Coming from a technical background, Alex Leonov of The Barbox Co. has been able to translate the user experience from the digital world to the physical world using his love for design, awesome aesthetic experiences, and food and drink. The Barbox Co. offers a chic and contemporary mobile bar that stands out with its look and ability to be personalized. Read on to learn more…
Bustld: What do you think makes you different?
Alex: I think that there are three main things that make us different from other vendors in the wedding industry and in bartending services.
The first thing, we designed a contemporary bar out of a vintage horse trailer with the intent that it could be used and customized aesthetically for any event. So, the Barbox is our flagship. That’s what you see on our website, what we market. We do outdoor events; we’ve even done indoor events with the Barbox inside large barns or warehouses. We do the indoor bartending services as well; you don’t have to use Barbox. It provides a unique aesthetic for events. We have add-ons where we can build a miniature atmosphere outside of your event. We have beer garden tables, string lights, a draft system on the Barbox as well. We can do beer on tap, wine on tap, even pre-batched cocktails on tap. We can also just do craft cocktails and wine. So, it’s very versatile. For us, we are all about experiential design and creating a personalized touch.
The second thing is that we know that there are many moving pieces to planning a wedding. Our goal is to make that planning process as easy as possible for clients. A big part of that, from what we’ve found, is making sure the client just has less things to worry about. There are so many things going on, vendors quotes to be getting, small details, personalization, things like that.
What we do is we try to make it easy and affordable to say like, “You guys handle everything related to drinks.” We will take care of that end to end. Whether that’s building the drinks, and the cocktails, and the menu but also doing things like the permitting, liability coverage, making sure things are set up properly for your venue. We will handle that side of it, so you don’t have to worry about that. We found clients really like that because they can just move on to the other things they have to worry about for their big day.
I think the third thing is really that we do our best to provide that personalized touch in the form of menus that we’ll design for the event, including the drinks and the aesthetic. If you have a florist, we can work with them to dress up the Barbox with floral arrangements that match your aesthetic for your event. If you have a theme, we’ve done things like themed cocktails.
Bustld: How would you describe your style?
Alex: The horse trailer / bar concept is not unique to us. It was actually popularized in the UK. And there are various horse trailer bar concepts all over the country. None quite do what we do in building a miniature atmosphere at an event, so we have our own take on it.
When we were first trying to determine what our style would be when we were first starting the company, we basically created a scale. The scale was, basically, think of it like a spectrum; on one end of the spectrum you have rustic, on the other end of the spectrum you have like classic or vintage. When we were creating mood board and looking at other concepts, that’s a lot of what we saw. We saw these horse trailer bars with a lot of exposed wood and earthy tones on the rustic end, great for farm weddings. And on the other end, you had these really shiny, very colorful, bright, vintage-looking horse trailers with the chrome, and light blues and yellows. We were trying to figure out where do we want to fit on that. We actually went straight down the middle. I would describe us as chic or contemporary. We use white, black, a lot of neutral colors. We have some sheen on the Barbox, but it’s not a whole lot. The intent was this could be an offering that would be viable at a wedding, corporate event or a birthday party.
Bustld: How would you describe your ideal client?
Alex: When it comes to weddings specifically, our ideal client is definitely in the millennial generation. A lady between 27 to 33 years old that’s interested in having an outdoor wedding. Maybe she is into things like design or interior decorating. Someone who has an eye for detail where those little things matter, those little pieces of personalized touch.
Bustld: Why do your clients hire you?
Alex: I think couples choose us because they love the aesthetic of the Barbox and they like the versatility of it. And how we can build that miniature atmosphere to activate an outdoor space. They also hire us because we are very flexible in terms of giving them that personal touch and working with them. Like, we know in the planning process, things can often change a lot. Especially when you’re planning your wedding six months out and you may not know your final guest count yet. The way we create our quote and pricing, we have to go by guest count. We have to know how much alcohol to bring and how long to stay. We will use your guest count as an estimate, and when you put your deposit down it will lock down your date with us, but we tell our clients that things can change. So, if your guest count drops before that final balance, we can work with you on that so you don’t feel like you over bought.
Bustld: What is the best part of being in the wedding industry?
Alex: While it can be a little more stressful than some of the kinds of events we do, just because it is high stakes, the best part of being in this space is seeing people’s face when they see the Barbox and also other vendors that have worked so hard to give them a personalized experience. When they come up to the bar and they finally see that craft cocktail that was created just for them. And they feel like, wow, this really is my special day because this is all done for me.
I love seeing people happy and create memories through our experiential design. What we believe in, a big value of Barbox, we believe that food and drink are two of the most powerful forces in connecting people and bringing people together. We just want to create experiences for people so they can create memories. Some of the best memories people have are around food and drink. For us, we are super excited to see people’s faces and see how happy they are when we create something special for them.
Bustld: What's your favorite moment on wedding day?
Alex: The best moment is really right after the ceremony. That’s when everybody is the most hype. It just happened. It’s hard to not be happy. It’s the climax. It’s all this buildup and stress; once that happens there is a lot relief. People can just relax, hang out, talk and have a good drink.
Bustld: Tell us about your backstory and the company background.
Alex: I am one of two owners. The other owner, Shaunak Turaga, and I have been best friends for eight years now. We’ve known each other for a long time – knew each other in school, professionally, as well and been in business together.
The company’s backstory… we had originally worked on an idea called Bark, which was going to be a bar dog park in Raleigh. We had been working on that business idea for a while but due to the regulatory climate in Raleigh and financial feasibility of the idea we had to put that on hold. In the same vein of experiential design, we wanted to go that route and have our business be aligned with our values.
Originally, we were going to build a bar out of a shipping container, but we were thinking how can we pair that idea down and make it mobile. Horse trailer was the natural next step. We worked with a fabricator to design the Barbox, build it out, renovate it from a vintage horse trailer. We created our website and started booking clients.
We are actually both from a technical background but we both love food and drink. My mom has an interior design business and I’ve always been really interested in interior design. Shaunak’s mom has an Indian spices business called Mama T’s. We are both very into design, creating awesome aesthetic experiences, and food and drink. And we always have been. We are both from software engineering backgrounds. Even though that might sound really technical and logical, a big part of that is user experience. There are pieces that we’ve been able to translate from the digital world to the physical world as well.
Contact The Barbox Co. team today by clicking HERE.