The idea of a conference doesn’t exactly scream "hip." In fact, what most immediately comes to mind is some boring suit droning on about best practices and analytics. Enter the Texas Style Council, a networking and educational event for female lifestyle bloggers.
With a goal of being "relatable, comfortable and approachable," Texas Style Council, taking place August 2-4, is a conference unlike any other. It started as a way for co-founder Indiana Adams (the mind behind Adored Austin) to get her peers together during SXSW. That initial networking event resulted from a blog post, a quiche and 30 like-minded women.
"I had over 50 people on my waiting list, and News 8 sent a camera crew to tag along, so I knew I was onto something that could potentially be really great in the following years," Adams says. "This year, we're 10 times bigger than when we first started."
For 2013, the conference moves away from a standard panel/audience format. Instead, Adams takes the "Back to Class" theme to heart, offering specific classes divided by topic and level of expertise. The classes fall under three schools — Business School, Blog School and Gen. Ed. — and every morning participants choose which they want to attend to create their own learning experience.
Adams hopes that by shaking things up, conference-goers will leave with more in-depth knowledge. "I feel that often, in panels, you don't get very deep with any speaker. By offering very specific, very small classes, you can actually ask people questions specific to your career or creative goals," she says.
Some speakers, like Emma and Elsie from A Beautiful Mess, were recruited specifically for the conference; others were selected from pitches received this spring. They range from established and emerging bloggers to local businesswomen, adding to the event's educational feel. Each speaker is donating her time and expertise.
Adams modestly admits the lineup of speakers is one her favorite aspects of the conference. "That’s what makes the TxSC one of the most accessible and affordable multiday conferences of its kind, and I am humbled that our roster is full of so many great experts who are willing to come to TxSC and teach."
But Adams is most excited about the event's accessibility. "For the very first time, a person doesn't have to be a blogger or business owner to get something out of TxSC.," she says. "We have an iPhoneography 101 course, a clothes tailoring course, even a thrift store field trip.
"It goes without saying that the prom-themed party will be a great time. Who doesn’t want a sparkly dress?"