Kate Van Horn loved working in the wellness world. She blogged, she developed recipes, and she kept feeling inspired to do more. Enter GOOD, a wellness festival she launched and executed along with two equally inspired (and inspiring) partners. The inaugural festival took place in Philadelphia in April 2017, and was such a sensation that the trio immediately began to plan the next GOOD festival in LA in February 2018. We chatted with Kate about how she turned a big idea into an even bigger reality—and why we should all be picking up tickets to the next GOOD festival, stat.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from a small town in Southern New Jersey that neighbors Philadelphia. I’m passionate about wellness, whether it’s healthy food, positive body image, yoga, mindfulness or self care. I originally began working in wellness when I started a blog, She Be Kalein It, as a creative outlet. I wanted to connect my story and previous struggle with an eating disorder to the joy I was finding in cooking nourishing foods, and practicing yoga and mindfulness.
Tell us about GOOD.
It’s a one day wellness event for the people who’ve been bitten by the wellness bug, but want more. It’s for anyone who wants to make choices that are in alignment with their body, their career, and their lives.
Where did the idea for GOOD come from? Did it pop into your head one inspired day? Or was it a long time coming?
It was a spur of the moment idea. Jess, one of my partners, and I met for coffee one day, and she looked at me and said, “Let’s start a wellness festival!”. We immediately became obsessed with the idea, and felt it was exactly what Philadelphia needed. We were so excited that we began searching for venues and hired an event planner within a week. The entire festival came to life in under eight months. We later brought on other members of our team to help execute, including our third partner, Jen.
How did you turn GOOD from an idea to reality?
When we started GOOD we didn’t campaign, or even really share the details with friends and family, we just got right to work. We told our loved ones what we were working on of course, but I don’t know if anyone truly understood the magnitude of the planning process until they arrived the day of and saw it for themselves. We used our previous connections from working in wellness to reach out to speakers we were inspired by and followed or knew, and pitched sponsorships to brands we had worked with before, or truly loved and used their products. Word spread primarily through social media, as well as local press.
And how did it all go down day-of?
Well, the weather was in true Philadelphia fashion: Unpredictable. It was chilly and rainy. We know from being local to Philly that you can’t guarantee a sunny day no matter the time of year, so we were sure to choose an indoor venue—and it worked perfectly! Snap Kitchen provided food for our 350+ attendees and speakers, and the green goddess salad was DELISH. The day was packed with inspiring speakers like Katie Dalebout, Jessica Murnane and Cassandra Bodzak, a pilates session with Kristin McGee and a yoga class taught by Jordan Younger. There were opportunities to browse the wellness marketplace which featured brands like Rebbl, Soulcycle, Athleta and Healthade Kombucha (and many others!).
The most surreal moment of the day?
Being on stage welcoming 350 women who had traveled, some internationally, to attend an event we poured so much love into planning for over seven months. I honestly tried to hug everyone throughout the day.
Learn anything from planning this first GOOD festival?
That figuring out how many yoga mats will fit in a given space is more complicated than you’d think. That if you want to plan a wellness festival, have plenty of storage space! I took over my father’s basement and garage with NUMEROUS pallets of swag — snacks, juice, yoga mats, you name it. So many deliveries. We were constantly surprised through the process, which is what made it so much fun to plan.
Most importantly, though, we learned the power of events like this. The power of joining like-minded people in one room, rather than simply connecting through social media. It was really beautiful to see the connections made that day, and reading the blog posts, Instagram captions, and touching emails about how the event was so special to many attendees.
What will be different about the next GOOD festival?
Our next GOOD festival is in LA, on February 3, and we are working hard to create a day as incredible as the first. Women who live there have more access to wellness events, healthy restaurants, and brands. I think more than anything we will deliver even MORE this festival. More content, more speakers, more interaction.
Who should go to GOOD?
Anyone can attend GOOD! We don’t believe “wellness” is only about the food or the fitness. It’s a mindset, how you speak to yourself, and the relationships you have with others.
We take a well rounded approach and create the content to reflect that. We think it’s a perfect day for those looking to work in wellness, as it serves as a great opportunity to network. But it’s also the perfect day for those who are simply passionate about prioritizing their health and happiness, and would like to meet other supportive women who feel the same.
How do you practice wellness every day?
I nourish myself with healthy food—tons of plants! I love yoga and meditation, and try to make it a priority even if I’m super busy with the projects I work on. I also make sure to take breaks sometimes, unplug and prioritize sleep. I love the work that I do, but it’s incredibly important to recharge, I’m always working on that. I don’t believe in an all or nothing approach to health and wellness. Some nights my dinner is raw, vegan and organic, sometimes it’s pizza and wine. I think it’s important to bring a realness to a healthy lifestyle in order to make it attainable and sustainable for all.
Any words of wisdom to share?
Just GO for it, whatever it is you are passionate about. We never second guessed this festival, and the response was incredible. I am so glad we took a leap of faith in starting an event like this, and I will continue to practice having faith greater than my fears in all areas now after seeing the response. When it feels good in your soul, don’t talk yourself out of it.
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