Whether you’re a blogger, freelancer, entrepreneur, or small business owner, you’ve probably attended or considered attending a conference in your field. What you’ve most likely discovered in researching or going to one is that they’re a major investment of your time and money. Unfortunately, finding the right conference can be a bit like finding the right hair stylist – you don’t know if it’s going to be amazing or disappointing until you’ve paid up and sat in the chair. So before you budget, save, and book your next conference, be sure you choose the best one for you and your business. Ask yourself these five important questions, and check out these great, comprehensive resources to help you research and register for your next conference.
What’s resources do you have?
Before you start looking for a conference you should determine the resources you have to invest – ask yourself, what’s my budget and how much time do I have? Some conferences are only half a day and may cost around $100, while others can span over the course of several days and cost close to $1000 or more. It’s important to be clear on your resources before you go searching so you don’t over extend yourself. You can expense a conference to your business, but you still need to be certain your finances are intact before committing. It’s also essential that it works into your personal and professional calendar. Even if the conference is booked out further than your work schedule, you’ll be able to notify your clients accordingly.
Where do you want to go?
Now that you’ve got an idea of the time and money you can invest in a conference, you can determine where you want to go: somewhere local, somewhere out of state, or somewhere international. This decision may be dictated by the resources you have, but there are other factors to take into account when choosing a location. Do you want to connect more deeply with your regional network? Do you want to gain more national exposure? Do you want to experience your industry from the perspective of another culture? While contemplating these questions, you should keep your target audience and client base in mind in addition to the personal growth you hope to achieve.
How do you learn best?
Once you’ve covered the logistics of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there, you can focus on what you want to gain from the conference. In my experience, taking into account your personal learning style is one of the most important steps you can take in choosing the best one for you. Think back to academia – did you thrive in a larger or smaller class size? Consider lectures or workshops you’ve attended in your professional life – do you enjoy engaging with the speaker and other attendees or do you prefer to soak it all in with your eyes, ears, and notepad? Being clear on the type of environment in which you’re going to learn most effectively is essential to having the best possible conference experience.
Why do you want to attend?
Knowing the purpose or intention behind why you want to attend a conference is also key. It’s pretty easy for a conference to catch your eye just because the price is right, the location is convenient, or the lineup of speakers is amazing. However, if you don’t know what knowledge, skill, or connection you want to walk away with at the end, you could be left with a great experience and nothing to show for it. Are you hoping to build and expand your network or are you looking to learn a new skill or more about a particular subject matter? Maybe you’re at a transitional moment in your career or planning to expand your business in a big way, and you need more insight before you get started. Determining why you want to attend will help you to have the best conference experience.
Who do you want to connect with?
Whether your primary goal is to network or not, you will have the opportunity to connect with others no matter what conference you attend. Considering who you want to connect with is one more factor to take into account as you hone in on your decision. Do you want to connect with peers in your field, industry veterans, or potential clients? Peers are pretty easy to engage with at any conference, but if you want to be able to interact directly with the speakers or presenters, you should consider one with a more intimate atmosphere. Conferences are also a place to connect with potential clients – just look for a one that’s hosting companies, brands, or sponsors on site.
Now that you have a clearer picture of what you’re looking for in a conference, it’s time to start searching! Check out these three awesome and comprehensive resources to get started:
Remember that girl from class whose style you adored? At times she was a bit eccentric, but she wore everything with confidence. Something about the way she dressed just worked, and you couldn’t go a day without noticing her ensemble. For Katelyn Kosinski, that girl was Willa, a classmate from her college days. Little did Katelyn know that a few short years later “Willa” would become the inspiration behind the name of her business, Woodbury Lane.
“When I searched the name ‘Willa’ and ‘Willa Boutique,’ I found it was already taken. So, I played around with ‘Willow” and ‘Willow Lane’ for a while. Realizing that I was hooked on the W and L being together, I landed on the name of my childhood street, Wood Berry Lane, but changed it to make just two words:” Woodbury Lane.
Willa was just the first bold, fashion forward female who inspired Katelyn to create Woodbury Lane.
“Truly my greatest influence has been the entire movement of women who are doing their own thing right now. There’s this revolution of girls who are insanely confident and driven, yet totally realistic in their goals… Gone are the days where women can only work for the man.”
Long before Katelyn took her first step toward launching Woodbury Lane, she had a clear vision of what drew her to a particular sense of style. The fashion was just one component. The confidence with which a woman wears the fashion and the pride a woman takes in her fashion are the foundation of Woodbury Lane’s aesthetic.
“[Woodbury Lane] speaks to the woman who takes pride in her wardrobe. Women who are not looking for ‘disposable clothing pieces,’ which are all too easy to come by nowadays. ‘Disposable clothing pieces’ are the ones that are incredibly trendy and poorly made. Woodbury Lane is the opposite – our clothes are of a great quality, and they’ll last for more than one season. Most of what we offer are classic basics and subtle trends that don’t necessarily scream ‘2015.’”
Katelyn gave a taste of what Woodbury Lane had to offer with a pop-up gift shop last holiday season, but the boutique officially opened its cyber doors last month with its first spring collection. The current inventory is stocked with a full line of clothing and accessories as well as select home and gift items. While each and every piece has its own unique appeal, Katelyn was quick to share a couple of her favorites.
“The Cream Tapered Pants are amazing because they could truly be worn all year long. They’re lightweight enough to wear throughout the summer, but they also look killer in winter thanks to the ‘winter neutrals’ and ‘winter whites’ trends that are happening right now. I’m also pretty obsessed (a word I try not to use often) with our Floral Drape Top. It’s just the most flattering piece, and the colors are spot on for spring and summer. It’s also really versatile because it’s slightly cropped, which would look awesome paired with a high-waisted skirt. However, it’s not so cropped that you’d be showing belly, so it still pairs well with denim too!”
Katelyn has been a successful blogger for almost two years, but Woodbury Lane is her first small business endeavor. Throughout the entrepreneurial process, she has realized the importance of taking the time to celebrate each and every achievement.
“As a small business owner, I’ve quickly learned that every endeavor, no matter the size, is exciting! My first sale, a new shipment of merchandise, or even a really nice compliment on the shop feels like a huge accomplishment!”
So, what’s next for Woodbury Lane? If you’re in the Milwaukee area, don’t miss the exclusive launch party on March 22. For the first time, you’ll be able to see, touch, and try on the items from Woodbury Lane’s first spring collection. Be sure to arrive early! Woodbury Lane has partnered with a number of other local creatives to compile swag bags for the first 30 purchasers. Don’t live in the Milwaukee area? Shop Woodbury Lane online 24/7, and follow along with the boutique’s latest collections, events, and special offers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Happy shopping!
Photographed by Laurelyn Savannah Photography
2015 is fast approaching. While it’s always a good time to reinvent yourself, the New Year is a particularly poignant occasion to do so. Perhaps you’re planning to look for a new job or pursue a new career in 2015. Maybe you’re hoping for a promotion at your current company in the New Year. Is 2015 the year you monetize your hobby into a serious side project? Have you been considering launching a blog? There are numerous reasons to think about renewal as a New Year draws near.
A portrait session is the perfect way to jump-start a new you for the New Year.
There was a time when portraits were primarily reserved for special occasions – think yearbook photos or family Christmas cards. No more! Anyone with some disposable income (or, hey, some Christmas cash) can afford a professional portrait and present a more polished image.
We live in a time when social media has given almost everyone a public persona, and sometimes it’s tough to say where personal ends and where professional begins. A social media photo is often the first impression you make, and more and more it seems an iPhone and an outstretched arm won’t suffice. Don’t you want an image that makes people stop and say, “maybe I want to look a bit closer,”?
If you’re ready to kick off the New Year with a new you, join Angie Webb of Angie Webb Creative for a Headshot Mini Sessions Event from 10:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday, January 10. Each session lasts 20 minutes, and you’ll get the opportunity to shoot with up to two different backdrops. Afterward, you’ll be able to view your proofs online and select two images to be fully retouched by Angie. This exclusive event is limited to eight slots, and space is filling up fast – register now!
BONUS – Complimentary Styling Consultation from Yours Truly
As a bonus, I’m offering complimentary styling consultations for those participating in the event. Once you register with Angie, connect with me to arrange an in-person or online styling consultation free of charge!
Who needs a headshot?
Anyone and everyone! Business professionals, small business owners, entrepreneurs, event planners, photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, models, actors, students, fellow bloggers – people from all walks of life can benefit from a high-quality headshot.
Where can I use my headshot?
Again, the possibilities are endless – personal or professional social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on), personal or professional websites (digital portfolios, personal blogs, your company’s website, etc.), job applications… believe me, you’ll get good use out of your headshot! I know I have!
Why would I need styling assistance for my headshot?
When you look good, you feel good – dressing well boosts your confidence. Many people feel they can’t afford to be stylish, but you can show your personal style without overspending (or spending at all). Sometimes all it takes is looking at your wardrobe with a fresh perspective – it can be as simple as accessorizing.
About Angie Webb Creative
Angie Webb is a brand designer and consultant who assists businesses and individuals in creating a visual look and feel for their brand. Angie’s services go beyond that of a typical designer with her holistic branding approach. First, Angie walks each and every one of her clients through an in-depth process of discovery to find out who they really are and how they want to portray themselves to the world. From there, Angie helps them create a visual identity and other supporting elements, including but not limited to photography, website design, and print materials. Her work doesn’t stop there! Angie then assists her clients in implementing their new identity and moving forward with their renovated brand. Through a clear and thorough process, comprehensive strategy, and coaching, Angie helps businesses and individuals succeed and thrive for the long term.
So far in my 2014 Holiday Gift Guide advocating shopping small, I’ve showcased three amazing small businesses from around the country:
1. Native Bear in Atlanta, GA
2. Woodbury Lane in Milwaukee, WI
3. Must Love Sparkle in Chicago, IL
4. Jordan Grace Owens in Durham, North Carolina
I discovered Jordan Grace Owens back in college at an artist market in Athens, GA and instantly fell in love with her designs. Jordan Grace has the ability to capture the unique personality and essence of a person while keeping her signature illustration style. She has a number of items that are ready-to-buy in her Etsy shop, but she is most well known for her custom work, specifically her personalized paper dolls. Yes, I said paper dolls, but before you shrug off the possibility of purchasing something that sounds old-fashioned, take a look at Jordan Grace Owens’ designs and think again. Jordan Grace started making her illustrations into paper dolls in “an effort to make art that people would want to touch and interact with,” then they took off (Need Supply Co interview)! If you’re looking for a unique way to capture your family or friends, send Jordan Grace your photos and she’ll draw and assemble their likeness for a one-of-a-kind portrait.
J O R D A N G R A C E O W E N S
A girl can never have too many totes. This hand-screenprinted Leggy Canvas Tote is ultra feminine, fun, and functional. It’s sizable (15″ x 10.5″) enough to serve as a pseudo-purse, grocery sack, in-flight carry on, gym satchel, weekender bag – the applications are endless!
Out with the old-school concert tees and in with the cute graphic tees. This super-soft fitted tee has a lovely sentiment and sweet illustration. It’s perfect for any lady on your Christmas list, young or old!
Partners, pets, parents… spouses, siblings, even friends… the possibilities are endless when it comes to Jordan Grace Owens’ custom-made, personalized paper dolls. Unfortunately, JGO’s paper dolls are so popular there is a 3-4 month wait list. So, the best course of action for the holidays is to purchase a gift certificate.
About the Business:
Jordan Grace Owens is an artist, illustrator, and maker based in Durham, North Carolina. Her intimate and stylized designs have caught the attention of numerous publications such as Design Sponge, Need Supply Co., and Real Simple magazine. Jordan Grace’s work is also featured in the book 1000 Portrait Illustration: Contemporary Illustration from Pencil to Digital. With a fine arts background, two years working in graphic design, and plenty of artistic encouragement growing up, Jordan Grace has built a flourishing business on Etsy and made a career making drawings.
Just because Small Business Saturday is behind us doesn’t mean you have to stop shopping small this holiday season. No matter what day of the year, it’s always important to support small businesses!
In Part I and Part II of my 2014 Holiday Gift Guide advocating shopping small, I shared two of my favorite small businesses: Native Bear (based in my hometown, Atlanta, GA) and Woodbury Lane (founded by fellow blogger Katelyn Kosinski of Katelyn Now, located in Milwaukee, WI). Today, I’m showcasing gifts from another small business that is near and dear to my heart: the Chicago-based brand Must Love Sparkle.
You may have seen some beautiful jewelry from Must Love Sparkle in previous posts on ARTicles of Clothing blog. Specifically, I used MLS jewels to style singer/songwriter Erica Bryan for one of her shows last summer.
If you’re hoping to give the gift of jewelry this holiday season, look no further than Must Love Sparkle! For a limited time, use the code shopsmall50 for 50% off all orders or subscribe to the MLS mailing list for 10% off your first order.
M U S T L O V E S P A R K L E
I must admit I was skeptical of the two-finger ring until I tried this poetic and adorable tortoise and the hare ring from MLS. It’s surprisingly comfortable and incredibly unique and fun. Great for a gift or stocking stuffer.
The palace cuff is the ultimate lightweight statement bracelet. It’s cute, comfortable, and instantly completes any girl’s outfit. I used this cuff while styling singer/songwriter Erica Bryan, so it’s performance approved! Whether you’re looking for something stage-worthy or just a great gift for everyday, the palace bracelet is perfect!
These are two of my favorite pieces from MLS. This necklace and bracelet are part of the Jocelyn Negron Collection, a group of pieces fashioned by Jocelyn Negron, jewelry designer and founder of Must Love Sparkle. This collection has a stunning design and exceptional quality. A truly beautiful holiday gift for any special woman in your life.
About the Business:
Must Love Sparkle is a Chicago-based a jewelry destination characterized by a unique aesthetic, exceptional quality, and attainable prices. Jewelry designer and founder Jocelyn Negron has a keen eye for buying and designing, which has allowed her to curate a diverse collection of her own jewelry designs as well as that of other designers. The MLS girl likes to mix it up by wearing hoodies with high heels or Nikes with fur. However, at the end of the day, MLS is for anyone who wants to shine, no matter your style.