By: Leslie Fischman
On March 19, 2016 I attended the long awaited Simply Stylist LA Fashion and Beauty Conference at The Grove Los Angeles. I arrived in the Afternoon for the Brand Discussions, Pink Wrist Band, and entered the main Lawn by the Fountain to a Festive Day filled with Music, Champagne, Fashion, Beauty, and Jewelry. They had everything from Fashion Drawn Selfies by an Artist, to Contouring Make-Up Stations, a Nail Salon, and Free Samples of Tinted Shampoo for your Hair.
As I made my way through the festivities, I came across a Make-Up App, that does your Makeup for you. While waiting in line for a Rose Water infused Glass of Champagne compliments of the Event. In addition, there was a Home Décor Station offering a Cash Prize for the Best Photo’d Layout, and Brand Influencer Partnerships thru RewardStyle. Next were the Selfie Stations, I had my Photo taken by the #OOTD Poster, where a Polaroid was printed and taped to the wall behind me along with others who had their photo taken. I kept a sticker print out as a souvenir I featured on my blog earlier this morning.
Next, I made my way upstairs to the Speaker Series on Branding. The First Speaker was Erin Armstrong, aka The Accounting Sage. She made reference to Tyra Bank’s earlier statement that Fashion Blogging was about “opening fields to empower other people.” She then went on to talk strategy and job placement explaining that “if you take a low paying job you can’t take a higher paying job,” which is why many of her “clients in the industry work for themselves.” These “feelings resonat[ed]” with many of the members of the audience, who similarly have “fears worrying too much” and that starting her own Business was a way for her and likewise many of the audience members to “start making money having more ideal clients.”
Getting started in the Industry does “require you do to some work for free.” But always be able to “take something away from it.” Building Professional relationships in the Fashion Blogging Industry is a two way street, you “get something in return, you give them a lot … negotiate a Professional Price.” At the end of Erin’s Presentation she opened up for Questions from the Audience and I rose my hand, asking her what her “best advice for monetizing your blog” was and “what do Brands look for in Influencers” and if she had any tips what were they. Erin responded that Fashion Blogging is all about “authenticity, sell from you at a Business Perspective, if you know all your Followers gives you more negotiating power.” -She concluded with an Announcement that she is offering a course entitled, “Money for Bloggers” that begins April 1st on basic tax deductions terminology and her creative business partnership with an Attorney.
The next Speaker was Calli Cholodenko @somethingsocial, who started Something Social, a Lifestyle Brands Company that represents Companies online thru Social Media. She is a USC Graduate who majored in Communications, who gained experience through fitness and Beauty Internships. She recalls her first Interview, for a Social Media Position, in which she was asked to recall who her Favorite Fashion Bloggers were. She has always loved Photography and has had a passion for aesthetics. In doing Social Media for different Brands her goal is to help them find their “distinct voice” and help them to develop. Some advice she offered to the audience members was that “you just gotta do you, [set] actual attainable [goals] action terms … [take] small steps, then work your way up.”
Today Something Social boasts a roster of 25 Brands in Lifestyle, Fashion, Fitness, & Nightlife Events. She explains that her job requires a high “attention to detail” while “lifestyle brand[ing]” the Brands she works with. She describes success as “finding what your vision and aesthetic is.” She goes on to emphasize that “social media is the first thing that they see of your Brand. -What is gonna be that driver … see a little more of what this person is about.” Through your Social Media is where (she explains) your audience and potential Followers “see what you like and what you’re about.” She says that it is important to “find your aesthetic and do it over and over again,” key traits of a “recognizable Brand.” In term of Aesthetic, Calli encouraged audience members to “keep it consistent” in your “social feeds” and find your voice. She goes on to state that, the “more you show people who you are and what you’re about [they’ll] start to trust you.” When building your content, consider the time it will take to build your content and how to stay consistent. Consistency, trust, and loyalty were three factors she considers to be important to be a successful Blogger, and to “show [that you are] well-rounded.”
The next speaker was Kristen Phillipkoski @stylenik, who lead a Discussion entitled “How to Evolve Your Blog Like a Boss.” Kristen is from IFB, which is a Fashion Organization which started in 2007. Kristen has been a News Blogger and Freelance Writer since 2008. She then introduced Callivintage.com (2008) Personal Style Blogger, who began her Career posting 5 Outfits a Week. Calli started Fashion Blogging because it “allowed [her] to connect with people who are doing what you’re doing.” She would post outfits and then write about them Monday thru Friday. Kristen asked her “when did you realize [this was] a Career?” Calli replied, she was just “in the right place at the right time.” Calli was among a select group of Fashion bloggers who were chosen to go to Fashion Week when she just got started Blogging. Calli started out partnering with various Brands, taking small jobs here and there, and now works with Agencies to get Corporate Sponsorships. In order to get Sponsorships “you need to have a large Following.” This is based on, as she explains, “how well you’ve represented yourself on Social Media… [in terms of the] general content, high quality content.”
Kristen Phillipkoski writes for Forbes.com (and doesn’t allow gifting). She advises the audience to “be honest about everything -let them know you are writing about something for a blog, and what they want from [that] interaction.” -They then go on to discuss how it is “important to network with people who are doing what you’re doing.” “How you connect” determines your “agency” and ability to grow within this profession, and they encourage us to “reach out.” They explain that it is a lot of work to make a deal with a Brand, “not all [of us] know how to make deals, [but] always reach out.”
The Next Speaker were The Mane Addicts Team, who led a Discussion entitled “Turning A Vision Into Reality.” She emphasized the use of Professional Photography in your Blog Work. And “finding people” to work with to help find that balance, and knowing what your strengths are. For many Bloggers, that team up, they have separate writing and art departments, which is common. Some Blogs even have Editorial Directors. She describes when building your Core Team, knowing “what is going to keep you growing the quickest.” She encourages us to “think about your audience” and to “always think about how you can engage the reader.” She explains that making money from your blog is all about Engagement, “look at your engagement its all about them.” She then advises the audience to “find your niche and attack it, think about -what you and your girlfriends need … it’s a lot of work.” You have to think about your content, taglines, network, connect with people, email, or face to face [interaction], work ethic, get the job done, respond right away, [these are all examples of traits of successful bloggers] and “important to the success of every Company.”
The Branding Seminar ended with a Speaker on Blogging 101. Overall I learned a lot from this Speaker Series, reminded to pick and choose my battles online while maintaining authenticity and building trust amongst my Followers. Speaking my mind while at the same time maintaining a Professional front representing the Brands and Blogging Communities I have built Partnerships with along the way. This was a great learning experience to put myself out there, and introduce myself to the Vendors and hand out my Business Card. This was the first time I entered the Fashion Arena as a Professional in face to face interaction and I think I did a good job, for the most part. I wish I wasn’t shy and introduced myself to the Speakers after each session but was so caught up taking notes that I was not able to in between Speakers. I hope that this was the first Conference of many to come and look forward to introducing MYMOLLYDOLL to the Fashion Blogging Community and Beyond as a Friend Online, Professional Confidant, LookBook Connoisseur, Blogging Tips Resource, and newly selected Style Curator for Sassique. I look forward to the road ahead and continuing to building Partnerships within the Fashion Community and hope that the relationships I build online will continue to translate into budding Business relationships off and online. Thank you for taking the time to read my Article on The Simply Stylist LA Fashion and Beauty Conference and hope that you have learned as much about Branding as I have from this Speakers Series.