There were three tables in the exhibition room where different bloggers were talking about their expertise throughout the day. There were quite a few I'd been really keen to check out before the day, but because of very limited space at each table, and presentations running simultaneously, I only ended up attending two. Both were absolutely brilliant though, so I am very glad that out all of them these were the two I managed to listen to.
The first talk I attended was How to Reach Out to Brands & Agencies by Kirsty Leanne. I work with a lot publishers, theatre/entertainment PRs and the occasional tourism office, but there are some definite brands on my wish list that I'd like to collab with (Paperchase, Cath Kidston and travel agencies, I'm looking at you!) and Kirsty's presentation has given me the inspiration and kick in the butt to actually reach out to them. Particularly helpful was to hear what to put in a blogger outreach email (contact's name, intro blog + link, talk about the brand, content idea if applicable, ask to be added to mailing list) and what kind of stats are good to shout about (DA, social following, style of writing, photography, etc.).
The second talk was How to Engage Your Audience and Keep your Content Authentic by Vix Meldrew. While Vix's content focuses aren't necessarily the kind of topics I read blogs for, her open and hilarious talk about keeping your voice authentic and finding that balance between audience engagement and brand collaboration/sponsorship was very refreshing and an absolute joy to listen to. Another blogger that managed to inspire and makes me want to do more with my own blog so I can elevate it to the next level.
Brands I Fell in Love With
First things first, I should say that not all of the brands exhibiting were for me. People blog about a lot of different things as we all have different tastes, so if there was a brand present I'm not highlighting specifically it'll be because their product doesn't fit my blog, not because I didn't like them in any way. I only really spend time chatting to the brands that aligned with my own personality and interests and of those my favourites are listed below!
The very first stand I had to pop by was jewellery brand Johnny Loves Rosie. I discovered this brand last year and I bought two watches from them I'm incredibly happy with and so I was keen to have a chat to see what else they have in store. I was especially excited to hear they have a new range of watches coming out as well as a lot of sterling silver jewellery (the only kind I can wear). I'll be stalking their website to keep an eye on all the new products!
One of my favourite discoveries at BlogCon London was Bleat PR, and the brand they were representing at the event, STM Goods. I recently booked some city breaks after the travel bug has bitten me again after my trip to revisit Canada last year, and one thing that always comes along on my journeys is my trusty MacBook Air. However, currently I'm using quite a big laptop sleeve to protect it which takes up a lot of space in my backpack (my old, tatty backpack that has a few holes in it...).
I've been looking around for a new backpack that is both waterproof and can protect my laptop but I hadn't been able to find one yet that did both and still looked small and sleek... until I saw the Grace backpack from STM Goods on the Bleat PR stand! This one is perfect for travels, you guys. Not only does it have a ton of zips and pockets, but the special laptop pouch at the back floats, keeping the laptop always suspended so it won't hit the floor when you drop the bag. Perfect. The blue Grace backpack will be mine once it becomes available in the UK!
I think it would be great in a blog feature about Essential Items to Take on a City Break, what do you guys think?
Another brand I chatted to that I am very excited about exploring further is Trek America. My start in blogging was in travel (back in 2005 when travel blogging wasn't even a thing yet, on a blog that has gone private since) when I first went to Canada for a year and later on Australia/New Zealand for another year. Having worked on my career in London since 2010 I haven't done as much travelling as I've been craving and when I revisted Vancouver last year I became really keen to see more of North America again. Even though I lived in Canada I've not been everywhere yet and in America I've only been to both coasts, so I'm excited to explore the tours Trek America sets up, as there are loads of places I'd love to see (and blog about, of course!).
Natural World is a brand I've spoken about before so I won't stand still by it too long today. But they have excellent hair care products and I particularly love their Argan Oil to put in the tips of my hair (it smells amazing too). They kindly gave me a sample of the shampoo (which I hadn't tried before but if I love it, it comes in a massive 1 liter bottle that will keep me sorted for a while) and I got to see a sneak peek of their new ranges; Paw Paw & Quinoa and Chia Seed.
Last but certainly not least, Lola's Apothecary had, hands-down, the best smelling stand at the event. I didn't get to chat much to them unfortunately but I did spend an awful lot of time taking photos of the stand because it was sooooo gorgeous. I also picked up a sample of their Body & Massage Oil and I'm very excited to try it out (though it looks so beautiful I also kind of don't want to open it - dilemmas!).
Samples and Other Goodies
Some of the brands kindly gave us a sample of their products to try, and others were in the goodie bag I picked up at the event as well! I won't repeat the information of the brands listed under exhibitors, but there are a few more I'd like to give a special mention.
You guys know I'm obsessed with jewellery brands that produce great pieces made from sterling silver and so I'm thrilled to discover a new gorgeous brand to add to my list of favourites: Symbol. This necklace is exactly my style and I absolutely love it. I can't wait to get some more great pieces from their collection for myself and friends, I'm already eyeing the Three Hearts Bracelet!
I already knew and love PopChips and HIGHLY recommend then when you need a pick-me-up snack in the afternoon (or a snack at any time even, heck I've even had them for breakfast). I finished the pack while writing this blog, oops.
I'm not yet familiar with Indigo Herbs, but since I got a smoothie maker for my birthday last month I've been obsessed with it and I'd love to add more healthy superfoods to my prominently fruity concoctions so far. I look forward to trying it out!
Last but certainly not least, a big thank you goes to Scarlett for the massive amount of work she puts into making her events run smoothly, for the bloggers sharing their expertise at the talks, and for the brand exhibiting (or contributing to the goodie bags) for their generosity. Thank you, this was a fabulous event and I left feeling inspired and motivated to take my blog to the next level. ♥
(beautiful dresses by Chi Chi London)