My biz story
Lots of people ask how I got here. Easy answer- I love margaritas, I love a good party, and I love horses. That equals a horse trailer bar, duh! We aren't here for the short answer though. We are here for the whole story to how I started The Wandering Wagon. So buckle up butter cup because it's the first time I've told it to people outside of my family and closest pals!
Rewind to 2018. I was a middle school teacher in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I loved my kids, my coworkers, and knew that I had fallen into the perfect career for me. I loved teaching and I was/am good at it! Even though I was loving my job I wanted to experience something new so I moved to Colorado. I got a job at a middle school in Denver and quickly became friends with the art teacher. Everything seemed awesome until a few weeks into the school year. The school culture at this new school was awful. I was miserable, crying more than I'd like to admit, and wanting to quit. About half the teachers quit before winter break and my new friend barely made it to October before quitting. I fell out of love with teaching. With the extremely low teacher pay in Colorado on top of hating my current job I decided it was time to leave teaching. I already had two degrees in teaching and didn't want to go back to school so I started brainstorming of new ideas.
I decided I was going to pursue entrepreneurship, which no one (including me) ever would have guessed. I started brainstorming some pretty awful business ideas. Throughout this process I felt guilty. I had become a teacher because I wanted to make change and I love kids. My biggest passion for the past 6 years had been working with other educators to close the opportunity gap between our white students and BIPOC students. I put everything into being a teacher and pushing to make real change in the schools I had worked in. I felt guilty that I would be leaving all that behind to focus on myself, my wallet, and my own happiness.
Due to this guilt I started to think of ways to be my own boss while simultaneously giving back to LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth. I came up with owning a venue. I figured I could make money on the weekends at a venue and use it for good during the week. It could be a place to host non-profits that I align with, a place to host classes for students of color around business ownership, and a safe place to hold groups for LGBTQ+ kiddos. I figured during the week and in the off season would be my time to give back. Sounds awesome, right? Well, L O L at me for thinking that I could afford to start a venue. It was time to think about other ideas.
Throughout my venue obsession I started saving all these venue on my pinterest board. That is how I came across mobile bars. I saw a horse trailer bar and thought that one day I would turn my first 1992 horse trailer into a bar to sit at my venue. More and more mobile bars started filling my feed and after realizing that I couldn't afford a venue I had the aha moment that I could start this journey with a mobile bar. It all immediately made sense. I am a people person, my dad owned a restaurant so I started working in the service industry back when I was 15, I loved high quality cocktails, and I am always down for a good party.
This realization happened in February of 2019 and by March I had a business name, an LLC, an and Instagram. I reached out to Tassie with The Pour Horse to talk about a bar build and she was available! I went all in and was obsessed. I have ADHD and OCD which means that when I get into something I cannot stop myself. I was working, networking, and brainstorming during every free second of the day and was determined to make this business work. I bought a truckster bar that was already built in June of 2019 and the horse trailer was done being built in September of 2019. Silly me for thinking we would get weddings that late into the season, such a rookie. We served one dinner and then we were done for our first season.
I left my school in DPS and got a job in Jeffco at a very different kind of school. It was an affluent school which I don't love but the emotional toll working here is far less. It was even lower pay than Denver but in a program that was a piece of cake. I knew I wouldn't love it as much as my first teaching job in Minneapolis but I knew this position would leave me with the mental and emotional capacity to keep building this business when I got home after school. Things were looking great for 2020 and then COVID hit. What was my real first season ended up being in the middle of a pandemic which was definitely not ideal but I was very glad that I still had my teaching job. I just kept on building and networking while focusing on the 8 micro weddings I did have that summer.
Fast forward to the 2021 season and things are booming. We were fully booked every month of the 2021 season and I had to learn very quickly. I am so thankful for my team of bartenders, especially my lead bartender. Going from 8 to 50 weddings meant going through growing pains at an extraordinary rate. It was all about survival but that is my favorite way to learn (hello ADHD). Even though this first real season was exhausting we had an absolute blast. I am obsessed with this little business. From incredibly fun clients to the vendors that become family I truly know I am in the right place.
So what does the future hold? Right now I am geeking out on learning how to keep getting better before the 2022 season. We are getting workflows in order, I hired my bestie and biz partner from Wild Social to help with behind the scenes organization, and I am working on our new 2022 garden to glass menu! This is also my last year teaching! I will be diving into full time entrepreneurship beginning in May to focus on The Wandering Wagon and Wild Social Micro Weddings. One day there will be a little venue to complete the dream of being my own boss while also giving back to youth! Thank you to each and every person that has supported me in my business ventures! I am so dang excited for what the future holds!