In our business, as with most any field, competition is fierce. We live in a premiere destination wedding location and there is no shortage of vendors from which clients can choose when planning their big day. It would seem, then, that business growth conferences and networking groups would get first dibs on our calendar. What caught our attention a year ago, however, was a national organization called The Rising Tide Society that fosters a completely different mindset. Their monthly TuesdaysTogether gatherings are based on the philosophy of community over competition, which fit perfectly with who we are – so much so that Pure7’s co-owner, Erica, decided to start a local chapter. Almost immediately, it was clear that this concept resonated with more than just the #pure7fam. Erica just returned from the first national conference in Charleston (fab photos below!). With over 50 local creative entrepreneurs coming to next week’s meet-up, we thought we’d chat with her to find out why this is such a big deal.
P7: With the myriad of groups out there, how did The Rising Tide Society catch your attention?
EM: Ryan and I attend an annual retreat for couples in business together, and some friends introduced us to it. The monthly TuesdaysTogether meet-ups sounded like a great reason to have coffee and chat with industry friends, so I applied to start a local TuesdaysTogether chapter.
P7: And how did that go?
EM: We had almost 50 people at the first one! I expected 5-10 people at a coffee shop and what I found, instead, was an entire group of people absolutely craving community and camaraderie.
P7: Were you ready for so much interest so quickly?
EM: Not exactly! Hanging out with a few people at a coffee shop is very different from organizing and leading a small event! My fear of public speaking and hesitancy to step into a visible leadership role pretty much went out the window as I realized I had a responsibility to set the tone in the room and organize these events. I didn’t have time to worry about the things that could go wrong or whether or not I felt adequate, because it was very clear that this was not about me. This was about all of the creative entrepreneurs who felt like they had finally found a place to belong.
P7: How do these meet-ups work?
EM: While we discuss topics that are relevant to the world of creative business, we are all about community over competition. Our meet-ups are a no-hassle, no-pressure place to meet other entrepreneurs who know exactly what it’s like to be a small business owner in a creative field. We discourage networking in the traditional sense; you probably won’t leave with a list of referrals. What you will walk away with, though, are new friends who totally get your world. The business collaborations that can come from these connections are good, but having people in your corner who can help you weather the storms and celebrate the wins is even better.
P7: So tell us about the leaders retreat in Charleston.
EM: There are 200+ groups now, so Pensacola chapter leader Rae Marshall and I headed to Charleston with another friend for the first national leader retreat. They really pulled out all the stops, with fun swag, a speakeasy party, and one surprise after another to make sure we felt appreciated and valued. We had workshops on everything from public speaking and team building to making craft drinks, so I loved the way they covered all the bases. The founders, Krista and Natalie, genuinely care about the chapter leaders and go above and beyond to support what we do locally.
P7: What has been the biggest takeaway you’ve learned so far?
EM: Though conventional wisdom would tell you that business is cutthroat and networking is king, the truth is that people need each other. At the end of the day, they really do want to lift others up rather than tear them down. Knowing that and seeing the fruit of the past year with TuesdaysTogether is what inspires and encourages me.
Thanks so much to fellow creative and Pensacola photographer Rae Marshall for these gorgeous images! Oh – and if you’re heading to Charleston soon, Erica swears by the crispy pig’s ears at Husk. Trust us.