Road Trip of a Lifetime: The Rest of the Story

Recently, I told you about our member, Christina Wennstrom of in Redondo Beach, California, and her fabulous “road trip of a lifetime. If you missed Part 1 of her journey, you can get it here. Christina has ended her road trip, and this post shares Parts 2 and 3 of her exciting journey.

Christina attended three conferences, back-to-back, over a 10-day period, and she reports that she had a blast. Here are some of the details about the second and third events she attended. (Again, if you want to get the scoop on the first one, click here.

Second Stop: Conference of Handcrafted Soapmakers

The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild is a not-for-profit trade association representing, supporting and defending the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry. Visit their website here. Christina attended their conference in Las Vegas.

Q. WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE THINGS YOU LEARNED AT THE CONFERENCE?

CHRISTINA: One of the most valuable things I learned is to always be ready to switch gears in my business. The conference was strategic, precise, and busy, and it made me hone into my conversation for my brand and business. I was constantly in classes, meeting reps, board members, soap stars, voting, getting tickets checked, winning prizes, getting books signed, placing orders, going to meetings, and more. I was in classes from eight in the morning until six in the evening, all day, every day. They mean business!

Q. WHO DID YOU MEET AND FALL IN LOVE WITH WHILE THERE?

CHRISTINA: The maker I fell in love with and had the pleasure of meeting and taking her class was Lela Barker. Her class, Battling Brand Schizophrenia, reminded me to never “split from myself” and always “market to my one person.”

When it comes to teaching creatives how to build an empire, Lela Barker has a simple philosophy: beneath every successful maker lies a solid business foundation. Lela, another one of our members, is the founder of Bella Luccè, an international beauty brand, and owner of Lucky Break Consulting. She is widely passionate about helping creative entrepreneurs bring their products into the marketplace. She's down to earth, funny, and hits the nail on the head when it comes to running a successful business.

Here is a picture of Christina with Lela of Lucky Break Consulting.

Q. WHAT WILL YOU DO DIFFERENTLY AS A RESULT OF YOUR EXPERIENCE?

CHRISTINA: Things I will do differently in my business will be to cut through the noise and bring core conversations about my brand to the forefront. I will always be myself, but I will build my brand authority to convey a greater message to my customers. I can still have fun with my beach-y brand and mean business at the same time!

Here is a picture of Christina with Anne-Marie Faiola of Bramble Berry, another one of our members, showing off Anne-Marie's newly published book.

Third Stop: South Bay Women's Conference

The South Bay Women's Conference is hosted by the South Bay Business Women’s Association, a non-profit organization comprised of businesswomen who share a desire to give back to the community by awarding educational scholarships to deserving women.

Q. WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE THINGS YOU LEARNED AT THE CONFERENCE?

CHRISTINA: The most valuable thing I learned while speaking on the panel is to always stay true to who I am and what I project. My business and brand bring a playful beach experience while offering people an intimate relationship with my local handmade products.

It was so beautiful being introduced as a trailblazer and trendsetter along with other strong young women in my community. Our diversity of business and personality were celebrated and showcased perfectly. Each of us is an original in our own right, and all had our own story of bravery, intention, and purpose.

Here is a photo of Christina (in the green slacks) participating in the panel discussion.

Q. WHO DID YOU MEET AND FALL IN LOVE WITH WHILE THERE?

CHRISTINA: I met and fell in love with Stephanie MacDonald, co-founder of the American made luxe bedding e-commerce company, Authenticity 50. Stephanie was a delight, and hearing her talk about her business was intriguing. She was filled with research, knowledge, and facts regarding the importance of the process and creation of American made sheets. She cares immensely about creating more jobs and producing high quality made products here in the United States.

I really admire how thoughtful Stephanie's talk was. She spoke slowly and with huge intention. She's a little powerhouse ad I was grateful to share in her energy. She even supported my own business after the conference by purchasing some of my soaps to give as gifts.

Q. WHAT WILL YOU DO DIFFERENTLY AS A RESULT OF YOUR EXPERIENCE?

CHRISTINA: I'd like to articulate more details when explaining my craft while speaking. I'd like to channel Stephanie's spirit with how well she can grab attention to her story and business just by explaining the specifics. People love hearing and seeing the process. I would love to play with this idea in a creative outlet.

Maybe I'll create a blog: “Behind the scenes with Soap Seas …”

What do you think, Donna Maria?

dM: HOW I FEEL ABOUT BLOGGING

Since you asked, Christina, if you really want to know how I feel about blogging, you can find out here, here and here. And if that's not enough, go here.

Does that answer your question? Ha!

If this article has inspired you, or if you have friends who love local and artisan made products, please share this video on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.