Hey guys! Hope you're all waiting with bated breath for my next Jenny Craig and IMATS posts which I'm planning on giving as much detail as possible on... Unfortunately that means multiple posts and much time spent on the posts so please bear with me. HOWEVER, today I have the first of a few different TOWIB posts which I'm planning and this is quite simply an event review. Whilst I was slightly reluctant to post this due to all of the controversy on Twitter regarding some rude, unfair and classless TOWIB reviews, I feel I owe it to my readers as much to myself to be as honest as I can, whilst maintaining respect for everyone involved in the organisation of this event.
So now I've given that little disclaimer, let's get started!
You may have seen my post a week or so ago begging for anyone with a spare TOWIB ticket to get in touch. Thankfully, Get Lippie was able to sell me hers as she'd been invited onto the Q&A panel since buying her own ticket. The organizer of TOWIB Hayley from London Beauty Queen gave me the tip that there may be a spare ticket over there as I'd emailed her to ask if I could be on a waiting list and this was fab of her.
I got up at 7am and left the house at 7.20am to be on the 8.20am train from Stafford into London Euston in time to meet my pal Victoria's Vintage at 10.50am. I did my entire make-up on the train, had my hair in a sleek donut-ring bun and I wore my The Beatles t-shirt from H&M, my sheer tan-and-black midi-skirt from Topshop, my Forever21 khaki booties, black tights, Delia's leather jacket, Dorothy Perkins black cape, black pashmina and appropriate ring, necklace and earrings combo. Phew. I was wearing a lot of clothes!
I've heard mixed reviews about past TOWIB events feeling cliquey, and having felt rather uncomfortable when I walked into the VIP Bloggers area at IMATS last week for the same reason, I was a little nervous to look as perfect as possible so no-one could pick on me haha. So I used Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, MAC Sin lipstick, DiorShow New Look mascara and a nude eyeshadow look from my Urban Decay Naked pallette amongst other things.
Anyway, enough about that! After navigating the London Underground and a variety of Tottenham Court Road's surrounding streets, when me and Vikki arrived at the beautiful little boutique hotel The Montague we collected our name stickers and headed to the toilets to check our make-up (standard Beauty Blogger Habit!) After waiting for about five minutes in line for the toilets (as only one was operational for however many guests TOWIB had) we entered the conference room where it became immediately obvious that the room was slightly cramped. There was tea, coffee and water available which was nice, but some complained that orange juice would have been a nice touch. The biscuits on offer were yummy though!
Spotting my other blog pal Annabel from Yoyo and Bel was a lovely surprise as I wasn't sure if she had a ticket or not, so me, her and Vikki jogged to grab a seat about halfway down the room. Before we knew it, it was time for the events to begin.
Now, I'm not going to lie, I think I would have liked to see the itinerary for TOWIB before tickets went on sale. Whilst I did have a fab day, it was fab in a different way than I thought. I expected to learn an awful lot of insightful ways in which I could optimize the professionalism, content and (let's be honest for a minute...) blog traffic of my blog. Instead, I learnt a little bit about this, but networked with fellow bloggers throughout the day which for me was about a thousand times more worth-while than the things some of the speakers had to say.
This is a personal opinion, based on what I want to put into and get out of my blog. There are others who found every word to be dripping with valuable information, so please try not to take my review too seriously as blogging is a VERY personal thing which people do for their own reasons, hence they do not always agree with one another. For example, for those wishing to earn from their blog, I can imagine almost every session was immensely useful. However, I can't say this is true for me.
The first session was perhaps one of my favorites, but it was not without its own obstacles. Bloggers were asked to mingle around the room collecting as many URLs from fellow bloggers as possible, and we were promised that the URLs on each of our lists would be counted and the blogger with the longest list would win a box of cupcakes. Despite the fact that (like Get Lippie later said whilst the rest of us cringed as we felt perhaps her accidental case of foot-in-mouth disease might have offended Hayley...) I'm sick of the sight of cupcakes, I am quite competitive and love meeting other bloggers, so I got mingling and collected a list of about 30 URLs. Unfortunately, the competition element of this task was forgotten until way later in the day, so to those that left TOWIB early the task was essentially redundant apart from simply to discover new blogs. One such blogger has cussed the organizers out for falsely promising a prize, but this is just not true. Nonetheless, despite the fact that the room and layout of the room was no good for accommodating the amount of guests, the task was generally fun and inoffensive.
Next up, we had a Q&A session with some PR industry insiders, including a young lady from Motel which supplies Topshop amongst others, another young lady who is currently working on Nivea and Dove campaigns and finally Hayley, the TOWIB organizer, who also labels PR, brand managment and copy writing amongst her work tasks. I did find this session quite useful and I will be posting a 'Social Networking... Working with PR' post soon to come so I'll let you in on the likes and dislikes of those PRs which so many of us want to be working with! However, I did find that there was much repetition of the same questions and hence the same responses and also that self-editing in the name of appearing professional was virtually non-existent. Some answers given by the experts were slightly longer than necessary and the bad-mouthing by one of the panel with regards to Handpicked Media was not appreciated by much of the audience and has since become somewhat of a hot topic. I must apologize for not being able to give names, this is for two reasons... 1) I don't wish to shine anyone in a negative light if I can help it and 2) I couldn't even if I wanted to, due to the lack of appropriate acoustics I actually didn't catch their names.
Check back for Part 2 of this review, to be shortly posted...
Did you go to TOWIB? What did you think? What are your thoughts about the 'ERC on Twitter' as I like to call it... (Event Review Controversy)?