There are only two things I would change about this month’s Style Summit at W Bellevue: First, I would not lose my voice, and second, it would last at least two days. That’s how much value I got out of the Sunday event bringing together women (and a few men) from the blogging, creative, fashion and entrepreneurial spaces in Seattle. And I have to share a taste of it with you.
The summit had 150 people in attendance and I was there because Sydney Mintle, the powerhouse behind Gossip & Glamour, invited me to speak on the “Fashion Essentials” panel. Since I established the influencer marketing program at my company and have years of experience with events, outreach and cultivating relationships, I shared some inside knowledge on what brands are looking for when it comes to collaborating with influencers. While I got great feedback from what I shared on the panel, I want to talk about what I learned from the other incredible women speaking at the event.
Sydney, pictured above, hosted the summit as part of the #WhatSheSaid series with W Hotels. If anyone understands the importance of listening to female voices and empowering them, it’s her. We first met years ago when I first started blogging (different blog, different lifetime). I’m always in awe at how she can connect people and activate a room for a common purpose. Participating in this event with Sydney taught me the importance of putting myself out there to help others and to also be willing to listen to the help others can offer me.
Let me introduce you to Brittany Hicks (pictured above). Not only is she a buyer at Amazon Fashion (talk about #careergoals) but she is also passionate about bringing more women into the tech/fashion space. The founder of Girls in Fashion and Tech, Brittany understands the business of fashion as much as she understands the human element of it. Learning about the stories (aka the women) behind the intersection of tech and fashion is key to increasing the representation of women in companies that sell goods and services to the largest purchasing demographic– women. She made a great point about how few women are in senior leadership positions in the very businesses that constantly try to market to and optimize for women consumers. Check out her website and you’ll likely find yourself nodding in agreement with her.
During our breakout sessions, we were connected with other people in our niche (mine was e-commerce) and talk about our experiences, share ideas and brainstorm solutions to any problems. Through that session, I learned from Bhawna Gupta, the founder of Tema Athletics, that pop-ups aren’t necessarily the optimal way for online brands to increase sales (though that’s actually how I first met her). The group came together with some great ideas on how we each could leverage different channels to reach our goals. I can’t wait to see some of them go into action!
There were also, of course, some fun brand activations including special access to the new handbag line by Kacy Yom, the spring shoe collection from Steve Madden and some delicious and healthy drinks from Pressed Juicery.
The good news for those of you who couldn’t attend Style Summit is Sydney posted some incredible recap content on the Gossip & Glamour blog. There’s even a FB live video where you can hear me use my poor little voice to talk about brand communications marketing and the influencer space — until the recording cuts off suddenly cause the phone dies. Sometimes, the universe tells you to stop talking. When I did, I could feel the inspiration and fulfillment of the day really sink in. I walked away from the event full of ideas and next steps and insight I knew I could build on for work and for Call Me Winters. Everyone else I asked about Style Summit said the same.
So, who wants to build it out to two days for next year?