Nearly three years ago in November of 2009, I saw a need for a niche focused home bloggers’ conference and I decided to take a risk. I emailed 18 bloggers that I respected and admired, and I cast a vision. Below is a screenshot of the email I wrote. (I took out the emails to protect their email privacy.) Note the sponsor suggestions!
Rhoda was the first one to respond to my email, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled! Little did she know that in two short years she would be volunteering to lead us in making this vision a reality! Look at the highlighted text below. It makes me smile :)!
And here is one more that makes me smile! (AnNicole doesn’t blog any longer which is a shame for all of us. She has an amazing eye for design and is incredibly talented.)
After several other back and forth email exchanges, I decided to write a post entitled Homecreators Conference to gauge interest for such an event. Twenty-six bloggers weighed in and said they would attend! I was thrilled—and that’s pretty much where it ended. I looked into hotels and wrote up a few sponsor pitches, and then decided that I was insane for thinking I could pull this thing off.
Fortunately for all of us, Rhoda decided to pick up the ball and lead the way in creating the Haven team.
picture via DomestiCate
She emailed me in late April of 2011 and asked if I’d be interested in helping her plan the event. Woohoo! Absolutely! We began weekly Skype calls and spent countless hours trying to figure out a name for our conference. (Dwell was a strong contender for awhile but it was heavily trademarked already, so I suggested Haven and we all seemed to like it. I also LOVED the sound of Haven Mavens! It was perfect.) Layla spent a few days (literally) of her life helping us design a logo and the Haven Conference was born!
picture via Traci
Being a part of the Haven team and speaking in sessions was a real dream come true for me. Our team worked very hard all year to prepare for the conference but we definitely could NOT have done it without Rhoda or Kristen our Haven Team VP and event planner. She was amazing in handling so many of the details! And oh my goodness you all—are there ever A LOT of details involved in pulling off a conference! It’s like planning for a three day wedding ceremony and reception. I stuffed all of the attendees nametags and helped move all of the swag to the hotel. Through that process, I learned that I need to hit the gym more :). Our swag was heavy!
During the conference, I spoke on SEO in the I Like Big Blogs session and how to style vignettes in the Decor 101 session. I was trying to hide the fact that I was doubled over with cramps during the second day of the conference and thanks to some generous gifts of advil I was able to make it through! Yikes! If I didn’t get a chance to sit and talk with you, (or had some awful pained expression on my face while I was talking to you), forgive me. I did my best to try and balance setting up, speaking twice, mingling with everyone, and trying to keep my stress levels in check. I’m not an extrovert so conferences require my all as I’m sure some of my fellow introverts out there can relate to :). All the attendees were amazing and it was so much fun to finally be able to place a voice and real person with a blog!
I think our team is still recovering from Haven 2012, but I really hope we are able to see many of you at Haven 2013 :)! Thanks to everyone who made this event a reality. It takes a niche to build a conference *wink*!