We are ready to Grow and Give back!
But first a little back story might be nice right?
I’m Ashlie, mom of five, wife of 10 years and the boss lady of The Bare Bar. Rewind to August of 2019 when I took off on a solo trip to Utah to find myself in the midst of a way to early onset of a mid life crisis and a dramatic need to find a stronger purpose to my career. In search of something that would set my soul of fire and allow my creative thinking to run wild and build a life I could look back on and say “Damn you’re a little badass”. I found my self walking up to the sounds of the desert in a tee pee all on my own at the but crack of dawn before the sun could even kiss my skin, to search for myself in the depths the Narrows. A beautiful land scape to search for one’s self and dive deep into your thoughts with zero interruptions. On the shuttle drive up to this breathtaking monument, I listen to the prerecorded voice of a man from the Paiute tribe speak of the land’s history. As his tale ended, he mentions that if you listen hard enough you can actually hear the canyon speak back to you and it did just that. Right there at an elevation of 5,900 ft and an 11.9-mile hike in and back out, after 6 hours 4 minutes and 53 second alone yet surrounded by thousands of strangers I sat down, exhausted, hungry, and in awe of the beauty that was all around me, the idea and birth of the Bare Bar sat and marinated in the for front of my mind. I headed back home knowing the trip was just what I needed to reset and begin to build the foundation of a career that I could be proud of.
Fast forward to January 1st as I sat in my office and over 16 hours had passed by without me even blinking. My kids and my husband entered the room and laid a single piece of paper in front of me. I moved it to the side, and he says “Hey, take a break you need to eat something, and I know that doesn’t look interesting but take a closer look.” I stopped leaned back in my chair looked at him and stretched out for a second. I looked down to the paper he had give me and it read Articles of Organization the Bare Bar LLC. I looked up and just laughed, this nervous excited almost embarrassed laugh. I wanted to hide within myself. A little self-doubt creeped its way in. He tilted his head and said “Well this is real now, your officially your own boss, and we are selling this house to live this out” the doubt worked its way out and pride stepped in to demand its spot. Towards the end of January, we began to search for prospective spaces for the Bare Bar to come alive. As I was leaving my job at the time, my husband sent me an address of a space he had come across on LoopNet 2907 Huron St Suite 105 Denver Colorado it was on my way home, so I stopped by and right then and there we had found the Bare Bars home. In this small feeling yet fairly large community called Union Station North I had already married the idea of this being the beginning of a a dream I never actual thought id be brave enough to live out. I immediately called my agent and she said, “No Ash, it’s just a Real Estate Office sharing other listing.” I did not like that response…. So, did what any other stubborn women on a mission would do and called the place myself! A gentleman answered and said yes, we have plenty of homes in the area we would be happy to share with you. I responded very bluntly ‘No the space you’re in. I want to look at the space your in.” He said “ohhhh yes, yes when can you come by and I made an appointment right then. I was so freaking excited yet terrified to then tell my agent who happens to be a FRIEND that we had a meeting to see the place she told me wasn’t available. I think I may have even left that hard call up to my husband, I was so embarrassed that I called anyway. It wasn’t long after that, that we subleased the space and signed on the dotted line on February 14th. We begin the build out with a grand opening date of March 21, 2020. Little did we know that the studio would be forced to close due to the pandemic until May 8th. We could have never predicted the roller coaster ride we had signed up for, with seatbelts fastened all we could to is hold on and pray the pandemic didn’t Barry us alive. To top it off we received a letter from our landlord on March 23 that property taxes went up and our NNN would be increasing it was another blow to add to list. We remand hopefully that things would turn around once things opened back up again despite the expenses accrued over the closers with no revenue coming in, only going out.
We did a soft opening on May 11th and all of our worries almost melted away. We now had a fighting chance or so we thought. Restaurants could open back up for in person dining and we started to see more and more people out and about. Our books were adding new clients and we could see the light. Then like a giant bang it screeched to a halt. The restaurants were closed back down. The state was seeing an increase in cases and we felt the impact of all the lost service industry jobs almost immediately. Clients were cancelling. The phones were not ringing. The few months of covering expenses vanished behind us. One by one we lost staff members. Our original team of seven found itself down to just 2.
One simple appointment opened the doors to new opportunities for my business. I had a woman come in for a simple service and we started talking. During our conversation I told her my story. My client decided to share that story with a colleague of hers that is in public relations. This amazing woman reached out and said she wanted to hear how we were doing with the pandemic and wanted to know if I would be willing to meet with her over a Zoom call for a quick 30 minute chat. I agreed and then after an hour and a half of me and her trading tears, she said she wanted to try to help me. She was going to get my story out there to try to get more support for my business. A month had gone by and I was starting to think maybe I was helpless. Out of nowhere she called again and wanted to know if I would have time to talk to a New York Times reporter. I was floored and within a few days I found my picture on the front page of the New York Times Business section and a two-paragraph blurb about how I sold my wedding ring to keep the rent collectors at bay. A week or so later our local CBS affiliate reached out and asked for an interview and I found myself on the silver screen for a 3 minute segment. Both of these experiences were amazing but I hadn’t really seen any growth within the studio.
A couple weeks after my evening television debut I was contacted by NPR about doing an interview for a show called Marketplace. I again agreed to do a pre-recorded interview with the host and after a crazy 36 hours post airing of my interview, I got this idea for crowdfunding. Now this is were things are going to get exciting.
I had so many people reach out and want to know how they can help or where they could send me money. Just in case you did not know I am a very prideful person and don’t like to take handouts from anyone. So here is my plan. I want to raise money to not only support my business but do it through giving back to those in our community that mean so much to us. I am asking anyone that can to donate to give us a donation. I am going to take this money and find first responders, service industry employees, and even just that single mom that needs an hour of “me time” and give them a professional quick facial and skin care analysis. Providing these services and funding them through your donations will help me keep my doors open during these crazy times but maybe more importantly it will allow us to give back to the people that have been hit the hardest during all of this.
So far, we have raised enough to give away 14 facials. We are reaching out to the West Bowles Church Women’s Group, Denver Health, and Orchard Church to help find members of our community that are most deserving. We don’t want to stop here, and we believe there are many more people out their that deserve to have this experience. Thank you in advance for helping us reach our goal of helping as many people as we can while also helping us keep our doors open during this unprecedented pandemic.
The Bare Bar Team
Hear more of our story here: