Earlier this week I attended my first ever blogger event. I network for business for the day job, so I was not nervous about entering room of people I do no know, however I was nervous about how I would be perceived.
I found the Blogger Meets Brands on Eventbrite when looking for business events to attend for the day job. The event is run by Yasmin Kurt who’s blog and events company is called The Wonders Of. She may correct me on this; she started to blog when she went travelling to remember her adventures. When she returned home, she found herself in the Events industry working in London. When returning home to Wales she created the brand to bring her two loves together.
It is amazing how your mind can take over, and make you see situations before you even experience it. My stereotypical mental image of a blogger is an attractive young woman in her early twenties, who is very slim and has a great sense of fashion. Her nails and make-up are always as if an artist has spent the morning working on them and big hair with soft curls as if she has just stepped out of the blow dry bar. Would I be seen as the elephant in the room – literally? Being in my 30’s would they automatically assume that I am a ‘mummy’ blogger and not want to socialise?
These of course were not true, well, for the most part . Of course there was that type of blogger in the room, but just as in life there were a whole host of real women with different backgrounds, different ages, shapes and styles and all writing about different platforms. Of the 35 or so attendees, brands were also invited along, either to learn how bloggers can help them increase their market share or how to reach a wider audience.
The event was held at Steinbeck and Shaw in Cardiff. Other than the very colourful graffiti that adorns the walls, the venue has not changed since I first started clubbing in the very early naughties. (Yes, I can remember when it was Brannigans and then Dylan’s. During my colleges years it used to be our Monday night haunt. It was £1 a pint, and I used to have cider and black with a bit of ice and a straw! #classy)
Unusually for me, I arrived a little early and introduced myself to the organiser before mingling with the other attendees. A table of prosecco had be sponsored by Pop a Ball. The glasses had been filled with peach flavoured bursting bubbles or pink shimmer. The alcoholic in me wondered if I could try the two, but like a magpie settled on the sparkly one.
Soon it was time to take a seat and be introduced to the panelists; Laura a full time blogger who runs Side Street Style, Claire who owns clothing brand Delicious Monster Tea, Christy from Style Rarebit a fashion and beauty blogger and you tuber, and Claire the owner of Lulu and Boo Organics who started making her skin care products from home.
The question and answer session hosted by Yasmin was very helpful and gave a great insight. One of the first questions was how do you start. Laura from Side Street Style’s response was all about the approach, she suggested to email PR companies and if they did not have anything at the moment to be put on their books. She said, “Enjoy what you do, be in it to have fun and not for the money. Also, be grateful for any opportunities that do come your way.”
Claire backed this up but said, “Keep it personal, no one wants to receive a group fishing email. Build a relationship with the right person at the brand.”
When discussing readership and followers, Claire from Lulu and Boo Organics said they do consider and work with people with a smaller audiences. She emphasised, “Be professional, and be respectful to the brand. It is a business partnership that can help each other, so you need to be able to work together”
Christy emphasised, “It is important to work with a brand because you believe in it. It is exciting to be asked to work with someone, but don’t be afraid to say no if it is not a brand you believe in, fits with your style or you can not do it justice.”
After a quick round of questions from the audience, it was time for more networking. Another of the event sponsors were Beau Monde Bakery based in Penarth. When I heard that the beautiful looking doughnuts and cupcakes were vegan, I was a bit sceptical. Would the taste be right? Would they be rubbery? Were they all show? Absolutely not! It was stunning; rich moist sponge, soft fruit and sweet icing sugar to finish. My only regret for the evening was that I was too busy talking and was not able to try a doughnut, which were quickly snapped up.
All too soon the event was over. We were presented with a goody bag of some pretty fantastic treats, which was a great surprise. This included a Pink Parcel a monthly subscription box for ladies to use during that time of the month, samples from Lulu and Boo Organics, a Pop a Ball pack so I can pimp my prosecco at home, some Nourish London oil samples and a can of Virtue which is an energy water. I am already looking forward to using these, so watch this space for some reviews.
I left the event in such a great mood, and my head was reeling with ideas for going forward. When I got home, I quickly had to scribble these down so I would not forget. I really enjoyed myself and met some fantastic people and personalities. I would recommend the event to those with an interest in writing and brands to see how collaborations could help them. I’m already looking forward to the next one…