Pandemic inspires innovation for two young female entrepreneurs to launch a unique hospitality venture that is already resonating with millions
We now find ourselves passing the half-way mark of 2020, and it’s been a wild ride. Surely, an unexpected one, but nonetheless, the ‘unprecedented times’ ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic have become our certain reality (at least, for now). And although global circumstances have presented no shortage of challenges of both the economic and personal variety, they have also provided us with an inspiring takeaway: pressure makes diamonds. Or, in this case, a pandemic breeds innovation.
Despite the strain felt by countless industries and brands over the last five months, the COVID-19 era has acted as a catalyst to the creation of some incredible, imaginative business concepts. The latest to capture our attention?
Teardrop Tap, Minnesota’s new, unique Teardrop trailer bartending service catering to all events and celebrations (and an admittedly perfect fit for anyone’s Instagram aesthetic). Imagined and brought to life by longtime best friends Abigail Christensen and Madison Page, the traveling tap is affectionately described as “their idea of an adult ice cream truck.”
Eager to learn more about their recent innovation, we caught up with Abby to discuss the inspiration for their new venture, pandemic entrepreneurship, and their vision for the future.
When asked about the origin story of Teardrop Tap, Abby shares that she and co-founder Madison Page arrived at the idea in an unexpected way. “Madison and I love to host parties and backyard sand volleyball days with friends and family,” she explains. “One day, we found ourselves joking around about fun travel ideas, and then we both had a light bulb go off at the same time. Why not convert a camper trailer into a traveling tap? We looked at each other with the same thought, “Wait a minute… we could totally do this!” After all, what’s more fun than a traveling tap on wheels?”
It would seem that prospective consumers agree. Since announcing their new venture on LinkedIn, the post has generated almost 20,000 likes and over 1,000 comments. One user notes that the Teardrop Tap service is a perfect fit for golf tournaments, food truck events, outdoor weddings, employee outings, and more — especially when considering the wider implications of the pandemic. After all, business models are rapidly changing to remain in lockstep with ‘the new normal’, with self-service experiences leading the charge.
In fact, the 2020 Trend Hunter report reveals the rise of e-commerce pop-up activations, in which companies are testing retail locations temporarily by offering curated pop-up spaces for their products. A service such as Teardrop Tap fits nicely into this emerging format, adding a boutique flair to temporary pop-up events for a variety of industries.
Continuing, Abby explained, “Madison’s husband overheard us talking and offered to build us one on the spot under one condition — we had to create a business plan, so he knew we were serious about the idea. So, Madison and I instantly got to work. But not only did we create a business plan, but we also designed the tap itself, created a brand, and dug into market research (event and venue trends, pricing, etc.). Then, we presented our plans to Madison’s husband and, well, let’s just say the rest is history.”
Speaking to the attention they’ve received since their announcement, Abby admits they are completely blown away. “To date, we are at 1.2 million views and a little over 200 shares! I think the fact that Teardrop Tap is a female-owned business resonates with people and, of course, the unique idea behind it. Teardrop Tap was the lovechild of out of the box thinking, and it’s easy to see the hard work, careful ideation, and labor (literally) that went into building and developing the business.”
Although the Teardrop Tap wheels were in motion before the pandemic hit (November 2019, to be precise), Abby shares that the experience made them even more determined to bring their idea to life. “Did our business plan stay the same? Surprisingly, yes. If anything, the pandemic allowed us to get even more creative with strategies, think outside the box, and bring a service to market that is now more relevant than ever.”
More relevant than ever is entirely correct. A recent report on Global Consumer Trends measuring the impacts of COVID-19 on consumer behavior notes that takeout restaurants (and similar service models) can likely expect a ‘faster return to normal’ than sit-in restaurants.
Teardrop Tap finds itself in a unique and flexible position, in that it provides guests with enhanced autonomy over their experience and forgoes the need for indoor bar service at events. As bars and restaurants work to reimagine their traditional format(s), a traveling bar suited to a variety of events ranging in occasion and scale presents an attractive solution for ‘the new normal.’
According to the same report, the good news for all small businesses is that even more people (56%) agreed that they would favor smaller businesses wherever they could (up from 36% pre-pandemic), and increases were similar across all countries. Similar double-digit percentage point increases were observed across generations as well 34% to 50% for GenZ; 37% to 55% for Millennials; 33% to 55% within GenX; and 38% to 60% of Baby Boomers. For Teardrop Tap (and any small business underdogs, for that matter), this represents a reassuring shift in consumer behavior.
Of course, that’s not to say Abby and Madison haven’t put extensive measures in place to ensure the safety of their customers amidst the on-going pandemic. “In addition to our health and sanitizing regulations per the state of Minnesota, we will also be wearing masks and keep hand sanitizer with us at every booking,” she explains. “We are also building a table that will have plexiglass installed in the front for added sanitary measures. We know some of our events may not have attendees in masks, so we think this is a great extra precaution for us and our taps!” Sip and stay safe, seems to be the motto here. For Abby and Madison, the future seems to be approaching at full-speed, with Teardrop Tap on a trajectory for rapid growth in the coming years. “Madison and I currently work corporate 9-5 jobs, so we figured it would be a fun side business. We had a 5-year plan, which included the possibility of franchising the business later on, but we have been absolutely flooded with franchise inquiries, so we may take that step sooner than anticipated!” Ultimately, she shares, they would love to franchise their business and act as consultants for entrepreneurs-to-be who are ready to start their own mobile tap.
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