While I officially graduated from grad school last December, my love for learning will never end. As a self-professed nerd at heart, I am constantly on the hunt for new ways to improve my blogging game. When I stumbled upon a YouTube video on Create & Cultivate, a creative conference for female entrepreneurs featuring speakers such as Barefoot Blonde and Gal Meets Glam, I jotted it down on my blogging bucket list. When Create and Cultivate announced a conference would be held in downtown LA, I knew I had to attend. Any excuse to go to LA is a good one, right?! My blogging besties Ashley Brooke, Money Can Buy Lipstick and Boho Nouveau quickly purchased our tickets and began planning out our trip to SoCal.
After a 5 hour+ flight, 3 hour time difference and baggage claim catastrophe (let’s just say LAX isn’t the most convenient airport) we arrived in California at approximately 3am our time. The bags under my eyes were larger than those I packed for the trip. However, we got the total princess treatment as our car (and handsome driver, I might add!) met us curb side LAX. We opted for a more convenient car service (we wanted to avoid the 1+ hour wait and headache at a rental car office) by using SKURT. Ashley (being the genius she is) did some research prior to our trip and discovered the SKURT app! SKURT allows you to select a car at the touch of your smartphone. With no paperwork, everything is done on the app, including selecting your vehicle and insurance coverage, scanning your driver’s licence and communicating via text with your driver! Y’all this service was the best treat we could give ourselves during a jam packed conference weekend.
Since the three of us are self professed over packers, we opted for a large vehicle. While we admittedly didn’t need an entire Toyota Sequoia to ourselves, we enjoyed the extra leg room and felt safe navigating the “hills” in SoCal. If I could save Ashley a mini anxiety attack, it was worth it alone (I am still the baby cousin in her mind!).
After receiving our car, we drove to the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, our abode for the weekend. We were greeted with a friendly staff and easy check-in. We were overwhelmed by the stunning luxury interior of the hotel, complete with a modern touches. Located on the corner of La Cienega and Beverly Boulevard and across from the Beverly Shopping Centre, it couldn’t have worked out better as we were treated with great shopping and dining in close proximity. The Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills has a Hollywood touch with a photo booth located in the main lobby, a glamorous rooftop swimming pool and cabanas and 24-hour room service (which we may or may not have taken advantage of at 1AM!).
Our room was super cozy and hands down contained the most comfortable hotel bed I have ever slept in. The girls and I couldn’t get over how comfortable the mattresses are (important when you are a super light sleeper, like me!) and unsuccessfully devised a plan to sneak the mattresses out with us. After a 12 hour+ conference day, we were more than thrilled to return to the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, slip into our PJs, order room service watch SNL and fall into a deep sleep. Not trying to call anyone out (*ahem* Ashley and Teresa) but it is quite the sight to see two tiny beauty bloggers order a Filet mignon each at 1 in the morning. Perhaps this is why we’re soul sisters!
Now on to the conference! I had super high expectations leading up to Create and Cultivate (if you check out their website, you’ll see why). The gorgeous (and I mean STUNNING) Meghan from Boho Nouveau met up with us to attend the DTLA Create and Cultivate Conference. The conference schedule was jammed pack from 9am-9pm and therefore knew we had to fuel up with coffee, coffee and more coffee! When we arrived at Create and Cultivate we were directed to the rooftop patio to enjoy a colourful selection of breakfast goodies supplied by Patina Restaurant Group, including miniature pancakes, yogurt parfaits excessive amounts of coffee and more! The rooftop patio had a stunning arrangement of decor, from pop-up shops in tee pees, hanging succulents and floral displays from Rolling Greens Home + Garden, and lots of networking opportunities. In between workshops and mentoring sessions, we would congregate on the roof top to take a breather, meet other creatives, and take in the stunning LA view.
Our jam packed schedule consisted of attending a number of panels discussing the business of beauty, the future of fashion, the power of digital media and how to slay the digital content game. It was incredibly inspiring to hear from female entrepreneurs I look up to including Sarah Gibson Tuttle of Olive & June, Nikki DeRoest of Hello Beauty, Taylor Sterling of The Glitter Guide, Andy Torres of Style Scrapbook and Christine Andrew of Hello Fashion. These ladies shares their experiences growing their businesses in a male dominated world, and shared advice to us young entrepreneurs.
One of my favorite aspects of the day was the mentor sessions. Each participant received 2 mentor sessions from a selection of mentors including Mara Ferreira of M Loves M, Paola Alberdi of Blank Itinerary, Natalie Willis of ShopStyle, Chloe Watts of choedigital and more! My favorite mentor session was with Paola Alberdi (one of my favorite bloggers!). She shared her experiences as a new blogger and spoke of the importance of having confidence in your brand. Female entrepreneurs will always face a series of road blocks, however if you have the courage and confidence in yourself and your work – you will come out on top.
After the mentor sessions we spent time networking with other creatives, exploring the popup shops, getting touch ups at the beauty lounge and taking a million photos. Next on the agenda was the keynote speakers: #GirlBosses Jessica Alba, Rachel Zoe and Chelsea Handler. They shared their business experiences, along with tidbits of advice for female entrepreneurs. It was a humbling experience to know such strong, successful women had been through similar roadblocks I have been faced with at an early stage in my career!
Overall, I am so glad I attended Create and Cultivate! I left feeling totally inspired to take my business to the next level. I loved being surrounded by so many like-minded, ambitious female entrepreneurs. I had the chance to meet and network with an assortment of individuals including small business owners, public relations representatives, photographers, bloggers, YouTubers and more! Not only was I inspired to advance my career, I also left feeling inspired to re-decorate my house! Every inch of Create and Cultivate was visually stunning and Insta-worthy. I was in awe of how detailed and well thought out the decor was!
Did I leave Create and Cultivate feeling more inspired than ever to build my company? Absolutely. Was Create and Cultivate an amazing blogging learning experience? Not really. Since Create and Cultivate attracted a plethora of creatives (as opposed to only bloggers/YouTubers), the workshops did not touch on specific tactics to furthering a career as a blogger. I was surprised to discover us bloggers were actually the minority of attendants! It was only during my mentor session with Paola Alberdi of Blank Itinerary I learned worthwhile blogging tips and tricks! It would have been extremely helpful to have a more in-depth question and answer period with established bloggers during the conference!
So, why should you attend Create and Cultivate? Well, sometimes it’s just nice to be surrounded by a group of strong, independent, ambitious women. I met so many amazing women, all with different careers, with one common mindset: I can do this. I am so grateful to be living in 2016…an age where young women have the courage and drive to follow their dreams. At the heart of Create and Cultivate is a celebration of young entrepreneurs uniting to support one another. And that is one powerful thing.
*Thank you to Sofitel Los Angeles for providing us with a complementary stay and Skurt for a vehicle for the weekend! As usual, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting companies that help Mash Elle continue to flourish!