Design Camp is easily one of my most anticipated events of the year. It requires a ton of strategy and teamwork behind the scenes, but the chance to partner with Lindsey Borchard and foster so many industry relationships is something I’ll never take for granted. I say it every time, but the connections made at camp are the most valuable takeaway of the week. The tight-knit group from our first Design Camp recently gathered to celebrate Blair Moore on her wedding day—that’s the kind of lasting friendships we’re talking here.
This time around, our attendees came from all over the world to join us at The Austin Proper. We really wanted to up the ante with a more intimate experience among our 60 campers, so we created small groups based on years in business. This one pivot made for even more strategic breakout sessions and allowed our campers to delve into the topics most relevant to them. It was such an inspiring week, and I wanted to take you through my personal highlights. This was one to remember.
Taking Design Camp back to Austin was a huge treat for me. I’m admittedly biased, but this city has an energy that’s really hard to beat. This round of camp was our first time hosting at The Austin Proper, and the design by Kelly Wearstler didn’t disappoint. Impressing a group of world-class designers is tough, but these interiors hit the mark.
The first part of day one was spent welcoming our attendees and introducing everyone to their designated small groups. We found that creating more intimate group environments helped to naturally break the ice from the get-go. The small groups allowed our attendees extra time to foster those deep connections as they learned together throughout the week.
Our first keynote was led by Clara Jung, who you might remember from season one of The Interior Collective podcast. Clara shared about her unconventional pivot from lawyer to interior designer and the concept of embarking on a second career. Her team also includes of a doctor-turned-designer, and she credits the studio’s success to their diverse professional backgrounds. During her keynote, Clara said, “second careerists bring a unique combination of skills and corporate awareness.” That was such an important insight, and something I’ll always keep in mind when growing our team. The night one welcome dinner was presented by Emtek. Our attendees enjoyed the meal with their small groups, and had so much to discuss following Clara’s keynote.
Day two began with a poolside breakfast presented by Everhem before diving into a busy schedule. You could tell attendees were already getting more comfortable with one another and this is when the real work began. Lindsey Borchard and I led the day’s first group session focused on pricing strategy, followed by three small group sessions. The sessions were tailored towards important aspects of operating a successful design firm, including:
Later that afternoon, our highly-anticipated day two keynote, Shea McGee, took the stage. Shea shared about her journey to building a multifaceted lifestyle brand and the process of growing a large-scale team. I had a chance to chat one-on-one with Shea earlier this year, but it was an absolute delight to continue learning from her in person. After the keynote, Shea was gracious enough to join us for a magical candlelit dinner presented by McGee & Co, where we all enjoyed the loveliest evening together.
Heading into our last full day of Design Camp, the vibe had noticeably shifted. The room was no longer filled with new acquaintances but like-minded designers who were really championing and actively learning from one another. It was all community, no competition—the very ethos of our retreat.
After breakfast, Lindsey and I took the stage again for a session to kick things off. The rest of the morning and afternoon was spent in three small group sessions, where our attendees got into the nuts and bolts of transforming their business trajectories. Spreading these targeted six sessions out between two days allowed us to delve deep into each topic and ensure no questions were left unanswered.
Marie Flanigan was our day three keynote speaker, and blew everyone away. Her keynote centered on her background in architecture and her firm’s organizational structure. As a little surprise, she even gifted everyone a copy of her book The Beauty of Home. Following her session, Marie joined us all for an off-site dinner at the Four Hands HQ in Austin. Four Hands took us through their offices, shared a fun trend forecasting presentation, and had staff available to set up trade accounts with designers on the spot. We all enjoyed cocktails, dinner, and live music presented by Four Hands, with fun food and drink stations set up throughout the showroom.
The last day of Design Camp began with a farewell brunch, followed by a closing session. During our final group time, Lindsey and I focused on action steps to apply all the knowledge and strategies our campers had learned throughout the week. It was really important to provide some time for guided implementation, so all of our small group teachers remained on-site for anyone with remaining questions on next steps in their process. It was such a gift to see all the growth, excitement, and newfound courage our Design Camp attendees discovered during the retreat. Now we get to stay connected and cheer one another on every step of the way.
We wanted to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the sponsors who helped make this fall 2022 session of Design Camp happen. This magical week wouldn’t have been possible without them.
IDCO Studio is a boutique creative agency specialized in beautiful and unique marketing solutions for interior designers. Focused on branding, web design and Instagram marketing, IDCO Studio is a woman-owned and operated team of creatives based in Austin, Texas. The Identité Collective, which began as a business blog quickly grew into a collaborative community focused on providing business strategy and visual inspiration to the interior design community.
Now you can find our shop of resources, templates and custom branding and web design work over at IDCO Studio—leaving The Identité Collective as a permanent resource for our beloved design community.