Monday, April 15, 2019

Alt Summit 2019

Photo by Studio K10
A couple weeks ago, I fulfilled a creative dream by attending Alt Summit in Palm Springs. I made the decision last year that I would finally pull the trigger after years of having excuses (that were legit, work, pregnant, new baby). On Instagram, I always followed along the colorful, beautiful journey, so I was so excited to finally attend myself. I talked with a new industry friend, Mary Kevin (owner of a line we carry, Daydream Society), about rooming together and we went for it. For Christmas, Rachel (LOC employee that moved to Georgia) received an Alt ticket from her husband, so I was so excited that she would be coming along. Then Mary Kevin's friend, Jessie, who owns an online party shop also decided to join in on the fun. Needless to say, I was excited for a girls' week away in the sunshine!

Photos by Nicole Breanne
Mary Kevin, Jessie and I decided to stay together at The Parker - a Palm Springs favorite decorated by Jonathan Adler and featured in some of Gray Malin's famous photographs. I was so excited to be staying in this dreamy hotel. The grounds were full of greenery, honestly felt like a garden maze, and the mid century modern decor made me want to redo my whole house.

Photos by Nicole Breanne
Joanna Gaines was the opening keynote speaker for the week, and wow was she amazing. I mean, I knew she was, but even more so after hearing her speak. The keynote was a Q&A style with Gabrielle Blair, founder of Alt Summit and Design Mom. Joanna talked about struggles before their celebrity careers took off, being a mom, balancing it all, pushing for what you want and her goals for the future. She was real, honest and genuine. Truly one of the best experiences hearing her speak, but it was extremely packed in there and hard to see! I mean, everyone wanted to attend this speaker. We did, however, end up sitting right next to her table at a restaurant two nights later (yes I died and wanted to fan girl so badly, but we let her have fun with her team in peace).

Photos by Nicole Breanne
Photo by Jocelynne
Photo by Alpana Aras
Photos by Nicole Breanne
The week was jammed packed with great speakers, workshops, crafts and more. I was able to meet people I have loved on social media for years. Happy to report that they were all as nice and open as one would hope! In that first picture, Elsie from A Beautiful Mess was listening to me jabber on about needing to copy her pink front door on my house - ha! I get nervous and talk too much. Sad I was cropped out of the pic, but still cool none the less. One of my favorite speakers was Elle Rowley from Solly Baby. I own a couple of the wraps and used them when Elizabeth was a baby, so meeting the owner alone was cool. Her talk about Mom Boss 101 was amazing though. She was down to earth and real, and gave relatable advice. Darcy Miller taught us to celebrate everything, everyday. Brittany Jepsen from House that Lars Built talked about writing her book (and when I introduced myself, told me Elizabeth's Lola Dutch Party was amazing - I nearly fainted and died from happiness). Sarah Jane talked about getting Lola Dutch published, and went to lunch with Mary Kevin and I to talk about fun upcoming projects. Tiffany Tolliver from EmmaRose Agency lit a fire in everyone to work on their branding. Seri Kertzner from Little Miss Party shared tips for creating festive flat lays. Garance DorĂ© talked about battling depression and finding your true passions. The creators of Slumberkins (which we sell in the shop!) talked about the incredible new TV show they are working on with Jim Henson - saw a peek and you are going to love for your littles. Honestly, there were a million more I wish I could have made it to - so many amazing speakers.

Photo by BizzieLiving
A month or so after purchasing my ticket, I kept seeing emails asking for potential speakers to apply. Late night nursing, I decided "why not!?" and applied with a topic about leaving the corporate world for your side hustle. Few weeks later, I found out I was chosen and I would be refunded for my ticket - win! I was asked to lead a roundtable discussion in the ballroom. As you can see in the picture of a couple speakers in the room above, there were multiple tables setup with different speakers, and attendees would walk around and stop at tables they wanted to hear from. It was definitely an interesting dynamic, but it was nice to have more small group discussions with others.
Photo by Christina Best Photography
Tips for having fun at a creatives conference:
Fun to have people you know going, but room with someone you don't know or are just getting to know - had a lot of fun catching up and hanging with Rachel, but loved that I had roommates I grew relationships with.
Don't be afraid to go up to people you admire and introduce yourself. You might end up having a great conversation, making a connection or finding something you have in common. Plus they can be a wealth of knowledge.
Throw yourself out there and apply to speak or have a role - you never know when you'll be picked!
Talk with the people around you - waiting for a talk, on a shuttle, at lunch, etc. I met some great ladies this way!
Don't miss a speaker you really want to hear to catch the free lunch - you can always buy a snack or late lunch somewhere. You're there to catch the workshops and speakers, so don't stress yourself out trying to be two places at once.
Enjoy yourself! We had a couple side adventures, which was nice since it was a week long conference. I also loved one of our pool afternoons! When you're staying at a gorgeous hotel, enjoy it.

Things I struggled with:
Nailing down my schedule. This year Alt Summit was doubled in size and spread out across four hotels. It made it hard to get everywhere I wanted to because we had to shuttle in between, but I think I could have planned my days better. I would suggest checking your schedule the night before and mapping things out to make the most of your time.
Interacting with more people. I am a social person in a comfortable situation, but I can be an introvert when thrown in a crowd.  I wish I would have put myself out there more when around other people.
Checking out and enjoying all the sponsor spaces - looking through the photo albums, I'm so bummed I didn't get around to those better!

Recommended Restaurants in the Area:
Norma's at the Parker 
Purple Palm at the Colony Palms Hotel
The Pink Cabana at the Sands Hotel
Birba Palm Springs (this is the one where Joanna Gaines was spotted)

Overall, it was a great week where I met some amazing people and learned valuable information. I highly suggest taking the jump and going to a conference you have been crushing on. You never know what you'll learn, who you'll meet and what you'll find out about yourself!

Shout out to all the fabulous Alt Summit photographers! I tagged them under the picture/s they took. At a conference, don't be afraid to get in front of the camera.

Lots of Love,