My WHY for Creating The Soigné Retreat & Inaugural Recap

 

As creative entrepreneurs, you have the gift of vision and the ability to create. It takes drive, passion, perseverance, tenacity, and a whole lot of fearlessness to really get after your dreams, day-in and day-out. The reality is, starting a business is actually quite simple, but continuing to show up in a big way in your business takes a lot of work. All too often, I hear creatives share how tired, lonely, and depleted they feel, and admittedly… this is me at times! The stress to perform at our highest level while outside pressures of perfectionism (courtesy of social media) and the internal daily struggles and inner voices wreak havoc on our creative minds. But, I’m here to tell you that you’re doing an amazing job, AND you cannot do this alone. WE cannot do it alone! You pour everything you have into showing up, so you’re already winning. It’s time to celebrate the tiny victories, shut out the noise, and celebrate YOU!!!

Soigne Retreat- Grand Rapids Michigan Photographer - Modern Day Creative - Anna Filly Photography- Day 3-196.jpg

I’ve been told that sometimes in life, we have to create our own opportunities. We have immense power to make things happen. But we sometimes lose sight of that while we’re in the thick of doing. We have a hard time seeing how we can do more, and where the time will come from. I’m here to tell you, where there is a will, there IS a way! The things that we feel deeply and the areas where we feel called to go… we must listen to. We must allow ourselves to dream and determine how we can make them happen. Joy in this life is found outside of the comfort zone. The challenge is actually the path to the reward.

I tell you all this because what started as a seed of an idea, is now blooming and blossoming into a magical experience that I deeply want to share it with you.

When I reached out to Nathan English nearly a year ago about his new photography workshop, called Unveil, I didn’t know what to fully expect other than we would be providing beautiful designs for his attendees to capture. I will never forget our conversations about the type of experience he wanted to create and how passionate he was about serving the photography community in a profound way. What ensued was nothing short of pure magic. The passion, warmth, intimacy, and beauty that was produced was simply palpable and inspiring.

s_QjLcZ0.jpg

I knew then and there that a retreat for professionals in the event and creative industry would mutually benefit in tandem with the next Unveil workshop.

The individuals who strategically and physically created the beauty would work and learn alongside the individuals that capture it so perfectly. This is how the Soigné Retreat was born.

Admittedly, I was incredibly nervous to welcome the attendees to the retreat. You know the feeling… the time right before your guests arrive to your house when you're throwing a party, but this time, they are staying for a few days. At the very least I knew that between the incredible Primrose property, the content we created, special surprises, and delicious meals, we as a team had done everything in our power to set the stage for an impactful time together. Within a few hours the house was filled with laughter and buzzing conversation - it honestly felt as if this group had already been friends for years.

unveil2.0-87 (1).jpg

We provided countless gorgeous “swag” items and branded collateral. So, of course, I want to share a peek at all the pretty things. There were so many, but I still want to keep some surprises for our next round of attendees in April. Special thanks to Erin on team MD who did a beautiful job creating all of the swag and print materials for the retreat.

edited.jpg
 
 

Our first evening together changed everything. True intimate connections began to flourish and everyone was clearly ready to pour into one another. It was monumental to gather with these women and dive into their personality assessments and intentions together in a safe space - free from distractions and judgement.

82q5DRBI.jpeg

Now, I will ask you to bear with me because I know this is going to be a LONG post. Friends, there is no possible way I can truly do our experience justice in a single blog post. But I do hope you’ll get a sense of this remarkable group of women who formed a lifelong bond and established a beautiful community that I could never have predicted.

Without further ado… here is the first full day one photo recap!


First Full Day:

WdVM_tIQ.jpeg

Mornings have always been a favorite time for me. The smell of freshly-brewed coffee, the peaceful quiet for reflection before the day gets started… I live for this time of day, and it was by far my favorite time with the attendees. Every morning, there would be a small group of early-risers that would sit around in the early light talking before starting our morning sessions.

I firmly believe that everything we do in business and life builds off of a core understanding of our personality, communication style, and how this affects our interactions with others. It’s how I’ve built team Modern Day, and why Sunday evening we spent a concerted amount of time diving into our Dave Ramsey personality assessment, and setting intentions for our precious time together.

R05Z3QgI.jpeg

Day One was all about growth and goals, marketing, and identifying your ideal client. Deep conversations centered around our core values and intentions helped all of us dive in and get right to work!

My dear friend, Susan McLeary of PassionFlower, paid us a surprise visit where we designed bouquets and she taught us about her impeccable wearable flowers and art. After the lesson & design session, we joined Nathan English’s attendees of the Unveil’s retreat for a fun outdoor photo shoot at their Apple Blossom property.

Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 11.28.35 AM.png
file-2.jpeg

The evening concluded with a scrumptious family style meal by the Everyday Chef and Wife. Truth be told, these two took the most thoughtful, amazing care of all of us the entire retreat, from start to finish. The food was, without a doubt, one of the many highlights! I have never had a better beef pot roast in my entire life… Still drooling!

Soigne Retreat- Grand Rapids Michigan Photographer - Modern Day Creative - Anna Filly Photography- Day one-327.jpg

DAY TWO:

Day Two was all about letting loose. Our morning session was centered on creating the best client experience, to attract your ideal client - including walking through each individual’s process from inquiry, to booking, and beyond. We touched briefly on programs we highly recommend and rely on, along with strategies to conserve our time and effort. After our session, we had an emotional and transformative visualization exercise by Juli Kalbaugh, from The Art of Things Design, whom I originally met through Amber Housley’s Inspired Retreat. Juli’s session brought immense clarity and peace to the group individually, and as a whole.

-Tdney7E.jpeg

After a quick and delicious lunch and break, we had a blast simply creating with one another for our final evening dinner / photoshoot! The design session was an opportunity for the the group to collectively build the gorgeous tablescape and overhead structure. It didn’t matter if you were a studied florist or not - I wanted to give everyone the chance to use their hands and hearts to create something they loved, no pressure or anxiety. With a glass of wine in hand, we collectively built something ridiculously beautiful.

Soigne Retreat- Grand Rapids Michigan Photographer - Modern Day Creative - Anna Filly Photography- Day 2 -178.jpg

I have to give a HUGE shout-out to Susan for her vision reflected in the pergola design… what a treat! It was a shining star at the retreat, as was Susan herself.

After a day of sessions and play, our six course chef-guided meal with the Unveil attendees was just what we needed to relax and let loose. Knowing it was our last evening together, there were certainly a few tearful moments. I could never have expected that after a couple of short, yet full, days together, there could be such vulnerability and strength.

This dinner was the perfect safe space to feel embraced and celebrated for our REAL-ness!

XoNz3gmk.jpeg

Friends, one of the biggest reasons this retreat became a reality is because of this remarkable group of women I have the good fortune of working along side day in and day out. They support the vision and without them MD wouldn’t be what it is today, truly! I love them with all my heart.


DAY THREE:

By Day Three, we were both emotionally raw, and fully open to the change that was underway. Full transitions in life and business were happening. Lifelong connections & relationships had been established, and we were all changed women.

After our final and emotional morning session, one of our attendees, Danielle, shared an intensely moving song she had written previously, that resonated so perfectly with our time together. Trust me, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. After we gathered ourselves, the attendees simultaneously began packing their things and also making themselves feel most beautiful for headshots before they left. Our in-house photographer for the entire time, Anna Filly, has this magical way of making you feel so alive and empowered. I can’t imagine doing any other retreat without her joyful presence, and I am indebted to her for capturing the experience so beautifully.

After many tearful and soulful goodbyes, team Modern Day and I looked at one another in awe. What had we just started? We cleaned up, and left the Primrose property with more dreams and friends than we came there with just three days prior.


Friends, the first Soigné Retreat exceeded my wildest expectations. It truly was a perfect blend of intense action, thoughtful transformation, and much deserved relaxation. My biggest take away, and I believe everyone else’s was…

We need each other. This journey is filled with trails and tribulations, but there is STRENGTH and BELONGING in numbers.

This experience was a gift. It was not only a gift for me, but for each beautiful attendee, and my sweet and loyal team. I feel this so very deeply in my core. My team and I always joke that I’m a dreamer, but thanks to all of their love and support, the dream of hosting this retreat became a reality. They are a big part of my WHY.

If this experience resonates with you, or if you felt something stir in your heart while reading this, I hope and pray that you will consider joining us for our next Soigné Retreat coming up this April 8-11th. Find more details and sign-up form here!

HUGE thank you to the amazing Anna Filly who made the trek from down south to beautifully capture all of the behind the scenes magic, and thank you Nathan English for the creative collaboration.