Last February, I purchased my ticket to the Creative at Heart conference in Raleigh, NC and immediately started counting down the days until August 7-9th. It was a motivating, empowering, eye-opening experience with 130 creative entrepreneur girl bosses from around the country. I stayed in an Airbnb with 8 wonderful roommates from 7 different states– Florida, Virginia, Minnesota, Colorado, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Louisiana. I definitely felt like I was back in college living in my sorority house again- it was so much fun!
Thank you so much Holly Felts for capturing these conference pictures!
This year, Creative at Heart was hosted at the Merrimon-Wynne house in Raleigh. This historic home is breathtaking and was the perfect space to feel inspired each day. The Creative at Heart team thought of every single detail to execute the most flawless conference!
The first day was a whirlwind of excitement- meeting so many people who I had followed on Instagram and admired their work for years was surreal. Before things got started, my roommates and I stopped by the Yellow Dog Coffee Shop to fuel ourselves with lots of coffee, scones and good conversation.
The conference started with a surprise visit from Lara Casey!!! I completely freaked out when she walked in because she is someone who I have loved for years. (If you haven’t read her books, you absolutely should.) She really put things into perspective for the attendees when she asked us to write down our goals and then asked us to look at them again and ask ourselves if those things would matter when we were 80 years old. After Lara’s talk I felt like I was looking at my business with a whole new perspective.
We learned about finding our niche from Shay Cochrane, creating a brand from Tiffany Tolliver, keys to profitable marketing from Becky and Jesse Morquecho, and we got to hear form Katelyn James (I was SO excited to hear her speak!) on how micro changes can make macro results in our businesses. My hand was hurting from writing all the notes because the content was incredible! I was trying my best not to fan-girl too hard over these amazing keynote speakers.
The evening ended with floor tacos with our panel groups, a C@H tradition. I was so lucky to have 3 amazing panel leaders- Ashlyn Carter, Bethanne Arthur and Becky Morquecho. I have followed all 3 of these women for quite some time and getting to connect in such a small and intimate setting was the best thing ever.
On Tuesday, we had breakout sessions. Each attendee got to attend 4 sessions on topics of their choosing! I picked, Hand Lettering with Alex from Prairie Letter Shop, Emailing Like a Boss with Abby Grace, A Website Critique with Davey and Krista Jones and Instagram Styling with The Caroline Doll. These breakout sessions quickly became my favorite part of the conference! The 4 breakout leaders were incredible and I felt like I learned so much valuable information and also fed my creative soul.
We then got to hear more keynotes about contracts, SEO, Instagram, and professional websites from Megan Martin, Elle Danielle, Myrna Daramy and With Grace and Gold. After the keynotes, I got to give Katelyn James a big hug- she really is the sweetest ever! The evening ended with dinner with all of my roommates and then the late night treat and pajama party.
The final day of the conference was filled with deeper connections and bittersweet goodbyes. We heard from 4 incredible keynote speakers- Ashlyn Carter (my amazing panel leader!), Shanna Skidmore, Hope Taylor, Davey and Krista Jones, and Kat Schmoyer (the heart and soul behind C@H). The keynotes were powerful, emotional, and left everyone feeling ready to tackle all their biggest business goals.
We had extra time with our panel groups and talked through all of our takeaways from the past 3 days. My panel group girls started as strangers and we truly left the conference a family. They are all incredibly driven and talented women and I cannot wait to see all the big things they do!
It was definitely hard leaving so many new friends, but I can’t wait to cheer everyone on with their big business dreams.
Creative at Heart fostered a beautiful community with such a diverse group of women with similar passions and goals. I came to the conference asking myself “How brave am I willing to be?” and left knowing the answer– I not only want to be brave, I want to be fearless.
Until next time C@H.