Monday, March 14, 2011

SXSW and TxSCC Day 3: Inspiring and Informative

On Sunday we got down to the meatiness of the Texas Style Council Conference.
Although there were breakout sessions for learning photography basics and blogging 101, I decided to listen to all the panel discussions.
The keynote address was given at the beginning by Jennine of The Coveted and IFB.
I'll probably write more about my thoughts on what she talked about later, but some of the key points that stood out were:
-Focus on principles and not technology, because technology will change.
- Everything [in terms and marketing/advertising] has changed and everyone [brands, advertisers, marketers] are freaking out. (It's an exciting time!)
- Try doing everything yourself first. You'll learn more and it will empower you when/if you delegate to others.
-Find your heroes, pay attention to them, and take your inspiration from.

The first panel had two ladies (Alessandra and I can't remember the other girl's name :\ ) from Lulu*s, Patty from Charming Charlie, Elisa from BlogHer, and Gretchen, one of the conference's organizers.
The topic: Going Pro: Both Sides of Navigating Sponsorships
I'm nowhere near that point (and don't know if I ever will be) but it was educational to hear about how bloggers can make a living.
Key points:
-Don't undervalue yourself. You have expertise that you can bring to the table. 
-Treat emails to potential sponsors like a job interview.
-Know what you can do for them and what you want from it as well.

Panel 2: Brooke from Fashism, Janette from StoreEnvy, Pamela from Market Publique, Kendra from DBA, Nora from BurdaStyle, and Kelly from The Glamourai.
Topic: Careers: Using your blog as a career and sales springboard
Another fascinating discussion involving women who had used blogging to help launch their careers online either being a professional blogger or by using a blog to help launch online shops and businesses. I'm not normally a Rah! Rah! in-your-face Girl Power! type of person, but it was pretty inspiring to see several women who took chances on things they loved and were passionate about and are now running successful companies. It was also refreshing to see them so eager to want to see everyone else succeed and wanting to build others up. I think it was Pamela from Market Publique who said that she didn't just want to create a place where she could sell her vintage fashions, she wanted to create a place where *anyone* could do it.
Key points:
-Network with those above you. Ask them questions. Learn from them.
-If you have an idea, don't keep it hidden. People cannot help you if they don't know where you are going.
-Take chances. Learn from your mistakes.

It's such a shame that the panels were all running over and had to be cut short, but luckily the discussion is supposed to continue on the Texas Style Council website soon.

Panel 3: Jennine, Katy and Kyla
Topic: Blogging Longevity: Keeping it Fresh Year after Year
The discussion focused mostly upon preventing burnout.
Key points:
- Show up. You might not get everything you wanted done in the time you want, but showing up and making time for blogging part of your routine will keep things manageable.
- Find your passion. Make sure you are moving a direction that will make you happy. You will burn out if you don't love what you do.
- You don't have to do everything. It is ok to say no.
- Have a schedule but don't beat yourself up if you don't stick to it all the time.

Panel 4: Indiana, James, and Jen
Topic: Authenticity & An Audience: Writing well when others are watching
What is authenticity? How do you stay authentic? What do should you share online? What wouldn't you share online? 
These were some of the questions posed during this panel. The most interesting parts, I found, were the discussions about what to share online. Some people are more willing to share things than others, and there are downsides to sharing. You can get hate email and comments. Or creepy mail. Or people running to the store to say hi because you tweeted you were going grocery shopping. I don't think any one answer to "how much to share" will be right for everyone.
And as far as the stories about the hateful comments, well... I've been around the internet long enough to know that
That doesn't mean it doesn't suck to get nasty comments/emails, but trolls be trolling and you just gotta let it roll off your back.

Panel 5 (last one!): Dave from Etsy, Kendi, and Susan founder(!) of ModCloth
Topic: Creating Communities: Deeper Connections both online and offline
 This discussion focused on the intersection between blogs (or your online presence) and your offline relationships. It stressed the importance of community, of being involved with others, going to meet-ups with like-minded people, keeping in touch with your readers, etc.
Key points:
-Use social media to reach out to those who inspire you, but don't force yourself into a media that doesn't feel comfortable. You don't have to be on everything, but you do need to be aware of the avenues that are available to you to help you connect to others.
-We are witnessing and a taking part in an exciting time right now. The economy might suck, but the creativity that is springing forth because of the economic challenges is awesome.

There was also a small bit at the beginning to talk about Style X, and there were hints at the end that maybe there might be more of a partnership between TxSCC and Style X next year!

After the panels I went home to change before heading to the Etsy and BurdaStyle party and fashion show.
There was a crazy puppet show and a performance by Quintron and Ms Pussycat
Then I quickly ran to Ropolo's for a slice of pizza because I had barely eaten all day. While eating it I was amused by this flier

Back to the venue for the fashion show! Unfortunately due to the lighting and where I was, none of my pictures came out very well. :(  I was excited for the show because I met one of the designers, Katie Pray, the night before, and I was eager to see her outfit made of zippers. During the show, I found out it weighs 8 lbs!
Check it out here


  1. This sounds like a great informative day!

    I think where I've been going wrong with blogging is - 'Find your passion. Make sure you are moving a direction that will make you happy. You will burn out if you don't love what you do'

    I'll get there one day!

    Keep up the good work Holly, your blog will just grow and grow x

  2. I wish I could have joined you for the show. Oh well theres always next year!!