When I first met Amanda, the very first conversation I had with her was about the awesomeness of Alt Summit. “If you’re into blogging, you should definitely go,” she said, after sharing some gems she learned about social media and SEO during her time at the conference in 2013 (which you might remember us blogging about here, here and here). Surprisingly, I had never heard of Alt Summit — once dubbed the “burning man of blogging” by the Huffington Post. Once I learned more about it, I knew it was something I had to experience! So, I packed my bags last week and headed off to Salt Lake City for a few days.
That’s me in the background, taking careful notes of what Susan Peterson of Freshly Picked had to say about her experience on Shark Tank! Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.
While I was at the conference (held at the exquisite Grand America Hotel), I met several wonderful bloggers, photographers, designers and entrepreneurs who inspire me to be the best marketer I possibly can. I learned the importance of collaborations, networking, creating effective marketing materials and using social media platforms, such as Pinterest, to their fullest. I’m still in the process of digesting all of the information I got out of the workshops, talks and networking events I attended. For now, I’ll leave you with a few highlights from this memorable experience.
Joy Cho of Oh Joy! started off the conference with an inspiring keynote speech about juggling work and being a wife and mother. Joy ended with Thomas Jefferson’s quote, “If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.
Winning an Oh Joy! for Target bowl
On top of the fact that Joy Cho of Oh Joy! was the opening keynote speaker, she “liked” our Instagram post of her. Call me a fangirl, but I was pretty excited.
See that cool Oh Joy! for Target bowl in the center of the table. It’s mine! Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.
Oh, and she gave away some cool serving bowls to a select few, and I was one of the lucky participants who won one. You made my day, Joy!
Someone asked Martha Stewart about making pie crust.
Martha Stewart was the keynote speaker this year, and we all had the pleasure of asking her questions. Several people asked Martha about her work-life balance, but one question was specifically about pies. Someone asked her if she uses butter, lard or vinegar in her crust. She responded by saying she uses butter for most sweet pies, lard for her meat pies and vinegar for a specific apple pie. There you have it, folks!
Martha Stewart was the conference’s keynote speaker for the second day, and she was interviewed by Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom! Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.
There was a Garden Party.
Alt Summit is a lot more than just workshops and lectures. It’s about having both a fun and beautiful experience. Thanks to generous donations from sponsors, such as Bing and MailChimp, the organizers were able to put together some fun parties, gorgeous flower arrangements and delicious food. Every detail – from the strategically decorated photo booths to the letterpress menu cards – was considered. The final event of the conference was an outdoor Garden Party, and Alt Summit went all out. There were mopeds people could pose on for photos, a croquet set-up, ribbons hanging from trees – and the majority of the participants were decked out in fabulous attire. Check out some photos from the event here.
The Garden Party was held in the courtyard of The Grand America Hotel. Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.
The best thing about Alt Summit is seeing so many stylish people together in one place. Here are a few of the attendees at the Garden Party, which concluded the conference. Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.
Learning what’s hot right now
Apart from learning the trends in social media and blogging, I got a chance to see what’s hot in fashion and design. This is what’s trending with some of the most influential bloggers in the know: pineapples in design, Scandinavian braids in your hair, Pippet, jumpers with bold prints, ’70’s wavy hair, fluorescent colors, starting a stationery company, thick-rimmed glasses, gold, calligraphy, and food styling.
Take a look at some more photos from the conference!
After the first day, we were all invited to an outdoor party, equipped with food trucks and a DJ, at a park in downtown Salt Lake City. There were several dancers breaking along to the music, and some of the bloggers joined in the fun! Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.
This is the Bing lounge. There were several lounges decorated by the participating sponsors, and attendees had the opportunity to get their portraits taken in front of the photo booths. Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.
All of the participants had a chance to pick up some tips about blogging from the pros in attendance. Here, I am learning about how to organize your editorial calendar. Photo credit: Justin Hackworth.
Some numbers from Alt Summit
Celebrity sightings: 2 (I saw actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ty Burrell of Modern Family at Bar-X, which is owned by Burrell)
Attendees who participated in our blogging book tour last year: 3 (Jessica Angel of Oh So Antsy, Melissa Bahen of Lulu the Baker, and Jeran McConnel of Oleander and Palm).
Hours Susan Petersen of Freshly Picked sleeps every night: 5-6
Susan Peterson is my hero! As the owner of a company that’s now worth a million dollars, she had several great tips for entrepreneurs, including giving yourself a “warrior name” to help you during challenging circumstances. Her warrior name is Beyonce! Photo Credit: Justin Hackworth.
Books Martha Stewart has produced: 85
Minutes the average person spends on Pinterest: 15 per day
Rachel Faucett (left) co-founded Handmade Charlotte with her husband. She has five kids, tons of energy and great ideas and is wildly entertaining. I want to be her best friend! I’m applauding her (on the right). Next to me is my new friend Sean Timberlake, a food writer and a blogger specializing in canning and preserving. Check out his blog Punk Domestics! Photo credit: Justin Hackworth Photography.
The best time to post on Pinterest is on Friday, 3 to 7 p.m. EST! Thanks for the great tips Rachel Faucett (Handmade Charlotte) and Alex Evjen (Ave Styles)!
Cards collected: 43
Times people said, “there are a lot of people from Austin here!”: 4 (Local creatives Anna Kamburis of Demi + Olive, Miranda Anderson of One Little Minute, and Nycia Emerson of Inspired Events and Designs were also in attendance!)
If you have any questions about Alt Summit, feel free to leave us a comment – or tweet us @spruceathome!