Image by John Schnobrich

Holy Moly Pandemic!

I didn't see that one coming. Did you?

This has been one heck of a year! As we quickly approach the Bare Bar's one year anniversary (Est. May 11th 2020, only 50 days later then planned, Thanks a lot Pandemic), I cant help but reflect on what I've learned this past year. However instead of focusing to much on the struggles this year has thrown our way. We want to focus on all the amazing opportunities we have had this past year meeting all of you who have continued to show your love and support through trying times nonetheless and returning each month helping our baby grow.

We have had many awesome Bare Babes come and go. Each leaving their own unique print on our first year in biz.

Thank you so Freaking much for showing up to the studio each month and sharing what you've been doing during a pandemic! Some of your stories have been funny, exciting, adventurous, others heavy, heart breaking and flat out EMOTIONAL. Still I have truly enjoyed building connections in this community like never before in my 7 years in this industry and it is a true treasure... Here is to a hopeful 2021!

P.S. You never know what doors kindness alone can open for you. So after the year we just had, lets breath through the hard times and dance like there's live music again to all the rest !

 xo, Ash


Writing by the Water

Did anyone listen to our NPR chat with Kia Ryssdal? 

NPR/Marketplace: Denver beauty bar was shut by pandemic before it even opened

If you did we are now in the middle of June and I cant freaking believe it!!!

I saved my ass off for 6 months. My hubby and I sold our dream home paid off all our debt and forced the whole family to bunk up to make the The Bare Bar a reality. I knew I wanted to open this place with no ones help (except my husband who has been a BOULDER of support, a rock is to small of a metaphor for him. ) NO loans, NO lines of credit just cash in the bank ,a dream and passion so big that only a global pandemic could rock it.  After we sold our home, paid our debt off and put 150 k into the studio, we only had roughly 6 months of reserves to make this place come to life. Because we only had 6 months reserve our landlord requested that we either sub-lease from the current tenants or give him 70k up front as a safety net which we didn't have so we were forced into  sub-lease just to snatch this place. This made us nervous like maybe we didn't save enough ( WE DIDN'T ) so My husband immediately took out a loan from his retirement to keep us a float (Thank God). I felt good like passion would get me through this amazing new venture and Id be able to pay him back for that in a year maybe two. That  hope came to a screeching halt March 17th when they announced the safer at home order all businesses closed! For what we thought would be two weeks that quickly turned into two months. As I watched businesses that were around for years ( Like since I was a kid years.) start to close, I felt the fear creeping up. I pushed it down and tried to keep a strong exterior.  We had a really rough start opening the studio May 11th 2020. Making a whopping $3,690. From opening day leading to October we only brought a total of 29k in and had already dished out 41k in leasing our space alone. This doesn't include all the small stuff guys payroll, supplies, software, internet, electricity, PPE and more. Although orders were lifted restrictions stayed in place and people weren't interested in  personal care services. 

Reaching out for PPP loans,  SBA loans, EIDL were are failures rejection, after rejection, after rejection. I signed my lease February 14th of 2020.  I had to show a loss of revenue starting Feb 15th and had to have proof of a year of profits before that date to compare my loss. So According to the government I didn't suffer any loss and I'm on my own.

October brought hope! As restrictions loosened up people started coming in and we brought in 9k that month. I felt the weight lighten, the load didn't feel so heavy and the sun shined through the clouds a little differently. November numbers dropped 3k. December Numbers Dropped Another 1k. I was forced to face a reality that still makes me sick to my stomach. I decided I didn't want to let go of any staff. Some had left on their own already because we were just way to slow.  I wanted to keep who I could so I sold my wedding ring for 12 K. I went to my land lord and told him I couldn't pay rent. He gave me a break for three months tacking that amount on to the end off 2021. After agreeing to help me out which was and awesome gesture, he had to inform me that my rent was increasing for the second time since signing my lease in 2020. I went from paying $5200 a month to now $5900 a month making my lease 7k for the last four months of 2021.

I felt defeated. Depressed and my overall mental heath was not in a good place. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I felt sorry for my self, regret over all the money I put into this place became overwhelming and I started opening up to clients about those stresses . One took my situation and shared it with a colleague.  She then requested a chat and asked me to share my story with her. It was supposed t be a 30 minute interview that turned into an hour. she then shared it with news outlets (check out our media page). The New York times picked it up and threw a picture off me on the front page of the Business section  The New York Times: It Could Be a Great Year, if Your Business Survives Winter When I read it..... I was again embarrassed, my failure sitting front and center for the world to read about. From there NPR picked it up and I will forever be grateful for that client laying on my treatment bed who told my story and saved me + my business!!!

I had soooo many strangers reach out to me and lend  supporting hands my way. So many people praying for me, my family, The Bare Bar and telling me to keep fighting, not to give up, push forward and here we are in the middle of June surviving. No where close to where I want to be but surviving.

Long story short Don't Give Up, embrace life's challenges. I'm banking on the thought that the climb after the fall will be well worth it.


Thanks to all the strangers who helped a normal chick keep a small business in Denver open. I didn't think we would make it this fair, each month is a challenge but well worth all that I have learned this past year. The Greatest of all lessons is showing one another compassion and support for absolutely no reason at all other then being human. 

XO, Ashlie