In October 2017 I attended the Create + Cultivate Style Summit in Houston, Texas. For those who don’t know Create + Cultivate, you seriously should (especially if you’re into owning your own business one day, i.e. a blog!). This company was founded by a blogger, Jaclyn Johnson, and its main purpose is to inspire women to cultivate the career of their dreams, whatever that may be. Its appeal stems from its contagious energy. Create + Cultivate is actually branded as a movement rather than a company – and a movement that travels across the United States to empower women. What’s cooler than that?
Once I found out that this movement was coming to my hometown and backyard of Houston, I knew I had to go. My mom and I have actually been following these conferences since last December when we hoped to go to the May 2017 gathering in NYC. That trip didn’t go through for several reasons: expenses, I started a new job, May is just a crazy busy month, etc. Houston was definitely doable, though, and my mom and I liked the donation policy – to attend the conference, you had to make a donation for Hurricane Harvey victims.
The branding of this particular conference as a Style Summit was also interesting to me. Most of their gatherings are broadly focused on entrepreneurship, social media, branding, what have you, but this one was especially aligned for women in fashion!
The conference included several panels of women in fashion and a keynote speaker, Sophia Bush. Any other One Tree Hill fans out there?? (This was clearly a special moment for me!) I loved hearing from Jessi Afshin, Amy Jackson, Candace Hampton and Courtney Kerr on the blogger side – they were all so real and honestly hilarious. When asked about Instagram likes, Candace explained that she gets more “likes” on pictures of her food than her actual outfits, so I guess we all know how the masses actually feel!
I pulled together a few key takeaways I gathered from this event because it changed my perspective on what I do as a blogger and woman in the workplace. Here’s what I got!
- Consistency is key. Post consistently, have a consistent style, be consistent.
- Build trust with your readers. Do what you say you’re going to do and don’t promote products or clothes you wouldn’t actually wear.
- Be YOU. Have your own voice – people are here for YOU, not necessarily what you wear or post about (crazy, I know)! Embrace uniqueness!
- It’s okay to start small and, sometimes, work for free or for trades (i.e. one Instagram post for a free top, etc.).
- But… know your worth. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better deal or for more pay out of collaborations.
- Focus on driving traffic to your website. This is the only thing we bloggers actually own – Instagram, rewardStyle, Facebook, etc. could all be gone at a moment’s notice.
- Utilize apps to organize your feed. I like UNUM and have heard good things about Planoly.
- The best time to post is between 8am-12pm (this could be up for debate, but it seemed like a popular opinion!).
- Curate content to match your brand.
- Create short and long-term goals for yourself and for your career.
- Develop a work schedule (this is v. important for anyone who works from home) and stick to it. Don’t work outside of your work hours!
- Focus on collaboration over competition. There’s enough room for everyone and we all do a better job when we have supportive people around us!
- Curiosity and gratitude are key in career growth.