If you've been following us on Instagram over the last few weeks, you know that we've been travelling. Two weeks ago, we were in Salt Lake City, Utah, for Alt Summit, one of the coolest blogging-business-conferences in North America. If you haven't heard of Alt yet, you need to. If you're a creative thinker, this thing is for you. If you're a blogger, a designer, or a young brand looking to connect and collaborate with super cool, like-minded people, you need to know everything there is to know about Alt Summit--and pick your dates accordingly (conferences happen in SLC, New York and San Francisco every year).Kendall, Poppy Barley's co-founder, and I (Caroline) were thrilled to make Alt SLC our first trip of 2014. What a way to kick off the new year! Every aspect of this conference is bursting with creativity and outside-the-box thinking. From one room to the next (wearing our Poppy Barley boots and flats, of course!), we were continually immersed and mesmerized by interactive, inventive design--whether it was a cooking class, a lunchtime table setting, a theme party, a gift bag display or business cards. No detail was overlooked. It was thoughtful, beautiful, and, to say the least, inspiring. And the ideas. We learned a lot from the breakout sessions and heard from some of the best in the biz (like Pinterest co-founder, Ben Silbermann!). We've done a photo round-up of just a few of the people, blogs and businesses that got us excited. Read the captions to find out what each photo is about, and click through the links to explore the awesomeness further; you might make some new friends.
The first night there, we attended a cooking class with Kelsey Nixon, chef and host of Kelsey's Essentials on the Cooking Channel. Kelsey has a contagious energy and had us cooking up five recipes from her new book, Kitchen Confidence (we were some of the first to get a copy!). Highlights: The decor and that birthday cake.
Garance Doré (!!)--fashion photographer, illustrator, blogger, all-around inspiring woman--was the opening keynote speaker at Alt. As expected, she was humble, charming and lovely. She spoke about developing a thick skin and focusing on the "good" in your work (one bad comment shouldn't deter you from being yourself! You're never going to satisfy everyone, especially as your blog/website grows). One of the coolest parts about Garance's appearance was seeing her sit on the couch in the lobby of the Grand America hotel all day, speaking one-on-one with fans and answering questions. Talk about down-to-earth.
Camille Styles (far right) was on a panel called, "The Business of Blogging" and we were so happy to meet her in person after collaborating with her early this year! We can't say enough good about Camille's aesthetic. Wonder woman.
On of our most informative sessions was with Janette Crawford, a stylist and writer from Sun + Dotter and Fashion Loves People. Her roundtable discussion was all about "Purchasing With Purpose" and ethical fashion. Given all the positives of made-to-order shoes and Poppy Barley's manufacturing transparency, we had a lot to talk about.
If you want to become your own full-on lifestyle brand, or become a professional in the blogosphere with a team of contributors, you need to take a look at Brit + Co. and Apartment 34. Brit Morin, left, and Erin Hiemstra spoke about their respective websites in a session called, "Investing in Your Blog" and we were so, so excited to grab coffee with them after their session, where we discussed the future of blogging and shoe shopping (naturally!).
This is so cool. We met Susan Petersen, CEO and founder of Freshly Picked, at the cooking class, and she hosted one of the 11 themed hotel room parties on the same night her appearance on Shark Tank was set to air (yes, she got investment!). Susan and her team make the most adorable leather baby moccasins, with a line-up of celeb clientele including Beyonce and The Kardashians. We also loved her session on Growing Your Community and the Freshly Picked Instagram feed (follow!).
Video. Integrating it into your online business is crucial. We've done a few videos in the past, but we got tons of tips from a session about building your video brand, hosted by the super-fun and vivacious duo behind Girls With Glasses, Summer (left) and Brooke. This likely means that they are destined to be on TV, but we really, really want these girls to be our friends. For even more sass and fun, check out: The Alison Show.
The lunchtime keynote panel was lead by iconic supermodel Christy Turlington (who, if you can imagine, was even more beautiful in person). She spoke about her charity, Every Mother Counts, and the team she's gathered since, including the women behind DwellStudio, Minted, and Dooce. Take a moment to read what it's all about, and watch the documentary.
Closing the event, and closing this post, are the sister-co-founders of Alt Summit, Sara Urquhart, left, and Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom, with Ben Silbermann, co-founder of Pinterest (fun fact: we're pretty sure Ben was staying in the hotel room next to us, and we were scheming ways of "accidentally" running into him! They didn't pan out). It was just a few years ago that Ben was attending Alt Summit with the IDEA of Pinterest (although it didn't have a name, then; it was his wife (then-girlfriend) who came up with the name, and he didn't like it initially!). Who knows where your idea could take you in just a few year's time...
To view more (lots more!) photos, go here.