“Conversations With Claire” & Fashion Bomb Daily Houston Event Recap & Top 10 Biz Lessons Learned

CWC Claire GabbyIf you read my post title and thought to yourself “Who Is Claire?” then that means you, my dear, are late to the game when it comes to knowing who some of the biggest movers, shakers, influencers, and self-made biz successes are in the fashion game!

Journalist Claire Sulmers is the Founder & CEO of Fashion Bomb Daily and her chic affinity for fashion; savvy ability to identify trends; and approachable style has helped her amass more than 2 million followers collectively across all her social media channels (over 1.6 million followers on Instagram and 500K(+) followers on Facebook, for starters). Fashion Bomb Daily bills itself as the destination for “fashion news and stories, along with its boutique spotlights, exclusive editorials, magazine scans, fashion show reviews, trends, wardrobe advice, celebrity looks for less, and tips on how to break into the industry from the best in the business.”

Claire has built a reputation as an inventive, hard-working, and bold businesswoman who still manages to keep it humble. I’ve long followed and admired Claire’s entrepreneurial journey (you can learn more about that by reading her book “The Bomb Life: My Brand. My Terms“), so I was beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to meet, learn from, and be inspired by her while attending her flagship event “Conversations With Claire” in Houston on June 23rd.

CWC Brunch

My personal brunch “mise-en-scene” that included an omelette, smoked salmon, waffles, breakfast potatoes, mimosas, and fresh florals

The event was held at special event space “Grooves,” and they served up a trio of absolutely delicious brunch options {chicken & waffles; toasted croissant with eggs, bacon, and veggies; and a spinach, tomato, and onion omelette served with smoked salmon and waffle triangles}; free flowing mimosas and cocktails; and fantastic service. The scene included lovely decor; an awesome clothing, jewelry, and beauty vendor area; and we were gifted with a luxurious shampoo and conditioner set {we got the Blueberry Smoothie which I have heard repeatedly is amazing!} from the fabulous natural hair and beauty brand Curls.

CWC Grooves

The “Conversation” part of the event consisted of a discussion on the topic “How to Turn Obstacles Into Opportunities” and we had the privilege and pleasure of hearing from a panel of people at the top of their game in that regard. The discussion was conducted in a one-on-one style Q&A session and it was full of priceless nuggets of info, inspo, and wisdom. The speakers were Ty Hunter, Fashion Stylist & Director and former stylist for Beyonce and Destiny’s Child; Kemetria Lilly, CEO of fashion powerhouse Lilly’s Kloset and purveyor digital biz education products; Gabbi Deculus, marketing consultant guru and owner of Business Rules for Women; and Danika Berry, Consulting Producer for OwnTV and CEO of PR agency DBAgency PR

CWC Group shot speakers

The amazing panel of speakers, from left: Ty Hunter, Claire Sulmers, Danika Berry, Gabbi Deculus, and Kemetria Lilly

Here are my “Top 10 Takeaways and Lessons Learned” from Conversations with Claire that are sure to stoke the flames of your entrepreneurial fire and spirit. The quotes are from the speakers, with a little personal commentary underneath by me:

1.) “Your skin is your first outfit, so if you’re not comfortable in that then you will never be comfortable.” –Ty Hunter

I loved this so much. If you are not comfortable in your own skin then that will translate to everything else, too: you won’t be comfortable in photos; when you’re meeting people; or when you’re trying to get others to buy into your business vision. It will all come across as unauthentic, and nobody likes fake.

2.) {on what to do when you see others excelling and you feel like you’re behind} “The first thing you have to do is start taking social media breaks.  Stop comparing yourself to other people. [look at where you are today and where you were yesterday and remind yourself] you’re moving at a good pace.” –Ty Hunter

There is a saying that “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and this is so true when it comes to trying to build and sustain your business–especially when you’re a creative. I read an interview Ty did with Essence for the Essence Festival last year and he made the brilliant observation that when she’s trying to up her game Beyoncé looks at what SHE did the last time, not what other people have done.  That’s the perfect perspective.

3.) {on getting and being opportunity ready}  “If you’re saying ‘this is what I do [business wise]’ I can’t go on your page and just see selfies. SO you have to build your platform behind the scenes so if that moment comes where Saks 5th Avenue or somebody wants to have a meeting with you [you’re ready].”–Ty

If we make every effort to stay ready, then we don’t have to get ready when an opportunity comes knocking–and often opportunity only knocks once. Let all of your platforms–whether it’s your website or social media channels, etc.–actually back up what it is you say your business does. Reduce the superficial and increase the substance!

4.) I was SO wrapped up in the incredible story and all of the amazing financial and resourcefulness tips that Kemetria Lilly gave that I forgot to take many notes! But one thing she said when she was talking about getting started that made a big impact with me was this: “When I didn’t really have the money [that’s when] I became resourceful.”

There isn’t much that will make you creative and resources in launching and building your business than not having the funds you think you need. Lack of money will push you to create solutions that you may never have come up with otherwise. There are two important things to note here: (1) if you are currently in a position of low funding DO NOT let that stop you for pursuing your business–tap into your creative problem solving; (2) if lack of money is not your issue, still adopt that mindset from time to time as a mental exercise to come up with creative strategies–you never know how what you come up with may positively impact your business AND your bottom line.

5.) “Create Your Own content. Trust your experience; trust your mind. Don’t feel like you have to replicate anything that anyone else has done. There is definitely a space for you out here.–Gabbi Deculus

Copying other people’s content and ideas is so rampant right now. It’s unfortunate that some people feel so insecure about the value of their own ideas; feel that they have no vision or imagination; or feel they just plain lack the intellect to come up with something of their own, but that is the world we live in and have to deal with.

If you’ve been copied before, don’t be deterred–KEEP CREATING and trusting your vision and acknowledging it has value. If you’re someone who copies, stop short-changing yourself and be courageous enough to do your own thing, you own way. There is something that you can do that no one else can, so why hold that gift back? There is soooo much power when you CREATE YOUR OWN.

6.) “People don’t buy products anymore. People buy from people.” –Gabbi

Your brand story is just as important–if not more important–than the products and services you offer. It’s also what makes you stand out. The “why” of your brand and how you communicate it is what hooks your people in and builds brand loyalty. Haven’t got your brand story down yet? Work with people who can help you do it! And email me at launch@creativecounseloratlaw.com if you want some recommendations! I’m happy to share.

7.) “Create you own rules.” –Gabbi

No great entrepreneur ever got to the levels they got by following all the rules, and in fact they often CREATED their own at one point or another–or even at several points–in their journey. Figure out what works best for you and then don’t be afraid to do it, even when it flies in the face of convention.

8.) “Be who you are. You don’t have to [pretend to me something more or other than you are]. Just be you.”–Danika Berry

You were uniquely and divinely created. No one can be a better you than YOU. Just because you may see someone whose level you aspire to that doesn’t mean that you have to aspire to be THEM. Be you because you, my dear, are enough!

9.) “[Some high profile influencers] really don’t have all of the things you think they have. They are struggling like everybody else.”–Danika

You know those struggles you’re currently grappling and wresting with? There are other people dealing with the exact same struggles, even some of those high profile people, brands, and businesses that look like they have it all together. Embrace your struggles and know that they are not an ending point but merely serve as a launchpad for you to ascend to higher levels.

10.) “I’m coming to you as a real person telling you you can make it. You can make it, just be who you are. Don’t be fake for nobody.”–Danika

You don’t have to be a superstar, or a celebrity, or an ” it-girl,” or rich, or beautiful, or brilliant to make your life and business a big success. You just need a good idea that solves someone’s pain point; a vision on how to execute it; the desire to work hard and stick with it; and your AUTHENTICITY. You can make it happen, and keep it happening, when you show the world the real you. Fakes always get found out, and when they do they fall from grace. The real you will always be a valuable commodity.

The afternoon was perfectly closed out by Claire with her stressing her most important goal and objective of “Cocktails With Claire,” which is an ideology that more of us need to adopt:

“Its about us creating and fostering a community of like-minded people who can connect and build, and build their businesses together…I hope that… you go home with lots of knowledge and education that you can apply to your life.”

As the African proverb says, we go father when we go together.

If you want to learn how to live #TheBombLife in your business then e sure to attend “Cocktails With Claire” when it comes to your city! There are currently stops scheduled for DC in July; Atlanta and Iceland (!!!) in October; NYC in December; and it’s been rumored that she just might be hitting up another Texas city sometime this fall, too. Sign up for the newsletter so you can get details first when Conversations With Claire hits your town, and trust me when I say you will be doing yourself a BIG disservice if you don’t go!!

You can also listen to a fantastic podcast interview that Claire did with another incredible business woman and advice “straight shooter,” Myliek Teele {CEO of Curlbox} where both ladies drop TONS of great business advice and inspiration.

Want more? Scroll on for additional shots I took at the event!

CWC Curls swag bag 2

The dress code for the event was “statement sunglasses” and my berry colored ones pictured here are by Bulgari. And thank you Curls for the fab swag!

CWC Me and Tiff

Me and my sister, Tiff.

CWC Ty Hunter

Ty Hunter broke so much all the way down for us.

CWC Convo napkin and fruit CWC Claire Ty Me Tiff