Yesterday myself and lots of other northern bloggers (and a few select southerners we let through the border) attended a new blogging conference Blog On. The baby of Laura from Tired Mummy Of Two, it was set to run over one day, with three sessions which all rotated around so we didn’t miss anything, with time in between to chat, speak to brands and grab a bite of the yummy Blog On cake, all whilst gazing on at the fantastic displays at our venue The Museum of Science and Industry.
Having attended Britmums the month before, and already met some of the northern bloggers via various events, I wasn’t too anxious about this one, just very excited. Myself and Leyla from This Day I Love had decided to make a weekend of it and stayed overnight in a hotel across the road, so we were lovely and refreshed from a full night’s sleep until 9am *gasp* !
We were signed in, given our badge, which we could personalise (queue me monopolising the sharpies!), and then ventured into the main room where the brands were setting up. I did not get time to get around all the brands during the day, but instead decided to focus on a couple and try and build some relationships, rather than spreading myself too thin.
The Essential One are a company close to my heart and when I discovered last week they were attending I was over the moon. Since they were my Britmums sponsor I have worked with them a lot recently, but I already knew what a great brand they were. I simply cannot convey enough how fantastic they are. Having spoken to the owner, Karen, over email many a time I could not wait to finally say a huge hello. She did not disappoint and was a lovely as I expected and I found myself returning for a chat several times throughout the day, because it is so important to me to build on the fantastic relationship I already have.
|The Essential One’s A/W range|
The other brand I surprised myself by spending a lot of time with was Kaleidoscope. I originally went to the stand to try and book in with the colour stylist, who would help me determine what colour suit me and what I should avoid. In the end all the slots were taken, but I then began talking to a lovely girl and ended up discussing a lot about what they are looking for as a brand and also what I am looking for myself. I have never really been a person who has bought from catalogues – I associate it with something my mum did – so it was interesting to hear that Kaleidoscope are hoping to change this common misconception and open themselves to a younger market, as well as breaking into the homeware range. I am looking forward to speaking with them further in the future.
|My favourite dress in the Kaleidoscope collection|
Of course not only were there lovely brands in attendance, but some fantastic speakers. Actually Mummy, Mammasaurus and Mummy Barrow were the bloggers I were aware of but I also discovered how knowledgeable and lovely Emily from A Mummy Too is. I have to say my favourite session was my first one with Liz from Cambridge Mummy, Cat from Cat’s Yellow Days and the extremely helpful Dan from Push On. It was really interesting to hear from a PR perspective as well as a blogging one what works and what doesn’t in terms of brands and building relationships.
What I appreciated the most about Blog On was how casual it all was. There was no formality to it (apart from Laura ushering us from one room to another!), the sessions were discussion-led and it felt comfortable to ask a stupid question without getting a roomful of know-it-all’s staring at you like you’ve just dropped out of the sky. The brands there were so open to talking to us and working with us, as well as plying us with sweets, cake and wine, and I really got a sense of how important we, as bloggers, as actually becoming in the PR/brand world.
Overall the day was so worthwhile and all the time and months of work I know it has taken really came together. Everything ran so smoothly, the sessions were informative and enjoyable and the people there were so warm to welcoming to anyone – new or old. If there is anything to take from the event it is that, be it big or small, we are all worth something and there is a lot of support behind us to help us on our way. From one little seed of an idea came Blog On. Think what we all could do if we set our minds to it.