Reignite Your Fire & Pay it Forward at Spark Retreat

Spark Retreat, creative entrepreneur retreat

Editor’s note: I invited Deanna, one half of the creative team behind Spark Retreat, to share the story of how the dream to build a place for creative entrepreneurs to reignite their sparks began. Read on for her beautiful post on the power of dreaming and the chance to help bring one woman to new Mexico this week for a business & life changing retreat (psst-I’ll be there too scattering pixie dust, handing out hugs + sparking creativity!).  We’ll be visiting with Deanna & Tania (hopefully) from 1-2EST tomorrow at #OMHG about Spark Retreat and how we can keep our sparks shining bright. 

Making the decision to start your own business is huge. Some of us make one giant leap out of necessity and others make small amounts of progress over time before declaring themselves a business owner. Nearly everyone does it out of a shared desire for having some say in what we do, how we do it, and who we do it for.

Following a dream (or dreams) requires a lot of digging deep. A lot of giving. Heck, a lot of energy. It’s also rewarding, exhilarating, educational, and fun. But most of all, it’s empowering. In order to maintain any momentum at all there has to be self-care. That’s the common denominator of all the women I know who are running their own businesses. It doesn’t matter what their business is, they all have some routine for self-care.

Relaxation is Required

We all know that living can be expensive and with all the life-stuff that happens it can be difficult to impossible to set aside extra cash for Big Things so self-care often has to happen in small bites and on a budget. Sometimes we are so busy we put it off, or forget. It’s the thing on the to-do list that gets bumped for deadlines, packing product shipments, sick children, etc. For one reason or another self-care doesn’t make the priority list. We don’t have to ask “why” this happens, we all know.

I’ve been learning that some very simple things can help me feel recharged. And if I make these things non-negotiable it’s easier to stick with them. One is to go to bed at the same time every night. Period. Another is to read a book, fiction not a business book or my camera manual. I find that even one chapter in the evenings helps quiet my mind and helps me go to sleep. Reading fiction allows my thoughts and imagination to take a break and go someplace else for a little while.

These little things help along my journey, but every once in a while I need a giant Self-Care Event to really recharge me. For example, last September my husband and I took our dogs and went camping for four glorious days. No cell phones, no computers, we were 100% unplugged. It was glorious … did I say that already? It bears repeating. We returned home relaxed and rested. I was a tad nervous leaving my website, Twitter, and Facebook “behind” but nothing fell apart and it was lovely.

Making the Habit

I’m not yet a full-time entrepreneur, but I’m learning these lessons now and making the habit of small bits of self-care and the occasional Big Self-Care Event so I am in the habit early. That’s the most sustainable way for me to follow my dreams.

There are many women who are dreaming about creating their own business, in the early stages of their business, or wholly in business. Whatever the reason for being in business, it seems there are a record number of women becoming business owners. Isn’t it wonderful?

Craving More

When I started my business it was as a freelance graphic designer. Since then I’ve added sustainable screenprinted goods. I enjoy both aspects because they satisfy different desires and interests I have. As time has passed, I’ve had another desire bubble up and I’ve been working to incorporate something more intangible into my business. Community. Mentorship. Teaching. Learning. Support. Self-care.

Enter Spark, the creative entrepreneur retreat, the intangible part.

Giving Back

The Spark Retreat was created to bring women entrepreneurs together to nurture each other and share. It’s going to be a game-changer for everyone attending. There are many women who’ve expressed a desire to come but just can’t swing it in their budgets. We hear ya’! And we want to give something back.

So we’ve created a campaign to raise scholarship money to bring one fabulous businesswoman to Santa Fe to attend the Spark Retreat. This scholarship needs $1700 to pay for accommodations and food for this lucky woman. If you’d like to help, hop on over to the campaign at IndieGoGo and make a donation of support. You can help with as little as $10 or as much as you want.

Once the scholarship is funded, we’re going to have an essay contest in order to select the recipient. You can join the mailing list on the Spark retreat website if you want to stay in-the-know about the contest. If you make a donation to the campaign, we’ll automatically let you know what’s going on.

Your support is so important to us and will go towards changing one woman’s business (and life) for the better.

Who knows? It could be you!

Donate now!

About the author:
In addition to being the co-founder of the Spark Retreat with Tania Wojciechowski of manusmade, Deanna is the owner of Apples and Orange. She infuses art into everyday life by replacing mass-produced products with unique handmade items and is available for graphic design work and custom screen printing. 


  1. Like other women (I assume), I can’t learn the lesson of self-care enough. I’m reading Deanna’s words again today as I so need to hear this gentle reminder again.

    I’ve recently been overly busy in all aspects of my life, and need to slow down again. Although all the activities are fun, creative, and are all things I’m choosing to do, there is a point where even too much of a good thing is too much.

    I’m so excited to be going to Spark to recoop and re-energize. But in the meantime, I’m also promising myself some truly regenerative down this weekend, getting some sleep and spending some time doing nothing but sitting on the couch with my husband and my puppy reading a good book. 🙂

  2. Deanna says:

    Thank you so much! We all need regular gentle reminders to put ourselves first and take care of us.

    Tracey, thank you for your support! Giving has been such a huge part of why this retreat exists … it was the next logical step.

    Tania, I hope you read a whole book this weekend!

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