Attend my first fashion blogging conference — check!
Almost two weeks ago, I went to the 2014 Simply Stylist Fashion & Beauty Conference at The Grove in Los Angeles. I won’t lie, I was crazy nervous. I had no idea what expect, I didn’t know what to wear, and I was afraid that because I was going alone, I’d be the outcast coming from another city. No matter how much reassurance I got from friends, I couldn’t shake my fears, but I mustered up my courage, donned my heels and walked into what quickly became one of the most memorable days I’ve ever had.
My day began with the VIP Networking Brunch at The Fat Cow. While waiting in line, I decided to break the ice and introduce myself to the girl in front of me. Turned out, she was one of the hosts: Allison McNamara from POPSUGAR! From there, my nerves eased and it was one new friendship after another.
Simply Stylist founder Sarah Boyd greeted and spoke to attendees just as the food started coming to the tables. She told the story of how she started Simply Stylist to bring together like-minded women to learn from and inspire one other — with no mean girls allowed! She went on to explain that the fashion industry has room for every blogger, regardless of how new or established they are, and that there is no reason to “compete” with one another. This was incredibly reassuring and inspiring to hear, and it really set the tone for the rest of the day.
The VIP brunch was sponsored by Barneys New York, so naturally Tomoko Ogura, Fashion Director at Barneys New York, was there to also say a few words. She also answered the burning question we all had: what was inside everyone’s Barney’s gift box?? Cue jaw-drops: inside was a $200 gift card!
After the brunch, we all headed into an auditorium for the Panel portion of the day. The first keynote speaker was YouTube personality Brandi Cyrus. The second panel included Experts & Entrepruners: Raissa Gerona of Lovers + Friends, Sunni Spencer of ENKVegas, and Alexis Wolfer of TheBeautyBean.com. Taken from Simply Stylist’s own recap, here are notable quotations from these inspiring ladies:
Alexis: “Female entrepreneurs think they have to do it all. But it’s more important to find out what you’re good at and what you like to do, then surround yourself with people you trust who you can outsource to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Raissa: “It’s not about how many hours you work, it’s about working smart. Focus on what you’re good at and let go of certain things that you can let others handle.”
Sunni: “You have to surround yourself with a team you can trust.”
For the blogger panel (the whole reason I was there!), Chriselle Lim from The Chriselle Factor, Shea Marie from Peace Love Shea, and YouTube Vlogger Evelina Barry spoke. They stressed how important it is to network with fellow bloggers and others in the industry.
Chriselle: “If you want to succeed, know that you have to give 200% in the beginning… It’s okay to say no [to attending every event]. Prioritize -– and when you do choose something, be there and be present.”
The fourth panel was all about styling and celebrity stylists Tara Swennen and Anita Patrickson, and celebrity makeup artist Lauren Andersen were the speakers. I was thrilled to hear Tara speak the most, as she has styled many of my favorite red carpet looks (um, hello Kristen Stewart in this Chanel number!).
Tara: “Nothing happens overnight. I’ve been in the business for 15 years and I still go out and network, make sure my face is out there. Yes you have to have good taste, but you also have to hustle and be willing to do the grunt work. Stylist is a hard job and you have to sacrifice a lot, but it’s so rewarding if you do it right. Stay humble!”
Lauren: “Don’t give up. Do something every day that furthers your career, whether it’s flipping through magazines for inspiration, introducing yourself to photographers or other makeup artists.”
Anita: “It’s gonna be fine. You’re gonna be okay. Push past the point where you want to give up, that’s when you’ll make it.”
The fifth and final panel was an interview with Cat Sadler of E! News. She was incredibly amazing and wrapped up the panels nicely with these two inspiring quotes:
“When you walk in the room and know how everyone’s job is done and respect them for that… it’s an art.”
“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.”
Here are a few other snaps from the day, mostly from my Instagram.
Chriselle and I grew up in the same hometown but went to rival high schools and graduated the same year. Small world!
Barneys gave all panel attendees a key. Four keys out of the whole bunch unlocked a box with a surprise inside (like a Balenciaga or Saint Laurant bag or a pair of Gianvito Rossi boots). Sadly, my key opened none of the boxes. :(
The VIP gift bag! (Photo by Rochelle Brodin/Getty Images for Simply Stylist 2014)
I almost lasted the whole day in my heels. Almost.