Last Saturday I attended Stylish in Seattle, a spring style summit held at Coterie Worklounge by Sydney Mintle of Gossip & Glamour. It was Seattle’s (and my) first fashion blogging summit. The day consisted of two panel discussions, a keynote speaker, and then lunch/mixing and mingling, and it went so fast! There were networking and chatting opportunities galore but I enjoyed the panels because I could sit back, relax, and take it all in.
Here’s a rundown of what went down. I got there at 8:50-ish, checked in, got my swag bag, water, talked to some people, and found a seat for the first panel. The first topic was “How to Work with Brands” and we heard from a panel representing Neiman Marcus, The Shelf, Brooks Running, and Julep. The panel answered questions ranging from, “what do brands look for when they work with bloggers?” to “how should I engage with brands?” While I found their insight interesting and informative and even really helpful at times, I still feel like some brands aren’t quite there with understanding how blogging works. There’s the occasional comment that makes me think that they have yet to shed the old school brick and mortar corporate thinking. Their jobs are so different from ours as bloggers that I get the disconnect, but panels like these should go a long way to getting us all on the same page.
The second panel was “The Business of Fashion Blogging” with Cori from Dress Corilynn, Taylor from YouTube.com/Thataylaa, Moorea from MooreaSeal.com, Tiffany from T+J Designs, and Cassandra from Coco Kelley. These cool girls were here to talk about how they had grown their successful businesses by adding a second concept, whether that means selling product or opening a retail store. One of my favorite parts was when the girls explained how they knew it was time to give up responsibility and ask for help, and how they went about finding people to help them (one key, use freelancers to do small projects that way you don’t have to spend forever training people). All of these girls are awesome and inspirational, go follow them.
And then it was time for the keynote speech from Amanda Zurita who is a writer, stylist, and currently a tour guide in Europe for Rick Steves. Her job is really cool. And SHE is really cool. She gave a speech about following your dreams and taking more risks because you only have one life. Might as well live it up, right? She’s straight up GirlBoss gold. After that it was time for lunch, music, and mingling. In between there were a ton of networking opportunities and it was awesome. Coterie Worklounge is a gorgeous space too so that made it even better. A lovely space with lovely people all talking about something I LOVE, blogging! Now let’s get to my ten things.
10 Things I Learned From My First Blogging Summit
1. Eat breakfast before you get there.
This is a rule I live by because I’m a monster that needs constant feeding and if you want your brain to be ON you must eat. The summit provided coffee, water, and unexpected surprise pastries in the morning but it’s nice to be already fueled.
2. Go to the bathroom during breaks.
For obvious reasons of course, but also because girls talk to other girls in the bathroom. It’s just what we do. About anything. The weather, their clothes, other girl’s clothes, parking, whatever. The bathroom is like the safe zone to talk to strangers. Thanks to these little impromptu bathroom parties I ended up making a couple new friends who I ended up chatting up throughout the summit.
3. You don’t have to talk to everyone.
Yes, afterwards I realized that there were people I wanted to meet but you’re only one person at a 70+ people event, so understand that you’re not going to get face time with everyone. Instead, focus on a few choice people. I made new friends, caught up with old friends, and chatted up some mentors. This created a much more meaningful experience for me rather than flitting from person to person.
4. Bring a notebook and something to write with.
This should be a no-brainer but I realized that I might have been out of luck had I forgotten a pen. Sure you could use your phone but I prefer the pen and paper. I write faster than I type on my iPhone. A notebook is also a good place to collect business cards rather than the black hole that is your purse.
5. Follow up tip to #4, take notes!
You never know when someone is going to say something you either find important or inspirational. It’s also all in one place when you decide to go back and see what you learned, unlike my iPhone notes where I have a bunch of half-notes that don’t make sense later on.
6. Work on your photo stance and stand up straight in photos.
No really. You’re so distracted by other things going on that you may not know that how you’re standing looks a little slumped. I have this problem lately where I’m so used to putting my hand on my hip that if I do anything else it looks silly. Practice your stance at home if you have to. *Note to self. :)
7. Take advantage of the free food and drink!
I came home hungry. I was so pumped from all the mingling that I didn’t eat enough of the free lunch. Yes, it’s awkward when people are chatting and eating but feed yourself. And take stuff for the road. They provided coconut water and I kicked myself for not grabbing one as I left.
8. Get a good seat. If you can anyway.
I got INSANELY lucky and my friend Rebecca had a spot right in front so I got front row at her table. But say you don’t have a friend sitting near the front, make a new friend and ask if you can sit with them. I say this because I swear to god I am losing my hearing and tend to be distracted by everything. If I sat in back I’d be distracted by all the girls in front of me playing with their hair. Find a seat near the front, you’ll absorb more.
9. Ask questions.
Not necessarily to the panelists but anyone there. I didn’t take advantage of this because my mind tends to go completely blank during events (durrr) but say you want to talk media kits and want to know how others put them together. This is an example of something I brought up just to discuss, not as a question, and got a bunch of great info about. Take this time to see what other people in your industry are doing.
Blogging is one of those things where we all assume that everyone is doing the same thing as everyone, yet everyone is one step ahead of you in something and that’s not the case. Talk to each other, ask questions, see what others are doing. You might realize that something you’d been fretting about (for me that’s not having business cards) is not as important (because supposedly Instagram is the new business card). Interesting, right?
10. Be grateful.
Yes, you probably paid to be there but still, this was made for you. To learn, to network, to collaborate, to be inspired, to play. People put this entire thing together for you so take a moment to be happy and excited and thankful that something like this exists. I will admit that I’m greedy, I liked it so much that I want this to be an all the time thing, but I also know that it was a lot of work for the people who made it happen.
images via: Erickson Visuals