Insights from SXSW

Last week 40:20 Vision’s contributing / Millennial editor, Stephanie Florence, attended SXSW in Austin.

This year I didn’t attend SXSW and tried to avoid FOMO. Thanks to Stephanie I don’t have to. What I love about SXSW is the spirit of sharing. It’s as much in the meeting people alongFullSizeRender the way as it is in going to the panels. Its knowledge exchange from different generations, different professions and gleaned from our experiences no matter what our age. Or as one of my favorite quotes reflects:

“I frequently get asked for advice and I frequently respond, I don’t necessarily want to dole out advice but I’m happy to share some used wisdom.” – Audrey MacClean (40:20 Vision)

Here are Stephanie’s key quotes and takeaways – or the used wisdom she gathered.

Here are Stephanie’s key quotes and takeaways.


On your career:
The founders of Rent the Runway and Pick Stitch participated in a discussion with then Chief Marketing Officer Julie Bornstein on defining the next generation retail experience. (Interesting to note that The Broadsheet reported on the Re/Code article this week on how Julie Bornstein is the new COO at Stitch Fix.)

When it comes to your life/career, find an environment that accepts your ideas. – Jennifer Hyman, Rent the Runway Co-Founder + CEO

You need more than advice from a mentor. You need a champion who will advocate for you and help further your business. – Jennifer Hyman, Rent the Runway Co-Founder + CEO

When launching a business (and being a category first) you either feel like the smartest person in the room or the dumbest. – Katrina Lake, Stich Fix Founder + CEO

On the best advice they’ve received:
This panel highlighted the latest trend in fashion companies is socially conscious style and “for good” components being incorporated into the business model. In addition to

Your comfort zone does not serve you. Learn every part of your business. I’ve done every part of my [jewelry-making] business – including pack boxes. – Ashley Pittman, Founder/Creative Director at Ashley Pittman Collection

No person is an island. Ask friends to identify your unique abilities and then hire experts to fill the voids. – Alia Ahmed-Yahia, ELLE Style Correspondent & The Style Scout at Elle & The Style Scout

Try it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. – Kevin Hurst, Director Charitable Giving & Association Volunteerism at Neiman Marcus Group

Jump and a net will appear. – Christopher Gavigan, Co-Founder/CPO at The Honest Company

On creating change:
One of the keynotes, Princess Reema’s Mission to Empower Saudi Women, was a highlight from the week for me. She is a perfect example of someone using her power and privilege for good. She completely changed the way her family-owned company run (a luxury retailer, which is the US equivalent of Barney’s). In order to put women behind the counters, she offered a travel stipend as women do not drive and coordinated childcare. She is also actively creating awareness for breast cancer. In a country where some men take multiple wives, women are nervous to come forward with their illness because that means they could be replaced. Additionally, women tend to only see very sick women at stage 4 of their cancer so they don’t believe that they can be helped if the cancer is caught early.

Princess Reema also answered my question on the best advice she has received:

Don’t compare. If you do, no matter what, you will be miserable. I’ve experienced very different realities in the places I’ve lived. I choose not to compare. You can be happy anywhere.

Another favorite quote from her: If you stand still you give them power to push you down. But if you keep walking, they follow you. I’d rather walk.

On social media:
Moderated by Real Simple Editor-In-Chief Lori Leibovich, the panel, Unfiltered: Do Women Need to Get Real on Instagram, discussed photos curated via #WomenIRL (vs. the posed, multi-filtered photos we tend to share/see). The photos show the often unseen side of being a woman/mom – and how those “less staged” photos are being favored for a new level of authenticity.

You can use social media to say more about yourself than how you are perceived. – Stacy London, Style Expert/TV Personality at TLC Networks

Letting people see your process is really important. – Ashley Ford, Staff Writer at BuzzFeed

Social media has provided so many more avenues for sharing. I was 19 and crazy during the height of my show [Dawson’s Creek]. I’m lucky the tabloid culture didn’t exist when I was on TV. – Busy Philipps, Actress

On opportunity:
I loved this quote from Rich Mintz, of Blue State Digital, during a panel on how what marketers can learn from political campaigns. He explained that 80% of political campaigns is taking advantage of the opportunities that walk in the door.

I find this sentiment to be true for most things in life. How many times have you taken a leap and figured it out on the way down? Whether it be with a career choice, a new relationship or a move, being prepared is crucial, but it’s what you choose you do once that opportunity arises that makes all the difference.

Stephanie Florence is a 20-something who can talk to a brick wall and dance to a kazoo. She contributes to the 40:20 Vision as the Millennial editor and on every day that ends in “y” you can find Stephanie meeting people, telling exceedingly long stories and taking the approach of a student…always. Find her dancing around New York City in her personalized Chuck Taylors, complete with her Twitter handle: @StephanieFlo.

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