When I left my job in the nonprofit sector in September 2022 to work on this business full time, I knew that I was going to need to be agile. There were so many growth opportunities and I simply wanted to see what would work best for me and the business I wanted to create. After 4 months, I came to the realization that running a business solely online is more challenging than I realized and I needed to find a way to meet my customers where they were at. My goal is to open a flower and wine bar as a brick and mortar in the future, so my husband, Jeff, and I started brainstorming different ways that we could continue to push towards that dream.
We made a wish list - a list of dream events that we could host or be a part of if we operated with a different model. When that was complete, we explored a lot of different options and landed on a mobile bar that could operate both as a flower bar and a wine bar depending on the type of event we were attending. We were inspired by some incredible flower trucks, tap trucks and mobile bar trailers that are currently operating on the East Coast and in the South out of converted horse trailers. It was the perfect size, investment and aesthetic for us and we thought - what is stopping us from doing this too?! With that, the horse trailer mobile bar was set in motion.
Now, if you've ever worked on a project with me, you know that once I've landed on an idea, it's all systems go. Within a week of deciding this was the route we wanted to take, I was driving out to El Centro to purchase a gorgeous 2 horse trailer I'd found on Facebook Marketplace. We purchased the trailer and the seller even drove it back to my house for me because I got nervous - when it was time to drive away, I finally had to admit to myself I'd never pulled a trailer before and it was a lot harder to do in a small SUV than I thought (oops!).
The process of deciding which trailer worked best was more complicated than I had imagined. I originally thought I would purchase a trailer that was already built out as a mobile bar so the conversions would be a bit easier. I ended up going to look at one with cash in hand to purchase and while the price was right, it was going to require a lot more work than I had anticipated. After that visit, I decided that building it myself was a better option so I could have a blank canvas. I will preface this by saying I come from a family that LOVES to DIY and build things from scratch. From the day I purchased my home, nearly every birthday and Christmas present included a tool of some kind, so the tools I had on hand were not what you might think of as average for a newly-married couple living in the suburbs of San Diego. So before you decide to do the buildout yourself, be sure you have access to tools and space to renovate. I'll list out the tools used as I go!
After that decision was made, it was time to identify the trailer itself. So many that were within my price range were either 1) completely run down and needing a full on new build, 2) so heavy that my small SUV couldn't pull it or 3) a bill of sale only (no title in hand). While I consider myself pretty handy, I knew a full build was not in the cards for me, especially because I wanted to complete this project within a short window of time. I reached out to so many buyers and FaceTimed with a few to get a sense of the trailers quality if they were outside of San Diego County. When I saw the trailer I eventually purchased, it checked all of my boxes. It had been very clearly well cared for, it wasn't used daily so the wear and tear was limited and for the most part, it had been stored in a barn which limited the rust and damage. All and all, it was an amazing purchase!
Ready to go home!
The trailer itself was designed for horses - there was a divider down the middle, super heavy duty doors on the back and other features that were necessary for livestock, but not necessarily for serving customers. I immediately started looking for a welder to help us make a few customizations. We found Joel at JG Mobile Welding who immediately saw the vision I was going for. I dropped it off to him the next day and a week later, I had a custom built door on the side of the trailer, no divider on the inside and no doors.
A blank canvas thanks to JG Mobile Welding
While Joel was working his magic, I spent my time getting super clear on what I wanted the trailer to look like. I scoured the internet, watching YouTube videos and reading blogs to get a sense of what steps I would need to take and in what order. I stumbled upon Noble Dizzigns, an absolute genius of a woman who detailed the steps of her mobile bar conversion on YouTube. I made lists and schematics based on her recommendations and even emailed her to ask a couple questions (she responded!!) to make sure I was creating the right foundation. By the time I picked up the trailer, I was ready to work.
In the next post, I'll outline the steps I took on the interior to create the functionality and aesthetic I was looking for. Subscribe to the newsletter to follow along!