Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Alt Summit Recap Part 2: With Gratitude

Photos by Sarah Deragon
The first time I attended Alt in January of 2013 I didn't know what to expect. I had been blogging for a few years as a contributor but hadn't really connected with the blogging community outside of people I met as part designing for ZR. I knew some local bloggers, knew they worked really hard, but I had no idea the business savvy, creativity, and all around ass kicking that we bloggers do daily. I quickly learned that this is a serious business and as a community we want all of us to tell our stories and be super successful doing so.

I am a Mom. A Wife. A Fine Artist. A Fashion Designer. A Psychotherapist. A Stylist. A Photographer and a lot of fun. Being a part of this world of creative, brilliant, and very brave women, is really the only place that I have felt I can be all of these things equally. We can be as many things as we want. They can change or stay the same. Being at Alt instills this feeling in me each and every time. It is a POWERFUL thing to be surrounded by women who are smart, strong, brave, and beautiful. All of that is being a woman.

I feel so fortunate to have met so many incredible women this time around along with seeing a few old friends. To all of you who said hello, reached out, and took a chance, I want to say thank you. I really do have love in my heart for you.

From Tuesday - Thursday, here are the deets!


Photos by Justin Hackworth
The week started with a bang thanks to Tiny Prints!  Maria and Julie can throw one hell of a party, not to mention Audrey of French Knot Studios, who provided some serious styling! I learned a thing or two from you lady! Thanks so much to Tiny Prints for the beautiful food and goody bag filled to the brim with inspiration. Getting to meet Maria and Julie from Tiny Prints was so lovely. Tiny Prints has been a part of our lives since my daughter's baby shower nearly 4 years ago, when we ordered the sweetest little invitations from them. Dinner with Tiny Prints was the perfect way to start the conference.


Photos by Sarah Deragon and Justin Hackworth
Okay Wednesday was kind of a big deal. Not only were there incredible classes and speakers, but Sarah and I were on that afternoon with our Instagram Design Camp.  First up Tuesday was Keynote speaker Joy Cho of Oh Joy! Joy is an incredibly accomplished designer and has just launched a very successful party and entertaining line with Target. Her sense of style is iconic and her resume is about as impressive as it gets. What stood out to me about Joy's speech was her love of learning and trying new things. She never seems to let anything get in her way. She approached many if not all of the companies she started working for in the beginning and reached out to people she admired when she wanted to learn a new skill. Joy really hit it home for me when she said that work/life balance is not a balance, but a "juggle." Finally!  Thanks Joy, I'm throwing balance right out the window. Juggling is a lot more like it. Thanks to Sherwin Williams for bringing us a little Wednesday morning Joy!

Next up was Brands and Bloggers Working Together. This was a great panel and I especially loved listening to the dynamic Trisha Antonsen of Wayfair. We had met just the night before and oh my gosh is she funny! The big take away for me from this class was to embrace your job as an art director. Be clear about expectations for an advertising campaign and just friggin own it.

After lunch I headed over to MBA's Turned Bloggers & The Business of Blogging. Reachel Bagley of Cardigan Empire who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Tiny Prints dinner, gave a business school based presentation on your target market and finding your niche. Reachel started the class off with talking about how our brands get broken into tiny shards and our job is to remain recognizable even when someone picks up a tiny piece of glass from the bottle of our brand. Genius! I really enjoyed this class and picked up a ton of tips like, what you do not say about your brand is just as important as what you choose to say. Whoa. That one is still sinking in!

Design Camp: Sarah and I had a blast presenting our How to Build Your Business on Instagram Design Camp. We were totally blown away by the warm reception and loved the questions and comments from our students. We LOVE teaching and getting to do it together at Alt was a dream come true. More to come in a special post all about our class on Friday...

Wednesday night's city themed part was like Alt reached inside my head and guessed that at every moment I am thinking about break dancing! That's right folks, Wednesday night was filled with not only break dancing, but a little thing I like to call old school jams. Montell Jordan, check! That's all you need to know!


Photos by Sarah Deragon
Thursday morning I attended Essential Techniques for Making a Video with Jesse & Kimberly Moore. Admittingly I know nothing when it comes to video. I have never shot one, but I am on board with the idea that it is the next big thing and essential to having a powerful brand. I walked away with enough basic tips to feel like I could give it a go behind the camera. My favorite tip, which I am totally using for photo styling by the way, is to use foam core as a clean wall backdrop for video background. So smart! Also this class made me really want to get a slider.

Next up was Pitching and Partnering with Brands with Meg and Maddie of A Practical Wedding. I love these ladies and their presentation did not disappoint. This class was all about crunching the numbers of sponsored posts and I loved that Meg and Maddie brought the facts. Sometimes it is really helpful to see the numbers and stop wondering if you are ready to pitch to big brands. I appreciated that Meg and Maddie emphasized that it's all about quality of the engagement and not the quantity.

Okay, it's Martha time. More on this Wednesday, but for now, just know it was magic. She is a bad ass boss lady for sure. Hearing her speak was a big life event for me for sure. She's smart, quick, and funny as hell. Thanks to Bing for bringing Martha to us!

Pinterest Time! This class was my favorite and I can't stop talking about it. Alex Evjen of Ave Styles and Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte dropped some serious science all over my Pinterest game. There was so much that I didn't know and a lot that I was doing wrong. I LOVE having room for improvement and after a nice post class conversation with Alex, I'm super hopeful about expanding my Pinterest influence. Look for big changes people! My favorite takeaway? People pin to PLAN + DREAM. So important to remember in every aspect of becoming a pinning expert. Also, being a pinfluencer is like being a visual DJ. Yes to that!

Thursday Night Garden Party:

Photos by Sarah Deragon
The weather was perfect. The food delicious and the company spectacular. When Alt throws a party they do it right! It was a stellar ending to a perfect week. I am so grateful to Sara and Gabrielle for such a fantastic conference. I definitely have some serious post Alt glow and I am hoping it lasts until the next one!

What were your favorite moments?



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