5 Lessons I Learned at the Fashionista Conference

Fashionista Conference 2015

Many people say that networking is a crucial element of blog promotion, which is why I decided to attend last Friday’s Fashionista Conference in New York. It was a full-day event that indeed brought me a few new connections and taught me some invaluable lessons. Today I share my recently acquired wisdom with you, dear readers.

#1: Be Nice. It’s Crucial

Just a couple of minutes before the conference started I decided to run for a cup of fancy coffee. I was in a great mood and while on line I found myself in some morning small talk with those also waiting for their caffeine fix. There was one particularly nice woman I had a brief conversation with who smiled at my pre-caffeine jokes. I went back to the conference, signed up and found a spot for myself. Fashionista’s editor in chief Lauren Indvik announced the first speaker…and my lovely lady from the coffee shop stepped on the stage. It was none other than Bobbi Brown! I don’t know why I didn’t recognize her earlier, but I can imagine my face when I finally recognized her at the conference. Anyway, New York is amazing place in that you never know who you might meet on a line to get your coffee so people be nice! Even if you haven’t had your coffee yet!

#2: Your Background Means Nothing

I was truly inspired with Marissa Webb‘s story as she recounted her experience of climbing the career ladder despite difficult circumstances. She was not born in the U.S. and didn’t have the privilege of her parents financial support, yet she totally “made it.” From interning and battling with no sleep to plunging the toilet at her office, Melissa’s path to success was anything but easy. Perhaps that’s why her story is so inspiring. To quote Melissa, “Just do whatever it takes and be nice to people”, and I really like that motto!

#3: Every Blogger Needs an Editor

The blogosphere is super fun because it gives us the opportunity to express ourselves and be creative. However, many people writing online (including myself!) are so certain about their writing skills that they don’t really bother proofreading their work. It’s definitely not the right approach if you are treating your blog as profession (current or future). “You can’t just write something and publish it online. Everyone needs an editor!” says Julia Rubin, Features Editor at Racked. Of course, not every blogger can afford a professional proofreader, but at least we can reduce typos to the minimum by using specialized online tools and the help of friends. As a non-native English speaker, I will be definitely paying more attention to how grammatically correct my posts are. Promise!

#4: Handwritten Note Goes a Long Way

I really loved the response of fashion designer Jonathan Simkhai to the question of how are brands attracting the attention of editors / writers / bloggers. Simkhai responded that he is a strong believer in handwritten notes as those have proved to be effective. I stopped for a while to think about this notion and came to the conclusion that — yes! — he is absolutely right. I do love handwritten notes as those are the sweetest reminders about how things were in the past. Perhaps I need to write more handwritten notes myself.

#5: Digital Is The King

Lastly, I heard the most valuable career advice from Ruthie Friedlander, the Deputy Editor of ELLE.com: “Don’t go into print! Digital has more opportunities, more bylines, and it’s much more fun.” I’ve talked with many girls who are dying to get into a fashion magazine, but the reality is that probably print media will eventually disappear (I know, it’s hard to accept it seems like that direction is unavoidable). When young people are trying to get into fashion writing what they can do is to publish themselves on the more approachable world of online media. Start with your blog, build a portfolio, and then move towards getting assignments from major media.

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Overall, attending the Fashionista conference was a great experience. I met many new people from different areas of fashion (buyers, stylists, writers, etc.), got million dollar advice from my conference assigned mentor Jenean Chapman, indulged in chocolate chip cookies, enjoyed my free hand massage by Suave and enjoyed the best goodie bag ever. Indeed, it was a blessed day!