beauty beauty blog beauty blogger Thursday, July 28, 2016 Jennie Velasco
Chicago friends, I do not consider myself a beauty or a fashion blogger...rather, a home grown, art-lovin', urban adventurer, food crazy, mom-juggling, netflix-obsessed, overall power woman Chicago blogger. I actually have been a licensed stylist for the last 9 years, practicing my craft on and off and just now mastering my contour. So beauty maybe present in my life, but after attending this Simply Stylist event, I feel I may have tapped into some potential new business.
If you fit into the categories of fashion and beauty, you will want to follow Simply Stylist on Facebook and sign up on their website for juicy goodies to help you build your blogging business. I was sent on behalf of HalfStack to cover the event that Simply Stylist held at the dana hotel and spa and it really just turned into a great learning experience. Appropriately named after the company, it is considered a conference of sorts with opportunities to network, panel discussions, and break out sessions to learn more of the multi-faceted industry that is beauty and fashion. I had the opportunity to meet other fabulous and gorgeous women that came from many parts of the country to attend this event. Many were bloggers, other were image consultants or personal shoppers/stylists. And a small few were looking for a career change. One woman I met named Ann, was a very fashionable art/composition professor at a college, who was coming up to her retirement and looking to start a business in being a personal stylist.
I have to be honest and tell you I felt massively underdressed and maybe even under makeupped.
The day started off with a light brunch and mimosas (and some free goodies from H20) where we had the opportunity to network and meet the organizer and founder of the event, Sarah Boyd. After we introduced ourselves we went up the elevator to the Vertigo Sky Lounge where we met Catt Sadler of E! News who led the panel discussion. Others on the panel included Paolo Nieddu (Emmy nominated costume designer), Alaina Kaczmarski (co-founder of The Everygirl), fashion photographer Helen Berkun, Lindsay Albanese (celebrity stylist), and Cara Santana (actress and co-founder of The Glam App). This power house group of fabulosity gave everyone insight on the industry and what it took to get them to where they are now. Many starts were surprising and others sounded nearly impossible, especially for working mothers on the panel. Of the five, Lindsay and Helen were mothers of multiple children and still running a smart and savvy business that they themselves put together with blood, sweat and tears. From their stories, it seemed to come to them quite organically. They all knew what it was going to take, they didn't press on themselves unreachable goals, but they definitely did not stop trying to get to the job that they love. Ultimately, they were aiming to achieve a passion that many give up trying, and they are making it work.
Their advice came with simple suggestions with following up on emails, and how to better utilize social media to your advantage and the key word CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY. This means keeping to scheduled posts and staying on a weekly schedule, keeping your photos and backdrops clean and professional, and use those hashtags to gain followers. This can also pertain to your portfolios, your verbiage, and overall work ethic. And thats only a small glimpse of helpful suggestions.
After the panel discussion we were sent back down the elevator for a small networking session that gave us the opportunity to experience beauty artistry from stylists on The Glam App, get our pictures drawn by a fashion illustrator, and eat some more food (always my favorite part). Our breakout sessions included: Styling 101, PR and the Art of Being Nice, Being A Mom and Running a Business (Work/Life Balance), How To Generate Income on Your Blogging Business, and How to Make Most of Your YouTube Channel. The guest speakers were all local people that are notable for creating an independent fashion business in a city that doesn't cater to that kind of opportunity. Not only were they successful, they've maintained important business relationships, not breaking any bridges and still make time to help others just like all of us attending the event.
I may or may not have been the only one to stay for all 5 breakout sessions and took notes like my life depended on it. I got so lost in the information I was getting, I forgot that I was there covering the event which ended up meeting me altogether with priceless insight and confidence of how far I've come. So much so, that a few attendees had recognized me as a familiar Chicago blogger. It was great to know that I have started to influence some locals into finding my words informative and insightful. However, its different to view words and find them helpful, but I fully appreciated the opportunity to meet and conduct a dialogue with those in the industry and have found success, or are still on the way to success. If you're anything like me, you'll know that experience is what makes someone a boss. Experience builds you up and prepares you to become what you need to be when you are confronted with life. Thank you to Simply Stylist Chicago and all the amazing people I had the opportunity to meet. Most of all, thanks for this killer swag bag!