WHAT DOES #RSTHECON STAND FOR?
It stands for rewardStyle The Conference. This was actually the 7th Annual rewardStyle conference held in Dallas, Tx.
DO YOU HAVE TO BE INVITED?
Yes, the conference is invitation only and is based on performance. This was my first year to be invited which was a huge accomplishment for my business. The platform has 30,000 influencers on it and only the top 200 are invited to go to conference.
DOES IT MATTER HOW MANY FOLLOWERS YOU HAVE?
Absolutely not! I met girls with 10k followers and some that had close to 1 million. A lot of people think that how much money you make is strictly based on the number of followers you have and that is not true. While it definitely effects how much you can charge brand partners, it is not the only factor to account for. Someone with 10k followers could be making more money than someone with 100k. Some factors to consider is the girl with 10k followers could have 10k engaged followers that trust her opinion and therefor buy more for her than the girl with 100k followers who never interacts with her followers and therefor doesn’t have the same level of trust cultivated.
DO YOU HAVE TO PAY TO GO?
Yes. Between just paying off my 2018 taxes and going to #rsthecon your girl is broke! While I’ve heard rumors that rewardStyle pays for the top tier influencers to attend, that definitely isn’t the case for the majority. The conference was $350 which covered classes, brand meetings, lunches and parties. Outside of that you also have to pay for your hotel, travel expenses, food, and clothes. While it was a large investment to go, it is very much a necessary business expense and important networking opportunity in my opinion.
WHAT WAS YOUR SCHEDULE LIKE?
Our schedule is already planned out before we get there which is nice. We are able to select 3 classroom sessions that we would like to attend and then rewardStyle plans the rest. I was most excited for the brand meetings. There were 25 brands in attendance at the conference this year. I did not include some meals, outfit changes and pictures in the schedule below but squeezed those in when I could!
2–4 PM Check-in, Brand + Influencer Happy Hour
5–7 PM Rooftop Pool Party w/ Sole Society
8:30 AM Grab & Go Breakfast
9:30 AM–12 PM Conference
12–2 PM Courtyard Lunch w/ Mary Kay
2–2:45 PM How To Build a Team Classroom Session
3–3:45 PM Working Smarter: The Art of Selling 24/7 Classroom Session
4–4:15 PM QVC Brand Meeting
4:30–4:45 PM Banana Republic Brand Meeting
6–8 PM Cocktail Party w/ Ebay
8–10 AM Grab & Go Breakfast
9:30–10 AM Meeting with rewardStyle Rep
10:15–10:30 AM Garmin Brand Meeting
11–11:45 AM LIKEtoKNOW.it All Classroom Session
12–2 PM Garden Lunch w/ JCPenney
3–3:15 PM Express Brand Meeting
8–11 PM LIKEtoKNOW.it Finale Party
WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
To be completely honest a lot of what was taught in the classroom sessions wasn’t ground breaking for those of us that have been in the industry for awhile but I did learn a few new things! The first classroom session that I attended, “How to Build a Team”, was the one I was looking most forward to seeing as I just brought on an assistant two weeks ago. The speaker, Lauren Kay Sims, is one of my all time favorite bloggers and was able to speak from her own personal experience with her assistant. I learned “normal” assistant tasks, how to decide which tasks to delegate, what rate/salary is fair, as well as career progression opportunities within your team.
The second class that I attended, “Working Smarter: The Art of Selling 24/7”, was fascinating to hear from two of my blogger friends that are killing it on the rewardStyle platform! The two speakers were The Sister Studio and Interior Designerella. This class was all about strategy. Everything from when and what to post on Instagram and the Liketoknow.it app to how to position yourself to make more sales. I think my biggest take away was to treat Instagram and the Liketoknow.it app as two completely different platforms with two completely different strategies. Going forward I will be sharing a lot more content exclusively to the Liketoknow.it app since thats where all of the shoppers are at whereas Instagram is more so for connecting and interacting with the community and not necessarily as sale focused.
WHAT WERE THE BRAND MEETINGS YOU MENTIONED?
So this was the most exciting and beneficial part of the conference! During the three days, the 25 brands that I mentioned earlier all had booths in a designated room called the “Brand Hall”. If you’ve been to a career fair, that’s exactly what this was like. We all carried around our media kits (like a resume for bloggers) and business cards to pass out to the brands. It was a great way to make personal connections with brands that I’ve worked with in the past and also hope to work with in the future. Most of our interactions with brands is behind a computer screen so it was really cool getting to meet the brand reps in person and form those relationships!
Some of the brands in attendance were Ebay, Sole Society, Urban Outfitters, Express, Banana Republic, Bloomingdales, JC Penny, Kendra Scott, QVC, and Garmin just to name a few! My biggest takeaway from the conference is forming relationships with these brands which hopefully will translate to new business deals.
DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY CATTINESS?
Let me first off by saying that what I am about to say does not apply to every blogger that I met by any means. There are some really good eggs and of course some bad eggs out there just as I’m sure there are in any industry.
I wouldn’t necessarily call it catty, I would say the conference was more cliquey than anything. I thought it felt a lot like high school. Everyone had their “clique” which I think is always somewhat normal considering you gravitate towards certain friend groups so I’m not saying there is anything wrong with some girls being better friends than others. It happens, it’s natural, that’s life! For the most part, all of the girls were friendly but with that having been said, there were a lot of girls that stayed very exclusive to their groups and made no effort to talk to others outside of their group. That means every event, every down time, every group picture, the same groups hung out together, the same groups took pictures together and so on.
While that was the case for some of the girls, it’s certainly does not hold true for every blogger. I met some really amazing and genuine ladies who made the week so much fun!
HAVE YOU MADE REAL FRIENDS IN THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY?
Let me be the first to say that blogging is a weird industry to be in and make friends. You are getting to know people solely from what they choose to share publicly with the rest of the world. I’m forming online friendships with girls that I rarely get to see in person. I can honestly say that some of my best friends are bloggers! So yes, it is 100% possible to find genuine friends in the blogging community but I’ve had my fair share of fake friends too.
You will hear the term “community over competition” thrown around like confetti but I feel like lately this only applies to girls within your own circle. And like I said a lot of bloggers are very exclusive about their circles. I’ve had so many “friends” that have come and gone over the three years that I have been doing this job. There are the “friends” that you form online relationships with and then in person they don’t give you the time of day. There are the “friends” that use you to get ahead. And then you have the”friends” that jumped up in followers and now suddenly don’t want to associate with you anymore. You know the saying “don’t forget me when you’re famous”? Yea, some of these girls forget.
DID YOU GET TO CHOOSE YOUR ROOMIES?
Yes! And thank heavens for them. I had only met one in person before the conference. Remember what I just said about all of those bad eggs? Well these girls right here they are some good ones. They are kind, encouraging and supportive. I love that all of us came from different places, different friend groups and different stages of life for the week. We laughed until we cried, stuffed our faces with Shack Shake, danced the night away and had endless girl talk.
Once invitations go out, you are able to pick your room mates. Since there are different rounds of invitations and the invite list changes each year, finding roomies is a bit of a struggle but I highly suggest going and rooming with girls that will make your experience a memorable one!
ANYTHING YOU LEARNED THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO NEW BLOGGERS?
Honestly the most beneficial part of rewardStyle conference in my opinion are the connections you make and the relationships that you form with brands, bloggers and industry professionals. But I will say that if you are bummed that you didn’t get an invite this year to not be discouraged. I was not invited last year and it honestly made me bitter and resentful for a long time instead of lighting a fire under my butt. If you make it a goal, you can achieve it. Use it as something to work even harder for. Use it as fuel.
But also keep in mind that the majority of bloggers make more money from sponsored posts than they do from affiliate/commission based programs like rewardStyle. So just because you didn’t get invited to rewardStyle conference doesn’t mean that you aren’t killing it in another area. Don’t let this conference define your success. You are doing great. Keep pushing, keep hustling!
The best advice I received at the conference is to continually analyze your performance. If not daily, then weekly! See what type of products, which retailers, what type of pictures, what type of poses, etc perform the best and recreate those things. Maybe that’s styling a top selling pair of jeans multiple ways, taking a different outfit picture with the same pose that went viral, or doing an entire try on session at a retailer that had one product sell really well. Hone in on what you are doing well and do more of it!