Haven Conference in Charleston was amazing! There are so many reasons why you should attend Haven Conference if you are a design/diy/home decor blogger. I had so many questions and concerns about attending my first blogger’s conference, but all I can say after attending is that is was so much more than I expected. Actually, I have a lot more to say about it and I want to share my thoughts with you all.
I was so excited when I learned that Haven Conference would be held in Charleston this year! I’ve been wanting to attend the conference and this was the perfect chance to do so, since the venue for the conference is only about 8 miles away from my house! If you ever visit Charleston, you might like to know about some ways to tour the city inexpensively. I put together a post with some of our favorite free things to do in Charleston.
From the time that I made the decision to attend Haven Conference in Charleston, I did as much reading about previous conferences as I could find. Everything thing I read was great. To be honest, I kept wondering if anyone had attended one that came away without rave reviews. Surely, there were some negatives.
I suppose if you want to dig deeply enough, you could find some things to say that are negative, but really, any complaints that could be lodged would be so few in comparison to the accolades that this conference gets every year.
I’ll tell you that my biggest complaint was that there was no coffee being served during breaks. Now, if that’s not being nit picky, I don’t know what is! With all of the logistics, the planning, the scheduling, the set up, and so much more that goes into planning this event, if all I can find to complain about is about the lack of coffee, then you know I thought the conference was wonderful!
I arrived at the venue a little early-I’m always early for everything-I hung back in the lobby of the hotel, checking my phone, wondering where I should go. I looked over and saw a few ladies seated nearby and recognized one of them as Rhoda (Southern Hospitality) one of the founders of Haven Conference. I was a little hesitant, but I made my way over and introduced myself. She took the time to welcome this first time attendee to the conference in such an engaging way.
When I ventured around the corner and began making my way to the area for the conference registration, I glanced over as I passed by the hotel’s cafe and one of the people that I was so looking forward to meeting was at a table with her husband. Awesome! While this was the first time that I met Shirley (Intelligent Domestications) in person, there was nothing awkward at all about the two of us practically squealing with delight as we gave each other a hug. Shirley has the kind of personality that puts everyone around her as ease.
Registration was quick and went smoothly. I’d heard about the bags full of SWAG that are given to attendees upon registration, but I was blown away by how stuffed the bags were. The sponsors of the conference were very generous! I was looking forward to pulling everything out and seeing all of the treasures, but since I wasn’t staying at the hotel, I thought it best to wait until I got home. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to stuff all of the items back in the bag.
When I got home, I pulled all of the items out and wow so much awesomeness!
Once registration was complete, the Newbie Meet Up took place. It was nice to have a chance to get some useful information for first time attendees. I joined Shirley and met Michelle (Our Crafty Mom). I can’t begin to describe how sweet these two ladies are! I also met Leanna (Faeries and Fauna) who is equally as sweet, but with so much going on, I forgot to get a photo of her with us here.
An outdoor welcome reception followed that gave us all a chance to mingle and meet lots of our blogging friends and make new acquaintances.
The final meeting for the first day was with our mentor. I was in a group being mentored by Lauren (Bless ‘er House). She had emailed all of us in her group prior to the conference and we exchanged introductions. Meeting them and spending time in our mentor groups throughout the conference was great.
Since I live in Charleston, Shirley and Michelle trusted my choice of restaurant for a dinner in Charleston. After talking it over with Gloria, we decided on Fleet Landing. It’s a great spot on the water. They claim to have the best shrimp and grits in town and Shirley agreed! If you’re ever in town, make a reservation and treat yourself! Gloria joined us for dinner so that they could meet “the other side of the boulevard.” A storm came up while we were dining, but we did manage to get a quick photo on the deck.
Day Two of the conference is an all day event. It started with breakfast, followed by an engaging presentation from Chris and Peyton Lambton of DIY Network and HGTV.
It didn’t end until after the Friday Night In reception which was a hands on make and take event with lots of time to get to know other bloggers. I had a chance to use a butane soldering torch from Dremel. Let’s just say that mine didn’t turn out so great, so no pictures! But, I think it can be salvaged by adding a little paint. It was fun though! There were other stations set up for more make and take fun.
There were loads of booths from sponsors and brands that were spread throughout the conference venue. In between sessions, there was ample time to stop by and spend some time at each booth. Even though many of the brands had provided items for the tote bag, their representatives continued the generosity. Not only did they offer their product, they gave us the chance to make connections for potential future collaborations with their brand.
One of my favorite booths was the JoAnn Fabric & Craft spot. The fall decorations were great to see in the midst of the 90+ temperatures with humidity here.
I was also happy to meet Abigail from Hometalk. She had a bag for those who had let her know we would be at Haven filled with some fun items. I love the luggage tag.
Haven provides a variety of sessions to attend. Choosing which ones to schedule is really a matter of where you are in your blogging journey. For me, focusing on leaning more about the business components for the blog was important. I attended sessions that were full of practical information that I need in order to organize and optimize so many aspects of blogging. My “to do” list has exploded with things I need to set in motion. I attended other sessions that will be beneficial to the blog going forward.
There were also various take and make sessions throughout Friday and Saturday. I attended one along with Michelle that was sponsored by JoAnn Fabric and Crafts.
The final day of the conference was filled with more sessions, more take and make opportunities, more conversations with brands, and a closing session with Ashley and Whitney from Shanty 2 Chic. Plus, there were some incredible Giveaways, too!
For anyone thinking of attending future Haven Conferences, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. Not only will there be such valuable information presented, the connections with brands is a great opportunity.
Apart from the business side of a blogger’s conference, the personal connections made are immeasurable. There is something special about meeting others who have either been where you are in your blogging journey and those who are going through stages that you’ve already been through. I was thrilled to meet so many of the bloggers whose work I admire and to meet bloggers, new to me, that are so talented! The dialogue is informative and informal.
The IRL friendships made with those we’ve been blogging with for years is something I’ll treasure. Pictured below from left to right: Michelle from Our Crafty Mom, Chloe from Celebrate and Decorate, Shirley from Intelligent Domestications, Leanna from Faeries and Fauna, Beverly from Across the Blvd, and Lynne from My Family Thyme.
The Haven team announced that next year, the conference will be in Atlanta. I’m thinking road trip!
Why should you attend Haven Conference?
- To Learn How to Take Your Blog to the Next Level
- To Gain Information About Blogging Strategies and Practices
- To Make Connections with Brands
- To Hear Engaging Speakers
- To Meet Bloggers You’ve Admired
- To Gain Insights from Other Bloggers
- To Make Connections with Other Bloggers
- To Meet and Have Fun with Some of Your Blogging Friends
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Have you attended Haven Conference? What are your thoughts? Are you thinking of attending next year? It’s never too soon to start planning!
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Haven Conference in Charleston
We’ll be sharing at lots of these great parties!