We just returned from three packed days at the 2014 Design Bloggers Conference here in Atlanta sponsored by Design Sherpa. The event at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead was sold out with 350+ attendees from 29 states. This was our second year attending this event (last year it was in L.A.) and we had a…ahem…. REALLY good time (this shouldn’t surprise most of you).
Photo courtesy of Mike Ragan
Besides the invaluable networking opportunities this event provides for us, the content was very relevant to our everyday operations as well as being inspiring and interesting. Speakers like Jeffrey Alan Marks, Candice Olson, Timothy Corrigan, Suzanne Kasler, Susanna Salk, Stacey Bewkes, Tobi Fairley, Jennifer Boles and Adam Japko filled our days with information on content management, branding, marketing, social media, trends and more.
I’m sure there will be endless blogs written about this event so as not to bore our readers with the same information, I thought I’d share my own personal take aways from the conference.
So in no particular order, here we go:
#1 – My favorite quote in a presentation by the creator of the event, Adam Japko: “Y-E-S is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference.” Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google
#2 – If you’ve ever yearned to travel to Europe on an antique buying tour and have a blast doing it, you must call Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co. Likewise, if you are in need of an exceptional PR firm in the design industry, you must call my dear friend Andrew Joseph. Two phenomenally talented, fun and approachable professionals!
#3 – I am a witness – The acclaimed designer Jeffrey Alan Marks indeed said that he would work with my dear friend Pamela Copeman on the Ronald McDonald – Long Island 2014 Project Design House. Beth Greene with Kravet is my 2nd witness. Don’t anybody let him deny it!
#4 – Our blog is a labor of love. Why? Because if I heard it once at this conference, I heard it a dozen times – successful blogs are authentic, engaging, personal and have quality, original content. Take those ingredients and realize that we blog 2-3 times per week in ADDITION to being full time designers, and you see that it is indeed a labor of love.
#5 – For all my foodie friends – Joann and I had the honor of being invited to dine at two private dinners this week. One was at Miller Union and the other at Woodfire Grill. Please take note of these restaurants. Maybe it was because the company I was with was ordering food for the group that I would have normally never eaten (I had to put my big girl pants on in a BIG way), but I must say both dinners were a delectable joy. Thanks to our host and oenophile Adam Japko, I was introduced to several red wines that I actually liked. It’s a miracle.
Please note: The farm egg baked in celery cream with grilled bread at Miller Union is one of the BEST things I have ever eaten.
Photo courtesy of Miller Union.
#6 The iconic Candice Olson was one of the keynote speakers. She was hilarious, gorgeous and charitable with her advice. She showed an inspiring stream of before and afters of her work. If you’ve seen her popular HGTV show Divine Design, you know that Candice is a connoisseur of lighting. One point she made that I loved was – be sure to light THINGS not AIR. How many times do you see an overhead light in a room that isn’t lighting anything in particular? Candice emphasized that the intimacy of a room comes from meticulously choosing the right light (and the right bulb) to throw light on a particular THING.
#7 Our host Adam Japko told a personal story about his son Adam who is a soon to be graduating college senior who is fairly laid back about his future and his upcoming leap into the job market. This attitude is giving his father gray hairs. For those of us born in the 60’s, it is very difficult to understand this generation born in the 90’s. He recommended the book “The Defining Decade – Why your twenties matter and how to make the most of them now.” by Meg Jay.
Yup, I ordered two (one for me and one for my twenty year old daughter Emory) on the spot!
#8 Another theme repeated throughout the conference in regards to the success of a blog (and that of a designer too for that matter) is establish yourself as an expert. This narrows the playing field in the blogosphere so that you are more easily identifiable. Hmmmm…. this really got me thinking. I’ve always considered myself a jill of all trades but a master of none. Add it to the takeaway to do list….
#9 We attended a wrap party hosted by Peacock Alley for Dwell with Dignity, a Dallas based company whose mission is to help families escape poverty and homelessness through design – one household at a time. The founders Lisa Robison and Kim Turner have turned to the Atlanta design community to extend their successful outreach program to the City of Atlanta. Lisa and Kim – Kandrac & Kole is here whenever you need us!
Here’s a photo of the gorgeous bedroom designed by our good friend Kerry Howard.
Photo courtesy of Dwell with Dignity on Twitter.
As usual, we had fun at the party. HA HA.
#10 Sit next to somebody you don’t really know thru a 5 course, 3 1/2 hour dinner and you learn all kinds of things (my mother would be so proud of me). I had the pleasure of sitting next to Cecil Adams who is the Creative Director of one of our favorite lighting manufacturers Currey & Co. Cecil also designed the gorgeous stage set for the conference. Cecil has travelled all over the world (including India over 40 times) in his product development career and is a fascinating, sweet and gentle person.
I’m still recovering from the intensity of this event but it was VERY worth it! As a matter of fact, Joann and I were the first to re-register for 2015!
If you are a design blogger and would like to join in on the action, you can pre-register for the 2015 Design Bloggers Conference to be held again in ATLANTA. Woohooo!
Just click HERE.