Last week a reporter for the Burlington Post came to interview me about Bauer Barrels. Here is the feature article that they were kind enough to write about us.
Burlington woman vying for Mompreneur of the Year honour
Ian Holroyd – Special to Burlington Post
A Burlington mom’s new business is not only proving lucrative, but she says it’s a barrel of fun.
Last year, Ashley Thorpe-Bauer and her husband Dave Bauer founded Bauer Barrels. Their company makes handcrafted furniture from reclaimed Ontario wine barrels and each piece of furniture is custom made and unique. Knock Off Breitling high replica watches
While, the 31-year-old mom is busy raising her one- and two-year-old daughters, she somehow finds the time and energy to be an entrepreneur — or mompreneur in her case.
When the girls go down for their afternoon nap, Thorpe-Bauer tackles the administrative duties of her business like social media marketing, sending emails and accounting.
Once the girls are put to bed at night, she and her husband head to the garage to sand and stain wine barrels until the wee hours.
“It may be nine o’clock when we start working but it’s really nice just to have that (time together),” said Thorpe-Bauer, a Central High School grad. “We could sit and watch TV but we enjoy doing it. We love it.
“A lot of people like that we use reclaimed wood. Obviously we have to buy hinges and things like that but everything else, we try to use sustainable resources.”
Thorpe-Bauer said Bauer Barrels came about unexpectedly. She and her husband were looking to make unique Christmas presents for their parents.
They found some wine barrels for sale online and thought they could do something interesting with them, so they set about building two coffee tables.
“People started going over to their house and seeing the tables and that’s when we started getting questions like, ‘Could you make one for us?’” said Thorpe-Bauer.
In April, the couple decided to put up a Facebook page to see what kind of interest they would get for their tables. That’s when the business really took off.
“We’ve probably made about 50 tables in the last nine months,” said Thorpe-Bauer.
Bauer Barrel tables are made of a reclaimed wine barrel, which is cut in half and mounted on a base. A tabletop is then placed on the open side of the barrel to complete the table.
“Each wine barrel has a story behind it. You know the type of wine that was in it,” she said. “People get really excited which makes us really excited.”
It takes between 35 and 40 hours of labour to make one table and that includes, sanding, four to five coats of varnish and construction.
“They take a long time to build but we want to make sure everything’s right,” said Thorpe-Bauer. “You assume they’re going to be in someone’s home for a long time so you have to make sure they’re done right.”
The local mompreneur has established partnerships with several wineries in the Niagara region to purchase their barrels once they are no longer useful.
“Wineries can only use them for five years and then the oak doesn’t come out of them anymore,” she explained. “It loses that flavour and that scent and so at that point they can’t do anything with them.”
Bauer Barrels has also expanded to make other products including dog beds, end tables and they’ve even begun renting wine barrels as decorations to weddings and charity events.
However, Thorpe-Bauer wants to take her business even higher.
Winning Mompreneur of the Year would help make that possible.
The Mompreneur Award of Excellence celebrates innovative ideas and creative solutions from moms in business. The grand prize is $30,000 in cash and prizes.
The winners are decided by online votes. Votes are accepted once per day for each nominee. The top 10 finalists will be scrutinized by a panel of judges and from that group, the Mompreneur of the Year will be crowned.
Bauer Barrels is currently sitting in 12th place. To vote for the Burlington business, visit Bauerbarrels.com and click on the link. Voting closes on Sunday, March 2.
The winner of the Mompreneur of the Year will be announced March 22 at a ceremony in Toronto.
If she wins, Thorpe-Bauer hopes to use some of the prize money to help restore the materials Bauer Barrels uses in their products.
“It’s really important to us that we’re using reclaimed materials,” she said. “We’ve said from the beginning that we’d like to put some of (the winnings) towards a charity that plants trees.
“Because we use pine and oak, we want to make sure everything we’re doing is sustainable.”
For more information about Bauer Barrels, visit www.bauerbarrels.com, www.facebook.com/BauerBarrels or email firstname.lastname@example.org.