We had the good fortune of connecting with Zoe Richards and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zoe, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
One of my closest friends had been dreaming of buying a vintage trailer and converting it into a mobile bar and I thought it was the coolest idea. Around the time she purchased a trailer, I saw a mobile bar in action at another event and was completely sold on wanting to do it too. Since we live in different states, I knew she wouldn’t view me as a competitor but I also didn’t want to upset her by stealing her idea, since that is exactly what I was doing. I sent her a text to ask if she would be ok with me starting the same business and her response was “Yessss!! Do it!!!” I wasn’t surprised by her response since she is the best hype-woman and most supportive friend. It’s also been really fun navigating the business together and having someone to discuss best practices with.
While that is how I initially had the idea for the business, it wasn’t completely on a whim. I have been working in the event and alcohol industries since 2010 and have always had entrepreneurial aspirations. Not only did I know I would love doing this because of my passion for playing with flavors and cocktail design, I also really enjoy the logistics of curating memorable moments for event attendees. Before I dove in, I did extensive market research to make sure there was a need for my business and made sure it was legally feasible. Most importantly, I convinced my boyfriend to take the leap with me. Being an amazingly talented wood-worker, I knew I needed him on board to help me turn a 1964 vintage camp trailer into a beautiful fully-functional bar as well as maintain it!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The Old Fashioned is a mobile cocktail bar built in a vintage camper trailer. We focus in private parties (anything from large weddings to small social gatherings) and brand activations for companies looking to have their event set-up stand out in a crowd. After seeing other similar businesses all following the same look and feel, we wanted to make sure our set-up was unique. We built a vintage bar and wanted that original character to be seen in every possible detail. We kept as many original pieces as we could and incorporated 1960’s elements throughout. Like our bar, we know that every event is unique, we work closely with those hosting to make sure their personality and vision is shown through their beverage experience.
We attribute our growth to networking, connections and the power of social media. Reaching out to event venues in the area and taking The Old Fashioned to them to check out has been a great way for us to get on preferred vendor lists and grow our clientele. As well as sending introduction packets to local event planners.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Reno, NV is our home and Lake Tahoe is our playground! If my best friend came to visit in the summer months, we’d pack a gourmet picnic in a daypack and hike to one of the many alpine lakes on Donner Summit to enjoy it and go for a swim. Mountain bike on the most beautiful trail (arguably in the world) The Tahoe Flume Trail followed by a dip in Lake Tahoe and spend a day floating down the Truckee River. Evenings would be spent in Reno checking out the up and coming food and drink scene as well as fun events like Food Truck Fridays, Reno Artown and the Best of the West Rib Cook-Off.
Coming in the winter, we’d spend our days skiing at my favorite resorts; Alpine Meadows, Kirkwood and Mt Rose as well as hitting the backcountry for a day or two. Maybe even throw in an overnight backcountry hut trip on Donner Summit. Nothing is better after a long day of skiing than enjoying a delicious dinner at an one of the oldest ski lodges turned restaurant, Cottonwood, in Truckee, CA.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I definitely want to give a shoutout to my bestie for having the initial business idea, Jocelyn Buras. Her business hasn’t launched quite yet but when it does, it’s going to be incredible!
Allison Keasal, Owner of Forget Me Knot Events and Photographer, master referral giver and brand photographer, she has made our brand come to life through her images. And, she spends her free time hosting a networking group for female entrepreneurs. Planning a wedding in Tahoe, she is your girl!
My sister, Andrea Richards, has driven 7 hours on several occasions to help prep cocktail ingredients and bartend and she never lets me pay her a cent.
Farr.Photo Michael Mcsherry Photography