Takeaways from Create + Cultivate that Everyone Can Utilize
If you follow me on Instagram, Snapchat (beccajacoby), Facebook and/or Twitter, you know I attended Create + Cultivate in Dallas the last weekend of January. This trip was extra special for me because it was my first Dallas visit since my husband, pup and I moved to San Francisco last summer. I arrived on Thursday that week so I could make the rounds (as best I could!). I visited the high school I taught at last year, stopped by some of my favorite coffee shops (White Rock Coffee and Oak Lawn Coffee), did some shopping at Milk & Honey and got my makeup done at Blushington before I headed to Create + Cultivate's attendee happy hour. I was also able to spend some quality time with family. It was a lot jammed into a quick weekend, but I think I definitely made the most of it.
If you're unfamiliar with Create + Cultivate, let me break it down for you: it's a conference + online platform for girl bosses in the digital space. Everyone from bloggers, to photographers, to designers, to small business owners were in attendance. I even met a lawyer from Indiana who is hoping to make a career change in the foreseeable future to something that will allow her to flex her creative muscles. Talk about inspiring. I was especially excited to attend because I got to visit with some of my friends who are also bloggers, including Mattie of Fit is Chic, Lauren of PR Blonde and Hillary of Style by Grassano. The conference featured an all-star cast of incredible female entrepreneurs, and some of my biggest inspirations, including Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere, Camille Styles, Lauren Scruggs and Rachel Schwartzmann, founder and CEO of The Style Line , among many others, spoke on panels and in keynotes. We also heard from the founders of SoulCycle and Haylie Duff. It was jam-packed, star-studdeed, and the most beneficial conference I've ever attended.
Outside of the insightful panels and opportunities to mix and mingle with some of the best in the biz, Create + Cultivate provided and inspirational experience through the atmosphere alone. The decor, set-up and overall aesthetic was enough to make me want to snap photos and redecorate my entire apartment and office space. I purchased a VIP ticket, so I got to choose my track (they provided a list of panels for each track to help you choose) and my mentors, and I had access to an open bar the entire day. Additionally, there was a hair and makeup lounge for free touch-ups, pop-up shops galore, and other drinks and bites to enjoy (including Sprinkles cupcakes) throughout the day. Seriously, y'all, I wish I could repeat the weekend. However, Create + Cultivate is announcing its next conference city on Feb. 15, so stay tuned for that! (Did I mention there was a macaron bar? Because there was a macaron bar.)
I walked away with tons of great advice, tips and inspiration, but honestly, as I was listening to the panels and chatting with other female entrepreneurs, I thought to myself that I wish every woman could attend this conference. Even if you're not starting a business or blogging, we're all female entrepreneurs in our own right, and I thought this conference did a wonderful job of showcasing that every single one of us is a girl boss. So, here are some key takeaways that I think all of us can utilize, from relationships, to career, to the overall spirit of what it means to be a woman.
1. Don't shy away from your voice.
As a blogger, I work hard to ensure the way I write is the way I speak so my readers understand who I am as a person and what I stand for. I would never write something I don't believe, and I would never try to act a certain way behind the screen, and then completely different when you see me in person. I think this piece of advice is beneficial for everyone. Whether your voice is at work, in a relationship, or behind a business, find your voice, be proud of it, and stick with it.
2. Embrace your passions - large and small.
This one seems obvious, but think about it this way: how often have you downplayed a passion because it seemed "too small"? For example, I really love coffee. A lot of people love coffee. This isn't a unique thing. But just because tons of people love coffee doesn't mean I can't embrace my passion for it. I also love this blog. And reading. And writing snail mail. And comfy T-shirts. And rescue pups. Every passion point in our lives defines who we are, and we should take the time to embrace and enjoy them every chance we get.
3. Competition is real, and it can be damaging.
HerStory will be six months old this month. I still can't believe that. When I think back to where I started half a year ago and where I am today, I am baffled. I am proud of this blog. It's fun for me. However, I've learned in my six months of blogging that it can be easy to get caught up in the competition side of it. That's natural, I think. I work in a competitive environment, and with the blogging industry being so incredibly saturated these days (which is a great thing, in my opinion), it's so easy to compare yourself to others. But the moment you compete with others is the moment you lose yourself - in a negative way. Stay focused on what you're doing while remaining a supportive counterpart to others, and you'll find that the competitive nature of this business, or whatever you're engaged in, becomes a lot less oppressive. As the ladies at Create + Cultivate say, "Girls compete. Women in empower."
4. Strive to contribute to the greater good.
I wish I would have been recording Rachel Schwartzmann when she said something along those lines during our mentor session. We were chatting about the reasons we blog, design, what have you, and she mentioned that she wanted to contribute to the world in a meaningful way, and that truly resonated with me. This blog is so much more than sharing tips, tricks, advice and fashion trends; it's about empowerment and inspiration. And it's so crucial to feel that in whatever you're doing. because that's when you know you're contributing to the world in a positive manner.
5. Patience is a serious virtue.
I think one of the most commonly-asked questions in every panel was along the lines of "How did you do it?" How did you make this happen? How did you gain your following? What advice do you have for novice entrepreneurs? And outside of creating valuable content, their answers aligned with patience and consistency. We see these largely successful bloggers and female entrepreneurs and wonder how they seemingly found their success overnight. The truth of the matter is, they didn't. They worked odd jobs. They blogged at night while they supported themselves with a 9-5. They moved back in with their parents. They worked tirelessly on their side hustle, and now their side hustle is their day job. No matter where you are or what you're working on, hold onto that patience (easier said than done, I know), and you'll look back and be grateful for the blood, sweat and tears you so patiently put into your passions.
If you attended Create + Cultivate, what would you add to this roundup? Any questions I can answer?
All photos courtesy of Create + Cultivate, Jessica Bordner Photography and Melissa Enid Photography. And check out more conference photos here.