Note: While I wrote the bulk of this review back in March when I was only a student and attendee of the School of Styling, I've since been granted the privilege and honor of becoming a teacher in the Chapel Hill school.
Since my viral review of Illume was so popular, I thought I'd post a comprehensive review of my time at the School of Styling in Nashville, Tennessee. P.S... it was so fun to be back with Shalyn!! She also photographed Illume and gave me a huge hug to calm my nerves.
Admittedly, this was the first conference, workshop or retreat I've been to since I've achieved "success" in my creative field and accomplished many things I've wanted to do but never thought possible (i.e. start a 'work-from-anywhere' business, speak on a huge platform- thanks Rising Tide Society!, and work with amazing companies I adore- looking at you HoneyBook). It was quite a different experience from other conferences or workshops, and one I would never have had if I hadn't put myself out there in a place where it's admittedly easier (+ more fun) to break out of your shell than just sitting at home hoping for that publication to pick up your submission (<< been there, done that).
So here's how it went down...
At 9 (ish?) am, I head out the door. I'm much better prepared for the School of Styling than I was for Illume- I'd had a Christmas to recover and used all my gift cards to impress these ladies with my duds from Anthro and Free People. When I say 'impress,' I mean, buy flowy, fun tops that make me look "boho" rather than "fat" because I've gained some weight recently. I've also done things like pack an arm full of bangle bracelets and some Kendra Scott earrings, because people tell me these are girly and acceptable.
At 1:30 I arrive at my Airbnb, which I was promised was in a safe but up and coming neighborhood full of renos and young couples. Nope. No it was none of those things.
At 3pm, I'm sitting outside TSOS and it's starting, but I'm freaking out because for the past hour and a half, I've been attempting to find a hotel that is less than $200 a night while watching hotels literally disappear before my eyes. Something called March Madness was in town and apparently that's a thing for a lot of people.
At 3:45pm, I've checked into my super 'spensive hotel (I'm beside myself at this point...) and rush back over to TSOS. I sit in my car for a minute because I'm nervous, and then I head in. I've missed the mingling and mimosas (so I'm still nervous) but somehow Kaitlin has graced me with a seat in the back so I don't disturb anyone as I come in (hopefully!!)
That evening, we have the most fun round of speed networking!! When Kaitlin said that's what we were about to do, I was really prepared for something super cheesy. It's way fun though and we have a great time! I meet tons of fun friends (one has turned into a client) and I feel like I've intimately connected with several of the ladies there. It was a great way to bypass all the awkward first conversations and give us all something to share and connect with.
I leave with a full heart, and the icing on the cake is I have a cupcake in my room waiting for me to dive into. I order room service (popcorn and shrimp cocktail, naturally) because I've already signed away my unborn childrens' college funds for Paris Hilton's inheritence, so what's a few more bucks?
This is where the getting got good. We, no-- they-- started off the morning with more mingling and a power pose. I started off the meeting with client consults on the phone, which meant I was late to the party. Here's proof:
It's all good, I avoided a picture while I was/am in a fat phase. Great success! But, I am SO glad I made it in for Jess' talk right after this photo was taken because man was it a good one.
When I had originally seen her on the schedule, I thought, oh yeah, whatever, another motivational talk at a conference. Nuh-uh. This was DEEP. Jess got right to the root of our problems and hit on some nerves for sure. She forced me to take a deep, long, hard look at the 'why' of my business, and forced me to re-evaluate my launch plan for my digital projects as a result. I'm poised to make better sales off the second launch of Cradle to Brave, my handholding course for baby biz owners because of Jess' talk, and it's hard to nail down how this happened without giving away all her intellectual property. I'll just be on the safe side and tell you she had a system of 10 things that she ran down and dissected, and man, was it helpful!
Next up was our floral design, and it had been about two years since I'd even done this for fun at home. (Sidenote: I'm a professionally trained floral designer through Texas A&M! Saprize). I had a great time playing around with all the blooms and Melissa did a great job of teaching us how to nail a centerpiece at a cost-effective price using less, but more poignant flowers with a pop.
You make a centerpiece for dining tables, so that's what we did! Once we were done designing, we grabbed a beautifully catered lunch (that definitely didn't taste catered) and they even accommodated my pain in the butt gluten free needs.
Then, the real fun started. And by real fun, I mean business- Shanna. If y'all don't know Shanna, she is a super intentional business baller which is just a fancy way of saying she knows finances. And if your biz ain't got finances under control, you ain't got no biz.
To see the top three things I learned from Shanna's talk, check back in tomorrow where I'll give those away, plus, for anyone who signs up for the School of Styling in Chapel Hill by 2pm on May 12th, I'll throw in 50% off a contract template! These only go on sale twice a year for Black Friday and my birthday, and neither of those sales feature a discount this big!!!