Last week I took a solo trip to LA for the Create & Cultivate conference. Ever since I started my blog I wanted to go to a conference, but especially the Create & Cultivate one because it seemed like a great way to learn and meet other women in the style/creative field!
In this post, I wanted to share my experience with those that are interested in attending this conference. There aren't a ton of personal reviews out there, at least from what I could find, and it's helpful to know what to expect because c'mon, a conference is a big deal...especially if you're traveling out of state! You've got to get a plane ticket. A hotel. A conference ticket. And that's not even the uber, food, supplies, etc. In short: it's a big investment and commitment!
So, of course, you're going to want to know what to expect and if you should invest in this. So is it right for you? Depends. It all comes down to your goals and what you hope to get out of it. But maybe my experience will shed some light on what you can expect and maybe you'll decide yes, this is for you or maybe you'll decide it isn't!
My Create & Cultivate Experience
I was a little disappointed with my time at Create & Cultivate. Here's why:
I feel like it was entertainment-based and not all that educational.
I was hopeful and eager to learn, but I really did not learn much. Of course, I knew this was a possibility because they market their conference as a great way to connect and be inspired, but it doesn't mean you don't want to learn enough to change your business at the same time. Perhaps the information just wasn't resonating with me at that moment, but most of it was general things about being authentic, not giving up, supporting other women, etc.
The keynotes are impressive (such as Jessica Simpson, Eva Mendes, Lauren Conrad, Jessica Alba, and a guy from Queer Eye) but not very helpful. Personally, I'm not all that interested in who inspires your clothing line. I can find that online. And I don't care that your morning routine involves drinking lots of espressos. That does not help my business. Ouch. I said it.
The panels were a little better and there was one with Rachel Parcell, Alyson Stoner, a Vanderpump reality person, an influencer named Gabi, and more, and it was refreshing to hear them talk about patience, not doing brand work for free, and how what looks like overnight success is really 10 years in the making. Not a lightbulb moment, but it was encouraging to hear as I'm the type of person that if I don't achieve my goals overnight then I feel like I'm on the wrong track. This was a good reminder to keep doing what I'm doing and be patient.
I did say hi to Alyson Stoner (you may know her from Disney Channel) but my life was literally not changed after it haha. On the flip side, a fellow conference attendee got a photo with an influencer she's always wanted to meet and she said it was the highlight of her trip!
The mentor sessions are the most intimate with 1 influencer/businesswoman to about 20 women and you have the chance to ask any questions. I did ask my health/wellness mentor about long term brand partnerships and she told me how she just got one that was years in the making. That was encouraging to hear (again) to just give things time! Patience was my biggest reminder of the trip!
Related: 8 LA Outfit Packing Essentials
I did stop at a Pinterest booth and got to talk one-on-one with a representative who looked at my account, gave me some pointers, and showed me some accounts of creators to give me some ideas and that was SO helpful.
Based on that, I think the right conference for me is something focused and deep, or perhaps no conference at all and I should invest in some business coaching! But it is important to meet people in the flesh and you can't exactly do that just sitting on your laptop.
Curious if other women felt a little "meh" about their time there, I went around asking the other attendees what their experience at the conference was. Now that I think of it, people may have thought that I was staff haha. All but one person said they loved it.
But the common theme that I found with those women that loved it was that they were in corporate jobs and wanted to start something, but just weren't sure what. Or they were women that wanted to expand their business into CEO territory and get investors, hire a team, etc. Or they just wanted to have fun, meet a favorite influencer, and be inspired.
I'm perhaps a little bit unique where I'm not super new in my biz (almost 4 years), but I'm not looking to grow a team either (unless someone out there edits vids or is good at social media, hitmeup). I like my balance overall and what I'm doing, I just need some good business tips on how to improve what I'm already doing.
Don't get me wrong, I think that sometimes just listening to women that have gone before you can be invaluable too. I just wasn't really relating to some of the stories there, but I could listen to Jordan Lee Dooley speak all day because her story reminds me of mine!
The conference highlights networking and connecting, so obviously I knew going into this that the education could be lacking. I don't think it's a bad conference and I don't regret going because I did get to meet some amazing women. It was a cool experience and traveling solo grew me as a person! If they came to Chicago I would consider going, but I don't think I'd fly out for it again.
This is right for you if: there's an influencer/celebrity/businesswoman you've always wanted to see, hear from, and potentially get a selfie with. If you are looking for some good "mic drop" moments and snappy one-liners. If you want to be inspired and be in the same room as other creative women.
This is not for you if: you want a deep dive into a particular topic. If you want actionable business tips to implement.
- Everything was so beautiful and instagrammable. They set up super cute backdrops for the photo ops!
- Unlimited snacks, drinks, coffee, and cocktails. As long as you didn't mind waiting in line, you could eat and drink all day.
- The gift bag was huge with some awesome full-size products, especially as a VIP!
- No perfect connections are guaranteed, but they're not going to happen sitting at home, that's for sure!
- The networking event the night before was really good for meeting people.
- The pop-up shops were beautiful, fun, and perfect for trying out new products.
- Like swag? There were tons of swag throughout the event!
- The staff was super friendly and helpful!
- The food was bleh. I mean, I thought I liked healthy but this was a whole new level. It was all organic, gluten-free, cashew milk, grain-free, vegan, etc. I told Titus that I have never had so many snacks yet been so hungry at the same time haha.
- A 12 hour day. Very long. And they kept the "best" for last.
- Very overwhelming. Especially if you are an introvert. There were about 1500 women there!
- Surprisingly, I did not meet another fashion blogger and I met a ton of people. Though to be fair, this is not a conference con, just a personal disappointment! For those thinking it's a blogger conference, it's not!
- Lack of helpful information, obvi.
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What do you think? Are you interested in this conference? Do you think it is right for you? Or maybe you know of a conference that is right for me! Drop a comment!