I recently had the pleasure of attending the Into the West Blogger Network’s (#ITWBN) First Birthday event at the luxury 5 Star G Hotel. The Blogging Network was created by the talented ladies who are Sinead Carroll and Saibh Egan. Sinead blogs over at Yummy Mummy and Saibh is a photography who work can be found on SaibhEgan.com. It is somewhere where us bloggers from the West of Ireland (and everywhere else!) can chat, support and learn from one another. I personally have never before met so many amazingly talented beautiful people in one room (who all had fabulous shoes)! The network from my own experience has been a place of inspiration and also support.
The event was held at the G Hotel in Galway City. The hotel itself was designed by the award winning Philip Tracey. While designing the hotel he was inspired by the sea – this can be seen throughout the hotel – from the ripple walls to the stunning bubbles that light up one of the main seating areas.
I’ll be honest – I was nervous walking in. This was the first blogging event that I have ever attended and I was going on my own. I only hoped that I would get talking to someone! I had no reason to be nervous! I ended up talking to some very stunning ladies while we were waiting to go in. A few of us sat down and had a quick drink to calm the nerves and pass the time -Lorraine from Pastel Pout, Pam from Pams Live Love Fashion, Ashling from Ash Nailed it and then also the very fashionable Lorraine from Style Booutique.
When it was time to walk the pink carpet (!!!) we each were advised where we were to sit. The tables were adorably named after different beautiful sites around Ireland and I was at the Diamond Hill table. This was such a good idea! If you came with a few people it really meant that you had to get to know new people and I was delighted to be sitting with such fantastic bloggers.
When we walked in we were treated to some Prosecco and some beautiful little cupcakes made by Sweet Treats by Fiona. She also designed the cake in the below pic! To get us started Suzanne Meade, the marketing manger of the G Hotel, spoke a little about the origins of the hotel and also how they love working with ITWBN and bloggers in general. It is great to see such a fabulous hotel taking such an interest in social media.While she was speaking I was also delving into our amazing goodie bags (but more on that later!) and of course putting on my name-badge. It was quite a trill seeing my little blog name in print somewhere.
There were some amazing bloggers at my table including Brenners Mc Goo and Niamh Burke. Caroline Brennan from Revolve Marketing and PR. I think that one of the things that I love about ITWBN is that it is not just for beauty and fashion bloggers. Brenners Mc Goo is into alternative clothings and cruelty free cosmetics and Niamh Burke has her own nutrition business! And even an amazing PR guru was at the table as well (who I really wished I has spoken to more!)
Sinead Burke was the first speaker. This inspirational wonder is the creative brain behind Minnie Mélange. I did briefly mention her here, but her speech was much more than that. She is a woman who wears many hats – from ISPCC Blueshield Ambassador to Miss Alternative Ireland to a teacher to an excellent interviewer! But at the heart of it she is someone who is inspiring and her story was one that had me trying to note down every word! She is a natural on front of a crowd and had us laughing on many more than one occasion. Some of her words have resonated with me though….
- Be authentic and be true to you
- Do not see others as competition – but something to be inspired by
- She started her blog to talk about ‘interesting things with interesting people’
- Don’t look to the internet for someone to tell you that you are brilliant – Find that elsewhere.
- Don’t feed the trolls – ‘click the Red X’!
For her it was never about the numbers – and it was a slow process. This was also good to hear as many just expect success to happen over night. A lot of work goes into someone’s success. She made fashion work for her and the interviews on her site are both insightful and fun to read – if you haven’t already checked out her site – do!!
Dee from Castleprint spoke about knowing the difference between branding and reputation. To be honest the branding of my blog is not something that I had thought too much about however now I will be delving in! She noted that the tag line of your blog is very important as is hiring a graphic designer to design your logo.
Caroline also spoke about what mood that you want readers to feel when they visit your site and that you should have a 30 Second interview pitch about your blog always ready to say. Also important – be easy to contact!!
The food at the break was created by The G Hotel’s Head Chef Cedric Bottarlini and his team. Yummy! We were then entertained by Tierney Talks and the hilarious The Galway Player. After the break there were 2 more speakers – Wayne Denner and Karen Brown.
Wayne Denner is a motivational speaker and also a Digital ninja! He spoke about the importance of your online reputation and being secure online. In this digital age – you can build your reputation over 20 years but then destroy it in seconds. Did you know that 90% of internet content is user generated content?
Wayne also spoke about how to handle feedback – and to have a plan on how to handle negative feedback. He believes that you should respond to everything within reason and keep engaged with your readers. And the most important thing – Think before your tweet. * Important * Secure your social media properties! For example, Periscope is currently the latest thing – have you secured your blog name? This is very important to avoid your blog being misrepresented.
Karen Brown from Karora Cosmetics was also a speaker and wow is a great example of how hard work and an entrepreneurial drive can lead you to global success. She started at 19 selling a tan brand that she discovered from the back of her carboot to creating her own brand and selling it to a global market. She has negotiated to get her product into the Ulta stores in the US and sells 6,00 units per show that they are on in the States.
An interesting point that she made was that in the beginning to go with the market that is showing you the most love and then you can come back and break into the other markets once you are more successful. This was interesting as generally you would think to break into the market on your doorstep before branching out further.
It is great to see an Irish Brand being so successful and was even noted by Allure Magazine as one of the Top 3 Things to come out of Ireland – along with Guinness and Colin Farrell. I think that we should all support the creator of someone who wants her brand to be the ‘Versace of the Beauty Retail Industry’ and is flying the Irish flag across the pond!
There were also many stands to walk around and talk to the staff there. They included The Body Shop, Cotton Face, Amber, Insight Haircare and Debenhams. Mez’s Masquerade also provided so much fun with props to take pics with.
The Goodie Bags were amazing and I will be reviewing the products that I love after I have properly tested them out! The sponsors included; The Body Shop Ireland, Isa Dora, Karora, Blank Canvas Cosmetics, The Handmade Soap Company, Atir Shapewear, Boots via No7, Amber Galway, Memeoirs, So Fragrances, Tiger, Pixy Natural Skincare (Update; Sadly the company closed in 2018), Wet n’Wild and Revive Active.