Hi sweet friends! If you follow me over on the ‘Gram, then you probably saw that last weekend I was in Dallas for the rewardStyle annual conference, aka #rStheCon! After receiving quite a few questions – from what the heck is rewardStyle, why do they have a conference, are blogging conferences legit and do y0u actually learn anything, to what are these fancy parties all about, and how does one get invited – I decided this called for it’s own post so I can answer all of your questions, to breakdown the knowledge & new information that I learned, as well as share my looks throughout the weekend! So let’s get started…
WHAT IS rewardStyle?
rewardStyle is the third party affiliate company that allows me to monetize (aka earn money) from the original content I create and publish on my blog and social channels! I earn commission from the sales that I generate from those outfits I share with my amazing readers and followers! rewardStyle is the company that invented and owns LiketoKnow.it, which is the technology that makes it possible for my awesome Sabby Style galpals (that’s you, boo!) to shop my Instagram looks! When I started using LiketoKnow.it on Instagram, I felt odd and didn’t want to come off as “salesy” or too pushy, but honest to goodness, I personally use the free LiketoKnow.it app to do all my shopping!
The technology has come along way and even with the crazy changes that Facebook and Instagram have made, rewardStyle stays ahead of those curveballs, ensuring I can still share my outfits and making sure you can access the information with ease!
REFRESHER – HOW TO SHOP MY INSTAGRAM
1. The “SHOP INSTAGRAM” page right here on my blog! Simply click on that page and boom, all of my most recent IG pictures will pop right up. And the best part is that you no longer need to have a LiketoKnow.it account or sign in to shop! Click and Shop – easy peezy!
2. Download the FREE LiketoKnow.it App! This app is the bees knees and you will be hooked. Trust! Once you download the app, you can get my outfit details by…
- Follow me (@sarasab) in the App
- Screenshot any of my pictures in Instagram and then open your app to see the details
As always, if you ever have any questions, feel free to direct message me on Instagram!
SO….WHAT IS #rStheCon???
Held every year in Dallas, TX at the end of April, rewardStyle hosts it’s annual conference that is an invite-only based on performance. There are over 11,000 Influencers that utilize rewardStyle and the LiketoKnow.it technology, with the top 200 income earners being asked to attend. This is my second year getting invited and attending! It is a huge honor and was one of the biggest goals I had set for myself when I left my 9-5 nonprofit career to take my blog full time back in 2016!
The conference is comprised of brand meetings, classroom sessions, and networking opportunities, topped off by fabulous luncheons & parties that are sponsored by the retailers that are featured at the conference. I try to treat this weekend away as a work event because at the end of the day, the expenses I incur to attend are an investment in my business and growth, so I definitely take it seriously! But I won’t lie, the perfectly-themed, beautifully decorated parties, are a nice bonus!
At last year’s conference, I met and roomed with Cortney and Kelssey and we became instant friends! Since then we’ve traveled together and talk every single day. It’s such a blessing to have true, authentic friends who understand the blogging & social media industry, because there’s no handbook or guide on how to navigate this career! Cortney’s 30th birthday was actually the same weekend as this year’s conference, so she decided not to attend this year. Kelssey and I were not happy lol and she was greatly missed! Kelssey and I of course roomed together again this year at Hotel Crescent Court, which is the magnificent hotel that the conference is held at!
If you’re visiting the Dallas area, I highly recommend this hotel for your stay! The rooms have recently been renovated and the staff & customer service is wonderful. Kelssey and I love sushi, so we ate at Nobu, which is conveniently located in the hotel! There’s also a great little coffee shop/cafe right across the courtyard called Ascension that I also recommend!
CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS – KEY NOTE SPEAKERS
We started Friday morning off with keynote speakers and I was blown away by the information and messages shared! First Amber Venz Box, President & Co-Founder of rewardStyle and LiketoKnow.it kicked off the session with analytics, facts, and forecasting trends that will help us better deliver content for you, as well as enable us to be better entrepreneurs!
Kendra Scott then took the stage and I was blown away by her strong, sweet, encouraging, and determined boss lady self! I wasn’t familiar with her back story, but after hearing her talk, I’m even more of a fan of her and her jewelry than I ever was before. Kendra Scott (herself and the company) is rooted in faith, family, and philanthropy and those are things I whole-heartedly can support!
Next Aimee Song, yessss, that’s right, THE Aimee Song, shared her journey, her thoughts on the crazy world that is Instagram, as well as reiterating the fact that no matter how many followers or fans you have, don’t ever forget the why behind what you do and who you are at the core! No matter what your profession may be, that is a sentiment that resonates with all women!
CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS – BRAND MEETINGS
I had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Kendra Scott, QVC, and Modcloth! One of the biggest benefits of attending the conference is the chance to get in front of your dream brands to pitch yourself in person. Some might consider this to be scary or intimidating, but I LOVE it! There’s nothing better than connecting on a real, authentic level with companies whose missions and brands align with yours!
TIPS FOR PITCHING YOUR DREAM BRANDS
1. Know Your Brand! My biggest blogging tip is that you must know who your readers are! I know my reader is a female, ages 19-55 (hey mom!), loves colorful fashion, is looking for a range of fashion inspiration from daily looks to travel ideas and special occasion outfits, is budget-conscious but has the means to spend, lives in the US, primarily resides in Omaha, Kansas City, Chicago, NYC, and Dallas, and is trying to live their best life and looking fabulous while doing it! If I didn’t know who my readers are, then how would I know what brands and businesses to work with and what kind of content I should bring to Sabby Style? Figuring out who your audience can be a process, but you must know who is taking time out of their day to read your blog and support you in your endeavors!
2. Forecast & Plan! It is so important to look at your calendar and write down upcoming holidays, events, seasonal changes, as well as personal milestones and travel plans so you can begin to forecast and plan your content calendar! Example: If you want to work with a jewelry company on a Mother’s Day Gift Guide campaign, then you must pitch your idea months before to allow for planning, negotiating, creating the imagery, writing the content, approval submissions, make adjustment, and then publish so your readers have time to shop for their moms!
3. Be Specific as Possible! Can you imagine how many pitch emails a brand receives every single day? Make your email stand out by getting down to the nitty gritty in order to paint the picture for them! Entice your dream brand by explaining exactly how your partnership would be unique, as well as how it would resonate with your readers and their customers.
4. Have a Media Kit! I highly recommend creating a media kit for yourself! My sweet friend Michelle, who is also a Photoshop genius, helps me with mine, but for a long time I just used a word document! Progress is better than perfection, so work with what you have! Regardless of how fancy or simple your kit is, it should include two pages. The first page serves as a brand overview/resume of your work. The second sheet then breaks down the packages I offer and the compensation associated with said package. When sending your pitch email, I encourage you to include that first page so they can put a face to the name and become aquatinted with your work and overall brand! Then politely offer to send over the packages you offer if they are interested in reviewing it. More than likely they will say yes, please send over, whether they look at it for this campaign or want to have in on file for future use! I always note that all of my packages can be adjusted to meet their marketing needs and budget, which lets them know you are flexible in order to create a partnership that fits both parties’ needs!
CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS – INSTA STORIES EDUCATION
1. Always Have Something on Your Stories! One of the things I’m super guilty of is either rapid firing away on my Stories or going ghost status and not posting for days at a time! And that was the biggest no-no takeaway from one of my classroom sessions <—- Insert face palm! So whether you have 1,000 followers or 100,000, if you are trying to grow your audience and engagement, then be sure you always have something on your Stories! Another point of recommendation is to space out your Stories. The goal is to be one of the first Stories circles on your followers home feed page, so posting through out the day ensures your Stories will be more visible to your followers!
2. Use the Continual App for Tutorials or Long-Winded Posts! There’s nothing more annoying (for the Story maker and for the viewer) is when you’re trying to make a Stories tutorial on your natural makeup look or messy top knot and you have to keep starting a new video every 15 seconds. Well I learned about an app called Continual that allows you to record your entire video and then it automatically splices it into 15 second videos for your Stories!
3. Utilize Polls on Insta Stories! To make sure you’re using your time wisely, use polls on Stories to gauge interest of your audience and followers! Ask them if they want to see a Beauty Product Faves blog post, or if they want to see you trying things on in dressing room. Whatever it may be, those loyal and honest followers are your best and most valuable resource to help guide what content you should be working on!
4. Create a FAQ highlight! This is one thing that I plan to do right away and I thought it was a genius idea. I’m often asked a variety of questions, but most common include: how tall am I, who does my hair in Omaha, where do I get my nails done, what size shoe do I wear, what is my pant/skirt size, how do I grow my hair so fast, what self tanner do I use, what do I use to whiten your teeth, and what lipstick do I always wear! So to make the best use of my time and to ensure I’m answering everyone’s questions in a timely manner, I plan to create a Frequently Asked Questions highlight that I will keep on my feed, which will serve as a resource for those most commonly asked questions!
CONFERENCE LOWS – COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY
This is something I struggled with big time last year, so I mentally prepared myself before hand this year! I’m a confident, hard-working, successful, smart, happy, healthy, kind, generally pretty, and an all ’round good person. Those are things I know to be true about myself! But when you enter a room filled with 200 of the most beautiful women who look just as perfect in person as they do on their Instagrams, that can be very intimidating and really make you doubt said qualities and characteristics mentioned above. I will say that this year I went into the weekend with lots of positive self talk and reminded myself that we are all here because we’re kicking butt in business, and that helped me keep perspective and my work goals for the weekend! But still there’s an inkling of doubt and lots of self-conscious feels that can creep into your pretty little head if you’re not on guard. And to be quite frank, not everyone there is super kind or friendly, which can make you feel even worse. At times it felt clique but I tried not to dwell on that. Instead, I went out of my way to say Hi and to smile at everyone! If they smiled and said Hi back, then yay! to new friend and getting to know other like-minded women! And if they didn’t respond or acknowledge, then that says more about them than it does about me.
So whether you’re hoping to attend the conference next year or will be going to similar kinds of events in the future, just remember you are freaking special and deserve every ounce of success and happiness as the next girl! xoxo
WHAT I WORE – OUTFIT DETAILS
Let me preface this outfit section by saying I wore SO MANY OUTFITS haha! Like it was ridiculous… ridiculously fun! I mean, what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t like putting together fun new looks, right?!? Though you better believe I wore leggings and a thermal for my travel look on Sunday headed back home to Omaha!
I’ll start with the first outfit from the Brand + Influencer Mixer on Thursday afternoon and take you through to the finale party on Saturday evening!
BRAND + INFLUENCER MIXER
I wore this fun tropical print dress for the Brand + Influencer Mixer that kicked off the weekend! During the mixer, I met and mingled with a variety of brands and came away with some pretty awesome samples that I can’t wait to share with you all.
This dress and shoe combo was the perfect outfit for my first impression, as it represented my colorful style and the dressy-casual approach I take when creating looks!
SUPERGOOP ROOFTOP POOL PARTY AT HOTEL CRESCENT COURT
Thursday evening’s rooftop pool party was hosted by Supergoop and it was a blast! Last year’s rooftop pool party was SO HOT, like dripping sweat everywhere, which didn’t help that whole insecure, self-conscious thing haha. This year the weather was perfect, sunny and warm, but not too hot! We sipped on vodka lemonades, listened to some tunes, and has the pleasure of watching synchronized swimmers perform twice! The theme was Palm Springs, so I thought this light blue romper and colorful accessories was just the ticket!
Romper Note – the top is sheer mesh and is slightly open in the back, so you can’t wear a bra, not even a nude one. I’ve never done this before, but I just used petals/covers and it worked out great! I was skeptical because I’m large chested but they worked like a charm!
FRIDAY KEYNOTE SESSION + BANANA REPUBLIC COURTYARD LUNCH
A floral jumpsuit for a floral garden lunch? #duh! The keynote main stage ballroom can be a tad bit chilly, so I opted for light layers with a classic ivory blazer for that Friday morning! I also got to meet Taylor, the sweetest IG friend over @taymbrown and you guys, she’s just as kind and pretty in person as she is on the Gram!
Jumpsuit – $27 + 20% off with code Sarasab20 – c/o SheIn (wearing size Large, but Medium would have been better) // Green Heels // Similar Blazers Here, Here and Here // Earrings // Exact Bag – More Affordable Options Here and Here
FRIDAY AFTERNOON BRAND MEETINGS
When meeting one-on-one with brands, it’s so important to wear something that truly reflects your brand, personal style, and personality! I love to mix colors, prints, and price-points, and this outfit checked all the boxes for me!
FRIDAY NIGHT FIESTA COCKTAIL PARTY WITH EXPRESS
This fiery orange-red cold shoulder dress was meant to be worn for a fiesta! I felt so sassy in it and these fun embellished heels with the houndstooth pattern brought even more color and sass to my look! Tassel earrings and a straw circle bag completed my look, making each and every single piece I’m wearing under $55!
The Express Fiesta featured a DJ, pink margaritas, a succulent wall, a 3D photo booth, and Chic Sketch! In just a few minutes, a very talented artist sketched me on an iPad and it was the coolest experience to see it come to life!
SATURDAY MORNING CLASSROOM SESSIONS & SOLE SOCIETY LUNCH
I opted for all-white casual chic for our fancy picnic lunch at Marie Gabrielle in the Harwood District of Dallas! It was pouring rain, so the white on white look was a bit gutsy but I just wanted to feel cute and cozy. Kelssey and I had a great time hanging with and getting to know Lindsey from @WeekendWishing! We met briefly last year and I was so happy to reconnect and bond this year!
SATURDAY AFTERNOON CLASSROOM SESSION + BRAND MEETING
Could there ever be a more perfect blazer that kinda sorta sums me up?! I think not. I opted to keep it dressy-casual on Saturday afternoon for a classroom session and then my final brand meeting. I loved how the black accessories brought a little edge to my girly colorful blazer!
FINALE PARTY AT THE DALLAS ARBORETUM & BOTANICAL GARDENS
From a one man saxophone show joining us all the way from Brazil, to break dancers in LED lights, to stunning decor and world-class treatment, the finale party did not disappoint! We didn’t let a little rain put a damper on our dancing spirit. My feet felt like they were going to fall off but it was all worth the laughs and fun memories! The finale party calls for a little drama, so this striped bow jumpsuit was the perfect piece to end the weekend!
I hope this post was helpful and cleared up any misconceptions or questions you may have had regarding rewardStyle and their annual conference! I’m an open book and would be more than happy to answer any further questions, so please don’t hesitate to reach out via email, drop a comment below, or Direct Message me on Instagram!