5 Major Takeaways from the rewardStyle Conference

Every year, the rewardStyle Conference brings together top-performing bloggers for a weekend of networking, education and, of course, some fun. I’ve been blogging with rewardStyle for years but it took me a few years to get invited to rStheCon. I will say, when I really started focusing more on my blog and applying the tips my rewardStyle representative gave me, I started seeing results. I’m proud to say this was my second year attending! For those who aren’t bloggers, the rewardStyle Conference might be a little confusing. However, if you follow more than one blogger, chances are you’ll see at least a couple of them post about it. For more about what the conference is, head to my post from last year. I really break down what the rStheCon is and explain more about the blogging industry.

In this post, I’m sharing the five major takeaways from the rewardStyle Conference. While a majority of the takeaways would be most beneficial to other bloggers, I’m going to share some career advice as well. I want this to be applicable to as many people as possible. Plus, I’ll also do a recap at the bottom of what I wore to the conference. These are fantastic spring and summer pieces you can wear in the upcoming months.

1. It’s About the Numbers

Being a blogger revolves around beautiful content. There are chic outfits, fun moments and pretty things. However, what makes this a business is the numbers and statistics behind each blogger. At the rewardStyle Conference, a big emphasis is put on understanding the analytics of your own blog and social media channels. I check my analytics at least two or three times a day. Why? I’m looking to see what items are resonating or selling well and how people are responding to the content I’m putting out there. Numbers can be intimidating but by learning to understand your audience, you can better serve them. As a fashion blogger, I want to empower women with the clothes they wear. It’s hard for me to do that if they aren’t shopping.

The analytics page for rewardStyle recently underwent a huge overhaul. Now, I can easily see what items are performing best, compare order numbers to items sold to my conversion rate. There are so many different ways to filter the results or even compare week over week, month over month or year over year. I love looking back as well to see what items performed last April, for example, to get an idea of what I should share this April.

I’m so blessed to have such a supportive readership. This wouldn’t be possible without each and every one of you! When I hone in to see what you are buying or not buying, I’m learning what you want to see so I can share more of that.

2. Have An Open Mind

Growing up, my Mom said you can always learn something from everyone. This sticks with me and I’m not afraid to be the “dumb” one in the room. I believe no matter who you are, there is always something new you can learn from someone else. It can be easy to sit in a class and think, “Oh I know this” or “I’ve been doing this longer” and tone out what’s happening. But that’s not the way to approach the rewardStyle Conference. I love learning from others, especially if they’ve made a mistake. You can avoid making it yourself and skip the pain. Not to mention, even if you already know the topic being talked about, someone else could chime in with a tidbit incredibly useful to you!

Being open to what’s happening and the classes can lead to growth. There was a class I didn’t think I would really benefit from but ended up walking away with a page full of notes. Even if they don’t work for me, at least I tried them. You never know until you try.

Also, there are about 200 bloggers who attend the rewardStyle Conference. Obviously, it’s going to be really hard to actually connect on a deeper level with all of them. However, it’s important to say hi to people you don’t know. It could lead to a lightbulb moment for you.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Jump In

Blogging is currently a female-dominated industry. Women tend to prefer being in groups. After all, there is strength in the pack, right? However, this can make it hard to meet new people. Other people may not want to say hi or walk up to a group alone. It’s definitely intimidating! Here’s how I see it: you have nothing to lose. One of my favorite lines is, “Mind if I jump in?” when I hear a conversation I want to join. An overwhelming majority of the time, the group will welcome you in. The first step can be the hardest but you have to take that leap.

Networking is probably the most important part of any conference. The rewardStyle Conference also has brand mixers, where bloggers can mix and mingle with brand representatives. Jump in! Say hi! Chances are the other person is hoping to make the connection, too. My takeaway on this is you reached out and made the first step. If someone is going to judge you for wanting to make a genuine connection, that’s on them. You’re here to learn and grow!

4. Being Prepared Pays Off

To be honest, my first year at the rewardStyle Conference I was not as prepared as I wanted to be. I flew directly from a work trip in New York City but that’s still not an excuse. Not was I short on business cards, but didn’t bring media kits and hadn’t gotten a chance to read up on the brands attending. I changed that my second time around. I handed out at least 20 of my business cards and only a few weeks after the rstheCon, I’m already seeing returns. Whether it’s a brand, a colleague or a potential employer, everyone loves a prepared professional. Having your business cards ready to hand out, knowing the background of the people you have meetings set up with and being on time are not extras, they are required.

I can think of at least three experiences from the conference where knowing the history and story of how the brand was founded worked in my favor lead to conversations about working together. Plus, if you know a general history of a brand, the representative doesn’t have to waste time with their “basic pitch” and can move forward with discussing what they are looking for and how you can work together.

Obviously, I love fashion and clothes. But when it comes to trips, I do not want to really play stylist on the go if I can help it. I prefer to have the outfits planned out so my mornings are less stressful. I can grab my outfit, put it on and head out the door. Taking the time to try things on beforehand and seeing what works will save you time down the line.

5. Authenticity Wins

I remember one of my pageant coaches telling me being relatable is the best way to be memorable. When people can relate to you or find something to connect with, there’s an emotional connection. This may sound so stupid, but it is so important to be yourself and not change to blend in. It can be easy to “adapt” yourself to the personalities or experiences around you to fit in. But don’t fall victim to this! Sharing your own personal experience, staying true to who you are will build better connections. I love making connections with bloggers I feel I relate to on a deeper level, beyond just our sense of style or what we love. But how can I truly make these connections if I change who I am?

Another major takeaway is sharing my personal experience or quirk with a brand. Johnny and I nerd out over “founder” stories when it comes to brands. We love understanding the why and the problem the founders are looking to solve. When a brand representative started talking to me about the brand, I responded with my geeky wealth of knowledge. The representative instantly connected with my story and it led to a meeting!

I hope these five major takeaways from the rewardStyel Conference are helpful to you. Now, let’s get onto my outfits!

#rstheCon Outfit Recap

A sunny outfit for the Sole Society Pool Party, which kicked off the conference. I love two-piece sets and they are on trend this spring and summer! Yellow is one of my favorite colors to wear, so it’s no surprise I went for this set. I’m wearing size XS in both the top and bottoms. This is perfect for vacations, too! I’m wearing this set with super comfortable wedges. However, you can pair them with sandals or even sneakers.

There is a special place in my heart for blazer dresses and this one is less than $50! This retailer has tons of blazer dresses in different styles and fabrics. What I love about them is how you can wear them as a dress but also as a trench. Mix it up a bit and tie your belt into a knot instead of buckling it. I’m also working to experiment with different hairstyles. This pearl barrette adds a chic touch to this outfit.

Y’all know I love these Nike joggers. But they aren’t just for the gym or running errands. Dress them up for a cocktail event like I did here. It’s a unique look and will make you stand out amidst all the dresses. Plus, it’s super comfortable and easy to wear! Personally, I love having pockets. Perfect place to put my phone so it’s easy to grab photos of rstheCon!