I met some amazing people at Alt Summit SLC. Just look at all these fantastic business cards. Collecting beautiful paper items designed to communicate might be my favorite thing in the world but meeting the people behind the cards is certainly a greater thrill. On Tuesday I wrote about the value of friends at ALT and how gathering together a few like-minded people into a brain trust can really help you grow. Today I want to share a few of the fabulous NEW people that I met. A personal, face to face introduction to someone can really enhance how you feel about them and their work!
Before I get into the new people that I met, I just want to call out my two favorite cards of the conference. The card above, Emily McDowell's, caught my attention immediately. Not only does the sentiment make me FEEL good, but it is showing Emily has an edgy side. When I got this card, my brain said, "Hello awesome person who is unafraid to offend and is clearly being herself." This is doing exactly what Jasmine Star talked about when she mentioned attracting or repelling people by being your authentic self. I came to ALT looking for REBELS, people who do things in their own way and differently than the rest and this card let me know that I had found a rebel instantly. Plus, the person behind them turned out to be amazing as well (See below.)
The most visible rebel at ALT though was Stefan Sagmeister. I'm not sure he defines himself that way, but he's a rebel if I ever saw one. His card, below, is in a league of it's own. ALT cards are astounding, but Sagmeister's kind of blows everyone away. It visually MOVES and CHANGES when you slide the card into the plastic slipcase.
I almost didn't get a card from him. I forgot to ask when I went to say thank you and give him one of my prints after his keynote. (Yes! I was bold and gave him one of my prints, I hope he likes it...) Later, I regretted not asking for his card in return but I was thrilled to see him again at the Friday night parties and this time I didn't miss my chance to chat him up and ask for his card. Sagmeister's new identity system is controversial and there were even some people wagging their fingers at any of us who were "fawning" over him but I found him friendly, approachable and sincere. His work is meant to push boundaries and provoke conversation. He takes risks, meets criticism head on and challenges the way we think. I will always stand up and applaud that, even if it isn't always successful and sometimes crosses the line. Now, after having met and talked with him, I can see the person behind the work and that changes everything.
I wish I could have possibly met every single person at ALT! Honestly, I missed so many but I'd like to highlight a few that I am excited to get to know better online. (If YOU met some particularly fantastic people that I missed, please let me know in the comments. Share the love!)
I love blogs, but I love people more. If you have an amazing blog but I feel uncomfortable when I met you in person, it's hard for me to keep reading and supporting you. If I meet you in real life and we click, I will be devoted to your blog and your work forever and ever. This is why you should come to conferences if you are a nice person (and stay home if you are not!) There is nothing like getting to know people face to face.
You should check out the blogs and websites below because there are really great people behind them. Yes, the blogs are beautiful and yes, the business cards are amazing, but it's the PEOPLE that keep me coming back for more.
Pencil Shavings Studio // Rachel Shingleton: Truthfully I didn't talk to Rachel deeply enough, but I kept seeing her around, starting at the airport the moment I got to Salt Lake City. I wish I hadn't missed her roundtable about running an online shop, but I know I will be in touch with her in the future.
Emily McDowell // Emily McDowell: I want to be Emily. She made the awesome cards I mentioned above, my pick for the Best of ALT. I met her during the roundtable sessions. She was wearing her Un-Tourist Scarf, with drawings of Los Angeles from an insider's point of view, and plans to do a collection of other cities! How smart is that? She does fabulous illustrations and lettering and I am already inspired by her work. I can tell that she is a very authentic, honest person and I can't wait to learn more.
I Still Love You // Melissa Esplin: I met Melissa very briefly last year at Alt, but didn't really dig deep into her site until now. She teaches a calligraphy course that I think I'm going to take this summer. I've been pushing my hand lettering this last year, but I really need to learn some solid foundational stuff and an online course is the easiest way for me to learn from home. She is also the kind of person who always seems to be smiling.
Creature Comforts // Ez Pudewa: I first learned about Ez when I organized Round 3 of the Things I'm Afraid to Tell You blog meme. I attended her Saturday Design Camp with Jess Lively about blogging authentically and I love everything she had to say about being your true self. She's a total rock star and was one of the last people I talked with, sitting on the floor of the airport right before we got on our flight home. It was a perfect ending.
Gather and Hunt // Danae Horst: I had an excellent conversation during the Clue party with Danae about the letters I inherited from my Grandma and her love of vintage things. I was so happy to connect with her about this, it's something that is so important to me and Danae totally got it. I love those kind of deep meaningful conversations.
Corner Blog // Tiffanie Turner: I sat next to Tiffanie during Thursday's lunch and loved hearing about the art she sells at Rare Device and her burlesque dancing. I also loved all of her unique outfits (she buys vintage on Etsy and knows her EXACT measurements to get a perfect fit) and she led a roundtable about pride in your small blog. This girl has it all and if I lived in San Francisco I would do anything I could to coax her into being my friend. Hell, I live in New York and I'm going to do that anyway.
Damask Love // Amber Kemp-Gerstel: This lady is a firecracker and I was drawn to her fabulousness the entire time I was there. She brought little card crafting kits to give away and had her entire table at dinner on Wednesday night in on the action crafting cards before dinner arrived. I also saw her dance up a storm on Friday night. It was amazing. I'd love to bottle up and sell whatever it is that she has. It's something special.
Braid Creative & Consulting // Kathleen Shannon: I need to get serious about business and I think Kathleen is the one to teach me. She's a fantastically energetic and unique lady, with a head full of dreads and good ideas. I first discovered her on her personal blog and I'm so excited to get to know her better through her business course. Teach me Kathleen!
Yuppie Love // Kait Kucy: I met Kait last year at Alt, but only briefly. We have a lot in common. She lives in Calgary, where I went to college and she's been published in Uppercase Magazine too. She is super adorable and I was happy to meet up with her on my first night in SLC at the Wednesday dinner and then bump into her all week. Kait gets a Canadian high five from me.
Bunny and Dolly // PJ Feinstein: PJ was one of the names that I remembered from the Facebook group and she was in our van on the way to the Wednesday night dinner. After that, I saw her everywhere during the conference. She has a calm energy about her that I really liked. A former New Yorker, she is now living in Nebraska with her husband, an officer in the United States Air Force.
A Blog About Love // Mara & Danny Kofoed: These two are adorable together and might possibly be the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met. I met Mara last year and loved her effortless style. This year we talked about a possible collaboration in New York and I'm looking forward to seeing if we can develop it into something fun. I also had a deep meaningful conversation with her and saw how much fun Danny had chatting everyone up! It was great that he was there this year.
Of course, I met so many other fabulous people and I could go on and on listing all the people that I know and love already, but let's stop here. I hope one of these people inspires you and gives you a new point of view to discover. They are all a testament to being yourself. Beyond the surface stuff; the clothes, the business cards and the websites, it's just people. Real people. That is what I am looking for at ALT.
So, who did you find and become friendly with? Who inspired you and made you feel happy/good/safe/excited? Who do you remember after you put all those pretty cards away? Please tell me in the comments!