"I'm going to do something kinda crazy tomorrow". It was Saturday night and we were out to dinner at a Hibachi Steakhouse with some friends. I whispered this to my good friend Rachel somewhere between courses while our chef was putting on a show and making volcanoes and fire out of onions.
"What?!" she said only about halfway surprised as I proceeded to tell her my plan on how I was going to wake up early Sunday morning and leave Wilmington, NC to make the 4 hour trek to Richmond, VA to attend the Creative at Heart Conference. My plans were to attend the 4 hour conference and drive back to Wilmington in time to sleep in my bed and go to work on Monday morning.
"Is Brian going with you?" "No, I think this is something I want to do by myself, it will be an adventure...". And let me tell you friends, although it was something I wanted to do on my own (so that I could listen to my audio book while reflecting on my business plans for the New Year), I was scared! And I was "telling on" myself as I have a habit of letting someone know when I am scared of doing something as it sort of forces me to do the thing I am afraid of. Here were some of the thoughts that ran through my head: Could I handle all that on my own in one day, is it too last minute of a trip, would it be weird because I wouldn't know anyone there, is our business (me) ready for something like this?
But more than scared, I was excited at the opportunity to attend the conference and meet some of my favorite wedding biz boss ladies at Paisley & Jade (one of the BIG TIME rental companies that I have followed for years<<---that's what we call super cool and successful companies in our house...BIG TIME).
So I woke up early Sunday and as I got ready, Brian filled my car with gas, brought me breakfast and I was off! The drive down went perfectly, I listened to Lara Casey's Make It Happen on audio book and it was the perfect appetizer to the conference. I arrived in Virginia and was greeted by Kat from Dear Sweetheart Events in her signature pink color and I swear she looked like a princess in her tulle skirt. In awe, I introduced myself to Kat and she gave me a big hug and said how happy she was that I made it. (Another confession: when I finally decided that I would attend the conference, I messaged Kat on all forms of social media to try and get a ticket as I worried that I had missed the opportunity to attend).
I then found my name badge and walked around the room as girls who were also attending the conference greeted each other and caught up. For a quick moment I felt a bit out of it as I did not know anyone there. (Confession: I can at times be a bit shy in Large crowds). A friendly face, who must have sensed my moment, then came up and introduced herself to me and friends, it was Abby Grace from Abby Grace Photography and can I just say how lovely she was?! I then responded, "Yes Abby I know who you are, I follow your work on instagram!" She then asked me about my business and said come on let's meet some new friends as she introduced me to a few others. (Thank you Abby Grace for being a kind soul at that perfect moment).
After chatting a bit with Ashley Powell and inquiring on how she gets such pretty instagram photos, I grabbed some yummy cake pops and headed over to the next room where Natalie Franke, founder of the Rising Tide Society (<--BIG TIME) would be speaking to the room of 75 ladies all eager to learn! Before I go into how great Natalie was, can I touch on the decor of the room that we sat in...HOLY BEAUTIFUL CHANDELIERS ( I think I may have been the only girl in the crowd that sat and counted them while photographing the frames that hung on the walls). Then Natalie came out and spoke and my mind was BLOWN! She spoke so openly and candidly about failure and emphasized that we don't succeed because of the absence of failure but because of it. I was taken aback by how wise yet down to earth she was.
The talk was followed by a panel discussion where we had time to ask our questions to the boss ladies all in different businesses including my rental idols Paisley & Jade. I really appreciated that each lady represented a different business and was especially refreshing to hear from someone in the same creative field I am in...vintage and specialty rentals.
The Conference ended as all of the attendees circled around the Creative Heart Ladies singing Happy Birthday to them. Morgan from Paisley & Jade gave a tour of their space to anyone who was interested... I of course *fainted and died* a few times during the tour and Morgan sensing my starstruckness asked me to wait after the tour to have a chat. After the tour, Morgan let me pick her brain about their early business days and even allowed me to proudly show her pictures of our humble and small showroom while discussing my plans for the future.
My 4 hour drive back home was actually quite easy as I was still on an adrenaline rush! Although I took away priceless knowledge, what struck me the most was the kindness of the ladies. They took the time to speak to me one on one and truly made me feel like I was someone special. They praised my accomplishments and did not once allow me to feel that I was not in any way as talented and successful as they were. I don't know if I will ever get to cross their paths again but I hope that they know the experience moved me. Their genuine kindness and hugs were much appreciated and needed. I don't know where this business will take me but I do hope that one day I can make someone else feel equally as special and talented as these wonder women made me feel.
"When starting this business, One thing that we knew was that we wanted to be the people that everyone really wanted to like and loved to be around...so be nice to others, compliment and help out when you can...we wanted people to say, Yay Paisley & Jade are here"...Morgan from Paisley & Jade.