3 Key Takeaways From The Simply Conference
Is the Simply Conference Worth It?
This year I was finally able to attend the SIMPLY conference. After years of wanting to attend, my day had finally come. I planned to take full advantage. Before we begin let’s touch on the questions that flooded my DM on Instagram as I snapped stories at the conference.
What is the SIMPLY Conference: The conference was created to connect women and give them the tools they need to succeed in the fashion, beauty, influencer, and marketing industry.
What to expect: You were given the option to do an “Influencer Track” or “Marketing Track” depending on the panels you would like to attend. It was a very hard decision to make but I decided to take the “Influencer Track” ticket since many of the questions I received on Empowering Women Now are rooted around influencers.
Where is the event: The event was held at the Americana at Brand in Glendale, CA. However, the event venue changes. Keep an eye on their official website for locations and upcoming dates.
Who attends: Women in the creative space; women interested in fashion, beauty, marketing or influencers.
What to wear: I felt like I was walking into an Instagram feed – everyone was dressed really trendy. The weather was very warm and many women wore light fabrics and jeans. A staple piece that I kept seeing was culotte pants and slip-on heels. I wore something that I felt really comfortable in; jean skirt, white top, and comfy sandals.
What to bring: I suggest bringing your business cards and sunscreen. Other than that conference provides you with food, snacks, pens, notebooks.
How much are tickets: Tickets are $350.00 and include your food, a goodie bag (worth over $300), access to the panel discussions, and access to the vendors.
I understand that not everyone is able to afford or travel to these types of events – in fact for years I was not able to. I hope that the notes I took give you a glimpse of what the event consisted of. These are the 3-key takeaways I took from the conference.
3-Key Takeaways From The Simply Conference
1. Work Ethic.
Basically, influencer marketing is when businesses team up with popular social media users (aka influencers) to post to their massive following about a product, service or event, as a form of product promotion – in order to (hopefully) influence consumer purchases.
It’s easy to think that people with a huge number of followers are rich and don’t work hard. I’ll be the first to admit that those were my initial thoughts. This conference really opened my eyes to see how hard influencers are working. Most of them work full-time at their own company while working full-time as an influencer. Marcel Floruss co-founded a clothing company, Ale Le Chula first owned a boutique before becoming an influencer, Nina Ojeda is the founder of Prete, Lilit Caradania started Elcie Cosmetics, Lauren Bushnell co-founded Dear Rose, Stephanie Shepherd partnered with a jean company and is now selling black jeans that benefit ACLU, Lauren Elizabeth launched a home line called FEEL, and Lo Bosworth is the founder of Love Wellness.
I loved what Lilit Caradania said, “It doesn’t matter how I feel, rain or shine I show up and film every Thursday.”
Sarah Parker gave insight on behalf of brands who hire influencers. She gave unbiased advice on what companies need and how they choose who they work for. They want influencers who are willing to go the extra mile for the company even if the contract does not state it. Show up to company event without being paid. Show them that you genuinely care about the brand. A little goes a long way. The industry is a lot smaller than it seems and many companies use the same PR representatives to run their campaigns.
I have to admit that I was feeling overwhelmed. How do I apply what I learned?
Sazan Hendrix offered some sound advice that made me relax and step back. She said make micro-goals. If you work full-time meet up with a friend on Saturday morning and take pictures to have ready to post for the following week. Set aside 1 hour to reach out to brands. Start small because that is what builds momentum.
The stylist and makeup artist industry is an entirely different beast. There work ethic consists of working long hours and missing family events. There was celebrity stylist Candice Lambert, Law Roach, and Maeve Reilly who are always on the move. Candice arrived from a flight from Europe to make it to this event only to leave the conference immediately to catch her next flight. Before having a break in their career they worked long hours interning and assisting in the industry. The industry they are in is NOT for the faint-hearted and requires you to always prepare for the unexpected. An example that Law used was when a client had specifically wanted an “all-white theme photoshoot”. They night before his cliented texted him to have red heels ready for her. He had to call his other stylist friends and connections to make it happen. The biggest advice this panel offered was to intern as soon as you can and put your hours in.
There are no shortcuts.
P.S. Etienne Ortega is the sweetest and most genuine makeup artist I have ever met, crossing my fingers that one day I’ll be able to get my makeup done by him.
2. Make An Impact
It’s not just you, everyone is having a difficult time reaching their followers on social media. Most of the speakers have millions of followers. As massive as their audience might be – they are having trouble engaging and growing their community. Although everyone loves Instagram, each speaker had more than one social media platform that they were active on. They create content on either Youtube, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook. I think it is smart to have multiple ways of accomplishing your goal. Don’t put all your bets in one place. Influencers diversify where they post.
Think about why you are posting, what your intentions are. Don’t be part of the noise be part of the impact. Alisha Marie, Rachel Levin, Stephanie Shephered, and Lo Bosworth all support causes bigger than themselves. They actively discuss hard to talk about issues even when they know that it often means losing followers, angry comments, etc.
Sazan Hendrix broke it down so perfectly. She said that there on 3 kinds of influencers
- The influencer who has all the skills but lacks the authenticity. Meaning they have great content (pictures, videos, etc.) but have a hard time putting their guard down and being their true self on social media.
- The influencer who has the authenticity but lacks the skill. The skills being a strategic plan, consistency, or a niche.
- The influencer who has the skill and authenticity. This is the one that gets the most engagement and is most successful on social media. This is the one that I want to be.
When it comes to influencers the ones who seem to do the best are the ones who actively pursue to make a difference. Stephanie Shephard stopped working as Kim Kardashian’s assistant and started her own path to shine a light on important issues including equality, politics, and poverty. Although she knows her posts of the causes she supports will not get as many “likes” as pictures of her in bikinis she still uses her voice to make an impact.
3. Landing The Deal.
You should NOT wait around to have a company reach out to you. If you already use a product and would want to work with a company make sure you reach-out. Follow them, interact with them on social media, get on their radar. Many influencers are getting lazy and simply sending a one-sentence direct message to the company and expecting them to say “yes”. Instead send a well-written email that includes who you are, what you envision your collaboration to look like and your media kit. Keep it short and concise.
TIP: Create a list of companies you would love to work with. Study their social media pages. Look at their aesthetic and use it to inspire your own work. Influencers often forget that companies are looking for those that share their same ethos.
A valuable piece of insight that Kristine Thompson (Founder of Trendy Curvy) gave was that 90% of the time companies will say “yes” to the higher amount you ask for as you give reasons to why you are asking for more. Another great piece of advice that she gave is that working for free is not always a bad thing. Many times companies want to see who you’ve worked with before. Building a portfolio of your work is valuable. Sometimes you have to do things for free to get a breakthrough. Think of every experience as an internship that is getting you prepared. She has attended events for free and those events have proven to be the reason she landed a huge deal with JcPenny. People take notice of the influencers who go above and beyond for a company. The reward might not be immediate but if you’re doing what you love it won’t feel like work.
I’m not a celebrity nor do I have a million followers – I cannot imagine going to a different place where I would have the opportunity to talk and meet so many of these speakers. This conference helped me fill in the gaps to so many questions I had. The stories and tips these speakers gave helped me gain clarity on the direction I want to take my own brand.
I realized how troubling idealizing these speakers can be. I had put so many of them in a category of perfection and an example of how I want my business to look like one day. I learned that every person is just… a person. The woman I look up to the most is still unsure of what she is doing. Even if they seem wildly intimidating because of the way they look or because of their reputation, everyone is just a person. HUMAN. They are going through stages of growth just like you are. We only see what we want to see, then drown ourselves further in our own depression and we don’t have to.
Simply Conference was a breath of fresh air. If you need to feel recharged I encourage you to come to SIMPLY.
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Do you have any suggestions of the next conference I should attend? Leave them down in the comments down blow.