How many among us can say we owned our own business at 24? Chessie Nally is an impressive young entrepreneur from Oxford who began her own business this year with a gorgeous 1959 Gloucester Caravan which has been converted into a bar. She now takes her bespoke vintage mobile bar (which she designed herself) to festivals and weddings across the UK. We asked her a little more about the secrets of running a successful business….
How did you come up with the name Midsummer Nightcap?
We made loads of suggestions on a family holiday in Italy. Midsummer night dream was my favourite Shakespeare play and also on my mood board for the business. I wanted a play on words, but ended up with ‘Urban Fridge’ when it was going to be more slush puppies and stuff. Then when Amy was designing logo we thought we wanted to change it to suit a caravan so went back to my list and picked that one.
How did you get the idea of starting Midsummer Nightcap?
I have always wanted to start my own business ever since I was a little kid. Me and my friends used to make mini stalls after schools selling painted rocks and flowers we picked from the garden. Having gone to university and spent the majority of my time working and running bars, I ended up buying a tuk-tuk after a trip to Kenya to start a mobile business renting it out for events, selling charity products and eventually becoming a slush puppy bar. I started working for an events company to gather experience in that world, and eventually decided on a vehicle to start Midsummer Nightcap. I had always loved caravans, and the vintage shabby chic look, and wanted to create something easy and simple which could fit in any event and be adapted to provide a bar for whatever was required!
What has been the hardest thing about setting up your own business?
Nothing is as simple or as easy as you think it would be- everything costs more, goes wrong, even if you plan for it. I found the only thing you can do is be able to laugh at things when they go wrong and just to keep trying, you can’t take it too seriously.
And what have been the perks?
Meeting loads of awesome people, the mobile bar and events business is very sociable and also generally a lot of fun, its so fantastic when you see everything working and people enjoying themselves and what you’ve created. Also I have so much more freedom than most of my friends do, which is always great.
What is your favourite cocktail?
Espresso Martini- which we serve on tap. Something to wake you up and get drunk!
What makes Midsummer Nightcap different/special?
I like to try and make Midsummer Nightcap special by making it fully adaptable and customisable, so that each event is different and what we do is for that particular event. We think about everything from what the staff wear, what we serve and the background music we play. We’re not run by a big brand or tied to any, we are just a small business trying to create a mobile bar providing exactly what you want for your event.
If you could start another business what would it be?
I would love to open a restaurant but that comes with its own struggles, or create a dog food company, one that creates cheap, natural, healthy food for dogs that doesn’t stink!
Who has helped you most along the way?
My dad one hundred percent- he is my best friend and business partner, he has been running his own business from before he was 20, and is the most supportive, creative person I know, and i wouldn’t have been able to do any of this with out him.
What are your main goals for the business?
To develop something that works, that can be used as a bar for festivals, events, weddings and be a feature within its own right, and something people can enjoy and make them happy.