I was lucky enough to attend Create + Cultivate in Los Angeles a couple of weekends ago, and I wanted to give you all the inside scoop on my weekend full of digital marketing tips & tricks, inspiration and affirmation that I am in the industry that I am meant to be in, and endless doses of female empowerment!
First of all, the key to a successful day is bottomless coffee and a delicious breakfast, and the beautiful venue was equipped with both!
Both the Chia Chia Parfait and Filled Doughnuts were just a few of the offerings from the beautiful spread provided by Patina Group.
And of course, Alfred Coffee provided us with caffeine and endless Instagram opportunities!
After we were thoroughly fueled, the day kicked off with back to back panels. The first, The Future of Fashion: Trends, Tech & Bridging Online and Off, was a panel of successful women including Nicolette Mason, Hilary Sloan of ShopStyle, Tricia Franklin, and Clare Vivier. While fashion focused, it was inspiring to hear how they all got their starts, or in some cases, start overs. One of the key takeaways from this was the power of social media to the success of all of their careers and the importance of emphasizing that content isn’t about selling products, it’s about telling a story and creating brand awareness and trust among your audience.
The next, Fresh Faced: An Unfiltered Look at the Business of Beauty, provided an in-depth look into the start of Olive & June, beGlammed, and more! One of the most tweeted moments came from blogger and YouTuber Eveline Cartasova: “Real is the new way. People want authentic content, not just lattes on marble.” This may seem obvious, but it was very comforting to hear from a popular digital influencer. Social media is saturated with lattes and photos of the like, and sometimes, you feel like you have to give in for the ‘likes.’
Next, my favorite part of the day: LUNCH! Sweetgreen provided the salads and the Kale Caesar I chose was packed with fresh ingredients and the perfect mid-day indulgence…with more coffee, of course.
After lunch, we had our mentor sessions. This provided us a chance to connect with two panelists in a smaller group setting for around a half an hour each. I chose Erin Condren and Promise Tangeman. In my first panel, we got to hear Erin Condren’s story, her choice to give away 50% of the company in order to secure an invaluable business partner, her difficult beginning, working out of her home, raising a family, putting her own name on her brand, and how she got to where she is today. I am a longtime Life Planner owner, so it was great to meet the woman behind the product that I have relied on so long to keep me organized and on my way to success. Speaking of, they are announcing the new Life Planners on June 1st, so mark your calendars! My second mentor session was with the founder of Go Live, a team of lady bosses providing you with several resources to get your website up, running, and kicking ass! You can DIY-It, attend a workshop, hire them, or collaborate to create a completely custom brand and site. Promise was really cool to talk to, and I was with a quiet group, so she got to tell lengthy stories and answer a lot of our (my) questions. It was awesome to see someone so young and driven to create this safe space for women wanting to further their brand and not really knowing how to start. She is full of energy and has every quality that requires more bravery than I possess. For example, she mentioned that she would love to see Go Live progress to being its own entity and successful without her direct involvement in the long-term, so she can have the freedom to pursue another creative project. She isn’t giving in to the norm of sticking with one business or creative outlet her whole life. Another key takeaway: She has learned invaluable lessons from her business coach whom she speaks to a few times throughout the year.
After our mentor sessions, we attended two more panels. The first was presented by Maker Studios. Video Pros: Harnessing the Power of Digital platforms to Build Your Brand featured Chriselle Lim, Alisha Marie, and Teni Panosian. I wish that the line of questioning focused more on their business development rather than their starts, because their journey and success that they have found is pretty mind-blowing considering the amount of fashion/beauty/etc. personalities on YouTube. It was interesting to, though, to see their approaches to their day to day routines, video production, and success. Lim has a team of 8 for her videos, while the moderator made fun of Teni for not outsourcing any of her production duties, unless it’s to her boyfriend which is still rare. It was clear that their business acumen and personalities are what set their videos apart from the rest.
The next, Blog Powerhouses: The #BossLadies Slaying the Content Game featured Taylor Sterling of The Glitter Guide, Andy Torres of Style Scrapbook, Sonya Esman of Class is Internal, and Christine Andrew of Hello Fashion. It seemed like all of the gals got along very well and that helped the panel turn into more of a conversation between all of them, as opposed to a moderated Q&A. While Christine focuses heavily on analytics of her site, Andy focuses on creating organic and real content, and posts what she wants to post. They all strive for brand relationship longevity, creating unified Instagram feeds, and not spamming their followers with advertorials.
Overall, the experience was nothing short of an amazing and fun day! I just talked about the panels, there was also beautiful decor, a freight elevator full of Pressed Juice and snacks, a beauty room, multiple break rooms to shop in, and so many more little touches from top to bottom that made all of the attendees feel special and welcome. For more on these lovely bonuses and for some more eye candy, visit their photo album from the event.
For more information, visit http://www.createcultivate.com/
P.S. I will be doing another post on the most quotable moments from the keynote speakers, Jessica Alba, Rachel Zoe, and Chelsea Handler, so keep an eye out for that over the weekend.