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Join Rena Tom, founder of Makeshift Society, Market Editor at Anthology Magazine and consultant to independent makers, brands, stores AND Victoria Smith, editor of sfgirlbybay with a ridiculously loyal readership that includes social media butterflies, top magazine editors, shoppers, and industry professionals ~ for a 6 night/5 day learning adventure in Tulum, Mexico.

Independent brands need to present their products in the best light to catch the eye of stores, customers and influencers. Victoria and Rena will help ensure your brand message is on-target, the photography suitable for every marketing platform, online presence and collateral is consistent, and offer tips on developing great working relationships with collaborators, bloggers and media, and retailers.

Rena and Victoria will contact you personally prior to this Ace Camp to find out your needs and will be super prepared in Mexico to advise according to your individual businesses.

You will leave feeling inspired and ready to take on any project related to your business.

Tulum, a jungle city is positioned on the Caribbean boasts a hippie/hipster vibe, and has a slew of restaurants serving unique and delicious fares. Imagine waking up to the scent of fragrant plumerias, smoked tropical woods, spicy peppermints, tobacco leaves, juicy limes and orange blossoms.

We are very excited about this Ace Camp and hope you can join us.

Posada Margherita image | Bri Emery

Posada Margherita image | Bri Emery

Harwood Restaurant | image:  Kasey Hickey of Turntable Kitchen

Harwood Restaurant | image:  Kasey Hickey of Turntable Kitchen

Flor de Michoacan

Flor de Michoacan

This Ace Camp includes:

  • 3 days of workshops, lectures and discussions with Rena Tom + Victoria Smith
  • One-on-one discussions about your product with either Rena or Victoria
  • 6 nights*  (based on shared occupancy)
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 3 dinners
  • Free day to adventure
  • Some swag

*Rooms are shared. Unfortunately, there is no opportunity for single rooms.

This Ace Camp is limited to 10 people.

Airfare + airport transfer are not included, however, shared rides from the airport maybe be possible depending on arrival/departure times of individuals

Fee:  $2549.00 - airfare is not included

Deposit:  $1549.00 - due when place in workshop is confirmed 

Final Payment of $1000.00 due March 15, 2015

Workshop supplies required by participants:

iPhone or Android Phone
Afterglow App
Product samples, marketing collateral, a laptop with editing software



sfgirlbybay editor Victoria Smith has an interesting and varied background in the design industry, a journalism major with an advanced arts degree in interior design, she has also worked as a freelance art buyer and stylist producing photo shoots for advertising agencies and designers on accounts such as Condé Nast publications, including high profile home and shelter magazines Domino, Architectural Digest, House & Garden, Gourmet and Bon Appetít.

Victoria has over 105K followers on Instagram, 40K on Facebook and over a 1/2 million followers on Pinterest which include influencers like Martha Stewart living, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres. She was just mentioned in this Forbe’s magazine article: “new web 2.0 phenomenon Pinterest saw its success finally take off after after partnering with influential blogger sfgirlbybay”.

image | Sarah Deragon

image | Sarah Deragon


Rena Tom forges connections between people, places and things. It has been her focus and vocation since 2005. She builds collaborations that are rewarding, engaging, surprising and fun. In 2012, Tom began Makeshift Society, an organization which offers shared workspaces, camaraderie and resources to creative freelancers, independent business owners and small teams. 

She is also Market Editor at Anthology Magazine; previously, owned Rare Device, a design-led retail store and art gallery which garnered mentions in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple and Food and Wine. She has worked with large and small makers, retailers and brands such as Branch, Creativebug, Etsy and Nest as a consultant on product placement and wholesale strategy.

image | Katie Burroughs

image | Katie Burroughs


We will be staying in a modern new property on the outskirts of Tulum.  The house is in the very southern part of the town, about a 20-minute walk to most bars, cafes and restaurants - or a 3 minute bike ride.  It has a roof top pool, pool deck, barbeque and kitchen space, a large private garden and bikes for us to use. There are beautiful views of the jungle and the property is located in a neighbourhood with a mixture of cultures giving it an incredible vibe. It is nicely designed, functional and has spacious studios. We will be nestled away inside the jungle as this location will prove to be much more private and quaint than the large beach-side resorts - not to worry though the beach is close and easy to get to.

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The casitas

Mercados, Markets + food.

The town of Tulum is a little inland from the beach front community. It is small but has a selection of restaurants, shops and little markets. Fruit is a big thing.  A plethora of shrimp, octopus, and fish ceviche, tamarind, cucumber, and mezcal margaritas. Mojitos with fresh sugarcane. Fish tacos and chilaquiles. The tacos are served with just lime wedges, and there is a slightly ominous looking fixins’ bar where pots of brightly coloured salsas, chopped cilantro-laced onions, and pickled cabbage await self-service.

THE PLACES YOU CAN VISIT...the things you can do.

Tulum Ruins
The 11th-century walled city's 15 pyramids are illuminated in shades of red, blue, and amber for 45-minute nighttime tours.
Once the most powerful Mayan city-state in the northeastern Yucatán, this 26-square-mile site, crisscrossed by raised limestone roads called sacbéob and home to three pyramids, remains relatively untouched by excavators’ hammers and tourist traffic.
Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
Jaguars, ocelots, and tapirs, as well as hundreds of species of birds and fish, roam these 1.3 million acres of coastal jungle, home to nearly every Yucatán ecosystem and studded with unexcavated ruins.
Cenote Escondido
Many cenotes—sinkholes in the subterranean rivers that riddle the Yucatán—are either limited to divers or overrun with crowds, but not this 15-by-130-foot pool, fringed with fan palms on a rocky bluff.

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The Mayan city of Tulum is 130km/81 miles south of Cancun.

Most major airlines, including Jet Blue, American, and Virgin America, fly direct to Cancún, Mexico. 

Visitors to Tulum arrange their flights to Cancun International Airport and make their way to Tulum via taxi, bus or airport transfer services.

Ace Camps will help participants of this workshop to share rides to the hotel.

A valid passport is required for this trip should you come from outside Mexico.


The weather continues to improve in May in Mayan Riviera, Mexico, when the average temperature is 26°C. At this time of the year, highs of up to 29°C are common, cooling down to 23°C after dark.

During May, the area experiences an average of ten hours of sunshine each day, alongside an average sea temperature of 27°C, making it a popular month to hit the beach.

With around ten rainy days throughout the month, there is a good chance you’ll experience a shower or two during your holiday.


Rent a kayak or boat to explore the most remote corners of the coastline. Or head to the area’s mystical cenotes (underground limestone caverns), today used as unique swimming holes. The cliffside Mayan ruins just north of Tulum are gorgeous, but it’s also worth a daytrip inland to other famous ruins, including Chichén Itzá and Cobá or wander the less touristy city of Valladolid.

Take a yoga class. Yup, you sure can.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Arrival to Tulum
Transfer to hotel and settle into your accommodation.

Meet and Greet Dinner 


Monday, May 4, 2015

Breakfast at hotel

Day 1- Creating the tone for your brand message; developing relationships with brands; understanding social media; calculating your social media value/fees

Lunch at a cafe in town

Dinner on your own. You can either head into town with the group or prepare a meal in your apartment.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Breakfast at hotel

Day 2- Field trip (shops/city tour to learn how store buyers merchandise and select product); Instagram/iPhone photography 101; shoot and review; posting to Instagram & social media; the value of hashtags

Group lunch in town

Free afternoon and one-on-one.  Schedule to be announced in Tulum.

Dinner at the hotel

image | Bri Emery

image | Bri Emery

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Breakfast at hotel

Free day to explore.  We will be heading to the beach should anyone wish to join or you can adventure on your own to visit one of the sites.

One-on-ones to continue in the evening.

Dinner on your own - or you can join the group and head to one of the more popular restaurants.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Breakfast at the hotel

Day 3- Product marketing/brand presence best practices; catalog and lookbook review; pitch writing session and determining your target market

Lunch with the group at the hotel.

One-on-ones to continue after lunch followed by a visit to the town.

Dinner on your own.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Breakfast at hotel

After breakfast a final meeting with everyone for workshop wrap-up.

Afternoon is free to explore.

8:00pm Dinner – TBD – Final Dinner

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Breakfast at hotel

Departure from Tulum.  After breakfast we say our final adioses and head our own way. Rides will be organized when final flights are sent in.


Nota Bene: this is a prospective itinerary. It is subject to modest modifications, dependent on local weather, new opportunities and the desires of the group.