We put a lot of focus on networking and inclusion at the Texas Style Council conference for this reason; we don't want anyone to go home NOT having met new people! - Grechen Cohen
While March in Austin is typically synonymous with the interactive media and music conference SXSW, this year the town is getting a much needed kick in the (designer) pants with two new fashion events, the StyleX emerging designers event at SXSW and the Texas Style Council's inagural blogger conference, taking place March 11-13.
Grechen Cohen and Indiana of Adored Austin are organizing the three day event, which has completely sold out on Sunday, though the free events on Friday and Saturday, including a clothing swap and dance party, are still up for grabs (well, at least when it comes to the clothing swap!). If you're lucky enough to be in town, be sure to bring your boots and business cards, because this is fashion networking, all warm and welcoming Texas style.
Confirmed speakers include:
- Kendi & Bryan Skeen: Kendi Everyday
- Jen Lula: Jen Loves Kev
- Indiana Adams: Adored Austin
- Pamela Castillo: Market Publique
- “Miss” James Kicinski: Bleubird Vintage
- Kayla Secreto: Blue Collar Catwalk
- Keynote- Jennine Jacobs: The Coveted and IFB
Grechen took the time amidst all the planning to answer a few question about the event, fashion blogging and working with fashion PR's. Grechen is a prolific blogger who has maintained professional style/shopping blogger status since 2006 when she began Grechen's Closet - a blog devoted to outfit pictures and online shopping. She branched out in 2008 with Grechen's Codes, filled with hundreds of coupon codes for online shopping, Green Grechen, for eco-fashion, free!grechen for fashion giveaways, Grechen Blogs – a blog about blogging & finally, New to ATXher HQ for Austin’s local Fashion Blogger group.
What was the impetus for creating the Texas Style Council Blogger's conference?
Last year, Indiana organized a very successful new media brunch and boutique crawl during SXSW and we wanted to take it to the next level this year [by] adding more networking opportunities and a learning component. We also wanted to include bloggers from all over the country. [We want to] provide networking, fun, and learning opportunities for style bloggers - and to do it again next year!
What can attendees expect?
LOTS of fun & networking! We really wanted to put equal emphasis on having fun & learning for this conference. And we made sure to schedule the networking/fun stuff before the actual conference so we'd have a more relaxed, informal atmosphere and everyone would know each other already!
What do you think blogger conferences/events/style networks being run by major print pubs?
I haven't participated in any fashion/style blogger specific conferences, but I do think they can be valuable if bloggers go into them with a plan, and an idea of what they want to GET OUT of them. And honestly with most conferences, who you meet can be just as important (or more) as what you learn. [However], it's difficult to meet new people because cliques have already been formed and they're hard to penetrate. We put a lot of focus on networking and inclusion at the Texas Style Council conference for this reason; we don't want anyone to go home NOT having met new people!
You chose Jennine Jacobs are your keynote - why is she the perfect fit for your conference?
Jennine is an inspiration to ALL fashion/style bloggers and has done so much to create and build a community; she didn't just sit back and enjoy her success, she figured out a way to help others be successful, which is what I now try to do as much as possible. And I haven’t met her yet, but we’ve been virtual friends for years, so I’ll admit that one reason is that I REALLY wanted to meet her
What are three tips for fashion/style bloggers looking to make blogging a full-time lucrative career?
Well...I don't know how lucrative it is, but being a full-time blogger is awesome Right now, I personally make a living only by selling ads and from affiliate commissions, but I started in 2004 and have a highly-developed niche; I don't think my success is easily duplicated. I don't always recommend that bloggers follow the route I took today, but I do believe there is value in selling ads and having affiliate relationships on your site - as long as they are RELEVANT and valuable to your reader. Today, bloggers need to be prepared to go offline and USE their blogs as stepping-stones or as one part of their money-making plans. If you're a photographer, use your blog as a portfolio. If you're a stylist, use your blog to get jobs [styling].
What are three examples of how fashion PR's get it wrong when pitching you? 3 ways they get it right?
Ha! The biggest PR Fail for me is spelling my name wrong, but I also find it disappointing to get pitches featuring celebrities (I NEVER talk about celebrities, which is obvious if you read any of my blogs) and ones where it really just feels like they want me to "announce" something, not that they're interested in working with me over time to promote their brand. The relationship is what's important, and I work with several PR's who keep me well-informed by staying in touch. They don't just reach out to me when they NEED something from me, they ask what I NEED from them. I'm interested in how can we work together.