Alt Design Summit: A Mecca For The Creative – Part 2

Besides meeting a fabulous group of new friends, Alt provided a central place for like-minded people to get creative and feed off of each other, though not in the vampire-y, post-apocalyptic-way. It isn’t often you get 500 awesome designers, fashionistas, crafters, stylists, decorators, social media smarties, artists, photographers and bloggers all in one location at your disposal.

Some of the beautiful girls in the photos above: Jess, Dayna, Chelsey of The Paper Mama + Jensie, Take Two They’re Small. Please check out their blogs because they are all so, so lovely.


All of the sessions sounded interesting but with up to three going on at one time, I was only able to attend a handful and leave the rest up to the #altsummit Twitter feed to fill me in.

Session: Work Life Balance
Panelists: Chrysula Winegar of Work. Life. Balance.Sarah of Sarah Jane Studios + Brooke Reynolds of Inchmark + Kathryn Storke Grady of Snippet & Ink

This was a great session because the ladies provided lots of tips for balancing our work and personal lives. Work life balance means different things to different people. For me, exercising and doing Bikram yoga help me balance mentally (and physically). Going on walks and literally taking a break during hours of work on computer also help me achieve balance and keep me sane.

Other suggestions included delegating tasks and hiring help. This is especially true for the mothers who want to do it all — work at home and watch the kids and be a person all at the same time. Sometimes, it’s best to get the extra help because your time is valuable and you can’t do everything. I think Sarah said it best:

Do what YOU do best and let others do the rest. -Sarah of Sarah Jane Studios

It was inspiring to hear Kathryn speak of her experience. As a non-mom myself, I was glad to hear her point of view because we need to maintain balance too!

Session: Business of Blogging
Panelists: Ami Price of Elizabeth Anne Designs + Chris Gardner of Curbly and Man Made DIY + Pam Kueber of Retro Renovation

This was the first panel I attended and here are a few helpful tips from this session:

  • Retain the copyright of your logo.
  • Have a privacy policy posted on your blog.
  • Open a business account at your bank.
  • Bloggers should make a yearly editorial calendar and it should also be sensitive to the seasons.

p.s. Make sure to check out the panelists’ sites if you’re crafty or a wannabe crafty.

Session: Making Your Book Idea Into A Reality
Panelists: Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge + Julia Rothman of Also + Kate Woodrow of Chronicle Books + Lia Ronnen of Artisan Books + Amy Butler

If I had to pick one session with the best PowerPoint presentation, I’d choose this one. Look how pretty it is!

pretty powerpoint presentationThe slideshow was set up as if you were flipping through a book:
Chapter 1: Coming Up With Your Book Idea
Chapter 2: Pitch It!
Chapter 3: Picking an Agent and Publisher
Chapter 4: Advances & Contracts
Chapter 5: Creating Your Book
Chapter 6: You Did It!

Helpful tips from this session:

  • One of the most important things to do when coming up with a book idea is to research your competition and see what else is out there.
  • Know the publisher’s list so your idea isn’t something that has already published.
  • Target a specific audience and deliver content your reader wants to hold onto. It might not be what is on your blog.
  • When pitching your book: describe your voice, aesthetic, uniqueness and especially your confidence. Know your audience and show your stats.
  • Make your pitch as visual as possible for your book. Include photos, book layout, etc.
  • Show how your brand can expand beyond one book — think future books, stationery, gift products, etc.
  • Choosing a publisher is like choosing a mate: find someone who understands your voice & potential. Take your time.
  • When writing a book you should consider all the hidden costs before you pay yourself. Printouts, shipping, etc. What is the value of your time?

Session: Up and Coming Blogs
Panelists: Meg Biram of Mimi & Meg + Alix Tyler of Modern Kiddo + Natalie Holbrook of Nat the Fat Rat + Rachel Jones of Black Eiffel

Each of the panelists shared a few blogs they felt were up and coming. You can see the entire list on Natalie’s blog, Nat The Fat Rat. On the list you’ll find oodles of blogs worth checking out, including my new blogger squeeze, Gabriel of The Artful Desperado. We met during the Friday night parties and I’m a little bummed we hadn’t met sooner!


Thank goodness for Twitter! Since I couldn’t be in a bazillion places at once, there were some great tweets from other attendees about their sessions. There were also plenty of inspiring tweets to go around, too.

 inspiring tweets from alt design summit attendees


Ben Silberman, the founder of Pinterest! He was great. Dished out lots of tweet-worthy quotes like, “Being close to people that inspire you is a really good first step.” Yeah, it totally is. And:

Our mission is not to keep you online, it’s to get you offline. Pinterest should inspire you to go out and do the things you love.

Ben gave us three things that Pinterest is. And he showed us the first pin ever!

#1 Pinterest is the place to plan the most important projects in your life.

#2 Pinterest is the most beautiful place to discover things you love.

#3 Pinterest is a team of people who want to build something bigger than themselves.

On Pinterest? Follow me at

ben silbermann of pinterest and the first pin ever

Ben, founder of Pinterest and the first pin ever pinned.


There were so many fantastic sponsors at Alt Design Summit this year including: minted, HP, HGTV, MailChimp, Rue La La, Cargoh, Method, Epiphanie, Squarespace, Paper Coterie, and more! My little MailChimp stuffed animal is my cuddle buddy (and Clever), Cargoh is my new addiction (byebye paycheck) and I can’t wait to try the HP Wall Art!

Alt Design Summit 2012 swag

swag from alt design summit 2012

Is it Alt 2013 yet?