video credit: Jasmin Elaine
photo credit: Sara Coffin
event planners: Lion House

The weekend of April 14th and 15th marked the inaugural Style Collective Conference! Our #SCSisters left Raleigh, NC feeling inspired, empowered, and confident. The two-day conference was packed with meaningful networking, inspiring talks, and educational workshops, all revolving around one theme: empowerment with purpose.

Saturday

We welcomed our bossbabe attendees to the Capital Club Building to check in and pick up their badges, swag bags, and conference workbooks. Then, our bossbabes took the elevator to the 12th floor, preparing to SLAY the weekend.

It was as if I was walking into a dream! A DREAM! My mind couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. I have been in beautiful settings for weddings and other events, but this space really took my breath away.” – Kayra Merrills

The Cannon Room’s floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the city of Raleigh, and its art-deco inspired architecture and chandeliers embody elegance. The Lion House and the Style Collective team joined forces to elevate the room with attention to every last detail. Gold Chiavari chairs were meticulously set in front of the stage, which was accented with a glowing neon SC logo. To one side, round tables with pink linens, floral centerpieces, and beautiful gifts awaited our workshop attendees. Behind the tables was a glass-enclosed room decorated with floral decals and the SC logo, the perfect backdrop for print-out photobooth-style pictures. On the other side of the room was a lounge area with velvet pillows, bar seating (with beautiful golden chairs from Italy), and breakfast bar complete with endless coffee, drinks, and treats. And the details didn’t stop there, because every bossbabe also received an SC coffee mug, SC pens, and other fun gifts from Thimblepress, Mon Amie, and Natalie Fragrance.

“I arrived around midnight Friday evening and flew back out Sunday evening. A quick trip, but so very worth every penny and minute spent. You know how ‘it’s all in the details,’ is a common caption or phrase right now with the rise of creatives? Well SHOOT – it was all in the details for this conference. Thanks to Annie’s team of bossbabes, from the sponsors to SC’s team members to the ones behind the details, everything from the location, to the set, to the color theme, to the cards on the tables, to the food, was pristine.” – Mary Rachel Heard

Keynote

Annie Spano, Founder of Style Collective, kicked off the conference with an energizing keynote speech about the true meaning of empowerment and how every SC Sister has the right, power, and authority to inspire others to take action in their lives. If you weren’t there to hear the speech in person, don’t worry! You can still listen to it on the Becoming Fearless podcast.

Networking

After the keynote, our bossbabes took a short break to fuel up on Larry’s Coffee and Slingshot Coffee, Suja Juice, kombucha, Lifeway Kefir, and Dunkin Donuts (all thanks to our incredible sponsors!). This coffee break was also the perfect opportunity for our girls to network, follow each other on Instagram, and take a few snapshots at our photobooth with Nathan from ZimZoom Photobooth.

The most rewarding part of this entire experience was the energy in the room throughout the entire conference. These girls were open-minded, lovely, talented, willing to help others, and eager to learn. They were serious bossbabes.” – Catherine Marchetta

Influencer Panel

Our first panel of the weekend, moderated by AdrinaRose, featured three top influencers: Holly Boyd, Courtney Inkpen, and Keke. They covered lots of topics, from how to decide which brands and companies to work with, to what to charge, to whether or not it’s too late to become an influencer, to things they wish they would’ve known when they first started…and more!

“I think the nugget that really stuck out to me most was to delete any apps that I had to track who was following or unfollowing me. I had two apps that showed me such things, and it does get you down. When I deleted them, it felt kind of freeing. Also, staying genuine to yourself, finding your niche, and posting daily is the key to finding your tribe. We were also encouraged to pitch brands no matter how small we are.” – Gigi Williams

Lunch

After the panel, our bossbabes networked some more over an Instagram-worthy lunch from Panera, served on ceramic plates (pink, of course!) with gold flatware. Because attention to detail was the name of the game, our water bottles were even decorated with floral #SCCon18 wrappers!

“This blogger conference has exceeded my expectations, and it’s only lunchtime on the first day!” – Jamie Madden

Workshops

The first workshop of the weekend was Build Your Brand and Discover Your Authentic Leadership with SC’s own Annie Spano. During this workshop, our attendees received watches from Mon Amie, an amazing brand that gives back to people in need.

“Annie helped us narrow down our mission and vision statements, along with discovering our authentic selves. This workshop was deep. We looked at our past experiences, good or bad, to understand our stories and to help define our purpose and values. Some of my values include faith, honesty, compassion, respect, and growth. Which brings me to my mission: empowering women to live life confidently, one closet at a time. I envision a world where women can lift each other up fashionably, instead of tearing each other down. To say this workshop was a doozy is an understatement. Any time you have to do soul searching, it can be intense, but so insightful!!” Gigi Williams

At the final workshop of the day, Jessie Undorfer tackled Content Planning and Writing Emotional Headlines That Convert. Attendees found their focus, identified their niche audience, and expanded their influence using research-backed marketing techniques and tools. Even better? Our bossbabes planned their content calendars for the next SIX MONTHS. This workshop checked off a lot of boxes!

“We learned the tools for how you can start now, pitch like a BOSS, perfect a content calendar and plan it six months in advance, and end the year with GOALS CRUSHED. These workshops were headed by expert leaders who taught the tools you need to take your Girl Boss business to the next level and SLAY.” – Catherine Marchetta

At the end of day one, our bossbabes wrote letters to their future selves. In six months, Annie will mail those letters out, so every one of our attendees can remember WHY they came to our inaugural conference and the goals they set for themselves.

VIP Pre-Party

Then, everyone was free to go explore Raleigh or stick around for the Pre-VIP Party, where VIP attendees sipped bubbly and got their hair and makeup touched up by local professionals. Team SC made dinner reservations for everyone downtown, so the girls headed out at 6pm to enjoy the evening and the local cuisine!

Vip Party

At 8pm, our VIPs returned for more networking, hand-crafted margaritas from R Bar, and even more amazing photo ops with ZimZoom Photobooth. Halfway through the night, we had a fabulous giveaway! Three randomly selected bossbabes received gifts from Copper Penny and Charming Charlie.

“I didn’t want the weekend to end. Was the weekend really going to have to end? Couldn’t I just stay in this beautiful space with these amazing women who have lifted me up so much already?” – Jamie Madden

 

Sunday

Sunday morning was just as jam-packed and inspirational as day one! Annie kicked off the second day of the conference with a short, inspirational speech about the Cannon Room — and the woman it was named after, Isabelle Cannon, who was Raleigh’s first female mayor in the 1970s at the age of 73!

“The Cannon Room was named after the first female Mayor of Raleigh, Isabelle Cannon. With that as a backdrop, it was just the perfect vibe and space, intimate yet spacious and generously lit with its large windows. It made for an inviting space that made us want to network. Lucky for us, this room has already been booked for next year’s conference!” – Rina Puri

Brand Panel

Up next, moderator AdrinaRose took the stage with our three brand panelists, Angel from Beam Collective and Jordan and Sarah from Kendra Scott, to discuss some important topics — advice for new influencers who want to work with brands, essentials for influencers to have in their portfolio or media kit, favorite types of content to see from influencers, and many dos and don’ts for navigating the influencer-brand relationship.

“My biggest takeaway from this was that, when pitching brands, they like to use the word ‘partnership’ in email subjects to make it more personable and collaborative. Along with giving metrics, numbers don’t lie. They also reiterated the fact that brands aren’t looking to work with just huge influencers but influencers that have a real following with a sense of community.” – Gigi Williams

Workshops

Our next two workshops were with Amanda Berlin and Courtney Bentley. Everyone was engaged, asking questions, and soaking up knowledge from our guest experts! Up first was Media Exposure, Brand Deals, and Leveling-Up with Amanda and Annie. Together, they talked about how to set your goals, get what you want out of publicity and brands, where to find people to pitch, what to say to create authentic connections, and how to increase your visibility, build your reputation, and monetize your passion.

“We focused on how to get what you want out of brand deals, where you go to find the right contacts, and making an authentic connection with the brand. I really enjoyed this part. It isn’t about trying to get as many paid deals and free products you can. I want to know that the brand I am working with shares the same values as I do. That way I can genuinely say that a brand means something to me. And let’s be honest, your followers can tell when you truly love and believe in something versus when you are just doing something because you have to.” – Jamie Madden via IFB

The final workshop of the weekend, Ready to Launch: Podcasting and Making It to the Top, was taught by Courtney Bentley and Annie Spano. Our bossbabe attendees learned why you should start a podcast, what chart-topping podcasts have in common, how guests amplify your mission, how you can be a guest to spread your message, and marketing tactics that will help you hustle your way to the top 10 (tactics that can also be applied to your blog!).

“Courtney Bentley from the Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous podcast, alongside Annie, walked us through why we should start a podcast. They explained how it would help us achieve our goals and helped us craft intros and pitches to brands/guests.” – Jamie Madden via IFB

The Big Send-Off

And finally — the big surprise! A trolley ride around Raleigh, bringing our SC Sisters to cute boutiques and a rooftop party to celebrate an incredible weekend of connection, education, and inspiration!

“This was literally the most inspirational and encouraging weekend of my entire life. They even treated us to a trolley ride around downtown Raleigh as a send-off!” – Gigi Williams

Overall, our #SCSisters LOVED their weekend, soaking up every inspiring moment together!

“All of the glitz and glam aside, this weekend was one of the best weekends of my life. I never thought that I would walk out of this conference with so many amazing women by my side.” – Carly Bandy

“After a weekend of being affirmed, celebrated, educated, trained, and showered with gifts, I left the Style Collective Conference with a clear vision of what I am supposed to be.” – Susan Crews

“Overall, the conference was soulful, the type of event that I needed, reminding me that I am not alone in this journey. Style Collective wrapped me up in a loving consciousness of empowerment, sisterhood, and the tools to thrive in a space that I can call my own.” – Kayra Merrills


Having Major FOMO?

There are a few ways that you can get involved!

Sign up for the digital ticket and experience our panels and workshops from the comfort of your own home!

Save the date!! We will have an encore #SCCon18 at NYFW this September.


Last but not least, a HUGE THANK YOU to our sponsors for epic swag bags, delicious food and drink, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences!