Creative retreats are absolutely essential for my business

Creative Retreat | Society for Creative Founders | Pensacola, Flordia

farmstead design studio - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

Attending retreats, specifically creative retreats are instrumental in the success of my business. As a solopreneur I am not only the designer but I’m also the CEO, customer service, accountant, shipping and production departments. I spend a good chunk of time working IN my business but it’s often hard to set aside time (and to actually stick to it!) to work on my business. I have found attending creative retreats allows me the time, space and encouragement to work ON my business. It’s imperative for the health of a business to work on where your business is, where’s it’s going and planning on how to achieve those goals. My other favorite aspect of attending a retreat or conference is the camaraderie and networking with other like-minded business owners. After working from home by myself it’s also so refreshing to meet and connect with other creatives who understand what you are going through and can be a support for you and your business.

farmstead design studio - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

farmstead design studio - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

farmstead design studio - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

This past January I attended a small group Alumni Retreat with the Society for Creative Founders at a beach house in Pensacola, Fl. I was first introduced to SCF in the spring of 2017 when I attended the annual SCF conference (which I highly recommend!) where I absolutely feel in love with the women and community. I knew I had found a place I could learn, grow and connect with other boss ladies. So when Kristin, the owner of SCF and an amazing stationery designer of Grace and Serendipity, sent out details for an Alumni Retreat in January 2018 with 8-10 women I immediately knew this was going to be something I HAD to attend! I’ve attended several conferences over the years but this was my first small group retreat and I have to say I absolutely loved it! The small group setting really allowed us to delve into each other’s businesses and help each other grow, evolve and shift in our businesses. There were 8 of us and what was truly special is that each of our businesses were different which allowed an amazing opportunity to have different perspectives and backgrounds helping each other.

farmstead design studio - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

farmstead design studio - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

SCF Retreat - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

brittany of farmstead design studio | bespoke wedding stationery + calligraphy | business branding + logo design - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

Our retreat started on a Friday where everyone arrived to the beach house, which obviously was gorgeous and only one block from the ocean! We spent some time getting to know each other and our businesses before diving into reflecting on the past year in our business and outlooks for 2018. Saturday was my favorite day where we took time to delve into each of our businesses with hot seats to receive feedback or help in a problem or challenge in our business. I really loved contributing to the others businesses and helping them think about things they hadn’t considered or just needed permission for. On the flip side it was so helpful to tell others about my business, challenges, fears and vulnerabilities and receive feedback from others who aren’t in my business day in and day out. We had individual planning time to work on our plans for 2018 and revising our business from our hot seat before we headed out to dinner. Sunday we took some time to continue refining our 2018 plans and then shared our plans with the group who gave us feedback on our plans. After all that hard work we had a headshot and photoshoot session, including a few pictures at the beach, with Anna of Anna Filly Photography, who is just the sweetest, kindest and most bubbly person you will ever meet! I first met Anna at the SCF conference last year so it was so nice to be able to see and work with her again. I seriously LOVE every single photo Anna took and am so excited to share the images she captured, not only of me in my element but also the little baby bump that started to peek out! Monday morning I decided to end the wonderful retreat weekend by watching the sunrise on the beach. Growing up in Southern California and going to college in San Diego I have always had a connection to the ocean and am always in awe of it beauty and power. I am so glad I woke up early and made the trip to the beach. It was so refreshing and rejuvenating to just sit and watch mother nature while reflecting on the weekend and my plans to implement when I got home.

brittany of farmstead design studio | bespoke wedding stationery + calligraphy | business branding + logo design - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

letterpress + foil stationery suite - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

letterpress foil wedding invitation - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

brittany of farmstead design studio | bespoke wedding stationery + calligraphy | business branding + logo design - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

nose crinkle + baby bump

custom wedding calligraphy - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

After I attend a creative retreat or conference I always have that fired up and focused mindset that I want to bottle up and keep as long as possible. I’ve found writing when I get home about my feelings, discoveries, ideas and plans from the retreat help me to keep that feeling for as long as possible and when I need a boost I can go back and read it as a reminder. Attending this Alumni Retreat was unlike any creative retreat I’ve attended before and having the dedicated time to focus on working on your business not in your business to plan, grow, pivot, scale or better your business with the collaborative help of a small group of like minded creative women was just perfect! This group of women are absolutely incredible and are doing amazing things! I highly encourage you to check them all out in the links below! If you’re thinking of attending a conference or retreat but you’re on the fence, do it! I’ve never regretted attending and have learned something new everytime, sometimes about my business, sometimes about myself. Is it too early to think about the next creative retreat?!

farmstead design studio - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

(can you tell who is pregnant in this picture? the lack of height says it all! haha)

talented women you have to check out who attended this creative retreat

Kristin of Society for Creative Founders and Grace and Serendipity
Erin of Erin is Creative
Kelsey of Paper & Oats
Jenn of Jenn Elwell
Stephanie of Duffy Design Co
Janet of Paper + Spark
Mallory of MalWest Design

farmstead design studio - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

farmstead design studio - Anna Filly Photography Pensacola Florida Photographer

photography | Anna Filly Photography


A Mothers Calligraphy Letter to Her Daughters

Bespoke Wedding Stationery | Calligraphy | Charlottesville, Virginia


There’s something so pure about a mother’s love and when I was approached to design a calligraphy letter from a mother to her daughters for a bridal session I had to say yes! Shelby was married at the courthouse and never had a chance to wear a wedding gown. She now has two young daughters and wanted to have a bridal session with her girls. Shelby wrote the most beautiful letter to her daughters for their future wedding days and let me tell you, I definitely cried a few times writing that sweet letter! Since becoming a mother I am an emotional wreck whenever I see the mother son dance at weddings, thinking about one day that being Grayson and I and it gets me everytime to think of the man Grayson will become (like now, the extra pregnancy hormones are just adding to me sobbing as I write this)!

I designed and wrote Shelby’s letter to her daughters in pink watercolor calligraphy since the session was being photographed in a grove of blooming cherry blossoms. The bridal session couldn’t have been more beautiful or perfect! Below is the letter Shelby wrote to her daughters,

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

My dear daughters,
My prayer for you is that
the One who created your hearts
will lead you to the men
who will lovingly care for them.
As you grow, I hope that you
come to learn just how
valuable and treasured you are.
My sweet girls, always remember
that you are precious to me
and my love for you will never end.
I pray that on your wedding day
and forever after, you will
experience profound joy
and a rich and lasting love.
Someday you will be brides,
but you will always be my daughters.




I hope Shelby and her daughters treasure this letter for all their days and look back at these photos with joy and love. One of my favorite aspects of my job is being a part of some of the most special days in my clients lives! It bring me so much happiness to know that my bespoke stationery and calligraphy are a piece of the puzzle to making that day one of the best days of their lives, creating memories that will last them a lifetime and something they can look at for years to come!











See this session published in
Lieb Photographic Blog


Photography | Lieb Photographic
Videography |Olea Films
Fashion | BHLDN
Flowers | Good Earth Flowers
Cake | Cakes in Art
Gift Items | Southern Grown Vintage
Calligraphy | Farmstead Design Studio



My first wedding stationery styled shoot was a dream come true

 Bespoke Wedding Stationery | Calligraphy | Charlottesville, Virginia


My very first styled shoot designing a custom bespoke wedding invitation was a whirlwhird of amazing! I was moving to a new state (hello Virginia!) with a toddler and a burgeoning stationery and calligraphy business which is always a little crazy. I hadn’t even started unpacking yet when I saw a post through the Charlottesville Rising Tide Society looking for a Charlottesville wedding stationery designer to design an invitation suite for an upcoming styled shoot. I swallowed my fear and responded back that I would love to contribute.

I had never done a styled shoot before, I literally hadn’t met a single Virginia wedding vendor yet and my computer, along with the rest of my life, was in boxes, but I didn’t let any of that hold me back! I was overjoyed when Isadora of Rixey Manor said they wanted me to design the invitation suite and collaborate with Anna of Simply Handwritten by Anna for the calligraphy. I couldn’t believe it, my very first styled shoot! I immediately sat down and started sketching ideas for the suite. Anna created some beautiful spot calligraphy I used throughout pieces of the suite and she even painted the watercolor crest that complemented the design perfectly. I fell in love with the design aesthetic of the shoot particularly because it mirrored Farmstead’s branding so well.





It was already a dream styled shoot, allowing me to delve creatively into ideas I hadn’t had the chance to showcase before (hello deckled edge!) and then a week before the shoot I received the timeline for the day titled “Madeline Stuart Photoshoot”. I didn’t think much of it until a few days before when I decided maybe I should google Madeline Stuart and see what comes up . . . um am I doing my very first styled shoot with a world renowned fashion model?! A model looking to change society’s perception of beauty and spread her message of acceptance? Why yes, yes I am! To say I was excited is an understatement!

I could hardly contain myself on the drive to the shoot! I was in awe I was participating in my first styled shoot, meeting vendors in my new area, delivering one of my all time favorite invitation suites and about to witness history! I briefly met Madeline and her mom before she was whisked away for hair and makeup, and Madeline was just the sweetest! You could see her genuine enthusiasm for modeling and she literally lit up the room!

Obviously the shoot went fantastic and once the photos were published, y’all the response was overwhelming! We literally broke the internet! The shoot was featured in dozens of media sources all across the world from People to Huffington Post to Wedding Chicks and even CNN. And Nugen Media made a beautiful behind the scenes video, with an awesome shot of the invitation suite at 0:14! So all in all this styled shoot was a dream come true on many fronts and beyond compare for this wedding stationery designer!






Madeline Stuart Bridal Styled Shoot | Charlottesville, Virginia | Lieb Photographic






Madeline Stuart – Rixey Manor from Nugen Media on Vimeo.

Thank you to all the talented Virginia wedding vendors!

Model | Madeline Stuart and instagram
Venue + Styling | Rixey Manor
Photography | Sarah Houston  and Lieb Photographic, photos featured in this blog by Lieb Photographic
Videography | Nugen Media 
Fashion | Ava Laurenne 
Flowers | Good Earth Flowers
Hair + Makeup | Sara Dodson and Casey Hargrove
Jewelery | Suz Somersall
Cake | Gateau
Orchids | Color Orchids
Gift items | Southern Grown Vintage
Paper Flowers | Creations by DGB
Invitations | Farmstead Design Studio
Calligraphy | Simply Handwritten by Anna
Signage | Bella Love Letters