A local lady recently developed a retreat to bring conversation and companionship to female creative business owners. See how her inspiring idea can help you make 2019 your best year yet.
Amanda Donaho wanted to find a way that brought together female creative business owners. As a photographer and business owner herself, she’s been attending events and creative workshops for years. But these gatherings were always full of people sitting in boardrooms and taking notes.
“I found myself craving something more intimate,” she says. “About five years ago, I attended a retreat that was on a much smaller scale and that struck a chord with me. I know the power that comes from a group of women having conversations late into the night and sharing ideas over meals. I wanted to pull all of those pieces together in a way that would give creative business owners the opportunity to dig deep for a weekend, and create new friendships as well.”
That concept became Illuminare Retreat, an intimate, 3 day/2 night conversation with female creative business owners. Italian for “to light up,” Illuminare is designed to help attendees move past fears or mental roadblocks, and navigate to high places both personally and professionally.
“The retreat focuses not just on strengthening each woman’s business, but her heart, too,” says Donaho.
Guests to the event are pampered with an in-house cook preparing meals while also being treated to massages and yoga instruction. “Women walk away inspired, hearts and bellies full, and with a house full of new friends,” adds Donaho.
Donaho recently hosted the first Illuminare Retreat that was completely sold out. “We sold out every spot rather quickly,” she says.
Donaho says that because it was the first Illuminare Retreat, she wasn’t quite sure what to fully expect.
“I knew that for it to go as I had hoped, the attendees would have to be willing to be vulnerable with each other and really open up about their own journey as a creative entrepreneur,” she says. “Thankfully, the group was incredible and the weekend was everything I had hoped for plus some. Some new (big!) dreams were laid out over that weekend, really beautiful friendships were made – there were lots of tears and laughs. It was pretty perfect.”
In addition to food and pampering, guests at Illuminare Retreat also receive swag bags and feel taken care of the entire weekend.
“We will dive deep into conversations over a glass of wine about fears, goals, and mindsets,” says Donaho. “We’ll tackle topics that every small business owner faces, like social media and branding. We will hear from a financial advisor on how to be healthy financially, and learn how to take care of our bodies through a nutrition demo and yoga instruction. We really strive to cover the mind, body, and business.”
The goal of the Illuminare Retreat is to focus on intimacy and the whole person.
“When we’re talking about creative business owners, we’re often discussing individuals who work alone frequently,” she explains. “It can be a lonely path to walk, and the beauty found in finding others to ‘get’ you is so important. Alsoo, as a creative entrepreneur retreat, we’re bringing together women from various industries who can give a different perspective, which is incredibly helpful – versus photographers just meeting other photographers, for instance. Doing all of that under one roof in an intimate setting really accelerates those friendships and the amount of personal growth. Finally, we use the line of ‘mind-body-business’ to explain our take on the importance of having a healthy mind and body – not just a functional business. All three working together will create the best, not just for you as a person, but for your brand.”
The next Illuminare Retreat will be held at the Retreat House in Louisville August 9-11, 2019.