Bloggers United AU Adelaide Event
If you’ve ever sat through a job interview smiling broadly while internally screaming “please don’t notice that I have no idea what I’m doing”, then you’ll likely understand how I felt rocking up to the Bloggers United AU event in Adelaide recently. Blogging is brand new to me, and at the time of attending the event I was operating solely out of instagram with the intent to learn from the best and set up a “real” blog later this year. Little did I know that by meeting all the inspirational and lovely bloggers and brands around in Adelaide, I’d end up deciding to start a heck of a lot earlier than I’d intended.
If you’re a blogger in Australia and not already part of the Bloggers United AU community, I highly recommend you get on board. It’s a really supportive place, run by Jasmine and Nikita, who are both wonderful humans (actually, on that note, Nikita is currently raising money for the Whitelion charity and you should definitely go donate).
The day started with welcome drinks, and shortly after our Adelaide reps Nici and Kate explained how the day would work. Because the venue was the amazingly beautiful Seawall Apartments (seriously, if I could afford it I’d have booked like ten weekend trips away already), they had decided to run the day with different brands in different sections of the apartments (not to mention access to a fridge stocked with delicious treats from Pressed Juices and Ovi Hydration). This allowed us to move around in small groups and get to speak to the companies in a more intimate way. Please note that I’ll be doing more detailed posts on the products I tried from the different companies in the coming months, so all you’ll get here is some basic first impressions based on their presentations.
I was lucky enough to be paired up with Shai of shaicoggins.com, and Amy of Bottled Beauty Blog. Both ladies were absolutely wonderful and set me at ease in my total inexperience. Couldn’t have asked for better partners!
First up for all groups was a photography master class with Heidi of Heidi Who Photos. All of the photos in this post were taken by Heidi, who very kindly allowed us to use them in our blogs! I have a background in photography, but it’s been such a long time since I’ve practiced the appropriate skills that it was really great to get a refresher. Some of the ideas and suggestions Heidi gave were fantastic, and I’ve actually signed up for her Better Pics for Business course. I’ve already seen a huge improvement in my photos, and I can’t wait to see what else I can come up with under her guidance.
Next up for my small group was Kara from Runway Room. Runway Room is Australian owned and founded by makeup artist Alex Fevola. Kara was really lovely, and very informative about their products. We left with a free chubby lipstick to try.
After Runway Room, we headed to the next room to chat with Yong-Li from Enbacci. First of all, I loved Yong-Li as a presenter. She was so warm and welcoming and funny. Enbacci is a unisex skincare brand that focuses on trying to simplify skincare. The whole idea behind the brand is that they’re a family owned and operated business. Yong-Li explained how her family travelled a lot, and having just one lot of skincare to lug around on long haul trips was part of their inspiration. Enbacci is also sensitive skin friendly. I’m curious to try these guys out, but admittedly a little wary as I’m so acne prone that trying any skincare that’s not specifically designed for those of us with oil wells for faces is kind of frightening.
Next up was Weleda. Weleda is a company who are focused on sustainable and ethical skin care, which I love. They clearly had really good values, and their Skin Food is amazing. It’s done wonders for turning my scaly knees into something resembling human skin again. Only downside? I’m actually mildly allergic to their body wash. Typical. Sigh.
Kismet Jardin was our next stop. They’re a South Australian brand (yay!) who have a clear focus on the science behind skincare. The presentation took a really interesting spin in terms of explaining their product Hydra Gem, which acts like a protective barrier between your skin and whatever makeup you’re putting on over the top. I’m curious to try this one and see how it goes with my skin, which is often difficult to get products to stick to if I put anything other than a good primer under them (I don’t even moisturise before makeup – whoopsie). They also showed us some of their perfumes which were really unique, as well as their rose mist spray. I was lucky enough to walk away with a rose mist to try for myself, so a more full review on this brand will be upcoming!
Davroe was next up, and definitely my new girl crush. Both of the ladies were so wonderful, and really relaxed. They personalised their presentation and asked us our hair woes and gave us practical solutions. I loved their advice. I honestly just want to kidnap them and make them teach me hair tricks because they were just so fun (and because I still can’t do anything fancier than a ponytail and honestly someone just needs to save me from myself). Davroe are also vegan and cruelty free – a definite MASSIVE plus. Oh and South Australian owned too! I can’t wait to try out their products (they gave us their FULL RANGE *dies*) and write a fuller review.
The last brand we saw before lunch was Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez (or Shanghai Lil for short). Mark McCarthy is the creator, and it’s clear he’s passionate about what he does. He makes soaps, lip balms and perfumes, all of which are all natural. I loved how genuine Mark was – it was clear he was passionate about his products and scents. He operates very locally out of fairs and the like, but you can purchase his products from Have you met Charlie? in Adelaide or online. I got a lip balm to try, but unluckily it was jersey caramel and I’m not a huge fan of caramel scents (more a fruity person). Nevertheless, it feels great on the lips. I might try to swing by Have you met Charlie? to try a different flavour.
Lunch break involved a burrito from Oporto’s brand new menu. I know this wasn’t a big hit with many of the lovely people present (as you can imagine, scarfing a burrito with any degree of grace when you’ve got lipstick and makeup on to the nines is challenging), but I have to admit I really enjoyed it. I’m the kind of person who lacks dignity eating anything, so the messiness didn’t bother me at all and I loved the flavour. I also kind of appreciated having something I could eat with my hands as there wasn’t really table room going around. Definitely enjoyed it… aaaand have now made myself excessively hungry thinking about it.
After lunch we met with REB Cosmetics. REB is a vegan brand whose ethical stance I really love (palm oil free lipsticks for the win). The pigments of the products all looked really great. We got to pick an eyeshadow to try at home and I’m absolutely in love with the one I picked out. I’d really like to try more of their stuff to give a more in-depth view of the quality, but for now I can safely say that you can forget to take your makeup off before the gym (oops) and still have your eyeshadow intact after sweating out gallons of liquid. Good stuff!
Immediately after REB we met with Nikita from L’Oreal. He gave a really interesting insight into how the “bigger” brands see blogging and social media influence. He gave some good tips about how to go about it if you want to be noticed by these groups – particularly in relation to the quality of the photos you use. The products that Nikita brought along were really interesting. There was a shampoo and conditioner from the Matrix range, specifically for moisture care. I’ve been using them ever since as they were the first I wanted to test, and I have to admit I’m really impressed. I have really dry ends but really oily roots, and my hair is very very fine (though there is a lot of it). I’ve found the Matrix range excellent as it hasn’t weighed down my hair, but has kept it moisturised. Bonus! I’ll be doing a full blog on the other products Nikita brought along so stay tuned.
Next was Natralus, another Australian, cruelty free and natural based product line. They’re mostly known for their Paw Paw Ointment. Having now tried their lip balms, I can honestly say it trumps Lucas’s, of which I have been a loyal fan for years. It’s much more moisturising. I’ve also been using their hand sanitiser a heck of a lot. I’m a teacher by trade which means that I’m basically being drowned in germs on a daily basis, but I’m super wary of hand sanitisers because they dry my hands out awfully and make my nails peel. I’ve been using the Natralus one for two weeks now and I have not had the slightest problem. I pretty much drown myself in it (damn kiddie germs) and I’m having no issues. I’m consequently really curious to try their hand shield as well, which is apparently like invisible rubber gloves. As someone who can’t stand touching raw meat, I feel like this might be a winning product for me. My one and only gripe… I really don’t like their packaging. I know that’s so incredibly shallow, but it bugs me when a great product doesn’t look appealing on the shelf. So don’t let the cover fool you on this one – give it a go.
Vani-T was our next point of call (although to be honest if it turns out I’ve started getting this order wrong I won’t be surprised). They’re another South Australian (are you sensing a trend? It’s a good one!) brand that has had success internationally. Their product range doesn’t just include makeup but also tanners. Unfortunately for me, I can’t use fake tan at the moment as I’m undergoing laser hair removal. D’oh! I’ll be doing a full blog post on these guys too as they were really generous with their products, so I feel like I have a broad enough of a view to give more details at a later date. On a side note, I loooove their packaging. But you know me – anything shiny and I’m all over it.
I was disproportionately excited by our next brand, Yo-Get-It. They’re an Australian frozen yogurt company based in Marion (whyyyyy must you be so far away *tear*). We got to try an Acai bowl, which basically became my new heaven on earth. Admittedly, put anything with granola in front of me and I’m pretty stoked. Yo-Get-It at Marion sells the frozen Acai (from the company Amazon Power, their stockists) and I’ll definitely be making the journey at some point to pick it up in bulk. It’s perfect for those ridiculous summer days we’ve been having, and I feel slightly less guilty eating it than I do the copious quantities of ice cream I tend to consume.
Our final stop as a small group was Dr Hauschka. They’re a German-based company who takes a natural approach to skin care. It was interesting to hear their take on things – for example, they don’t believe in night creams as they believe the night time is when the skin needs time to do its thing and heal itself, rather than sorting through whatever we put on it in an attempt to help. I’m curious to try some of their goodies, although I have to admit I’m more interested in the body products (like the bath oils and body milks) than the face products. Again though, I’m just hugely paranoid about what I put on my pimply face, and in my old school way I tend to balk when people suggest that ADDING oil is the solution. I know it’s something I need to give a go, but I’m still scared!
At long last our rounds of speed dating were over. My brain felt rather like it was overflowing with information, but in a good way. Little did I know it had only just begun.
We regrouped as a whole and sat down for some guest speeches by Jenni of Styling Curvy, who gave us some great insight into the world of blogging and the idea of being true to yourself. She talked at length about self-love and valuing our own work, which really hit home for me.
The ladies of Adelady were up next, and honestly I think they were my absolute favourite part of the day. Hayley and Lauren are just really genuine funny people, and it was so good to put a human face to people I’ve been following for a while. Their words about branding and choosing your brand also rang really true for me, and combined with Jenni’s talk were what gave me the inspiration and idea to start howtogirl.net, so I’m really grateful they came out.
Phew. That was a heck of a ride. I hope you’re still with me.
The whole day was an interesting eye-opener for me. It was in the midst of the talks by the other bloggers, when I looked around and saw all the different people gathered together under one banner that things really clicked for me. Yes, we were all there to look at beauty products and talk to cool companies. And yet we were all so incredibly different in how we went about it. Like Jenni mentioned, each of the bloggers has their own individual voice, and it made me realise I wasn’t really using mine the way I wanted to. I was so nervous about meeting all these glamorous fashionable entrepreneurial women, when I’m lucky if I put pants on most days. And yet it didn’t matter. Everyone was just as friendly to me in my moo-moo style dress (because frankly all I fit into right now is the equivalent of gunny sacks) and wonky fading lipstick as they were to the ladies with flawless faces and fabulous fashion style. It really drove home to me the whole concept of this blog – everyone is different, and everyone expresses themselves in a different way. No one way is more right or wrong than the others.
So with that, a massive thanks to all the people who put time, effort and no doubt money into creating the event. It was truly fabulous and has changed the entire way I look at blogging.
Remember – no matter how you’re choosing to girl, you’re rocking it.