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This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending my first Blog Societies Conference right here in Chicago! I met so many new blogger friends and finally connected in real life with some girls I’ve been “insta friends” with for years. Here’s a brief recap of what I wore and what I learned!
The conference kicked off with a welcome party at Sugar Factory hosted by Vera Bradley! I had so much fun getting to meet bloggers from all over the country who I’ve been loving on Instagram for years.
We had some sugary drinks, got adorable Vera Bradley scarves, and took pictures in front of the Vera Bradley “red carpet” wall. I opted for a small and cute monogrammed purse, which didn’t hold my camera, so my wall picture is blurry and horrible quality, but I loved my 2-piece Lilly Pulitzer set! It’s one of my favorite summer outfits because it’s cute AND flattering.
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On Friday, I arrived bright and early at The W Chicago to begin our day of workshops and networking! It was a chilly 60-something degrees in Chicago, so I chose to wear simple black jeans with an old Kate Spade shirt of mine. I paired it with my new favorite mules, a simple jacket, and a chunky necklace.
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I took the Blog to Business workshop with accountant Amy Northard, the Lightroom workshop with Stephanie Drenka, and the Tailwind workshop with Mollie Smith.
Amy talked about the importance of tracking income and expenses for tax returns. She explained the differences between a sole proprietorship, an LLC, and an S-Corp, as well as the pros and con of each option. She shared a super helpful spreadsheet with us (I’m a spreadsheet addict, so I loved it) that I’ve spent all weekend perfecting and personalizing. Based on her workshop, I now have a five-year business and accounting plan in place for my blog! Boring stuff, but Amy made it fun 🙂
Stephanie taught us how to best use Lightroom when editing blog and Instagram photos. I knew this girl was legit because I was obsessed with her Lightroom presets long before I heard she was speaking. I never knew the hack to edit iPhone pictures you take in RAW with Lightroom until Stephanie showed us! Game changer! My Instagram feed thanks you, Stephanie.
Finally, Mollie spoke on how to optimize Tailwind to increase blog traffic through Pinterest. I was already a Tailwind member, but after hearing Mollie’s tips and tricks on how to use it for not only Pinterest but Instagram, I have a whole new understanding of the platform. The analytics she showed us how to access are unparalleled, and I am so excited to begin using this data with my social accounts!
After our workshops were finished, we took the scenic route (our bus driver dropped us off at the wrong location!) to lunch hosted by Marc Fisher at the Boarding House. We got to see the new fall line and learned we’d be getting customized gold slides. Can you say heck yes?!
After lunch, we were taken back to the W and got to meet with brand reps from lots of great companies. I had such a great time being able to put names to faces of companies I’ve worked with before, as well as meet so many awesome representatives that I am excited to work with in the coming months 🙂 stay tuned for more info!
Saturday was sadly the last day of #TBScon. We started the day with a breakfast hosted by Charming Charlie, where we heard more about the brand as we filled up on food and coffee. We then headed upstairs to the top floor of the W for speakers and a brand panel.
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Shop Dandy and A Southern Drawl talked about incorporating travel into an otherwise fashion or lifestyle blog. It was cool to get their ideas on pitching hotels and working with other bloggers for travel!
Rachel Martino spoke about her journey from being in college and loving makeup to being a beauty, fashion and travel blogger. I was seriously so inspired by her words and her heart <3
Brittany from Lawyer Lookbook had some #realtalk on abiding by the FTC’s guidelines with all partnerships as well as how to protect yourself through legal contracts. I am definitely changing up the way I make contracts after hearing how so many things can go wrong legally!
We ended the session with a brand panel, where we were able to ask questions to representatives from the brands present. I learned a lot about how brands select bloggers to work with and what we can do to make things easier on their end and stand out from the rest when pitching. A big thank you to all the brands who came to the conference! Y’all were amazing to learn from and I loved all your goodies 🙂
After a beautiful lunch on the deck at the W, we said our goodbyes – until next year!
Collaboration over competition. We are stronger in numbers, and there’s no reason to be anything but nice to other bloggers. A rising tide lifts all ships!
Treat your blog like a business. Even if it’s a hobby, your blog is a marketing powerhouse. Treat it with the respect it deserves! That means recording all transactions and reporting all gifted items as income.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself legally. Make sure you read through the fine print of contracts you sign. You don’t want to sign your life away accidentally!
Work hard and amazing things will happen. I met so many amazing women and their stories were so inspiring. I have so many new role models! This was just fuel for me to continue grinding away and working toward making my dreams a reality.