Friday, 8 February 2013

#IFBcon

gif courtesy of Alex and Ani jewelry


 On Thursday, I went to the IFB Conference (Independent Fashion Bloggers). I was lucky enough to be given tickets from my social commerce professor. I'm struggling a bit to write this post, because I don't want to be negative or ungrateful, but if I'm being totally honest...I was a little disappointed. To be fair, I was only able to go one day and the first day (which I didn't attend) sounded more interesting to me. I also had to leave in the early afternoon, so I was only able to see a handful of speakers. Let me tell you why I left feeling less than excited.

I think I was expecting too much. Or perhaps just more than I got. The thing is, I went to this conference a year ago (remember?!?), when I was all shiny and new in NYC. It was only a one day event then, and since then it has grown to be much more (more days, more bloggers, more sponsors, more everything!). I loved my experience a year ago, I learned many valuable things about fashion blogging and social media, in general. I also loved the panel style, where several bloggers or industry professionals answered questions or commented on certain topics. Unfortunately for me, the panels were on the first day this year. The second day was made up of "workshops", as they were called, with just one or two speakers on a given topic. To me, workshop implies something creative or at the very least, interactive. The speakers had a presentation to give and some seemed more prepared than others. The sessions were all very much geared to bloggers who want to be doing this as their sole career (which is fine, it's just that I don't). I just didn't find myself feeling inspired by a lot of the speakers (or maybe just the topics that were being presented on). On a positive note, and in an effort to draw learning moments out of every situation, I did walk away with a few things. I learned some tips on improving your blog's photography, I have a halfway understanding of what affiliate marketing is and I learned more about the eyewear company, Warby Parker (the highlight for me).

Neil Blumenthal, the CEO and co-founder of Warby Parker gave a short (too short!) talk on how he started the company, the process of market research (use your friends), how he decided on the name (a mash-up of characters' names in a Jack Kerouak novel) and how their first fashion presentation was a "hush mob" in the New York Public Library. For those that have not heard of the online eyewear retailer, you need to check it out! For only $95, you get a complete pair of stylish prescription glasses. AND they donate a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold! It's the TOMS of the eyewear world. Anyways, I'm sold and I plan on visiting their showroom in SOHO this weekend to try on frames before I make my order online.

For this presentation alone, the conference was still worth it for me. Maybe if I had been able to attend the full two days, I would have left feeling more inspired. I hope I haven't sounded too negative about the whole thing, but with all of the growth this conference has seen in only a year (including a price tag that is TWICE as much!), I was expecting a little bit more.

Props to the jewelry company, Alex and Ani, however, for having a free photo booth that not only printed out instant photos, but also emailed you a "gif" of the photos you took!

j.

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