I remember my very first BlogHer, a newbie blogger myself we were just starting to explore working with brands. At the time we were teaching a lot of brands what is now common practice in our community. In Chicago in 2009 it was the year of the swag, or so I thought. The following year I was just as excited about swag I left still unsure of why I was there. I saw near brawls over swag that year. In New York I booked my first big gig with Pepsi to be interviewed at their booth and from that point on my thoughts about the conference shifted. I had spent so much time shuffling myself around cities at offsite events. Packing as much swag as my arms would carry. Shipping home boxes of stuff that in all honesty would later just get tossed away.
Then San Diego and back to New York and I realized I had found the reason I was there. Instead of girlfriend time I spent my time talking with brands I wanted to engage with. Interacting at the booths and having conversations. I found myself making real connections with real people and I found my business has grown. Attending BlogHer each year has really kept me pushing forward. It’s those simple interactions with others, hearing how others are working and really taking the time to be open to learning something new. I still had a great time connecting with my friends and even making some new ones!
BlogHer for me is no longer about swag or offsite events. At night I spent my time singing karaoke and engaging with a room full official sponsors who want to work with bloggers like me. Then spent my time feeling the love at the BlogHer Fashion Show. The energy in the room was incredible and as I looked around the room there were tears in the eyes of the women around me. There was beauty all around me. We all felt it. It felt like the community I had first fell in love with, the community that loves and supports one another. Beautiful smiling women with nothing but love and respect in their hearts. I wish the bloggers who were elsewhere could have felt it – that they could have been there for that moment.
This year I have taken away so much more than swag. It’s a deeper appreciation and respect for a conference that has helped me personally grow so much. I still have a handful of business cards and there’s still swag sine I won so many incredible prizes from brands I’m really excited about. But most of all I leave having grown a little more. From the bottom of my blissful heart, thank you!
For making this year so much better than swag.