The long and short of it is this:
We built our fancy website. It cost a fortune, and it didn't work properly. And our founding tech folks quit. That's right. Stopped. We were out of their wheelhouse, the product was too complex and we were a pain because the 5k turned into a marathon. Sobeit. We are starting over. That means the world is our oyster.
But where is the Airstream? It is parked out of town because the City of Austin wanted a very fancy ordinance for non-food mobile retail. So they kicked us off our spot until we got it written. That took 14 months. La-dee-dah. They didn't train the Development Assistance Center on how to provide these permits. So every time I go into city hall to get my monthly permit, I have to train them. All of that adds up to unavailable lots that have tripled in price, shoes out of date and lot owners who look at me funny when I explain what the permit situation is.
So until the city of Austin can get with their own program, I am not being scooted around. If you want to do any good for us, call the DAC and tell them to hurry. They don't care, they are overwhelmed with construction and renovation permits, and their fancy event permits, like SXSW and all the damn hoopla happening in Austin all the time. We are, moreover, innovators who are last on the food chain. Because we aren't big developers. Are you sensing some bitterness?
It's fine. We were micro-retail mobile innovators and we set the stage. It was super fun. But it is hard to move my 42-foot rig, and I can't hire volunteers. We think it's for the best - it causes us to get better and be nimble in this thing we call capitalism.
The future: we are in talks with a developer to build a permanent space at their hotel site, as a store. We love this. It's 18 months away. We travel to special events, but there's a $3,500 up front flat fee that goes against sales. So I love your Vegas-themed fundraiser, but no, we cannot donate our time so your volunteers can look at pretty shoes. And finally, please don't call me to ask questions on how we did this, and tell you very valuable business advice on how you can do it, too. That will cost you $350 a hour. I get one call a week and really really good hard-headed mobile retailers, pony up.
That's the happy hour version. I am available at anytime for: discussions about longer-term locations. The fantastic city of Brenham, Texas hosted us for the entire fall. It was lovely. They knew a fresh visitor would rev up their customers from Houston, as well as locals. Smart, win-win. I speak at events on branding, micro-retail, and small business development. I am also a tech start-up CEO, which means nothing right now except I am giving speeches on how to communicate with so-called venture accelerators - essentially ambulance chasing tech-builders who do whatever it takes to win your cash flow from investors. No, outsourcing the tech to one of these teams is not a good idea. Because they hold the keys to your coding. And their agreements on paper are just a bunch of hooey when it comes down to having coders build an amazing UX experience.
If after you have read this you still want to know what BOOTLEG is all about, gimme a ring, shoot me a text, whathaveyou. firstname.lastname@example.org 646.269.1316 Sarah Ellison Lewis... disgruntled serial entrepreneur and visionary, often mistaken for the homeless dreamer on east 7th street. xo