THE EVENT: Style Summit X What She Said
This past Sunday I attended the 3rd annual Style Summit X What She Said hosted by Gossip & Glamour and W Bellevue Hotel along with fashion industry insiders, influencers and Seattle business owners to talk about “The Future of Fashion“. When I was invited to join an ALL WOMEN panelists to chat about fashion, I responded “Me! Why would anyone want to hear me speak?” I didn’t think I had it in me, to speak to a room full of strangers about my work. Writing is one thing, but public speaking is completely different level! Holy shit!
So this was how my day went………
THE MORNING OF:
Even though I got a good six hours of sleep, mind you it was daylight savings the day before, I woke up rushing to get an outfit put together. Trying different skirts and tops together. Scrambling to find the perfect shoes and accessories. Making sure I look professional, relevant but not trying too hard.
After 30 minutes of back and forth, I finally decided to wear a sleeveless button down shirt and cropped wool jacket to look like “I mean business”, a striped sequin skirt (AKA Daytime Sequins) to show my fun side and then paired it with bright yellow strappy sandals. Business up top, party on the bottom!
Quite honestly, I left it last minute, because I couldn’t decide on what to wear. Yes, even fashion designers have issues styling themselves. So I’ve been putting it off. Luckily, I usually do well under pressure, so I think I put a slammin’ look together. Feeling more confident now, but still a little flustered, because I was running late.
I was greeted by W’s friendly staff, Brooke, who helped produced the event. She remembered me from a shoot I did at the hotel last year. I was lost when I arrived and she pointed me to the right places. So she settled my nerves a bit. Thanks Brooke!
Then I headed to the “green room”. I had no idea what that room was, but then to find out once I arrived, it was a space for panelist to get ready. VIP STATS! There were few familiar faces, from the bloggers I follow and the fellow panelists I recognized. But I’ve never meet any of them! So I said “Hi!”, gave hugs, shook hands and made small talk.
Minutes after, make-up artist Marisa asked, “Do you need any make up done?”. I answered, “Do I need any?” She replied, “Ah YES!” I really didn’t make an effort with my make up since I was rushing out the door. It was my basic five minute routine. So I’m glad she took care of me!
Obadiah, a blow dry bar located at Hyatt Bellevue, touched up my hair and spray some Oribe dry texturizing spray to give my dull hair some attitude. I swear that stuff is addicting. I call it “crack spray”!
There were three different talk topics at the event. First up were panelists of bloggers from the local community that has 50K+ followers. I was excited to meet them in person, as I follow them and I love putting a face/personality to a name. Since I didn’t want to sit in the “green room” all morning and wanted to learn from the seasoned bloggers, I sat and listened.
They have lots of tips for new bloggers on how to monetize your blog, to create your own brand, increase followers, create a media kit and rate sheet so you can get paid for the work you do. It seemed so far from what I am able to achieve, since I have less than 1K followers. But they make it sound so possible, because they were once like me.
I also met fellow bloggers Becca & Melissa who I adore. They are genuine, funny as hell and super good people. We were busy chit chatting and laughing that I forgot I was up for the next set of panelists. The ushers were looking everywhere for me. So embarrassing!
FUTURE OF FASHION:
Once I found my group, I was lined up outside the conference room and saw my buddy Stephanie from Armoire. We had met up for coffee a few days before the Style Summit, so we would know someone at the event. I was so happy to see her! Having someone I knew helped calm my nerves.
Five of us finally went up on stage and without wasting anytime, Sydney the founder of Gossip & Glamour and the host of the Style Summit, introduced us. Then she fired a question right away and asked me to answer. In my head I’m thinking, “Oh shit! She picked me first? Ugh!” I didn’t even remember what the question was.
By that time my hands were sweaty holding the mic and 100+ more people staring at me. I dug around my head for a smart answer and finally spit out something, that I wasn’t happy with. At that moment, I realized I answered the question as a blogger, not a designer. So I had to switch gears right away. These people want to hear me talk about what I know, my twenty years of experience in the fashion industry.
After I did the switch, it was smooth sailing. I spoke from the heart. It was honest and people wanted to hear them, because it’s not everyday they get to listen to the behind-the-scenes and struggles of a designer.
Right after the panel, many guests introduced themselves to me and gave me kudos. They even told me some of their personal stories and hardships in fashion. I understood them and wanted to give them my full attention, to listen and provide feedback and insights. To connect and be part of a growing fashion community. I felt so much joy that I can teach and give back.
By this time, I was relieved it was finally over!
I was so engaged with the guests, I forgot to eat the delicious lunch W Bellevue Hotel provided. I mingled with a few more people and even got to say hello to new handbag designer Kacy Yom. And lots of us were excited to take pictures with beautiful murals, such as this one from Japanese artist Aiko. Then finally I grabbed lunch! Whew!
The panelists talked about photography, how to manage business financials, social media strategy and affiliate marketing. I took some quick notes, because I have so much to learn. Then I get a text from Peter that wrote, “You know they’re doing Facebook Live, right?. Why aren’t you there?” So I dropped everything and rolled! The girl needs to promote herself. You feel me?
Unfortunately I didn’t get to hear the rest of the panelists speak. I later learned there will be a replay in the What She Said podcast. I’m excited to her the playback.
Once I found the interview room, I was greeted by Darcy Camden from Styled Seattle. She made me feel so welcomed and happy to have me join her on an intimate conversation. At this point, I felt more confident. I was ready to dive into more about my work, blogging and fashion.
Andrew Hoge, Director of Celebrations from Fairmont Olympic Hotel, was the keynote speaker. I managed to catch his speech and hear his story from this everyday life as a party planner to his lifestyle blog. He’s full of life and charmed us with many laughter. They saved the best for last!
END OF DAY:
Everyone transported to W Hotel’s speak easy bar Civility & Unrest. They had bubbly’s and h’orderves waiting for us, while we mingle some more with other fellow bloggers and guests. It was a nice way to unwind and end a long day of crazy adrenaline and emotional rollercoasters .
The cherry on top was when Peter and Kinsley came to pick me up for dinner. Seeing and hugging them made me feel relief. It reminded why I do the crazy shit I do. For my family! Thank you for always being so supportive and understanding.
All in all, the event was the high-light of my fashion career. I never thought what I had to say really mattered, because I’ve been designing for so long, it’s been part of me. The guests took seven hours of their day to hear us speak, instead of spending a day with their loved ones. I left the event feeling honored and humbled to have engaged and connected with so many amazing inspiring people.
So many good feelings! I was in an ALL TIME HIGH!
I love what I do and that day reassured me why. To TEACH, SHARE, LEARN, EMPOWER and INSPIRE, onc seam at a time.
Thank you for reading and listening.