This past Sunday I attended my first fashion networking event called Conversations with Claire and it was a nerve-racking and rewarding experience. It was hosted by Fashion Bomb Daily an online fashion magazine catered to multicultural style founded by Claire Sulmers in 2006.
When I initially found out about the event I was excited and hesitant at the same time. I’m not sure if anyone else can relate, but the thought of networking really scares me. I feel like there’s so much pressure to wear and say the right thing. Most of the pressure might just be built up in my head, but the whole thing scares the hell out of me. I tried to get a few of my friends to go with me, but either they didn’t know the people who were hosting the event or they didn’t want to pay for the tickets. The tickets ranged from $75 to $185, so I understood why. Since I couldn’t find anyone to go with me I was prepared not to go at all. In my mind, the only thing worse than going to a networking event was going to a networking event alone, but thankfully my friend Adeja set me straight. She explained to me that I can’t rely on people to come with me when opportunities like this arise. I have to learn to stand on my own and be okay with that. It’s important to have people in your friend circle who want to see you succeed and will push you to do something that will benefit you even if it’s completely out of your comfort. After having that conversation with her I took the dive and purchased my ticket to the event.
So now it’s story time!
Leading up to the event I was so excited! I had just gotten my first set of business cards printed and I felt like a Girl Boss! I had a slight fashion crisis two days before the event and I had to come up with another outfit, but I was able to resolve it quickly.
Conversations with Claire was held at Mailmaison, a cafe and event space located on the Georgetown waterfront. When I arrived at Mailmaison there was a photographer outside to take people’s pictures and mine ended up on the Fashion Bomb Daily Instagram page. When I saw it I literally died!
The event was split into two parts. There was a brunch and panel discussion from 1-3pm and cocktails and networking from 3-6pm. The ticket I purchased gave me access to the full length of the event and since I paid $185 for the tickets I made sure I stayed there the entire time. As soon as I walked in I was directed to the brunch seating area and I got a chance to talk to the ladies I was sitting next to and eat some of the food before the panel started.
I didn’t eat that much because I was nervous, but did I mention the brunch was catered by celebrity chef, Jerome Brown?! I’m about to give you a run down of the menu and I know you’re about to drool. They served Bourbon Peaches and Cream French Toast, Seafood Quiche with Lump Crab and Parmesan Cheese, Moscato Marinated Fruit Salad Topped with Honey Greek Yogurt and an omelette station. Yum! I only had the french toast and some of the fruit salad with yogurt, but it was so good!
During the panel discussion, each panelist was interviewed in conversation style by Claire Sulmers and it was so inspiring to hear the stories of people who are thriving in different avenues of the fashion industry. The industry loves to appropriate our culture, but won’t acknowledge us as fashion authorities. I plan on writing a blog post about this so stay tuned for that! The panelists were author Paul Whorton, designer Shateria El Moragne, lifestyle specialist Kenny Burns, beauty experts Ashley Williams & Khat Brim and stylist Diandre Tristan.
After the panel discussion it was time for the cocktails and networking part of the event. Before I talked to anyone I went to the restroom to get check my outfit and get myself together. I ended up talking to two young ladies and we exchanged business cards. It felt so weird giving someone a business card. It felt very grown up lol. After I gave them my business cards I went to picture taking area of the event so I could meet Claire Sulmers . I also lowkey wanted to stall time until I talked to someone else….but that didn’t last for very long. As I was walking to the picture taking line I recognized someone that I followed on instagram that works for Fashion Bomb Daily and I immediately wanted to talk to her. Her name is Asia Milia Ware and she’s written for Essence, In Style and of course Fashion Bomb Daily. Asia also has her own fashion blog and she’s only 22. She told me about how she started writing for Fashion Bomb Daily and her story was so inspiring. It made me want to work harder. I gave her my business card and asked if she could check out my website. I was so proud of myself. I’d given out 3 business cards in like 20 minutes. Yay me!
After I finished talking to Asia I went to stand in line to take a picture with Claire Sulmers. As I was waiting I was trying to figure out what I would say to her. I started to get a little nervous that my awkward and shy self might rear its ugly head. By the time I got up to the front of the line I started to calm down a little bit. When it was my turn to take a picture with her I gave her a hug and told her how much of an inspiration she was to me. I also asked if she had any advice for someone just starting their fashion blog. She said to think about what I like to write and look at what other people are writing about and see where I fit in. It was so amazing to meet her. She’s created an online presence for multicultural fashion that wasn’t there before and has inspired so many people.
I also bought her book The Bomb Life and I just started reading it. I highly recommend it to people that are interested in fashion.
After I spoke with Claire I talked to a few more people and I started to feel more confident talking to new people. Then my friend Clarke showed up. When I was trying to find someone to go with me, I thought about asking her but I assumed she would be in school. In hindsight I think it was a good thing that I didn’t ask her because it forced me to step out of my comfort zone and stand on my own.
For the rest of the event Clarke and I interacted with some more people and by the time we knew it the event was over. Towards the end the DJ played black cookout songs like Candy by Cameo, The Wobble by V.I.C. and Before I Let Go by Maze & Frankie Beverly. It was so inspiring to be in such a creative environment. Most of my friends aren’t that interested in fashion so to be around so many creative people that were already in the industry or just starting out was amazing. This event was truly one for the books. It was my first fashion networking event, first time giving out my business cards, the event was catered by a celebrity chef and I got to meet Claire Sulmers, Editor-in-Chief of Fashion Bomb Daily. I’m definitely looking forward to attending more blogging and fashion related events!
Below are some photos from the event!
Thanks to all of you that made it to the end of this post. I know it was kind of long, but I hope you liked it! I’m going to be doing alot more personal perspective posts so you guys can get to know me better. Stay tuned!
What was your experience at your first networking event? Comment down below!