Horse Trailer Turned Mobile Bar
As a single mom at a young age, Teresa Dominguez has always been focused on her professional career and her children. After many years of that juggle, Teresa began to feel like she was losing herself in her roles as mother, girlfriend, and full-time professional. She also felt the common burn-out after having your nose to the grind for so long. “I felt like I really needed something for myself,” said Teresa. “I needed an outlet, to be able to get away and do things that I enjoy alone, which I never had time to do.” So, in 2019 Teresa started the process of creating and opening her own side business. After seeing the popularity of mobile bar trailers on the East Coast, Teresa thought that idea would be perfect in the East Bay. “It took eight months just to get the bar designed, refurbished, and shipped over from New York.” The excitement and anticipation were overwhelming; however, after all of that time bringing her vision to life, Teresa’s perfect bar landed in her driveway in March 2020, days before the pandemic shut everything down. “I just cried. I had put all of that money and time into something that might never be.” So, it was up to Teresa to pivot her business model.
With nobody hosting gatherings, inside or outside, Teresa was unable to utilize her bar in any capacity. With the name of Sips and Baubles already selected, Teresa was able to incorporate jewelry as the “baubles” and started searching for wholesale items. Sips and Baubles’ first official market in the community was in February 2021 at Makers Boulevard. “Jewelry was not part of my original plan, but I had to find a way to make it work in the meantime,” said Teresa. “I brought my trailer to the market just as a backdrop behind the jewelry, marketing my business but not actually serving any beverages. Then that became the talking point, people asking why I had a horse trailer with me and why it had taps in the back. It just spiraled from there.” Teresa continued to only sell her baubles for an entire year before she was able to officially serve drinks from her bar. As she received interest and inquiries about the bar, Teresa slowly scaled back her market commitments in order to leave her schedule open for events. “If it wasn’t for Katie and the Makers Boulevard allowing me to bring my trailer to the market, I would not have been where I am today in this community.”
As the world began opening back up, outdoor gatherings slowly started to take place. Teresa’s bar tops were extended in order to further distance the bartenders from the clients. She was also able to inform clients of the measurements so that they knew the distance, as well as offered to wear masks in order to make them more comfortable. Teresa’s first serving event was a wedding in Martinez that was in the driveway, and she was able to garner multiple future clients just from that one gathering. One of the ways that Sips and Baubles is able to enhance any gathering is with their unique, custom craft cocktails. “People like what they like, but certain clientele wants something brand new for them to serve their guests,” said Teresa. “Everything we offer is cohesive to the event’s theme and décor so that we fit esthetically, including our drinks and optional themed drink menu.” Clients can select up to three signature cocktails, and Teresa can provide all of the necessary mixers and garnishes. Open bar and additional drinks are also available, as well as the option for Teresa and her staff to simply be the bartenders with provided products.
Teresa, her sister, and her three additional staff members are available for any type of event from weddings to baby showers to birthdays. “I have my first bat mitzvah coming up, which I’m excited for. We’ve also done celebrations of life; we’re grateful to be there to uplift people’s spirits in a moment like that. Any and every milestone, we’re here for it.” Teresa’s favorite part of this venture is the connections she’s made with individuals who have become like family. “I’m going into my third year, and I’m now doing weddings, baby showers, and first birthdays for people who hired me for their engagement!” If your event is smaller, Teresa has mobile bar carts that can accommodate a lesser number of people versus the trailer. Clients can choose from the “bubbly bar” champagne cart, the rustic bar (weathered wood), and the farmhouse bar (painted white). Price, guest count, and location can determine the best fit, and Teresa is more than willing to go over packages with potential clients.
This year promises big things for Sips and Baubles. Teresa has announced that she will be offering consulting for other established bars or those in the process of opening their business. “I already get so many messages and questions, and I divulge information to people,” said Teresa. “I had no one to bounce ideas off of when I started my journey.” Teresa will be providing a four-week course to help set businesses up for success, and even though spectators may wonder why she would help her competitors, Teresa doesn’t look at it through that lens. “There is so much business to go around, I simply cannot accept it all. At the end of the day, I want people to be able to have a bar or trailer at their event.” As for seeing her beautiful trailer at more Brentwood events, Teresa doesn’t plan on going anywhere. “I have branched out and done markets in Livermore and Martinez, which was fun, but I just love the community in Brentwood. It feels like home, seeing all the familiar faces. I belong here.”
Photos by: Provided