Dream it, Build it, and they will come. Well, we dreamed, prayed and built it, and guess what? They came. Last October 2018 Jodie and I held our first Instagram event. We called it, The Design Twins Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat. It was a 2-day/3-night event held on a private estate in Waco, Texas. It was the culmination of all our hard work learning and growing our own Instagram accounts, as well as our careers as teachers, influencers, and mentors.
For details about our NEXT Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat in Lehi, UT in March click HERE.
All photos credited to Be Known Photography.
Why Host an Instagram workshop?
What motivated us to hold an Instagram workshop in the first place?? We had been teaching Instagram via private phone consultations for years and teaching Instagram on our blog. Over 40 articles are published on our blog sharing our experience and research on the topic of Instagram and growing organically. But we were craving more. After speaking at Snap Conference in Salk Lake City and teaching a class on Instagram Growth we were getting ready to create an online course when it suddenly hit us: We need to do this in person. We realized we needed to deliver our content face to face in order to really affect people. Not satisfied just teaching people, our goal was to inspire them as well. We wanted to feel the rewards of not just teaching them but touching their lives!
We chose the intimate destination of The Gathering Oaks Retreat (our name, Instagram Gathering Workshop, was a coincidence, if you believe in coincidences!) Our event was named before we found our location, so it was a sign 🙂 The 30-acre private estate just across the road from Chip & Joanna’s farm in Crawford, Texas seemed the perfect destination for what we had in mind.
Original Curriculum for our Instagram Gathering Workshop
We created 15 hours of original curriculum teaching what we are so passionate about: Instagram. We covered every aspect of Instagram over the two-day course. Each attendee received a 66-page workbook/course outline that they used to add their own notes and served as a powerful take-home reminder of all the material that we covered.
Who Attended the first Instagram Gathering Workshop?
We designed the curriculum to benefit all skill levels across all niches. It was so wonderful to have such a great variety of women from across the country joining together with one common goal: to achieve their unique dreams via the Instagram platform.
We had some attendees of our Instagram Gathering Workshop who were brand new! And some already had 50K or more and everything in between. Once we met each other it didn’t matter how many followers anyone had. Everyone, no matter their Instagram size or experience, had something to share and gifts to appreciate.
We had influencers and aspiring influencers. We had brands, small and large, and companies big and small. And we had plenty who were aiming to be both. We soon realized that we all had much more in common than not.
There were small makers, crafters, brick and mortar business owners, home decor influencers, service providers, brand-newbies (who were most endeared by all), spread across every niche you can imagine. We had knitters, a nail artist/business owner, a singer, photographers, soap makers, decorators, calligraphers, artists, writers, small shop owners, and homemakers. Everyone learned from everyone else. Our dreams became reality…only reality exceeded even our best dreams.
The Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat Unfolds
Our event began on Sunday night with our opening party, a welcome dinner and meet and greet. The excitement was palpable! And we just got right to it, meeting everyone and beginning the bonds of friendship that would prove to be the greatest blessing. After dinner Jodie and I gave a welcome presentation setting the stage for what was to come.
United in a Sisterhood
From the very beginning of our Instagram Gathering Workshop we witnessed the incredible power of women when we come together with open hearts and open minds. We felt almost instantly bonded because more than our differences we were all bravely pursuing our unique dreams. It was an amazing commonality that created a feeling of sisterhood.
Small Group Bonding
After our welcome presentation we broke up into small groups based on niches. For example, we had:
- home decor
- small businesses
- makers & crafters
This smaller group bonding time was so powerful. We heard over and over again how much people got out of this time together. Fast friendships were forged, and no one really wanted the night to end. But we had a lot to cover, and the event had just beginning! We soon realized that what was happening was more important than sleep. Many of us decided that first night that we would catch up on sleep when we got home.
- We have created original, up-to-date, results-driven curriculum specifically designed for you, the small-mid-size business owner, influencer or brand on your journey towards finding your unique voice and audience on Instagram.
- Connect with a powerful tribe of women in an intimate environment of encouragment and support.
- Master the fundamentals and learn what it takes to stand out and maximize your IG potential
- Walk away with the tools, confidence and vision you need to reach your audience and achieve your goals.
- We developed this course from our collective 9+ years of personal experience on Instagram, our years of Instagram consulting, and our online Instagram teaching. Our curriculum is based on experience and on-going research.
- We both have Masters Degrees in Education with a major in Curriculum Developement. We have years of classroom training with mainly adult learners.
The Gathering Instagram Workshop Curriculum
Curriculum topics we covered:
- Become crystal clear on your goals and vision
- Create a bio that captures attention
- Identify your target audience & creating your ideal avatar
- Learn how to create KILLER content
- Learn how to take improve your photos and to edit like a pro
- Develop your unique voice
- Learn how to connect on a new level with your followers
- Learn how to turn your followers into loyal customers
- Get clear on HASHTAGS, what to do and what not to do
- Learn growth techniques that actually work
- Learn which ones to avoid
- Discover daily strategies that produce results
- Learn the best apps to use (and which ones to avoid)
- Follow time-saving strategies so you can focus your efforts
- Understand the ins and outs of collaborations: how to find the brands, approach the brands
- Know what you’re worth and negotiate for it
- Understand the many ways to make money on Instagram
- Learn how to manage your time, creating boundaries and finding balance
- and so much more.
The Bonding was Magical!
The first night we were excited and enthusiastic. The second night we were full of love and amazement. The third night we laughed until our stomachs hurt and cried until our makeup dripped down our faces. None of use could have predicted how much we were affected by time spent together. This is what Jodie and I had prayed for, that more than just learning curriculum that we would affect lives. Every single person, including us, left changed. We felt loved, accepted, motivated and were not alone in our pursuits! We belonged to a sisterhood.
We let go of inhibitions and fears. Walls dropped. We opened our hearts to each other, shared laughter and tears, making friendships and memories we will never forget.
How our attendees feel about the Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat: Testimonials
Kari Fiagle @ourfigtreecottage
Jenny Zacharewicz @bigfamilylittlefarmhouse
“Originally there was some hesitation on my part when signing up for The Design Twins very first workshop in Waco this past October. I was feeling very stressed over the number of hours (6-8) I was spending each day on Instagram, but also feeling like I knew everything I needed to know as far as growing my account and being successful…boy was I WRONG!!!
Not only was I on the completely wrong path for growth, but I was also spinning my wheels and doing everything that the infamous ‘Instagram algorithm’ doesn’t like! In addition to gaining so much incredible wisdom and knowledge as to how to better manage my account, the Twins literally gave me my life back! I am now down to about 2 hours per day spent on IG, and my family is so much better for it! And it gets even better y’all, because the unexpected gift of the workshop was the INCREDIBLE bonds I was able to form with so many precious and beautiful women! Truly the icing on the cake!” ~ Jenny
Kristi Moultrie @mypaisleypocket
Jenny Reimhold @jennyreimold
“As a budding Instgrammer, I attended The Design Twins conference in the hopes of growing my following and learning tips on how to build a successful account. Although I left with the tools and knowledge to increase my social media presence, the friendships I made and the memories created made this experience so much sweeter. So many women bonded over a shared love of family, community and fellowship and the encouragement received left so many of us with the feeling that success was in reach.
Bethany Sinks @shiplapaddict
“When my Instagram friend Jen @nuckingfutsjen (that I had known over a year but had never met in real life) reached out to me about an Instagram Retreat in Waco, TX, I had no idea what an experience I was about to have. I was so nervous to attend as I really didn’t know anyone. But that changed quickly the second I arrived. Jodie and Julie were so warm and friendly at the meet and greet I knew God meant for me to be there. I faced my fears of trying new things and doing something completely out of my comfort zone.
Jodie and Julie taught me so much and made me realize so many things about myself.
Sheri Martin @savvyinthesuburbs
Regina Ellis @sheheardthecall
“Almost two years ago, I had met Julie and Jodie on Instagram. I knew God lead me to them, after winning a consultation and getting to know them more I was so thrilled because of their knowledge and faith. It has been two years with ups, downs and ups. They posted The Gathering Conference and I knew I had to be at this event to learn. It was 1,409.1 miles to get to the destination.
This was more than learning about Instagram; this was about connection and finding out that what we are doing has a bigger purpose! God’s Hand was on it! A conference with 50 women that shine their light is powerful! The room was humming with encouragement and inspiration. This was the longest that I have been away from my family but I was at such peace knowing this is where I needed to be, where each woman needed to be. Julie and Jodie, I am blessed by the both of you! I was able to see your beautiful faces, hug you and see your inner beauty shine!
These are some of the many things that stood out:
- I need to get out of my own way to help others
- I have to work hard on my dreams everyday
- Remember my why
- Find joy in the journey
- Allow God to direct your steps and great things will happen
I encourage you, Girl, if you feel that tug to do that thing, you know that thing that you have been dreaming of doing. You can do it! Gathering with amazing women that have the same goal is invaluable.” ~ Regina
To read additional testimonials go to the Event Landing Page for the Utah Event!
Our Attendees Got Spoiled
We had some very generous sponsors for our event that made our attendees feel extremely spoiled. Our 2 biggest Instagram Gathering Workshop sponsors were Devanie Adams @devanie.at.home representing the face of her company Adams & Co. @adamsandcompany and Mandy Sencic @oldewoodltd. Both of these talented and incredible women attended and each presented the story of how their husbands and they had built their companies from the ground up. They were so inspiring. They also gifted all our attendees with incredible swag valued at over $400!
Adams & Co.
Adams and Company is a home decor company specializing in seasonal decor. Krumpets Home Decor is their retail and online store. They have been designing and selling home décor for more than 17 years! Devanie and husband D.J. first set up shop in their two-car garage in suburban Utah with a dream of showing the world their unique twist and traditional flair to home décor. This original spirit still runs deep throughout their company today. Listening to Devanie talk was beyond inspiring. Jodie and I have enjoyed decorating our homes with so many of their enchanting and show-stopping stylish decor over the past year. You can shop and have a ball (and save using our on-going savings code: THEDESIGNTWINS)
Olde Wood Ltd.
Next we were honored to hear from Mandy Sancic, co-founder/owner and Marketing Manager of her company Olde Wood Limited. Just like Devanie and D.J. Mandy and her husband started their business from the ground up when they were still teenagers! They began by recycling old barn wood and selling it. Olde Wood Limited® is now one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of custom wide plank flooring and other unique reclaimed building materials. Over the last 21 years, they’ve milled over 5.6 million square feet of wide plank flooring for thousands of satisfied customers. Their incredible products turn homes into a one-of-a-kind masterpieces that will last for generations to come.
Last year, as you may remember, I added their newest product, Barnwood 2 Go, to transform the walls of my laundry room. This easy-to-use real barn wood is peel & stick! I call it my miracle product! I loved it so much I added it to my two kitchen islands. Everyone that walks into my home talks about the wood. Visit my blog post HERE to learn all about it! Every attendee received a box of their choice of Barnwood 2 Go in their choice of finish.
Guess Family Barbecue
When in Texas we we were really looking forward to tasting some of what Texas is famous for….some real authentic Tex-Mex. We were introduced to Vinny Guess, owner and operator of Guess Family Barbecue who agreed to cater our dinners. Their reputation proceeded them as providing some of the best Texas barbecue, but we got to taste it for ourselves. We opted for a fun taco bar and Nacho bar one night and then an elaborate enchilada and quesadilla dinner another night. We heard rave reviews all around. Everything was fresh, flavorful and professionally delivered. The ladies couldn’t stop talking about how delicious the meat was! This family run business knew their barbecue, that’s for sure!
The spoiling came in all forms. We were sponsored by the bakery of all bakeries, Sweetness Desserts in Waco. The owner of Sweetness Desserts was Joanna’s original baker. The recipes for Magnolia’s Bakery originated with our “sweet” friend and owner Laura.
We had no idea what we were in for when we agreed to partner with Laura. She is as talented as she is generous. We had new batches of the most melt-in-your-mouth treats at every meal! Cupcakes (of course), cookies, bars, even candy! Too good to resist of course.
We had so much fun stopping by Laura’s gorgeous bakery, taking a private tour, and of course, tasting the goodies! Hey someone had to do it 🙂
This is tough work, Friends! I was only going to eat one bite, and the next thing I new I was contemplating a second cupcake!
Brand Photographers: Be Known Photography
We had the amazing privilege of having husband and wife pro photography team of Be Known Photography capture our event. All the pictures in this blog post are their work. Over the course of 3 days working with them at the event, touring Magnolia Silos, and visiting Sweetest Desserts Bakery, we got to know Malaina and husband Jason on a personal level. We love them! We are praying they will attend our upcoming event in Lehi, Utah as well.
Melaina and Jason’s work speaks for itself. But what drew us to them was also their unique services. They are brand photographers. They help personal brands tell their visual story. Translating people’s unique messages into photo images is their passion. After many years of using their cameras and love of storytelling to document weddings they are now taking that experience and calibrating it for personal brands and small businesses. It’s an incredible service and one that we think could be very helpful for individuals wanting to brand themselves for their Instagram, blogs, and general online presence.
We hope you will visit BeKnownPhotography.com to take a closer look at their unique services. It could be your brand’s answer to marketing and Instagram in 2019 and beyond!
What we learned…
We learned so much, about ourselves and each other. We realized that besides the curriculum also of great importance was the time away from distraction of everyday responsibilities. The retreat provided an opportunity for guests to focus on themselves! Jodie and I realized this, and it turns out we couldn’t have been more right. Everyone agreed that the time away was an integral part of their transformations. It allowed everyone to dig deep to discover deeply rooted dreams and true motivations.. It was a journey of learning & discovery.
We enjoyed every minute of our time together! Our huge expectations were exceeded again and again. Our greatest compliment was realizing the quality of each any every individual we “attracted” to our event. We were and remain in awe.
Oh the friends we made! We will never forget.
As I said on Instagram: The curriculum will change your Instagram. The friendships will change your life.