Society for Creative Founders: Spring 2018 recap

At this very moment 27 women are gathered in Pensacola, Florida in a beautiful oceanside home building into themselves, their businesses and creating strong foundations for their passions to continue to grow and support them through their creative business. I was one of those women just 6 months ago during the Society for Creative Founders Spring 2018 conference. The impact it has had and continues to have on me and my business has been huge!

Building a creative business is exhausting both mentally and physically. It is often lonely and isolating working at home, out of the library and coffee shops. It feels like most people think I am just pursuing a fancy hobby and don’t quite understand what I am actually doing, why it matters and the hard work and hours that go into it.

When I finally said “Yes!” to going to The Creative Founders Conference after many conversations with Kristin, the owner and leader, as well as my husband—I said yes to not only pouring into my business but pouring into myself. I was incredibly nervous to go to a house for three days with women I didn’t know, in a town I had never been to, to learn and grow a business I sometimes questioned why I was still pursuing.

Leaving The Creative Founders Conference renewed in me a sense of purpose, equipped me with a community and resources I use weekly (if not daily), and continues to be a marker of growth in this crazy adventure of being a business owner. Here are a few take aways of why this conference was so impactful for me:

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Community is key.

Walking into the The Lee House that first afternoon I was nervous and intimidated to meet all these talented ladies. Stepping into the lobby I was instantly relieved because I could feel it in everyone—we were all nervous and intimidated because we didn't know how the next three days would go! Despite where we were at in our personal businesses, we all started with fresh slates for the conference. As the hours went on and we got to know one another, connections were created and joy was a top emotion in every session and meal. It was so refreshing to be around others who understood my daily feelings about what I was doing and why I was doing it and had the same doubts and worries I battled. Though we have physically been removed from one another since the conference, the community of these women is very real and authentic. We continue to connect with one another through social media, video chats and emails. This alone was worth going to the conference!

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Growing and learning is necessary and you shouldn't do it alone.

With such a solid group of ladies around, you will be immersed in the 6 pillars (Your Core, Your Client, Your Brand, Your Marketing, Your Money, Your Plan) of SCF with incredible speakers (who I will add sat in the session with us as peers when not teaching) who go in depth about their topic and how to apply it to your business. Like most creative entrepreneurs, I taught myself almost everything about business/being an entrepreneur I know through countless webinars, books and mostly Google. I felt the most important part of this conference was getting to learn side by side with the other women in the room. Could I have done these same topics through a book or webinar? Of course—but the benefit of sitting in a room full of others walking the same road during each session and personally hearing and learning from all the different perspectives increased the experience tenfold. With the resources of new business friends, I also left with a workbook full of notes I refer to weekly, and information that has impacted my business acumen greatly.

Taking advantage of the abundance of knowledge.

I often find personally I don’t know what to ask at conferences or classes when the question time comes around because I am still processing the information I just heard. Many of my questions come to me after the session is well and done. The sessions were chalk full of so much amazing information but what I found was different from other conferences was the speakers and my new friends genuinely were open to answering questions during after the session time or topic was “finished”. I never felt like I was burdening them when I would ask my questions and they always answered them with genuine, honest and full answers. Even now, as a part of the SCF online community, I know I can reach out and ask questions or bounce ideas off these friends and get thought out and encouraging answers.

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You will be surrounded in beauty and resources.

Kristin, the owner and leader of SCF, is a former event planner and current wedding invitation designer. With that in mind she did an incredible job from start to finish creating a relaxing but stimulating atmosphere in every environment we were in. From the moment we walked in the conference room the delights and surprises kept coming from each session to each session. My little designer heart was so full with the well coordinated details and the excellent use of branding! We were spoiled with goodies of all shapes and sizes. It is a true testament to the power of the SCF community wanting to build one another up and cheer each other on as we all left with suitcases overflowing with products donated from alumni who have growing businesses touched by the teachings of SCF and conference sponsors who desired to see us have the best products possible. It was a sweet reminder that there is so much room for each of us to spread our magic in the creative world.

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Being apart of The Society of Creative Founders and attending the Creative Founders Conference has been a key growth mark in my business and has helped me focus more on the areas I need to grow in. I left with a sense of direction, accountability partners, and friends that I love cheering on as we build our businesses side by side through the unity of being Creative Founders.

Interested in seeing more of my time at the conference? Check of the conference recap for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. Learn more about the 2019 conference here! Plus follow along this week as they go through round two at the Fall conference on Instagram!

The Big Fake Wedding: Chicago 2018

When I heard about the Big Fake Wedding, I immediately thought about when I was a bride planning for my own big day. Being younger in age as a newly engaged bride-to-be, I hadn't attended many weddings with the mindset of what I liked about them and if I would repeat anything for my own day.

The concept of the Big Fake Wedding is so simple and smart. They come to a city, gathering talented local vendors and “create an experiential opportunity for wedding vendors to showcase their products and services to shopping brides and grooms just as they would at a real wedding.” You get to see the wedding in the form of a vow renewal ceremony and the reception complete with drinks, DJ and dancing. The best part s if you like something you see, taste or hear you can talk to the vendors who created it right then and there! How cool is that?

Each city is a different theme and experience for the couples attending, and Chicago did not disappoint. With the theme of “World Royalty” and pulling from beautiful, rich tones—there was so much inspiration to play with! Check out how the day pulled together over all:

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The venue was the beautiful Zhou B Art Center owned and founded by two Chinese brothers, both incredible artist who rent out the space for art exhibits and events. This industrial and chic venue was full of charm and some seriously beautiful art.

 Elizabeth Greve Photography

Elizabeth Greve Photography

 Elizabeth Greve Photography

Elizabeth Greve Photography

My role in this big day was one of two invitation designers. With such a rich color scheme and moodboard full of pattern and texture to work from, I knew that I wanted to do something more elevated than a standard invite to incorporate these elements. After deciding on this beautiful paper cut folder in a rich gold to house the invitation suite, I wanted to incorporate each color in a unique way on the rest of the accenting pieces.

Blending the free strokes of the watercolor with the formality of the calligraphy created the perfect mixture of classic and modern that would be represented in both the venue and the elements of the wedding day overall. I loved how this suite represented the theme in a chic way!

 Elizabeth Greve Photography

Elizabeth Greve Photography

 Thais Photography

Thais Photography

The day flowed like a real wedding, complete with photos of the “bridal” party, ceremony and reception. The bride and groom who modeled for the day performed a vow renewal during the ceremony portion including their pastor, real friends and family in their “bridal” party.

It was a beautiful ceremony complete with string quartet playing a custom arrangement as the bridal party walked down the aisle and an incredible copper arch with lush florals serving as the backdrop for the bride and groom’s ceremony. The reception was full and fun with fantastic appetizers, desserts and specialty mixed drinks. The bride even performed a special choreographed dance mid reception!

Thank you again to the team at The Big Fake Wedding for having me, it was such a fun party to be apart of and incredible to meet so many wonderful couples!

 Thais Photography

Thais Photography

 Elizabeth Greve Photography

Elizabeth Greve Photography

 Elizabeth Greve Photography | Mila Craila

Elizabeth Greve Photography | Mila Craila

 Elizabeth Greve Photography

Elizabeth Greve Photography

Cakes & Catering SOCIAL sparkling wine @socialsparklingwine

Favors & DetailsThe Standard Canvas @TheStandardCanvas

Groom & His MenBlank Label @blanklabelclothing

Bridesmaid Dresses Brideside Jewelry European Jewelry @europeanjewelryinc

Photo Booth Smilebooth@smilebooth

Cake ParfaitsVanille Pattisserie@vanillechicago

Day Of CoordinatorWedicity. DJ & EmceeCharizma Entertainment Group

Floral & Event Design: Bouquets, Boutonnieres & Tables 5,6,7 Eden

Floral & Event Design: Ceremony Backdrop & Tables 1,2 Nightshade Floral

Floral & Event Design: Flower Wall & Tables 3,4 Crafts By Stacey @craftsbystacey

Hair Styling Carrie Kacen Hair and Make-up Artistry @carriekacen

Hotel Accommodations W Hotel @wcitycenter

Invitations The Paperie Co @thepaperieco | Lina Lulu Paperie @linalulupaperie

Craft Cocktails CraftYours @craftyours

Makeup Artist Fearless & Bella @fearlessandbella

Marshmallow Favors Malvi: Marshmallow Confections @malvimallow

Catering LM Catering @lmcateringchi

Seating Chart, Custom Drawing, & Paper Goods XO Art & Design @xo_artanddesign

Dance Lessons Windy City Wedding Dance @windycityweddingdance

Photo Magnets Flash Magnets @flashmagnets

Ceremony Musician Bridge and Bow Music

Wedding Registry Mishkalo@mishkaloregistry Wedding Cake ECBG Cake Studio

Signage & Custom Jackets KRorerDecor @krorerdecor

Sparkling Water Spindrift Cookies Warm Belly Bakery @warmbellybakery

Table Accents The Blonde Scribe @theblondescribe

Travel Agent LovinAway @lovinaway

Photographers Thais Photography @bythaisphotography | Mila Craila Photography @milacrailaphotography | Elizabeth Greve Photography @egpwed

Venues Zhou B Art Center @zhoubevents

Wedding Dresses Winnie Couture @winniecouture

Wedding Films Eyework Studios


Collaboration: Figment Photography

When Morgan contacted me to be apart of an English garden themed shoot I fell in love with the vision. I was so excited to work along side her and the teams vision. When I saw these final images, it made me want to get married all over again in this dreamy world. 

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With a Gaelic/English Garden inspiration interwoven through out the shoot, I had the opportunity to help create the invitation, as well as a few proverbs that adorned the table. Sweet and simple with violets and grey ink, the deckled edges of the paper was the perfect last touch to bring this old world invite to this lush, modern setting.

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I loved creating the delicate hand-drawn violets for both the invitation and this Irish proverbs. The grey-blue ink was the perfect compliment to this gorgeous outdoor affair.

Vendors:

Photographer: Figment Photography figmentphoto.com
Florist: Event Floral event-floral.com
Bakery: Bella Luna Bakery bellalunabakeryrockford.com
Hair + Makeup: Shear Renewal shearrenewal.com
Calligraphy: Lina LuLu Paperie
Table: More to a Door,  Instagram: @more2adoor
Ribbons: A Ribbon's Nest, Instagram: @aribbonsnest
Rings: Bentwood Rings, Instagram: @bentwoodrings
 

Portfolio: Baby Virgil Adventure Shower

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Have you seen a sweeter looking baby shower? I had the privilege of working with Lauren and her mom for her wedding a few years back and just loved getting to celebrate this next step with them as they welcome a little boy this Spring. The theme was bears and adventure with a classic twist! How cute are all the details!

I had so much fun working with Deb from the concept of the invites to all the day-of pieces. My favorite piece is the Peter Pan quote that will hang in the nursery. Congratulations to Taylor and Lauren as they celebrate their little boys arrival!

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Modern Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

When thinking about Thanksgiving, it had me dreaming about the whole holiday season. I thought it would be fun to imagine a table that could transition from Thanksgiving day  to a more universal table for the winter season. 

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To add dimension and a special touch, each napkin was wrapped in gold bakers twine with lavender and a watercolor leaf with the word "thankful".

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I love the idea of mixing patterns and using the nontraditional fall color of blue to create a fun modern Thanksgiving table. This table and many of the elements could transition to a winter/Christmas table with some simple color and floral changes through out the season. (I'm thinking maybe wine colored tapers and adding glittery baubles among the pine cones).

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To keep the warmth of Fall present and the table relevant to Thanksgiving, I included warm metallics like the gold chargers, flatware and the brass candle holders.

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To include the theme throughout the room, I added a simple chalk-board sign to the sideboard pulling in the florals and pinecone. These signs are perfect to quickly change simple greetings, add a favorite holiday drink menu, or keep score for a family game after dinner!

Decoration:

Calligraphy: Lina Lulu Paperie | Dinner Plates  | Bowls | Salad Plates | Silverware | Table Runner from T.J. Maxs | Place Mats (Similar) | Brass Candle Holders (Family Heirloom ) Simular Item | Blue Glass Candle Holders (Family Heirloom ) Similar Item | Pine Cones | Napkins,Target Dollar Section | Chalk Sign, Target Dollar Section | Wooden Server

Traditional Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

When I think of a traditional Thanksgiving, I think of warm Fall colors (like brown, red and orange), leaves and happy turkeys. Those thoughts became the inspiration for this traditional Thanksgiving table, including almost all my favorite fall items.

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To add a special touch to each guests seat, I included a custom coaster doubling as a name card. Underneath the name card, I placed a peice of paper that each guest could jot down what they were thankful for as a keepsake and reminder for the year to come. 

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Filling the table with pumpkins gives a fun nod to the bounty of the first Thanksgiving pictures of the event often depicts. I chose silver plates and silverware to offset the warm tones reflected in the placemats, pumpkins, acorns and pinecones.

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Collaboration: Being Joy Photography at Emerson Creek Farm

I met Joy this summer at a local wedding gathering and instantly loved her spirit and vibe. I then proceeded to fall in love with her style and gorgeous photos! She invited me to be a part of an amazing team assembled to create a gorgeous boho inspired shoot  at Emerson Creek Pottery and Tea Room in Oswego, Illinois. 

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Finding the right mix of modern, boho, and romantic was my aim as I created a simple but sophisticated wedding suite for this shoot. A combination of hand drawn botanicals, calligraphy and gold embossing become the perfect mix to produce a wild and tame feeling all in one.

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The Incredible Vendor team included: Photography, Being Joy Photography  | Venue and Props, Emerson Creek Pottery and Tea Room. | Flowers, Ashland and AddisonRJPdesigns | Gowns, Victoria Sdoukos Couture. | Hair, Hair By Dorthi. | Make-Up, Alana G | Models, Gabija Guzauskaite and Whitman Johnson

Five Years Strong

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Five Years ago, I nervously slipped on my white dress, clutched on to my father's arm and walked down the aisle to my future. The day was beautiful and I remember being so filled with joy and adrenaline. I can still hear that hotel clerk's voice the next morning as I ordered room service repeating my new name back to me, Mrs. Hutchison. 

We will celebrate with a trip in October, but took the time while up at our family lake house to capture some photos with my sweet and talented sis-in-law, Ema.(She was a champ and even floated out to get some amazing water shots (like the above)!) Minocqua was where we honeymooned and the place that has held a special place in my husband's family for over twenty years, and now in our family of two for the last five years. I love that we get to return to such a special place, that we get to experience it with our loved ones, and one day in the future we will take our own expanded family there too. 

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Happy anniversary Reid. You will forever be my always and I would have it no other way. 

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Life Lately: Family History

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 In late August, we headed up to Chilton,Wisconsin to celebrate my grandmother Emma's family at the Big Schmahl family reunion. My grandmother was one of 10 children from German immigrants, Anna and Peter Schmahl. We gathered in the Eagles Club in their hometown with family I both recognized and family, to be honest, I didn't. On one side of the room, several tables were filled with picture, albums, certificates and the above painting. I knew exactly whose hand produced the work without even seeing the piece before—my father. The line strokes felt familiar and it drew me in as so many of my father's sketches over the years have. The picture is of my great Uncle Peter Jr.'s hotel that still stands in the downtown area of Chilton, now renovated to apartments. I loved that my dad contributed so many years ago to the legacy of his family in the best way he knew how, capturing it in art. He has so many memories going to the hotel when visiting his grandparents, aunts and uncles during the summer, and of the hotel being the hub of large family gatherings and a staple in the town. I loved that he and my mother have past this love of black ink and paper to me, and the desire still lives on in my hands to capture family moments.

I leafed through the pictures showing off the family my father knew and cared for, and I knew only through stories. I read through memories of my grandmother as a young girl growing up in the town, stories from her sisters and brothers and I saw the naturalization certificate my great grandfather was so proud of. He and Anna made a bold choice to move from the country they knew to raise a family in the United States at the turn of the century. My father told me it was one of my great grandfather's most cherished possessions, and now it is mine too. 

Stationery Classics: Party Animal

My favorite birthday card I have created would hands down be these penguins. Adorned in their finest party attire, these penguins were originally sketched out for a New Years card. Yes, these dapper gentlemen were meant for the New Year, but I loved them so much I knew they need to send more cheer all year long. I'm so glad these guys turned into my most beloved card.

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Mothers Day Renegade Market

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Last month we had a great time at the annual Renegade Craft Fair, Chicago Pop-Up. We definitely lucked out with amazing weather both days, great crowds and a beautiful setting near their new offices in Pilsen. I loved getting to know new vendors, saying hi to clients I have seen before at the fair and debuting my new notepads. It was a fun weekend celebrating a great kick off to the summer and of course Mothers Day — with a surprise showing by my very own sweet mom!

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Beautiful art work on the side of one of the buildings. 

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Valentine's Day Around the Corner

2017 is here and the first month is already finished, what?!?! I can't believe how fast this month has flown by—which that means February is almost here—but that means Valentine's Day is almost here! I'm not a sucker for the holiday, but have always loved how the reds and pinks have warmed up the dead of the winter months here in the MidWest. Plus it is another great excuse to send out cards and tell those around you why you love and adore them! What could beat that?

Check out the love collection and new Valentine's in the shop! Click here to see more!

Dream Patio

Summer is so close! With our move to a new apartment last Fall we gained a patio space. I must say this was one thing I felt was lacking in our old apartment. With the days getting warmer, I can't stop dreaming about what our patio will look like and spending time there! Here are a few dream patios of mine...

I have been loving the fun black and white trend with a pop of color. I'll be honest, I don't love the color pink. Look at that lounge chair though! I love the scallops and the way it would pops with so many black and white accents. Just imagine the space filled with leafy palms and how the soft light would look at twilight bouncing off the gold plant stands. Dreamy!

My second dream patio mixes fun patterns and the ease of the boho trend. Pulling in more bright colors, beautiful wicker lounge chairs, and teases of copper and gold—this space would be great for relaxing on any day of the week. I love the idea of hanging plants to give a "surrounded" feel to the patio, but creating more foot space. Wouldn't it also be fun to fill that pretty geometric lantern with fairy lights?

I'm still figuring out what would fit in our smaller patio space (as well as in our budget), but I'll keep looking around and combining my dream patios till I find my "can't part with "pieces. 

Life Lately

This time of year I still feel the need to travel (It must be that internal ingrained Spring Break schedule from school for so many years). Between Reid going back to Africa in May, our role at our apartment, and just life in general—there have been few weekends that have given us time to travel this year, let alone sleep-in. Thankfully, this last weekend was a surprise, slow weekend full of sleeping-in, a refreshing day trip to Milwaukee Art Museum, and even time to cook more than just a meal. 

If you have never been to the Milwaukee Art Museum, it is a must! The Quadracci Pavilin by Santiago Calatrava alone is worth going for. On the more beautiful days the roof actually opens up to resemble wings—stunning! The collection as well is incredible. The galleries rotate out the works every 6 months and the museum itself owns over 30,00 pieces of work! I was particularly in love with their collections of Georgia O'keeffe (pictured below) and there modernism collection. Definitely will be making another trip back when the weather is nicer.