Last year I learned about The Southern C Summit and I was extra excited by the fact it was only an hour away in Jekyll Island, GA. I wrote about it here. I know most conferences are held in the mid-west or on the west coast so it was nice to have a conference that celebrates entrepreneurs on the east coast but more importantly the good ‘ol south!
When the announcement came that this year’s conference would be in Charleston, SC, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity and to top it off, I have been wanting to visit Charleston as I have heard it is becoming really progressive and loaded with budding entrepreneurs. I even read this amazing article of all the great creatives that are coming out of Charleston.
The other piece that made me super excited was a chance to meet a designer I have been following, Alesya of AlesyaBags.com. I learned about Alesya from one of the presenters of last year’s summit. I started reading her blog and felt an instant connection to her. I devoured her blog because she shared a lot of the struggles and successes she’s had with her line of laptop bags. I identified with many of those in designing the journals.
I made it my mission this year to if nothing else at least get to meet her in person since she lives in Charleston. I had my struggles getting to the conference and was a little irritated when I arrived because of the down pour of rain that ensued. I made it to the conference and ended up connecting with a great lady named Judy. Her and her husband designed the Kebo, which is an amazing and beautiful bottle opener and it works beautifully. We sat together at the conference and made friends quickly since we both have products. I never did get a chance to connect with Alesya that first day much less knew if she was even there.
By the end of the first day, I was ready to go and get checked in to my hotel room. We then had to come back for a cocktail hour, which I was hesitant to go to out of shear shyness and fear. I then made the decision to step out of my comfort zone. I decided I would email Alesya on the off chance she was checking email and see if we could connect that evening. Within 5 minutes of sending her an email, she wrote me right back and said she had just purchased her ticket and would be at the cocktail reception. I was over the moon then!!! Stepping out of my comfort zone paid off.
Long story short, I hung out with Alesya, Judy and a new friend I made Tamara of Jem of the South, for the rest of the week. It was wonderful and we all connected so beautifully. Alesya and I even went to dinner where we shared thoughts, ideas, stories and frustrations. I didn’t think it was possible but I think this year’s conference was better than last, at least for me. The connections were so much deeper and stronger and the speakers were so honest, real and down to earth. They were all very approachable. I can’t wait for next year’s conference, which I have an insider scoop it will be in Charleston next year as well.
One last interesting thing I want to share. The last day we had a brunch at the Le Creuset headquarters in Charleston. It was such an amazing facility. It was right on the Ashley River and if I was an employee I would love to go to work there everyday. Before I left to start my drive back to Jacksonville, I decided to use their restroom. I had a huge chuckle when I walked in to the bathroom and saw their sinks below. Talk about branding. I plan to be at next year’s event. I’d love to see you there too.