If you aren't familiar with The Southern Coterie you need to pop over immediately and get with the program! Whether you are southerner or just want to learn about the south, this is the place for you! Founded in 2011, The Southern Coterie is touted as "The Southern Network of the South." It's a place to celebrate all things southern!
When I first found out Cheri Leavy and Whitney Long, founders of the Southern C were holding a Summit on Jekyll Island, I was intrigued to say the least. I had attended Alt Summit and Design Bloggers Conference already this year, so I wasn't too sure my hubby was going to agree for me to travel to my third blog conference of the year, but once I luckily won an admissions ticket on twitter there was no argument. It was on the calendar!
Holly Hollingsworth Phillips and I drove down to Jekyll Island on Wednesday for The Southern C Summit. Upon arrival, starved and ready to have a little lunch, we dined at Cranes Cottage.
Curious about the island, Holly and I ventured over to the Faith Chapel for a little site seeing before settling into our room. Jekyll is a quaint little island with lots of places to explore.
After exploring the surroundings we decided to check in and unpack our bags.
In true southern style, Holly and I were greeted with sweet handwritten notes on our bed
by Cheri and Whitney. It wasn't enough they were busy preparing for 200 + people they they still took time to personalize our welcome!
After settling in, we headed over to the opening reception where we were greeted by the entire staff of the Southern C and were introduced to the events of the next couple of days. As is true of all good southern events, we were well fed and watered with delicacies such as crab and mango bites, Dogwood drinks and of couse Maison de Macarons. Can you think of a better welcome? We couldn't! "Southern Happy" quick became the theme of the conference.
Incredibly beautiful table arrangements and thoughtfully planned out menus.
Everything was "southernly perfect" where hospitality was concerned! Did they bring it?
Yes! The next two days were filled with amazing speakers, editors, and people who shared openly about how to connect, create and collaborate! The line up of speakers was incredible.
Our first event was Cocktails and Conversations with The editors of Southern Living, Erin Shaw Street , Stephanie Granada and Jessica Thuston. The next day we were introduced to a slate of speakers who shared details on branding, social media and collaborations. It was an action packed line up of some of the best in the industry. We heard from the girls from Stitch Design Co. and Leapfrog PR, Haskel Harris, Amy Flurry and many others. One of my favorite panels included bloggers Mary Dell Harrington, Holly Phillips and Kate Spears who shared their social media savvy and techniques for success.
What were the takeaways? If I told you, then you might not be tempted to attend one of the summits and you would be really missing out....but I will share one with you. Go buy Amy Flurry's book Recipe for Press which gives the Top 5 tips for getting free press on whatever you are trying to promote. It is a quick read chocked full of helpful info. Amy was a great speaker and had us all thinking like editors by the end of her talk.
|Click Here to Learn More About Amy Flurry|
We had the opportunity to learn about the Charleston based festival Dig South and hear a heartfelt speech by it's founder Stanfield Gray.
|Click Here to Learn More About Dig South|
We then had a lively and informative discussion with the design darlings of the conference artist Lulie Wallace and Look Linger Love's Chassity Evans. This pair may look young, but they proved their wisdom by sharing secrets of how to build your brand, identify companies that match with your brand for collaboration and how to to be successful in selling your brand and your message.
|Credit Look Linger Love|
Our first keynote speaker was K. Cooper Ray, the founder of Social Primer, who educated us not only on the Charleston Tux, but also spoke to how to follow your passion. I had an immediate connection to Cooper, when I discovered he was an Auburn graduate!
If you aren't familiar with this handsome line of men's fashions, I will be sharing more about it later, but until then feel free to check out his website here.
So which part of the summit did I enjoy the most? I think it was the speakers...no actually I think it was the food and drinks...shucks it had to be all the great attendees I met and networking I was able to do? Actually, I think it was the perfect combination of all three, that made a perfect summit! Thank you Cheri and Whitney! I think it is safe to say a good time was had by all!
I invite you to join the conversation at The Southern C here! You don't have to be southern to join either, just come ready to connect, collaborate and create!
Look for The Southern C Summit coming soon to a city near you!
Next up Athens, Georgia then onto Nashville, Tennesse!!!!
(All photographs are property of Lisa Mende or The Southern C )