Spark Sessions 2014: My Experience

Spark Sessions 10

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend Spark Sessions: Canada’s first fashion and beauty blogger conference.  In summary, the Toronto conference encompassed 2 full days of learning, networking with PR professionals, and mingling with (over 250) fellow fashion and beauty bloggers. I can’t say enough good things about this conference, and as promised, here is a review of my experience!

The Workshops and Speakers

Over the 2 day conference, there were approximately 7 sessions covering various blogging-related topics, as well as keynote speakers. You can check out the agenda, linked in my previous post.

Some of the speaker highlights for me include:

a) Vanessa Craft (Beauty Director at Elle Canada) was one of the keynote speakers on Day 1.  In her speech, she talked about the importance of being true to yourself, your vision, and your voice.  I felt compelled to pass this along, as I think it’s relevant whether you’re a blogger or not.  All too often we catch ourselves saying making excuses for who we are: I’m “just” an intern, I’m “just” a coordinator, I’m “just” the new girl.  Vanessa’s thoughts on this really resonated with me: “The only way to find your voice is by using it”.

Spark Sessions 8

b) Lena Almeida (Lisentolena.com) ran a session on “The Business of Blogging”.  She talked about her journey as a blogger, and how she turned her hobby into a full-time business.  Lena started her blog, resigned from her full-time job in the corporate world, and was determined to make blogging her career within 5 years.  She did (and in less than 5 I might add!).  Lena’s story taught me the importance of trusting your heart, taking leaps of faith, but also, the need to work hard, and recognize your potential.

c) Cheryl Hickey (Host of Entertainment Tonight Canada) was the closing keynote speaker at Spark Sessions on Day 2.  I think we often assume that those in the spotlight have had their careers handed to them; that they were offered success on a silver platter.  Cheryl’s story is both real and inspiring.  She talked about all the challenges she’s faced, sacrifices she’s made, and chances she’s had to take to get where she is today.  She is incredibly humble and down-to-earth, and even took time after her speech to meet and greet with attendees.  She also spoke about her new natural skincare line, “Ours by Cheryl Hickey”, which you can check out here.

Spark Sessions 1

The Sponsors 

The conference had a wide variety of sponsors, ranging from clothing companies, to makeup and skincare brands, to a bakery that made the most delicious (and beautiful) sweets. Below are just some of the many awesome sponsors who’s kindness and generosity helped make the conference that much more amazing!

CrowdSocial was onsite  offering free Essie polishes, temporary hair dye (I chose pink!), and the best macarons I’ve ever tasted (no exaggeration).

Spark Sessions 9
Nicole by OPI was displaying some of their gorgeous polishes (all of which I want!).

Spark Sessions 3

Aside from fun bottles of branded water, Bench Canada brought with them some items from their Spring 2015 collection.  While they’ve taken a slight detour from the style you might be familiar with, the new pieces are modern, chic, and wearable: you’ll want them all!

Spark Sessions 6

Vitabath offered conference-goers the opportunity to take a fun “sudsy selfie”; here’s mine below!

Spark Sessions 4

 Vitamin Water provided water in every flavour and colour imaginable, which complimented meals and snacks perfectly (I unfortunately didn’t get pictures of the meals, but both days offered delicious spreads). Keurig Canada was also onsite, ensuring attendees had their morning and afternoon dose of caffeine.  Check out the rainbow of Vitamin Water below!

Spark Sessions 5

Benefit Cosmetics was offering attendees an “Insta Eye Lift” using some of their highly-coveted (and super fun) products.  Funny enough, I was already wearing one of the products they were sampling that day (I blogged about it previously here).

Spark Sessions 7

The Swag Bag

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this was one (of the many) highlights of the conference for me.  I mean, how amazing is this swag bag?!  Packed full with products from the very generous sponsors, I could not wait to get home and try out these awesome goodies.  Some additional sponsors, not already mentioned above, include: Nivea, Pretty Tea, Happy Plugs, Biore, John Frieda, Clarisonic, Jergens, Clear Scalp & Hair, and more!

Spark Sessions 2

I am so grateful to have attended Spark Sessions this year, and am already looking forward to seeing what 2015’s conference has in store.  Whether you’re just starting out, or are already an established beauty and fashion blogger, Spark Sessions has a lot to offer.  Not only did I learn an entire notebook full of new things, I also built friendships that I look forward to growing in the months and years to come.

“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets” ~Leonardo Da Vinci 

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