So I took off from work for two days last week and attended both IFBCon and LuckyFabb. I’m so glad I did! Not only did I learn a lot listening to so many inspirational panel discussions, but I also had the opportunity to meet lots of social media buddies in person for the very first time and make new blogger friends. Both events were also a fantastic opportunity to meet some vendors and marketing folks that Brooklyn Bliss may be able to partner with in the future, which I’m really looking forward to.
I took close to 300 photos over the course of the two days, and I don’t want to slam you with all of them. I’m saving the rest for a special Facebook page album. If you spot yourself in one of my photos, please feel free to tag yourself!
Here’s my recap of the two events, in as an abbreviated summary as possible.
The one thing I’ll never forget from IFBCon is the awesome group of women I met immediately upon arriving. My cab pulled up to the building, and left me out at what I thought was the back of the line, so I joined in. There I met Alicia, Jenn and Metitia and we gabbed away for close to an hour as we waited for IFB to open the doors. Once the doors opened, we were actually the first ones to the door and I then realized I accidentally cut all of them in line! Despite my horrendous lack of etiquette, these girls were the best and I had such a great time hanging out with them at both IFBCon as well as LuckyFABB the next day.
Since we were the first ones in, we got seats in the very front. As a result, my photos for the most part are pretty dope.
Once everyone was in and settled down, IFB’s founder Jennine Jacob gave a quick welcome intro, and then they were onto the first panel.
The first panel was The Future of Digital Fashion, which was sponsored by ShopStyle. It included in the panel:
Moderator: Lauren Drell from Mashable @drelly
Christine Ng, ShopStyle @ShopStyle
Mary Alice Stephenson, Fashion & Beauty Expert @MaryAliceStyle
Scott Lipps, One Management @ScottLipps
Andrea Lavinthal, People.com @AndiLavs
Andrea Derricks, L2 Think Tank @L2ThinkTank
Carla Dunham, Saks Fifth Avenue @Saks
Karen Robinovitz, Digital Brand Architects @therealDBA
YM Ousley, Signature9 @Signature9
I found it pretty interesting listening to this group talk about where they felt the fashion industry was headed in regards to digital advertising. There was a lot of talk about affiliate marketing, brand partnerships, and a variety of other ideas. Many of the panelists I had never heard of before and really made a lasting impression on me. In particular, I now have a total girl crush on Mary Alice Stephenson. She’s da bomb. IFB made it really easy by posting everyone’s twitter tags so it would then be easy to follow all the panelists after the event, which I’m definitely doing now.
The panel after was Getting a Book Deal Q/A with Jenni Radosevich of I Spy DIY. Jenni took the audience through her entire success story, starting from her having started 3 blogs prior to I Spy DIY and from there beginning to pitch magazines to write DIY features. From there it eventually landed her a book deal. As a blogger it really makes you rethink all the possibilities that can come your way just by putting your work out there.
The next panel was the Business of Blogging, which was sponsored by Stipple. Stipple actually looks pretty cool. It’s an affiliate site that actually becomes a way for you to track where the images and content you create wind up being distributed on the internet. Something Rey Flemmings from Stipple taught me that day prior to the panel discussion was Google images allows you to drag and drop one of your images into their search bar, and it will then tell you where on the internet it ended up after you posted it. I’m somewhat afraid to try it, but that’s pretty damn cool when you think of it.
This panel consisted of:
Moderator: Lindsey Calla @SaucyGlossie
Rey Flemings, Stipple @Stipple
Lalena Luba, BCBGMAXAZRIA @BCBGMaxAzria
Carol Han, CA Creative @carolhan
Jessie Artigue, Style & Pepper @styleandpepper
Alicia Lund, Cheetah is the New Black @CheetahisNB
Krystal Bick, This Time Tomorrow @krystalbick
Erin Hiemstra, Apartment 34 @apartment_34
Two of my favorite personal style bloggers, Alicia and Krystal were on this panel. I made a point to introduce myself say hello to both of them after it wrapped up. They were both super sweet and friendly. It was funny, Alicia complimented my pants and mentioned she thought she had the same ones. I verified for her it was true, I had purchased them via an affiliate link on her website. It was a somewhat awkward yet funny moment.
The final panel prior to the keynote was How to Make Friends and Win Readers. The panelists included:
Moderator: Sade Strehlke @icon_concierge
Nicole Warne, Gary Pepper @garypeppergirl
Samantha Lim, Fashion Indie @FashionIndie
Sydney Liann, Daybook Blog @SydneyLiann
Carolyn Hsu, Daily Obsession @tdailyobsession
Kate Arends, Wit & Delight @katearends
Elise Yetton, Pennyweight @pennyweight
While the panel was informative, it was all basically info on using social media to build your brand. A lot of the info I was already aware of, so I didn’t take a whole lot away from it.
For the keynote, Derek Blasberg was interviewed by Coco Rocha . I really enjoyed hearing Derek’s advice to the group, which ultimately was a recurring theme through the two blogger conferences. You have to work really hard to be taken seriously in this business. There are no handouts. Everyone starts with an internship and a crappy first job and the work you produce no matter where you are is what has to speak for you. Considering how young Derek is (in his 30′s, like me!), I was very impressed by how much he’s accomplished in his career so far.
And that was it for IFBCon. I later attended their afterparty and met and mingled with even more bloggers, including Donna, Ashley and Bethany. After all that I was off home to bed only to wake up the next morning at 6 am to attend…
LuckyFABB! LuckyFABB was incredible. I’m so glad I decided to attend. Comparing LuckyFABB to IFBCon, I felt LuckyFABB taught bloggers a lot more about the business end of successful blogging. Considering at my day job I work as an executive, there was a lot covered at this event I felt could even be applied to that business.
The event kicked off with a welcome from Lucky’s Editor in Chief Brandon Holley.
The first panel featured Brandon interviewing Macy’s Chairmen, President and CEO Terry Lundgren. Hearing about how Macy’s plans their Impulse collaborations and how they are marketed was particularly fascinating to me.
The second panel included Lauren Sherman, the Executive Digital Editor at Lucky along with Leah Chernikoff of Fashionista, Annie Georgia Greenburg of Refinery 29 and, wait for it, Leandra Medine of the Man Repeller. This discussion specifically focused on when it’s time to expand your blog and potentially bring on more contributors to generate new content, all without losing your original voice your readers have grown to love.
Leandra made somewhat of a dramatic entrance. Her cab was stuck in traffic, but she managed to join the discussion only a few minutes in much to the audience’s amusement.
The next session was a presentation by Raman Kia, the Executive Director of Digital Strategy at Conde Nast Media Group. He provided with the group a fairly in-depth training on how to analyze your web traffic stats. Most importantly, which stats were most important to keep an eye on, and what advertisers and brands look for. Though I knew much of this information, he provided a lot of tips I wasn’t aware of. For that alone it was worth me attending the event.
Next up was Rachel Zoe!! If there was any fashion industry player I’ve always wanted to hear speak, it’s her. I was beyond excited when Lucky announced she would be the keynote speaker. Besides participating a very inspirational discussion with Brandon on her rise to success, she also announced The Rachel Zoe Project was just signed to a 5th season. She also had Roger, Joey, her parents, Skylar, and her entire entourage at the event. For fans like me it was pretty awesome just to get to see her in person.
The highlight of the entire event for me happened during Rachel’s Q&A session. During her discussion, she showed slides of several of her Fall 2012 looks hitting shelves right now, and while talking about them made mention of several faux fur items in the collection. She dropped the word “faux” a lot. So when it was time for Q&A, my hand shot up immediately, and I was the first person she picked to ask their question. I really wanted to know what drove her decision to design with faux, so I asked. I had assumed it was more of a costs concern than anything else. To my surprise, Rachel answered the question very honestly, but also with care as to not get into the politics of whether or not fur should be acceptable in fashion or not which was totally acceptable to me. She basically said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that she felt she had to do what felt right to her, and for her designing with faux is just the right thing to do. Considering what a taboo subject fur is in her industry, I thought that admitting this to an auditorium full of fashion bloggers was very compelling. Though I was already a fan, she’s now for sure one of my favorite people in mainstream fashion along with Stella McCartney . This exchange with her totally made my day.
Next up Lauren Sherman was back moderating a panel that included Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA, Mitch Grossbach, Head of Fashion and Beauty at CAA, Federico Marchetti, Founder and CEO of Yoox and Shana Fisher, Managing Partner of High Line Venture Partners. This panel was really all business, which I loved. They discussed whether or not bloggers should consider hiring an agent, starting a business with just an idea and a dream, as well as which business owners are usually the most successful. Shana actually mentioned she prefers to only work with owner CEO’s, being they are more passionate about what they are trying to accomplish and have more invested in what they are doing. All great stuff to learn about.
The next panel was all about amplifying your brand. It included Deb Schwartz, Executive Editor at Lucky moderating and Susan Lyne, Chariman of Gilt Group, Lauren Bush Lauren, Co-Founder of FEED Projects, Aliza Licht, Senior VP of Global Communications at Donna Karan, and Erica Domesek, Founder of PS I Made This.
I loved hearing all these women’s success stories. They were so varied. From Lauren Bush’s FEED project, to Susan Lyne being let go as CEO from a major network and instead turning that into an opportunity to work with the then start-up Gilt. Success comes from many walks of life. It’s all what you put into it to get it.
Jean Godfrey June, Lucky’s Executive Fashion and News Editor interviewed Lauren Conrad, and I have to admit I didn’t know much about her prior to attending this event aside from she was a reality TV star who now has a line of clothing at Kohl’s. I was so surprised by her at LuckyFABB. She is absolutely adorable in person. Like a china doll. She also has a killer business sense, which explains why her line has been so successful despite being pegged as a reality TV star. I was also very impressed she’s now looking into starting an eco-friendly line, and has already started producing eco-friendly bags. I expect we’ll see big things from her in the coming years.
My favorite thing Lauren mentioned was in response to a question on her parents influence on her in supporting her while building a business. She told this cute story on how her parents used to tax her on her allowance! As a result it taught her to be very good with her finances. She said at the end of the year was able to donate the tax portion of her allowance to a charity of her choice. What a great idea to teach your kids about money and philanthropy.
The final panel of the day was Simon Doonan, Brand Ambassador of Barneys New York interviewing the one and only Anna Sui! They discussed her creative process and where she draws inspiration from. It sounds like she was the original Pinner. She would keep boxes and boxes of inspiration images to scour, and had eventually transitioned into a digital scanning and reference system prior to Pinterest even coming out.
I was again inspired during this panel learning of Anna’s humble beginnings. Her line took off after models, who were friends of hers, all started wearing her clothes. When you have models showing up for fittings for other designers wearing your brand new label, the competition is going to take notice. How awesome is that? Goes to show you if you work hard and maintain meaningful friendships, you’ll get far in life.
And that about sums up both my IFBCon and LuckyFABB experiences. Please check out my Facebook page for even more photos of these events, and if you spot yourself in one of them please be sure to tag yourself.
Coming up tomorrow, what I wore to IFBCon.