Some things in life I really don’t enjoy. Costco, IKEA, blood draws, wall sits…..networking. Networking (to me) is a lot like mingling and small talk, which I hate. It’s awkward, forced, and makes me want to run for the hills. As do those ice breaker games (insert eye roll and inward groan).
Interestingly enough, it turns out that life kind of runs on relationships and many of those relationships start out as small talk and networking. Which leads me back to blogging (because it always seems to come back to that, right?!). One of the unexpected highs of this crazy blogging world has been the friendships that I’ve made. The adventures and connections that all stem from some random event where I had to, yup, network.
Networking, I’ve noticed, is a little easier when everyone in the situation is passionate about the same thing, It becomes more fun and less daunting. To me, it’s harder being at an event where you’re connecting with complete strangers that you have absolutely nothing in common with. That can (at times) take a special skill set that I’m still developing.
In the last 2 + years, blogging has taken my aversion to networking and turned it into a way to create and cultivate friendships.Oh miracle of miracles! And I just got in this to write ;).
Summer Plaid and the Upside of Networking
A perfect example that got me thinking about this the other day is my new friend Crystal, who blogs over at WhateverICanFind. We first met at a fashion event where I tried to strike up conversation in between grabbing at my security blanket, aka the food. This is the same event where I met Rachel, who ended up helping me clean out my closet! Crystal was super sweet and had great style (of course), but it was mostly small talk.
Crystal was super sweet and had great style (of course), but it was mostly small talk. Then we saw each other again at a fashion show, connected on social media, and it kind of flowed from there. I love supporting local talent, and Crystal is a budding fashion designer who makes some amazing bags. So you know I had to get on that!
We recently met up for a fun afternoon of talking, shopping, eating, and doing what bloggers into fashion to do best….hanging out very close to a camera:).
Side note, this ice cream place is everything. Such unique flavor combinations and all local. Stop at Kurt Farm Shop if you’re on Capitol Hill!
Crystal started blogging as a form of self-care (so similar to my beginning!), and as a result, it has inspired her to focus on the arts and creating. Which she does beautifully, as evidenced by her signature gold strapped totes.
“My aesthetic is always to be a little bit “out of this world”, whether it’s wearing tulle dress to show up for an event or pearls with a jean jacket; I always want to shake things up. I want to create reactions and make a statement because that is also my personality to be bold. I think when you stay true to yourself, your passion shines through, so I want to show that in things I wear.”
I know that her boldness in fashion definitely inspires me, and ever since I saw her rock this fabulous tulle dress at a fashion show I can’t stop dreaming about how to style my own. Her passion definitely come through not only through in her outfits but in her infectious, down to earth personality in real life.
“I realized it’s never too late to take on your passion. If you work hard anything is possible and I hope that through my blog, fashion design and clothing – people get inspired to take bolder steps. It’s helped me, so I hope people read and see my photos as inspiration 😍 always #positivevibes.”
Want to see more of Crystal? Besides checking out her blog, where you can get outfit inspiration each Sunday, she’s also a face behind Seattle Fashion Week this year. So go witness her talents up close!
The day I met up with Crystal, I was feeling particularly Seattle, so I chose a plaid shirt. For some reason, the deep red and plaid combo gives me that feeling that summer is here but fall is knocking on the door. With the short sleeves and light fabric, I’ve deemed this shirt my summer plaid this year :). But plaid alone can be so boring, so I paired it with one of my biggest statement necklaces and a flirty denim skirt. “More is more, less is a bore.” Right, Ken Downing?
Plaid Shirt Nordstrom Rack HERE
Skirt Macy’s Similar
Necklace – Mirina Collections (Use Code HALO20 for 20% )
Shoes – Melrose and Market. SIMILAR
Sunglasses – Maui Jim Orchid HERE
It turns out that networking can actually lead to meeting some pretty amazing people, and it’s helping me in uncomfortable situations to remember that big picture. Every good thing has to start somewhere, even if it’s awkward chatter between appetizer bites. And hey, it’s still better than a trip to IKEA :).
What are your best networking tips?