Some 600 mostly female entrepreneurs, bloggers and others in creative industries flocked to downtown Los Angeles this weekend in an activation that was one part conference, one part experiential retail and another part networking event.
Create & Cultivate, originally started in 2013 by Jaclyn Johnson as a way for her to network offline with others in similar creative fields, pulled off its largest assembly to date this past weekend, attracting keynote speakers Jessica Alba, Rachel Zoe and Chelsea Handler to deliver personal career advice to attendees. The three keynotes capped off a day of panels that ranged from the fashion and beauty industries’ futures in the context of shifting social media dynamics, raising funding and general mentoring sessions that included speakers from Clare V, ShopStyle, Clique Media and a mix of fashion and beauty bloggers. One of the day’s many themes involved social media’s democratization of not just fashion but other industries, giving people the tools to directly impact trends or, on a more personal level, their career paths.
“I think that rules that once applied no longer apply at all and I don’t see that changing,” Zoe told WWD ahead of her talk. “I think that anyone who has a voice who is using it loudly and proudly — not everyone is going to be able to succeed in that sense, but I think we’ve seen that without actual fashion credibility there are people that are able to have a voice in the fashion community. It’s just the way it is now. I think because of social media and all these other things that are available to us there is no mystery behind fashion anymore, right? I mean, at least it used to be when I first started, no one knew anything unless you were in the fashion industry and then, even then, it was like a very finite group of people that actually knew the kind of goings on but now I feel like things are exposed.”
Pop-up shops from The Real Real, jewelry brand Gorjana and Sole Society were also on hand in strategic moves that placed them directly in front of prospective partners and customers in a form of native advertising brought offline.
“We really curate the pop-up shops to be experiential, interesting and useful,” Johnson said. “We don’t want people just to show clothing. We want them to have a full experience. That’s why a lot of people have a photo booth on site, or they’re doing a makeup touch-up [or] downloading an app. You’re able to really connect with these brands on a personal level.”
Create & Cultivate attracts 21- to 35-year-old, mostly females, usually mid- to senior-level in their careers, according to Johnson. These attendees are either looking to make a career change or start their own company. The next event is expected to take place in Atlanta with Johnson adding that she’s now got her sights set on pop-up activations next year at key events such as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, SXSW and New York Fashion Week.