Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s blog manager and friend. Last week, Annette and I ventured to Salt Lake City, Utah for a whirlwind trip to tackle Alt Summit. Alt Summit is a 3-day creative conference for small businesses, bloggers, & creative entrepreneurs to mix, mingle, learn, network, & connect with each other. There are fantastic speakers to see, workshops to take, round-tables to sit in on, and sponsors to connect with. It’s a huge event!
The conference was held at Salt Lake City’s, Grand America hotel, and Annette and I both agreed that the setting was stunning. The staff was incredibly helpful and a harpist played in the afternoons keeping the vibe relaxing.
Since Annette and I are in different places in our careers, we thought it might be fun to give you a “she said, she said” version of our thoughts on the conference. While we both loved the conference, we each walked away with something a little different.
Thoughts on night one’s sponsor dinners:
AJS: Nicole and I decided to attend the Minted dinner. There were many sponsored dinners, but since we work with Minted regularly, we wanted to visit with our peeps at Minted, and I must say it was a great choice! Minted did a stellar job from picking FInca as a venue to choosing Amber Dickson to design and decorate the private room. Simply put, it was stunning on every level. The perfect kick-off to start our ALT Summit experience. It was such a lovely and interesting group, and I enjoyed chatting with everyone at our table. Bravo Minted!
NL: This might have been my favorite part of the event. Annette and I were whisked away on a bus with an intimate group to be treated to a beautiful evening of tapas and camaraderie sponsored by Minted. The setting was insanely gorgeous. You should have seen the floral arrangements and wall paper in person! I liked the fact that this was an opportunity on the very first night to have big conversations in a small setting. Plus, you know how much we love Minted around here!
Thoughts on opening keynote speakers:
AJS: I was looking forward to hearing the Key Notes because they did a great job of selecting interesting speakers. I was most interested in Jihan Zincirli of Geronimo. Since I cannot imagine how one makes a living delivering and selling specialty balloons? When you log-on to her site the pricing of the balloons and party hats are outrageous. I am not sure who buys such expensive throw away items. So I was super interested as to how she makes her business work, and who she works for. Jiahan’s talk, although very entertaining, lacked any substance, or any real business information, honestly I thought it was really disappointing. I would have loved to learn about how she built such a unique niche business. Luvvie Ajayi was again entertaining, and full of her personal advice about branding, but no ah-ha moments for me. Sarah Michelle Gellar of Foodstirs, again lovely and funny, but I never came to understand what exactly her product was specifically? If you have a business and are speaking to a group of buyers, please tell us exactly what it is! Miriam Naficy of MInted knocked it out of the park with her analysis of how her business evolved sharing retail selling trends from 1986-2016. I found it intelligent, and smart choice of subject matter for her audience. Informative and entertaining, clearly Miriam is a smart cookie and speaks quite often, and it showed. I loved her honestly and her clear and concise research. Fair to say she was worth attending the key notes for she is a pro.
NL: The key note speakers were a group of four powerhouse women: Jihan Zincirli of Geronimo Balloons, Luvvie Ajayi of Awesomely Luvvie, Sarah Michelle Gellar of Foodstirs (and Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Miriam Naficy of Minted. While the first three speakers were a little underwhelming, I found some of their tips incredibly useful for beginning bloggers. For example, Luvvie focused on creating a brand identity using colors, and if you’re just beginning your brand, that’s a great way to get started. My favorite speaker was Miriam Naficy who is one awesome boss lady.
Thoughts on sponsors:
AJS: I think Sponsors were good, however, a too little interior design oriented for me, I would love to see more food and lifestyle vendors. I, unlike Nicole, thought that the vendors were easy to talk to even with the crowds. Their spaces were clever, and visually pleasing, I especially liked the Joss and Main “style and take a selfie living room.”
NL: The sponsors did an incredible job decking out their spaces to draw attention to a visual crowd (ie. they definitely knew their audience). Unfortunately, I thought some of the rooms were rather crowded which made getting to talk to sponsors challenging. I finally discovered the trick was to chat with sponsors during sessions which meant skipping out a little early on a few of them to be able to connect with sponsors. I agree with Annette, and also thought some of them were a little too geared towards mommy & design blogs (which in Alt’s defense, the conference was originally for design bloggers).
Thoughts on break-out sessions:
AJS: The break-out sessions. I especially loved the Periscope and Snapchat session since this is something I would like to use and know more about. The panelists were terrific and full of great information. I even had a chance to grab coffee with Kathy, a Snapchat/Periscope panelist from Crafty Chicka which was a awesome. She was super helpful walking me through the process. So you may want to head over to snapchat and follow me at annettejoseph. Since I am headed to Italy and Marrakech next, I think you’ll want to follow me, right? I am on Snapchat people, so watch out, I am armed and dangerous! hahaha. I argee with Nicole, 45- 60 minute sessions with more sessions offered would be great. 90 minutes was way too long.
NL: The break-out sessions I attended were full of useful reminders & helpful hints. I learned a ton about Periscope and Snapchat, and I have already started implementing the ideas. I do think that at 90 minutes each, they were a little too long. I would love to see 45 minute sessions with more sessions offered.
AJS: Okay, so overall thoughts. Since I have been doing this business freelance thing for a long time, most of the information was stuff I already know; that’s what happens when you’re older 🙂 On the other hand, I loved the energy and the people I met. They were lovely, engaging, and very positive. I think I might be better speaking at this conference, sharing my experiences of 25 years in freelance styling, writing, photographing and producing.
The conference organizers did a great job, the venue is great, although a bit off the beaten path in Salt Lake City. The food was terrific, which to be honest, I was a bit concerned about. The only glitch in the menu was the Starry Night party which was the one BIG party for the conference and instead of serving, wine and soft drinks they served a HOT TODDY, ewwww. How can that work with dinner? So many of us headed to the bar and ordered a proper drink, a Martini for me, thank you very much. I loved the hotel, and I did head off to the spa for an hour which was an incredible treat. All is all it was a wonderful experience and connecting with so many like minded women was truly amazing.
NL: The conference was incredibly well-organized with something happening all the time. At one point you could attend a concert, chat with sponsors, have meetings, network with other creatives, or sneak away to your room…all at the same time!
I also loved the true sense of community and support that this conference had. So often, women turn things into a competition, and this conference did not feel that way at all. Such a refreshing time with powerful women!
Final question: would we attend again?
AJS: Would I attend again? Probably not, but I would love to be a speaker or run a styling workshop. I think I have a ton to share with this group. I will say that this was a worthwhile use of my time, I found an amazing Videographer extraordinaire and storyteller Megan will join the style + photo workshop team starting with Marrakech and document our adventures going forward in Italy and Maryland. Plus it was a nice mini vaca for me…
NL: Yes, absolutely! Due to an unexpected weather situation in Atlanta, we had to cut our trip a little early. While exhausting, I think I’d like to attend all three days from start to finish, including the extra activities after the conference has closed.
This video is a great, quick overview of the conference. Thanks to Ashley Wortley for making it!
Did any of you attend Alt this year or have attended before? We’d love to hear what you thought in the comments!
xx, Annette & Nicole
Photo Credit: Annette Joseph & Brooke Bevan Davis & Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit
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: Tags: Alt summit
, Altitude Summit
, Salt Lake City
, small business conference