If you follow us on Instagram or SnapChat (@c2s_molitor), you know we were recently in Dallas, TX for the Create & Cultivate blogger conference. After deciding to go to the conference, we decided to extend our trip and made a vacation out of it and had the. best. time. It was our first time together away from out little man, which was long overdue. After the conference we headed south to Austin with a pit stop in Waco to of course check out Magnolia Market.
Create & Cultivate was so great. There hasn’t been a day go by since I haven’t felt inspired and empowered from it. Here’s a little recap. Check it out…
Create +Cultivate is based out of Los Angeles but does conferences around the US year round and brings attendees from all over the US. The next city for their upcoming conference will be announced on February 15th, so if this sounds like something up your alley, make sure to check out if they’re coming your way.
Create & Cultivate is a creative conference catered to female entrepreneurs (but men are welcome to go too) that seeks to inspire and educate in the digital space.
This conference is not your typical conference. The ambiance and decor was to die for. They also had beauty bars where you can stop in and get your hair or makeup touched up anytime, beyond adorable pop up shops, juice bars, macaroon galore, photo booths, you name it. If you didn’t feel like sitting and listening to a panel the entire time, there was more than enough to do around the space or to just sit and kickback.
The Dallas conference was sold out with more than 350 attendees. It was so cool to meet some of my favorite bloggers and hear a number of successful entrepreneurs talk about the power of influencers. Some of my favorites were Mary from Happily Grey and Cara Loren. I also loved hearing Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power of Clique Media Group, their motivation and how they got to where they are now and how much further they are going to go is so inspiring.
“If you want something, go get it, no excuses.”
Hearing from all of these women and men about how they got started to where they are at now is a great reminder that anyone can do anything with determination and perseverance. And most importantly, being ok with failing and hearing no. It was such an empowering experience to be a part of!
panels + speakers
The conference divided all of the attendees into two different tracks. Last minute my friend Katie Greenman decided to join me. I just recently met Katie through a friend and she has been such an inspiration. She is one bad ass chick. She started her own restaurant, Spill the Wine, in Minneapolis and has since started on new entrepreneurial journeys; one of which is assisting her soon to be hubby on his home remodeling business, JKath Design + Build.
We had such a wonderful day enjoying the sunshine and getting to know one another even more. And lucky for us, we both got paired on the same track.
The day started off with breakfast with Bebe, coffee with Hermanos, mixing and mingling. Can this sign with the fresh flowers get any cuter?!
1. Photo Hacks: Workshop diving into the ins and outs of getting the perfect shot.
Sugar and Cloth is a DIY inspired living blogger I adore. I so admire the way she executes her brand and photography, so it was cool to listen to her story firsthand and how she gets her great images. Did you know she was going to school for graphic design and then right before she graduated she just quit because she knew she had learned all she needed to? No degree, job, nothing, she thought her parents were going to kill her. She knew there was something out there bigger and better so she stayed true to her heart and passion and started her DIY blog while waiting tables. I never knew that story behind her.
Sophia Macks and Matt Crump also have remarkable imagery. They are both very artistic and have a great eye for color and design. All three of these bloggers have Instagram accounts to get you inspired.
A few take takeaways from this panel that I have started to incorporate since the conference is…
- Using all of your hashtags for the third comment so your account doesn’t look spammy and gets buried immediately.
- Snapped and PicTapGo apps are great for editing photos.
- Engage with others on social with the same interest as you. And mean it.
- Know your demographic of who you want to engage with.
- Know your 5-10 year plan of the business you are in, your goals, and what it is going to take to achieve it.
2. The Art of the Pitch: How to present, sell and negotiate your big ideas.
Tina Craig from Bag Snob cracked me up. She is a riot! When she was starting out she would email all of these big time bag brands, such as Gucci and Armani, and tell them how much she hated their bags and how impractical they were for her and how they should design them. And now today she is designing bags for big time brands such as those and many, many others. She also has her own line of beauty, home, shoes, makeup, apparel, and so much more.
“If you don’t like something, change it.”
House of Harper is another blogger I admire. Caroline started as a fashion blogger and since has evolved into home, travel, family and baby. She has collaborated with a ton of respectable brands, is a new mom, from the south, and what I thought- and now know is she is incredibly sweet!
I learned a lot of great things from Genevieve Ascencio of Factory PR as well. Genevieve is not a blogger but works on the PR and brand side of the industry. At construction2style, we have been lucky in that we have been approached by brands for work. We’ve been dreaming and waiting to work with some of our dream brands within our niche. Well, Genevieve has since pushed us to not sit back and wait. We have made our list and we’re going after them strong. As she said, “what’s the worst that can happen- they say no?”
This session was also a great reminder to be exclusive on who we want to work with. Don’t just say yes to any brand if it’s in our niche and is giving us a big check. Make sure to really only say yes, if it is a product that has the same values as us. We need to make sure that the product is one we genuinely love and would buy and use. And not only should we love the product, that brand should be able to be aesthetic with our brand and style.
“Being able to tell a story to the brands we aspire to work with is really important”
3. Pushing Boundaries, Not Buttons: Getting creative at your current job.
Brooke Brinkmann of Simon G., Claudia Naim Burt of Framebridge, Alexis Avery Cittadine at Bebe, Nick Stenson of Matrix, Elizabeth Monson of Lou & Grey.
Katie and I were getting our hair and makeup done this panel so we ran a little late. When we did walk in, Nick Stenson of Matrix was saying…”Let’s face it, the new 9-5 is working 24/7.” I couldn’t agree more. When aren’t we working? We are our own brand, regardless of the industry you are in. Which means you are always working.
A few other takeaways I took from this session were to make sure you are always in there and getting your hands dirty with your team, despite how high up you are. Alexis from Bebe said she is always rolling up her sleeves and she is right there with her team when the going gets tough.
From a business perspective always make sure you know your audience, who you are trying to target, your goals with a plan in advance and understand how much time and commitment necessary it will take to get there.
“When you are speaking and working with a business minded brand you have to go in with a clear focus”
4. Mentor Session
After panel three we had an hour lunch break and time to connect, mix, mingle, take lots of photos and check out the space. We then broke out into mentor sessions. I was mentored by Melissa Lawson of Who What Wear and Devon Rachel.
Devon is a blogger I have been following for awhile and just love. It was so wonderful to be able to sit with her in a small group and dive in with questions and take it all in and really get to know her personally and listen firsthand on her success.
5. Brand Vibes: How to create a brand that lives beyond the blog bubble
Brand Vibes was chatted about by Camille Styles, Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam, Lauyryn Everts of The Skinny Confidential, Mary Seng of Happily Grey, and Sophia Rivka Rossi of Hello Giggles.
I really liked this panel. Probably because I knew 3 of the 5 speakers. I follow all these lovely ladies Instagram accounts- Mary from Happily Grey, Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential, and Julia Engel from Gal Meets Glam. All of the 5 speakers had great advice but what I really took home was:
- Know your brand DNA & channel it.
- Consistency is key!
- Whenever inspired, jot it down, take notes. It might be your blog post a year from now.
- Pay attention to your Google analytics. What works, what doesn’t. Whatever is working, make more posts like it. Learn from your analytics.
- Be yourself! Don’t try to be like or talk like anyone else. Write how you talk. Your tribe will find you.
There was a lot of great things I learned from all of the following keynote speakers. The keynotes consisted of:
- A deep dive into the success of Elizabeth Culter and Julie Rice of SoulCycle
- Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere
- Hillary Kerr & Katherine Power of Clique Media Group
Do you guys follow Cupcakes and Cashmere? I have loved on her for awhile. So it was a dream come true to listen to Emily chat one on one with Raina Penchansky of Digital Brand Architects. This lady is such an inspiration. One thing she said that really made me laugh was that, when she first started blogging, she would write online and use words she wouldn’t typically use. She goes, “I started saying, thanks babe!…I never say babe, why am I saying that?!” Haha! It made me laugh because I have definitely found myself in situations where people have actually told me the way I write isn’t “professional.” Well…I’m not that professional. If you know me- I’m pretty laid back and as my mom always says… I like to talk to the extreme! hehe. I’m a creative, I’m passionate is my comeback to my mom. (love you Mom!)
“It’s important as a blogger to write the same way you would talk.”
Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power were interviewed by the founder of Create & Cultivate, Jaclyn Johnson which was pretty cool as well.
By the time the keynote speakers started I think I was on information overload. All of these ladies followed the same tips which has ultimately led them to their success. Know what your consumer ultimately wants from you. Inspiration? Product? Guides? Tutorials? Places to buy? This is something that I have now taped onto our computer. If I start my post and it doesn’t ultimately give something to my consumer (you guys reading right now), then why am I taking valuable time writing it?
“If you’re passionate about something, you will develop a very strong work ethic.”
These wonderful ladies really honed in that even though patience is key to make sure to find that hole in the market and if you see it, jump, and work your ass off. As a business owner you need to do something everyday to continue to evolve.
“Sometimes success can come from not knowing a whole lot and trying out new ideas“
The night ended with happy hour and the most insane gift bag I have ever received. It was such a great night to be surrounded by some of the best influencers in the US. We celebrated with cocktails and fun!
- On Instagram use your hashtags as the third comment to avoid looking spammy, in which gets buried immediately.
- Evolve every single day. Do something, even small, to bring you to your ultimate goal.
- Be yourself- talk like yourself- stay true to your DNA.
- Have clear goals for the next 6 months to 10 years and know what it takes to achieve them. Do something, even little, to learn and evolve everyday.
- Work your ass off!
You can check out more great photos from the Dallas conference, HERE.
And our vacation continued…