Today I'm so excited to begin sharing my trip to Charleston, SC for The Southern C Summit! The Summit is for bloggers and small business owners and just rocked my socks, you guys. If you followed along on Snapchat (name: ephilli) or Insta (@erinnicolep) you saw all the awesome behind-the-scenes fun. Now I'm going to break it all down for you and share the 5 key takeaways of each day, some things silly, some things informative. Enjoy!
If I miss anything or you want to learn more, just let me know in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I know I was looking for these type of posts when deciding whether or not to attend this year, so make sure you pin this for later if you're thinking about going.
Workout at Barre South while in Charleston, it offsets the crazy/delicious amount food you'll consume ;)!
Wednesday was JAM PACKED, but I felt good because we started bright and early with a barre class organized by Allie at a brand new studio, Barre South in Mt. Pleasant. Considering we didn't stop until late with a nightcap at Striped Pig Distillery, I was glad to get the workout in. How gorgeous is this barre studio you guys?! I die over that aqua reclaimed wood front desk...
I love Southern Proper's new women's line (+brunch is always a good idea).
After barre, the Summit kicked off with brunch at The Mills House and then registration. I loved seeing one of my hubby's favorite brands, Southern Proper, at the brunch. Y'all, they have the cutest new women's line now too (I'm dying for these tassel shoes).
The first 9 photos in your Insta feed are referred to as "the quilt" and they are how your audience will judge your brand/who you are.
The sessions are the meat of the Summit and day one did not disappoint. I teased here that I was looking forward to the session From Blogger to Brand and y'all it was awesome. I learned so much on this first day, like "the quilt" and other tid bits - for example, email is the preferred contact method (as long as you're short, sweet and have done your research), plus don't be afraid to follow up often so you stay at the top of their inbox (however, Eddie Ross does prefer you message him on Insta).
I couldn't get enough of the stage (above) and love the way BMA at Home (feat. in my resource guide) and Chairish (also featured) decorated. I even picked up a smaller version of Hannah Betzel's art, shown on stage, it's more gorgeous in person believe it or not.
(left to right) Jackie Thomson, Leapfrog PR; Krissy Tigilias, Executive Editor of Southern Living; Sarah Karnasiewicz, Digital Food Editor at Real Simple; Alexandra Macon, Managing Editor of Vogue.com; Libba Osborne, Leapfrong PR
(left to right) Liz Adams, Sequins and Stripes; Grace Atwood, The Stripe; Caroline Harper Knapp, House of Harper; (not pictured), moderator Chassity Evans, Look Linger Love
Networking is one of my favorite things.
No one said it's easy, but nestled under a gorgeous white tent with custom lighting, savory nibbles, cocktails and shopping, you tend to let your guard down and connections are made. I loved the Cocktails and Conversation close to our day in the absolutely stunning courtyard of the William Aiken house. Beachview, The Vine and Stray Dog Designs (check out their hand-made lights below!) knocked it out of the park with the event design. I mean...
Outfit details: (on me) Lilly Pulitzer blue and pink tassel top (sold out, but similar here, here and love this pink one), White JCrew jeans; Tory Burch wedges (sold out, but loving these similar Tory's too), Louis Vuitton Neverfull; (on Allie) top from Marshalls (similar under $50), pants Ann Taylor Loft, shoes Target, bracelet David Yurman
New fav pimento cheese alert... Proper Pepper Pimento Cheese.
Build on one event (or blog post) and find other opportunities for connections and sharing.
After the Summit ended on day one, Allie and I debated whether to head back to change before our meetup at Zero George, but ultimately we got caught up in socializing with everyone so we just rolled straight there. I organized this meetup along with Byrdhouse PR and it was a great addition to our day. We invited bloggers who we wouldn't see at the Summit too which was so fun. More to come on this later!
One note though, just like we built off the Summit to also create this event and a dinner, the bloggers in the session From Blogger to Brand mentioned you should take one blog opportunity and maximize the content and sharing. For example, if I was leisurely visiting Charleston for a day, I could do one post on my outfit, one post on the food and one post as a guide to a one-day trip to Charleston. Definitely something to think about for my fellow bloggers!
After Zero George, we hopped over to Cru Cafe (based on a recco from Ashley) with our new blogger friend Meg and it was probably one of the best, if not the best restaurant experiences I've ever had in Charleston. Plus, it was great to catch up with Meg to hear more about the Charleston Blog Society and other fun happenings.
Straight from Cru we headed over to Striped Pig Distillery. A little farther out from traditional downtown Charleston, I was pleasantly surprised by this warehouse-turned-distillery and enjoyed sipping on their gin cocktail. It was a low-lit, dancing and mingling kind of event and I really enjoyed connecting with Dana from the podcast Deep South Details and other attendees.
So there ya have it folks, my top five takeaways from the first day at the Summit! To say we were exhausted would be an understatement :). Yet, the exhaustion was well worth it, stay tuned for day two highlights coming soon!
PS: Allie and I combined all our photos in a shared folder on our phones, so there's a good chance some of the above were taken by my lovely friend and fellow blogger.
PPS: Happy birthday hubby, cheers to 28!!