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Hidden Gems: Meet Rena Pacheco-Theard of Boutiq

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rena Pacheco-Theard.

Hi Rena, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Boutiq started as a side hustle and grew organically and somewhat unexpectedly into a venture-backed company that continues to grow steadily.

My husband, Dan, and I began renting our place in Austin to help cover the mortgage payment and we found we loved it, we have a sincere passion for creating great guest experiences. Guests responded positively, and we were featured in a video series about the top hosts on Vrbo (formerly known as HomeAway). Using data rather than emotion, we purchased another property and it was even more successful. From there, people kept asking us to help them buy a vacation rental or help run it, and Boutiq was born.

We wanted to create a brand for vacation rentals that emphasized investing in the experience, treating guests well and equipping homes with everything travelers need for an amazing stay (including fully stocked kitchens). We also have a tech and business background and found that we could earn property owners the best returns by combining the art of hospitality with the science of technology.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Startups are hard. Creating something from nothing is inherently challenging, and it is not for the easily deterred. Challenges such as the traction vs. funding chicken and egg scenario (you need to show traction to get funding, but you need funding to build the things that will show traction) are common, and we have met every challenge head-on and gotten stronger and more resilient along the way.

We won’t make the same mistake twice and we’ve learned to take the emotion out of situations and not to let perfect be the enemy of the good. There are a lot of stakeholders in our business, including guests, real estate owners, investors, and our own team so you have to keep your eye on the North Star of what we are building and not let the little paper cuts get you down.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Boutiq is a real estate investment engine that optimizes returns for homeowners and provides a network of luxury vacation rentals for travelers.

We are focused on family and group travel, so guests can count on a consistent, high quality standard and have everything they need to make a fabulous group meal, as well as the gear they need for traveling with children. I’m a mother of two young kids, so I know how important it is to have items like a Pack n’ Play or stain remover in the laundry room when you’re traveling.

For our company and real estate investors, we are focused on scaling with profitable unit economics, and technology is in our company’s DNA. We leverage data science and technology to know where to buy vacation rentals, as well as how to price them.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
Life and business are a combination of hard work and planning, luck, and then a bit of organized chaos. We have benefited from good luck and learned from bad luck. We happened to be taking a meeting at a favorite Austin coffee shop (Mozart’s on Lake Austin) and ran into an old acquaintance and after re-connecting, he became one of our largest angel investors.

A key partnership started with a cold message sent to us via the chat interface on our website, and though many of these are ignored on other websites, we read and respond to all of them. We replied within a minute of receiving that inquiry (and not with a bot), and that responsiveness turned out to be an important signal to this future partner.

My perspective is that you can take advantage of good luck if you’ve done the hard work and can seize a fortuitous moment.

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Image Credits
Portrait photos by Annie Strever Photography

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