The Design Twins Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat

the gathering: a Design twins instagram workshop and retreat

Learn about our first Instagram Workshop and Retreat at the Gathering in Waco, Texas. We formed sisterhoods and poured our hearts out in three days.

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Dream it, Build it, and they will come. Well, we dreamed, prayed and built it, and guess what? They came. Last October 2018, Jodie and I held our first Instagram event. We called it, The Design Twins Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat. It was a two day/three night event held on a private estate in Waco, Texas. It was the culmination of all our hard work learning and growing our own Instagram accounts, as well as our careers as teachers, influencers, and mentors.

Learn more about our Next Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat in Lehi, UT in March.


All photos credited  to Be Known Photography.

Instagram gathering workshop retreat

Why Host an Instagram Gathering Workshop?

What motivated us to hold an Instagram workshop in the first place? We had been teaching Instagram via private phone consultations for years and teaching Instagram on our blog. Over 40 articles are published on our blog sharing our experience and research on the topic of Instagram and growing organically. But we were craving more. After speaking at Snap Conference in Salk Lake City and teaching a class on Instagram Growth, we were getting ready to create an online course when it suddenly hit us: We need to do this in person. We realized we needed to deliver our content face to face in order to really affect people. Not satisfied just teaching people, our goal was to inspire them as well. We wanted to feel the rewards of not just teaching them but touching their lives.

instagram workshop gathering oaks retreat

We chose the intimate destination of The Gathering Oaks Retreat (our name, Instagram Gathering Workshop, was a coincidence, if you believe in coincidences!) Our event was named before we found our location, so it was a sign. The 30-acre private estate just across the road from Chip & Joanna’s farm in Crawford, Texas seemed the perfect destination for what we had in mind.

twins instagram gathering workshop

Original Curriculum for our Instagram Gathering Workshop

We created 15 hours of original curriculum teaching what we are so passionate about:  Instagram. We covered every aspect of Instagram over the two-day course. Each attendee received a 66-page workbook/course outline that they used to add their own notes and served as a powerful take-home reminder of all the material that we covered.

Twins Instagram gathering workshop

Who Attended the first Instagram Gathering Workshop?

We designed the curriculum to benefit all skill levels across all niches. It was so wonderful to have such a great variety of women from across the country joining together with one common goal: to achieve their unique dreams via the Instagram platform.

Twins Instagram workshop

We had some attendees of our Instagram Gathering Workshop who were brand new! And some already had 50K or more and everything in between. Once we met each other, it didn’t matter how many followers anyone had. Everyone, no matter their Instagram size or experience, had something to share and gifts to appreciate.

Instagram gathering workshop

We had influencers and aspiring influencers. We had brands, small and large, and companies big and small. And we had plenty who were aiming to be both. We soon realized that we all had much more in common than not.

Instagram gathering workshop

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There were small makers, crafters, brick and mortar business owners, home decor influencers, service providers, brand-newbies (who were most endeared by all), spread across every niche you can imagine. We had knitters, a nail artist/business owner, a singer, photographers, soap makers, decorators, calligraphers, artists, writers, small shop owners, and homemakers. Everyone learned from everyone else. Our dreams became reality, a reality that exceeded even our wildest dreams.

Instagram gathering workshop

The Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat Unfolds

Our event began on Sunday night with our opening party, a welcome dinner and meet and greet. The excitement was palpable! And we just got right to it, meeting everyone and beginning the bonds of friendship that would prove to be the greatest blessing. After dinner Jodie and I gave a welcome presentation setting the stage for what was to come.

Be the light Instagram workshop

United in a Sisterhood at the Instagram Gathering Workshop

From the very beginning of our Instagram Gathering Workshop we witnessed the incredible power of women when we come together with open hearts and open minds. We felt almost instantly bonded because more than our differences we were all bravely pursuing our unique dreams. It was an amazing commonality that created a feeling of sisterhood.

Instagram gathering workshop

Small Group Bonding at Instagram Gathering Workshop

After our welcome presentation we broke up into small groups based on niches. For example, we had:

  • home decor
  • small businesses
  • makers & crafters
  • lifestyle

This smaller group bonding time was so powerful. We heard over and over again how much people got out of this time together. Fast friendships were forged, and no one really wanted the night to end. But we had a lot to cover, and the event had just beginning! We soon realized that what was happening was more important than sleep. Many of us decided that first night that we would catch up on sleep when we got home.

Instagram workshop retreat

  • We have created original, up-to-date, results-driven curriculum specifically designed for you, the small-mid-size business owner, influencer or brand on your journey towards finding your unique voice and audience on Instagram.
  • Connect with a powerful tribe of women in an intimate environment of encouragement and support.
  • Master the fundamentals and learn what it takes to stand out and maximize your IG potential
  • Walk away with the tools, confidence and vision you need to reach your audience and achieve your goals.

Our Credentials:

  • We developed this course from our collective nine plus years of personal experience on Instagram, our years of Instagram consulting, and our online Instagram teaching. Our curriculum is based on experience and on-going research.
  • We both have Master’s Degrees in Education with a major in Curriculum Development. We have years of classroom training with mainly adult learners.

The Instagram Gathering Workshop Curriculum

Curriculum topics we covered:

  • Become crystal clear on your goals and vision
  • Create a bio that captures attention
  • Identify your target audience & creating your ideal avatar
  • Learn how to create killer content
  • Learn how to take improve your photos and to edit like a pro
  • Develop your unique voice
  • Learn how to connect on a new level with your followers
  • Learn how to turn your followers into loyal customers
  • Get clear on hashtags, what to do and what not to do
  • Learn growth techniques that actually work
  • Learn which ones to avoid
  • Discover daily strategies that produce results
  • Learn the best apps to use (and which ones to avoid)
  • Follow time-saving strategies so you can focus your efforts
  • Understand the ins and outs of collaborations: how to find the brands, approach the brands
  • Know what you’re worth and negotiate for it
  • Understand the many ways to make money on Instagram
  • Learn how to manage your time, creating boundaries and finding balance
  • and so much more.

Instagram gathering workshop retreat

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The Bonding was Magical!

The first night we were excited and enthusiastic. The second night we were full of love and amazement. The third night we laughed until our stomachs hurt and cried until our makeup dripped down our faces. None of use could have predicted how much we were affected by time spent together. This is what Jodie and I had prayed for, that more than just learning curriculum that we would affect lives. Every single person, including us, left changed. We felt loved, accepted, motivated and were not alone in our pursuits. We belonged to a sisterhood.

Instagram gathering workshop retreat

Personal Brand Photography by Be Known Photography –

We let go of inhibitions and fears. Walls dropped. We opened our hearts to each other, shared laughter and tears, making friendships and memories we will never forget.

Instagram gathering workshop retreat

How our attendees feel about the Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat: Testimonials

Kari Fiagle @ourfigtreecottage

“I had the privilege of attending the first Design Twins Gathering in Waco, TX! Jodie and Julie were so welcoming to me and everyone that came. From the very first night at their introduction to the conference, I knew it was going to be an amazing experience. The knowledge that they have and shared during the two days of instruction was invaluable to me! Even though my account was larger than some of the other attendees, and have been on Instagram for several years, with the wealth of knowledge that Jodie and Julie shared I still learned many tips, techniques, and information to unlocking the secrets to being even more successful on Instagram.
While I came to Waco to learn from the Twins, I soon learned that this was more than a conference about Instagram. Jodie and Julie are so warm and encouraging, but it was also the friendships I made with others that added to the experience. I left renewed in both spirit and mind, gained new friendships that will last a lifetime, and had a new resolve to make my Instagram account even more successful! Whether you have a large or small following, I promise there is still much you can learn from The Twins, and that you will have an incredible experience at their Gathering!” ~ Kari

Jenny Zacharewicz @bigfamilylittlefarmhouse

“Originally there was some hesitation on my part when signing up for The Design Twins very first workshop in Waco this past October. I was feeling very stressed over the number of hours (6-8) I was spending each day on Instagram, but also feeling like I knew everything I needed to know as far as growing my account and being successful, boy was I wrong.

Not only was I on the completely wrong path for growth, but I was also spinning my wheels and doing everything that the infamous ‘Instagram algorithm’ doesn’t like. In addition to gaining so much incredible wisdom and knowledge as to how to better manage my account, the Twins literally gave me my life back. I am now down to about two hours per day spent on IG, and my family is so much better for it. And it gets even better y’all, because the unexpected gift of the workshop was the incredible bonds I was able to form with so many precious and beautiful women! Truly the icing on the cake!” ~ Jenny

Instagram gathering workshop retreat

Kristi Moultrie @mypaisleypocket

“I attended last year’s gathering and am forever grateful I did!  Not only do Julie and Jodie have the kindest and sweetest personalities, but they really know their stuff. I came away with an arsenal of knowledge to build my business and Instagram account. Worth every moment! I have to say in that short time, I grew as a person, gained lifelong friendships and a fresh outlook. Time willing I can make it back this year!” ~ Kristi

Jenny Reimhold @jennyreimold

“As a budding Instgrammer, I attended The Design Twins conference in the hopes of growing my following and learning tips on how to build a successful account. Although I left with the tools and knowledge to increase my social media presence, the friendships I made and the memories created made this experience so much sweeter. So many women bonded over a shared love of family, community and fellowship and the encouragement received left so many of us with the feeling that success was in reach . . .

Instagram Gathering Workshop

. . . Coupled with new retreat friends sharing accounts and the knowledge learned with how to grow my following, I’m proud to say that I hit the 10k mark within eight weeks of leaving The Design Twins conference. I was able to monetize my account and pay for a trip to Disney World in the first eight days of being a ‘Swipe Upper.’
This is a wonderful opportunity for both personal and entrepreneurial growth! My own experience is a testament to the quality of instruction I received and my new friendships represent the character of women in attendance! This is an opportunity not to be wasted!” ~ Jenny

Instagram workshop retreat

Bethany Sinks @shiplapaddict

“When my Instagram friend Jen @alittledoseofjen (that I had known over a year but had never met in real life) reached out to me about an Instagram Retreat in Waco, TX, I had no idea what an experience I was about to have. I was so nervous to attend as I really didn’t know anyone. But that changed quickly the second I arrived. Jodie and Julie were so warm and friendly at the meet and greet I knew God meant for me to be there. I faced my fears of trying new things and doing something completely out of my comfort zone.

I met friends from all over the United States. We laughed, we cried, we shopped, we learned so much, we never slept! Talk about feeling like a teenager at a sleepover all over again!) It was just amazing!

Jodie and Julie taught me so much and made me realize so many things about myself.

It was almost like a retreat that I needed not only to learn knowledge about Instagram but also for me to have a break from life and to do something just for myself. It was so fun to talk to Jodie and Julie and to get to know them better on a personal level.
Jodie and Julie were exceptional teachers and very knowledgeable. They made sure they were able to talk to us on a one on one basis. They helped me so much and opened my eyes to so many possibilities and experiences that I can have as an influencer that I never could have imagined! This was an experience I will treasure always and will always hold dear to my heart. I cannot wait till their next retreat! Being in their presence and meeting new friends makes being an influencer on Instagram that much sweeter!” ~ Bethany

Instagram Gathering Workshop

Sheri Martin @savvyinthesuburbs

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“I sincerely want you both to know just how impactful the conference was for me. Not only did I learn a lot more than I thought possible about Instagram, I learned the value of so many kindred spirits of all ages who love the Lord so much. So while Instagram drew us all there, there is no doubt in my mind that the Lord planted each of us there for another purpose. All ages together with like-minded interests and spirits was a takeaway I’m forever grateful for.
You two did a fabulous job with the curriculum, the constant flow of useful information and making a true, authentic connection to each one of us. I consider you both friends and sisters in Christ as well as sisters in home decor😜!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for an organized, informative, fun conference that brought me so much IG knowledge and wonderful new relationships.
Between y’all and the amazing women at the conference I see and feel such a strong spiritual connection between so many women of all ages. And that’s what I wanted and what I want to continue to grow! So much strength among faithful women! It’s incredible to me how God unfolded this truth. Thank you both and God bless you both.” ~ Sheri

Instagram Gathering Workshop

Regina Ellis @sheheardthecall

“Almost two years ago, I had met Julie and Jodie on Instagram. I knew God lead me to them, after winning a consultation and getting to know them more I was so thrilled because of their knowledge and faith. It has been two years with ups, downs and ups. They posted The Gathering Conference and I knew I had to be at this event to learn. It was 1,409.1 miles to get to the destination.

This was more than learning about Instagram; this was about connection and finding out that what we are doing has a bigger purpose! God’s Hand was on it! A conference with 50 women that shine their light is powerful! The room was humming with encouragement and inspiration. This was the longest that I have been away from my family but I was at such peace knowing this is where I needed to be, where each woman needed to be. Julie and Jodie, I am blessed by the both of you! I was able to see your beautiful faces, hug you and see your inner beauty shine!

These are some of the many things that stood out:

  1. I need to get out of my own way to help others
  2. I have to work hard on my dreams everyday
  3. Remember my why
  4. Find joy in the journey
  5. Allow God to direct your steps and great things will happen

I encourage you, Girl, if you feel that tug to do that thing, you know that thing that you have been dreaming of doing. You can do it! Gathering with amazing women that have the same goal is invaluable.” ~ Regina

To read additional testimonials go to the Event Landing Page for the Utah Event!

Instagram Gathering Workshop

Instagram Gathering Workshop: Our Attendees Got Spoiled

We had some very generous sponsors for our event that made our attendees feel extremely spoiled. Our two biggest Instagram Gathering Workshop sponsors were Devanie Adams representing the face of her company Adams & Co. @adamsandcompany and Mandy Sencic @oldewoodltd. Both of these talented and incredible women attended and each presented the story of how their husbands and they had built their companies from the ground up. They were so inspiring. They also gifted all our attendees with incredible swag valued at over $400!

Women empowerment and bonding

Adams & Co.

Adams and Company is a home decor company specializing in seasonal decor. Krumpets Home Decor is their retail and online store. They have been designing and selling home decor for more than 17 years. Devanie and husband D.J. first set up shop in their two-car garage in suburban Utah with a dream of showing the world their unique twist and traditional flair to home decor. This original spirit still runs deep throughout their company today. Listening to Devanie talk was beyond inspiring. Jodie and I have enjoyed decorating our homes with so many of their enchanting and show-stopping stylish decor over the past year. You can shop and have a ball (and save using our on-going savings code: THEDESIGNTWINS).

Women bonding Magnolia Market

Olde Wood Ltd.

Next we were honored to hear from Mandy Sancic, co-founder/owner and Marketing Manager of her company Olde Wood Limited. Just like Devanie and D.J. Mandy and her husband started their business from the ground up when they were still teenagers. They began by recycling old barn wood and selling it. Olde Wood Limited®  is now one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of custom wide plank flooring and other unique reclaimed building materials. Over the last 21 years, they’ve milled over 5.6 million square feet of wide plank flooring for thousands of satisfied customers. Their incredible products turn homes into a one-of-a-kind masterpieces that will last for generations to come.

Last year, as you may remember, I added their newest product, Barnwood 2 Go, to transform the walls of my laundry room. This easy-to-use real barn wood is peel & stick! I call it my miracle product. I loved it so much I added it to my two kitchen islands. Everyone that walks into my home talks about the wood. Visit my blog post HERE to learn all about it. Every attendee received a box of their choice of Barnwood 2 Go in their choice of finish.

Women bonding magnolia market

Guess Family Barbecue

When in Texas we we were really looking forward to tasting some of what Texas is famous for, some real authentic Tex-Mex. We were introduced to Vinny Guess, owner and operator of Guess Family Barbecue who agreed to cater our dinners. Their reputation proceeded them as providing some of the best Texas barbecue, but we got to taste it for ourselves.  We opted for a fun taco bar and Nacho bar one night and then an elaborate enchilada and quesadilla dinner another night. We heard rave reviews all around. Everything was fresh, flavorful and professionally delivered.  The ladies couldn’t stop talking about how delicious the meat was! This family run business knew their barbecue, that’s for sure.

mexican food

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instagram workshop food


bowl of nachos

Sweetness Desserts

The spoiling came in all forms. We were sponsored by the bakery of all bakeries, Sweetness Desserts in Waco. The owner of Sweetness Desserts was Joanna’s original baker. The recipes for Magnolia’s Bakery originated with our “sweet” friend and owner Laura.

cupcake shop twins

We had no idea what we were in for when we agreed to partner with Laura. She is as talented as she is generous. We had new batches of the most melt-in-your-mouth treats at every meal. Cupcakes (of course), cookies, bars, even candy! Too good to resist of course.

Cupcake shop twins

We had so much fun stopping by Laura’s gorgeous bakery, taking a private tour, and of course, tasting the goodies. Hey, someone had to do it.

cubcake shop selfie

This is tough work friends! I was only going to eat one bite, and the next thing I new I was contemplating a second cupcake.

twin sisters cupcakes

Brand Photographers: Be Known Photography

We had the amazing privilege of having husband and wife pro photography team of Be Known Photography capture our event. All the pictures in this blog post are their work. Over the course of three days working with them at the event, touring Magnolia Silos, and visiting Sweetest Desserts Bakery, we got to know Malaina and husband Jason on a personal level. We love them! We are praying they will attend our upcoming event in Lehi, Utah as well.

twins sisters at Magnolia market

Melaina and Jason’s work speaks for itself. But what drew us to them was also their unique services. They are brand photographers. They help personal brands tell their visual story. Translating people’s unique messages into photo images is their passion. After many years of using their cameras and love of storytelling to document weddings they are now taking that experience and calibrating it for personal brands and small businesses. It’s an incredible service and one that we think could be very helpful for individuals wanting to brand themselves for their Instagram, blogs, and general online presence.

We hope you will visit to take a closer look at their unique services. It could be your brand’s answer to marketing and Instagram in 2019 and beyond!

Instagram Gathering Workshop: What We Learned

We learned so much, about ourselves and each other. We realized that besides the curriculum also of great importance was the time away from distraction of everyday responsibilities. The retreat provided an opportunity for guests to focus on themselves! Jodie and I realized this, and it turns out we couldn’t have been more right. Everyone agreed that the time away was an integral part of their transformations. It allowed everyone to dig deep to discover deeply rooted dreams and true motivations. It was a journey of learning & discovery.

We enjoyed every minute of our time together! Our huge expectations were exceeded again and again. Our greatest compliment was realizing the quality of each any every individual we “attracted” to our event. We were and remain in awe.

female bonding and empowerment

Oh the friends we made! We will never forget.

As I said on Instagram: The curriculum will change your Instagram. The friendships will change your life.

With love,

jodie & julie

Twin sisters Magnolia MarketRemove featured image

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The Design Twins Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat
Article Name
The Design Twins Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat
Dream it, Build it, and they will come. We dreamed and built it, and guess what? They came. Last October 2018 Jodie and I held our first ever Instagram event. We called it, The Design Twins Instagram Gathering Workshop & Retreat. It was a 2-day event held on a private estate in Waco, Texas. It was the culmination of all our hard work learning and growing our own Instagram accounts, as well as our careers as teachers, influencers, and mentors.
Publisher Name
The Design Twins
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  1. Patti says:

    When you all were in full swing at the Gathering in Texas, Along with so many others I was right there with you watching stories and looking at posts of all the fun, The overwhelming sense of a bonding experience that was more the IG was evident from every single post!!! You ladies are so special. Sincerely, Patti

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Patti! Thank you for your sweetest message! You were with us in spirit, My Friend! It really was almost beyond words to describe, although many of our attendees did a wonderful job trying! We are grateful for the opportunity to bring people together and to help them achieve their goals What an honor and what a joy! Blessings to you, Julie & Jodie

  2. I wish I could have made it to this work shop I know a few of friends went, and loved it. Please let me know if you decide to host another one!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Jen, The event in Waco was amazing. It really was. We all felt it was life changing. We are hosting our next one March 17-19 in Lehi, Utah. You have probably already heard about it, but if not definitely check out of EVENTS page on our blog for all the details. Tickets are selling now. We don’t know if we will do another one, so we highly recommend trying to attend. Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  3. […] of the many amazing products I received at The Design Twins Gathering in Waco this past fall was a package of BarnWood2Go peel-and-stick planks from the extremely generous folks […]

  4. Kellie says:

    I would love to go to this, this year! It sounds so wonderful!!

  5. Cindy says:

    Hello there, I was so interested in finding out more about your next instagram workshop! I most definitely wed some guidance! Thanks so much for your time


    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Cindy,
      Well, at this point we aren’t sure we are going to organize and teach another in person workshop. We are instead working very hard to create on-line course that will be available for all levels and accessible to many more people. It will be a more cost-effective and efficient way to share our Instagram knowledge with many. We hope you will stay tuned and join us in one or more of the courses we create. Wishing you the best, Julie & Jodie

  6. I am interested in the retreat
    Can you help me find the info
    When and where the next one is and the cost?

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Unfortunately, this retreat was back in 2018. With Covid-19, we don’t know when our next retreat will be. We haven’t planned one yet. We will let you know if we plan another one in the future! Sorry about the confusion!
      Lots of love,
      Jodie & Julie

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