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A Mid-Summer Trip to the Desert

Updated: Aug 7, 2022

July found The Retail Duo on the west coast in beautiful Palm Springs, Indian Wells, to be exact. Ideally this would be a perfect winter destination as temperatures soared to well over 110 degrees, but of course this was a must-see destination and a great opportunity to work with an exciting client - so, TRD packed their bags (and their patience) and headed to the heart of Coachella Valley, in the desert.


Even if you are not an avid sewer or quilter you probably have heard the name Bernina. And if you have not then it is worth it to read up with this powerhouse brand. Their innovation and product journey are the story of what branding and retail dreams are made of!


Bernina University is a jam-packed experience for both the Bernina Team, and Bernina dealers, all within a conference setting. This event combines information sessions, product launches and demos, networking and learning opportunities, classes and even a merchant hall and shop. BU rotates to a different location each year. (Hello Dallas, Texas 2023!)

Highlights & Takeaways

Kaffe Fassett Studios: The vibrant prints that were the backdrop of Bernina University (BU) and the brainchild of Kaffe Studios made the perfect complement to the venue. We were excited to see the displays of the new Kaffee Editions of machines and to see a true example of a successful collaboration in real life!

Esmerelda Resort & Spa: A little spa time after our two speaking sessions was just what the Duo ordered. Wellness and self care is always a must for us.

Interactive Sessions: We were uber impressed with the hand-ons classes and demonstrations that saw experts sharing their knowledge. It was all about being able to ask questions and share information. Also impressive; the logistics and amount of time that it must have occupied to carefully ship large volumes of equipment, and accessories in order to make this all possible!

The Closing Reception: A Kalediscope of Colour was the prefect way to end the conference. While in attendance we were able to hear from Bernina's Owner, Hanspeter Ueltschi and Paul Ashworth President and CEO, BERNINA of America, watch some very dedicated shopkeepers and Bernina dealers receive awards and to witness the undeniable Bernina community. The dance floor was full, the band was amazing and the people were the stars. (Shout out to our table!)

Outfit selections: When you think Palm Springs you cannot help to think about rich bright colours, desert hues and palm trees. A wonderful hidden gem of a boutique in GUELPH, ON was the perfect one stop shop for travel friendly outfits. Thank you to Sandy at THE GILDED CAGE for her outfitting us with fabulous frocks!

Travelling in 2022

Needless to say The Duo have seen way more than Pearson Airport (YYZ) than they cared to but it will always be one for the books as the least favourable places to spend the night. Laughs, projects and planning, coupled with some decent airport food and wine helped to make the experience tolerable. Travelling post COVID does not always mean smooth sailing. Our takeaways:

  • Pack light and pack well. Know the rules surrounding carry-ons and such things as liquids and luggage weight and sizing.

  • Be early and then add some more time. You never know and "if it can go wrong - it will go wrong".

  • Stay hydrated and get ready to run - most connection flights are no doubt going to send you on a wild sprint through the airport!

  • Pack your patience. At times lines are long and the staff is sparse. Adding fuel to the fire won't help anyone.

  • While some people are frustrated and travelling for leisure think of those who actually have to be somewhere - emergencies, obligations and work related contracts and functions. Keep things in perspective!

Our time at Bernina University was a memorable one and an experience that we took time to not only celebrate (as it fell on The Retail Duo's first year anniversary) but to be thankful for the exciting opportunities that can come your way when you work hard, and continue to build your portfolio. A big thank you to Heather Grant, Christy Burcham, and the entire Bernina Team. And if you have not done so already, place a visit to Palm Springs on your travel list!

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