When I landed in Los Angeles ready to attend Create & Cultivate, I knew I was about to embark on something special. Let me set the stage: Create & Cultivate is an online platform and conference series for female entrepreneurs in the digital sphere. When you get 500 motivated, entrepreneurial-minded women in one room for an entire day of panels, mentorship and networking, magic happens. And I’m talking about magic that extends far beyond the ultra-Instagrammable setting.
Powerhouse female entrepreneurs and leaders from all realms took to the stage to share their insights on topics like the balancing act of mother and mogul, scaling and making your mark, and the potential of content as a blogger. The calibre of talent among the speakers was next level, with the likes of #BossLadies like Joy Cho of Oh Joy!, Carly de Castro of Pressed Juicery, Gabby Etrog Cohen of SoulCycle, top-tier blogger Chriselle Lim, and of course, keynote speakers Jessica Alba, Rachel Zoe and Chelsea Handler.
I created, I cultivated. Now here are the five key takeaways from the conference, echoed by panelists, keynote speakers and attendees alike. There were inspirational vibes all day long…
#1- Community: I’ll start with my fellow Create & Cultivate attendees, who hailed from all types of backgrounds: bloggers, publicists, PR mavens, editors, and people hoping to pivot to new careers. The common thread that resonated was the sense of community among us. The power of uniting a group of women (who are otherwise strangers) and creating a rich network among ourselves is truly amazing. No doubt, when we lift each other up, we’ll soar. Most of the speakers emphasized the importance of community throughout the day as well, as a reminder to ask for help when you need it, nurture your contacts, and help others in turn.
The Quotes That Say It All: “It’s important for women to know they can rely on other women. Because there’s nothing worse than a b*tch.” — Chelsea Handler, keynote speaker
“Make sure that you have the right people on the bus. It doesn’t matter where it’s going, but with the right people you know it’s going in the right direction.” — Gabby Etrog Cohen, VP of PR and Brand Strategy at SoulCycle, during the “Startup 101: Breaking Down Raising Money, Scaling & Making Your Mark” panel
“At the core of my brand I’ve always wanted to speak to, empower, and motivate young women. Give them confidence to do whatever they want to do in life. The mantra of my brand has always been: Provide aspiration and inspiration, and always be accessible. Never be intimidating. — Rachel Zoe, keynote speaker
#2- Karma: Speaking of multi-hyphenate mogul Rachel Zoe, the stylist-turned-designer-and-publisher waxed poetic about kindness and karma. It’s simple, really. Be nice to people and pay it forward. The kindness movement is something that’s taught at an early age, and kindness is said to breed happiness and gratitude. Nice girls do not finish last.
The Quote That Says It All: “Everyone should be honest, kind, and forthcoming. That’s how I govern my business and my life.” – Rachel Zoe, keynote speaker
#3- Unfiltered images are key: Interestingly, the panel discussion that focused on “The Business of Beauty” shone a spotlight on the importance of stripped down, “real” images. In a surface-based industry such as cosmetics and the aspiration of perfection (so to speak), vulnerability and genuine content on channels like YouTube and Snapchat are key to resonating with an audience.
The Quote That Says It All: “Real is the new way. People want authentic content, not just lattes on marble.” – Fashion blogger and YouTuber Evelina, in the “Fresh Faced: An Unfiltered Look at the Business of Beauty” panel
#4- Intuition: Knowledge and skills count for a lot in business, but following your gut will also help guide your way. And the more experience you gain, the sharper and more keen your intuition becomes. So don’t ignore it.
The Quote That Says It All: “That thing that wakes you up in sweats at 2am? You kind of have to listen to that.” – Jessica Alba, in her keynote speech, about launching the Honest Company
#5- Integrity: Kindness towards others is key, but so is being kind to yourself: that’s where integrity comes in. Stay true to your values, no matter what. If a project or job you’re about to start isn’t aligned with your core values, rethink it. (Disclaimer: of course it’s tough to reject offers when you’re just starting your business, but doing so means you’re staying true to your own brand.)
The Quote That Says It All: “If you don’t have a passion for it, don’t do it. You will end up spreading yourself too thin.” – Chriselle Lim, beauty vlogger and fashion blogger of The Chriselle Factor fame
“[Having] integrity is the most important thing. Do that, and others will do that around you.” – Ariel Kaye, founder of home essentials brand Parachute
I hope these five key truths will help guide you in your everyday as well, in both your careers and personal lives. Which principle is most important to you? I’d love to hear!