One of the things I consider a personal passion of mine is entrepreneurship, and specifically, entrepreneurship in women. The fact that every year I see more women in the headlines innovating our workplaces and inspiring our future leaders is a testament to the movement of more women taking the lead in business. I’m proud to be a member of this movement. It is important to me that others feel they are not alone, and for that reason, earlier this year I looked for an opportunity to help this movement wherever I could.
During my research, I came across a conference called Inspired. The retreat style conference for creative entrepreneurs is run by Nashville wedding planner, Amber Housley. Intrigued by both the topics and the setting, I reached out to Amber with an offer to help in any way I could. I was prepared to have her ask me to stuff goodie bags or even donate a giveaway. I was not prepared for Amber to ask me to speak about the Studio Calico story.
The conference was a 4 day retreat in the beautiful hills of Tennessee, just outside Nashville. Designed to attract creative entrepreneurs, the small size and rustic setting was the perfect way for women to step away from their busy lives and strategize about their businesses.
I wanted to share a few highlights and a lot of pictures. Plus, of course, a small giveaway from me.
The roommate I was assigned was Mica May of MayDesigns.com. I would describe Mica as a soulful fireball. She is chock full of heart, hustle and ambition. The core products in her business are beautifully convenient, personalized journals. As a moleskine devotee, I was skeptical these books would satisfy my need for good old-fashioned paper. After we received custom May Books during the conference, I became addicted. If you haven’t ever heard of MayDesigns.com, be sure to check it out and say hi to my good friend Mica. Random side note: Mica was featured on Good Morning America for her personalized May Books, and in one broadcast, her business catapulted into the limelight. She continues to launch new products and continues to grow May Designs. All this from one really great product.
I was asked to speak to the group about the Studio Calico story. Anticipating that people might get bored listening to every detail about the partnerships we’ve developed through the years and the arduous task of explaining Sneaks and Reveal. (Really, do you know how hard it is to explain to people who aren’t scrapbookers?) I decided to make my speech about growth. But not just growth for the sake of it, growth on your terms. I told them about how Studio Calico got started by April and Greg over seven years ago in their garage. I told them about the growth we’ve seen due to the incredible customer base we have. I also told them about all the mistakes we’ve made. Some of them you all know about, like the time our letterpress platforms got shipped out without grid plates. And the time we mixed holiday confetti with the pink and orange confetti. (I still have a pack of that if anyone wants it.)
But I also told them about our successes and about how every day I login to our message boards to find out how we made someone’s day a little better. Overall, I’m sure I rambled. I know for a fact I was sweating due to my nervousness. I think I entertained them though. It was such a rush and an experience I’ll never forget.
That night, I led a crafting session. It was a blast to introduce these ladies to scrapbooking. I started them off slow and gave them each a Project Life kit, as well as a Handbook. Then it came to the mind-bending revelations, including a full demonstration about acrylic blocks. People, you don’t remember what it was like to start this craft, but to see the eyes of these ladies when I explained how to mount a clear stamp…I tell you it gave me the giggles thinking of how, not too long ago, I, too, did not know about the joy of clear stamps.Do you know Kim of Tomkat Studio? She has inspired me through all of her crafts for so many years. Kim spoke at the conference as well as styled the party the first night. It was beautiful and included some, wait for it, scrapbooking products from our friends at American Crafts. She, too, led a crafting session, much more successfully I think. The poor folks on my team expected me to lead them to victory, but sadly we did not win. I don’t craft well under pressure. Other teams did much better.
Throughout the conference, I wore the same shoes I wear every, single, day. Tieks. It’s strange to find your feet amongst the photos.
At the close of the conference, I was so sad to say goodbye to all the women. I did not do the event justice. It was incredible. Every single detail was carefully planned and executed by the talented team of Amber Housley. I am considering having a party just so I can make Amber plan it. She worked incredibly hard, and at the end of the day, I witnessed each woman walk away invigorated and inspired to conquer the world.
As promised, here's my GIVEAWAY:
I have a tote bag full of things from the conference. Comment below and we’ll select one lucky winner this week and announce it on Friday.