on hygge: a women's creative retreat
NOTE: I wrote this blog post 3 days after Hygge last year. I wanted everything to be fresh. But I'm sharing it for the first time right now. You see, something about Hygge was so sacred to me that sharing it right away didn't feel right. I wanted it to simmer. I wanted it to be just mine for a while. As we plan to open registration for this year's Hygge very soon, I'm ready to share the magic.
You may know this story already but here's a brief version of the history of this retreat: it has none. I went rock hunting last fall on a blustery cold ass day and walked the beach and it was pretty emo. I was tired of my day job, felt creatively uninspired, burned out from a wedding season feeling like I was pulled in 2 directions and my back hurt. Like. All the time.
I decided to stop bitching and moaning about all this stuff and make some changes in my life. I knew then I wouldn't be in TV when the next wedding season rolled around, but decided I couldn't wait until June, it needed to be earlier so I could grant myself the time, permission and space to bring together some women in an event I was craving.
I wanted to host a retreat.
Now, this is craziness in some ways: like- I've only been in business 2 full years. I didn't know if anyone would even want to join me. And I didn't really know what to call it. But I did know some things: I love retreats. My true life passion is bringing people together in memorable ways. And I came up with my 'non-negotiables': it was going to be all about 'hygge' it was going to be Up North, it was going to be for women only and it wasn't going to be about the 'fluff.' I was more focused on quality over quantity. I told Matt that night all about it and he was supportive. I remember telling him "it's more about the nitty gritty than like how to source silk ribbons."
Oh. And it had to be affordable. I wanted someone who was thinking about starting their creative business to be able to join us. I wanted working moms to be there. I wanted recent college grads there.
And so- Hygge: Women's Creative Retreat was born.
And the first weekend of March, 15 women, from all over came together around a fireplace in Boyne City. They brought their wool socks, and yoga pants, and stained sweatshirts and messy buns and glasses. They left at home their partners, kids, pets, drama, family situations, eye liner & pants with buttons. We pulled up a rocking chair and got into it.
Let me stop here and say. I knew it would go well on the surface. 15 women in a lodge with comfy clothes on drinking wine and eating cheese really is fool proof. But what I didn't expect, was for it to touch the core of each of us.
I didn't expect for days afterward people to be; leaving jobs they absolutely loathe, booking clients they dream about, having tough conversations with their partner that they need to be supported in this, starting that business, hiring out the help they need to be their best selves--- I didn't expect it to light such a fire in each of us.
It was magical. We had five sessions over the course of the weekend: Branding. Finances. The Emo Stuff. Client Experience. Social Media.
I am still blown away by the vulnerability, honesty, drive & general amazingness of these women. I have thought of ways to thank them for trusting me with this- but I'll never be able to tell them how much it means to me. Ever.
And we are not just event professionals. I've been getting that question a LOT. We are so many different things. Our group this year was made up of a beautiful mix. We had women who are hand lettering and life coaching. Consulting for small businesses & hosting at their B&B, cooking in their restaurant & floralizing for weddings. Photographing life's biggest moments & executing beautiful events. Just to name a few.
We talked a lot about the really tough shit. The stuff that you want to just find that group of people who will listen to you and really sit there and be like *snaps* I am WITH YOUUUU. Stuff like "my parents will never understand this." Stuff like, "I cannot keep going to this day job- that is robbing me of my joy." Stuff like, "I have a number- and if I don't reach that number- this business will fail." Mental health. Marriage. Kids. Friends who dump you when you start following your passion. People marginalizing your success. Those who call your business your 'cute hobby.'
One exercise we did this weekend: we went around the circle and we said out loud who supports us. Who our biggest cheerleaders are. I am a firm believer that the world is made better when you talk about how awesome people are without them being in the room. You just put that energy out there. You say their name and why you adore them. And we went around the circle and I was blown away. Because you are made by the people you surround yourself with. Your tribe.
And I looked across the fireplace at each of the beautiful women who trusted me with this weekend investment and I listened to each of them list who supports them, who believes in them, who gets them. And I realized Hygge was really all about each of us gaining 14 more to add to that list.
And ladies, thank you thank you thank you.
PS- Read this and want in on the action? Registration is open. I suggest starting right here.