As promised here is part 2 of the Design Conference with Chip & Joanna Gaines Recap.
Once we left the morning brunch we headed to the venue so Chip and Joanna could see the space and the stage before the event began.
As we drove past the entrance we noticed a group of fans lining up over two hours in advance of the doors opening. Chip immediately said “we need to stop.”
Tate was driving and I was in the front seat next to him. Chip & Joanna were in the backseat of the truck. What you see below is Tate stopping to tell a lady he has someone who needs to be put at the front of the line. She politely says “I don’t think so.” It was so darn cute.
What you don’t see is Chip has snuck out the back door on the opposite side and is about the reveal him and Joanna to these early birds.
I wish we had gotten the screams and faces of the crowd as Chip emerged from behind and around the truck. It really was exciting!
Chip and Joanna are so gracious and giving. They spent time taking photos with those in line and thanking them for being such amazing fans.
It was already a great day and it had only just begun.
Joanna then visited the stage to get a feel for where they would be speaking and soak in a little of the feel before their keynote talk that evening.
See this couch. Yes, the blue beauty below.
Well this little darling will be making her way to Waco Texas next week. Upon seeing her, Joanna fell in love and wanted her for a Fixer Upper house! When she asked if she could buy it we said, HECK YES!! YEE-HAWW!!!
Or whatever happy Texans would say. (We’re country like that)
Then we hugged and cried and hugged some more, and that was just Tate and I. It got rather embarrassing. Tate is not much on PDA.
See that beautiful Rosemary topiary on the table. Tall and green and full of life. Joanna fell in love with that as well.
She bought it.
I killed it.
Sorry Joanna. It won’t be coming to Waco. I promise to make it up to you. I’ve got some fake cabbage I can sell you. It doesn’t mind if you forget to give it sunshine, or water.
A lot of planning and sweat went into designing the stage for the event. We wanted it to inspire our guests, reflect the style of Eco Chic and also make Chip & Joanna feel at home. We hope it did all that and more. I know we loved it, but we are kind of biased. You throw in a sliding barn door a blue tufted couch and we want to sleep there. But that is just us. We are easily impressed.
Grain Designs built this gorgeous dining table, the sliding wood door, the wood pipe shelves and the rustic wall hanging behind the clock. Those guys are true craftsmen who make rustic look elegant. We LOVE their work and couldn’t be happier to recommend what they do.
There it is again. Beautiful and green. So sorry Rosemary. I promise to continue to love you. Maybe we can be friends again soon. I bought you that fancy pretend sunshine light. Hopefully you will forgive me.
Well the stage was set, the swag bags on the tables and it was time to open the doors. We welcomed 775 folks into the design conference that afternoon and they were some of the most kind and gracious folks you ever did meet. They were packed in like sardines yet did not complain.
The demand for tickets was great, yet we could only fit, what we could fit. Fire code and pure mathematics forbid us to put anyone else in the space. So if you weren’t able to join us for this time. No worries. We are working on doing it again and God willing those crazy Texans come back.
Until then, let’s take a look at how the day unfolded.
Carrie opened the show by directing traffic.
Just kidding. She shared simple techniques on using decor to make your home fit your life and your style.
She brought a guest on stage to help her demonstrate simple and fun uses for every day items.
Carrie was followed by the guys from Grain Designs.
They were a hug hit…for the obvious reasons. They build beautiful furniture, they are talented, they are kind and they have biceps. Really nice biceps.
Don’t look at me like that. You were thinking it too.
They had a hard time finding volunteers to join them on stage. I was kind of embarrassed for them.
This is the lucky lady. I’m sure she is hearing every word Grant is saying while he explains the process of building a planter box.
Then the nail gun broke and Scott came out to fix it. It was a epic moment for Scott, and his biceps. Although they are much harder to see through his suit jacket.
Once Grain Designs finished, we took a small refreshment break and then it was time for me to hop on stage.
But not before Scott did a magical job of firing up the crowd, which entailed him wearing some sort of war paint, his third (maybe fourth) outfit change, throwing t-shirts and the doing wave. So pretty much the crowd was exhausted by the time I actually walked through the barn door and took the stage.
Scott on the other hand, still had energy to spare. He is our very own version of the energizer bunny….he just goes and goes and goes….
Once on the stage I make a cute little joke about girls using tools too. The crowd didn’t care. They weren’t as impressed with my biceps.
I had a blast sharing my love of Chalk Paint®. Which yes I always do while wearing a white blazer. I’m daring like that.
This particular place in the lineup was a dangerous place to be. I was following Grain Designs and was before appetizers and Chip & Joanna. So pretty much the crowd tolerated me. I was just delighted nobody threw their clipboards at me.
Once I was done Scott did a fun Q & A with the presenters before we moved into our evening sessions with Chip & Joanna.
When asked by the crowd if the guys were single I had some fun teasing Blain who is currently engaged and to be married this Fall. The crowd was heartbroken.
During the dinner break the crowd enjoyed some shopping and also visiting the stage.
There is Shannon from our Bismarck store. Hi Shannon!
That darn Michelle is always playing when she is suppose to be working. Here she is throwing wooden arrows again. I will need to visit with her about that.
Hey look it is Tracy! She is one of our team members at the Fargo Eco Chic. Hi Tracy!
Many took photos with the now famous couch. Can’t wait to see how it shines in one of the Fixer Upper homes.
We had some young attendees at the conference and they were so darn cute.
LOOK at those cheeks. Makes me want to squeeze them right through the computer screen. Lordy he is cute!
I wonder what is on the minds of these Moms? Ha Ha! That is Sheri and Dani. Founders of On The Minds of Moms Magazine. Sometimes I’m so clever I get a chuckle out of myself.
Once everyone settled back into their seats it was time for the main event. It was time for Chip & Joanna to hit the stage! The crowd had waited patiently and they were NOT disappointed.
Let’s get the big question out of the way right away. YES! They are just as funny, kind, quirky, charming and brilliant in person as they are on TV. There is no acting here folks. These two are the real deal.
Is this not the cutest look ever. You can tell he really loves her, and she him. I love that. Good Ole fashion LOVE! There needs to be more of this on TV. (And off TV) Amen?
They shared the story of how they started their business and how they eventually got a TV show. They also gave us the juicy details on how they met and their first home together. Ok, juicy may be sounding a little risqué. The risqué part came later when Chip took his shirt off. (Now don’t scroll right to the bottom, I will get to that part)
Until then, take a look at how delightful of a crowd had gathered that day.
They hung on every word.
They laughed and loved the entire way through.
Then they laughed some more.
And some more.
I love how after years of marriage Joanna is still surprised but Chip and his fun and games.
There was even some singing.
AND THEN THIS HAPPENED!
There was a slight tussle over capturing the tossed shirt. I wonder what she told her husband when she got home. “No, Really Honey, I was at the Design Conference, and this guy took his shirt off. Yes it was a conference on decorating your home. No. No. I wasn’t at the male review. Really. Really.” (Husband Walks Away).
She will just have to get him to watch a few episodes of Fixer Upper. He will believe her then. It was just Chip. Doing his Thing. And it was Awesome!!
When they were done sharing, singing and stripping Chip & Joanna sat down with our emcee Scott and he asked them questions that had been submitted by the audience and via Twitter.
There was a theme that permeated their time with us and it centered around family, faith and love. Joanna referenced “hunkering” down at home and enjoying these pivotal years with their kids.
I can’t remember all of the questions. You will have to wait until the video of the day is edited and released. (Yes….the Video!)
I do remember the final statement made by Chip and it silenced the crowd. It reached everyone deep in their hearts and souls. It was so profound that it has been brought up daily in the weeks following the event. I know it hit Tate and I hard. It changed me, as I’m sure it changed others. Right there in that moment I learned more about choices I’ve made in my past, and my future, then I ever had up to this point in my life.
Scott asked what was the next 5 years going to look like for the Gaines family. Both Chip & Joanna stated very strongly that whatever is best for their family, is what will happen. TV show or not. But it was Chip’s final words that put the icing on the cake.
Chip said, “Sometimes the devil is disguised in every thing you have ever wanted.”
The crowd went silent.
I think every single person in the place heard that sentence loud and clear. It sunk into their minds, hearts and soul. It was powerful in a way that is hard to explain without being there.
We spent months of time and money bringing the Design Conference to fruition. It was a labor of love, sweat and an occasional tear.
There are times I wonder if I’m on the right path with Eco Chic. There are times I wonder if we can afford both mentally and financially to take some of the risks we have taken.
Then things like this happen. In 15 seconds I’m reminded why we do what we do. It is because in those final moments with Chip & Joanna, lives were changed.
People were inspired.
People were encouraged.
People were reminded of what matters most.
People lives were changed. Forever.
It was an ending we could have never predicted.
It was perfect.
The Lord works in mysterious ways. That day I believe he spoke directly through Chip & Joanna Gaines.
We will forever be grateful for their time with us. We can only hope it won’t be the last.
Forever Changed & Speechless,