Hey y’all! If you follow along on Instagram, you know that I won the Fashion InfluenceHer of the Year award for 2018 through InfluenceHer Collective. This was such a huge honor as it was the first time I’ve won an award! I also love InfluenceHer Collective because they were the first platform I worked with as a blogger/influencer.
As a winner, we were flown out to LA in order to accept the award at HerConference which was this weekend. This was my first time on the west coast, and I was so elated to be able to finally get the chance to come out here! Since I’ve never been, I wanted a full day in LA. I chose a 6am flight and was able to spend all of Friday in LA exploring!
I actually have a “One Day in LA” itinerary post that went live that I’ll link (here)! It’s perfect for anyone who has a long layover or just wants to fly in for a weekend. Now I want to talk about the HerConference related weekend that I had that was SO fun! I met so many amazing people and heard so many great speakers too.
Day 1: Honest Beauty Event
Honest Beauty was one of the sponsors of HerConference this year! For those of you who don’t know, this is a company that was founded by Jessica Alba (who was actually a keynote for this event). They really focus on creating products without harmful chemicals in them which I feel is very important.
The event was from 6:00pm-8:00pm on Friday night and it was a BLAST! I spent the day with Gabby Whiten (@gabbywhiten) who was the Rising Star of the Year, and we ended up going to the event together! We Uber’d (this is a verb now) over after our afternoon in Santa Monica and got there right on time.
The event was at The Honest Company’s headquarters in Los Angeles and it was stunning! Their office is so gorgeous and spacious and the coolest part was that they had little mini-house set up to show off their products. We were allowed to walk through and see which products could be utilized in which areas!
My favorite part was the room where they held the actual event. It had a gorgeous set up! There were subway tiled tables, cacti and succulents everywhere, and the cutest photo op for guests! I was able to take the cutest photos with some fellow blogger ladies (I’ll link to their IG’s below) and try out some Honest Beauty products!
Day 2: HerConference & Award Acceptance
HerConference was the best part of my summer in New York last year, and honestly one of the best experiences of my life. I was so excited for this year to start so I could do it all over again! I wanted to highlight some tips that I learned from the various speakers and sessions that I went to.
The keynote speakers covered everything from how to succeed at sponsored campaigns, to how to start your own brand/company! I felt inspired after every session and wasn’t ready for it to end! I took detailed notes (I’ve been a nerd my whole life it’s fine) so I could recap everything to the best of my abilities.
Keynote: Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba was our first keynote speaker of the day. I honestly couldn’t believe I was front row to see her speak, but yesterday forreal happened! Also she’s somehow even prettier in person. She wore a lilac blazer that made my whole life and I really need to find it now.
Jessica talked about a bunch of different topics, but the most important was about her company, The Honest Company! I have heard of the company before, but hadn’t really known the story behind the company or that it was Jessica’s. After hearing her speak about Honest, I think I might be exclusively using her products from now on!
Jessica founded The Honest company while pregnant with her first child! She wanted products without harmful chemicals and there weren’t any affordable alternatives already on the market. Now The Honest Company has home products, beauty products, diapers, and many more items!
Session 1 – Be Your Own Boss: Young Entrepreneurs make It Happen
This was by FAR my favorite session. Ever since I was younger, I really dreamed of just being my own boss. I wanted to officially be a designer growing up, but definitely changed that plan once I started college. Either way I have wanted to own my own business and am just waiting for the inspiration!
There were four panelists for this session, and I wanted to outline all of the tips they gave on starting their own businesses! When I go through their tips, I’ll list them all out almost like a note page! It’ll make it easier to read. I also wanted to highlight the companies these power women worked started as well!
Jenna Kerner – HarperWilde
“When she realized she wasn’t the only woman walking around with a 5-year-old underwire poking her in the side, Jenna saw an unmet need in the market: quality intimates that were easy to find and shop for, without breaking the bank.”
Kat Vorotova – Ettitude
“Vorotova is the President of Ettitude, a direct-to-consumer home goods company redefining sleep comfort with innovative eco-textiles. Ettitude produces the world’s first organic bamboo lyocell bedsheets, sleepwear, and bath essentials which are silky soft.”
Rae Emard – Athent
“After experiencing the the problem of financial literacy in athletics first hand she became obsessed with the problem. When she went t professional organizations with proposals and case studies with no response she realized she had to sold the problem herself.”
Maggie Conners – Besito
“Maggie Connors is the Founder & CEO of Besito, the most beautiful cannabis vaporizer company. She was a cannabis investor before starting Besito. She is passionate about design and creating an inclusive cannabis industry.”
Their Biggest Tips:
- Organic Traction is key when first starting out. Word of mouth is the main way you can gain traction when first starting a business.
- Have a message that resonates with people and other brands. This can create future partnerships.
- When trying to first get customers, some easy ways to do so include: email loops, micro-influencers, referring friends, etc.
- At first, be careful who you show your products to. You don’t want to give everything away! Always remember: someone can steal your idea, but they can’t steal you.
- If you have multiple ideas, be sure to test various ideas and then choose which one gets the most traction.
- A great idea to get funding is by having in-person meetings with vendors.
- When trying to find places to manufacture products, go down the list of possibilites and see which matches the most of what you need.
How to Get Seed Money:
- Build relationships and ask friends, family, college peers, etc.
- Explain why you’re the right person to invest in.
- Test out data and prototypes to prove that the data is there. This will help get investors excited about you and your product.
- Use Angel for crowdfunding.
- Make sure you know why you need the money! If you’re asking for money and don’t know what it will go toward, people are less likely to invest.
- Women: DON’T LOSE YOUR POWER. This is very important as a lot of investors are men. One tip that was given was make it seem as if it was the man’s idea.
- Be sure to always keep your options open, but don’t take everything that comes immediately.
- Be clear about what milestone you’re getting to.
Session 2 – Insiders Spill: What is a Career in Marketing + PR Really Like
This was another panel that I was excited about. I have a minor in Marketing and I think that’s a direction I want my career to head in the future. I got to sit front row to hear four amazing women talk about their careers in Marketing! They work at different companies or various sizes and gave the best advice ever.
For this section of my blog post, I wanted to list out each speaker and where they worked! That way you can know that their tips can potentially set you up to get a job at one of their companies as well. They work at companies anywhere from a Apple to Tinder!
Addison Culler – Tinder (Marketing + Events Manager)
Her Day to Day:
- Activations on campuses
- Boxing and designing swag
- Going to campuses to talk to students
- Learn what your cross-functional partners do
- Understand timelines and various steps of production
- Always treat everyone with respect – know you’ll leave a good impression
- It’s hard to get and hold consumer attention – have to make sure what you’re doing will stand out.
Favorite Part: Seeing how individual contributors help Tinder to grow.
Favorite Campaign: Swipe off competition where schools competed to win a contest with Cardi B
Shannon Traux – GoDaddy (Brand Social)
Her Day to Day:
- See what’s happening with customers online
- Video calls/meetings
- Talk about successful campaigns and unsuccessful ones
- Be a strong collaborator (emphasize teams)
- have compassion – if you have different goals than another team, be kind about why their idea was not chosen
- Perception is very important
- Don’t look at everything as a transaction
- Social is the first and last stop in marketing – take risks but be careful
Favorite part: talking to entrepreneurs even ones that aren’t clients
Biggest lesson she’s learned: Don’t be so hard on yourself – do what’s right for you
Suzette Martinez – Shandwick (Media Realtions)
Her Day to Day:
- Media Relations – speaking with media and looking at the media landscape
- Keep a pulse on the news and see how it impacts clients
- Communicate to clients when new drugs are on the market
- Counseling clients on media and reporters
- Try to be intentional
- Stay open minded
- Remain collaborative – all teams have one common goal
- When starting a new job, research the people you’ll be working closely with
- Sign up for media newsletter to stay up to date on current events in the industry
Favorite part: Working with Autism Awareness and getting to call companies in other countries to “light it up blue” for awareness.
Hardest lesson: As you go from week to week, you’re always growing and learning new things
Tara Pettus – Apple (Global Media Partnerships)
Her Day to Day: (Couldn’t really say because Apple is very secretive)
- Always listen when dealing with various teams
- Understand the message behind your brand
- Find a job you’re excited to go to and challenged at
- Someone is always watching – watch what you post online
- A good way to stand out at a large corporation is giving every project your all
- Watch water cooler talk – don’t engage because it can get around easily
Favorite part: Seeing all of the Apple locations around the world and getting to travel to them
Session 3 – What Brands Want: How to Succeed at Sponsored Campaigns
My last session of the day was with a panel that discussed how to succeed at sponsored posts! This is one thing many bloggers REALLY want tips on and these tips were from actual brand reps! This is one section you should definitely read if you’ve been looking for tips yourself.
Tips on Getting Sponsored Posts:
- “Stalk” people on social media – this just means use any mens possible to find a contact at a brand (please do not go to their home)
- Use the right tags – most brands have tags for their specific brands! Use these tags to attract the brand straight to your posts
- Brands go through the comments of other influencers – engaging foes not just help you get page views, it helps brands find you!
- Use cold outreach – reach out to the brand! It can’t hurt to LITERALLY put yourself in front of their face
- Some brands look for specific thresholds – reach out to these brands even if you’re under what they’re looking for! You might have an amazing feed and they’ll choose to work with you anyway
- To find opportunities – look at their contact page on their website
- It’s not always about the aesthetic – it’s about the connection you have with your followers (presets are not everything!!!)
- Leverage audience quality – even if you have 2,000 followers, if you can convert 200 to buy when someone with 200K can only convert 20, you are a cash cow to a brand!
- Bios are important!!!!!!
- Don’t send cold, staged emails
- Send along content examples when pitching a brand
- Brands don’t like when your entire feed is sponsored content
- Resilience and persistence is key
What are Brands Looking For:
- Audience demographics
- Have you reached out to them before?
- Have you tagged the brand/used their products before?
- Engagement is huge to them NOT just follower count (which made me happy to hear)
- Types of content are important – bring a skill/something important (i.e. are you good at explaining skincare? Do you do before and afters? Are you an MUA?)
- Other brands you have worked with – to see what types of content you create
- BEING GENUINE AND AUTHENTIC – I actually have a blog post about “Why Authenticity as a Content Creator is important. Read it (here).
- That you have used their products before (and like them!!!)
- Be creative – pitch and create unique posts
- SPELLING THE BRAND’S NAME CORRECTLY
- Professionalism in emails
What Makes you Stand Out: Having an original pitch to a brand that they haven’t heard before!
I wanted to end this post by thanking ALL OF YOU!! The reason I was able to go to HerConference again was because of your votes and your support of me! If you voted for me to win Fashion InfluenceHer of the Year, you helped this all to happen! My treat to you is passing on all of the knowledge that I gained during this past weekend!
I had such an amazing time primping and traveling across the country for the first time. I wanted to link all of my outfits from the weekend too because everyone seemed to LOVE them. I’ll also link the curling wand that I used for my hair from Friday-Sunday (fun fact: I’ve had it for years and it’s like $17).
Curling WandSanta Monica
This little green jumpsuit is from The Mint Julep Boutique and YALL. I have never loved a color so much. See how tan I look? That’s that Disney farmer tan coming in strong, but this jumpsuit makes it look like a glow! I cannot say enough good things about this outfit. P.S. My little sandals are Steve Madden dupes from Amazon that are under $25!
For receiving my first ever award for blogging, I really wanted to wear something that was as “me” as it could get! I also wanted to prove that I deserved the title of “Fashion InfluenceHer of the Year.” This dress is one that Chicwish gifted me and I love it so much! I adore pleated skirts more than anything and y’all know I love ruffles.
For the Honest Beauty event, I really wanted to go with my signature colors…pink! This is such a light blush pink that it looked amazing with all of the Instagram moments throughout the showroom/office. Everyone COULD NOT believe that it was LESS THAN $30!!! Yes you read that correctly. I have Amazon to thank for this lovely dress!
We did have three other keynotes of the day; however, they were mostly about the journeys of the speakers! We heard Bethany Mota (I binged her clothing hauls like it was nobodies business in high school), Gabi Gregg, and Stassi Schroeder. Although hearing all of them speak was great, I really wanted to focus this blog post on tips to help you guys!
I hope that this post helped you to become more inspired to pursue your dream career or become an entrepreneur yourself! These women were so inspiring to me and I can’t believe I was able to go to HerConference again. It’s truly an amazing experience! I also wanted to thank ALL OF YOU for your continued support of my blog.
You guys are the reason I was able to win this award and your votes pushed me over the top! I hope to keep creating amazing content for you guys and I hope you’ll keep reading in the future. If you want more career tips, I actually have some blog posts of my own on that too! Read them below:
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