Eclectic cabins, early-morning yoga and wine with friends.
Sometimes, that’s all we need when we want a mini escape.
I know that’s exactly what I (Cathy) want, which is why we’re doing just that in 2017.
From May 5-7, 2017, Cat’s Cove will be launching the ReTreat Yourself Women’s Weekend at The Opinicon Dining & Resort in Chaffeys Lock, Ontario!
The two-night, three-day weekend will be a women’s-only escape where girlfriends will book a cabin, eat delicious food and take part in fitness classes and workshops. It’s the perfect balance of chilling out, re-connecting with good friends and trying something new.
This will be an event led by me (no boys allowed), and it’s a project I’ve wanted to put together for a long time. Now that we’ve launched registration, we thought we’d give the behind-the-scenes story about planning and launching this event.
Here’s how the idea formed:
Flashback, eight years ago: My former university roommate and I were searching for a weekend away together where we could workout and drink wine together. Small goals, I know. But we couldn’t find much offered within Ontario, and so the trip never happened.
Since then, I got married, had two kids, lost sleep, rarely had the energy to catch up with girlfriends, and have developed a love/hate relationship with Lightning McQueen. And guess what? That weekend away with my girlfriend STILL hasn’t happened.
And then I thought: well, if a women’s retreat isn’t currently offered in our neck of the woods, why not make it happen?
Almost a year ago, I approached The Opinicon Dining & Resort about hosting such an event at their place in the shoulder season. They were really supportive of the idea, and agreed to make it happen. They’ve been amazing partners and their setting, cabins, food and services are what’s going to push this retreat to the next level.
We booked a photographer to take some
photos in September, and had the talented Jaana Brett do our branding and logo design (props to her for also coming up with the ReTreat name!).
What Women Want: Market Research
While I know what I’d want in a girls’ weekend, it doesn’t mean that it’s what every other woman wants. Market research was a must-do before going any further. So, in June, we hosted a focus group where we picked the brains of six women. We also sent out a survey and had one-on-one conversations with a range of women, asking them what they’d want in a weekend away. They told us they wanted: quiet mornings, good food, interesting activities, a chance to blow off steam and to come away feeling as though they’ve filled their cup.
We learned that each woman has their own expectation of an escape experience. So, we had to ask ourselves: how do we meet each woman’s expectation? We decided to set the retreat up like the book series, Choose Your Own Adventure. But with yoga pants.
Retreat participants can choose how they want to spend their time over the weekend: they can take part in the fitness classes. Or they can book a massage. Or they can read by the lake. Or they can go for a run. Or they can nap. While we’ll set up the framework and schedule, it’s ultimately up to them to decide how they spend their time.
The Launch Response
When we made the announcement about the ReTreat in early November, the response was inspiring. We posted it to Facebook, and women from Ottawa to Niagara showed interest by tagging their friends and signing up for our email list.
Since launching registration over the past week, we’re already more than half sold out! It just shows that women do want a mini-escape and are giving themselves permission to do so.