This past Monday, we celebrated our first ever School of Hustle!! What's that, you ask? Well, with Hedley & Bennett turning five, we wanted to celebrate in a bigger way than last year (remember the carnival we threw?) But we also had this idea for School of Hustle in the back of our brains... a way to give back, to facilitate knowledge and really bring together the amazing community that we're a part of.
We partnered with Instagram For Business to create our first ever conference, aimed at bringing together small business owners and dreamers and giving them the tools and tips they would need to take their business to the next level. We decided to go with a "summer camp" theme because those memories of camp brought that sense of fun and learning together in the perfect way!
Illustrator Carly Kuhn aka The Cartorialist did a live mural painting as attendees were checked in and given their swag bags at noon! The "campers" were eager and people got there early and on time... always a good sign!!
Working together the incredible team at Instagram, we gathered some of the best and most badass bosses from our communities and had them talk about their unique pathways and journeys to the top. Speakers included Marne Levine, COO of Instagram, Alli Webb, founder of Drybar, Roy Choi, Chef & Restaurateur of Kogi BBQ, Jen Gotch of ban.do, and Eric Chan of The Bouqs Co., among others!
Over 500 people applied for one of the 200 spots available, telling us about their dream and what they hoped to get from attending our free one-day conference. They were selected based on their responses and people flew in from all over the country to attend. We asked for them to come with open minds and a readiness to get out of their comfort zones (where you learn the most!). What we got was nothing short of completely AMAZING. Attendees were quick to make friends with fellow "campers" and even brought samplings of their products to share. The collective group was one of the most kind, enthusiastic, and colorful bunch of people ever and the energy that day was incredible... clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!
We were also incredibly lucky to work with a ton of Apron Squad vendors who made sure the food & drinks for the whole day were on point!! From La Colombe to Health-Ade Kombucha, to Eagle Rock Brewery, and Road Soda Bar our "campers" stayed well hydrated throughout the day! Later in the day, Urban Pie Pizza Co., The NoMad Truck, Seoul Sausage Co., and Kye's Montana showed up added even more excitement. We finished off the night with lots and lots of dessert from Valerie Confections, Dream Pops, and Mallow Mallow because what would a camp be like without s'mores?!
The Tender Greens team was unstoppable!
Snacks were always at the ready because we know it's hard to focus on an empty stomach. Thanks, Cava!
The day was jam-packed with programming about building your business, collaborations, the use of social media in the business world, new approaches to retail and negotiations, and attendees were sent on a scavenger hunt that included introducing themselves to a stranger/new friend, creating IG stories, and using hashtags for added viewership. The day was capped off with lightening rounds of "table talks" where "camp counselors" were asked questions in a smaller group setting, offering bits of advice and tackling common questions with marketing, social media, finances, hiring & HR, and customer experience.
Our top takeaways?
"Embrace the risks with a smile and make them happen." -Ellen Bennett
"My content is very authentic, but Instagram Insights helps me understand what resonates with my community." -Justina Blakeney
"When you have a story to tell, people start to gravitate toward they know what they're coming to." -Gaby Dalkin
"We're only as strong as our weakest person. We want to promote from within. I think because people see that, they care. We look out for our employees." -Jon Shook
"It's easy to say yes to things that have of dollar signs behind them, we instead focus on keeping the brand equity." -Jaclyn Johnson
"One of the keys to hustling is knowing what you're good at and strengthening the hell out of that thing." -Ellen Bennett
"It’s not so much about the idea, but about the entrepreneur. You need to make sure you can answer the 3 Why’s:
1. Why does the world need my product or service
2. Why now is the right time?
3. Why am I the one to execute it?" -Erik Oberholtzer
"People forget that the process of bringing dreams to life is writing down a 1, 2, 3 step plan and coming up with a back up plan." -Natasha Phan