I will be the first to admit I am not a huge blogger. I am a jeweler that blogs about it, not a blogger that makes jewelry.
I am also not part of the blogger community, so I don’t know these things, but apparently bloggers have conferences where they get together to eat good food, party, win prizes and talk about whatever it is that bloggers talk about. If your a women, it is conferences like Evo and BlogHer. I didn’t even know there were blogger conferences, let alone what they were for. So, several months ago when my friend Lindsey told me I should go to Evo (The Evolution of Women in Social Media) I thought, ‘what does it have to do with me?’ Yes I am a women and yes I use social media in my business and personal life, but to put down $300 to spend a weekend sitting around with strangers talking about twitter and facebook, I don’t get it. She told me it could be life changing, but I thought ‘meh’ and then I promptly forgot about it.
Well, that all changed when a couple weeks before the conference they asked me to make them some necklaces that said “evo” to give as a gift to their volunteers. Suddenly I was thrown into the middle of it. I became an official sponsor, right there with Ebay, Lowes and a bunch of other huge names.
So what is evo and why are people willing to pay to be a part of it?
Let me tell you what I know. The evo Conference is a weekend of workshops, parties, networking, and a chance for women to get away from home and have fun. It is attended by bloggers, businesses, and social media junkies.
The necklaces turned out awesome:
I thought that was the end of it. But it wasn’t.
Two days before the conference they offered me a ticket. I was camping with my family. I didn’t really have cell phone coverage so I couldn’t ask questions or work out details, all I could do was say yes. Luckily for me the conference was held in Park City, Utah, an hour drive from my house. So as soon as I got home from camping, I got cleaned up, packed, grabbed some business cards and some jewelry and headed into the unknown.
If I had been there alone, my experience would have been very different. I am a little shy, especially when it comes to marketing myself. But Lindsey, who is not shy, took me around and introduced me to everyone saying, “This is Demi, she made the evo necklaces,” and while they were ooing and aweing I’d give them my card.
The classes and speakers were good. We met this guy:
Who taught us this song:
The sponsors gave us lots of food, did our nails, let us star in their advertisements, and other fun stuff.
We met this guy:
One night the power went out for a few hours. Somehow the party went on. It was great, social media junkies had to put away their devices and talk to each other. Some new friends and I found a pool table and played by the light of a cell phone. I have never played so badly and laughed so hard.
All in all, I had a great time. It was fun to get out of the studio, meet some new people and expand my community.
And because I am the kind of girl who always wants to turn my lessons learned into a list, here they are:
1. I usually think I have to do everything myself. But I am wrong. Maybe I should let go and get some help with the boring stuff like marketing, shipping, and finances, to leave more time for jewelry making and design.
2. What is that saying? “You have to spend money to make money,” I guess everyone says it because it is true. Marketing takes money and time too.
3. The most successful people I met are just normal people like me, people with a goal or a vision, people with a story to tell.Who’s to say that I can’t be just as successful?
4. Blogging and creating jewelry are kind of the same. When you blog, you can feel like you are writing for yourself. You write as if someone is listening, even if no one is listening. If a blogger writes about things they are passionate about, like global poverty and disease, sustainable urban form, cleaner air, buying handmade, parenting, or whatever, it can feel like shouting into the dark.
Designing and creating can feel that way too. When I create jewelry I pour my heart into it, not knowing if it will even have value to anyone else. I create something and I put it out there and I wait and hope that it will mean something to someone, that someone will like it, that someone will care.
In that we are the same.
5. I have passion and a voice and with it I can do big things, maybe even change the world.
That is life changing.