Thursday, May 26, 2011

In Summary: Austin Trip

Renegade Austin

Remember that trip to Austin I was preparing to make?

Everything was rough, but it ended just the way I would want any vacation business trip to end (Texmex and Tequila).

We started our trip early Friday morning (4am butt-crack of dawn kind of early) for a 6am flight to Detroit and then to Austin to arrive at 11am.  There was a lot of fog in Pittsburgh and even more in Detroit. Most flights were delayed that day, but our plane was able to get through it to arrive in Detroit. That was the start of the rough trip.

Oh wait, let me back track. 

Thursday. I was loading Hubert's stuff in the car and for some reason, he was extra sad to go to camp for the weekend. Just look at that face. He looks so sad. Not like his normal "I look sad but I'm really happy" face. He actually looks sad to go to camp and see all of his friends. Maybe because I was sad to leave him for 4 days. And he could tell.

After dropping off Hubert at camp, I went home (sad) and continued to prepare for our departure the next morning.

Back on track.

We arrive in Detroit and waited at the gate for our last leg to Austin. Our flight to Austin was delayed for half a hour.  Half an hour later, our gate was changed and when we arrived at the new gate, we discovered that our flight to Austin was canceled.

We had three options for re-booking:
1. Detroit to Austin, 11pm arrival (12 hours after our scheduled arrival).
2. Detroit to Pittsburgh (yes, back home), to Atlanta, then to Austin for 6pm arrival.
3. Detroit to Philadelphia, to Atlanta, then to Austin for 6pm arrival.

By the time we agreed for #2, the flight was completely booked and we were left with #3 so we could still spend time with my family.

Four take-offs and landings and 12 hours of travel later, we were in Austin. Dog tired. We picked up our car rental and drove to my brother's place. My parents fed us, then we headed to our hotel to crash.

Renegade did not go so well for me this year. I won't go into all the details, but it was exactly as successful as Pecan Street Festival was for me. (Not successful)

By the end of the 2 show days, I was over $1.2K in the red (travel + lodging + car + what I didn't make up for the booth cost + Hubert's boarding cost). Our 200 lbs of merchandise and displays only shed 2 lbs, so we were in for another physically taxing trip through the airport.

I may have been on the verge of a mental break down at that point, but The Boy came to the rescue with the plan to end our trip on a positive note.

He invited my brother and our friends to Trudy's and I filled my face with Tex Mex and a Mex Mart. Then, all my troubles diffused away into my blood stream and I was happy. Really happy.

I recouped my losses in Austin with my online sales that weekend.

Funny how life finds a way to equilibrate.  

I thanked the Etsy gods, and we were on our flight back to Pittsburgh on Monday morning. On the plane, I consumed over 500 calories in mini pretzels and Biscoff cookies (courtesy of our super-nice flight attendant). We arrived on time to Pittsburgh, picked up a very excited-to-see-us Hubert, and we all took a 5-hour nap. Then continued to sleep for an additional 10 hours.

Lessons Learned:
I lost a lot of money, may have started graying early, almost broke out in hives and consumed 3X more calories than a typical weekend. But I learned many valuable lessons along the way. Those are the lessons that make for better business decisions in the future.

Just booked our tickets to San Francisco in July, so we're excited to visit a new city! Any suggestions as to where/what to eat and visit?


  1. Geez, Jenny, I'm so sorry you had a rough trip. I'm doing my first craft fair in September and have really mixed feelings about it. Etsy may not be super consistant, but it's been really good to me, and I get to do everything more or less on my own schedule. Craft fairs definitely have their drawbacks, but ideally you can make a bundle of money is a short time. I can't even imagine traveling across the country for one, though.

    San Francisco will be better. Those crazy Californians will go nuts for your stuff.

  2. Hi Camille! Thanks for the note. I really do hope it's a lot better. More than 50% of my sales online go to California and the majority around the bay area, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed! :)

  3. I love love love to read your blog Jenny. (found your site through Etsy - love your bags too...)
    I had been waiting to hear how Hubert did. Poor thing... I know that sad, please don't go Mommy look :o) I am sure he's a happy pup now.
    Keep up the great blog!
    Catey :o)

  4. I have had a few trips exactly like this one. Things do seem to equal out somehow, and I always end up learning something. Even if learning was painful and expensive.
    cha cha