As I write this, I’m at 40,000 feet flying home from Los Angeles to St. Louis and coming down from one of the biggest event highs I’ve ever experienced. I attended this year’s Create & Cultivate LA gathering over the weekend, where over 1,000 women in creative industries gathered to learn from the best of the best in blogging, fashion, marketing, design and more.
One of my biggest 2018 goals for my business was to attend one creative conference per quarter, so Create & Cultivate LA seemed to perfectly fit the bill for Q1. After seeing fun highlights from previous C&C conferences in Seattle and New York City, I grabbed my ticket as soon as they went on sale and booked my flight – hello, sunny California!
Have you ever considered attending a C&C event yourself? I hope you find this blog post helpful! I’ll be breaking down core parts of the conference below, as well as a recap of my pros and cons of attending at the end. Regarding the pros and cons – this is simply my subjective commentary! Every conference attendee will certainly have a different outlook on their experience.
Conference Arrival + Morning Sessions
You get your bang for your buck when it comes to attending a C&C conference – our day kicked off at 8 a.m. and ran until well after 9 p.m.! I arrived along with my friends Lisa of Lark Skin Co. and Myray of Myray Creative a bit before 8 a.m., where we checked in and were segmented by tracks.
I was in Track 2, which focused on influencer marketing, content creation and social media best practices. The additional Track 1 of the conference focused on entrepreneurship and business best practices, finance tips and more. Since I’m a business owner who is also a content creator, I would have been happy in either track!
Once check-in was complete, attendees got to treat themselves to an array of healthy breakfast options along with unlimited kombucha (yassss!), coconut water, coffee and tea. Quick grab and go snacks were also available for attendees who may have been in a rush and didn’t want to sit and eat.
Before heading into the first sessions of the day, I took time to take in my surroundings – and wow, were they gorgeous! C&C had every nook and cranny of the event space fully branded and looking amazing, with hundreds of Instagram-worthy spots to snap a photo.
My morning panel sessions included Podcasting 101 and Never Not Posting, two great sessions about rocking it at podcasting and keeping up with the ever-evolving and ever-demanding world of social media. Each panel had a ton of great women included, including one of my favorite – Jen Gotch, founder of ban.do!
Afternoon Vendors + Beauty Bar
After a few sessions I was feeling a little tired – and hungry. I popped back over to the food tent area to grab an early lunch and decided on a delicious vegan poke bowl, made with beets and pickled mushrooms. At the time, I was supposed to be meeting in a small mentorship group that was assigned to me...but I skipped out on that and opted to peruse the vendor tents instead to decompress and meet other conference attendees.
One thing I can say about C&C is this – expect to come home with a ton of swag! So many of my favorite brands (LaCroix, RXBAR, Urban Outfitters and WeWork, just to name a few!) had booths at the event, so it was great to connect with them on a face-to-face level.
Once I scooped up some swag, I ventured into the event’s Beauty Bar space where brands like TRESemmé and Nordstrom were offering complimentary makeup touch-ups and hair styling all day long. I sat down to get my hair refreshed, which was a great way to relax in the middle of the day!
Evening Sessions + Keynotes
Not going to lie – at this point, I was exhausted. After walking to and from different stages all day to catch panel sessions, chatting with brands and new acquaintances and trying not to break an ankle in the heels I was wearing (haha!), I was ready to sit down and take a little breather.
I enjoyed one last panel session with well-known bloggers like Gal Meets Glam and Song of Style before the event began winding down panels for the day and brought the Track 1 and Track 2 attendees together for evening keynote sessions.
Things got a little intense here – people were acting straight-up crazy when it came to finding seats for these keynote speakers! We were held outside of the event space, and then let in all at once. Although I was able to grab a decent seat, it was pretty stressful.
Up next was Lauren Conrad (my favorite!) who spoke about business ownership and the evolution of her ethical brand, The Little Market. After Lauren, the hilarious Twitter queen Chrissy Teigen came on to chat about learning to hone your personal brand, staying true to yourself and how her career has evolved after modeling.
After these two sessions, we took a break for a quick happy hour so that the room could be set up for the biggest keynote speaker of the night – Kim Kardashian! I’m admittedly a low-key Keeping Up With The Kardashians fan, so I was really excited to have the chance to see her in person. However, I was very curious to see what she had to say at a conference that centers on entrepreneurship and business.
Of course, the crowd went nuts when Kim took the stage! Throughout her keynote session she spoke about her upbringing, how her career had evolved (from owning DASH, to having a wildly successful reality TV series, to launching her fragrance and makeup lines, to being a mom). I was pleasantly surprised by Kim’s insightfulness on a few important topics, especially teamwork and motherhood.
After Kim ended her talk, C&C wrapped up, we grabbed our massive gift bags full of great products and it was time to go to sleep!
• The diverse lineup of panelists and keynote speakers: from mental health podcasters and body positive activists to Lauren Conrad and Kim Kardashian, there was a little something for everyone at C&C LA.
• The event venue: as I mentioned earlier, the event venue – City Market South – was absolutely gorgeous! It was located in LA’s Fashion District and easily accessible from the Downtown LA Airbnb I stayed in.
• The vendor swag: I think it’s safe to say I love free stuff – who doesn’t? I’m happy that I’m going home with great new health, skincare and hair products to try out!
• The networking opportunities: everywhere you looked at the event, there was someone new to chat with. I made friends with a bunch of great ladies by sitting together for breakfast and lunch, and even just striking up a conversation while waiting in line for the bathroom.
• The lack of education: don’t get me wrong – C&C LA was an invaluable source of inspiration. I’m feeling more inspired in my business now more than ever! But if you’re looking to really dig in and learn actionable takeaways for building your business to be better, faster and stronger this large gathering may not be for you. It's unrealistic to learn huge, earth-shattering takeaways for your business from a 30-minute panel. However, I’m looking forward to future gatherings that will celebrate C&C’s Work Party, which I hope will provide more intimate, hands-on education opportunities.
• Conference group size: in my opinion, C&C events may benefit from inviting a smaller group of women to future gatherings. Because over 1,000 is a lot! Although it was great that the chance to meet someone new around every corner was there, was for someone like me who is typically more reserved, it was a bit overwhelming.
All in all, my experience attending C&C LA was incredible and very memorable! I'm so glad that I took the leap and bought my ticket to attend and pushed myself outside of my comfort zone to connect with other creatives at the event.
Tell me in the comments: are you planning to attend a Create & Cultivate event in the future? I hope you do! If you have any additional questions about my experience, I'm happy to answer them for you.