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decor8/DaWanda Berlin Event Highlights

This past weekend I teamed up with DaWanda to create Make It! Shop It! Blog It!, an event to celebrate blogging and small business! (You can click here to get a taste for what we did and I will show you a bag that I made in the video or watch the video over on YouTube here).

Before the guests arrived. This room was full by the time the event started — so exciting!

We had around 130 attend from Berlin and other parts of Germany and the weather was perfect for what we had planned: Two speakers indoors (Nicole and I) and a screenprinting workshop outside given by Nadja of Smil and Britta from Bloody Bunny (they are hosting another workshop next week for a fee if you’d like to attend, more info here in German.)

Screenprinting workshop outside of the building.

After we spent the afternoon indoors mingling, eating, listening to Nic and I, everyone then had a chance to step outside for a screenprinting workshop. All could select between three motifs: bees, clouds, or a sailor bear and each were given a cotton tote to screenprint on and to keep at no extra charge. I selected the bear, you can see my finished bag in this video. It’s really cute, thank you Britta and Nadja for the great workshop. Everyone loved it.

Nadja (left), me (screenprinting), and Britta (right).

Me with DaWanda co-founder Michael (photo taken by Dawanda).

I was scheduled to speak first and was given a two hour time slot and I was a bit scared because I had no idea how I would speak for 2 hours straight from a podium before a sea of strangers. I was a bit scared but I didn’t want to appear nervous because that would only make the DaWanda team feel stressed and I saw no need to do that. I didn’t even write a speech, I only had a few notes that I had scribbled down on the train ride there. I guess I didn’t expect a stage, a microphone, so many people to REALLY show up. When I arrived and saw the huge room full of chairs I became a bit tense! Lucky for me, I have a technique for calming my nerves which I used many times before going up on stage and they worked because the moment that I started speaking I was completely myself and felt like I was before friends. I couldn’t believe all of the smiling faces as I looked out at so many, men and women together, all there to learn more about blogging and how they can use a blog to expand their business. Yay!

Nicole from Luzia Pimpinella during her lecture on blogging and how she uses her blog to connect with customers and grow a small business as an independent designer.

I observed many taking notes which made me want to keep talking because everyone was really focused on what I had to say. I was so impressed by that, it gave me the courage to continue. Funny thing is, I wasn’t alone because I asked the audience a lot of questions so it became more like the way I operate this blog — a discussion — I throw ideas out here and then all of you jump in and comment. My talk was structured in a similar format. This is how I love to approach public speaking — getting as many in the audience included as possible because it helps steer the topic in the right direction so that I was able to spend time on points that the audience truly wanted to hear. I once gave workshops and lectures when I worked in the corporate setting but that was several years ago so I wasn’t sure if I could still draw from past experience and count on it to see me through… but public speaking must be like bike riding because if you have done it before and stop for awhile it seems like doing it again isn’t such a problem. Funny how my background helps me out now as a small business person. That’s why I never doubt the path I’ve followed in my life because all roads brought me to the point where I am today just like so many of you and so one cannot regret past career decisions. It seems a skill from an old job, no matter how much you thought you’d never use it again, can be a valued and needed skill a long way down the road.

Cupcakes for all, yum!

What did I talk about? Well for one, I gave tips on blogging and promoting products through a blog, from writing on a regular basis, keeping your content fresh and positive, putting your store widget on your blog, the importance of responding to comments left on your blog, sharing your inspirations with readers, how to handle days when you have nothing to blog about, visiting other blogs to leave sincere comments, not letting the copycats (people who copy your products) get you down, being patient and not sticking too closely to your stat counter, approaching larger blogs to see if they’ll talk about your work, sticking to a theme (don’t veer off of your blog topic too much), carry business cards to promote your business and your blog, and the importance of taking crisp clear photos of your products that are true to color to post on your blog. You have to know that these tips are truly new and exciting to many in attendance because blogging in Germany within the craft community is still new and maybe it’s at the stage where American craft blogging was back in 2004ish. It felt exciting to speak to a crowd that was so enthusiastic and excited about breaking into the world of blogging.

We also discussed a bit about photo copyrights, and I was so pleased when my husband Thorsten raised his hand to share the research he has done on the topic being a photographer himself. Thanks, Tee!

Enna (who created our event postcards) with Saskia from Retro Kinder and her adorable son Cyrian.

Note: For all those who are interested in learning more about blog photography and copyright law in both the U.S. and Germany, Thorsten pulled together his research for you in a PDF file that you may download here. It contains plenty of links and should answer your questions on this topic.

I also mentioned to everyone that I would provide a list of some of the larger blogs that you may want to contact to see if they’d be interested in writing about you and your business. I have so many in mind that I do not know where to start, but since I mentioned Apartment Therapy in my lecture I’ll begin with them. A few others that I personally have had write about me in the past that I also read and respect are: Creature Comforts, Oh Joy!, Bloesem, Style Files, Emmas Designblogg, oh and perhaps this may be a great resource: Check out the international design blog slideshow that I pulled together for Domino magazine online. You can contact those lovely bloggers, too!

I want to thank DaWanda for teaming up with me, accepting my offer to do an event like this in Germany in the first place, and for giving me an opportunity to meet many creative and lovely new people. I have had this dream of pulling together a function like this in Berlin for over two years now so to see it come to life for me was a huge dream come true and meant SO MUCH on a deeply personal level. I also must thank and recommend the Gotischer Saal for events if anyone is looking for a place to rent in Berlin for a function. The building is beautiful and the couple who run it couldn’t be sweeter.

For those not in attendence, DaWanda taped both of the talks and will turn them into a podcast so when those are finished I will blog it with a link so you can listen in.

(photography by thorsten becker)

Posted by decor8 in blogs, events + markets, travel, walls on September 22, 2008

Your comments...

  1. Diana commented
    September 22nd, 2008 at 4:50pm

    I’m so glad the event was a success! Thanks for sharing a glimpse :-)

    Dianas last blog post: Botanical Bliss

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  2. Roberta commented
    September 22nd, 2008 at 5:19pm

    I was there and I have to say that I really loved your speech!!! I think everyone realized that u were truely being yourself! Loved your sense of humour and I took notes of many tips that are being really useful to my future plans (of taking over the world :-)).
    Liebe Gr??e

    Robertas last blog post: Zimmermann

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  3. sugarblush commented
    September 22nd, 2008 at 5:20pm

    Thanks for sharing. Its really an encouragement to see how both blogging and just a sincere passion for what you do can really impact others who you may encounter in person and through the web. You have an unique way of reaching out to others and your genuine spirit really shows. All the best : ) I’m glad your dream to host such an event came to fruition.

    sugarblushs last blog post: Modern Lamps

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  4. Kim Wallace commented
    September 22nd, 2008 at 5:55pm

    It looks like it was such a fantastic day!! I really wish I could have been there, I have only just started my blog and could certainly do with some tips. Thanks for sharing some in this post and my day just got a whole lot better knowing the podcasts of the talks will be available ? yay!

    Kim Wallaces last blog post: On my walls…

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  5. shanon commented
    September 22nd, 2008 at 7:48pm

    Ohhh, it sounds like so much fun and a great success! Congrats on making this dream a reality. I wish I could have attended, but I’m very excited to watch the podcast. I’m sure I’ll be taking many many notes as well. =)

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  6. Melissa de la Fuente commented
    September 23rd, 2008 at 10:37am

    WOw….I so wish I could have come! It looks like soo much fun(and those totes and cupcakes! Yay! ) What a great job you did Holly~ I am still trying to view your youtube video but, having trouble with my sloooow computer! Can’t wait!
    xo
    Melissa

    Melissa de la Fuentes last blog post: kindness

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  7. Ez commented
    September 23rd, 2008 at 10:43am

    How fantastic Holly! I so wish I could have been there. Thank you for sharing all the details with us and inspiring us as you do!
    xoxo
    Ez

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  8. Judit Gueth commented
    September 23rd, 2008 at 11:03am

    It looks like you had a really good turnout. Thanks for posting the pictures! Your husband seems very supportive (which is so important), and he takes great photos! I love the duck picture on his blog. :-)

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  9. Andrea commented
    September 23rd, 2008 at 11:33am

    Now I missed two of your Events :-(
    I had no chance to manage to come to Berlin from Cologne without having a babysitter. And with two kids on board it would have been too much for all on the Event :-)

    I would love to meet you on another date in Hannover or near to Cologne. I will send an Email.

    Andreas last blog post: Dekotrends: Tafelkreide ?berall, Kerzen zum Beschriften

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  10. St?phanie commented
    September 23rd, 2008 at 12:31pm

    Thank you for sharing all this advice, I wish I could have attended the event, my dawanda shop is not doing too badly but I need all the advice I can get; Kind regards, St?phanie

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  11. nichole commented
    September 23rd, 2008 at 1:15pm

    The advice you’ve shared is second only to the selflessness in taking the time to share it. Your blog is fantastic and I’m so glad I found it!

    I may be moving to Germany for work (I am a copywriter for Amala and Primavera – organic skin care brands based out of Sulzberg) and I would most definitely attend an event like this.

    Thanks!

    nicholes last blog post: Saturday Afternoon at the Cafe

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  12. Carrie commented
    September 23rd, 2008 at 2:30pm

    Congratulations on a successful event! I know I would have loved to have been in attendance to hear you speak, you really do inspire so many of us out here on the intertube.

    A big ol’ well done to your hubby as well on his copyright information/article.. just so happens that I had been researching that very topic over the past few days and he really did a great job of putting all of the sometimes very confusing information from many different sources together into one nice understandable package.

    Carries last blog post: master bathroom…

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  13. posh commented
    September 23rd, 2008 at 7:20pm

    congrats! looks like everything went smoothly and turned out great! im really looking forward on hearing that podcast, as well as seeing more pictures and notes! if you have links to anyone who has notes online, please do tell!

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  14. Mandy Saile commented
    September 23rd, 2008 at 8:22pm

    The event for Dawanda looked so amazing, I wish I could have been there. Things are feeling abit slow and low this week at the Bijou’s Whimsy Studio! and an event like that would have picked me up for sure. Well heck, just seeing it actually makes me feel abit better…knowing that a great site like Dawanda is still out there helping us little business entrepreneurs, that it excellent. GO DAWANDA….and Decor8 for being involved also of course:D Be Well and Happy Creating to you all, Mandy Saile of Bijou’s Whimsy.

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  15. Jenni commented
    September 23rd, 2008 at 10:08pm

    Oh what a wonderful event to be a part. Your words and posts always inspire me, so I can only imagine a live interaction. I look forward to more on the event and your adventures in Germany.

    Jennis last blog post: New Textured Paintings

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  16. Swestie commented
    September 24th, 2008 at 7:10am

    I love the way European events are held in hundreds of years old buildings, and that’s completely normal. Thanks for the cools shots! Viel Spass in deutschhland!

    Swesties last blog post: Swestie?s Home on Tour

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  17. esta sketch commented
    September 24th, 2008 at 10:16am

    oh wow, screenprinting and cupcakes, i can’t think of anything better.

    esta sketchs last blog post: Calendar update

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  18. Regina commented
    September 24th, 2008 at 2:34pm

    Wow! That looked like a great event! I’ve only recently started to get into DaWanda. It’s cool to see crafting on the other side of the pond!

    Also, great tips for blogging, especially since you are one of my personal blog heroes! -and I’m sure to many others! Although, I’m not sure that I can stay on one subject. I feel the need to blab about everything! ;o)

    Reginas last blog post: Jumpy Wedding Photo Wednesday – Corny in a Good Way

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  19. Tausendschoen commented
    September 24th, 2008 at 3:55pm

    oh holly, found your wonderful world just now, after I met you in BERLIN!
    you are a great person, i love to talk to you one day, but in berlin i was too shy to speak to you *gggg*
    no i hope to see you one day again, maybe in berlin ;-) and i wish you onethousand dreams that makes you happy,
    much love from germany, silke

    http://www.galerie-tausendschoen.de

    Tausendschoens last blog post: SCH?TZCHEN…

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  20. John \ commented
    September 24th, 2008 at 8:50pm

    Holly – as always you inspire me to be a better blogger and share more with my readers. Berlin looks like a great place that I need to visit. Thanks for sharing.

    John \s last blog post: Micheal Weiss Modernism Collection by Vanguard Furniture

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  21. Design Diva - Canadian Homestead Magazine commented
    September 24th, 2008 at 11:02pm

    Great Blog… Lots of good information. For more great home decor information, visit our web site, http://www.canadianhomestead.ca.

    All the best,
    Design Diva

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  22. Charlotte Tollst commented
    September 26th, 2008 at 9:01am

    Thank you for being so generous.
    Together we are strong :)

    Charlotte Tollst?ns last blog post:

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  23. Tizzalicious commented
    September 27th, 2008 at 3:37am

    I was in Berlin on holidays a month ago, I wish I would have gone a month later so I could have been here!

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  24. Immaculate Drea commented
    October 6th, 2008 at 8:35pm

    Thanks for the super inspirational talk, Holly! And thanks to Thorsten for the copyright info!

    Viele liebe Gr?sse aus Berlin!

    Immaculate Dreas last blog post: Immaculate Heart @ Dawanda’s Make It! Shop It! Blog It!

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  25. decor8 commented
    October 15th, 2008 at 4:00pm

    The podcast of my DaWanda talk is online. It was edited down from 2 hours to 45 minutes and I say UM about 1,001 times but I think it came out pretty decent considering I was scared to death!

    Here’s the link:

    http://media-mobi.com/en/?play-elr4vt4mo4xvgne82iidelz297m87amo

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