The Power of Connect | Collaborate | Create

Jun 29 2018

by Margaret Sullivan

There are times in life that make you remember a feeling. Of course, the details of an inspiring conversation or an unforgettable meal will stick with you, but sometimes experiences hit a little deeper and make you feel something that lasts. These are types of moments that happen over and over, before, during, and after the Southern C Summit. Maybe it’s the palpable energy in the room or the fantastic programming that’s been fine-tuned for a crowd of creatives; but, maybe it’s the magic that happens when a room of strangers begins to feel like family. This is the magic that happened following this year’s Summit, resulting in the collaboration of countless TSC Summit alums for the 2018 Cashiers Designer Showhouse. Hold your horses, folks, because this is the power of Connect, Collaborate, Create. 

The Southern Coterie blog: "The Power of Connect, Collaborate, Create" (photo: Cashiers Showhouse)
The 2018 Cashier’s Showhouse

I certainly don’t know all of the right answers in life, but I do my best, especially with my creative project management firm, Sullivan + Co., to trust good people and believe in the power of connections. When Ansley Pridgen, Executive Director of the Cashiers Historical Society, and I met at the Summit, I knew she was someone with a lot of drive and an open heart. We formed a natural friendship, leading us to talk about the upcoming Cashiers Designer Showhouse. Being held July 27th through August 5th, the ten-day Showhouse, sprinkled with fabulous events, is the largest annual fundraiser for North Carolina’s Cashiers Historical Society. This year, Ansley took on the project with determination to revamp it and make it bigger & better than it had been in its previous 20 years. 

Equipped with inspiration garnered from the Southern C’s Connect, Collaborate, Create motto, Ansley hired my firm and Domino Media Group, owned by TSC alum Elizabeth White Cook, to help broaden and bring new life to the Showhouse.

The Southern Coterie blog: "The Power of Connect, Collaborate, Create" (photo: Cashiers Showhouse)
The 2018 Cashier’s Showhouse

If you’ve ever met Elizabeth, you know the beautiful balance of grace and grit that she exudes. With Elizabeth at the helm, her boutique public relations firm operates under the mantra that “with the right tools and connected team, a domino effect will happen for your brand.” And with that, a domino effect indeed has happened for the Cashiers Designer Showhouse. Elizabeth and the Domino team put their creative spirits into overdrive, successfully incorporating some of the country’s most recognizable names and brands into the Showhouse lineup.

It didn’t take long for Ansley, Elizabeth, and me to realize that a remarkable amount of brands involved in the Showhouse had a direct line back to The Southern C. These willing and energetic creatives hopped onto the opportunity of the Showhouse because Elizabeth asked. They said yes because Ansley asked. They said yes because they heard a friend or admired entrepreneur was involved. They said yes because of the roots that led back to our common ground: relationships built through The Southern C.

What’s unique about The Southern C is that it’s a family of sisters and brothers, entrepreneurs, and brands. We go as strangers, but we leave ready to make magic together.

So here it goes. Are you ready for how many alums are involved?!

The Showhouse will kick off with the Opening Night Gala on Friday, July 27th, giving guests a first look at the gorgeous estate that will have been transformed by TSC alum Grayson Pratt and other talented designers from across the South. Since any good event should revolve around food, Vera Stewart of VeryVera will be preparing Southern-inspired cuisine to be enjoyed throughout the evening. Vera’s amazing team, including alums Emily Yates and Lauren Hopkins of LBH & Co. PR, have worked tirelessly to make this culinary treat a reality. As the guests— including famed blogger and lifestyle influencer Mandy Kellogg Rye— enjoy cocktails crafted with Grain and Barrel’s Dixie Vodka, they will be able to bid on items in the fabulously curated silent auction filled with some of The Southern C’s favorite brands. Pillows from Lacefield Designs; artwork from Caroline Boykin, Elaine Burge, Maria Osorio Driscoll,  Melissa Payne Baker, and Well + Wonder; craft aprons from Heirloomed, resort-chic home decor from Dear Keaton, and chairs from Mainly Baskets will grace the auction tent to help raise funds for the Cashiers Historical Society.

As the beautiful evening, designed in part by Mallards Nest Design owner Lee Cox, comes to a close, canvas swag bags filled with items from Beautiful Briny Sea, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits, Onward Reserve, and allie & elle will be a treat worth taking.

The Showhouse itself is a sight to see, but specialty events and demos on the grounds of the estate will also be a highlight. From a beauty discussion with founders of Sapelo Skin Care to tastings of Southern Baked Pie Company’s delectable pies and a Calyroad Creamery cheese and rosé wine pairing, TSC alums are elevating the overall experience of the week. 

In the age of social media, it’s easy to admire products and brands from afar, but thanks to The Southern C, we know the importance of the faces behind the brands. Throughout the week, guests will also be able to shop and meet the inspirational minds behind Hazen & Co., Rinnovo Studio, Croghan’s Jewel Box, and more.

The Showhouse will wrap up with a Closing Croquet Brunch on Sunday, August 5th. As Steve McKenzie live paints the scene, guests will sip Bloody Marys made with Cathead Vodka and, thanks to Leapfrog PR, enjoy a brunch prepared over Sea Island Forge kettles.

During this beautiful week, we look forward to hosting some of our closest friends, but also are thrilled to build relationships with new faces. It’s our biggest hope that each of these amazing brands or individuals leave feeling more connected with one another, more inspired for collaboration and more driven to continue creating products and content that make them our favorites. 

What’s unique about The Southern C is that it’s a family of sisters and brothers, entrepreneurs, and brands. We go as strangers, but we leave ready to make magic together. Whether a presenter or vendor, a designer or sponsor, a planner or attendee, the spirit of The Southern C will live throughout the 2018 Cashiers Designer Showhouse, and that is something for which we will forever be grateful. We can’t wait to share experiences with you that make us all feel something special.


Margaret Sullivan View More Blog Posts from this Author

Born and raised in Albany, Georgia, Margaret's roots run deep, but branches reach far. Growing up in a small town, relationships are's where family are friends and friends are family. Despite her closeness to home, Margaret's natural ability to connect with others has always pushed her to spread her sense of closeness to well beyond her home.

Margaret attended the University of Georgia and, upon graduation, spent five years working at the university. High-volume and high-energy projects laid the groundwork for Margaret to launch Sullivan + Co., allowing her to channel her expertise towards small business owners and creative entrepreneurs.

Sullivan + Co. all started with an insatiable sense of curiosity. A curiosity about the endlessly creative minds and unique businesses that bring life to our communities. Sullivan + Co. works with amazing people behind small brands and businesses, making them flourish in ways they didn't know they could. Margaret and her husband Will live Macon, Georgia, where she works with clients throughout the Southeast.

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