It’s been about two weeks since returning home from Design Camp LA, and honestly? We’re still on cloud nine. As our first time taking Design Camp to the West Coast, we went in with a few butterflies but walked away feeling more inspired than ever. We met so many talented designers and leaders in the industry throughout the retreat—from campers to guest speakers to our sponsors. This event embodies what IDCO Studio is all about, especially the meaningful connections made. Today we’re recapping our favorite moments, and you can scroll down to see some of the magic.
While Design Camp LA was larger than our previous Austin-based retreats, we wanted to maintain an intimate, inclusive experience for every attendee. We welcomed back nearly three dozen returning campers and got to meet another 30 interior designers for the first time. Design Camp LA was unique because it was the first time we welcomed guest speakers to the event. We had a star studded lineup (read: Amber Lewis + Kelli Lamb), and they were so graciously open about answering our questions. Another new element was that we strategically decided not to include hotel rooms in event tickets. This gave our attendees more flexibility to stay either on or off-site during the retreat.
Once all our campers made their way to The Santa Monica Proper Hotel, we held our first dinner on the rooftop presented by SW Design Pros. We held all meals outdoors as a covid safety measure, but it made for such a dreamy experience. The rooftop views, Pacific breezes, cozy heaters, and live music were the perfect combination for our opening cocktail party. This first night was all about laying the foundation for those close connections and fostering trust for the week ahead of leveling up together.
We hit the ground running on day two of Design Camp with sessions, keynote speakers, and more. Unlike previous design camp sessions led exclusively by Lindsay Brooke Design and myself, we reimagined Design Camp LA with a format that allowed our team members to share their knowledge firsthand. This included small round table discussions covering topics like software systems to use in your business and pivoting on social media. We even had a real-time website audit session with our copywriters and creative directors.
Later that afternoon, the one and only Amber Lewis took the stage as our keynote speaker. No question was off-limits for Amber, and she knocked it out of the park with no-nonsense advice that was worth its weight in gold. One of the biggest takeaways was Amber’s mindset to just keep moving forward. She mentioned multiple times that she’s grown because she’s been willing to try all sorts of things and, even at the risk of failing, says yes to a lot. To wrap her session, Amber wowed us by raffling off three of her Loloi rugs, gifting signed copies of Made for Living, and hanging out to say hi to every single camper. We capped off the day with a plated dinner hosted on the terrace, soaking up everything we’d just experienced.
Friday was an opportunity to delve further into education with round table sessions in the morning and afternoon. Our friends presented lunch at Emtek, and it was the perfect opportunity to compare notes on our key takeaways.
Next, Kelli Lamb of Rue Magazine took the stage to discuss publication and what makes a submission stand out in the crowd. During her keynote, she emphasized her dedicated to being an inclusive publication—from projects of single-figure budgets, to designs from all sorts of styles, to designers of all races and ages. Kelli’s interview-style presentation included a Q&A, and our attendees took away so much knowledge to help make publication goals a reality. She even encouraged our attendees to email her project pitches directly, ensuring that she responds to every submission received: email@example.com.
As day three came to a close, we invited everyone to the terrace for a family-style meal featuring lighting by Hudson Valley and live music by Cole Bauer. During this special farewell celebration, Lindsay and I gave a teary goodbye toast to mark our last night together.
We enjoyed an al fresco breakfast presented by Duke Renders on Saturday morning before beginning our closing session. During this time, we covered action steps to set our campers up for success as they head home. While this serves as a helpful debrief to recap all we’ve learned, it’s also a bittersweet farewell between new friends and fellow designers.
All that was left to do was check out of the Santa Monica Proper Hotel, but that was easier said than done. We were blown away by their hospitality, and the property itself lived up to the design hype one thousand percent.
“I truly couldn’t have imagined how great the camp would be. It exceeded all my expectations, and I came home with so much information and actionable next steps for my business.”
We wanted to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the sponsors who helped make Design Camp LA happen. We couldn’t have pulled off this magical week without them, and we highly recommend a look through their websites.
+ delish snacks provided by Siete Foods
That’s a wrap for one of our first-ever Design Camp LA! If you’d like to experience Design Camp firsthand, make plans to join us this May 2022. Secure your tickets before they’re gone—we can’t wait to see you there.
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IDCO Studio is a full-service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Our recently launched limited-release website templates are the perfect way for interior designers to get a luxury website on a budget. These templates allow designers to maintain control of their content. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.