The People I “Met” At Alt Summit

The best part of Alt Summit was hands-down connecting face-to-face and developing real relationships with people who I’d otherwise worked with solely online. Below are just a handful of the people I adored “meeting” at the conference. And though I connected with many in brief spurts, there were still a few other business friends who slipped through the cracks due to the sheer number of attendees.

Amy Butler

Since the start of my business I’ve had the goal of licensing my designs. Amy has served as a model of modern, pattern based licensing across a broad range of products. She connects the dots between styling, photography, color and pattern in her line and has an obvious love of home, community & her garden – sound familiar? Not to mention her warm and down to earth persona. She is a seriously relatable businesswoman and I am so glad I got to tell her so.

Nicole Balch

I roomed with Nicole at the conference and we stayed up late talking until our eyelids drooped. We’ve known each other since the beginnings of our businesses, mine in 2004 and hers in 2005 but had only met once prior, and briefly. The conference was a great opportunity to get to know each other better.

Rena Tom

Rena Tom is a kindred spirit, a voracious reader with ideas a million and a passion for promoting emerging artists. She has a fantastic plan to start a library/event space/hotel in San Francisco and knowing her this will happen with great success sooner rather than later. In 2004, my first business foray was an online shop called SmashingMirrors (viewable as a screenshot via the wayback machine) that profiled emerging designers and sold their goods, before the days of Etsy. Rena was one of the first designers I featured on the site, and has since gone on to open & sell the notable boutique, Rare Device. These days she offers up her smart business advice as a consultant and speaker. I look forward to watching her next business venture unfold. You can read a short interview I did with Rena a few years ago on what inspired her then, here.

Kristen Appenbrink

Kristen featured my jewelry in the holiday gift guide of Real Simple Magazine in 2007 which was a turning point for my business. But more than that she is sweet, funny, and a food lover like me. I wish we lived closer so we could cook and gab together.

Julia Rothman

Though I only talked with Julia briefly, I got a glimpse of her self-deprecating humor and lack of pretentiousness. She has successfully licensed her illustrative brand of patterns as well as put out a few books with Chronicle Books (and is working on another). You might also recognize her drawings from design*sponge where she illustrates posts regularly. We were both vying for the win in Anya from Project Runway’s fashion design contest, alas, neither of us got our coveted prize…

Jenny Mitchell, Frecklewonder

Jenny too is one of those online friends I’ve had for as long as I’ve had my business. Hailing from Virginia like myself with an unending love for her family, all things thrift, and gardening. She is just about the warmest person you’ll ever come across. I can’t wait to go on a thrifting/roadtrip adventure with her someday soon.

Alma & Mike Loveland, Ollibird

Alma & Mike teach online photography, Photoshop & pattern classes which I’ve had my eye on for awhile. I met them by coincidence at the conference and thoroughly enjoyed their company. They made me laugh a lot, as we each showed off our talent for juvenile impressions. Watch out Jimmy Fallon, you’ve got competition.

And, as if that weren’t enough, I also met these incredibly cool people who I look forward to getting to know better in the years to come:

* Kasey Fleisher HickeyTurntable Kitchen * Danielle WileySway Group * Allison Barta Bailey * Elle RowleyEllemnop * Jessica JonesHow About Orange * Rebecca WrightPermanently Disco * Merilee LiddiardMer Mag * Marissa AnneCreative Thursday * Arianne Foulks Aeolidia * Alessandra GutierrezTribal Times * TracyShutterbean * Deb AverettDose of Happy

** Image Credits: Bio shots from designer’s sites, photo collage via flickr

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  1. says

    OH, Michelle! This is so sweet and it takes me right back to last week! I keep thinking about how awesome it would be to just go back in time and do the whole thing over again :)

    It’s so hard for me to pick a favorite moment – there were so many great parts of Alt Summit… layer upon layer of awesome experiences! For sure getting to know people- hear voices and give hugs! to folks I’ve known and followed online for years was so heart-swelling!!!!

    Please do let me know when you come up this way, we can totally tear up some thrift stores together! ;)

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