Nancy: During the weekend of November 15-16, Bolu and I hopped on the Greyhound to attend the annual Spark Sessions 2014 Beauty and Fashion Bloggers Conference in Toronto. The conference is organized by a lovely group of leading ladies in the Canadian fashion and beauty blogosphere. Over 250 bloggers attended the two-day event to participate in workshops on topics like "Media Kit 101", to network with sponsors, and to meet new friends (and some old ones!).
This being our first ever conference, Bolu and I had no idea what to expect on... well, anything really. We weren't sure what to wear (Californian chic in the middle of a Canadian November? I like to live thank you.), or what to bring. Lots of research and discussions later, we narrowed it down to these key points that ended up being very useful.
- Business cards - If there's anything you take away from this post, it's that business cards are extremely important items to carry around with you at all time during the conference! At Spark Sessions, almost every blogger brought dozens of business cards and the ones that didn't certainly wished they had. It's much easier and more professional to pass around your card rather than writing down your blog title and twitter handle on a napkin. Trust me. Start developing your business card two months ahead of the conference date so that you can spend the time necessary to create a card that reflects the essence of your blog -- And the more time you give, the cheaper printing costs will be (so you can spend the extra cash on quality paper).
- Elevator Pitch - What are you planning to say? How will you introduce yourself and describe your blog? What are you hoping people will take away after listening to your introduction? It is important to take the time to think and figure out what your end goal is from attending the conference. For example, if it's to network with a particular brand, tailoring your elevator pitch to that specific brand's needs will help them remember you better. Practice your pitch a few times so that you become confident (nothing is awkward until YOU make it awkward).
- Brand Research - Spark Sessions Conference had fantastic brands such as Benefit Cosmetics, Nivea, and Verlico present as sponsors. Most of the sponsors will be announced ahead of time. Doing some research on the brands will help you decide which brands you'd like to work with and how they've worked with bloggers in the past.
- Comfy shoes - Unless you've got bunions of steel, comfy stylish shoes are a must. Even though you'll be seated most of the time during workshops, there's a lot of time spent standing or checking out the sponsor booths during lunch or networking hours. Bolu and I both chose to wear tall wedge boots.
Our Day 1 outfits. Even though Toronto is not as chilly as Ottawa, I am the ultimate wimp when it comes to East Coast weather. I decided to play it safe by layering a sweater dress under my high waisted lace pencil skirt for extra warmth. I finished the look off with a thrifted gold jewelry belt. Bolu wore an all black outfit (I think I've converted her), which gave her the perfect opportunity to wear this fabulous Nastygal cape blazer.
There were many workshops taking place in those two days and the speakers invited were very helpful and inspiring. Bolu and I took a ton of notes on useful tips and things to consider. Spark Sessions puts together a series of workshops during the year and based from our attendance at this conference, we'd definitely recommend attending their workshops!
On our second day, one of our workshops ended early and we decided to visit the Benefit InstaBrow area, where makeup artists were giving bloggers an instant eyelift. Check out Bolu's fierce brows! (I may have gazed at them a tad too dreamily for the rest of the day).
Our second day outfits: I opted for a relaxed black and white look while Bolu's outfit represented the "whimsical" aspect of our blog to a T. See this zebra print dress styled another way here.
Over all, we loved our first experience with Spark Sessions and are definitely interested in attending again next year. We made some new friends and discovered a host of cool Canadian blogs to check out. We also left with massive swag bags that are really hidden arm workouts. So now we're smarter and stronger. #ThisIsHowItsDone
Till next time!