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⭐️ I'm so glad you are here! ⭐️

You don't have to pack your bags just yet (darn!), but stay tuned for a few updates as we get closer to October.

In the meantime, please let me know if I can help with any of your retreat preparations.

 - Hillary


I started planting these seeds a long time ago for this unique retreat: from working with numerous studio owners, gathering feedback, observations and my own business experiences to living through the massive shifts in business over the past fifteen years (especially the past three years), I have the tools, contacts and resources to assemble an amazing and diverse group of speakers and activities. 

This unique retreat has been thoughtfully designed for seasoned studio owners: the speakers and activities will help you take stock of where you are today - personally and professionally - and provide a framework for healthy growth in your business and your life! Navigating The Middle is less than a month away!

So many firsts for the PYOP industry

- There has never been such a dynamic and wide-ranging group of speakers at a PYOP event. The value, resources and guidance packed into these four days is far beyond your investment.

- The speakers and activities have been created specifically for maintaining  the health and wellness of you AND your business.

- Speakers join us after their discussion for lunch or dinner, opening up the dialog for deeper discussions within the group.

- Planned as a small-scale event means you have time to meet with all of the speakers, ask questions and stay connected after the retreat.

Navigating The Middle speakers

The speakers for Navigating The Middle are MORE than I could have ever imagined as I set out to plan this event last year. The event's lineup is so heavy with amazing speakers, I've been rearranging how they present so we can have time to discuss and digest all of their expertise and, most importantly, how to organize and proceed with all that we've learned. I'm beyond overjoyed for you to meet and learn from every single speaker. I can say with certainty that these speakers are just excited to meet you as I am to host them - and this is not just a one time meet-and-teach for them either. They want to continue to be a resource for you! What an invaluable resource to have these people in your business toolkit. 

Carolina Aponte, Fractional COO: Grow a profitable business, not a cash eating monster. Traditionally, business owners will typically spend money and take whatever is left as their profit. By putting away your profit first, the rest of the money is budgeted for expenses. This forces you to think differently about every spending decision and have a good money mindset. By taking action in some manner, you take a step towards improving your cash flow. Improving your cash flow will reduce stress and anxiety around money, increase the amount you take home from your business and help you eliminate debt quickly. Getting systems and processes in place to capture transactions timely will give you everything they need to make Profit First easy to do and everything else fall into place and grow.


Nicole Milone, LPL Financial Advisor, Money Counts, Inc: Investing, retirement planning and general financial planning for small business owners. Nicole will answer all of your investing questions; nothing is too simple or complex. Carolina and Nicole are not only top-notch business professionals, they are long-time friends (I have worked with Nicole for several years and she recommended Carolina. They are literally the Money Dream Duo). When scheduling their speaking times, it was a no-brainer to have Carolina speak first on cash flow systems, then Nicole to discuss how to make that cash make you more money (and take advantage of all those small business tax benefits!).  

Randy Mitchell, Advisor/Broker on Franchising and Business Transactions, VR Business Brokers/Mergers & Acquisitions:

You can’t keep running this business forever…so what is your exit plan and how do you prepare for it? Randy Mitchell will share the 6 key things that you can do NOW to prepare your business for a successful sale (even if it’s years down the road). Randy’s experience selling small businesses means you are getting the specifics for what buyers (and their financial backers) look for in a successful business. Discover how to optimize the return for all of the work you’ve put into your business.

Nesha Pai, Author, speaker, owner of Pai CPA: As a first generation Indian American raised in the south, Nesha has had her fair share of facing and overcoming obstacles - dealing with racism and sexism throughout her life. She has endured mental health struggles and a personal religious identity crisis all while navigating marriage, divorce, and single motherhood. But she credits these challenges as the catalyst for her success. Nesha opened her accounting firm, Pai CPA, in 2011 and made it her mission to empower women through hiring. Nesha will discuss challenges and mindsets, both for you and your business: unforeseen circumstances are still going to happen, even if you stay in your lane and comfortable space, you will be forced out at some point. What are you going to do about it? Will you allow fear to debilitate you? She will discuss the mindset shift that needs to happen in order to face unforeseen challenges, how to know when it is time to step up, the tools to equip yourself to intentionally step out of your comfort zone and ways to determine what stepping out looks like in your life.

Mara Whitner, Fractional COO & Business Problem-Solving Strategist, Whitener Professional Services: Discover the power of aligning your studio's business structure with your vision to achieve your dream, and uncover hidden obstacles that may be hindering your success. If you're facing challenges such as lackluster team performance, stagnant sales, burnout, frustrations figuring out the solutions to issues, or overwhelm, it's crucial to examine the root causes of these issues. Discover my unique comprehensive evaluation process and how it can help you identify these underlying problems and bring all aspects of your business into alignment and allow you to achieve your vision quicker and easier. Plus, you'll learn how to track down hidden sources of revenue and gain a deeper understanding of your financial situation, which is more important than ever in today's business climate. Join me on this journey to unlock your business's full potential.


Jenny Melrose: Jenny is a former reading specialist who “retired” from her teaching career when her blogging income far exceeded her salary. Through hard work and dedication, her lifestyle blog, The Melrose Family, became regularly sought out by nationally recognized brands such as Neutrogena, Smuckers, Glad, Costco, Stanley Steamer, Sara Lee and many more. Jenny will discuss blogging as a unique income stream (and it's not the old-school blogging you're thinking!). Creating a blog can provide you with multiple passive revenue streams that allow you to take your expertise and turn it into a business. Learn why it isn't so scary (and daunting) to start a blog, the skills you already have for a blog, why a blog is the best way to create content that will attract your ideal audience, how your positioning can set you apart from everyone else and how to connect and draw in your ideal audience with your content.


Glenna Nail, Embellished Embroidery: Marketing with Merch: Glenna's home-based embroidery and screen printing business recently celebrated six-figure success, and with that comes a lot of expertise on successful promotional products and logo'ed attire - plus (more importantly) the promotional products small businesses shouldn't waste their money on. Even better, she's Hillary's sister and will be at the entire retreat helping out!

Susan Crews, health and wellness coach: Susan will discuss navigating our midlife and the physical, nutritional and emotional needs for optimizing a long, healthy and active life. She will also lead us in a small lakeside yoga session including practices for releasing negative energy, breathing techniques and stretches to keep your mind and body in tune.

I invite you to join a small and dedicated group of business owners who are in the BEST years of their life - personally and professionally.


Thank you!

Hillary, The Creative Retailer

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- All activities and events are at the lake house, with the exception of Wednesday's dinner on the town (see pics of the property)
- All meals, snacks and beverages (endless coffee, juice, soda and water) are provided, with the exception of Wed's dinner
- You're welcome to bring adult beverages
- Sleeping arrangements: there are three bedrooms/bunkrooms
; I will do my best to make sure everyone is in the right spot! 
- There are more speakers and activities yet to be scheduled; the final agenda will be emailed to attendees before the retreat
- Speakers will join us Wednesday and Thursday for lunch and dinner to continue the conversations 

Mon, Oct 2
Arrive between 1pm and 8pm
Free time at the lake: kayak, paddle board, canoe, fire pit, chill on the dock or porch
Dinner, 6-7pm
First retreat session, 8-9pm

Tues, Oct 3
Breakfast, 7:30-8:30am
Retreat sessions, 9-11am  (Carolina, Nicole)
Lunch, Sponsored by Nicole Milone, Money Counts,12-1pm
Retreat sessions, 2-4pm (Glenna, Nesha)
Dinner, 6-7pm

Evening session, 8-9pm

Wed, Oct 4
Breakfast, 7:3
Retreat sessions, 9-11am (Jenny, Randy)

Lunch, 12-1pm 
reat sessions, 2-4pm (Mara, Crista)
Dinner out on the town (each attendee pays for their drinks and meal), 5pm
Evening session, 8-9p

Thurs, Oct 5 
Breakfast, 7:30-8:30am
Last retreat session, 9-10:30am (Susan)
Wrap-up and one last chill by the lake 
Retreat ends at noon

The Business of Creating: Making It Awesome
How is your outlook for business this year?

Thank you - check your email!

The Business of Creating: Making It Awesome
How is your outlook for business this year?

Thank you - check your email!

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