It is after much struggle that I write this post. For the past 6 months we have been dreaming, planning, and putting together a magical sewing retreat... sew:beach from October 1-4, 2014.
But this week I have to cancel it. I know that I could do this privately, not sharing any details why, but I don't want to leave questions in people's minds about what happened. And I think what happened to me just makes all the other sewing retreats 'sew' much more amazing.
So... the venue that I picked for our event is really awesome. It's in a central location on the island of Key West, within walking distance to the beach and the shops so no one would need a car. And there were 13 rooms, enough for a cozy little event. But, like everywhere you might want to stay in Key West, it's expensive. Plus there would have been expenses for food, sewing supplies (some, but not all thanks to our generous sponsors), table and chair rentals, and travel for the teachers.
This is how I broke it down and made a budget:
$5,676 - the cottages
$2000 - food for 20-25 people
$800 - plane tickets for the out of state teachers
$350 - table and chair rental
$200 - incidental sewing supplies
Total - $9,026
Since tickets were priced at $685, we would have been fine if at least 14 people signed up. I was really confident that they would. I put down 50% of the cost of the venue upfront, and now the rest is due. After this week it will be completely non-refundable. And only 6 people have signed up.
I know I could go ahead and pay the rest of the cost of the venue and hope that more people sign up. But honestly that is just too big of a risk for me to take with my family's budget. At this point it seems smarter to me to take the loss that the rental agency will charge me for cancelling early ($750) and send back the fabric that our retreat sponsors so generously sent me. And, of course, I've issued full refunds to the people who did sign up.
I'm really sad about it. I was sooooo looking forward to getting to know some of you and to hanging out with Heather and Dana. I have gigantic admiration for people who put successful sewing retreats together. In the future I plan to attend as many as I can... maybe we can meet at some other event?