If you’ve been along for Day One and Day Two of the 2018 Illume Retreat recaps, then I hope you’ve enjoyed walking through this experience with me. I’m so grateful to be able to relive this incredible time through retreat photos (thanks to our official photographer, Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Photography) and think back to each breakthrough conversation and ah-ha moment under the twinkle lights here in my home studio in Waco, TX. But today is bittersweet.
Day Three is exciting because we are at the point in our curriculum where people have had these big moments of clarity and things are really starting to come full circle! We set very intentional goals, dig deep and are honest with ourselves about what’s working and what’s not for both our life and our business. We defined what this place of truth we keep talking about really looks like and Day Three is when we bring this all to life and take our next steps for when we go home.
“From the second I arrived at Bonnie’s home, I knew Illume was going to be different than any other retreat or conference I had been on. The group was ready to be vulnerable, compassionate and encouraging. A safe space was created so each of us could share our biggest dreams and desires freely. I came home with the reminder that I’m doing great right where I am and I have an endless amount of new ideas to move forward!” – Katie of K. Williamsen
Cue every bittersweet feeling to ever exist! If I’m being completely honest, I wish Day Three didn’t have to come so quickly. We spent the last three days building relationships and pouring so deeply into one another, and yet everyone has to go home. (I wish everyone could stay forever, but I know that’s simply not realistic.)
DAY THREE ILLUME RETREAT RECAP IN WACO
For as bittersweet as it was, Day Three kicked of with yet another gorgeous spring morning here in Waco. As attendees walked into the living room, they were surprised with a custom screened “Create From A Place Of Truth” tote bag from Ramble + Co. Inside these beautiful tote bags we had so many other surprises. There were styling kits from Shop Romanticist and custom monogrammed keychains from May Designs. They found all kinds of goodies from a local Waco boutique, Plumtique, local handmade gold earrings from EM Jewelry Design, and a gorgeous screen printed bandana created by Mary Claret. And as if that wasn’t enough, we had amazing t-shirts that our sweet attendee Kathryn of Ramble + Co. screen printed for every single attendee to wear home. (Side note, it is the coziest shirt ever!)
TALENTED WACO CREATIVES
I adore Waco and all the creative people that make this community. But what I love even more is highlighting and working alongside some of the most talented! Most people know of Waco of course because of Fixer Upper and Magnolia Market, but what I love most about this community is the support and incredible talent of local vendors and I was giddy to see my attendees get to enjoy their talent as well!
Another local boutique, Gather Waco, gifted our attendees with hand thrown Waco coffee mugs that were not only used each morning to get plenty of caffeine, but they also were able to take them home as a sweet souvenir.
DAY THREE SESSIONS: MONEY AND MARKETING
As we kicked things off, I got to surprise everyone with something fun I’ve never done before. I invited a dear friend and past speaker, Shanna Skidmore, to join us virtually to teach us how to build strong, profitable Money Mindsets. It’s one thing to talk about this from a place of truth, but it’s another to actually figure out how to financially bring that sense of life through your business. Shanna was able to break down what’s often a very complicated and not so fun topic, and made it applicable and easy to understand.
Following our very first virtual session, my ever talented friend, Jenna Kutcher, taught us all about Fostering Your Community through marketing efforts. Jenna has done an amazing job of building her own community and building her brand online and in person. It’s so fun to see the ah-ha moments as our attendees have the opportunity to learn alongside Jenna, ask questions, and take some of her best strategies and implement them in their own businesses.
WEBSITE AUDITS WITH ASHLYN
After a fantastic morning of learning all things finance and marketing with two incredible ladies, we again ventured outdoors on the patio for another delicious lunch catered by Milo. With our final lunch, we continued to dive into the relationships we’ve built and unpacked the wisdom shared. We were eager for what’s to come, but not didn’t want this moment to end just yet.
We slowly made our way back inside for an afternoon with Ashlyn Carter as she offered Website Audits for each attendee. This was so fantastic for our attendees. Whether they were in different stages of launching a new website, a new business, or rebranding completely. They had the opportunity to put their website up on the screen and have us collectively as a group provide feedback and offer constructive criticism. Then Ashlyn, with her expert eye, was able to break down some ideas for better ways to layout each website and ways they could update copy to better convert.
THE HOT SEAT SESSION
We then surprised our attendees with our final session of the day that we like to refer to as our hot seat session. This is a time for us to figure out the nitty gritty details of what’s next. We ask our attendees to come up one-by-one and sit next to us as a panel of speakers. We spend some time really digging into the next steps that they, as an individual, need to take to go home and actually implement all they’ve learned in their business.
CONNECTION AND CLARITY
The Illume Retreat is not an experience that will fill your head with fluff or leave you with a notebook full of ideas you can’t actually act on. Here at the Illume Retreat, we are dedicated to inspire you, encourage you and pour into you. But most importantly, we equip you with the next steps to actually go home and move forward to the direction of your dreams.
“This retreat filled me up with rejuvenated passion and equipped me to fulfill my biggest dreams with clear action steps. It provided connection and clarity for not only my business, but also my life. The intimate setting (think al fresco dinners and heart-to-heart chats over wine with the speakers), knowledgeable guides, and wonderful attendees create an atmosphere unlike any other retreat you will find. Investing in this experience will transform your business from the inside out!” – Shelby of Shea Brianne Photography
The hot seat session took up the majority of our afternoon to really dig into each other. This is such a vulnerable moment where we get to the nitty gritty strategy of how to take things to the next level. There were tears, laughter, and tons of actionable notes. Every year after the hot seat sessions, I think every attendee walks out the door a bit brain fried in the very best way possible because they just absorbed so much content. I want to give them the chance to unwind and process what they’ve just experienced so we always give the attendees a little bit of time to head back to the Harp House to slow down before our bittersweet farewell dinner.
THE FAREWELL DINNER
This year, our farewell dinner coincided with some rain in the forecast, so we had to bring our al fresco dinner inside. Thanks to Veronicka Thompson of Flower and Ink Designs and Loot Vintage, we transformed the living room where we had all of our speaker sessions into the coziest, most intimate family dinner party. It was such a joyful ambiance to gather together around the candle lit table as the storm brewed outside. We enjoyed wine and delicious food catered by Milo.
It was such a sweet time to celebrate the past few days because ultimately walking through the Illume experience is a lot of work. It takes a lot of vulnerability, strength and digging deep to be honest with yourself about your business, but also your life. Together we cried, laughed, and made so many unforgettable memories.
Our farewell dinner is also an opportunity for me to congratulate our attendees and call out the greatness we as speakers see in them. But mostly, to encourage them to go home and chase after those dreams they have so clearly defined with us. Our farewell dinners are always full of lots of laughter, good food, a few tears, and tons and tons of bear hugs. For me, it’s the most rewarding experience possible.
ONE FINAL GOODBYE
I never want our sweet attendees to leave. They fill my heart with so much joy for allowing me to be a part of this transformative experience and I didn’t want the fun to stop. The final morning, my right-hand gal, Veronicka Thompson of Flower and Ink Designs, and I showed up at the Harp House where our attendees were staying with some breakfast and good conversation to send everyone off with a full heart and hopefully a full belly. It was such an incredible way to wrap up the fourth Illume Retreat and to celebrate the amazing women who gathered from all over the country to bravely invest into themselves and to pour into each other.
THE ILLUME RETREAT COMMUNITY
What I love the most about the Illume Retreat is how intimate it is. Most attendees come to build their business yes, but also they come to build community and find like-minded women to walk alongside them throughout this chaotic entrepreneurial journey. And because there are only a handful of us walking through these three days side-by-side, each attendee really does get to build a community and lay down the foundation to relationships that will last for month and years ahead.
“Let me tell you this: you will not find a more caring, committed community than at Illume. I would still be stuck in a rut over my ideas instead of creating space to do what I love. Now I have a team of cheerleaders I didn’t know I needed! I left Waco feeling refocused, reenergized, and with tangible action steps to the life I want to live and the business I want to run. Committing to Illume means you’re not only receiving the best advice for your business, but also intentional conversations over long dinners which is what we really all need more of in our lives.” – Hanna of Hanna Lynn Creative
One of the greatest stories of this work, is years from now, being able to look back at the women who were brought together because of the Illume Retreat and knowing they are still friends. Knowing they call on each other to talk life and business, join masterminds together, and have become friends who still find time to see each other in the midst of audacious business dreams. It is such a true joy and humbling honor to be able to create a space where that can happen.
JOIN US AROUND THE TABLE IN 2019
If you weren’t able to join us this year for this all inclusive, intentional experience be sure to join the waitlist. Our 2019 dates will be announced soon and we would love to have you be one of the few women who joins us around the table next year as we dive into what it means to create from a place of truth and build a business that operates from a clear place of purpose!
Photography: Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Photography | Rentals: Loot Vintage | Florals: Veronicka Thompson of Flower and Ink Designs | Lunch and Dinner Catering: Milo Waco | Breakfast Catering: Luna Juice | Gift bag sponsors: Ramble & Co, EM Jewelry Design, Plumtique, Shop Romanticist, May Designs, Gather Waco, Mary Claret