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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chicago: In Words

Renegade Chicago
Beginning of Renegade Day 2 (with half of my Briefcases sold from Day 1!!)

I'm finally caught up on e-mails, shipped out a batch of bags and am working on a batch of Travelers now. And I will be able to bring in a couple new fabrics, too! :)

How was Chicago for my shop? Well, because there's so much to say about my trip, I'll make a list of Pros and Cons to spell it all out:

Cons

1. Overweight luggage sucks.  I was slapped in the face with a $75 overage fee (on top of $20 for check-in luggage) because the suitcase carrying all my big bag merchandise was 8 lbs over and there was no way to distributing that weight elsewhere because the merchandise was vacuum-packed in order to even fit in the suit case. Fail.

2. Parking in Chicago is expensive.  I booked my room at the Hyatt Regency on the riverwalk and didn't know that parking was an additional $50/day!!!? We instead found some parking at Millenium Park a few blocks over that was $30/day. But still, slap in the face. And more money coming out of my pocket before I even began making money. Fail.

3. Chicago is colder than Texas.  Haha, this was a big fail by The Boy and me. We were leaving Austin which was experiencing temperatures well above 100F and going to Chicago which was experiencing fall. And we brought summer clothes. Fail. (But we went shopping, so that fixed the problem right up).

4. Chicago is really windy.  I need to invest in a rain-proof wall for my canopy. The bed sheets that I clipped on as walls were not weather resistant and acted like sails when the bursts of winds came in, knocking over my displays. Fail.

5. The Boy will probably never travel with me again after this.  Poor guy had to lug around a 58-lb suitcase and 50.5lb canopy.  I carried the smaller luggage filled with really heavy metal purse stands (which were searched at the airport because they look like weapons, fine). As I entered the plane, the flight attendant tried to help me get my little suitcase in the overhead storage and I warned her that it's really heavy and that my boyfriend was going to do it after he put his duffel bag up. She insisted and almost broke her back. The Boy ended up helping her. I warned her. That thing was about 45lbs because of the metal racks, and lots of bed sheets for my walls. And metal photo frames. Fail.


Pros

1. I sold half of my inventory.  This was great news because I was really scared I would have to pay another overweight fee for my suitcase. Thank goodness.

2. Chicago loves Austin.  Since my banner says "Austin, TX", we got a lot of ex-Texans and Austin lovers dropping by to chat. Austin is definitely very well known for the music scene (ACL, SXSW) so it was great to meet people who love Austin!

3. Watching people make decisions is entertaining.  I have thousands of stories of the people I met and the funny stories of them trying to make their decisions. I think The Boy was the most entertained by this because this is what he told the ladies in my booth how he makes a decision on buying a bag: "Does it fit my laptop? Yes. Is it the color I want? Yes. Buy." 

One of the funniest instances was when Customer A came in the first day and spent 20 minutes switching between two Briefcases. She couldn't decide and then left my booth. She comes back the next day and does the same thing, trying to decide which Briefcase to get. At that moment, Customer B walks up and picks up one of the Briefcases, then hands it to me saying he wants to buy it.  I thought a fight was going to break out, but instead Customer A thanked him for picking one so that she could buy the other.

One other instance was two customers (who do not know each other, Customer C and D) looking at two different Briefcases and trying to decide. They end up having a long conversation about what they could wear with the Briefcase and then raise their heads and look at each other's Briefcase. They quickly switch and reason if they should buy that one. Then they switch back and finally make their decision and buy the original ones that they tried on first. Customer D went to get cash to pay and I started working on the transaction with Customer C.  When Customer D came back, I mentioned the name of Customer C she was talking to. She looked at me and said, "Wait, what is her name?!" I repeat it and say, "It's a pretty name, huh? I've never met someone with that name, it's so unique!" Turns out they had the same name.  That is crazy.  

4. I love Wicker Park.  I think if I were to move to Chicago, I would want to live in Wicker Park. It reminds me of Austin in all the right ways.

5. Chicago loves The Briefcase.  I thought that the Baby Ruche would be the top seller, but I was proven wrong very quickly.  Sometimes it's hard to decide what inventory to make because I try to make items reflecting what has been selling in my online shop. This was true for the most part in that everything Brown, Gray, Black, and Beige sold where in the summer it was everything Green, Blue, and Brown.  Interesting what bag colors sell, huh?


That's all the time I have for now. I have to get back on orders and prepare for a trunk show in Austin (more details on that to come!).

1 comment:

  1. love your breakdown! sounds like a successful trip all in all. you'll be able to correct all those cons next time!

    ReplyDelete