Every brand begins with a story; a spark of inspiration. What starts as a seed of passion, blossoms into something purposeful and powerful. Bauerhaus was born from a LOVE for wine and design.
We created our brand to have a soul purpose – to effect meaningful change in the world. We thrive on helping businesses unlock their potential by weaving their story and unique vision into impactful branding and digital marketing strategies.
As we shine a light on our humble beginnings, we wanted to spotlight the story of the individual behind it. Meet the beautiful vision behind the BD brand, Rebecca Ritz.
Q: AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR CAREER DID YOU DECIDE TO TAKE THE PLUNGE AND CREATE THE BAUERHAUS BRAND?
Rebecca: It was the early 2000’s. Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” and Usher’s “Yeah” filled the air. The economic recession was on its way, and I was about to be married. The plan was to build up my portfolio until I could leave the agency I worked for and establish out my own branding and marketing firm. Two weeks before my wedding, in 2008, I got laid off — and I was thrust into entrepreneurialism. (Aren’t we all, though, one way or another?)
But my entrepreneurial spirit formed long before 2008.
Q: WHAT FUELS YOUR CREATIVITY? WERE YOU ALWAYS ENTREPRENEURIAL-MINDED?
Rebecca: Growing up, I looked up to my grandma who sold flowers at Belleville Flea Market. My cousins, aunts and uncles always helped out on the day of the flea market, setting up and selling flowers from her booth.
My Mom’s family is from a small Illinois farm surrounded by farms. We grew up playing outside and never sitting still. A neighbor owned a Rent-a-Center. We kids often “played business” and wrote pretend orders on triplicate forms.
My cousin Julie owns Custom Floors and More. Plus, I learned how to sell to anyone from another cousin Kim Cavarretta who has killed it in Mary Kay and has owned the Pink Cadillac since I was wee.
I was a Girl Scout — and cookie entrepreneurship is a real thing!
And it didn’t take long to start my first business, Pencils & Erasers. In fifth grade, a friend and I decided to sell our extra pencils and erasers to classmates.
We got called to the principal’s office about a month into operations and found out that was not allowed.
I think it’s safe to say that I always knew entrepreneurship was the goal.
While I didn’t have a clear vision at the time of how I’d pursue a career as an entrepreneur, I was always inspired by, and creatively drawn to, nature.
Being outdoors always felt empowering to me; it’s where I can tune out the noise and truly reconnect with myself.
Today, I’m a Girl Scout Leader (overseeing my daughter’s troop). I love inspiring young minds and creating a safe space for the girls to embrace the imagination and explore their passions. Not only do I have the opportunity to instill confidence and teach the girls about leadership, but we are always finding new and exciting activities that involve the outdoors.
I guess you could say I’m passing down my love for all things Mother Nature.
Q: DID YOU START YOUR CAREER WITH DESIGN IN MIND?
Rebecca: I went to the University of Missouri, Columbia, and received a Bachelor of Arts, with an emphasis on Graphic Design and a minor in Art history, in 1998.
My first job was at Creativeworks. I loved working one on one with clients on their startups: designing their logo, collateral and website. In the years that followed, I worked at a few different agencies, but I missed the one-on-one meeting with clients, so I started taking on some of my own side projects.
At some point, I joked with the marketing director of a winery that I would “design for wine”. She jumped on it! I traded my design services for a few cases of wine each year.
Q: WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A DESIGNER?
Rebecca: I always loved art and art projects. I remember eating breakfast staring at our school’s Wildcat logo and thinking isn’t it amazing how the Wildcat letters make a cat!?!
Flash forward to Graphic Design classes at Mizzou. Our teacher strongly believed in learning how to hand draw type. One of my favorite projects was to create a new letter in the alphabet. It’s so much harder than it sounds!
I also worked on my first ever wine packaging design: Verse.
For my final senior project, I was tasked with creating a logo that could be used on my resumés when applying for jobs in the near future. My “rb” logo started with a quick sketch.
It’s everything that I stand for in design: Simple. Easy to read. Unforgettable.
Q: WHEN DID YOU MAKE THE DECISION TO BRING THE BAUERHAUS BRAND INTO THE WORLD?
Rebecca: Growing up around small business owners opened my eyes to what’s possible. I learned from my cousins that is possible to be a business owner and still make your kids basketball games. Entering the design world solidified a path to doing something I love.
So when I got laid off in 2008, I immediately began reaching out to my network, offering my services on a consultative basis.
Before long, I started working with the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, along with many startups and small businesses on logo design and branding.
In 2012, I exhibited at the Midwest Wine Conference and started using “will design for wine” as a slogan. No one at the conference was talking about branding or marketing. So I started my “Sell More Wine” and spoke about marketing for wineries.
My work at the conference struck a chord, and I quickly began working with wineries around branding and marketing strategy.
Bauerhaus was formed to help small business owners & marketing directors make their vision come true.
Too often, small business owners try to do everything themselves, including design, and the results do not always help them sell.
I wanted to help wineries, food products, and other direct-to-consumer businesses create unforgettable brands. And that’s exactly what Bauerhaus has been doing ever since.
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