The Hey Gorgeous Events Studio
Welcome to the Hey Gorgeous Events studio my friends!
I’m so happy to be able to show you around a little at long last. The basement has been an absolute labor of love to bring to life and while it’s very far from finished (as is everything right?) it’s imperfectly perfect. I have about 650 square feet of open space down here all to myself for running my business and it’s more than I could ever need right now in this season of life. I have a lot more detail sprinkled throughout this post along with the introduction to my incredible team, so read on to learn more. I hope you love it in here as much as we do!
When we built our home nearly four years ago, we wanted to finish our basement but it wasn’t in the budget. About two years ago we were debating on investing in an outside studio for my work or an in home studio in the basement. And then finally after many hours and discussions settled on the basement. In an effort to save a bit of money we took on most of the work ourselves which was a big investment time wise. But it was worth the effort. It feels special to be in a personalized space we sort of brought to life ourselves.
In addition to my desk and primary work space, there are two floral work tables which work well for wrapping gifts, assembling save the dates and invites for our clients, and other projects that normally used to take up shop on our dining room table. There is a living room area for consults and hanging out and a space for my favorite inventory pieces. Then there is a not pictured back room area with more inventory and a sink for water. Plus a full bathroom which is only half finished. With the small amount of large events we take on and the amount of travelling we do, this space offers us everything we need to do our job and do it well.
Hi Zo! Zoe loves having more space to roam in our house. I just love her.
We had a team day at the start of 2015 to kick start to the season and refresh our creative reflexes. The goal was to discuss our year’s responsibilities, go over designs and make sure we are all on the same page floral wise. Having gals with the same appreciation for florals as I have is such a great feeling. My team is so special.
Oh and did I mention the floors are faux hardwood? They are floating vinyl panels that were very affordable. My water buckets thank me. Clean up in the studio is really easy (so far) and the space will transition over nicely to a recreational basement when we move the studio outside the home for a bigger space in the future.
The couch is actually a hand me down from my Nan. I love it so much because I remember how proud she was when she first bought it. I’ve had it since college and it’s been pretty dependable. The throw pillows are from Home Goods and that killer Lucite coffee table is a real Kartell piece scored by my Ma at the Goodwill. Seriously. It’s beautiful. I tried two other tables over that rug and the Lucite one was the clear (ha!) winner.
This side console table houses some of my favorite prints from colleagues and friends, including that amazing sketch of Zoe made by Jess one of my head floral designers. Isn’t she talented? Also, I have to note that considering the studio is in our basement, there’s some remarkable natural light that pours in through the four side windows. We really lucked out with the placement of the windows and the way the sun moves throughout the day because some basements can be dark and dreary. I can’t wait for summer down here.
Those wicker baskets at the work tables house my tools and supplies. Easy and beautiful.
And finally, meet my main team, friends! Jess, me in the middle and Betsi. These gals have been by my side for the past two seasons and going into the third this year feels like second nature. We work hard but we play hard too. We keep each other encouraged, we lift one another up and are usually able to anticipate what the other is thinking. We work together like we’ve been a team for years. I am very very lucky. And grateful.
Betsi comes to the team with more than a decade of floral experience and a knack for being determined and on her game at all times. She tackles a lot of the floral work around here and is always thinking on her feet to solve any problems. Betsi has a laugh that lights up an entire room (look at the photo on the right; you can hear her laughing!) and a softness about her that makes me feel at ease and loved on. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and three kids. She’s got crazy cool dance moves. She’s simply amazing.
And Jess is one of the hardest working gals I’ve ever known. She’s been designing florals since she was 15 and lends her well rounded experience to our events. She’s able to do five tasks in the amount of time it takes most to do one, and I love how dependable and trustworthy she is. Jess is quiet but quick witted and well, we love her ability to just roll with the punches. Jess has a heart of gold. And a hug that makes you feel loved on. She lives in Bath, Michigan with her boyfriend and sweet (read: massive) dog Parker. She always has a Mountain Dew in her hand. Even at 6:00 am load ins. We still love her for it. She’s incredible.
And some play time!
My branding collateral was designed by Kathryn Duckett of Creme Brands (love her) and printed by Jodi Bos of Gwyneth Paige Letterpress (love her too). It’s luxurious, femineine and simplistic. The pieces really fit in with the aesthetic of the new studio and the look my brand epitomizes so we had to capture a few photos of the pieces the day of the shoot. Those wax seals have my heart forever.
I also owe a huge thank you to the wildly talented Alexandra Nicole (another 2015 HGE bride!) who did all of our make up for the day. Alex is incredibly lovely and talented. Having her with us all day was such a blessing. And the Love Deeply print was a gift from Britt Douglas at Gallery No. Eight and it’s a really sentimental piece for me. At the heart of the HGE brand is the message that we love deeply. Above all else we love on others. Thank you Britt for sending me such a special print to have in the studio.
You can also catch a behind the scenes look of the Hey Gorgeous brand over on Style Me Pretty today where they’ve also featured the studio tour. Thanks to the SMP team for sharing our new space! Let me know what part is your favorite below, friends! Have a really beautiful day xoxo
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Photography: Bradley James Photography / Florals and Styling: Hey Gorgeous Events / Make Up: Alexandra Nicole Make Up Artist / Rug, Throw Pillows, Mirrors and Lamps: Home Goods / Side Chairs, Wicker Baskets, White Urns, Rhi’s Desk and Console Table: World Market / Lucite Coffee Table: Kartell (scored from the Goodwill! Thanks Mom) / Lucite Stools: Staples / Couch and Silver Wicker Side Table: hand me down / Silver Side Table: Overstock / Blanket Basket and White Sheepskin Rug: IKEA / Pink Watercolor Print: Love, The Nelsons, Shay Nelson / Pink Poufs: Lulu & Georgia / Rhi’s Necklace: Target / Rhi’s Shoes: Aldo / Paint Color: Designer White, Pittsburgh Paints
The Year of Content Week 8 + 9
Happy Weekend, friends! If you’re just joining us in this series you can go here first and here second.
The past few weeks have been a complete whirlwind. We had our first 2015 wedding and it was hands down the most spectacular wedding we’ve done to date. Kristina, Josh and family, you all are such blessings. Thanks for such a memorable experience! I can’t wait to share more with you soon, guys but it certainly was an incredible experience that’ll be worth the wait. Betsi and I were chatting on our plane ride home from Seattle about how much we love to travel and service clients all over the nation. We’ve gotten pretty good at it. We were also discussing how truly melancholy (Betsi’s word not mine!) we felt after the wedding came to a wrap and as we usually do when weddings end because it is indeed a bittersweet job we have! Anyway, I have a few weeks of office work and downtime before I’m off to Chapel Hill for Making Things Happen and a Southern Weddings volume 8 editorial production. We are only nine weeks into 2015 and so much has unfolded already.
However, with busyness comes the likelihood to settle back into old habits; for me that means eating crap that’s easy to access, less expensive and more likely to fuel my emotions than to fuel my body. It means falling asleep with my phone in my hand. And then grabbing it first thing when I wake up. It means forgetting about face to face relationships and things that supply goodness to my soul. It means getting lazy and giving up on a quest for contentment. Like I’ve said before, without contentment we lack gratitude. And without gratitude, we lose perspective. I’ve also learned over the past few years that gratitude and contentment are closely linked to spirituality. And I’m excited to share a bit on that branch of my journey, below for you. Onto my debrief!
Week Eight & Nine
What has not been working: This is a hard one to type out but finding a tribe of friends and colleagues that I can trust and can count on to be there for me (and who can feel the same about me in return) has been a big challenge in my adult years. A really big challenge that’s come with some hard lessons and heartache. But time and time again, I’ve realized the people I am most comfortable with, the ones who have lifted me up and loved on me, the ones who have been there and have created a safe, inspiring and welcoming space, all have one thing in common; they are believers and they stand strongly by their faith. They are women and men who are selfless and honest and full of virtues I want to be made of too. Feeling unworthy of being friends with these sweet souls, feeling like I don’t fit in, deciding that sort of ‘stuff’ (prayer, church, even faith based conversations) isn’t for me, all of these things have not been working. Resisting connections and relationships with others who have been placed in my life for a reason hasn’t been working.
What has been working: For Valentine’s Day this year I gave the gift of financial freedom to Andrew. Well, not complete freedom but I paid off a good chunk of his outstanding student loans for him (there was one minimal payment remaining after my gift was cleared.) After 10 Valentine’s Days together it didn’t seem appropriate to buy him a box of chocolates or anything else he could go grab himself from the mall (although I gladly accepted a small box of truffles from him.) And when he asked me the week of the holiday what I wanted, I told him a visit to church. Our amazing friends Sam and Brad attend a pretty awesome church near our home, and I’ve been wanting to find the courage to go. But with my husband by my side. For about a year I have been putting it off and finally we went, together, on February 14th. We had a blast. Ironically enough the sermon that night was about financial peace within your marriage and family and how as believers we need to be better managers with our finances to find true blessing (also known as contentment; how cool right?) It’s been a month since we first attended church together and it’s obviously a new part of our lives but we’ve also since joined a small group and have started to gather information about some volunteering opportunities and mission trips later this year. I can’t quite explain it but for us spiritually, this has been a really big blessing while also working wonders in the contentment area of my life.
Short term goal: Sign up with Andrew to volunteer at various community events this summer.
Long term goal: Travel on a mission trip. Either with the Vandersons or the Rays.
Feel free to leave your experiences below and to share them with the hashtag #theyearofcontent.
Happy Sunday friends xoxo
HGE Petoskey, Michigan Wedding Teaser
The team and I were talking at our start of the season meeting a few weeks ago, and Kristine and Brett’s wedding day is truly one of the most stress-free and the most FUN events we’ve done in the past few years; not to mention is was a downright stunning celebration for two deserving people. Everything unfolded with such ease and by the end of the week, two families had become one, all while inviting the girls and I into their lives with such love and gratitude. This May, you can see more of this gorgeous wedding in The Knot Michigan. We’re counting down the days until we can relive all of the magic in print! Kristine and Brett, we so love you.
Isn’t Petoskey beautiful? Photo captured by our friends over at Harrison Studio. Xoxo
The Year of Content Week 7
Happy Weekend, friends! If you’re just joining us in this series you can go here first and here second.
I’m typing this to you from the airport in Grand Rapids. Guys. This morning was a serious test to my patience. I showed up nice and early to the airport for my 8:00 am flight, excited to leave negative 9 degree weather for the sunny skies of California. Check in was smooth, security was quick and it wasn’t until I arrived at my gate that I realized something was wrong. There was only one attendant tending to at least 150 people, a line of anxious passengers at the agent’s desk (with no agent), and I realized my ticket didn’t have an assigned seat on it. So over to said line I went. After half the flight boarded, I finally went to ask the agent how I could get my seat number and didn’t have much success there. Long story short, I was asked to stand to the side while each and every passenger had their ticket scanned successfully. Even the other passengers standing with me, also without assigned seats, were finally given theirs. When it was finally just me standing there, the attendant told me he was sorry but the flight was overbooked by one. That one being moi. And I would unfortunately need to find another way to LA. I’m still here waiting. Crossing my fingers I can get out west by tonight. Now I understand this isn’t a life or death situation in any way but my goodness, I tell you this kind of stuff is simply maddening.
And unfair. But life’s unfair so I digress.
My lesson this morning brought to life an interesting snag I think we all run into at one point or another with contentment. We always dig into this at Making Things Happen and it’s been such a revolutionary way of thinking for me, since I attended the conference the first time in 2012. It’s that we’re wired to believe we will finally be content if and when reach X. Which actually defeats the whole purpose of just being happy and content with the time being, with the now, the present, and the as is leading up to whatever X is. Like X is the mothership of joy! I also think this is why contentment is such a hard to achieve mindset for perfectionists (raises hand really high) and those who strive to overachieve. It’s impossible to accept anything less than perfect because perfection is where contentment is nestled away. But again, I could talk about this for days. And today, I want to simply dive into this little epiphany I had in between frustrated tears at the GR airport this morning (yup, I’m the girl with the pink Kate Spade bag who went through security twice!) and how this is applicable to finances over here. Because I didn’t actually need to get to LA immediately at 8:00 am this morning to feel content today. It got (is in the process of getting) worked out. The lesson was there’s still lots to be content about while I sit here with my earbuds in and fingers typing away to you. Onto my debrief!
What has not been working: More stuff. More stuff in order to feel happy. This. Is. Not. Working. At all. I mean technically buying or accumulating more stuff can temporarily bring me or you more joy and happiness because it feels good in the moment and satisfies a want, but I’ve realized this is such a trap. New throw pillows? Guys. I have to stop! A quick getaway to a tropical paradise with my husband because we can afford it and we ‘deserve’ it because we deal with such severe Michigan winters? Oh gosh. Listen to me! I’ve found myself on multiple occasions this year feeling like if I just get one more tchotchke for the living room, or one more throw blanket here, or one more change to the paint color upstairs, then I will have achieved contentment! If I can buy it then I must have it because it’s a shortcut to contentment like those make cash fast scams. I often, honestly feel like I’m so close to contentment I can taste it. But nope, Rhi you’re wrong. You’re missing the mark. Using my and our finances in any shape or form to find contentment is most definitely not working.
What has been working: Earlier this year Andrew and I finally met with our financial advisor to talk about our futures and how we want to see ourselves in 40 years. Using our money as a way to plan responsibly for our future and the family we want to start this year was huge for us as a couple. I’m a big believer in teamwork and going into that very long meeting as a team was powerful. It also made me realize I work pretty dang hard for my money! I should manage it wisely. We’ve been having a ton more financial talks in our house regarding money and that’s a shift from the past where it just hardly came up in conversation. I think finding contentment in the financial arena is going to be trickier for me than the others since it feels like such a measuring stick for the kind of woman and business person I am but hey baby steps right? That’s what this contentment journey is all about for me. Oh and meal planning. Meal planning has been such an easy way to manage money better!
Short term goal: Our short terms goals are a bit personal to share here but they involve our monthly spending budget and working closely with out financial planner to make the best choices for us. Oh, and no more throw pillows. Seriously. I’m done! Come to our garage sale this summer and buy all of the ones I grew tired of, please.
Long term goal: To be financial secure enough to open my own floral shop. In the south. There’s a big piece of my heart right there.
Feel free to leave your experiences below and to share them with the hashtag #theyearofcontent.
Happy Weekend friends xoxo
FAQs: Finding Social Media Boundaries That Work
Happy Monday, friends! Today I’m dishing on one topic that totally fires me! In a past blog post about limiting my social media use to better make use of my time and stop scrolling through my various feeds like a zombie, a sweet gal named Jo had a left an awesome and insightful comment that went a little like this:
This is such a great post, I totally agree and I need to do this. I have one small (HUGE) concern. I recently launched my business and I’m using social media as my main way of marketing my business. Is it a matter of scheduling posts and checking them every couple of days or once a week? How do I work on getting my business out there when I’m not checking social media?
When you’re new to anything you feel passionate about, it’s hard to have boundaries and even harder to feel like you’re ever giving enough ______ (time, effort, money, love, attention, insert whatever it is you feel your new thing needs to succeed). Without boundaries, eventually your efforts turn into a vicious circle because you’re always trying to outdo yourself. This creates misery and exhaustion and in some cases a bit of envy for what it ‘looks’ like others have going on. I can relate! Really. So let me share this little no so secret, secret with you.
The not so secret is that we ALL deal with overwhelm and distractions. These snags happen at any stage of entrepreneurship regardless of staff size, years in business, number of social media followers, personal changes and experiences like kids, and the list goes on. If a business is truly doing well and by general standards is successful, it’s going to feel like you’re always in the building stages. Because you are! While the logistical struggles I faced five years ago when I first started coordinating events are different than the ones I face now as I fly cross country to tackle big events and massive floral orders, the struggles are still there. They’ve just changed as my business has. I think some call this ‘growing pains’. I’m sure those who have been in business even longer than me face struggles proportionate to their experience level and business model too. While experience as a business owner results in increased knowledge it doesn’t translate to perfect operating conditions.
So here are some of my tips for using social media to build your business without going crazy (been there):
Create a Social Media Calendar Most large blogs have some sort of editorial calendar they adhere to, the same way an editorial team at a magazine lays out their next issue. This takes a bit of work and self discipline to stick to but it will guarantee you have a plan to follow. Grab one of those oversized calendars from Staples and at the end of each month, brainstorm when and what you are going to blog/share/do in the upcoming four weeks. Or start with two weeks if four is too much. Write down those topics, along with post dates and how you’ll share those items across your social media channels. Then start to preblog the content on your back end, so when those dates come, all you’ll need to do is proof-read and publish your posts! If you don’t blog (which I think you should but I can write about that later) then try to follow this system with your social media accounts. Ashley Brooke Designs is a great example of this. She shares three times a day on her IG account to reach three different demographics based on three time zones and to ensure she has three chances to hit her various audiences each day. Does this system work for me? Nope. But for ABD it’s a brilliant strategy and works like a charm for her brand. Your social media calendar should reflect your brand, your mission and what’s actually going to find that balance between promoting your business and not causing you unnecessary stress.
Quality Over Quantity When I was a gymnast in the NCAA, by my senior year I was on the outside in the best shape of my life, but on the inside just hanging on by a thread. Three back fractures, a newly repaired shoulder labrium, stress fractures in my shins, taped ankles, wrist guards and the list goes on. Each day at the gym felt like a walk onto the battlefield and both my coaches and I knew we had to be smart about the amount of wear and tear put on my body in practice to ensure I was at my best to compete and pull my weight with the team. During our competitive season, I remember walking into practice each day (which just to give you an idea, our practices were four hours a day, five days a week, and some days included morning lifts and cardio) but I remember coming in to practice and while we were all given a work out schedule to adhere to for the day, some of us were given the option to pick what we could commit to. Most conversations with my coach went like so:
Kathie: ‘Rhi, the assignment is 5 stuck vaults today and the fifth must be above a 9.8. How do you feel today?’
Rhi: ‘I’m a bit sore from weights yesterday and while my back is alright my shins are rough.’
Kathie: ‘What can you commit to?’
Rhi: ‘I can give two solid vaults, if one of those first two are above a 9.8 can I call it good?’
Kathie: ‘Great, you can use the remainder of practice to do some light cardio and conditioning.’
And if you want to read a bit more on how that approach helped me athletic wise, you’ll like this.
This quality over quantity approach is one of the biggest lessons I learned in college which funny enough, I now apply to most aspects of my life (quality pieces of decor in my home versus a million tchotchkes, quality time with my husband twice a week versus sitting in front of the television together every night with our phones in hand, 5 to 7 incredible weddings a year over 20 that leave me feeling frazzled and unfulfilled). When I blog or post on social media, I try to take a similar approach. I’d rather put up an impactful post that feels genuine and honest to my audience even just ONCE a week, than a crappy photo with no purpose every single day that may entice my audience to question how much time I’m spending online versus doing my actual work or a post that again, doesn’t tie back in with my core brand or mission.
Get Creative With Sharing Social media is no doubt a great and in most cases, free way to market your business. If you’re not currently using social media for your business and your a business or service catering to millennia, get on it! But the marketing opportunities and advertising strategies available to you don’t stop there. Being proactive about getting reviews from past clients for either your website or your profiles on wedding vendor sites, staying up to date on your website text and about me photos, networking with new professionals and being a kind and inquisitive colleague, serving your clientele better, and actually keeping your head down and focusing on your actual craft (versus talking about it all over IG and facebook) are all different forms of marketing and advertising your services and products. Get creative about the way you share and in turn you’ll become a better advocate for your own brand without feeling like a slave to your phone.
And if you absolutely have to use your social media on a daily basis for the existence of your business that’s great too! This is about what works for YOU not the business that has 100k followers or 400 comments on their latest facebook post. That’s comparing apples to oranges in the creative field. It’s not about questioning the business who chooses not to have an instagram account or the one who takes breaks from their accounts for a while (like me!). Numbers don’t always indicate success in the bank. And not every business is out to make six figures. Everyone has their unique plan that works for them and a very personal definition of success.
Further, if you’re needing help with managing your social media content you can look into apps like CoSchedule, Postso.com, and Hootsuite to help with your efforts! When it comes to blogging, both blogger and wordpress allow you to schedule your posts so they automatically go live when you want. There are really so many awesome and user friendly resources these days for creatives and business owners to help make your life a bit easier while striving to reach your professional and personal goals. Again, find the ones that work for you.
How do you use your social media accounts? What works for YOU? Share below if you’d like!
Happy Monday! Xoxo