On Wednesday, I talked about why I decided to attend Stationery Academy. Today, I’ll be covering the full experience and my key takeaways.
I decided to fly into Nashville on Sunday, a day before the event began, so I could avoid a 3:00 am airport wake up call. I’m so glad I did! I got the chance to spend an extra day in Nashville and to meet Emilee Wheeler (Birch & Main Letterpress) and Heather O’Brien (Heather O’Brien Design) before we were overwhelmed with the arrival of 30 additional women! We went to dinner at Merchants and spent the evening in the hotel restaurant chatting about our families and our businesses.
On Monday morning, we headed over to the Hutton Hotel. Hutton Hotel is a boutique luxury hotel right in downtown Nashville. Here’s an image of the stunning lobby!
We were greeted by our hosts; Whitney English, Natalie Chang, Jennifer Faught, Stephanie Creekmur, and Nicolle Spitulnik. We were also greeted by Hayley Stell, of Hayley Stell Photography, who captured all of the beautiful images below.
Our three days were filled with colorful swag from over a dozen workshop sponsors. There was a lot of love put into the events by the hosts. Just look at all of the personalized details…
There is assigned seating for the duration of the workshop that allows you the opportunity to meet every person in attendance. I have no doubt that this plays an extremely important role in your overall experience.
The first day, we listened to expert presentations about the ins and outs of the stationery industry. We then took a bus to The Loveless Cafe for a family style southern dinner. On the bus we enjoyed beverages and were given photo props to play around with (check out #statacad on Instagram to see the photos that were posted!).
The second day was filled with more presentations. That night, we walked from the hotel to Amerigo for our graduation dinner. At Amerigo, we were greeted with candles, roses, and wine! It was a beautiful formal dining experience to celebrate our time at Stationery Academy.
The final day was filled with more presentations and a lot of awesome giveaways. We broke early to allow everyone to travel home. I could go on forever about everything that took place over the 3 days we were there, but I just don’t have the time. Let’s just say…
There was a lot of listening.
There was some exercise ; )
There was a lot of networking.
There were a lot of conversations.
There was a lot of social media posting, especially by Emilee ; )
There were a lot of connections made.
There was a lot of toasting.
There were a lot of touching moments…
…and there was a lot of love.
Aside from the wealth of information that I took home from this event, I also made a TON of new connections. Women I can bounce ideas off, women who will be there to support me when I have questions, and women who can guide me. The experience was truly invaluable. I’m a shy person by nature and I felt completely comfortable sharing my story, my fears, and my dreams with this group. Keep in mind, when I went to this conference I knew no one. I had chatted with a couple of the women online, but I had never spoken to anyone. There’s no intimidation and there’s no judging. Everyone is accepted and everyone is supportive.
My key takeaways from the workshop were –
- Everyone has to start somewhere. The more women I meet in the industry the more I realize that we all share similar stories and everyone started in the same place.
- Sharing your knowledge is extremely important. We’ve all been there. We’ve all been that person who has no idea what she’s doing and when you try to seek out help no one is willing to help you. They fear the competition and they keep everything they know behind a locked door. Guess what! Sharing what you know makes other people want to share with you what they know. Everyone has something to learn and there’s room for everyone in this industry. Competition will only make you stronger and help you solidify your unique brand.
- You must have a passion for what you’re doing. Having passion for what you’re doing is key! Turning my hobby into a business was the best thing I could have done. I don’t consider any of what I’m doing work. It’s fun and I enjoy every second of it. Ok, maybe not difficult customers ; )
- Share your story. Your customers want to connect with you and sharing your story is the best way for you to do that.