When Create & Cultivate came to Dallas in January, I had the distinct misfortune of being completely oblivious of it. Despite the fact that several of my favorite Instagram personalities and bloggers were panelists and keynote speakers, somehow it still flew over my head. A friend of mine informed me (thanks, Kelsey!) during a random, unplanned, "panic" of a phone call I made to vent to her about how completely uncreative I was feeling, and basically my life was plummeting into the sea of mediocrity. It's a vicious cycle. "Brittany, have you heard about Create & Cultivate?" Well I had perused their blog on a few occasions, but I didn't realize the host a creative conference as well. And they just happened to be in my neighborhood, like, that weekend. And sold out, too.
What is Create & Cultivate? It is an online platform and creative conference for female entrepreneurs in the digital space. The C&C blog has become my go-to for daily boss lady content.
I wanted to not only be first to know the date and location of the next conference when it was announced, or maybe even be the first person to buy a ticket (pretty sure I was in the top 10)....so, I immediately signed up for their emails and set my Facebook notifications to display C&C updates very first in my news feed. It may or may not still be that way. Priorities, you should know!
Downtown Los Angeles was the location of the next conference; as far as I was concerned I was already there. I reserved my hotel and a flight and presumed to wait until midnight the night before a 7am flight to pack my suitcase (casual), and off to L.A. I went.
Almost as soon as I landed, I hustled to a hair appointment I'd made in advance at Frédéric Fekkai Melrose Place. I knew that, with the tight conference schedule I did not want to have to wash my hair and re-style during the entire weekend. If you're an LA local, or visiting for any reason and need a nice blowout, I highly recommend Jacob. The ladies at the Dallas salon passed along his name to me, so I decided to book an appointment with him. He did an amazing style for me that lasted the entire weekend!
Friday evening, Create & Cultivate hosted a happy hour at WeWork downtown LA, an excessively stylish venue on the 35th floor of the Gas Tower, magnificent views included. The opportunities to document and take photos were basically endless, but, between Snapchatting the posh bar with its copper and lacquered finery and exquisite cocktails, the explosive fashion at every turn (it was a creative conference in Los Angeles), and the realization that "this was only for one weekend so soak it up and connect with as many people as possible!!"...not too many photos came of the event. The happy hour was a bit humorous in that everyone wanted to meet everyone. You couldn't pass anyone without catching eyes as if to say "We don't know each other but we should!"
The Create & Cultivate team did an exquisite job designing and executing the entire conference. The event was held at the Hudson Loft in downtown Los Angeles. The venue was just stellar, with its wood floors, massive floor to ceiling windows with black panes framing panoramic skyline views, flooding the beautifully decorated space with that incomparable California sunlight. Every single place you laid your eyes was so aesthetically pleasing it almost hurt. Everything you could possibly think of that is lovely, desirable, and so-of-the-moment was at your grasp. From the lush green archway in the welcome room, to the verdant courtyard furnished with fun, brightly-colored chairs and tables; to the insanely amusing snack and juice elevator; I'm not sure my creative senses have ever been so immersed in my life!
A quick word on the above bar cart! I am in LOVE with Chris Earl's beautiful, handcrafted furniture and ceramics!
Above: a few of the pop-up shops and vignettes available for shopping and inspiration during the day. I loved perusing the beautiful products, meeting the representatives, owners and artists, and learning the stories behind these amazing companies. including Gorjana, one of my favorite jewelry designers. I just love the new Power Gems collection! I found a bracelet that really resonated with where I'm at in my life at the moment: the Labradorite, signaling balance, guidance, and transformation.
Other amazing brands represented include:
.....among many, many others!
Panels and Keynote Conversations
Throughout the conference, there are two tracks going on simultaneously. I chose the second track, which mostly covered blogging, fashion & beauty, and social media. There was a recurring theme throughout the entire day of originality and authenticity. This was very encouraging, as so many people question whether or not they should let their voice be heard in whatever their realm of influence or profession. Referring to the question of "Should I start a blog?" One panelist says "While the market may be saturated, there's always room for more. No one else can give the world what you can. There's always someone seeking out your aesthetic and lifestyle. So yes, start that blog!"
The very simple but profound truth is, absolutely no one else can see or experience the world from your vantage point; your story needs to be shared. Your voice needs to be heard. This especially rang true for me because I am particularly interested in mass communication because of how information that is presented to the masses is calculated to make the reader/listener believe a particular side of a story. In a world where information is constantly streaming via mass communication outlets, how refreshing it is to be inspired and challenged by one another's individualistic, unique, and unedited point of view!
Other topics of conversation included social media marketing trends, creating content, the ever-transforming face of advertising and affiliate marketing, brands and bloggers, harnessing the power of digital platforms to grow your brand, and fun topics such as fashion and beauty.
Jessica Alba's keynote conversation was one for the books. She spoke on how important it is to hone down your idea, and developing an eye for editing and refining. She also focused on one aspect of business and entrepreneurship that many of us can relate to: rejection. Rejection will happen; rather than interpret it as a sign you shouldn't move forward, get used to rejection, as it is simply as method of refinement. This is why it is so very important to believe wholeheartedly in your idea or brand. When others begin to question and give you that "condescending nod" and "pat on the back", it's only a test to find out how badly you want your idea to succeed.
Another important thought that gripped me was to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset. There are so many ways to stay motivated and inspired and connected. Find ways to grow and learn everyday. Let your everyday experience and mistakes transform your mindset and eventually, your life. If you don't allow such experience to transform you, you'll keep encountering the same issues and "teaching moments" over and over again.
During of this conference, I realized that for me personally, on of the most effective ways to stay inspired and creative was to constantly expose myself to things that are unfamiliar to me. Whether it's the big experiences like traveling to another country, or simply going to a local networking or creative event that no one I know is attending. It may even be trying an exotic cuisine that is completely new to me.......which I'm not so sure is possible for me any longer.....
After a very exhausting 20 hour day of inspiration, .it was so refreshing to sleep well and wake up to the bright, golden Los Angeles sunshine filtered by the wall-to-wall Roman Shade in my hotel room. The Line hotel was very comfortable! I would definitely stay again. I especially enjoyed the view of the Hollywood Hills at the foot of my bed. If you follow me on Snapchat, you know that it was 3 days in before I realized you could see the Hollywood sign from my room! Ha! I can be so unobservant at times.
I also slept well knowing that these guys were there to protect me........
Create & Cultivate conference was a life-changing experience. I am glad I took the leap and put myself out there, vulnerability hangover and all! I am already planning to go at least once a year, if I can swing it!
I strongly suggest you follow Create & Cultivate on Facebook and Instagram to find out when and where their upcoming conferences will be held. Currently there are tickets available for the Atlanta event in September! Definitely go VIP, it's worth it!
Thanks for reading, friends!