Last Saturday, I went to the Simply Stylist 2015 Conference in Chicago for the first time! It was really a great networking event if you’re looking to dip your feet in the industry professionally. But even if you blog as a hobby because you’re just interested in fashion and beauty, you should at least come to the brand experience!
Let’s just say that it was pretty overwhelming for me when I first stepped in the Dana Hotel and Spa, where the conference took place. You can tell that some of these people meant serious business when they stepped foot in this place. While at the conference, I met Lena, the blogger of Feline Creatures! She’s a really down-to-earth person who started her lifestyle blog about a year ago. It’s amazing to see how far she’s gone with it.
Along with every other fashionista there, we sat in the back and listened to the panel. It was a pretty inspiring panel discussion. Our speakers included Corri McFadden, the Founder of EDrop-Off, Sazan Barzani, Fashion & Beauty Blogger, Joey Maalouf, Celebrity Makeup & Hair Artist and Co-Founder of the GlamApp, and Jacey Duprie, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger (I fell in love with Damsel in Dior in seconds after visiting it!).
You can watch some of the panel discussion here:
After the discussion, there was a lot of mingling during the brand experience (this where you can get your makeup done, get a temporary tattoo design, eat some treats, etcetera). You could even come up to the speakers and talk to them in person. Everyone was so nice! At the conference, they made being kind as a big deal. You might have thought people working in the fashion industry as competitive, superficial, and mean, and I am not going to try to shoot that statement down, but here, you can expect people to be kind and welcoming towards you.
Fortunately, I knew a couple of people from a previous fashion event. I was actually with my good blogger friend, Allie from Allie’s Fashion Alley during the whole afternoon and we went around, introducing ourselves to bloggers and stylists in the area.
(Also, at the brand experience, I got to personally meet Joey, Sazan, and Cara! For photos, you can find them exclusively on my Facebook!)
Besides meeting up with a lot of bloggers, I got to sit in a couple of breakout sessions. My favorite was by Cara Santana, Co-Founder of the GlamApp along with Joey. The language that she used to empower women through her Q&A session was so… feminist! She kicks a**. Her talk was The Multifaceted Female: Don’t Just Be a Boss, Be a Brand. I also went to Lauren Gores’s Creating Your Voice session. Both speakers were great!
All in all, Simply Stylist has definitely reinforced much of what I already knew and gave light to what I should focus more on in the future.
So, if you were to ask me whether or not I would recommend this event to you, I’d lean more on the yes side but it really depends on what you’re looking for – if you’re looking to be inspired, go for it! If you’re looking for business partnerships, I think there is potential there. Just don’t expect to gain hundreds of followers after this event. It’s more about finding your niche in their world instead of them finding it in yours.
The people here are generally really serious about their blogs, but don’t let fact get to you. Don’t compare yourself, have fun, and do you!