The Things I Brought Home With Me From Alt Summit

I attended my first Alt Summit event in Salt Lake City, Utah last summer (you can read about my first experience here). 

This time I came back as a speaker on a panel about launching a product or shop - because, you know, it's part of what I do here. 

This time around Alt was full of introductions and old friends and conversations and hugs and lots of "how's it going for you?" and "what are you working on right now?" and "what's next?"  

In addition to my responsibilities as a panelist, I decided to go again this year to find something. I never know what it is until after the experience - it's one of the ways I approach the world. I know, without a doubt, that each time I go somewhere I will be surprised and delighted by something if I am open to it. There is always a gem (and often more than one) that turns out to be exactly what I needed to see or hear or experience at that very point in time. 

Here are some of the memories and things I brought home in my head, with my hands and in my heart: 

• Meeting my fellow panelists and loving our pre-panel conversation and the realization, once again, that we are all a work in progress, that nothing happens overnight and it takes doing the work and dedication to the process and product to make it happen. And it will happen. I loved that each of us have pretty different experiences with bringing products to market (mine being more the partnership and licensing route) and I loved hearing their stories. Check out Erin at earnesthomeco.com (home decor and furniture), Alexis at Alexis Mattox Design (stationery, party supplies, and more), and Caitlin of Caitlin Wilson Textiles

• Meeting illustrator Ashley Mae Hoiland who does absolutely beautiful work. She came up to me after my panel and shared one of her self-published children's books (Animal Parade) and she shared her story with me and I was an immediate fan. Check out her we.brave.women campaign which is just getting started and is super inspiring. I just ordered her Brave Women print because that's the kind of stuff I want my kids to see and remember hanging in their house growing up. She included the following words on one of her promotional pieces and I wanted to share it with you here about her mission: 

"I've been thinking about how to teach my little girl to find her voice in this wild world, and not just find it, but use it, speak with it. Let it rise and fall, and speak again until it is heard. I want her to know that the voice she finds will be clumsy, wrong sometimes, in need of trimming and shaping and re-saying a thousand times over, but I also want her to know that if she works honestly and hard, there will be times when that voice does have the perfect thing to say, at just the right moments. I want her to know that her voice will turn to actions, and those actions will be the stories that shape the world around her."

• Re-connecting with Jane from To The Market and Rachel from Handmade Charlotte and Karen Walrond (a friend of many years). All three of us attended the ONE Girls And Women AYA Summit last fall. I love connecting with these women who are passionate about taking action for the good of others. 

• Hanging out with these four: Amber, Sam, Lisa and April from  Studio Calico. We do a pretty good mix of business and life talk and I love that about our relationship. 

• I brought home a rad pair of socks ( A Whale Of A Tale) from my friend Alma Loveland's (Caravan Shoppe) new launch called Woven Pear.

• I enjoyed meeting the following people in person that I've followed/admired for many years:  Erin Lochner (Design For Mankind, Clementine Daily), Alex Beauchamp (a pioneer in blogging and the inter-webs - now with Airbnb who has a really cool new campaign centered around the idea of "belonging"), Liz Stanley (Say Yes), and Heather Armstrong (Dooce).

• I also brought home a  New Beginnings bangle from Alex and Ani that was a gift from my friends from my friends Ginny and Jeannine at The ONE Campaign. Through December 2015, 20% of the proceeds received by Alex and Ani from selling this bangle (with a minimum $25,000 donation) will be donated to The ONE Campaign. When I opened the little bag that was holding the bangle there were some words on the card I wanted to share with you here because they took my breath away: 

"A perfectly crafted, 8-sided sun represents the universal law that life's outcomes are a reflection of your efforts. You have limitless opportunity to positively lead and affect others. Empower yourself to shine brighter than yesterday, to let your passions spark action. Astound yourself and those around you with your abilities. Embrace the energy of this powerful charm and create your own new beginning." 

• Probably the absolute best thing I brought home were some messages delivered on the last day by keynote speaker  Dallas Clayton. I knew nothing of Dallas before the closing keynote and almost skipped it. I am so, so glad I didn't. His illustrations, his messages, his delivery, his passion - so awesome. It was the thing I needed but didn't know I needed. Definitely check him out. 

• On Saturday I sent an impromptu email to  Courtney Carver of Be More With Less to see if she was available to meet up for coffee or lunch before my flight home. We've met in person once before and she's one of those people who consistently inspires me with her writing on minimalism and the ways in which she was grown her business. Super thankful she was available to meet for lunch because it was soul-nourishing. 

• The last crazy thing that happened on this whirlwind trip was while I was walking through the airport in Salt Lake on my way to my gate. I ended up walking alongside Ethan Hawke and as we walked along I might have simply turned to him and said, "thank you for sharing your gift" and he might have looked right at me and smiled and said "thank you." 

I arrived home filled up with the super clear knowledge that I want to fill my life with good stuff. Good messages and good stories (that come from the range of experiences we encounter in life - aka: the length and the width). Good, honest, real people who are doing the best they can with what they have in front of them right now. People making a difference and standing up and going for it. People speaking truth. People interested in other people. Good experiences that are both expected and unexpected. 

I want to choose to see good and be good and do good

That's a pretty darn good take-away if you ask me. 

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39 thoughts

  1. Jgk04 says…
    01/26/2015

    Amazing and inspiring. Thank YOU for sharing your gift.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. angelzmom says…
      01/26/2015

      Ditto!

    2. scrappychick says…
      01/26/2015

      Me too! Walking in an airport, I would rather meet you than Ethan Hawke.

  2. cathyzielske says…
    01/26/2015

    You had me at Ethan Hawke. Might have to try and attend one of these events some day.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Shannon_D says…
      01/27/2015

      Me too Cathy. He is a long time favourite. Ali not sure how you remained so calm. And sounded so impressive and unruffled. Go you!

    2. crazystampwoman says…
      01/27/2015

      Seconded!

  3. Maxpuppy says…
    01/26/2015

    A totally inspiring post ... and love the Ethan "Oh captain, my captain" Hawke exchange.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. cruisin_ali says…
    01/26/2015

    And this is the reason why every morning I wake up and read your blog! Inspiring, thought-provoking and motivating - thank you Ali for sharing your stories.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. retromom says…
      01/26/2015

      What she said.

  5. jjobst says…
    01/26/2015

    I love how this story ties to your One Little Word. You gave your time and yourself by sharing your experience and it sounds like like you gained so much more in return. It's been so long since I've been inspired in my work, so I'm happy that you shared this experience.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. desilei says…
    01/26/2015

    I love the idea of going to a conference and being surrounded by people who I admire and also discovering new people to admire and inspire! What a wonderful experience! I'm checking out some of the links you posted above :) --Desiree

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. lizness says…
    01/26/2015

    LOVE Dallas! We did an interview with him a few years back (just after his first book--back in the Illustrating Stories days). He was so funny and sweet and creative. Just loved him!

    So glad the conference/experience was amazing.

    =)

    PS: Have you seen the movie Boyhood? It's an amazing story (with Ethan Hawke as the dad).

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. tealmyre says…
    01/26/2015

    Eeeeeek! I just watched a few Dallas Clayton youtube videos and will probably not get anything else done for the next few hours. Thanks for the turn on to him!

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. mtercha says…
    01/26/2015

    I really admire you. To keep your mind and heart open, even when you don't know what you need is brave. You are brave and I love that you keep yourself open. I admire you. Michelle t

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. bravelove says…
    01/26/2015

    You and these links have me grinning from ear to ear this morning. Thank you Ali! Always an inspiration

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. mishi says…
    01/26/2015

    I'm a Dallas Clayton fan and love his "An Awesome Book!" It's a great gift for all ages.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Liza_B says…
    01/26/2015

    Thank YOU for sharing your gift and sharing these wonderful take-aways.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Eheim says…
    01/26/2015

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience w/us, Ali! So inspiring.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. jlhufford says…
    01/26/2015

    i ADORE what you said to Ethan Hawke. really thoughtful and i can bet it made his day. xo

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. jchurch2 says…
    01/26/2015

    Ali, you are always so inspiring. Your way of seeing things and telling your story is quIte a wonderful gift. I am so grateful you can share it with us.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. alisondowns says…
    01/26/2015

    This post left me feeling inspired and energized. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. CasieGutierrez says…
    01/26/2015

    Ali
    thank you for sharing and providing links for these awesome people. Alt summit seems so inspiring and full of talent like yourself.
    I am checking out Courtney 's website & she had Me at capsule kitchen!
    thank you!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/27/2015

      Isn't that awesome?

  18. ChrissyZ_ says…
    01/27/2015

    So inspiring and uplifting! Thank you for sharing - it was a lot of fun reading about your experience! And that you ran into Ethan Hawke - yay!

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. bethgholmes says…
    01/27/2015

    Thank you for sharing YOUR gift Ali! And for sharing these thoughts and people and products. Speaking of Ethan Hawke -- have you seen the movie "Boyhood" that he is in. I think we streamed it on Amazon Prime? It was a great movie and really interesting concept. It covers the life of a boy from age 6 to 18 and they filmed it over a 12 year period so all of the actors/characters age naturally.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/27/2015

      Yep - awesome movie.

  20. bethgholmes says…
    01/27/2015

    Also a question. I see your notebook in the photo. How do you collect your thoughts and things you learn at conferences, while reading etc.. Do you keep them all in one journal, or do you keep separate notebooks, or transfer notes to the computer?

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/27/2015

      Sometimes I use a laptop and type into Evernote and other times I just use pen and paper (like I did this time).

  21. MrsKnight says…
    01/27/2015

    Thanks for giving us these take-aways! I just found some new info that has my brain popping. Loving Be More with Less, and through her... Zen Habits.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/27/2015

      Zen Habits is one of my all time favorites.

  22. cinback says…
    01/27/2015

    Oh thank you for introducing me to Courtney Carver! My OLW this year is LESS, so her website is about to become my go-to resource!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/27/2015

      She is awesome.

  23. ChrisyC says…
    01/27/2015

    Always interested to hear your thoughts and observations. Love the idea of being open to finding or learning something from an experience! I must try that one.
    I was thinking as l read your post that l'd be really keen to learn more about the issues/real world problems you're most passionate about. You've got a great platform here for raising awareness and generating support for a variety of causes. Something to consider?

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/27/2015

      Thanks for the comment Chrisy - it's something I do think about and am thinking about more lately and do honestly struggle with in terms of figuring out what's appropriate, what I'm willing to share more globally, etc. Appreciate you being interested :).

    2. ChrisyC says…
      02/02/2015

      I write about issues l'm passionate about on my blog, and although my space is very modest and only has a few followers, l think my suggestion would be to write from the heart....like you always do. People love to read about what makes others tick, what they're concerned about, what they'd like to address in the world. I think this would just be an extension of what you already do here. Leave it with you. xx

  24. crazystampwoman says…
    01/27/2015

    This was all good, but my fave part was the Ethan Hawke encounter. He holds a special place in my heart still for "Dead Poets Society". Sigh.

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. measuretwice says…
    01/28/2015

    Thank you for sharing your insight and experience, beautiful as always. I so, so wish there was something out there in the world for "everyday people". And by that I mean those of us who are more comfortable reading a blog, than writing one, but still would love to be inspired by amazing people .

    Reply 0 Replies

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