Monday, July 14, 2008

No do-overs

Henry Hagg Lake, Oregon

Hmmmmffffhhhh. I don't know what to think about this weekend, perhaps the blog will help me with clarity.

Friday I decided to do some accounting, my side business has not been profitable since I started it but I haven't lost a ton on it either, just small $ investments, lots of work and a sweet tax write off. I wanted to see where we stood Jan- June and the numbers show that I'm still not profitable. With that miserable news on my mind, I spent Friday evening packing inventory and got to bed about 11pm.

Saturday, 4:20 am the alarm goes off, Bill gets up and loads the Jeep with inventory and his triathlon racing gear while I do my hair and get dressed. We drive 1 hour 45 minutes up to Hagg Lake and we're late. We frantically unload the Jeep and Bill barely makes it to the starting line for the race start at 8am. I set up the tribabe booth and sit there for 3 hours, in the heat, bored out of my mind. Some friends stop by and I have about 12 customers total for the entire race. Worst sales ever for an event of this size. Completely awful. Racers couldn't leave the event fast enough. Bill gets back to the booth after racing (he swam great, lost time on the bike, and had a not spectacular run), he "cleans up" in the lake, then we load up the Jeep and start driving 6.5 hours to Spokane.

Have conversation with Bill:
Erika: my business isn't profitable. I want to get out of debt and save money for a new house. I'm worried this could hold us back. I don't know what to do.
Bill: Don't give up. You have great products, we just need to figure this out.
Erika: You are sweet and I want to cry

It was 98 degrees when we left the race. I didn't even touch the lake, just worked and sat in the shade. Not very fun but nice to see friends. Some people always come and chat with me, I love those people.

Saturday, 7:30 pm arrive at my parents house in the Spokane Valley, they are a few miles away from the Dishman Hills area where a fire raged on Friday and destroyed 13 homes. My parents were 10 blocks away from the evacuation zone, fortunately, all is well and the air has cleared. My sister came over and spent the night so we can see her but I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open and I'm fast asleep by 10 pm. Dream that Floyd Landis (fallen bike racer) is in love with me. Very disturbing.

Sunday, 7:30 am wake up after a full night sleep, get Starbucks and on the road to Liberty Lake triathlon, about 10 miles from my parents house, for the Valley Girl triathlon. We're late. The sponsor package said set up between 8-9 am, it's 9am and racers are already finishing. They sent me last year's package and the start time was moved up an hour this year.

Frantically set up booth and not a moment too soon, we're quickly swarmed with women and we can't make sales fast enough. 2 solid hours of sales, clearing out my inventory, meet a ton of great women, race director personally thanks me for attending, saying I add to her event. We're the last to leave, getting the last items packed into the Jeep by 12:30pm. Had an amazing sales day for an event this size. Great response to all products. Great experience with the racers.

Have lunch at parents and start the drive home, 7 hours back to Corvallis. Stop at REI on way home in Tri-cities, WA for a break. We listen to classic rock and try to keep our spirits up the whole way home. Get stuck in traffic in Portland and finally get home around 9pm Sunday night. Unload the car, shower, try to eat a little something, turn on Le Tour, and fall asleep on the couch with the dog. Wake up around midnight and go to bed.

Monday, 8am, back at work. Office chair feels awful after driving all weekend.

11 am swim class, kicks my butt, workout:
2 x 100 (1:50 interval)
4 x 50 (:50 interval)
Repeat five times, that's 2000 yards like it was nothing

Get through afternoon meeting at work and walk to the post office, have to mail a $300 check to pay for the next all women's triathlon we are attending. Call Bill while walking.

Bill: I have a headache.
Erika: I have a headache.
Bill: I think we have a trip hangover.
Erika: I think it's a swimming hangover.

I have some orders to fill tonight but will likely lay on the couch for more Le Tour "watching". I would like to see Bill rally and train for a late season half ironman. He would like to see me rally and make this business truly profitable. I'm thinking about it. Life isn't all sunshine and rainbows and that's fine by me. I can take it, I just want to do the right thing for us.


Craftycrab said...

Ooh girl, what an up and down weekend for you (and so much driving!). FWIW, I love your Tribabe gear, and I'd buy it myself if it didn't make me look like such a poser (no swimming or running for this gal these days). I'm a unibabe, I guess, unless we could turn vacuuming or weed-pulling into athletic events.

Hey, if you ever need slave labor to crank out more gear in an effort to scale up, or for a big event, I have a sewing machine and I'm not afraid to use it. My fee is beer, Mexican food, and time in the kiddie pool with the cat. ;o)


bruce said...

Hey Tribabe,

Working hard and losing money makes you grumpy--take it from another entrepreneur :) I'd rather be riding my bike, anyway. Especially after working the Cascade Classic here in Bend last week--talk about motivation!

Take a look at Dunc's blog here:

He is in a different industry, with a storefront, but is an experienced small-level entrepreneur with good ideas about product mix, margins, etc.

Good luck!