with my family and friends down that way. Catching milestones that I may well have otherwise missed.

PAST EVENTS
Since my last blog post I've appeared with various friends at various venues as The Wonder Bar!

First stop was Alfie-Fest in Cardiff back in July.

Hannah & me!
Myself, Hannah & Tom rocked up to the Printhaus in Cardiff, a creative venue used as a space for artists, fashion designers, printers and all sorts to make and sell their wares. Alfie's Beer Bus run by Paul and his lovely fiancée Holly were the hosts, bringing the little venue to life with live music and a smorgasbord of pop up food stalls; clothes stores & vans. We were nestled nicely opposite the stage and although I was frantically buying ingredients minutes before the event started, we met some really friendly faces and served up a variety of unique floral cocktails and mocktails to kick off the summer.
The Daisy Chain
At this point, I'd developed a range of floral sugar syrups to add to the cocktails for a unique flavour. These sparked an interest at Alfie-Fest and these would expand ready for my next event which was the following month back in Aberystwyth at the Sea2Shore festival.

The Aberystwyth Sea2Shore Festival is an annual summer celebration of local food, drink & all things seafood held overlooking North Beach on the seafront. Such events that are in public domain mean that I can't sell alcohol for people to drink on the streets due to legal restrictions. So as well as selling some off-sales of gin from the Dyfi Distillery (delicious artisan gin made with botanicals foraged in the Dyfi biosphere- highly recommended!) and real ales from the Untapped Brewing Co. in South Wales, I also developed a range of summery sugar syrups so that customers can create their own cocktails and mocktails at home.


The syrups I make are sugar syrups, so they're definitely not good for you - but there's no ingredients except the sugar, water and natural flavours which I endeavour to make, forage or find myself.
This lavender was simmered in syrup hours later!
There was a wonderful atmosphere with plenty of friendly faces and I was helped by two of my fantastic friends Anna & Heather, who kept me occupied and juggled and sang with me until all the stock was gone! 
My two lovely helpers at Sea2Shore

After August, I had a bit of a break where I attempted my new job in Cardiff. Being an assistant manager in a busy student union would usually be right up my street. Unfortunately it was more of a glorified Starbucks with the bar barely ticking over. The 5.30am wake up calls to avoid the rush hour traffic soon took its toll when my own business was put on the backburner. Realising this job wasn't creating any opportunities. I took the time to focus on looking after my family and my venture.

Next up was The Wonder Bar's first wedding!
I travelled back up to Ceredigion to prepare for a wedding that was booked through the wedding show in January. 
Photo courtesy of Keith Morris
The day itself went as well as it could have. Myself, Dicky & Hannah served real ale courtesy of Oast House Brewery, welsh cider from Gwynt Y Ddraig and lots of wine - So much so, I had to rush off to buy more during the speeches! The wedding and after service was a huge learning curve in how to deal with certain obstacles in business.

At this point my little Astra was being loaded down by far too much booze and suffering the effects of so much weight so I invested in a lovely little Citroën Berlingo to get me around! If anyone knows of a great printer where I can get some magnetic signage for the van, hit me up - she needs decorating!

The end of 2016 saw a couple of Christmas markets in the county of Caerphilly happen. I like to meet my customers face-to-face, which is difficult in this technological age. Hence why my blog posts are so lengthy... I have a lot to say!

Me at Caerphilly Christmas Market

Caerphilly Christmas Market & Blackwood Winter Fair were a great chance to meet lots of lovely faces, sell some products and get the brand out there. It wasn't necessarily a financially worthwhile venture (although I didn't lose any money - I still have stock left over!) but we're building a name for ourselves through events.


Shan danced, sang & drew the crowds
 in at Blackwood!
Caitlin kept me fed and coffee'd
at Caerphilly















My two beautiful friends Shan & Caitlin kept me company/sane and I created a new range of Christmas syrups and mocktails to be sold on the 2 consecutive weekends. Even though it was something different, it was received well by the public!

Gingerbread syrup was the Christmas favourite!

2016 was drawn to a close for us in Ynyslas, Mid-Wales. Now, 
I've had to start referring to The Wonder Bar as the royal 'we' - not only because 'I' doesn't sound right any more, but because the 'we' is a combination of fantastic people who have been drawn into this idea as it flourishes. Wonderful people I've met along the way, friends and family who have patiently sat with me whilst I rabble away into streams of consciousness. Those who have designed, drawn, danced, muddled and poured. I have the best network and they keep me uplifted - I love you all, thank you!
Hannah on NYE
And what a way to end the year - Kirk Holland: the name of Black House and Swing City creator, put on a blast of a party as ever to see 2017 in swinging! Massive thanks to him & his entourage for yet another epic night at The Hootenanny Hoedown!


Dutty Moonshine donned the decks & we danced behind the bar all night. Our little team worked our socks off and sold all the booze there was to be had in Ynyslas that evening! - And exactly one year on from the first event, I realised how much I'd learnt this past year. It couldn't have gone more smoothly with what we had and where we were (In a tent, on a farm, in the middle of nowhere!) I can only see it getting bigger and better and I'm so excited to grow now. The name is getting out there and there's a clearer picture of what we're about.

I've written more about what's happening now and what's to come but this blog is long enough so I'll save it for another day (It won't be another 8 months....)
On that note, I'll leave you with the newest development:




Thanks to Josh Parke, his donated time, effort & his super savvy tech skills, I now have a beautiful website, that shows off what we provide as a service. I can't thank him enough for producing something that I never would have been able to even express!

As always, tell your friends, tell them to tell their friends and if you're reading this, please feel free to say hello!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

To Do...

My to-do list.

  • Write proper blog re: past events; future events; new developments; moving home & my journeys since.
  • Buy a van.
  • Get website up & running.
  • Find a storage space.
  • Finish mum & dad's garden.
  • Get growing some ingredients!
  • Prepare for Christmas events.
  • Develop a range of new syrups.
  • Spend time with my family.
  • Catch up with old friends.
  • Organise a tighter schedule for myself.
  • Get a part-time job.
To be continued... 

Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Plot Thickens...

This blog has been months in the waiting.

A huge shift in circumstances has meant it has been pushed to the bottom of my priority list, amongst the many to-do lists of ‘hunt for job,’ ‘find a house’ and ‘sort out life’.

For those of you who don’t know, my most recent employer Gareth, has decided to close the doors of Irie's Caribbean restaurant. A well-loved establishment that fell victim to the bar and restaurant industry and the tough nature of business in Aberystwyth. If you want to read more about the future of Irie himself, head on over to his blog here.

After a few days of being utterly terrified that I wouldn't be able to feed myself, I took a walk to the beach and had a chat with my good friend Heather. She was so excited when she realised I’d finally have some time to focus on myself and the things I want to do. Her enthusiasm infected me and I was suddenly so positive. Finally, this is a bit of an opportunity to focus on the right path. A lot of pent up stress is slowly fading away and I finally have a chance to take a step away from working towards someone else’s dream.

My house contract is also up at the end of this month, which meant looking for a house and a job. For a while, I was in a bit of a Catch 22, never wanting to commit to such a demanding job that means having no weekends (or energy) to build my own business. Looking around flats with no storage space and expensive rents was starting to take its toll on me; so during a recent visit back to South Wales, I decided that I'm going to take the plunge and finally leave the Aber bubble that I've fallen entirely in love with.
I'm moving back to my home town of Risca: To get my feet back on the ground, find a decent job and not have to worry about my savings shrivelling into extortionate rents. It’s about time I went back to look after the people that have looked after me for so long.
As business is going at the moment, it makes more economical sense for me to commute (the beauty of a mobile bar) every so often, than to live in a place that sucks the savings from my very soul.
South Wales has so many more opportunities for food festivals and the like which supports and helps the growth of local, particularly pop-up businesses. Being close to Cardiff, Newport & Bristol will be perfect over the summer and I'm excited to see what the future has in store.

But that doesn't mean that I won’t be in Aberystwyth all the time. I still want to run events and keep a strong connection with the town that stole my heart. And with the amount of incredible people that I've met here, I don’t think it’ll be difficult to keep in touch!

The next jobs on my list are marketing this business. Getting people to know about The Wonder Bar. Pushing it into your faces until you’re all fed up of hearing about it.

My first marketing step was a wedding fair back at the beginning of the year. An old colleague and friend, Kerry Ferguson - who’s becoming quite the dab hand at setting up businesses (and helping others do the same) - held a Wedding Showcase at the Gwesty’r Marine Hotel.




I was nestled amongst some of the fantastic array of stalls, where I met very many lovely people – brides, grooms and other local businesses. A chance to network and get my name out there.



I also set up a Crowdfunder page for start up business costs. In a rush before my birthday in December, I set up the page to give family and friends a chance to help me with costs, rather than buy me Christmas/birthday presents. A December birthday is often a curse and I feel if I had set up the page at some other point of the year, it wouldn't have been such a strain on people’s wallets. Christmas is an expensive time, so I understand that the target wasn't met. I definitely should have pushed it more and really made the most out of the project, but we live and learn.

However, it still raised £215! I’ve said it a million times before – but THANK YOU so much to those who pledged! It means the world that people believe in me enough to part with their hard earned money and I can’t fully express into words how grateful I am - boozy chocolate would have to do! In return for people’s generosity, I handmade some Irish Cream & Kahlua truffles. OK, OK, it was meant to be fudge… but as it didn't set, I coated them in chocolate, making them look and taste far posher than I imagined. Hurray! And I was told they were quite delicious too. I shall be sticking to my day job though, I am definitely no chocolatier...





Since I started writing this blog months ago, I was approached with a steady job to keep me going and build connections before I depart. The Castle Hotel has provided me with a wonderful network of people and a few hours a week to keep the steady saving going! The hold of Aberystwyth is strong and though my heart is telling me to stay, my head knows that further opportunities will arise if I venture further afield.

Through Careers Wales (a highly recommended service for anyone looking to start a business!) I was directed towards ReAct funding. A Welsh government funded resource for those who have been made redundant. The funding provides training to develop skills necessary to return to work. Through this scheme, I will be doing my BIIAB Level 2 Award for Door Supervisors, in preparation for gaining my SIA licence (those blue badges that bouncers wear!) Another useful little skill to prepare me for putting on my own events.

You see, what I've learnt in the last 6 months is that there are many people who like the idea of a mobile bar, but excuses to hire one are few and far between. I need to seek out the food and drink festivals, learn to tackle social media and put on a few parties myself!

And so I'll end this long post with the details of The Wonder Bar's next appearance:

Alfie-Fest
Alfie's Beer Bus is bringing the party to The Printhaus in Cardiff. On the 2nd July, we'll be celebrating micro-brewed beer, delicious street food and live art all topped off with a delightful soundtrack of local and lovely music.
                           

As Alfie specalises in #Microbrewedawesomeness, we will be there with a range of tasty and unusual cocktails and mocktails to satisfy the needs of those who like something a bit sweeter or a bit weaker than beer! #BeerVsCocktails

I'll finally sign off with a wish: That those who remain in Aberystwyth will party with me until the end.
And be here when I shall return!

And to those spread across the rest of the country....
Keep your ears open... We may be coming to a venue near you...

Thursday, 25 February 2016

January and So Forth...

Happy new year! A tad belated, but sincere nonetheless. 
So, January through to February has been fairly busy. Juggling my job whilst being a control freak is proving a bit of a challenge. I've tried to sort all of the business side of things before delving into gigs, but now what I need is the business so I can properly get the feel for how everything will work and what’s to be expected for the coming year(s)…

Now I’m going to tell you all about what I know you want to hear – the first event!
Black House presents: New Year’s Eve Soundclash. What a bitter-sweet start to the year this was...

The lead up was an exciting and panic-inducing smorgasbord of emotions: stress, hope, fear, joy, relief and above all gratitude.
The event itself was fantastic. The production, as always, was incredible - such a huge effort goes into turning any space into an indoor, festival paradise and it was a pleasure and an honour to be a part of the proceedings for the night. For such a wonderful evening, credit goes to Kirk Holland – the brains behind Black House – and his incredible team of aficionados and friends alike. I can't thank Kirk enough for having the faith in me to run the bar for the night. Words cannot describe the revelry that went on that NYE, but check out the event video created by Paddy Walker, which sums it up brilliantly!

Unfortunately, the event will be forever tainted by the theft of around £2000 door money. It makes me and so many many others in the community sad and angry that some selfish individual would take from someone who has personally given so much to the music scene in Mid-Wales. Have a read of this and if you have any information, please get in contact.

The team for the evening, Max, Elli, James, Heather, Robin & Jenn, were all absolute saints - Thank you guys! Having a handful of people who are close to me and real grafters was absolutely priceless. I couldn't be more grateful for the awesome work they did that night (and day... and days beforehand!!) We danced, we laughed and we all worked really hard. I ached for days into 2016; it was all worth it!
It’s also very handy having someone close to me who’s good at all of that arty stuff, so a special shout out goes to my boyfriend Tom, who not only designed the price lists and made me an awesome, giant chalkboard menu, but kept me calm when I felt like my head was going to explode.


As I've mentioned before, these blogs are a way to track my progress. It is an honest depiction of how I'm trying to set this business up. It’s a great tool to look back on past events and work out what went well and how the next can be improved. I hope it comes in handy for others reading who would like to set up a business or something similar. I'm open all ears if anybody wants to get in contact to exchange advice or information!
On that note, things that could've been improved that night:

The menu
Kirk and I had come up with an idea beforehand of what drinks we would've liked to sell that night: Canned lagers and ciders (it was a no glass event), standard spirits & soft drinks, prosecco and a couple of simple cocktails.
Having been to many a Black House event, I wasn't sure how the cocktails would go down. I didn't need the amount of fresh fruit I’d prepared, but not much went to waste and the cocktails were a success. NYE is a night where people want to treat themselves and the customers were impressed by the preparation and taste of the drinks! The liquid stock was bought on a sale-or-return agreement, which meant we could deliberately over order. Running out of booze in any situation would be a complete disaster!
Unfortunately, we left it a little late before buying the stock, so instead of the cans we intended to put on the menu, we were left with Stella Artois and 3 different types of cider... Most people seemed satisfied with the choices on offer, but if there’s one thing I've learned since working in the service industry, it’s that you can’t please everyone all of the time. (But I’ll keep trying!) Pre-ordering stock well in advance is something that I know is crucial for the next event.

The bar itself and the display fridges were borrowed from a previous employer of mine.  Whilst I find my feet, I’ll be looking to hire equipment specific to the event. Refrigeration units and a van are top of the list there. When my house contract runs out in June, I’ll be looking for somewhere more permanent to move – somewhere that I can store such items when the time comes to invest! My bar is coming along nicely too, so I need somewhere to put that…



My lack of transportation was also a huge issue. Those who know me have heard all about the car fiasco that has been going on for nearing a year…. Here is the low down.

I was given a car by a friend who went travelling. A friend of a friend introduced me to a guy we’ll call Dave (a ‘mechanic’), who agreed to check over the car to see if it was all in working order, before I drove to South Wales the next day. After giving me the thumbs up, I made my way to sunny Newport – 40 miles into my journey, the little Clio gave up. A week, £90 and a tow back to Aberystwyth later, Dave told me he felt awful that he’d said everything was A-OK with the car when obviously it wasn't, and agreed to fix the car up in his spare time. I didn't have to pay for the labour, I just had to pay for any parts it needed… And here’s where the story gets complicated.
For months, Dave told me that he was nearly there. “It’ll be done by the end of the week,” “tomorrow,” even “tonight,” before something else went a bit wrong, or it needed another tweak or he had a family problem which meant he couldn't work on the car that day/week/month. Followed by weeks of not being able to contact him, no replies to my texts and missed calls that never got returned. The whole thing was really frustrating and stressful. But with the lack of information I had, no idea what to do with a car that didn't work and being told that no other garage would touch it because it was worth next to nothing, I let this whole thing carry on.
10 MONTHS PASSED. I know, I know, how on earth did I let this go on for 10 months? I wish that everyone could experience having a conversation with this man. It’s hard work.
In this time, he got caught for driving a car without insurance and his driver’s licence taken off him. Many people told me to get the car off him. But, where would I put a SORN-ed car that’s half fixed in Aberystwyth – where the parking spaces are lacking and I don’t own any land…? The options were little so every time I got told “next week,” I just waited. Call me a fool, but my options at the time were very limited!
In light of recent events, I have actually been given a different car by him. It’s not the best or flashiest car in the world, but it runs, so that’s a start. It’s had a few different people look at it and I’ll be taking it to the garage tomorrow to have it looked at properly and re-MOT’d! So my transport issues are over for now and I finally have a way to get around the country for future events!

And the last issue I have from the night, which is entirely my own fault, is the lack of pictures! I was so overwhelmed with joy and kept myself so busy that I completely bypassed taking any photos of the night. None of the bar, none of the set up and only one or two of the preparation. Amateur error, but one I know is so so important for next time!

Me & Elli - on the bouncy castle rave cave post party!

I've blabbered enough for one day, so thank you as always, if you've made it this far! I have a lot more info to update everyone on, so stay tuned for the next chapter of this business journey!


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:
thewonderbar.uk@outlook.com

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:
Facebook
Twitter
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….