Spring Creative Founders Conference Recap, Day 1!
There is a very distinct possiblity that I am very giddy in sharing this today. Every year, when it comes time to write this post, I take a big walk down memory lane, reminiscing over so many of the moments, the friendships, the interactions and the details that make up our Conference every year. This year, this blog post walkthrough will again be over the course of the next three days, and I'll share a bit about each day with you.
Although our Fall Conference will be taking place at the beach, our time with our Spring Conference taking place at The Lee House for the last three years was one that we absolutely loved. It is set up as a bed and breakfast, and completely changed the way we want to host our Conference. We had the entire place to ourselves, and it was really nice to know that we didn't have other vacation-goers mixed in with us - whether people wanted to stay up until 2am chatting on the couches downstairs or brew a cup of coffee at 5am in their pajamas, knowing that we had the space to do so completely to ourselves was just perfect.
I do have to say, before we go any further into this three day recap, a tremendous thank you to Anna Filly Photography for being our Conference Photographer this year. Anna, these images are beautiful. Thank you so much for pouring so much of your heart into every single day, and capturing the entire experience beautifully for us to share here today.
So! Let's begin, shall we? Enjoy this three day trip down memory lane, we're excited to take it with you too!
The Conference started mid-day on Sunday, and before it begins every year, we set up the room in a way that was both inviting and colorful - our florist this year was Fiore of Pensacola and they set us up with the most beautiful array of peonies, dahlias, roses, and more. The room smelled amazing, and the florals paired with the linens and the items included made my designer heart entirely happy.
Our goal at our Conference is to make the entire room incredibly welcoming and make you feel pampered and cared for from the moment you walk in. In addition to teaching sessions that we know will make a difference in your business, having personalized items is something that matters too. Each attendee had their own workbook, customized tumbler, and name card that was moved to a different place each day so that they sat next to new friends each time. We also worked with MayDesigns to have custom notebooks created, and they were a huge hit!
We LOVED assembling these welcome boxes for each of our attendees this year to welcome them in the first day! We worked with a variety of creatives and vendors to make these loved from the beginning. They included beautiful ring dishes from MarbellaDish, custom wood stamps donated by one of our Alumni, Kelly of Hello World Paper Co,. and Lily Pulitzer pens sponsored by one of our original Alumni from the very first Conference that ever took place in 2011, Natalie Chang with Lifeguard Press. We also designed custom wax seals with our logo, and loved working with Wax Seals to have them created! Nashville Wraps sponsored the boxes and the paper shred inside ... would you guess that these boxes are actually macaron boxes, simply with the inside tray pulled out?? Think outside the box when it comes to your product packaging, my friends. Sometimes literally. ;)
One of my favorite additional this year was our Encouragement Wall. (sidenote: this was actually inspired by a Love Notes Wall that I created for a wedding back in 2016, and I've been wanting to recreate it for creatives for years!) The moment the attendees stepped into the Lee House, an envelope wall met them, including their name and holding something different inside each day. Each morning, these envelopes had encouragement notes tucked inside from previous Conference Alums who had been through this experience already, encouraging them perhaps to let their guard down, be confident in who THEY were as a maker, artist, and designer, and sometimes, simply saying you've got this. This is something I loved adding this year, and it's definitely going to come back again at our Fall Conference. And, come on now. This fabric backdrop? It was just fun to have the envelopes displayed on.
Once we do one more run-through to make sure everything is golden for the attendees, the speakers come into the room, we each share a toast, say a few words together as a team, and then, we turn up the music and the welcoming party begins. This is one of my favorite moments, and definitely an exciting beginning to what's in store.
After everyone gets settled in, we do a "round robin" of introductions around the room, where everyone shares where they're from, what they do, and what they're looking forward to. This is usually filled with a lot of nervous laughter and excitement, but I love doing this each year so that we can all get to know each other from the beginning.
We then went into our primary sessions for the day - Kristin led with a welcome note, followed by a brief introduction and walkthrough in the workbooks, then Suzi Istvan with Splendidly Curious started us off with a deep Your Core Session. We loved looking back and discovering that for some of us, where we are now is right in line with what we actually did even as a child, but more importantly, we tapped into our own strengths, our own "superpower inventory", and the kind of the impact we wanted to leave behind in our lives.
Following Suzi's session, Shunta Grant of Because of Zoe led us into the Your Client Session, where we talked about understanding what we offer, understanding our clients and customers, getting into the minds of our clients, and building our loyal leagues. These two sessions were a great beginning to the day and definitely had the wheels turning in our heads already!
After the two sessions took place, then it came time for our first night's dinner. We had dinner outside under a tent that was installed by Supposey, where we were able to mingle together with good food and good company. Our caterer for the entire conference was Nancy's Haute Affairs, and as usual, the team there did not disappoint. Supplying us with Mushroom Tartlets, Honey Smoked Salmon, Aioli Burgers, and Martini Salads, the entire spread was delectable.
This year, we also added in a "Speed Meet and Greet", which I loved! After dinner, we had cards on each table with conversation starters, and every five minutes, we rotated tables where each person had the opportunity to chat with everyone, if only for a few minutes at a time. We saw the initial seeds of friendships start to be planted, and we loved that everyone got to know each other a bit as well!
And of course, we closed out the night with freshly spun cotton candy. ;) Because we all know that it is the sweetly simple things in life that are always the best.
After dinner, we all headed back inside for comfy casual conversation before heading off to sleep the first night. We all had a big day ahead of us the next day, being Day 2 of the Conference! But for that, you have to wait until our next post ... so we hope to see you here again tomorrow!
Do you want to join us for our next Conference Event? Well, you're in luck! Registration is open now for our Fall 2018 Creative Founders Conference, taking place from October 4-7, 2018. For more details, visit the Conference page here!