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May 17 2012

Advice from the Show Floor: Tips on Representing You and Your Blog at Shows

(Pic from the MyHabit.com beauty shop launch)

So you’re a beauty blogger going to a beauty conference, show or event, and you’re new to it. How can you best prepare to get out there and further build the brand you’ve created for yourself?

I went to my first event as a blogger in 2010 – it was The Makeup Show in NYC. It was exciting, and quite the learning experience! Before I went, I received the best advice I’ve ever gotten, from fellow (much more established!) beauty blogger Brittany (Clumps of Mascara) – have business cards made up, and bring plenty with you!

Now that I’ve been attending events and shows off and on for a while, there are tips and tricks I’ve picked up that I felt would be valuable to share with those of my fellow beauty bloggers who might be new to attending shows and events.

And yes, business cards – or the popular Moo cards – are a must-have!

I understand if you ask, “Who the heck are you to give you advice on this?!” Well, I’ve been at this blogging thing for 3 and 1/2 years, attended conferences and meetings as a newspaper editor for 7 years before that, and I’ve had some ups and downs. I’m sharing lessons I’ve learned from my own experiences. So I hope you can find them useful if you are in this situation!

Also important to note – this advice is stuff that I know applies to me. Not everyone is me. Consider your personal brand, and how this advice can be adapted for you!

Let’s get started!

Dress For the Impression You Want to Give

So you’re going to a show! What on earth are you going to wear?!

I always stress about this, especially going to events in NYC. Compared with the fashionable women of NYC I feel like a South Jersey country bumpkin. But I manage to pick the cutest top from my wardrobe and do my makeup in a flattering way. I quickly realized that it didn’t matter if my top was from Walmart or Nordstrom; as long as I rock it with confidence, my outfit will do!

This is what I wore to Fashion Week (Fall, 2010):

This was one time when I splurged, went to Nordstrom, and had a woman bringing me five pairs of trendy shoes while I tried on piles of black, hip clothes. While pleased with what I ended up with, man, that jacket was too preseason hot for fall! And I do mean I was sweating kittens. And felt a little foolish.

Here’s a couple pics of me from CosmoProf NA in Las Vegas last year:

Me with the lovely Deborah Lippmann. And wearing a BeautyJudy.com logo T-shirt!

Me with Zoya – THE Zoya from Zoya Nail Polish! And wearing a BeautyJudy.com T-shirt.

So the logo T-shirt? I was proud of that. Pairing it with a pair of shorts with socks, and white, blue and tan Pumas? Not so proud of that.

What I have learned, is that even though my blog is a hobby, I still want to be taken seriously. I will never again meet someone like Zoya or Deborah Lippmann in shorts and Pumas. This year at CosmoProf, I will wear a sundress, or pair one of those crafty T-shirts (I believe I made them on Zazzle.com) with khakis and nice, comfortable shoes that look nice. I can’t think of an event that I have recently attended, or want to attend, dressed so casually. Even if I wear jeans to an event, I wear nice shoes and a cool blouse/top.

Now, if you are a blogger who is known for having a certain style, and that style includes Pumas (mine does not, unfortunately!!) you should bring your brand to the table. Bring your true self – dress to impress with your brand!

Oh, and yes. Shoes. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. Did I mention that?

Blog about Beauty? WEAR IT, too!

So you blog about beauty…and you aren’t wearing any makeup?

Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m blogging and showing off looks I’ve done with makeup, nail art and the like, I’m going to want to bring that brand of style with me when I attend a show or event. Even if it’s just a little neutral look, because there may be demos at different booths at the show. I do something.

And, I’ll even tailor the look, if I know I’m meeting with a certain brand. For example. I went to an event, and knew a certain beauty brand would be there. It is one of my favorite brands. When I chose my makeup for the event, I wore my eyes, cheeks and lips with their products.There were plenty of other brands there but this one is one of my favorites and I decided this was what I wanted to do.

I didn’t brag about wearing the company’s stuff; I met the head of the company, and she complimented me on my lips, and I told her it was one of her lip products. It was such a cool moment to see that she was touched that I was wearing that lipstick, and I felt proud that she complimented me on it!

What about your nails? Chipped nail polish? Worn out mani? Maybe you can say, oh, I’m wear-testing this. You probably are! But honestly? I blog about a lot of nail polish, nail art and nail care. My readers know I change my polish practically everyday. When I’m at a show, I want to make sure my cuticles are oiled, hands are soft, and my polish is popping. Not saying I have a total history of having oiled cuticles and soft hands at shows, but as I mentioned, some of these items are lessons learned, haha!

If I’m at a show that goes on for three days, I’m changing that polish either every night, or at the first sign of a chip. Because fellow nail bloggers, how many times have people said to you, when they meet you in person, “let me see your nails!!!!” A lot.

Be prepared, that’s my motto!

Do Your Homework on Who You’re Meeting

Similar tip to wearing some of your favorite products from the brand you might be meeting, do your homework about the brands you’re encountering, even if the purpose of the meeting is to learn more.

Are you going to a show where you’ve made appointments with different brands? Read a little bit about them – who is the head of the company and how did they start the company? Do they make something you love? When you are talking with the company representatives, demonstrate that you care about their product, or at least know something. When they mention a product you have used, or you know of, bring that up in the conversation. It’s not showing off if you do it right; it’s showing you care.

Also – if you are meeting PR firms for companies, and meeting multiple companies at a time, take a moment to write down the company name on the back of the PR rep’s card. It could help you after you get back and are playing a game of Match with your business cards and notes!

It’s All About Your Brand

What do you think of The New York Times? TMZ? How about Allure magazine? I bet when you think of those news outlets, you can conjure up an image of what you think their personnel looks like, or what image crosses your brain hearing the name.

Whether you realize it or not, if you are taking your blogging to the next level, interacting with companies and attending shows (or becoming popular in the community), you are creating a brand for yourself. By having a blog, using social media to promote it and interacting with people, you are creating a brand. You need to think about: What is your personal brand? Think of different bloggers, celebrities and companies in the social media world, and how your opinions about them can be formed by your interaction with them, or observation of them.

Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect. Now and then I vent about random things. But what do you want people to think of when they think of your blog name? Me? I want companies to think I handle myself professionally. I want readers to feel appreciated and connected to me through what I write. I want readers and companies both to quite possibly respect my writing more than my swatches.

Sorry to go back to Brittany from Clumps again, but when I think of her, and her brand, it’s professional, inspirational and positive. She responds to those who tweet her. It makes her personable, likable, and she has a consistent brand across her blog and other mediums, like Twitter.

It’s the same with Jeanette from The Swatchaholic. I think of her brand as professional, friendly and fun. She’s always complimenting other bloggers and interacting with people. She is upbeat. And she has a fabulous blog.

Just something to think about. What do you want your brand to be?

Phew!

If you stuck with me this long, bless ya! I hope this was helpful. And I hope you enjoy whatever event you might be going to. I hope you rock your brand and have a blast.

I would love to hear what your tips are, or what you think of the posted advice here! Share your thoughts in the comments below!!

  • http://amusedpolish.blogspot.com amusedPolish

    Wow! I loved reading your experiences about beauty events!
    Here it Austria we don’t have as many events where only Beauty Bloggers are invited. There are not that many beauty bloggers compared to other countries (US or Germany for example), so the “monopoly” is still somewhat held by the press and therefore those are mostly press-events.

    But it is slowly changing (for good) and I’m waiting for a Nail Blogger Event 😉

    • http://beautyjudy.com BeautyJudy

      Thanks! I hope you get the opportunity someday soon! They are awesome experiences and I enjoy the insights I get into the products I am discovering, or already love!

      Bloggers are considered a type of press here in the US, and as a former reporter, I’m happy that (we) bloggers are respected in that regard. I’d like to think we have earned it through honest and fair content!