Working for the Tools - The Thrive Blogger's Convention - A Plog Entry

This past weekend I attended the Thrive Blogger's Conference at the brand new Embassy Suites at Hughes Landing in the Woodlands, Texas, just north of Houston. (A quick shout out to the super friendly staff and the free drinks at cocktail hour! Yes, please!) Now, I'm a calligrapher first, not a blogger. My blog is more of a place to show you all the fun wedding calligraphy and hand lettering I've been working on. (I believe the phrase Plogger was coined at the convention. Portfolio + Blog = Plog. I Plog therefore I am I suppose.) So for a really good write up of the event you'll have to look at a real blog. But I will happily share my wonderful experience if you care to read on. And do hang around for gorgeous professional Thrive Convention photos by Meg Hawley of Everyday Meg

Guys, advertising is expensive. If you've ever looked into it you know this is an unavoidable fact - especially in the wedding industry. But if you play your cards right and you get creative (and you're willing to work tirelessly) you can create your own advertising and do what tinker-extraordinaire Adam Savage advises to broke beginners and "work for the tools." 

Which is a nice way to say you don't get paid. Sorry, Mal.

By way of a sort of disclaimer I'll admit that sometimes when artists accept this type of trade we seem to give the impression that our time and talent are not worth actual money and that's not good for the industry we represent nor is it good for the individual. But! If the trade is good, take it, because money isn't always the goal.

Delicious macaroons by Whole Foods & the best cupcakes I have ever eaten by Gigi's Cupcakes. 

Delicious macaroons by Whole Foods & the best cupcakes I have ever eaten by Gigi's Cupcakes. 

Incredible cookies by Sweet Marie's in Houston.

Incredible cookies by Sweet Marie's in Houston.

My services bought me the title of sponsor (fun, right?) and a ticket to this conference, which introduced me to a network of like minded, talented, passionate people. I spent the day talking about things I spend most of my time on and never get to really dish about. Instagram, SEO, photography lighting, Facebook algorithms...Behind the scenes things that are as much a part of my job as paper and brushes, were brought into the open among other people who understand. We understand that even if you may be a creative, and on the outside give the appearance of an artist's existence, you're spending at least half of your time answering emails, tweaking code, adjusting aperture, etc.. It was fantastic to be able to talk to someone about these things, get advice on these bizarre topics, and share.

Sugar and Cloth's Ashley Rose gave a great talk. I loved her instantly.

Sugar and Cloth's Ashley Rose gave a great talk. I loved her instantly.

My point is I offered, and was given the green light to create 140 5x7 prints (on a computer, I'm not insane) for the swag bags (which were fabulous) and 140 hand lettered watercolor place cards, one for each attendee, for the most fun 8-5 I think I've ever experienced.

And what did I receive in return? Not money, but money was never my goal here. For one thing, this work at home mom got a chance to wear heels and lipstick to a real party with a DJ and tiny cupcakes (this does not happen in my world) and finally sit at a table with my own name calligraphed for me. Even if I did make the card myself. 

calligraphy hey bernadette thrive conference
calligraphy hamlet print thrive blog conference hey bernadette

But more than that I received confidence, both in my introverted self for taking this on, and in my work which was so kindly praised by so many precious women - And get this! I had a few people tell me upon introduction that they already follow me on Instagram. What kind of Alice in Wonderland madness is that?

The women at my table were a HOOT.

The women at my table were a HOOT.

And oh such a thrill was this, and I am so grateful to Meg Hawley for catching these photos. I can't tell you how humbled I was watching the other guests photograph their place cards.

calligraphy thrive bloggers convention
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calligraphy thrive bloggers convention
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calligraphy thrive bloggers convention

Guys. Come on. I'll resist the urge to blabber on about how I feel about that and simply say, you just can't put a price on that.

So thank you, Whitney and Bree for this experience. I am the richer for it.

Gorgeous professional photos by Meg Hawley of Everyday Meg