When Georgette Sleeth became a mother, she figured she needed to learn how to scrapbook.
One craft led to another and, soon enough, Sleeth found herself facing her biggest project yet: creating the Girl Cave.
An ever-evolving concept, the Girl Cave has grown from a backburner idea into a full-fledged business, fueled by Sleeth's persistence and passion.
There is no set formula or agenda for events. What stemmed from a joy in teaching others to make cards has transformed into a desire to meet a variety of needs. Offerings at the cave, in Huntington Beach, have included classes in sewing and jewelry designing, as well as lectures on more serious subjects like financial planning, strengthening relationships and personal goal setting.
Sleeth aims to welcome attendees into a relaxed and comfortable environment.
"It's been a huge year of learning," she said.
Sleeth, 44, who used to help manage the sales and finances of a company in Irvine, had begun teaching card-making classes at a scrapbooking store with a friend while still working full-time.
A mother of two, she transitioned out of the corporate world as the company struggled under new management. Then she started inviting people to her home, where she cooked and showed her guests how to create the paper greetings with a touch of love.
During such parties, Sleeth recognized a niche that she felt she could meet on a larger scale. Under her watch, women who were usually stressed and busy taking care of others were taking time for themselves and bonding with one another.
"It was just in the back of my brain that the world needs something like this," she said.
Hence the Girl Cave.
The business opened in September 2012. Sleeth threw herself into creating a welcoming space in a strip-mall on Beach Boulevard near Warner Avenue, determined to create a feeling of being in a home. The walls were painted. Decorative panels were hung. Coordinated perfectly with different accent pillows for spring and fall, furniture that could easily be moved around was purchased.
Sleeth said with a laugh that after operating the Girl Cave for more than a year, crafting classes are now just part of a slew of opportunities there for women.
The roughly 800 square feet of open space serves as a "clean slate," playing host to speakers and other public events, as well as to private gatherings like baby showers and birthday parties.
"The Girl Cave has become part of my schedule," said Janine Lall, 51, who first attended one of Sleeth's card classes and found herself hooked, going to the Girl Cave at least three times a month for everything from painting classes to bunco games. "It's part of my down time now. It's part of my relaxation time."
The Girl Cave can't even be compared to the squished card classes in the scrapbooking store, said Cheryl Loder, 53, who helped Sleeth to teach them.
She said Sleeth's new vision has, instead, filled a need and benefited many.
"It's been a dream for all of us. It was an amazing idea and it is an amazing facility," Loder said.
Positive and upbeat as she continues to develop her enterprise, Sleeth said she has decided her business' defining word is connection.
"That's what I see happening," she said. "There's so many connections."