illume retreat Styled Shoot

April 1, 2015

First of all, let me thank each and every one of you for the overwhelming support as I announced the illume retreat last week! Your kind comments, texts and emails have been nothing short of humbling, and there aren’t words to express how humbled and grateful I am for all the love. The illume retreat has been an unformed dream of mine for over a year now, and although I knew I wanted to create a space for creative small business owners to be poured into, educated and loved on, I didn’t quite know what that looked like.
This big dream began to take shape at the beginning of January this year, and as soon as I had a clear vision for this event I leapt into action. Within two weeks I had dates, a venue, a curriculum, commitments from speakers and tentative agreements from others. It was a whirlwind of realizing that this big dream of mine was happening, y’all! People believed in this, in me and in the heart behind illume, so much so that they were willing to block off dates in their calendars and book flights down to Texas to make this happen with me. If that’s not faith in you and your dream, I don’t know what is.

So, as all of these incredible details were falling into place, I knew I wanted to create visuals to go along with our website and to really capture the aesthetic of the illume retreat. As a designer, I’m a visual person, and I felt it was so important to bring the illume retreat to life through a styled shoot to not only help represent the heart behind this event, but to also help our attendees visualize themselves here with us.

I enlisted the help of my sweet friend Lauren of Lauren Carnes Photography to help me coordinate this shoot, and together we schemed, dreamed and pondered all kinds of styling options and locations! I chose the Enterprise Mill as the backdrop for the shoot, and with its warm, exposed brick walls it was the perfect industrial setting for our whimsical, romantic and organic setup.
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Since the illume retreat is a gathering for creatives, I wanted to create a space that represents the place where we do our most authentic creating – our workspaces. Thanks to our incredibly talented team of vendors, we worked hard to design vignettes that reflect the spirit, artistic talent and gumption that goes into living a creative life. Whether you are a floral designer, photographer, calligrapher, artist or anything in between, we wanted to beautifully capture a workspace that feels romantic, organic yet familiar – a space that enables you to produce your best work time and time again.
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Soft, whimsical florals by Karin Jeffcoat of Cote Designs added an element of femininity and beauty to each shot, and she graciously taught me how to assemble a bouquet for the floral styling component! So much of this shoot, and the illume retreat, centers on celebrating small business owners from all ends of the creative spectrum and letting them know that there is space at the table for us all to work, love and live well. I feel that working on this shoot with such a variety of vendors enabled us all to live out this overall vision for ourselves!
With plant dyed silk ribbons by Silk & Willow, a vintage velvet album bound by Blue Sky Papers, calligraphy by Paper & Honey and signage by Paper Birch Designs, and custom stamped copper cuffs by T’Audrey, our creative workspace was overflowing with bespoke, organic details. Lauren Carnes Photography and Jade Reilly Photography expertly photographed the entire shoot and brought each detail to life through their bright, vibrant images.
For more of these gorgeous images, view the full gallery here. Special thanks to all the wonderful vendors who worked so hard to bring this vision to life! I couldn’t have done this without y’all. xo

  1. So thrilled for you friend! It was a dream to help you create this shoot and the visuals for such an amazing retreat! So proud of you! Thanks for inviting me to be a part!

  2. These images are just gorgeous! I love the fact that you enlisted the help of so many small business owners and creatives to achieve this. It shows a lot of love and community and the images really do make you feel like you’re in a dream workspace. Awesome job!! Can’t wait to see more about the retreat!

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My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, and writer which all adds up to one eclectic conglomeration of qualities that enables me to serve you well! Past clients have dubbed me "the Joanna Gaines of brand design," and I've had more than a few call me a dream maker, a game changer, and a design wizard (my Harry Potter-loving heart didn't hate that one, let me tell you!). At the end of the day, I'm a big-hearted creative who will get teary-eyed as you share the heart behind your business; who will lose sleep over the perfect font pairings and color selections to bring your brand to life visually; and who will work tirelessly to empower, encourage, and equip you to share your work with the world intentionally. 

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