In a not-so-subtle attempt to ride the coat tails of the Great American Beer Festival, happening in our backyard this week, today I blog about what Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture, Inc, has in common with brewers of delicious microbrew beer.
What we have in common:
1. They really, really like beer & we really, really like beer. Ryan and I have been drinking good microbrews for a long time. We met in Bellingham, Washington, a great town for good beer. Through my HeidiTown travels, we’ve been able to visit taprooms and meet beer brewers all over Colorado and beyond. We’ve both developed an excellent palate when it comes to beer, although I think mine is better, just don’t tell Ryan.
2. They are entrepreneurs & we are entrepreneurs. Like us, brewers are small business owners trying to make it in a corporate world full of cheaper and inferior products.
3. They believe in their product & we believe in our product. While beer brewers often collaborate with one another, ultimately each believes they are putting out a superior product. Belief in one’s self and one’s product is crucial to the success of any small business, especially when the product is handmade.
What we don’t have in common:
1. They can sell product for $5 & we can't sell our product for $5. Brewers are dependent on lots and lots of people enjoying their beer enough to buy lots and lots of pints. They depend on customers with discriminating beer tastes, and we depend on discriminating customers who enjoy the finer things in life and are willing to pay for it. In a lot of ways, this is something we have in common with beer brewers – the only real difference is in the price points.
2. Beer brewers are a new level of awesome & we're just awesome. While designing and building furniture may be one of those cool professions a lot of guys dream of doing – in Colorado it seems like everyone wants to be a brewer. And if you can do it well and turn it into a profitable business, everyone here thinks that’s the bomb. We can’t compete with that level of awesome.
3. Brewers have beards & we do not have facial hair. We have noticed a trend among Colorado brewers and that’s facial hair. I first noticed it while at the Estes Park Winter Festival - over half the brewers in attendance were sporting beards. This weekend, at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, I’m going to see if this is a trend catching on in other parts of the country, or if this furry face thing is specific to Colorado.
Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer is co-owner of Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture, Inc. She is also a full-time freelance writer and founder of HeidiTown.com.