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A Page From Our Storybook: An Inspirational Week With the Rising Tide Society

Wow! This week was incredible- almost too incredible for words!!! For those of you who follow me on Instagram (@storybookchicagoevents) or facebook, you may have already seen a sneak peek of some of my excitement.  If you don’t follow me yet, you are in luck, because I just HAVE to share with you how wonderful it was!

Have you all heard of The Rising Tide Society? Well if you haven’t and you are a creative small business owner, I highly suggest checking them out. The Rising Tide Society believes in ‘community over competition’ and supporting one another through education and encouragement. I will be honest, it is tough running a small business; especially in a highly saturated industry. There is so much to starting and maintaining a company and it can be difficult to find others who are able to relate, whom also enjoy being a mentor.

I want to share with you a bit of my personal experience on this topic. Within my first month of launching Storybook, while I was still in the process of bringing on my first planner (Lisa Jaroscak) and getting the hang of all of my new business owner responsibilities, I received a pretty harsh phone call from another planner in my industry. She said one specific thing that will forever be a memory.

“We (the already established planning companies) are a really tight knit group and let’s just say, if we don’t want you as part of the industry, you won’t be. We can push you out of here as easily as you made it here”.

After listening to a few of her other “concerns” (like my apartment, which I worked out of, being too close to her office), we finished the call and hung up. My feelings were hurt and I felt a bit discouraged. I immediately felt like I would not be able to make any new vendor relationships aside from the ones that I already had from my previous role as a catering manager.  This call was also made by the same planner who I initially looked up to. I had met her several months before I opened my business at a wedding industry meeting whose purpose was similar to the Rising Tide Society. However, once I actually made the leap and opened my business, it was pretty upsetting to hear how her support changed.

Although harsh, this experience didn’t stop me from meeting new vendors or planners in Chicago. I have definitely met many whom have acted like she had and I have also met a great deal of people who are loving, supportive, have a passion for the industry and most importantly put our couples first! We cannot help but get along! I am so grateful for these people and cannot wait to see how our relationships and partnerships grow through the years!

Now back to my week and the point of my blog. Tuesday was the start of a three day online summit hosted by the Rising Tide Society. What a beautiful community! Over the course of the three days we heard from nine speakers whom included, Kiana Underwood, Jeff Goins, Katelyn James, Lara Casey, Kunbi Odubogun, Amy & Jordan Demos (cutest couple ever!), Douglas Atkin, Jenna Kutcher and my inspiration….. Kat Schmoyer.  Talk about motivation overload!!!

I loved listening to these creatives speak about their challenges, their personal heartfelt stories and grew through learning about their failures and successes. This is something that you don’t hear of often and I am not sure why. I think that people are too scared to talk about their personal successes and what has or hasn’t worked for them because they fear that the listener might do “better than them” if they share too much. Ugh!  It doesn’t have to be this way! I am a big believer in sharing, teaching and encouraging others. It will only strengthen you! In my eyes, each and every Planner, Photographer, Florist or Small Business Owner has something unique and original to provide. By the way, couples get engaged everyday and more than there are vendors in this industry. There is nothing to fight over!! I am so grateful for communities like Rising Tide because being a part of a positive and uplifting group is something that I couldn’t do this without.  

The summit was also perfect timing as I was lined up to be a speaker for a ‘Scholar Program’ on Friday. Now it was MY turn to be motivating! My speech was titled “Pursue Your Passions” and I spoke and encouraged the students in this program to reach for any and all of their dreams, big or small. Whatever you may want to be or whatever goal you may want to achieve, it is possible! I shared the reality of going after big dreams but also encouraged them to not stop when they encounter set-backs; because they will happen. Thank you to the Plum Grove Scholar Program for having me! It was such a pleasure to have the chance to inspire and motivate!

As I ended my week of learning and growing, I decided to get some bouquet practice on the agenda. You can never have enough practice! And who could possibly complain about playing with pretty flowers for a few hours? Not me!! 

I hope you all had a productive and uplifting week too! If you are struggling with encouragement or direction, whether it is for your business, your future business or if you are a couple struggling with organizing or planning your wedding and just need someone to talk to, email me! I am always here to chat!

Lots of Love,


comments +

  1. The Summit was so wonderful! I’m super grateful for the Rising Tide Society & what it means in my life! So encouraging! Glad it’s been awesome for you!

  2. Zoe says:

    love it! I so relate to rising tide that way. I felt a little discouraged when my first post in the group got lost but this gives me hope to not give up on finding amazing people in this group. let’s be friends:)

    • Nicole Hensley says:

      Haha! I think it is so hard to NOT lose our posts! But it is so great to know how many people utilize and appreciate the community. It is always so busy!

  3. I’m so glad you’ve found a community that’s so welcoming! I couldn’t make the first Summit, so I’m definitely going to try to make time for the next one, whenever it is. Good for you for persevering in spite of someone’s bitter negativity. 🙂

    • Nicole Hensley says:

      Thanks Lindsay! You definitely need to join in on the next one. It was such a fun week. Thanks for the sweet words!

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