Event Recap: The 2018 HSCG Conference

Event Recap: The 2018 HSCG Conference

Event Recap: The 2018 HSCG Conference

 

 

GREETINGS FROM ATLANTA!

 

Hello friends! It’s Angie here from the Lucky Break Team and I’m coming atcha on the heels of the annual Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild Conference, better known to most as HSCG. While Lela and the Lucky Break Team are HSCG veterans, this was my first time attending. For those unfamiliar, HSCG is a not-for-profit trade association representing, supporting, and defending the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry. Members enjoy a wide variety of resources and benefits including this annual event, which draws 500+ artisan makers together for four days of learning.

 

This year, the conference was hosted at the Westin Peachtree Hotel in beautiful downtown Atlanta, GA-  home of the best pulled-pork nachos I’ve had east of the Mississippi (I may or may not have come home 6lbs heavier…and I was only gone for six days). Being that HSCG was going to be a big event for Lela, we decided to bring the team out to support her, say “hello” to lots and lots of LBC clients, and to meet some new friends, too. This included Melissa (operations manager) from Massachusetts, Helen (our tech guru) from Oregon, and myself (client concierge) from California. Our very own Shannon Miller stayed behind to man the fort while the rest of us were braved show duty.

 

Event Recap: The 2018 HSCG Conference

 

 

 

WERK WERK WERK WERK

 

As much fun as it is to come to Atlanta and have a great time socializing with our clients, the attendees, and with each other, it truly takes a dedicated team, many working hours, and a lot of strategic planning to prepare for this event. While Lela was hunkered down in the hotel room refining her talks for her presentations, the LBC team was setting up the booth, running around town in an Uber too small to be carrying oversized balloons that spelled out “LUCKY,” organizing onsite events, and educating attendees on our services and offerings.

 

Event Recap: The 2018 HSCG Conference

 

Event Recap: The 2018 HSCG Conference

 

 

On the eve of the event, Lela joined an expert panel of heavy hitters in the soap industry, sitting alongside LBC client extraordinaire Gates Councilor of Burly Stone, Former HSCG President Marie Gale, current HSCG President Charlene Simon, and Networking and Strategy Coach Lori Saitz. No topic was off the table, and it was incredibly insightful to see the breadth of questions answered across this esteemed panel of experts

 

To kick off the conference, there was a triple threat Keynote featuring Lela, Gates Councilor, and Charlene Simon. The topic du jour? Focus, Drive, Charisma, and Power- something we could all use a little of in our businesses. Shameless plug here- I got to hand letter the cover for the notebooks that were passed out to all the attendees!

 

Event Recap: The 2018 HSCG Conference

 

Heading into the conference, Lela gave her talk on pricing and educated a sea of conference goers on the logistics and value of strategic pricing. I’ve personally seen and heard her do this talk several times now, and every time I watch her, I glean something new and pick up bits of wisdom from her. I love looking out at the attendees and getting the chance to witness those “ah-ha!” moment on conference goer’s faces as she goes through her presentation.

 

On the last day of the conference, after a week of promises from Lela of half-naked men and alluring displays of eye candy in her final talk (she was really trying to sell this thing!) she went and delivered her pièce de ré·sis·tance- The Secrets to Seducing Store Buyers.

 

Between you and me, I’ve never seen Lela work so hard on a presentation deck. Let’s just say that she had a very interesting Google Search history once she was done “researching” for this presentation. But kudos to her because the whole gang joined us! I’m talking about Denzel, Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, and my personal favorite; Dwayne the Rock Johnson (shhhaaaoowww!)

 

 

Event Recap: The 2018 HSCG Conference

 

 

A SEA OF SMILES + PROUD HEARTS

 

Since many LBC clients hail from the soap and apothecary industry, we hosted a cocktail party for our LBU and BHB alumni. This has become an annual event and one that the entire team looks forward to.  We gathered at the Sundial bar, which offers a 360-degree view of Atlanta from the 75th floor atop the Westin. Attendees were treated to an open bar, hummus and crudités, baked brie with apricot chutney, a live jazz trio, and lots and lots of hugs.

 

It’s our version of a high school reunion, where clients enjoy an opportunity to drink and nosh with each other, putting names and business to faces, and just enjoying the company of other small business owners who have graduated from LBC mentorships. I always joke that I’m a “long time stalker-turned client-turned employee of Lela” and I’ll never forget the first time I got to meet her in person. Lela has a magnetic personality, and you could feel the electricity in the room as people had the opportunity to hug and thank Lela for all that she’s done for their businesses.  I felt privileged to watch everyone gleam with excitement, and it reminds me of the first time I met her and how incredible a person she’s been for me, not just in my own business, but as a friend (Hi Lela! I Luh You!).

 

 

Event Recap: The 2018 HSCG Conference

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

It was another successful event for Team Lucky Break, and we can’t wait to work with all the new faces and brands that came across our booth over the last week. After being surrounded by our clients, seeing familiar faces, and listening to the different speakers, it’s hard not to come back re-energized and excited to get back to work.

 

Is there a conference that you’d like to see Team Lucky Break benevolently invade? Drop a line in the comments and let us know which shows and conferences you attend… perhaps we can make it to your city!

 

Alt Summit 2018 Recap

Alt Summit 2018 Recap

Alt Summit 2018 Recap

 

No need to adjust your screens folks.  You have indeed landed on the Lucky Break blog!  I’m Angie, and I’m the Client Concierge here at Lucky Break Consulting. I recently returned back from Alt Summit, and I’m thrilled to be guest posting and sharing my experience from one of the largest and most notable events targeted for social media brand marketers, female entrepreneurs, and influencers (formerly known as bloggers).

 

Alt Summit 2018 Recap

 

What is Alt?

Alt is a yearly conference that started in its early days as a blogger-centric event targeting design and fashion bloggers.  Since its inception in 2009, it has evolved into a networking hub for design-appreciative entrepreneurs, huge brands like Alaska Air, Joann, & Wayfare, and social media influencers and content creators across Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and the blog-o-sphere. The conference was set to the backdrop of the colorful Saguaro Palm Springs- only one of the most “Instagramable” hotels around!

 

Alt Summit 2018 Recap

Photo credit: ographr

 

Alt at a Glance

The event is broken up over several days with a variety of breakout sessions.  Some are panels that revolve around topics like “Finding your Niche Market” or “Instagram Growth” featuring successful women (both brands and influencers). There were active roundtable sessions that allowed a featured expert the opportunity to engage in an in-depth conversation on a trending topic like “How To License Your Art To Companies” or “Site Redesign On A Budget” and, “Creating Content That Your Audience Feels A Part Of.” Sprinkled in between were workshops like “Flatlay Photography Basics” or a sponsored workshop by WordPress called “Daily Prompts” where they shared content ideas and how to drum through writer’s block.  There were also help desks with slotted times for you to have 1:1 with an expert on an area you need consulting on, such as product manufacturing, podcasting, or design feedback.

 

Alt Summit 2018 Recap

Photo credit: Justin Hackworth Photography

 

Major brands have a strategic presence as well. Household names like Lowes, Sherwin Williams, Mixbook, La Croix, WordPress, and more create elaborate booths that were less about selling products, and more centered around developing community, sharing values, and allowing influencers to be part of a broader conversation. Brands want to find a way to connect with their target audience in a meaningful way, and these influencers wish to connect their audiences to brands that they know and trust.  It’s a bit like a marketplace for brands and bloggers where everyone benefits.

 

Alt Summit 2018 Recap

Photo credit: Nicole Breanne Hudson

 

Why Was I There?

I attended Alt under my own business, bobo design studio. At bobo, we create and design wanderlust-inspired goods for the rebellious bohemian woman. I’m also an established hand lettering and chalk lettering artist. This was my first year at Alt, and I was unsure of what I was getting myself into because I categorize myself as an early stage, emerging entrepreneur and product designer, not a blogger or “influencer.” However, the overall event has proven to be fruitful for my business. I have made some incredible connections in the weeks leading up to the event and during the conference itself. I am also seeing the wave of post-conference connections coming through as a result of the closed Facebook group, referrals, and social media.

 

Alt Summit 2018 Recap

Photo credit: Justin Hackworth Photography

 

Final Thoughts

What type of businesses or brands benefit from attending Alt Summit?

As I mentioned before, I would categorize myself as an emerging brand in its early stages having just completed BHB in Fall of 2017 (about 3-4 months ago). I’m a product-based brand focused on gaining brand recognition in the marketplace and with my MVP. With that said, I would say that Alt was the perfect fit for my brand because it was a conference where I was surrounded by other product designers, or distributors. I was engaging with my target audience.

 

If you are a product-based business hoping to do any of the following, then I would consider looking deeper into Alt Summit and how it might work into your calendar for 2019.

 

  • You want to connect with female influencers in the 25-45 age range
  • You are looking to target women who are within the fashion, home, travel, or family/mom verticals
  • You are interested in collaborating with other brands
  • You want to learn more about the social media space from Instagram, FB, trends, affiliate marketing, and blogging/content creation
  • You want to have fun and be motivated by surrounding yourself with positive, inspiring, and influential women and brands.

 

 

What did I wish I knew in advance and what would I do differently?

I wish I knew or had a better understanding of the ecosystem as a whole between brands and influencers. At LBC we talk about “branding” a lot and what it means to connect with our target customers through our branding.  I wish I had taken the time to learn a bit more about how the influencers play into that.  I had a somewhat shallow, superficial impression of what I thought a “blogger” was, but I can say- without a doubt- I was wrong.  These influencers come with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of loyal followers. They are thinking about their own personal branding, and what resonates with their audience.  I think had I been more prepared to engage with them I could have found some meaningful partnerships to help grow my reach and introduce my brand to their following.

 

What did I ultimately get out of it, and will I go back?

Like any conference, you get out of the event what you put into it. I had to really reach out of my comfort zone, but in the end, it paid off ten-fold. I made some incredible connections, learned a lot of new concepts in the area of social media, product manufacturing, brand storytelling, and content creation. But most importantly, I left re-energized about my creative business. Will I go back? Absolutely! And I hope to see you there!

 

Alt Summit 2018 Recap

Photo credit: Justin Hackworth Photography

 

To learn more about Alt Summit, you can check them out at http://www.altitudesummit.com/ or on Instagram: http://instagram.com/altsummit

 

If you want to learn more about bobo design studio, you can do that by going to https://bobodesignstudio.com/ or follow me on http://instagram.com/bobodesignstudio or check out my lettering at http://instagram.com/bobolettering.

 

Alt Summit 2018 Recap

Photo credit: Justin Hackworth Photography

 

Fun Facts about Alt:

  • This sells out quick. This year’s event sold out in less than 20 min.
  • It’s a very open format that levels the playing field for all attendees. You never know who you are going to run into and have a conversation with. You could be talking someone who is a new business trying to make contacts, or the Creative Director for West Elm. Gotta have your A-Game on at all time!
  • Alt has built this annual tradition around the business card swap- and people really pull out the stops to create fun and memorable business cards. For me, instead of a business card, I use a sticker that has an illustration of my face with my IG handle on it- a name and a face. It is all anyone really needs nowadays.

 

Road Trip Recap: Craftcation + HSCG Conference

RoadTripRecap2017

RoadTripRecap2017

 

Hitting the road to meet new people, hug the necks of my clients in person, and spend some time with the Lucky Break team is one of my very favorite things to do. This year, I set off on a 12-day journey for back-to-back live events: Craftcation in Ventura, CA and the HSCG Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Here’s a quick recap… and proof that my team really did throw themselves off 108-story tower in Vegas (crazy cats!).

 

This was my second year at Craftcation, and this event has quickly become one of my favorite weeks of the year. One part business conference, one part craft fast, one part vacation, this 4-day event is hosted at a beautiful beach-front hotel that’s delightfully serene. More than 400 attendees choose from a full slate of workshops: they can learn to sew a blouse in one workshop and then how to price products in the next hour. It’s a delicious mix of people and events, all strung together by the most wonderful sense of community. Evenings are filled with dinners, cocktail parties, craft parties, and people cross-stitching en masse by the pool. The vibe is decidedly casual and supportive and the whole damn thing is a breath of fresh air.

 

My teammate Shannon (crafty goddess) trekked to California with me. She’s amazing ground support and a master if making sure that I’m where I’m supposed to be, when I’m supposed to be there. She soothes all my tech woes and she’s great company, too. We planned a Wanderings room together (full disclosure: she planned the room and I paid for the room). “Wanderings” takes place one evening at Craftcation. Essentially, a dozen people put together a fun experience in their rooms and a few hundred people wander through. Attendees can grab a passport and get it stamped in every room. They vote for their favorite room and then drop their passports into a big box, where one winner is later pulled. Both the randomly-selected entry and the highest-rated room win free tickets to Craftcation for the following year. It’s an awesome way to meet people and it creates this fantastic sense of community that permeates all things Craftcation.

 

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SPOILER ALERT: WE WON! Shannon and I hosted the “Get Lucky Lounge” and we had a ridiculously good time doing it. Guests could emblazon themselves with gold tattoos, strike a pose in our photo booth, create a green suede tassel keychain (complete with either a horse show or a four-leaf clover) and munch on Lucky Charms (with chilled organic milk, of course). We put together a great “lucky-inspired” playlist and threw open the doors and welcomed a few hundred people into our room. Including security, who visited us twice for noise complaints (oops!). Thanks to everyone who came by and especially everyone who voted for us as their favorite. Shanon and I are already planning our Wanderings room for next year and it’s going to be EPIC… in ways that I can barely articulate.

 

I had the honor of sitting on a panel about burn out (raise your hand if you’ve been there… I swear we all have!) with the uber-amazing Tiffany Hahn. I taught workshops on laser-focusing your brand, designing line sheets that make buyers weak int he knees, and better communicating your value to buyers so you can get your price nice and high (three cheers for making good money!). We didn’t have a single empty seat in any workshop and the Craftcation team graciously brought in as many chairs as they could to contain the overflow. Despite our best efforts, there were committed peeps sitting Indian style in the back of every room. I crush on you all so very hard… thanks for making me feel so welcome at Craftcation. The juju at that event is off the charts every year!

 

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I put together a fun gallery of images from the trip… click the Lucky Break team below and you’ll be magically teleported over to it. Nicole and Delilah, the beautiful masterminds who pour their heart and soul into Craftcation put together an amazing Craftcation recap, complete with scads of gorgeous pictures. I behaved well enough to earn an invitation to join them in 2018. I hope you’ll hop on their mailing list (scroll to the veeeery bottom of that page) so you’ll be in-the-know about next year’s event. It always sells out and it’s always one hell of a good time.

 

Click this picture to head over to my gallery…

 

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Shannon and I left Ventura and headed straight to Las Vegas to juncture up with Melissa and Eileen. They flew in earlier in the day to ready the Lucky Break booth and we were able to hit the ground running when we landed thanks to their help. HSCG stands for the “Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild,” the largest trade organization for artisan personal care companies in the United States. This was my seventh (!) conference and I always look forward to the opportunity to spend time with so many Lucky Break clients.

 

I host a cocktail party for my LBU + BHB graduates each year and we never, ever seem to remember to take a picture. But trust me: it was a lovely group of people and we ran up an impressive bar tab. There were more than 35 of us this year and we had the BEST time catching up. I also taught at workshop (at 8am, to 610 people no less…) on branding. A hearty salute to everyone who was up with the sun that day to spend 90 minutes in deep business meditation with me. I hope to see you next year when the HSCG conference rolls into Atlanta.

 

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We spent conference “down time” (of which there is precious little) feasting at the feet of a 30′ tall Buddha statue at Tao, brunching over business talk at Bouchon Bistro, and celebrating a year of hard-but-fulfilling work at CUT steakhouse in Vegas. We also managed to sneak in a Cirque show (“O”… go see it!) and a jump off a 108-story tower in Las Vegas. No, really. Here’s the video…

 

 

Tell me: Is my team not amazing? We are forever preaching to our clients that business is the ultimate act of bravery. That the magic happens when you get uncomfortable. That if you’re not uncomfortable, then you’re not growing. And this was an *ahem* interesting opportunity for us to connect with that ourselves.  I am often uncomfortable. I am always growing.

 

Special thanks to the organizers of HSCG and Craftcation and the dedicated teams who ensure that these large events go off without a hitch. The magic that must happens behind the scenes boggles my mind and I’m ever-grateful for it. Special thanks, too, to the Lucky Break team, who flew across the company, and braved 7am call times at the booth, and looked adorable all day on their feet in cute shoes, and who answered approximately 8,321,065 about what exactly we do at Lucky Break. You guys are rock stars and I’m lucky to have you in my corner.

 

So here’s what I want to know: What have you done in your business that scared the hell out of you? I hope you’ll share in the comments below.  I want to hear how you #doitscared!

 

Shall I save a seat for you at 2×4 Live?

2x4_EventBanner

In 2008, I was summoned to Washington DC to serve as a small business advocate before Congressional members who were debating an overhaul of federal cosmetic regulations.  Little did I know how drastically that trip would change my life!

 

2x4 live

 

Somewhere between dashing down the halls of Congress and sweating my ass off around the FDA offices in DC in the middle of summer, the seeds of some of my most important relationships were sown. Donna Maria of Indie Beauty, Anne Marie of Brambleberry, and Kayla Fioravanti of KaylaFioravanti (celebrated writer + former owner of Essential Wholesale) and I became more than partners in a legislative crusade… we became dear friends.

 

In the 7+ years that have ensued, we’ve become accountability partners and support systems for one another. We’ve celebrated the births of babies, marked the passing of loved ones, toasted accomplishments in our personal and professional lives, and gotten into some fantastically naughty fun (Cocktails with comedian Tom Green? Check. Tattoos in Mexico? Check.)  I had no idea how pivotal a “tribe” was in business until I had one- a team of people to cheer me on, hold my feet to the fire, provide solid guidance in times of tumult, and a support system who’s always ready to raise a toast to a job well done. We truly “get” each other and these relationships have become some of the richest of my adult life.

 

 

2x4 live

 

Which is why I’m ridiculously excited to share a “secret project” that the ladies and I have been quietly planning for  months.  We’re hosting an intimate gathering of makers + shakers in sunny Nashville, TN for two days of empire-building goodness.  Kayla, Anne Marie, Donna Maria and I have very different areas of strength and you’ll benefit from time with each of us.

 

A mix of wisdom-filled workshops, enlightening panel discussions, and small group breakouts, 2×4 Live is a once-in-a-lifetime gathering designed to propel your business forward under the mentorship of three of the most dynamic and successful business women I know! Collectively, we’ve spent more than 50 years as entrepreneurs and we’ve launched more than two dozen brands. Together, our companies have generated more than 9 figures in revenue (yes, that’s $100million+), and we’re really eager to share the ups + downs, the ins + outs of building a business with a determined group of makers on the move.

 

We have a very special weekend on tap and I’d love to save a seat especially for you. Seating is extremely limited and almost 50% of tickets have been reserved in the first 48 hours, so I don’t recommend waffling on this one.  Grab a spot and mark your calendar for 2 days with 4 mentors for one business-changing weekend!

 

Snag your spot before they’re gone…

Join me at Craftcation in April!

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Whaddya up to this April? I hope you’ll come join me at Craftcation in Ventura, California for four days of makerly and business fun. I’ll be there enjoying the gorgeous California sunshine and teaching a few sessions on branding, alongside some amazing makers + business mavens and I can’t wait to share my knowledge with you. Also on tap? Hands-on food and craft workshops, lectures, and interactive panels. Sounds too good to miss, doesn’t it?

 

As an added bonus, one of my 2016 LBU Experts will be speaking at Craftcation, too. I’m thrilled to present alongside Caitlin Bacher as she gives the lowdown on social media. I’ll be there taking notes!

 

Craftcation Business + Makers Conference

 

When: Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 9:00 AM  Sunday, April 10, 2016

Where: The Ventura Beach Marriott in Ventura, California

Early bird tickets are on sale now! Grab yours before they’re gone on January 10th. You can reserve yours here.

 

I hope to see you there!