As the social and digital environment constantly changes, applying the same tried and tested techniques will only ensure content contributes to the noise. Creators should be focusing on new ideas, constantly experimenting and pushing the status quo if they want to maintain genuine connections and be ahead of the curve. Rebecca Minkoff, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Rebecca Minkoff, hopes that aspiring entrepreneurs take away to never take NO for an answer. Occasionally there are moments when you need to reflect and ask, "OK, how am I doing?", but never give up on your dream!
There are many conferences designed to help you get ahead. Create & Cultivate is both an online platform and live (in person) conference for women looking to create and cultivate the career of their dreams. I asked some of the many speakers to share insights and their central ideas around what they want attendees to takeaway. Get ready. There's lots of great advice here.
Jess Barron VP & GM, LIVESTRONG
Listen to your audience. Whether it's via examining data daily and weekly, reading comments on social media, emails or by talking with people face to face (or optimally all of the above!), pay careful attention to what your audience is telling you.
Work your swagger. I've been to so many conferences this year where male panelists have full on swagger and people pay attention to what they're saying, simply by the way they deliver their message. The female panelists rarely display this same swagger. It's so essential to develop your confidence and your voice and personality so that people will remember you and your message.
Katia Beauchamp, CEO & co-founder Birchbox
At Birchbox we believe that you do not need to be obsessed with beauty in order to have a great experience buying beauty, and that belief drives us. This group represents the majority of women and yet no other beauty company is addressing them. Instead, the industry focuses on a small minority of the most engaged, passionate beauty consumers who spend the most. We've shifted our efforts to squarely serve this under-served consumer. We want her to know we respect her and prioritize her -- that we are for her. We're motivated by the progress we've made so far, but we know this untapped group represents an enormous opportunity and we're just at the tip of the iceberg.
Bevin Prince, Instructor,SoulCycle
To some, SoulCycle is a workout but to others, it is a safe place to explore and witness the limitless potential we all embody. We learn to put into practice mental tools that allow us to access our entrepreneurial spirit despite fears, blocks, and limiting beliefs. We practice taking big risks, assessing, and then making new choices. We learn how to set intentions and then how to use those intentions to move through difficult situations. We witness that the team is always stronger than the individual. To me, the effect SoulCycle has on your physical body is simply a bonus.
Rosette Pambakian, Vice President Communications and Brand,Tinder
Prioritizing your brand voice is critical in today's business climate. Now more than ever, purchases are being made based on consumer's perception of a brand and its values. I've worked at Tinder from the beginning when it was still a tiny, unknown startup, which allowed me to have a critical role in defining the brand's voice and identity. Being a part of the early team behind such an innovative company that so quickly became a global phenomenon pushes me to keep striving for the next milestone for us. It's imperative that you stay passionate, even on the most difficult days, so that you have the confidence to be vocal about what direction you believe the company should go in. Have a strong point of view about your brand, and voice that often.
Historically, women have not been well-represented in tech, and now there is finally a spotlight on it. It's a good feeling, knowing that my point of view on our brand's direction was so integral to our success. I took a risk in joining Tinder at the very beginning of their journey, and I hope to inspire people, especially the women attending Create & Cultivate, to take risks. Take risks, embrace challenges, and speak up.
Piera Gelardi, Executive Creative Director & Co-Founder, Refinery29
Brands with purpose and intent have longevity and create the most loyalty with their audience. Research has shown that people thrive most when they are able to leverage their unique strengths. To me, success is being able to apply both of these things so that you can grow alongside your business or career. Being an entrepreneur and working in our digital age requires constant evolution, experimentation, curiosity, and an open mind. In order to evolve without diluting your brand -- or compromising yourself -- you have to stay true to your core values while being extremely flexible, courageous, and persevering. A sense of humor always helps, too.
Iva Pawling, Co-Founder & CEO, Richer Poorer
Maintain an irritating level of persistence. The entrepreneur road never, ever turns out as you expect it would and it's easy to mistake the bumps for signs that you are on the wrong path. You're not. Through the isolation, disappointment and fear, just keep moving forward and adjust your expectations often. It is always worth it.
Helena Glazer, Creator of Brooklyn Blonde
While you'll probably often hear the words "be authentic" I feel that in this day and age, it has never been so important. We're inundated with what seems to be the perfect life, yet after awhile, that gets to be too much. People want to relate, to connect and to know that through the inspiration (or information) you're sharing, there's actually a real person there. In my opinion, that is more inspiring than anything else.
Kendra Scott, Founder & CEO, Kendra Scott, LLC
In the middle of his battle with brain cancer, my stepfather Rob changed my life with three small words: "You Do Good." He taught me that the most important thing I can do in life is use my talents to change the lives of those around me for the better. We each have the power to leave this world better than we found it. The most important advice I've learned is that if you do everything with a giving heart and kindness towards others, success is sure to follow.
Claudine Cazian Britz, Head of Entertainment Partnerships, Instagram
Instagram has evolved to a platform that strengthens relationships through shared experiences - both personally and professionally. From Instagram Feed to Stories to Live, we want to offer a better and deeper understanding of how Instagram can drive impact in a meaningful way. We want the room to walk away inspired, enlightened and have a clear sense of how to succeed on our platform. Each day, our community of 600+ million people around the world is utilizing Instagram in incredibly creative ways, and it's important for us to connect with them and hear their stories.
Hilary Sloan, Director of Business Development, ShopStyle
For brands that want to optimize their reach and maximize sales, influencer marketing is playing an ever-increasing role in meeting those objectives. The key is to have well-defined goals, the right set of collaborators (not just the most "popular"), and hard data to inform the development of a thoughtful campaign that will deliver the desired return on investment.
Rebecca Minkoff, Creative Director & Co-Founder
I hope that aspiring entrepreneurs take away to never take NO for an answer. Occasionally there are moments when you need to reflect and ask, "OK, how am I doing?" but never give up on your dream!
Lauryn Evarts, Influencer & Creative Director, The Skinny Confidential
STRATEGY, BRANDING, AND EXECUTION are three things that attendees will take away from my panel at Create & Cultivate. When laying out a brand it's super important to have a strategy with a crystal clear message. Even more important than strategy is execution. I see a lot of people talking but not a lot of actual doing. So DO, DO, DO while listening and engaging with your audience to steer the direction of your brand's strategy.
Carly A. Heitlinger, Creator of The College Prepster
One thing that has been top of mind for me lately is that it's so important to have life-driven content and not a content-driven life. I think this is not only a key to balanced and healthy living, it's also the easiest way to ensure constant inspiration. It's too easy to think you should "do it for the 'gram," but you really should be focusing on 'gramming because you did it!
Brooke Brinkman, VP Marketing & Communications, Simon G. Jewelry
Don't chase the money, you will never win the race. Money will come and go and there will always be a larger salary to obtain, but if you lose yourself in the process you risk losing all that is truly important to you and will lead to a long fulfilling life. Pursue a career that you are passionate about, that challenges you and allows you to feel fulfilled...the career that provides opportunities for both personal and professional growth. You control your destiny and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Lauren Bates, Chief Marketing Officer, UrbanStems
There's a lot of pressure to digitize everything we do, but the best brands are learning to strike the balance between the convenience of digital interaction and our innate desire for human connection. You'll have the upper hand if you make customer experience the foundation of your marketing strategy.
Jessy Fofana, Founder, LaRue PR
Say "yes" and figure it out later. Fear, worry and what if -ing things gets in the way. Have confidence that you can and will figure it out. Whatever "it" is. Being an entrepreneur requires some levels of fearlessness or at least the ability to not be debilitated by anxiety. Be brave, or pretend, and keep moving!
Maxie McCoy, Writer & Speaker
I want attendees to know that they're not alone in their challenges. They'll see that the successful leaders on our panel have experienced doubt, made mistakes and questioned themselves too. Through our honest conversations, I hope attendees will feel renewed confidence to take a bold step forward in building their brands and businesses.
Caryn Johnson, Vice President of Marketing,Vital Proteins
For me, authenticity is the foundation of all great marketing efforts. It's ever important to be genuine in everything your brand touches - from every response you put on social media to your entire marketing strategy.
Kat Tanita, Founder, With Love From Kat
Stay true to yourself and don't be afraid to say no. In such a saturated industry, it's crucial to hold onto your authentic voice and vision. Think of your blog as a brand. Every project, every tweet, every image you put out there is a building block to the foundation of your business. It should all be cohesive.
Bobby Kim, Co-founder of The Hundreds and Jennifer
It takes blood, sweat and YEARS to develop a brand and write your story. This isn't about closing with the fastest time or winning the biggest trophy. It's about running the marathon with your friends and enjoying the view.
Maiah Ocando, Actress & Executive Producer
I want people to hear the story of the boisterous accident that my life has been, so they can feel inspired to make something out of their own chaos (because everybody always has a degree of entropy to start). Working as the Executive Producer of your own career is harder than working for someone's elses. It requires that you to take risks, to adapt, to fail, to reinvent yourself with the only guidance of instinct, and that's scary as hell if you're used to playing it safe. I've never played safe (...). I came to the USA 4 years ago without even speaking English, because I created the show nobody wanted to create for me, and I keep doing the same with movies or series, over and over again. I think this is a craziness that's worth sharing, don't you think?
Claire Sulmers, Author & Entrepreneur, Fashion Bomb Daily
You have the power inside you to create your own opportunities and be the change you wish to see in the world. If someone doesn't give you a seat at the table, create your own table. Blaze your own trail. The Universe rewards the bold.
Amy Woodside, Founder,OKREAL
I want to help my mentees define what fulfillment means to them, and work with them to identify the steps they need to take to create it for themselves.
Tessa Wolf, Creative Director, Framebridge
When you're just getting started, all you have is your gut, and it's so, so important to listen to it as you're developing your brand. As you grow, you have to shift to listening to what your customers are telling you. If you ever feel like something is off, just turn to your customers... Their feedback will always steer you in the right direction.
Jessica Franklin, Lifestyle, Travel, Fitness & Beauty Curator
I want people to leave our mentorship sessions inspired knowing that we live in an amazing time where with hard work, consistency, and originality it is truly possible to create their own brand and career. My hope is for them to leave with the tools and skills for growing a following, creating great unique content, networking and so much more!
Mary Orton, Co-founder of Trove & Creator of Memorandum.com
Style influencers have disrupted the landscape of fashion and retail and are driving consumer purchasing decisions, but are still fragmented across tens of thousands of web-based blogs and a myriad of social platforms. With Trove, we've created a mobile platform that brings together the rich, shoppable content of these influencers into one centralized platform, offering consumers a highly engaging, content-first, style and shopping hub. By seamlessly integrating content and commerce, Trove addresses the needs of this community of entrepreneurs, providing us with the business tools we need to grow and succeed
Kaitlyn Schiltz, Manager,It Bed Activation
Create content that matters. When you're developing work, ask yourself a few questions: Does what I'm making fit into a bigger story? If so, how does it fit? Why do I/my brand have a voice on this topic? What value does this content provide to the people who will see it? What do we expect the outcome of creating and sharing this content to be? And then, don't be afraid to try things out, see what sticks and keep trying - there is so much to learn and what you learn won't be the same for everyone.
Jennifer Spector, Director of Brand, Zola
Surround yourself with people who don't speak the same language to make the biggest impact. At Zola, everyone is an expert in their field - whether it is engineering, strategy, or marketing. The magic happens when all these experts combine forces, discuss new ideas, and find common ground to move a new idea forward.
Rachel Phillips-Luther, Chief Marketing Officer, Jamba Juice
Blend the most into life: As passionate marketers, moms, or entrepreneurs, we aspire to 'have it all'...family, adventure, fitness, friends, new experiences...all while running a thriving business. At Jamba, we believe that every day is a chance to blend the most into life, so you that you can get a little more out of life. In an ever-changing and ever-demanding environment, the key is to find your perfect blend.
Melissa Grillo, VP of Platform, Forerunner Ventures
The importance of a brand story and how it's told, is becoming more and more important as consumers are searching to have meaningful connections with the brands they consume on a day-to-day basis. This new generation of consumers wants to know exactly who they are buying from and what the brand stands for--before they consider making it a part of their every day life. Hopefully I will be able to illustrate through our portfolio some of our brands that are doing this in an exemplary way.
Maile Pacheco, Founder, beGlammed
I love connecting with and inspiring women to chase their dreams. One of the key takeaways that I hope to relay to the audience of budding female entrepreneurs at Create & Cultivate is to modernize and 'monetize your passion.' Once you can hone in on what you are passionate about, you can find a need within the market for your product or service, and develop a strategic business plan to monetize it and a competitive analysis that identifies who are your competitors and what do you offer that stand out amongst your competition.
Cynthia, Attorney & Digital Influencer, SimplyCyn
Trust your voice, trust your perspective, because it's authentic, fresh, and unique. Our collective voices have shaped markets, and driven the creation of new ones. We can't wait to hear yours so get out there and share!
Zanita Whittington, Creative Director & Founder, Azalle and Zanita Studio
As the social and digital environment constantly changes, applying the same tried and tested techniques will only ensure content contributes to the noise. Creators should be focusing on new ideas, constantly experimenting and pushing the status quo if they want to maintain genuine connections and be ahead of the curve.
April Foster, Founder & CEO, Inked, LLC.
Done is better than perfect any day of the week. The product we produce will never be 100% perfect; we will always seek to improve it in one way or another. The marketing campaigns could always be just a tinge better, but in the end, what gets results is shipping it out the door. Getting it done gives us valuable metrics that allow us to near perfection in future iterations.
Deddeh Howard, Creator of Secret of DD
It all ends and starts with you and the limits you put on yourself. Focus on the outcome you are trying to achieve and be determined to overcome all obstacles in your way. If others can do it you can too. If you are unsure keep looking for stronger inspiration that creates a spark inside of you strong enough to make it happen.
Arielle Noa Charnas, Founder, Something Navy
It's not about simply bringing awareness to a brand now -- consumers want that trusted value that they look to influencers for, which is what will essentially convert them to a customer. The key is to have a long-term partnership with brand ambassadors that align with the brand's messaging and esthetic -- this is the most sincere and authentic, which is now critical in such a saturated space.
Gabrielle Korn, Digital Editor-in-Chief, Nylon
I want attendees to walk away from this panel with a new perspective on what the 2017 fashion landscape is, and how the amazing panelists are actively impacting it with their work. I hope to hear stories from the panelists about how the industry has shifted, and what it means for consumers and designers alike.
Gorjana Reidel, Founder & Creative Director, Gorjana
I am hopeful to provide a realistic and insightful look into what it's like to be an entrepreneur. It isn't easy to start a business, but the true challenge is to keep it thriving all while maintaining a true representation of yourself and your brand. To stay top of mind, you must always be evolving, but never lose sight of what's most important to you.
Ally Love, Founder, Love Squad, Peloton Instructor, Brooklyn Nets Host
As an entrepreneur, you're often going to face challenges. It comes with the territory. But every problem has at least one solution, if not several, and our ability to creatively problem-solve is the magic that can makes us successful. I want the audience to walk away feeling empowered, and knowing that the first step to tackling an issue is believing in, and understanding, yourself.
Karla Gallardo Cuyana, CEO & Co-Founder, Cuyana
I want to inspire women with the entrepreneurial spirit. It takes confidence, courage and a support system to take that first step in business, and I am so thankful for all of the mentors in my life who never stopped believing in my mission to disrupt the traditional retail model and bring to market an unprecedented value proposition.
Jean Wang, Creator of Extra Petite
When used thoughtfully, fashion is an empowering tool for creative business women. It can bolster self-confidence, set the tone of a pitch meeting, and be an extension of your personal brand. Fashion can be an opportunity to make sure the world sees you exactly how you want to be seen.
Kiara LeBlanc, VP Brand & Creative Director,Saje
Statistics will tell you that the brick and mortar world is quickly transitioning to the dot com world, but as humans we crave authentic connections, this is where the wellness industry has such a special opportunity. Creating a space that communities can turn to when they want to feel better within an environment that has the power to transition your state from scattered and stressed to grounded and connected has never been more important and relevant than it is today. True connection cultivates community, but this can only happen when we are present with one another.
Mica May, CEO,May Designs
I love the chance to gather with a smaller group of women and dig into some of the practicals of running a business. I think it's easy to sit in the audience and listen to keynotes and think, "Oh, she has it all together! I'll never be as successful as so and so. . . " The round table-style mentor sessions are an incredible opportunity to peel back the curtain and speak openly about the crazy highs and crazy lows of entrepreneurship, as well as hopefully provide a safe place for people to engage and ask questions they might not otherwise ask in a much larger setting. My hope at the end of the mentor session is that the women in our group are standing a little straighter, and leave with a spring in their step because they feel empowered and hopeful to go out their and tackle their dreams!
Kiana Cabell, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Kopari
In order to stand out amongst countless brands and a sea of endless products, you need to capitalize on your passions and strengths and then look at your existing competitors and listen to your prospective consumers. What are they looking for that doesn't already exist in the space? It could be a lifestyle, a new ingredient, an improved formulation, application, or an entirely new product that is missing from the marketplace. Build your brand around that, ensuring that you're consistently innovating, pivoting with your audience, and offering new content as you go on all platforms.
Erica Domesek, Founder,PS I Made This
My panel, "Just Do It: A Real World Guide to Channeling your Entrepreneurial Spirit"- could not be more apropos and in line with my professional journey. I would ask the audience one simple question: Would continue to do what you do, even if you were not getting paid? If the answer is YES- they came to the right panel.
Listening to your loud inner entrepreneurial voice is something you don't find, it finds you. You eat, sleep and breath the passion that keeps you motivated and excited to build and grow something special. It should not be fueled by monetary reasons, but by the sheer excitement that makes you want to keep working hard.For me, there is DIY in my DNA and working hard to grow the business of P.S.- I Made This, has been the truest labor of love that I have endured.
I hope to inspire others with my journey and pass along any information and tips I have learned along the way that could possibly help them as they look to grow their brands and businesses.
Katie Sturino, Founder, The12ishStyle
Don't get hung up on labels. Something may be considered niche or fringe in your town, or by your own group of friends and family, but the power of the Internet is it lets you tap into your tribe. Look at the body positivity movement -- thanks to social media and the Internet--it's become big business despite living on the "fringe" of the fashion category.
Reesa Lake, Partner & Senior Vice President, Digital Brand Architects
Create & Cultivate is much larger than a conference, it is a movement, the fearless females who are sharing their stories on stage foster a sense of inclusion in an industry that is typically branded as exclusive. The Style Me Savvy panel will be full of personal experiences and inspirational advice on how to grow a brand in todays digital world. It takes tenacity and hard work to make it in todays saturated and competitive market, everyone on the panel has overcome obstacles and some version of trial and error to find success. Being a partner of Create & Cultivate has been a highlight of my career, the women involved inspire me every day and I am counting down the days until May 6th.
Jaclyn Johnson, Founder, Create & Cultivate
The goal of Create & Cultivate is to arm attendees with the information, advice and inspiration they need to ignite their idea, build their business and feel supported by a community of women along the way. The day is filled with panels featuring some of the most successful women in the world, we hope attendees walk away feeling entertained, inspired and informed.