RV Escape Couple: Chris & Jen Hudak of Escapod Trailers in Wanship, Utah, Part 2
We are back in cow country, Utah talking with Jen and Chris Hudak of Escapod travel trailers. These two are dynamic, likable, and a really interesting example of couplepreneur cooperation. Jen has been a multiple-medal-winning freestyle skier in halfpipe, and Chris has traveled the world as a competitive mixed martial artist. Chris has also had a career in the restaurant business, and Jen has another business as a life coach. These two are objects in motion. Today, we hear about signing the mortgage and then quitting your job. There was the brief time they had their business at the hippie commune. There’s the value of good communication and appreciation in avoiding resentments. Chris can break down a problem for Jen—which Jen hates until she doesn’t. And, is trying to compete in a saturated market with another travel trailer a mistake? Maybe…or maybe not. And why did Chris Moore become Chris Hudak, anyway? Because it’s a really cool name? Let’s find out…
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Escapod, Part 2
We continue our conversation with Chris and Jen Hudak of Escapod Travel Trailers. We hear about Chris signing the mortgage right before quitting his job, the time they ended up making trailers on a hippy commune, and the importance of communication and appreciation in avoiding resentments. We begin with finding out why, when they got married, Chris took Jen’s last name.
- Appreciating the people around you who are supporting you in this venture
- The value of the question – What is the worst that can happen?
- The only thing you can lose is time and money, and you can recover from that
- Why Chris took Jen’s surname (03:06)
- Reinventing himself has been a frequent part of Chris’s life (06:01)
- Why, despite having a strong personal brand, Honey was relieved to change her name (06:30)
- Their craziest business experiences were building 4 trailers in one month, and taking up professional residence in a hippy commune (07:37)
- Why a couple in business together needs boundaries (10:56)
- How they signed their mortgage just before Chris quit his job—yet it was only 5 months before Chris took a paycheck from Escaspod (12:42)
- The importance of communication, expectations and appreciating the people around you (14:46)
- How, as the co-founder of Escapod, it was much harder for Jen than for Chris when their business partner joined the company (16:39)
- How Jen deals with resentment she sometimes feels (18:09)
- Pondering – What’s the worst that can happen? (19:16)
- Their best marketing efforts have been via Instagram (21:06)
- Jen’s involvement in their marketing (23:29)
- How Jen gives Chris a gut-check, encourages his empathy, and helps him remember people’s names (23:51)
- Observing Chris, and his way of breaking down a complex problem, all without getting bogged down by self-doubt, shows Jen a different way of being (25:34)
- What competing in sport taught Jen about mindset (26:55)
- If you want to go into a business with your spouse, you should be very clear about why you want to do this (28:50)
- The importance of clearly defined goals (29:31)
- What they do to get each other’s goat (32:25)
- They describe each other on one word (35:41)
Jen Hudak, Life Coach
Honey: 00:00 Basic black dress [inaudible 00:00:01].
Blaine: 00:03 Who doesn't love a basic black dress you can roll up and take anywhere?
Honey: 00:06 Right.
Blaine: 00:07 It's a beautiful thing. Do me favor?
Honey: 00:09 Yes, sir.
Blaine: 00:09 Move closer there.
Honey: 00:10 Am I close enough?
Blaine: 00:11 I think so. Just trying to make sure that you're sounding on mic. We don't want any proximity effect.
Honey: 00:16 No.
Blaine: 00:17 Because then you sound like this.
Honey: 00:19 No. My proximity is close to you.
Blaine: 00:21 Usually. Otherwise it would be SingleCo. Welcome to CoupleCo: Working With Your Spouse For Fun and Profit.
Honey: 00:30 It's business and it's personal.
Blaine: 00:31 I'm Blaine Parker.
Honey: 00:32 Which makes me Honey Parker.
Blaine: 00:33 And as a couple in business together, we are coming to you from the Couple Coach, our compact trans-American land yacht.
Honey: 00:39 We're navigating the nation in search of standout couples in business together.
Blaine: 00:42 And we're bringing them to use so you can hear their inspiring stories of crushing it in business without crushing each other.
Honey: 00:48 This show is also brought to you by a couple-owned business.
Blaine: 00:51 Smokin' Mary Smoked Bloody Mary Mix.
Honey: 00:54 It is made in small batches with no reconstituted tomato juice. They only use the freshest, wholest, most bodacious tomatos you are ever going to want to meet if you want to meet a tomato.
Blaine: 01:08 Holy Cow.
Honey: 01:09 Yes.
Blaine: 01:10 Smokin' Mary Smoked Bloody Mary Mix, hey, nice tomatoes, online at SmokinMary.com.
Honey: 01:15 Want to find out more about CoupleCo and our past interviews?
Blaine: 01:18 Want to see what everyone who's been on this show looks like?
Honey: 01:21 Want to see that Couple Coach?
Blaine: 01:22 Just want to send fan mail to some flounder? Everyone's got to have a Bullwinkle misreference at some point.
Honey: 01:30 We're online at CoupleCo.com.
Blaine: 01:32 Yes, surprising. CoupleCo.com. Join us today as we return to Cow Country, Utah and resume our conversation with Jen and Chris Hudak of Escapod Travel Trailers.
Honey: 01:43 If you were with us last time, these two are dynamic, likable, and a really interesting example of couplepreneur cooperation.
Blaine: 01:50 Our first ever interview with a manufacturing CoupleCo, Chris and Jen are delightful pair, which belies a dangerous streak.
Honey: 01:58 Jen has been a multiple medal winning freestyle skier in Halfpipe, and Chris has traveled the world as a competitive mixed martial artist.
Blaine: 02:05 Chris has also had a career in the restaurant business and Jen has another business as life coach.
Honey: 02:10 These two are objects in motion.
Blaine: 02:12 Today, we're going to hear about signing the mortgage and then quitting your job. That old chestnut.
Honey: 02:19 And there was the brief time they had their business at the hippie commune.
Blaine: 02:22 We hear about the value of good communication and appreciation in avoiding resentments.
Honey: 02:26 We hear how Chris can break down a problem for Jen.
Blaine: 02:29 Which Jen hates until she doesn't. And is trying to compete in a saturated market a mistake?
Honey: 02:35 Maybe or maybe not?
Blaine: 02:37 And what's with that last name? Hudak?
Honey: 02:39 I like it. I could be Honey Hudak.
Blaine: 02:42 Honey Hudak. Wow.
Honey: 02:43 That's pretty good.
Blaine: 02:44 But-
Honey: 02:44 Why did Chris Moore become Chris Hudak anyway?
Blaine: 02:47 Because it's a really cool name?
Honey: 02:48 It's a really cool name.
Blaine: 02:49 It's a really cool name. Although Blaine Hudak doesn't actually have much of a ring to it.
Honey: 02:53 No, I'm going with Honey Hudak.
Blaine: 02:54 Yeah, Honey Hudak, Yeah. Maybe you can marry Jen. Here now, Chris and Jen Hudak of Escapod Trailers, recorded in Wanship, Utah.
Honey: 03:06 Through generations, generally, when man and woman get married, often the woman takes the man's last name. That is not how you played it. Why?
Jen: 03:21 When Chris and I got married, I think I just was under the assumption I would take his last name. Like, people have wedding hashtags now. Our wedding hashtag was Chris and Jen become more Moore, M-O-O-R-E, because that was his maiden name. So, my parents as a wedding gift got a pair of antique skis back when they got married in 1981, and they gave them to me and Chris. So, instead of a wedding guest book, we had these skis as our guest book. So people signed the skis. They're still in our house to this day. And on it, it said, "Jen and Chris Moore."
But once we got married, I started thinking about the actual process of changing my name. And I have built a brand and an identity around Jen Hudak and I love my last name. And in our family, it's just my sister. Our dad passed away about three and a half years ago. So for our side of the family, that name wouldn't carry on.
So, I was like of the mind that we would just hyphenate our name. But Chris really didn't like the idea of hyphenating-
Chris: 04:23 It's so cumbersome. I don't go 50%. It's like, "Why?"
Jen: 04:29 And I was fine just keeping my last name and him keeping Moore. I didn't feel the need. My mom kept her last name when she married my dad, so I was used to it and I didn't see the need of necessarily changing a name. And Chris, I think I was under the impression we weren't going to make a decision. One day, he kind of offhandedly was like, "Oh, what if I just took your last name?" And I'm like, "Oh, that'd be cool." But didn't think he was serious about it. And we didn't feel pressured to do anything about it until we were going to decide to have kids.
And then on my birthday last year, so just over a year ago, he surprised me in our house that was under construction and had no doors. He built me a dining room table and set up a whole dinner for my birthday. And there was a card, and I opened the card, and in the card was a temporary driver's license. And I looked at it and I'm looking like, "Why is this in here?" And then I noticed it was Chris Hudak. And so of course I cried, because that's what I do.
But he chose to take my last name and I think ... I mean you can share from your perspective. Chris's mom is remarried and doesn't carry the last name Moore and Chris wasn't super close with his father, so I think there was just a lot of things that ... it made sense. Why, for the sake of tradition, keep a name that is less meaningful to you and give up a name that's more meaningful to someone? So, yeah.
Blaine: 05:49 Really interesting and very cool.
Jen: 05:54 It's funny because it seems like this big significant thing, but I don't he actually thought that much about it.
Chris: 06:00 Yeah, I don't know. I wasn't bucking the system or anything.
Blaine: 06:04 What you couldn't hear is Chris pretty much just shrugged it all off.
Jen: 06:04 I don't know. It's nothing to it.
Honey: 06:04 But it's still a pretty great story.
Chris: 06:07 Like I said, one of my favorite things was reinventing myself all throughout my life. And like just not their last name was like another reinvention of myself. And I never really-
Honey: 06:22 And Hudak's an awesome last name. It is an awesome last name.
Chris: 06:25 No one knows how to say it. I have no idea why. Moore, it was always just kind of like a gimme.
Blaine: 06:29 Yeah, there's no mystery about that one.
Honey: 06:31 Well, speaking as somebody used to be Honey Cone-
Jen: 06:33 No.
Honey: 06:34 I think Honey Parker is an awesome name.
Jen: 06:34 Great name.
Blaine: 06:38 I told you. Jen, you mentioned having a brand built around your name and people knew professionally. And I said, "Honey, look, if you don't want to take my name"-
Honey: 06:46 I was doing standup at the time, so I was Honey Cone and that's how I was known, so-
Blaine: 06:52 Well, Honey was doing standup and also had a career in advertising.
Honey: 06:56 Yeah, had a big agency, New York-
Blaine: 07:00 This woman was a vice president at the biggest ad agency in the world. And she's just like, "No, what are you kidding?" She's going from being a breakfast cereal to a 1960s TV detective with just a name change.
Honey: 07:12 I was just so happy to change my name. And I'm tight with my family and I love my dad and all that. But I also have a brother who was gonna have kids and so the name continued and all that. So I didn't feel that pressure. But yeah, I was really happy to not be Honey Cone anymore.
Blaine: 07:29 Honey Cone breakfast cereal or Honey Parker, TV detective?
Jen: 07:32 Honey Parker is a good name.
Honey: 07:34 From really stupid to kind of cool.
Jen: 07:36 That is a very cool thing.
Blaine: 07:37 All right, let's completely change tacks for a second, and we may have already heard the answer to this question, but I'm going to try it anyway just to see what happens. What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to the two of you on the job?
Jen: 07:48 On the job?
Blaine: 07:49 On the job, yes.
Honey: 07:51 Something related to Escapod.
Blaine: 07:52 It might've been that 36 hour day. I don't know.
Chris: 07:57 What rating do we have say this or not?
Honey: 08:01 We can beep anything.
Blaine: 08:01 You know, this is CoupleCo. We're all adults here.
Jen: 08:06 There was that one time. The craziest feat I think it was the-
Chris: 08:09 I think it was the task, yeah. We built four trailers in four weeks, which ... I mean, here's the thing. We have a fully functioning shop today. I have a CNC machine, we have an employee, we have another business partner. We are now building two trailers a month currently. So, it kind of gives you an idea of what we did in that four trailers a month. We had to expand our operations quickly because we got the order only weeks beforehand. So we took up residence in a hippie commune.
Jen: 08:39 Yep.
Blaine: 08:41 Really?
Jen: 08:41 Straight up a hippie commune. There were 12 people living in this house. They had a wood chip toilet in the back like right next to the garage. It was down in Salt Lake.
Chris: 08:50 Salt Lake in West Valley.
Blaine: 08:52 Really?
Jen: 08:52 Yeah. And there was like a farm.
Chris: 08:55 It's a neighborhood that's all communes.
Blaine: 08:57 Didn't see this coming?
Chris: 08:58 Yes. So there was 12 people living in the house. It was a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend sort of thing. And they had a big garage and that's all I needed. And so-
Jen: 09:05 It was filled with stuff. So like before we moved in, when we came down there on what was supposed to be our moving in day, and they had like seven people just like hauling stuff out of the garage, like putting it in random places. I'm like, "What is going on?"
Chris: 09:23 So, we couldn't actually drive to the garage bay. So when we did that 36 hours, which ended at 5:00 AM to like bring those trailers down to Moab, we had to hand cart the finished trailers through this winding hippie commune-
Jen: 09:40 Past a tiny house that was parked in the driveway.
Chris: 09:40 Past a tiny house that was parked in the driveway and like get it out. We rented that space for $500 and it allowed us to generate enough revenue to make Escapod a viable option. And that was probably the craziest thing that we've done.
Jen: 09:56 Yeah.
Blaine: 09:56 I think you guys win so far. So far that I think it was the craziest story I have heard.
Jen: 10:02 We also had to write a guy at $30 check because we leaked melted ice on a bag of chicken feed. And he was so up in arms. It was like-
Blaine: 10:14 The old water-damaged chicken feed problem.
Chris: 10:17 Thank God Jen was there. And you asked what Jen's strengths are. Part of those are empathy. And I was incredibly stressed, so I think I threatened to kill him.
Jen: 10:28 Yeah. You definitely threatened or hurt him in some way. And I was like, "It's okay."
Chris: 10:34 He was like, "Hey man, you're gonna pay for my chicken feed." I was like, "Oh my God."
Blaine: 10:36 So, empathy as in diplomacy, I'm guessing.
Jen: 10:38 Yeah. Diplomacy is probably a better word in that scenario.
Blaine: 10:41 But you need the empathy to, especially for good diplomacy, I think. But I could be wrong. Honey has great empathy and is an excellent diplomat.
Honey: 10:48 That's why I was on the [inaudible 00:10:49] he was not.
Chris: 10:49 So the chicken hippie lift.
Blaine: 10:51 There's a reason I did not do HOA politics.
Jen: 10:54 Chicken hippie.
Blaine: 10:55 So, as a couple in business together, you've had plenty of experience with this it seems in a very short time. What is a pitfall to avoid as a couple of business together?
Jen: 11:08 Chris mentioned boundaries earlier and I think boundaries are really important, and I think we're still even figuring some of those out. Because when he says the word, "Lifestyle," there's some component of income associated with that, but to me there's also this component of getting your time back. And so yeah, I'm like, "We don't have time." And I think just going in just making sure that you have set, or at least appropriately expressed, what boundaries and expectations you have for how you're going to be running this business.
When you work for someone else, when you get home, you don't have to bring home with you all the time, you don't have to keep talking about it. It's really easy to fall into still always talking about business when you're at home and trying to figure out the right way to handle that. And sometimes you're up for it and sometimes you're not. I think boundaries are key. I don't know if that's necessarily a pitfall, but something to help you avoid falling into the pit.
Blaine: 12:02 No, I think we all understand exactly where you're going. And yeah, I think it's hard to disagree with that.
Chris: 12:11 For me the pitfall that I think that we struggled with at the beginning, and to give you a timeline ... in January, I started-
Blaine: 12:20 Hold on a second. I'm sorry. We're going to do this for the microphone because we did do it. One of my favorite sounds. And a little further. There we go.
Jen: 12:30 Yeah, nice one. I have another thought on this.
Blaine: 12:36 Forgive me for interrupting.
Chris: 12:37 No, it's quite all right.
Blaine: 12:37 You were saying ... because you need more wine.
Chris: 12:40 Yeah, for sure. I was just saying that one of the things that gets often overlooked, I think, is the importance of your spouse, your partner, the people that you're sharing your life with at that moment as the buy-in. I left my job in December. We basically signed the mortgage, our construction long-term mortgage, we signed the mortgage and I quit my job. Now, if you guys-
Honey: 13:06 How well did you sleep?
Blaine: 13:08 If only your banker had known that.
Chris: 13:11 My broker knew that, but my banker did not. So, here's the thing. So the day after we signed the mortgage, we took on-
Jen: 13:11 2100 dollars a month.
Chris: 13:24 2100 dollars extra a month-
Blaine: 13:26 The construction loan virtual mortgage? Or was this a ... okay.
Chris: 13:29 Yeah. So I had to get past the short term-
Jen: 13:31 But we weren't paying anything on the construction loan up until that point. So, this is the first time we're going to actually start paying-
Chris: 13:35 So we took on this, you know ... and I quit my job. All the income that I was bringing into the household, I left. We talked a lot about it, but I think it was still, even as we talked about, was still stressful. I didn't take my first paycheck until my birthday, April the 25th. So, for almost five months after I left my job was the first time I took a paycheck from Escapod. And it wasn't nearly what I was making at that time. And I think now, 11 months later, I finally replaced my salary in its entirety.
Blaine: 14:09 Congratulations.
Chris: 14:10 Thank you.
Blaine: 14:10 A lot of people don't pull that off that quickly.
Honey: 14:14 That's pretty fast as these things go.
Chris: 14:16 But I think that relying on your partner, your spouse, the people that you're around to pick up that slack, right? I'm not at home as much, I'm working 12 hours a day. She's taking care of the dogs, letting them out, making dinner, bringing dinner to the shop so many nights. And I think that people are so congratulatory of entrepreneurs, as they should be, but the people behind them are the ones that really are picking up the slack in the daily life. And thank God for Jen's support through this because I couldn't have done it. There'd have been no way. There'd been no way.
Blaine: 14:47 So, then what is the pitfall to avoid?
Chris: 14:49 The pitfall? Yes, the pitfall is communication and being open about the expectations, I think, like you talked about.
Jen: 14:55 And making sure you acknowledge your support system and thank them for that, which he eventually did in a very meaningful way. And I think, for awhile, it wasn't as much on the forefront of your mind. And that effort on your part just to acknowledge what I was doing in order to make this happen, where sometimes my role in Escapod when he was taking the leap to make this full-time wasn't directly in Escapod, but it was still very much a part of making all of this work, to allow him to be here full-time. And none of it would have been able to happen.
Chris: 15:30 The pitfall in one word is, "Resentment."
Blaine: 15:35 Whoa.
Chris: 15:35 You're living your dream and it's forcing others to pick up the slack of that, and that can cause resentment. And I know that for her, she has to be at a job nine to five and work still for the men, and that can be tough. And I'm living my dream and she's feeding the dogs every morning.
Blaine: 15:56 Wow. You make that sound romantic.
Chris: 16:01 But that's what it costs. That can be the mindset if you're not communicating and saying, "Thank you," is that I am just here to feed the dogs and to make your dream come true.
Jen: 16:10 Yeah. And the resentment thing was very real for me for a while and took ... I had to communicate about that, too. I think we try to swallow that. And I tried to swallow it for a long time because I'm like, "Of course I'm going to do anything to make this work, because I see the potential in Escapod and I see that it makes my husband very happy. And this can be a really big thing, so I just got to suck it up." But without expressing that, it definitely ends up sneaking out in other ways.
Blaine: 16:38 Jen, you had said that you had thought of something that you wanted to add to this topic.
Jen: 16:42 Yes. So, I thought of something which kind of ties to the pitfalls, but also ties back to the partnership question earlier. Because as the co-founder of Escapod, it was actually much harder for me when Echol joined than it was for Chris. Because Chris got to quit his job and start working in Escapod full-time building trailers and doing something that he loved every day, and I had to let go of a certain amount of control. Which was a good thing because there's other things that I'm trying to grow and start in my life, and I am also trying to work my way out of working for the man. So when Echol came in, it was like trying to figure out how to relinquish that control and hand it over to someone else who hadn't been there from day one, and feel comfortable with that passing of the torch in order to make it make it work.
And I tried to stay more involved for awhile in Escapod until I realized that a lot of that was actually coming from the fear of if I let go of my role in Escapod, that I was in many ways letting go of my connection with my husband, because Escapod was taking up so much of his time that without being involved in the way that I once was, well where else are we going to find this connection and be able to be together as a couple. And once I made that realization, I was able to kind of let go and then just focus on supporting him, and having that be my official role in the company at this moment in time until it transforms again.
Honey: 18:08 When you say resentment, we're all human and, you know, you get these emotions. And once you identified it, how easy was it or difficult was it to voice it and say, "Here's where I'm at"?
Jen: 18:21 It's not all that easy. But the side hustle that I'm building is a life coaching business, so it's also kind of the work that I do.
Honey: 18:29 Heal thyself.
Blaine: 18:30 I was ready to come for coaching.
Jen: 18:31 Heal thyself, but also learning how to appropriately set boundaries and communicate effectively, and speak what is true for you. So that was helpful for me. I relied on that knowledge and that practice a lot to be able to start. And it's still really hard, but like anything, you kind of just stumble through it and fail at it. I had asked myself like, "Okay, if I say this and it really upsets Chris and I hurt his feelings, well, what's the worst that can happen? Is he gonna walk out and divorce me tomorrow?" No, that's not gonna happen. It's going to be uncomfortable, and then you'll talk about it enough that you figure something out and you hopefully get to a better place in the end. But you're not going to be in a worse position for having expressed that. And if you are, then you're probably not in the right.
Blaine: 19:16 What is the worst that can happen is probably one of the best questions to have in the toolbox. Right up there with, "Why not?"
Honey: 19:23 No, it's interesting. My dad, who was always my business coach, that was the game we played. And he'd say, "What's the worst that could happen? "And he wanted an answer. When I was fired from my first job in advertising in New York and I started freaking out. And he said, "What's the worst that can happen?" And I said, "I won't be able to find another job." And he said, "Okay, you can't find another job. What's the worst thing that's gonna happen?" I said, "I'm not going to be able to pay my rent." He said, "Okay, you can't pay your rent. What's the worst thing that's going to happen." I said, "I'm going to have to move back in with you and mom." And he's like, "Okay. So the worst thing that can happen to you is you have to move in with people who love you and we'll feed you and support you." And, and as soon as we played that game, I was completely free. And then I was like, "Okay, we're moving forward."
Chris: 20:13 Yep.
Jen: 20:13 And that was very much the approach, I think, when starting this business, too. We've had people ask me, "Why did you choose Teardrop Trailers?" Isn't it such a saturated market? And we're like, "Well, maybe. And maybe if we had spent more time researching, we would have researched ourself into analysis paralysis and not taken action. But what we saw was a whole population of people that were really interested in the trailer that we were driving around, which to look at now is like you wouldn't even know was from the same company. It wasn't on a hand-welded frame and it was this tiny little thing. But the willingness to just go and know the worst that happens is really you lose some time and money. You can recover from that. You can try something else, you can try again or you can try something different entirely. But there's always something to learn and there's always forward progress to be made.
Honey: 20:57 And I think you're always stonger for trying.
Jen: 21:01 Yeah.
Blaine: 21:02 Different topic.
Jen: 21:03 Okay. Woohoo. Do we get to talking?
Blaine: 21:06 Yes. What has been your single most effective marketing effort?
Jen: 21:12 Instagram.
Blaine: 21:13 Really.
Chris: 21:13 Yep.
Jen: 21:14 To be perfectly frank, we don't do much marketing.
Blaine: 21:19 I'm unsurprised. I'm not surprised at all.
Jen: 21:21 We really capitalized on the fact that our company and that our product, more specifically, was a lifestyle product, and that we were selling a lifestyle more so than we were selling a product. And it's very aesthetically pleasing and we're taking it to places that are beautiful. So, that all lends itself to creating a great Instagram feed and something that's aspirational for people. So, the first thing that we did was start an Instagram account. And our first customer who was a person that we didn't know, found us on Instagram. I think we have a couple Adword campaigns set up.
Chris: 21:57 Adword campaigns are only just protecting ourselves. So, we do brand Adwords so we protect Escapod and we make sure that we score well with Escapods so another company can't come in. And if they do bid on Escapod, they have to spend a lot of money to take that spot. So it's really more protection. We don't aggressively fight Adwords for things like a teardrop trailers, or whatever. Winnebago.
Blaine: 22:21 Well, that would be a losing proposition, wouldn't it?
Chris: 22:23 It can be. Yeah, it can be.
Blaine: 22:24 I mean, just it would be so much work. There's so many competitors.
Jen: 22:29 And we also only need to sell, well next year, 36 trailers.
Chris: 22:32 We're sold out until July currently.
Honey: 22:35 Yeah. And there's that one that you're going to sell to us. So that's 35.
Jen: 22:40 It's an advantage to not meet. We don't have to play the volume game and we don't want to. And that's part of why we're prioritizing how we're building these, how we're pricing them, and why we're being resourceful. Why we're building in a shop that's a 1945, you know ... it doesn't have running water or heat. And the reason we're here is so that we don't have to play those games. And maybe at some point, we'll be able to scale the operation to where we're building four trailers a month, and maybe at some point we're gonna need to work harder for those sales and we'll need to put more effort and focus into the marketing and sales process. But right now, we've been able to build a really successful business and fill those sale slots through word of mouth and social media marketing for the most part.
Blaine: 23:27 Nicely done.
Jen: 23:28 Thank you.
Blaine: 23:29 Is that your bailiwick? Is that what you do?
Jen: 23:32 Initially it was. It's probably the area that I would take over if I were to start helping out Escapod again. I'm a writer, so I love words and-
Chris: 23:41 All the copy on the website, most of the Instagram stuff, even still now. Instagram.
Jen: 23:47 Yeah.
Blaine: 23:48 Interesting. Chris, how does Jen make you better?
Chris: 23:53 In every way. I don't know. The one thing that we've talked about a little bit is that I can absolutely get tunnel vision. She's often a gut check. Whether I listen to that not every time is up for debate, but I think I need someone to kind of like slap me in the face every once in awhile just to ... yeah.
Jen: 24:13 I've never slapped him.
Blaine: 24:15 I think just the threat of you slapping him.
Jen: 24:17 Exactly.
Blaine: 24:18 Because you're a professional athlete.
Honey: 24:21 It would hurt.
Chris: 24:22 But she also pushes me to be better, to be more conscious and to be, I'm still working on it, but to be empathetic. And then she also helps me remember people's names. I don't remember anyone's name.
Honey: 24:35 Or remember that we had CoupleCo podcast scheduled today.
Chris: 24:37 She was like, "I have a podcast tonight." Or no, you didn't say that. After the podcast I was like, "What podcast?" I think we really compliment each other really well. Jen is probably the most talented person I've ever met, but ... don't cry.
Blaine: 24:57 She's getting choked up.
Chris: 24:57 Yeah, yeah, yeah. The most talented person I've ever met, but, lacks the confidence that I bring. I bring confidence to mask my insecurity and she brings-
Jen: 25:08 I lack confidence to ... I don't even know.
Chris: 25:11 Lack confidence in having security. And it's funny that like we build off that portion of it. And so I think that both of us work really well together, because if there's something I want to do, I'm just going to do it. It doesn't matter if I know how to do it or not. We'll figure it out. And for her, she's extremely talented but lacks the nudge sometimes. And so I'm that nudger.
Jen: 25:33 Yeah.
Honey: 25:34 All right. So, he kind of said how he makes you better, but how do you think Chris makes you better?
Jen: 25:39 I think he very much hit on it at the end there. And I mentioned this early on in the podcast, is that observing Chris and understand ... like his way of breaking down a problem that in my mind is very complex, which often these complex problems are coming from a place of insecurity or lack of confidence in myself. And he will just break it down into the most simple step. And most of the time it's like I'm in tears about something and he says, "It's really easy, Jen. You just do X, Y, and Z." And I don't want to hear it in that moment. But he's always right and it drives me crazy.
And it's funny because this is stuff that I work with life coaching clients on, is building that belief system and being able to get yourself to that point of action. And he just does it kind of automatically. And I don't know if it's like he lacks the thoughts of the self-doubt and so it just is easier for him, or if he just is so used to taking action and having action overcome all of the feelings of self-doubt that he's trained himself to just default to that. But that's very much how he's made me better. And yeah, just being willing to try stuff and be willing to be told, "No."
Honey: 26:57 I find it interesting with your background, which is you're physically doing things that would freak most people out, and you seem relatively matter of fact about those kinds of chances and things like that.
Jen: 27:12 Yeah. Well those kinds of chances ... And it's also a reason that I love sport. Everything that I know and understand about mindset is because I had to manage fear for 13 years in order to reach professional goals that I set for myself in skiing. And I think a lot of people look at athletes in that sport and think that there's a lack of fear. And really it's just that we have goals and we're driven enough to reach those goals that we have to figure out how to move beyond the fear. So, you've learned how to manage that.
But sports are less personal. When you enter life and you're talking about a romantic relationship, for me, that's where there's more vulnerability. Like in sport, if I ... can I swear on this podcast?
Blaine: 27:12 Go for it.
Honey: 27:55 Go for it.
Jen: 27:56 If I f- something up skiing, like I f- something up skiing. It doesn't, you know, to me it's not like .... I don't know, my self worth isn't as questioned. But to approach a difficult conversation with Chris and potentially open yourself up to rejection from another human being, for some reason I think, to myself and probably a lot of other people, that feels more personal. And so you're less willing to automatically take action to work through that fear. It takes more mental energy for me.
But it's funny because Chris and his own right has insecurities.
Chris: 28:29 Absolutely.
Jen: 28:29 But like he said, he masks it with all of this overconfidence. And his action taking sometimes, I think, disguises it, but often works out because he gets what he was after in the end.
Honey: 28:41 The firm handshake, I think, gets you over a lot of hurdles. That handshake was something.
Blaine: 28:46 For me, it's the voice of a much taller man. What would you say to somebody who thinks they want to do this?
Honey: 28:56 To go into business with their significant other?
Jen: 28:59 I would suggest that you get very clear on why you want to do it.
Blaine: 29:04 Ooh, good one.
Jen: 29:05 What about you?
Chris: 29:05 Whatever she said.
Jen: 29:12 That's why it works. But if you're trying to do it to like turn around a quick buck and make all this money ... I mean, money is not bad and people can desire money. I don't think you're a bad person if you want to make money in your life, but I think if that's the sole focus that it can sometimes lead to a toxicity that can cause problems in a personal relationship.
Chris: 29:32 I think we've talked about everything from house building to Escapod building. I think we've talked about it a lot and what my suggestion would be like clear, defined roles. Because if you're continuously stepping on each other's toes and trying to make the same decision over and over and over, then I think that builds a little bit of, again, resentment, or conflict, anyway. And I think that if you have defined roles, if I'm like, "Okay, Jen, you're Instagram." I'm not going on Instagram and logging in and talking with our guests are doing those things. If I'm on trailers and build and design, that's my role. And I think clear, defined roles is a really good way not to get in conflict. And that doesn't mean that you shouldn't cross reference and ask questions when you have them, or look for support or whatever the case is. But just knowing what the role is.
Blaine: 30:25 Good one.
Honey: 30:26 Yeah.
Blaine: 30:26 Okay, is it time?
Honey: 30:28 I think it's time.
Blaine: 30:29 It's time. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. You ready? It's the lightning round.
Jen: 30:34 Woohoo.
Blaine: 30:34 Prizes, cars, big cash. This is the Fearsome Five. We've never given away a car, there's never been any cash, only wine.
Chris: 30:45 Good wine at that.
Blaine: 30:46 Okay, the reason I bought this little thing. The wine spectator called this a constant overachiever, and I was like-
Chris: 30:52 That works.
Jen: 30:57 Cheers. [crosstalk 00:30:57]
Chris: 31:00 If these two invite you to do a podcast, know that they're going to bring good wine.
Blaine: 31:04 Life is too short to drink crappy wine. Anyway-
Chris: 31:08 Good point.
Blaine: 31:09 Okay. The Fearsome Five. Jen, what is Chris's biggest pet peeve about you?
Jen: 31:15 When I eat food off of his plate?
Blaine: 31:19 No hesitation. You knew exactly where to go.
Honey: 31:23 Chris, what is Jen's biggest pet peeve about you?
Chris: 31:25 That I forget everything.
Blaine: 31:27 Wow.
Jen: 31:28 You do forget a lot.
Blaine: 31:31 Okay. Jen, what single person, living, dead, or fictional, would you hire to work in this company?
Jen: 31:38 Oh my gosh. That is very hard. I don't know that I know the right person for this job.
Blaine: 31:45 That's why we added fictional.
Jen: 31:47 Oh.
Blaine: 31:47 Some people say Harry Potter, so
Jen: 31:49 How about Inspector Gadget?
Blaine: 31:51 Inspector Gadget.
Honey: 31:52 That's a good one. Okay, Chris. What single person, living, dead, or fictitious, would you hire if you could?
Chris: 31:58 Alton Brown.
Blaine: 32:00 That's a good one.
Chris: 32:01 Yeah, only because I want to just chat with Alton Brown all day long and not build any trailers. Like, I just want to like sit down, have some good food, and like just chat.
Blaine: 32:09 But he would also bring [inaudible 00:32:10]. He would figure out-
Chris: 32:12 He selfishly-
Honey: 32:14 You know, somebody said George Clooney just because they thought he'd be fun.
Chris: 32:17 Yeah.
Jen: 32:22 Yeah. Nice to look at.
Honey: 32:23 And that.
Blaine: 32:23 Yeah, I can't disagree with any of that. Jen, what do you do just to get his goat?
Jen: 32:28 To get his what?
Blaine: 32:29 Goat.
Jen: 32:29 What does that mean?
Honey: 32:30 You know, get a little rise out him. Just To play with him a little bit.
Jen: 32:33 Sorry.
Blaine: 32:33 We're gonna have to figure out a different question. I can't believe how many people don't know that.
Jen: 32:36 To get his goat? Oh my gosh, he's more the goat getter.
Blaine: 32:40 What do you do just to get a rise out of him?
Jen: 32:41 Eat food off of his plate. Or pretend like I'm in competent at something that I'm perfectly capable of.
Chris: 32:41 Yeah, you do that.
Honey: 32:54 All right. Chris, what do you do just to get Jen's goat?
Chris: 32:54 Anything. I twist knives. I do, yeah.
Jen: 32:58 So it's really funny, because Chris married in and took this last name Hudak. But-
Blaine: 33:03 Yes, we didn't mention that.
Honey: 33:06 We're going to talk about that after the Fearsome Five.
Jen: 33:06 The Hudak family. My Dad had four brothers and a sister, and we referred it to a certain genetic disposition of someone having the Hudak Knife-Twisting gene, because it's literally like everyone on the Hudak side of the family. I don't have it, my sister has it. It's horrible. But like if they realize something's annoying you, they just dig the knife in further and twist it.
Chris: 33:29 You find the weak spot.
Jen: 33:30 And so he married in and it's like appropriate because he has this trait that ... yeah. Anything that's bothering me, he just tries to do it worse.
Chris: 33:41 Not to mention that we lived with her mother for two years.
Jen: 33:44 Oh my gosh. And they were best friends.
Chris: 33:46 And we're like best friends, and so we use gang up on jen and twist it.
Jen: 33:48 I mean, at least my mom gets along with my husband. That's great.
Blaine: 33:54 You know, a lot of people wish they had that.
Jen: 33:56 Yeah.
Blaine: 33:57 Okay, since working together-
Honey: 33:59 Which is almost your full relationship-
Blaine: 34:03 What has been-
Honey: 34:05 Your best date night ever?
Jen: 34:09 Okay. Is it bad if I say back in California before he moved to Utah?
Chris: 34:14 No.
Jen: 34:15 Well, I don't know. Is that true? Is that our best date.
Blaine: 34:17 As long as it's not somebody else?
Jen: 34:19 No. Yeah. I think early on, and I would like to imagine that we'll get back to a place where we can have more days like this, but there was such an effortless nature to our relationship. There was ... well, you might not have been working at that time, neither, of this date. So both of us, just we had all the time in the world, and it was such a great feeling to be able to just go to a dinner for like four hours.
And one thing that's so funny, because I'm a very strong independent woman and I like taking care of myself, when we go out to a restaurant, I really like him to order. I like him to like pace out the meal and order the, you know, and this. I never knew this was even a thing until this first big date night was the first bait and switch moment. We went to a really nice restaurant in Oakland and he just ordered, and he paired different drinks with every course that we had. And it was just this whole ... just sitting at a bar in this restaurant that was-
Blaine: 35:20 We need to take them out to dinner just to-
Honey: 35:22 Let them order.
Jen: 35:23 We'll have to go to California for that, though.
Blaine: 35:26 Yeah, there's not many places you want to go.
Honey: 35:28 Well, we're going next week.
Blaine: 35:31 Did you concur with this, Chris? Or do yo have a different-
Chris: 35:33 Yeah.
Blaine: 35:34 Okay. We usually preface that by saying, "You can answer this together or separately." So, both in on this. Jen, describe Chris and one word.
Jen: 35:45 Persistent.
Blaine: 35:46 Persistent.
Honey: 35:47 Chris, describe Jen in one word.
Chris: 35:49 Empathetic.
Blaine: 35:51 Okay, there was no hesitation whatsoever. Jen and Chris Hudak of Escapod in beautiful Wanship, Utah, the garden spot of Utah cow country, building kick ass travel trailers, about 14 feet long, more or less.
Honey: 36:09 Of which we'll likely get one.
Blaine: 36:10 We will probably get one and pull it around with a Lexus. Actually, we're gonna have to get a jeep to pull that thing. Thank you very much for this. Thank you for sitting down with us. This is a killer and I think it will probably be really good for your prospective clients to hear it. Because damn, this is a good advertisement for Jen Hudak, life coach.
Jen: 36:27 Oh, well thank you.
Blaine: 36:29 She has all the answers. Thanks a lot.
Jen: 36:32 Thank you guys.
Blaine: 36:35 This has been part two of our conversation with Chris and Jen Hudak of Escapod Trailers recorded in Wanship, Utah. You can find Escapod online at Escapod.us. That's E-S-C-A-P-O-D dot U-S.
Honey: 36:49 If you've enjoyed this podcast and we hope you did, and you think-
Blaine: 36:53 Who wouldn't?
Honey: 36:54 Right, who wouldn't? It was Chris and Jen Hudak. They're wonderful.
Blaine: 36:58 Who you'd love just so you can say, "Hudak." Someday we'll finish this.
Honey: 37:06 If you enjoyed this podcast and you think it would be useful or fun for other couple entrepreneurs to walk around saying, "Hudak," please go to iTunes and leave a star rating and a review to help them find it.
Blaine: 37:17 And join us next time when we visit Livermore, California to live the resort lifestyle, but from the inside.
Honey: 37:24 We are talking to Derek and Rhiannon Eddy, owner operators of the Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort and Spa.
Blaine: 37:30 It's a mellow and laid back place run by a couple who's had their 15 minutes of fame and then some.
Honey: 37:35 That's because they and the resort have been featured on that very famous reality show Hotel Impossible.
Blaine: 37:41 Ooh, Hotel Impossible.
Honey: 37:43 But it kind of was possible.
Blaine: 37:45 It was possible, otherwise we wouldn't have been there.
Honey: 37:47 Right.
Blaine: 37:47 So what's the reality behind being a couple in business together with a hotel and spa and dabbling in wine and olives?
Honey: 37:54 There's one way to find out.
Blaine: 37:55 Join us next time here on CoupleCo: Working With Your Spouse For Fun and Profit.
Honey: 37:59 Copyright, 2019. All rights reserved.
Blaine: 38:02 Love you, baby.
Honey: 38:02 Love you, too.
Blaine: 38:03 CoupleCo, out.