CREATE + CULTIVATE

I don’t even know where to start. My Create and Cultivate experience was a dream come true. Well, let’s try this; how about I start from the beginning. I was sitting at my desk at work and my friend Amanda (also the creator of my lovely logo) IM’d me and told me that some of my favorite bloggers were going to be at conference in Dallas. I opened the link, I think I responded with something like, “OMFG THIS IS INCREDIBLE I HAVE TO GO OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!” This was right during the holiday season, so I probably shouldn’t have, but I jumped on the opportunity. I quickly booked a trip to Dallas! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn from others in my field, others that I look up to and aspire to someday become, like Emily Schumann of Cupcakes and Cashmere and Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam. I agonized about what to wear the week leading up to it; I mean what do you wear to a blogger convention with a million fashion bloggers?? I was so excited, anxious, nervous, ecstatic, and about 25 other emotions. I chose to wear my fur vest and knee high boots to the happy hour and a sweater from anthropolgie and leather leggings with booties to the conference (I had to gear up for a 12 hour day of learning!)

On the website they suggested staying at the W, but it was a little out of my price range, I had already bought a VIP pass and a plane ticket. I decided to stay at NYLO Southside (just walking distance to the conference). The day before I left I started seeing photos on Create Cultivate’s instagram that got me incredibly excited! All VIPS were receiving the same camera I had shared on my What A Girl Wants post that very Wednesday. #It’s fate. I threw out some comments “I’m going solo if anyone else is going solo let me know I’d love to meet up!” I figured there would be others who were going solo that weren’t sure what to expect, so we might as well figure it out together. Nikki of A Fling Before the Ring (a bachelorette party planning service, I was thinking something far more scandalous) reached out to me, so I met up with her in the lobby of the W before the social happy hour.  The happy hour was at a place called Common Desk and was so much fun. We met Brittany and Lindsay of Patterns and Pops, Kristy (who also reached out via Instagram), and Laura from The Bucket List Narratives. Everyone was so positive and friendly it was such a great way to start off the convention.

THE CONFERENCE

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I walked over to Lofty Spaces, where the convention was held, and stood in line with a bunch of gorgeous impeccably dressed women. Everyone was quiet at first (it was early) but I decided to chat up the girls who were next to me in line, low and be hold they were flying solo as well. We got our notebooks and schedule for the day.  We entered the space, and you guys it was GORGEOUS!!! Sorry (not sorry) for all the pictures, but they don’t even show how incredible it was. Bebe had an amazing breakfast spread set out and the space was decorated in every nook and cranny! As A VIP I was able to choose my track, I chose track two because I absolutely love Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glamand Mary Seng of Happily Grey (I actually found her when I Googled Happily Grey when researching blog names for this blog. She had it first. Darn her!) At breakfast, I found the same girls from the Happy Hour the night before and we were all in Track 2! (YAY!!)

MY SCHEDULE AND NOTES FROM THE CONFERENCE

8-9 Breakfast, Coffee, mixing and mingling Everyone was so nice and willing to hand out business cards. It wasn’t intimidating at all we were all there ready to learn the same things and be empowered to take our businesses to the next level!

9:15-10:30- WorkshopPhoto Hacks: Workshop diving into the ins and outs of getting  the perfect shot.

Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth, Sophia Macks of Beyond the Mag and Matt Crump

My Key Notes & Takeaways:

  • Social Media is just that, social, so the key to being successful in social media is being engaged.
  • Practice taking pictures everyday eventually the vision in your head and your technical skills will align.
  • Apps Mentioned: Pic-tap-go (you can layer filters), Snap Scene, A Color Story
  • When you add curated content make sure that it aligns with your brand and your personal content. (The most repeated phrase of the entire conference, “Don’t work with brands that don’t align with your brand image.)
  • Know your demographics: Look through your pictures, what do they like the most? Comment on the most?
  • Have a cohesive theme
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10:35-11:35 PM- PANELThe Art of the Pitch: How to present, sell, and negotiate your pitch ideas

Tina Craig of Bag Snob, Lynse Eaton of Tomboy KC, Caroline Harper Knapp of House of Harper

My Key Notes & Takeaways:

  • Passion is the most important thing about your blog
  • Create mood boards and visuals
  • Use periods rather than (!) (I have a hard time with this, I am a (!) user for sure.)
  • It’s not always about the amount of followers you have but how many are engaged
  • the PR world is a small one so ALWAYS be nice.
  • When you work with a brands always follow up after the project.
  • Know your brand and know their brand: Preperation is key
  • Ask what the company’s goals are
  • Stay true to your brand. Be open and transparent.
  • Always respond within 24 hours, always REPLY to emails.
  • Our job is to influence so create a pitch that will do just that!  

11:40-12:40 PM- PANEL Pushing Boundaries, Not Buttons: Getting Creative at your current job

Brooke Brinkman of Simon G., Claudia Naim Burt of Framebridge, Alexis Avery Cittadine at Bebe, Nick Stenson of Matrix, Elizabeth Monson of Lou & Grey.

My Key Notes & Takeaways:

  • Know your followers
  • Consumers can connect to influencers. Influencers are closer to the consumer than celebrities.
  • Authenticity is key.
  • Always have a clear strategy and focus.
  • When scheduling meetings at work schedule “creative” meetings together and “business” meetings together.
  • Always hold yourself accountable.

12:40-2:00 LUNCH AND LOUNGE (I had an amazing Gluten Free Quinoa salad)

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2:00-3:15 PM- MENTOR SESSIONSWe got to sit with the panelists in small groups and ask questions.

My Mentors: Rachel Schwartzman of The Style Line and Melissa Lawson of Who What Wear

My Key Notes & Takeaways:

  • It comes with time, it’s important to be patient.
  • Refresh old content, not everyone on your blog is going to look through all your content, very few people go past recent posts, so refresh old posts.
  • Trademarking is a great idea and worth legal fees.
  • It’s key in any position at any job to wear multiple hats. If there is a void at a work and you see an opportunity go for it. You can create new positions at your current place of employment if you have a good reason and it will lead to results.
  • Be strategic with social media don’t share same content across all channels.
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3:15-4:30 PM- PANEL Brand Vibes: How to create a brand that lives beyond the blog bubble

Camille Styles, Julian Engel of Gal Meets Glam, Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential, Mary Seng of Happily Grey, and Sophia Rivka Rossi of Hello Giggles

My Key Notes & Takeaways: I of course was the most excited for this one!! I must say, for me it was also one of the most beneficial. I was completely captivated!

  • The most important thing about blogging and what will set you apart from the rest: YOUR VOICE
  • Only work with brands relatable to your brand and reader (this will be said quite a few more times...so I will repeat it here: Only work with brands relatable to your brand and reader! Never take a job just to make a buck.)

4:30-5:30 Break Time

I hung out and talked to Julia and Mary, and must say they were so great to talk to.  They took the time to talk to anyone who wanted to talk to them (even if others in line weren’t so appreciative of it). Mary was so incredibly humble, she shared with me this was her second conference and she was so excited to be there. Mary mentioned during the panel that people think she comes of cold because her images are 'cooler' tones and she rarely shows her face. I can attest to the fact that she is anything but, she is incredibly kind and has such a friendly demeanor. I wish I lived in Nashville so we could be friends :) 

After being on cloud nine from such an incredible panel and meeting two of my favorite bloggers (and finding out they are both even more amazing than I thought!) We hit the pop up shops, you could get your hair and make-up done, but there were of course lines for that, so I did not get the chance.  I hit the fossil booth and got a cute wallet and we submitted our names to be sent a personalized Vaseline Lip Tint Tin.

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5:30-5:50 Soulcycle SessionA deep dive into the success of Elizabeth Cutler and Julia Rice of SoulCycle

Apparently I live in a hole in the ground (nope just Wausau) but I was not aware of what this was. It is said to be “life changing.” Sophia who moderated said that she literally cries every-single-time. What is it you ask? To be honest I am still not sure! All I know is it’s a spin class in a dark room with loud music and candles.

My Key Notes & Takeaways:

  • Have a clear mission
  • Solve a problem
  • There is a position called a “Chief Culture Executive”
  • Make shit happen
  • Ask yourself: Do I have the right to sell you this?

6:00-6:30 Keynote ConversationEmily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere in conversation with Raina Penchansky of Digital Brand Architects.

My Key Notes & Takeaways:

  • Trust your voice
  • Details count
  • Authenticity is key
  • Make it look seamless (it’s not)
  • Have a social media strategy
  • Organically enter personal posts into your blog
  • Don’t be adverse to change, be quick to embrace
  • Have long term business goals
  • Trust your instincts
  • Be patient, determined, and believe in yourself.
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6:30-7:00 Keynote ConversationHillary Kerr and Katherine Power of Clique Media Group interviewed by Create and Cultivate founder Jaclyn Johnson

Katherine Power is more about the business side and spoke more to being a powerful woman and just rocking it. Someone asked if they ever felt like they were treated differently being women rather than men and Katherine said, “No. You just need to focus on being great. If you’re great you’re great and if you’re not you’re not.” Hillary was more light hearted and hilarious. She coined the phase, “Getting bitten to death by a butterfly.” I don’t remember what that was regarding but I loved it, so I wrote it down. She also mentioned “The Secret” (Kelsy mentioned this in Faces of Friday) What you put out into the universe is what will happen. While these two amazing women were speaking I wrote very largely in my notebook #GIRLBOSS.

My Key Notes & Takeaways:

  • Be inclusive and positive
  • Talk like you are talking to a friend
  • Keep up with changes
  • Have strong content
  • Evolve everyday
  • Stick to your core values and know your brand DNA
  • When you are working with a friend know that it is a business first and foremost
  • Business is a game of chess
  • Invest in YOU
  • Hire people who are: Entrepreneurial, efficient, and resourceful.
  • No one cares as much as you do. Let go of worry.
  • Ask for help when it’s going great before you actually need help.
  • There is such thing as raising too much capital

If you couldn’t tell, I absolutely LOVED this conference. It was everything I was hoping it would be. I got to meet and learn from such incredibly talented people. So many people don’t take blogging seriously, they think it’s just a hobby (which it totally can be) but when you love blogging as much as I do, and hope to eventually make it into a career it’s a lot of work! It was worth it just to be surrounded by like-minded people trying to create something and help others in the process. Instead of feeling like competitors surrounded you, you felt completely surrounded by a community. I am a huge fan of women empowering other women (and men), and business owners helping other business owners (or in my case bloggers helping other bloggers) and this was just that. We also walked away with the most AMAZING goody bag ever:

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The wallet is the fossil wallet I bought but the rest (minus the flowers and antlers) were in the goody bags and that wasn't even ALL of it!

Check out some other bloggers/businesses that were in attendance:

Audrey Swanson from Freckles and FigsBlaine Oelschlegel Emilie Tonkin from The Orgasmic Space Anna Cobbs from Fleurdille Ashley Mahoney from Hello Big Idea Kristy from Naturally Classique Ana Echemenda from Ana the Pm Heidi Leigh Ramos from Maker LLC Nikki Clause from AFling Before The Ring Laura Pitcher from The Bucket List Narratives Lindsay and Brittany from Patterns and Pops

most photos via Create & CultivateFacebook Page and Instagram

 

CELEBRATE, LIFESTYLEKasey Taube