From the very early beginnings of my journey as a blogger, Orchard Corset has truly been one of the most incredible sponsors that I’ve not only come to know but seriously consider a part of my extended online family. They have been a constant support and seen me grow over the past few years, meanwhile they have also flourished exceptionally into a household name in our pinup community. A few months ago, I received an email that changed my entire life in a matter of minutes. Orchard Corset was inviting me to their very first Pin-up Invitational in Wenatchee, Washington…I nearly fell off my chair in shock and excitement. I think I reread the email about half a dozen times before it truly sank in and enthusiastically said YES!!!
In the weeks leading up to the Pin-up Invitational, Renee and I exchanged dozens of emails in preparations of the two day event. My role as a blogger was pretty exciting…I was interviewing the three lovely pinups Jen Kaboom, Ruby Roxx and Betty Bleu, participating in a photoshoot, and documenting the entire event for all of you! To make things even more fun and lighthearted, I came up with some wacky off the wall questions to ask the delightful ladies along with the fan submissions.
When the big day finally arrived, I set out on the long journey of flying across the country from Ontario, Canada to Wenatchee, Washington. When I arrived in Seattle for the connecting flight, I met up with two of my fellow Canadians Jen Kaboom and Ruby Roxx. These dolls are seriously two of the most down to earth gals, I felt among old friends instantly. The flight into Wenatchee was a very brief 30 minutes and we could barely contain our excitement when we were greeted by the phenomenal Renee from Orchard Corset. It was the moment we had all been waiting for after months of planning and it was beyond surreal. Meanwhile, we were blown away at the magnificent views of mountain landscapes surrounding the city as we set off to get settled into our hotel.
That evening, we headed off to dinner with part of the Orchard Corset team. There, we met the owners Jeff and Leanna who are two of the most kindhearted people in the world. They welcomed us with open arms, like we were a part of their family. We were also joined by Cheri, who I had known for almost three years now so it was such a delight to finally meet in person, Nick our videographer documenting the whole event, and the darling Betty Bleu who drove in from Spokane. The whole time there was endless chatter as we were finally getting to connect on a personal level with the people we’ve only known through online communications over the years. After dinner, the lovely owners of Orchard Corset invited us all over for a bonfire at their home. We were having a great time when suddenly there was a noise and within seconds a large fire engulfed their little chicken coop. Everyone sprung into action and within minutes Jeff extinguished the fire but we all feared the worst for the little chicks. One by one, Jeff and Jen Kaboom counted them out 2, 3, 4, 5…but where was 6? A wave of sadness washed over everyone at the thought of losing the one chick but to our delight she was just hiding in the corner. It was a true miracle not only that they all survived but the fact we were at their home. If we weren’t outside visiting, we shudder at the thought that they would have been sleeping while the fire broke out against the wall of their bedroom. Seeing that we had a huge day ahead of us and a rather emotional filled evening, we all turned in shortly there after (plus I was contending with the 3 hour jetlag and a long day of traveling).
Wednesday morning began with a tour of the Orchard Corset Headquarters and we had no idea what we were in for. The building dates from the 1920’s and was the home of the historic Elk’s Lodge, where they hosted lavish banquets with celebrities and a place of known for its brotherhood. Jeff took us all up numerous flights of stairs (some of us really regretting wearing high heels) all the way up to the roof. There we saw a spectacular 360 view of Wenatchee, and how gorgeous the surrounding landscape truly was. Each floor was truly mesmerizing; there was a grand ballroom with hundreds of vintage roller skates, available for the staff to go for a spin on their downtime; a fitness area which used to be part of the Elk’s Lodge (members were exclusively very wealthy) now being converted into a modern fitness center for the staff; an in-ground pool that lie untouched for almost 50 years which they are currently restoring; the OC photostudio filled with endless props and wardrobe; their warehouse with endless racks of corsets, customer service area, shipping and receiving. The main floor was like walking onto the pages of a lifestyle magazine…Leanna (the owner) has designed and decorated a heaven for the entire staff. There is a full kitchen stocked with endless amounts of food and beverages for the staff, large dining area for them to gather, living room, conference room, the marketing team offices, and a women’s washroom that none of us ever wanted to leave. We were seriously awe struck the whole tour and couldn’t decide what was more incredible as each floor just held such spectacular highlights so unique from the other. I know we were all thinking the same thing…can we work for Orchard Corset???
Following our tour, we each broke off into our groups. Betty Bleu went to teach the first group of the OC staff on pinup posing along with hair and makeup tips meanwhile I interviewed Ruby Roxx and Jen Kaboom. Although I was incredibly nervous being in front of the camera asking the questions, they truly made it super fun and are both such a joy to be around. After we completed the interviews, I headed off to meet with Cheri to discuss some exciting new projects they are currently working on. It’s top secret for now but I can promise you all that it’s going to be well worth the wait. Amongst the busy schedule, we had a fabulous lunch with the entire staff…who are all so incredibly sweet and welcoming. After lunch, the pinups switched roles and I interviewed the darling Betty Bleu. Once we wrapped, it was my turn to be interviewed by Cheri. Her and I have known each other for over 3 years now, when she first began with OC and I was just getting my toes wet as a blogger.
Later that afternoon, we took part in a spectacular photoshoot with Trixie and Lance from Old School Pinups. There Leanna had coordinated wardrobe for each one of us along with the cutest sets, while Trixie glammed us up with hair and makeup. Since the ladies are all professional pinups, they were on point as soon as they walked on set. It was truly a sight to see and wished I had a smidgen of the incredible radiance they bring in front of the camera. Thankfully Trixie and Lance were excellent coaches, they walked me through the whole process and it was so much fun despite my nerves. After everyone was completed their individual set, we shot all together which was such a blast. Once our photoshoots were a wrap, the pinups were busy filming a quirky little video for all of the Orchard Corset customers to announce a site wide sale the following week. The outtakes were rather hilarious, it was impossible to not crack up laughing behind the scenes. These ladies sure know how to put on a great show and have a blast while doing it.
After a jam packed fun filled day, we headed back to the hotel for a little rest before going out for dinner at Garlini’s Restaurant. We quickly realized that Jeff LOVES pizza…but not just any kind of pizza; it has to be pepperoni, bacon and cheese, no vegetables! The food was absolutely delicious, it was impossible to leave any of my cannelloni on the plate but we were much too full to even consider desert. Everyone turned in after dinner, we were all pretty exhausted and wanted to get a good night’s sleep for what was in store tomorrow.
The day started off with us all meeting up at the Orchard Corset Headquarters for a little down time together. Across the street, the town was hosting their annual Apple Blossom Food Festival so Renee, Ruby, Jen, Betty & I decided to head over for some amusing photos since the pinups were dressed for the part. These turned out to be some of my favorite shots of all of us together and the town’s folk got a kick out of what they saw.
Just before lunch, we headed off to Horan Estates for some wine tasting. Although I am not a wine drinker myself, I very much enjoyed the chocolate truffles and chatting with everyone as they sampled the various types of wine. Lunch was catered from the same restaurant we visited on Tuesday evening (Tastebud’s), we were spoiled with savory sandwiches and salads along with some pretty incredible chocolate chip cookies. We wrapped up our visit with a tour of Horan Estates, learning all about their family run business and how they are growing so rapidly with the demand for their wines rising every year.
Our next stop was Leavenworth; an adorable little town modelled on a Bavarian Village. With Ruby, Jen & Betty dressed up as delectable bar maids…there were plenty of tourists asking to take photos with them thinking they were a part of the village folk. These ladies are exceptionally kind inside and out, they graciously obliged to every request. We all shopped the various boutiques, taking in the magnificent décor of the Bavarian atmosphere. The mountains that surrounded us were truly breathtaking; I wished we had more time to explore as there was just so much to see. Leanna, Renee and I found a little shop that carried Voodoo Vixen, Effie’s Hearts and a couple other vintage reproduction brands…we were like kids in a candy store. The three of us didn’t leave empty handed, with fabulous cardigans and dresses going home with us. As we promenaded through the village, Lance and Trixie were photographing the four of us as we stumbled upon the perfect backdrops. The final images turned out so darling and fun, all the building surrounding us were absolutely splendid.
Once we wrapped our afternoon in Leavenworth, we were on route to the Kupuis home for pizza and a bonfire with the entire Orchard Corset staff for our last night in Wenatchee. There we were joined by the family of several of the staff members for a splendid evening. We were quite thrilled to see the little chicks safe and sound in their new upgraded chicken coop. A few of us took advantage of the venue to roast marshmallows by the fire and make some delectable s’mores. Everyone spent the soiree chatting with one another; it was truly like we were longtime friends gathering together like old times. Since Ruby, Jen and I were flying home the next morning, we decided to head back to the hotel with Renee and Betty to have a girl’s hot tub party to end our week on a high note. Sadly we had to say our goodbyes much too soon but we definitely made lasting friendships as we really hit it off from the moment we met.
The Orchard Corset Pin-Up Invitational was a smashing success as we all had the most incredible time of our lives. We are truly thankful to have been a part of this event and cannot thank Jeff, Leanna, Renee, and the entire Orchard Corset team for making this a dream come true! It was over way too quickly but we have memories to last a lifetime. The fours of us insisted that they make this an annual event and of course volunteered to come back if they would have us again!