A Reminder To Embrace The Present Journey
We had the pleasure of attending The Yellow Conference in August, where we met and heard stories from inspiring women who are using their platforms to make the world a better place. The Yellow Conference is an annual event, bringing together 500 female creatives interested in doing social good, and this year's theme was The Present Journey.
We too often get caught up in "arriving," that we fail to celebrate the milestones we've met and the mountains we've climbed along the way. This year's Yellow Conference was a beautiful reminder to embrace the journey.
So, on August 24th, we showed up ready to learn and be inspired - and the conference did not disappoint. On top of all the amazing speakers, Yellow had beautifully curated a marketplace where we got some one-on-one face time with our favorite founders and learned about new social impact brands!
Some of our favorites included:
Hiptipico is based in Guatemala and showcases the beautiful work of Maya artisans. Their products honor traditional designs and are made from sustainable & repurposed materials. We especially love their camera straps and their travel pouches.
UNCVRD Jewelry's simple and stunning gemstone jewelry had us mesmerized. Their layered necklaces and delicate earrings help to prevent and rescue women from human trafficking.
Imani Collective showed off their non-toxic, handmade children's products that are perfect for the thoughtful home. We love their empowerment model, and of course, adore their handmade llama pillow.
LoveLight Paper's sweet style and give-back business model inspired us during our coffee break. We love their art prints and cards, plus, for every product you purchase they provide a meal to a child in need.
Parker Clay sparked our adventurous side with their travel-friendly leather goods that are handcrafted in Ethiopia. They partner with organizations to help at-risk women stay out of the commercial sex trade.
5 Key Takeaways From The Yellow Conference
After enjoying the marketplace, we were thrilled to hear many informative talks from diverse speakers. We came away with 5 key takeaways that will be resonating with our team for the rest of this year to say the least:
Trust Your Gut
When Golriz Lucina, Head of Creative at SoulPancake, shared her top lessons for “creativity as a party of one”, they included embracing your constraints, banishing naysayers, and knowing that your weirdest ideas may be your best ideas. But the one that most resonated with us was to never underestimate the gut check. If she didn’t trust her gut, they would have never released The Last Days, a powerful TV series with Justin Baldoni about those living while knowing they are dying. Especially in the world of do-good marketing and storytelling, our gut check is one of the most powerful tools we have.
Empowerment Is More Than Just A Transaction
Needless to say, we were pretty pumped to hear from our favorite nonprofit, Krochet Kids, and their co-founder Kohl Greyson. Sometimes we spend so much time storytelling and writing communications that we forget about the people on the ground doing the work, despite the entire premise of our work. While Kohl empathized finding what you’re good at and making an impact with those skill sets, Krochet Kids aims to humanize the apparel industry, infusing humanity and life into being global citizens.
It's so important to share stories and perspectives that make us all better global citizens, engaged in a lifestyle of giving back and empowering others. But, we need to be mindful of being exploitative or coming from the 'savior complex'. Empowerment is about so much more than that, and building the relationship between the consumers + makers is an integral piece of that.
We Are Nothing Without Sustainable Self-Care
With this current political climate, it’s easier than ever for us do-gooders and activists to burn out. That’s why we were so elated to hear conversations revolving around self-care, anxiety, and depression, and how to manage our work and lives during stressful times. Whether they touched upon stress in the workplace, finding your true friends, or self-investment, the following lessons from speakers are just a few that truly spoke to us:
“Don’t just network for work, network for life, too. Find your tribe where you can confide in one another without judgement. We can empower each other intimately.” - Chauncea, Co-Boss of the Fount Group
“What you do is not who you are. What you do is just evidence of how amazing you are.” - Moorea Seal, retailer + designer
"Work harder on yourself than you do your job." - Eryn Eddy, founder of So Worth Loving
“Talk to yourself the way you’d talk to your best friend or child - that self-love is so important.” - Alex Michael May, Entrepreneur
"It's our responsibility to use our influences and voices on behalf of women and continue to fight for others. Do what you need to do to fight burn out and do self care, and then move forward." - Natalie Warne, TED Speaker + Activist
“Words and language do a great job of summing up something, but they don’t help you see a person and the magic in the world.” - Lisa Gungor, Award-Winning Singer
Apply Activism & Advocacy To Our Everyday Lifestyle
We have watched Natalie Warne’s TED Talk about her work with Invisible Children (and Oprah!) more than one or two times, and we were especially fan-girling when Natalie took the stage. Her story was incredibly moving and powerful, and she highlighted the fact that we always teach people that they have to do something, but we don’t teach them what or how.
As an activist, she trains others in advocacy work, explaining that advocacy is not a trait we’re all born with; it’s a muscle we need to exercise over and over again. But we need to incorporate advocacy as a lifestyle change, not necessarily just in the big moments. The power of implementing social change isn’t just in the hands of politicians and the 1%, it includes all of us as communities, organizers, and business owners.
Who Are We And How Does That Create Change?
Perhaps the most influential talk for us was entrepreneur + writer Holley Murchison’s - she truly made us distill who we are from what we do, and how to use our purpose. She is a beautiful + articulate speaker who gave us chills: "You have to exist fully and freely in all that you are. All those moving parts, your values, your beliefs - that's who you are. It informs what you are about and what you'll contribute."
Through an exercise, we walked through our backgrounds and interests, values and beliefs, passions and aspirations, and skills and achievements. How are we using our skills for good? What are all the things we’d die for, but we instead choose to live for them? All of this summed up led to our personal introductions + stories. And as Holley said, “Good stories tell you how to make a difference. Good stories create change, and good stories tell you who you want to vibe + work with.”
After these 2 days, we walked away feeling energized and ready to make a more intentional difference utilizing these lessons. We’re already planning on returning to the Yellow Conference for 2018 - will you be joining us?