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A Return to The Cloister at Sea Island

Spending a few days in The Golden Isles
Filed Under > Everyday
The Golden Isles via Waiting on Martha

Recently I had the immense pleasure of speaking at my fifth Southern Coterie Conference. And as much as I look forward to those three days all year, I equally look forward to the few days after the conference has ended when the hubs and I disconnect at one of our favorite places, The Cloister at Sea Island.

While we’ve been to The Cloister at Sea Island now more times than I can remember, this time there were so many new surprises in store I felt I needed to update my last travel post from a few years prior.

First things first, for those of you unfamiliar with the magical place called Sea Island, Sea Island is part of an area called The Golden Isles. The Golden Isles is comprised of St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island, Little St. Simons and Brunswick nestled on the Georgia coast. Its name, The Golden Isles, seems to get its reputation from their rays of warm sunshine and mossy trees envelope you the minute you enter into the low country.

An easy drive from Atlanta, the Golden Isles offers an easy getaway from everyday life in the city, and you’d be hard-pressed to be anything but relaxed along its pristine beaches, award wining golf courses and miles of sprawling marshlands. No matter how many times I’ve driven over that causeway, the minute I cross my whole body seems to relax, and I let out a huge sigh almost as if I was holding my breath. It’s pure heaven.

When staying in The Golden Isles there’s really only two ways to go when it comes to accommodations; The Cloister or The Lodge. The Cloiste at Sea Island, is a legendary luxury hotel renowned for its utmost sophisticated elegance.  Seeped in stunning Mediterranean-inspired architecture, the hotel features grounds full of lush gardens, every amenity one could possibly desire, and the most fantastic fine dining. But perhaps most noteworthy, are The Cloister‘s luxurious suites that offer spectacular views over the marshes, begging guests to bask in the low country in all its glory, all while enveloping them in utmost comfort and privacy. 

The Lodge on St. Simons Island, recognized as a #1 resort in the mainland U.S by. Conde Nast Traveler.  The Lodge is definitely my happy place, especially at sun set when the skies turn pink and we sit sipping a cocktail on the sprawling porch overlooking the 18th hole and causeway, while being serenaded by a set of bagpipes.  Yes bagpipes! It’s nothing short of magical, and the perfect way to start, and end any vacation.

The hubs of course loves The Lodge for a completely different reason…the golf. Not only are the golf courses some of the top rated in the world, Sea Island just unveiled a 17,000 sq. ft. golf performance center. This addition is just one of many enhancements that are part of The Lodge’s $30 million dollar makeover that also includes an enhanced putting green, pool, pool house and new golf course cottages. I took a quick tour of one, and they are completely stunning.

Each time I find myself at The Cloister, I wonder if I’ll ever tire of coming back to Sea Island. Then I look around, smell the salt air, and I’m quickly reminded why I always keep coming back for more. Truly, MKR

Photography: Kathryn McCrary

Join Me! Social Media Selling for Your Business

A 2 day, hands-on workshop perfect for any small business owner
Filed Under > Everyday

If you’ve been following me for while then you’d know that before I was “Martha” I consulted with hospitals and health systems all over the United States coaching and planning their social media strategy. And now as “Martha” I do the same, but for all sorts of small businesses. Helping other businesses understand the wild, wild west of social media is a true passion of mine, so I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be hosting a private 2 day social media workshop in conjunction with The Southern Coterie, here in Atlanta in two weeks!

My entire business has been born and grown because of social media. One hundred percent. I mean think about it, we’re living in a time where you can completely brand, build and grow your business just by harnessing the power of the FREE media platforms that are available to you. That is as long as you know how to use them. Social media while a blessing changes every single day, and understanding it is a full-time job in itself, and one I take very seriously. And I’m serious when I say it changes every single day. I just gave a similar, but much smaller talk in Sea Island in February and do you know Instagram has already changed the shopping function since then which has changed my opinion and strategy when it comes to tagging products?!

Did you know I run all 3 of my Instagram accounts myself. I have apps and planning tools, and a bit of assistance here and there, but other than that it’s all me. I tell you this not because I want a pat on the back, but because I want you to know that you don’t have to pay someone big bucks to do it. You can do it!! Which is just one of the things we’ll be covering during the workshop. But before I get too far into the weeds about what we’ll be talking about, I feel I need to give everyone a quick run down of Waiting On Martha (WOM).

Late 2011 – Worked in corporate America helping hospitals & health systems all around the country with their social media strategy. Was in dire need of a creative outlet so started beading bracelets and selling them on Etsy under the name of Waiting On Martha.

2012 – Started a Blog Waiting On Martha and at the same time became incorporated and started an e-commerce home & gift store, Waiting On Martha Home. Moved to Atlanta. Still making and selling bracelets on Etsy, still working in healthcare.

2013 – Opened my first pop up shop in Atlanta for 6+ months to test the waters. Between 2013-2016 would open up 3 additional pop up shops all around town. Still beading bracelets, still in healthcare. Hired my first employee.

2014 – With the blog and e-comm taking off, along with the pop up’s couldn’t manage beading bracelets any longer, closed my Etsy store. Still in healthcare.

2015 – Left healthcare, became “Martha” full-time. Moved my e-commerce storage out of my garage and into an actual warehouse. WOM grew to 4 full-time and 2 part-time employees. Pop-up shop still in full swing.

2017 – Opened Waiting On Martha Home Brick & Mortar. Grew to 4 full time and 5 part-time employees. Surpassed a million dollars in annual revenue.

2018 – Grew Waiting On Martha Home 44% in point of sales revenue 28% online revenue.

2019 – Welcomed Waiting On Martha Everyday, an apparel and accessories shop to the family, officially opening my second brick and mortar. Grew to 6 full time employees, 7 part-time employees, and countless contractors. Currently up 43% YTD. Plans to launch a 3rd business, late 2019.

This timeline is definitely the cliff notes version of my business. If we really got into it, in between these years you’d see all different ups and downs, major collaborations, speaking events, and whole lot of blood, sweat and tears. But the most important part of all of this is in the 7+ years of business I’ve never ever had a non-growth year, and my entire business has been built for FREE on social media. Sure, I invest in social media ads and campaigns now, but that didn’t begin until last year because let’s face it social media is tricky enough without pouring money into until you full understand it. And understand it you will my friends.

My goal from these 2 days is that you walk away understanding the social media landscape, a new vision of what branded social media channels can and should look like, and the tools you need to run successful social media campaigns and accounts. Here’s a quick look at what we’ll be covering, as well as a round-up of my growth stats for Waiting On Martha Home over the past year or so. And remember, this is a QUICK look. The dive will be so much deeper than what I could ever write or share here.

  • selling through…
    • different social media outlets and mastering the current algorithm
    • crafting your message to hit the right consumer audience for you and your needs
    • mastering how to create paid for social media ads & understanding the different types of ads. For example, Mandy will share how a $5 a day continuous ad on Facebook grew WOMH’s Facebook followers to 22,000 in less than 9 months.
    • email marketing & automatic email marketing (ie. abandoned cart emails)
    • creative ways to engage and grow your audience “outside of the feed”
  • selling through email marketing
    • how to grow your list
    • how to set up a great abandoned cart emails
    • best practices for creating email campaigns (times, days, platforms, etc.)
    • mastering the email algorithm (yes, there is one and it’s likely hurting your current email list)
    • why you need to be “cleaning” your list quarterly
  • hands on exercises in
    • creation of audiences
    • sponsored/paid social media ads
  • working smarter, not harder: apps and programs used to run the life of any entrepreneur

Aside from all the information you’ll walk away with, you’ll also be forging and forming relationships with other individuals from across the country that are in the same boat as you. And if I’ve learned anything from these past 7 years as an entrepreneur is you better surround yourself with likeminded people who have gone, or are going through what you’ve gone through. Support is everything!

And you know it wouldn’t be a TSC event without really pulling out all the stops. There will be a mix-and-mingle event with cocktails and pie from Southern Baked Pie. The all-workshop will be held at the Arron Terrace Gardens, and ope-air venue at Braves Stadium in the brand new Battery. We’ll have breakfast by Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. And so many more sweet surprises that are, well surprises!

Read more about the event HERE, and definitely grab a seat! We’re making this a small gathering so I believe there’s only about 10 seats left and 5 seats for the add on workshop. Yes, there’s an add on workshop specifically for anyone who has a brick and mortar, physical store. The add on workshop is focused on the daily operations and practices that make a physical store successful as well as out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to events and attracting new customers.

I cannot wait to see you here in my home town next week! Truly, MKR

P.S. Membership to the TSC is definitely something you should look into, but you do NOT have to be a member to sign up for the workshop. The workshop is open to all.

Photography, Kathryn McCrary

One Last Summer Look

Saying goodbye to summer with my staples
Filed Under > #OOTD (Outfit of the Day)

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If there’s anyone who’s ready to say goodbye to summer, trust me, it’s me. Don’t get me wrong, I like summer.  Like being the operative word. I’m just not good with the extreme Southern heat, I never have been.  So unlike many of you who want to stretch summer days out indefinitely, I’m ready to embrace all things fall.

But before I pull out the chunky knits, jewel tone suedes, and all things faux fur I figured I’d embrace one more outfit post with a few of my everyday staples.  Some of the pieces are summer to the core, and a few are more everyday pieces like my grey jeans because my white jeans were already packed away.

Almost all of these clothing pieces in today’s post are older or re-buys.  Older meaning they’ve lasted and I’ve been able to wear them season after season. Re-buys meaning I buy the same type of piece or brand each season in a different print or pattern. And the good thing about talking about these favorites of mine now is you can score many of them on sale! Win, win.

The older staples: my Madewell high waisted jeans, my Balenciaga wedges (going on 4 summers now), and my Celine sunnies

I’ve tried a lot of jeans in my life, but Madewell jeans seem to be the winner.  They’re comfortable, they last forever, and the price point won’t break the bank.  I’m wearing the black high rise here, but I also have these ones and these ones.

My Balenciaga wedges are probably the most comfortable shoes I own, but sadly they don’t make them anymore.  When they discontinued this particular style I bought 2 additional pairs because I love them that much.  But they’ve held up so well, I haven’t even had to wear the backups yet. I did link a few similar styles below, I’m particularly fond of these ones.  

And then rounding out my older staple pieces would have to be my Celine sunnies.  I typically have issues with sunglasses because while it may not look it I actually have a very small head meaning so many sunglasses end up being too big.  And if you’ve ever had a pair of sunglasses stretch out on you then you’ll understand when I say there is nothing more annoying than sunglasses that fall of your head.  Celines and Karen Walkers fit my head perfectly, they last forever and are definitely worth the price point.  I’ve had these Celine’s for almost 3 years now and my Karen Walkers for almost six!

For my re-buys: my Roller Rabbit tunic, Colores Collective tassel bag, and some fun, inexpensive summer earrings and bracelets to add to my collection.

I buy numerous Roller Rabbit pieces each summer because I love their detailing and cotton or gauzy material.  This one is actually a dress that I often wear as an actual dress, but here I tucked it up into my bra to make it a tunic.  Innovative I know.  If you’re a Roller Rabbit fan like I am there are plenty of Roller Rabbit pieces on sale HERERoller Rabbit does tend to run a bit big, but that’s how you want it to fit so keep that in mind when ordering.

Lastly, each season I always like to add inexpensive and fun accessories to the mix. This summer I was all about straw totes like the one here from Colores Collective, and bright light earrings like these and these.  I love that because they’re not an investment I’m not worried if they’ll hold up or I’ll lose them when traveling.

So that’s it. My last post filled with summer vibes.  Thank God.  Bring on the fall my Friends! Truly, MKR

 

Photography Brittany Leigh

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