CHARLESTON – SPRING 2015 SUMMIT
Connect, collaborate and create in a niche environment with like-minded creatives. Engaging educational sessions and panel discussions with branding, marketing and social media leaders. Evening events and gatherings offer the opportunity to continue networking all while engaging in meaningful conversations in a fun intimate setting.
A selection of past presenters include: TIBI Owner & Creative Director, Amy Smilovic • Time Inc. Magazine Editors, Erin Shaw Street, Stephanie Granada & Jessica Thuston of Southern Living & Hunter Lewis of Cooking Light • Glitter Guide Editorial Director, Caitlin Moran • Matchbook Editorial Director and Co-founder, Katie Armour • Blue Ion Founding Partner, Robert Prioleau • Charlie Publisher & Owner, Caroline Nuttall • Southern Proper Creative Director and Gadabout Blog Founder, Hanna Seabrook • Salt & Styled author and stylist, Libbie Summers • Award-winning consultant, nationally acclaimed speaker, & Emmy award-winner Ryan Dohrn.
HOTEL FOR #TSCSUMMIT:
In the heart of Charleston’s historic district, the Kings Courtyard Inn embraces the energy of the city and its treasured guests. The beautifully restored rooms of this historic circa 1853 inn surround sun-filled courtyards, inviting conversation with family and fellow travelers. From expansive windows and oriental rugs to wide plank floors, from morning until evening, guests can revel in the care and company that only true Southern hospitality can give.
Call and ask for The Southern C Room Block and Special Rates.
Experience the ultimate in Southern charm at The Mills House, host hotel for The Southern C Summit. Opened in 1853, this full service hotel, in the heart of downtown Charleston on Meeting Street, features beautifully appointed guest rooms with amazing city or pool views. Located within an easy walk to Museum Mile, historic sites and attractions such as City Market and famed King Street shopping and dining, The Mills House ensures the quintessential Charleston vacation.
We strongly recommend that you book your room early to ensure availability and a special Summit rate of $239/night.
Telephone: 843-577-2400 Website: www.millshouse.com
We will be meeting downtown on the corner of King and Ann Streets in sister properties, the American Theater and William Aiken House. The courtyards and grounds between them will also be in use for the Summit.
Opened in 1942 as Charleston’s premier movie house, the American Theater’s regal Art Deco architecture and timeless Hollywood glamour make this sophisticated event venue worthy of red carpets and dazzling marquees.
When it comes to once-in-a-lifetime occasions, a meticulously restored National Historic Landmark in the heart of Downtown Charleston is an unbeatable choice.
A seamless blend of 18th-century charm and 21st-century sophistication makes this 1810 estate one of Charleston’s most sought-after venues for weddings, private receptions, meetings and corporate events.
The North American Marketing Office and Culinary Center. L’Atelier Le Creuset (French for “The Le Creuset Workshop”) is situated on the banks of the Ashley River. There is a fully equipped demonstration kitchen designed by SieMatic and equipped with the highest quality Miele appliances where innovative chefs can prepare dishes and demonstrate techniques.
Wednesday, April 29
Sessions: 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at American Theater
William Aiken House garden tent styled by celebrated event designer Tara Guérard, of Tara Guérard Soirée and her talented Soiréttes
11:30 – 12:30 p.m. Registration
12:30 p.m. Welcome
12:45 – 1:45 p.m. Session #1
Tech talk: House Account App Founder Laura Vinroot Poole Is the New Evangelist for Independent Boutiques
E-commerce isn’t always the answer – Vinroot Poole learned this the hard way. After investing in a beautiful e-commerce platform for her celebrated boutiques Capitol and Poole Shop to combat the recession, Vinroot Poole almost immediately scrapped it for its lack of intimacy and separation from the warm, high-touch shopping environment she prides herself on. Together with friend and software genius Travis Parsons, Vinroot Poole developed a shopping app that now provides over 450 independent boutiques across the country with sophisticated marketing and sales tools that encourage personal relationships between shops and shoppers. Lifelong friend and fellow entrepreneur Hamlin O’Kelley leads a casual conversation with Vinroot Poole about lessons learned – both in life and business.
1:45 – 2:30 p.m. Bites & Bev Break
Valine’s Famous Shrimp Cocktails, Hummingbird Fine Foods Farro and Vinaigrette Salad, Candy Shop Vintage Candy Table, Epting Events Pralines featuring Schermer Pecans and “Mississippi Mules” with Honeysuckle Cathead Vodka and Cannonborough Beverage Company’s Ginger Beer.
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Session #2
Everything’s Coming Up Roses: 10 Years of The Laundress
Founders and international soap mavens Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd give an in-depth look at launching the Laundress – from the stepping stones of a start-up to forging valuable partnerships with some of the world’s most well recognized brands.
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Session #3
You’ve Arrived, Now Get Noticed
You’ve built a successful brand, now learn how to get discovered by the national media. Three editors of national lifestyle publications will share their perspectives on discovering new brands and best practices for pitching. You will hear from Robert Leleux, the editor in chief of digital and print publication Domino, Tori Mellott, Senior Design & Market Editor of Traditional Home, and Eddie Ross the East Coast Editor for print and digital editions for Better Homes and Gardens. Moderated by Leapfrog PR owners Libba Osborne and Jackie Thomson.
5:30 – 7 p.m. Champagne & Candlelight
Low Country Luxe welcomes you to Charleston with a poolside party on the roof of the Mills House Hotel in historic downtown. Celebrate a resort vibe with a viewing of fashions by Escapada Living, Kendra Scott and Hayden Reis. Enjoy champagne, light bites and a spectacular view before you head out to supper with old TSC friends and new.
Explore Charleston with Dinner on Your Own
Gather with other TSC Summit friends to enjoy dinner in one of Charleston’s phenomenal restaurants.
Thursday, April 30
Sessions: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at American Theater
(two sessions offered first come first served in the ballroom and cinema)
9:00 – 9:45 a.m. Session #1
The Sky’s The Limit (ballroom)
Companies are increasingly looking for authentic ways to communicate with their customers. Jet Blue, Land of Nod and Taylor Burke Home share their strategies for collaborating with Bloggers and Brands.
‘Cause It’s Good Business (cinema)
An inspired conversation as Y’allsome founder Craig Evans and Proud Mary founder Harper Poe chat about crafting their perspective companies around a mission. Moderated by Torri Leeds, Managing Director at DeVries Global, you’ll get a better understanding of cause marketing and how to integrate it into your existing business. Leeds brings a unique perspective having overseen the marketing campaigns for Procter & Gamble – a company widely recognized as a pioneer in cause marketing.
9:45 – 10:30 a.m. Session #2
By the Book: Expanding Your Brand (ballroom)
Veteran book agent Amy Hughes will lead an informative panel covering topics such as 1) why do a book 2) what are the beginning steps 3) to use or not to use a ghost writer 4) self publishing vs. publishing house. Hughes will be joined by editor and writer Bessie Gantt as well as authors Tara Guérard and Susan Hable and photographer and art directer Rinne Allen.
Brand Boot Camp (cinema)
Join Haile McCollum of Fontaine Maury for a fast paced boot camp that will help you focus and document your brand strategy. Haile works with emerging and growth minded companies and non-profits nationwide to engage their audiences in a more meaningful way and maximize profits. Training goals include to understand the brand process from exploring to developing to creating and finally extending your brand as well as how branding can impact your bottom line.
10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Coffee & Color
Coffee with King Bean Coffee Roasters and book signing of A Colorful Home: Create Lively Palettes for Every Room by Susan Hable and Rinne Allen. Featuring the fun and festive wares of LA-based design house ban.dō, stop by for an iPhone case giveaway (while supplies last) and to charge your gadgets.
11:00 – 11:45 a.m. Session #3
Set your course: A Roadmap for Getting the Right Site (ballroom)
Nikki Nuckols of Doodle Dog Creative presents elements of good web design for a total brand experience, while also explaining need for having a lead generation strategy in place, to make it a powerful tool for your business. Nikki will share case studies of sites with successful traffic due to strong SEO strategies. Websites must be as powerful as they are pretty so that it not only represents all that your brand has to offer, but also is a valuable tool for your business that works around the clock.
Beat the Burnout: the work/life balance (cinema)
Atlanta-based interior designer, writer, and mother of five, Erika Hollinshead Ward may not have the secret to balancing the demands of today’s modern life but she does have an easy implementable action plan for better managing your time. She’ll offer tips to wrangle your schedule and win back control. Erika’s work has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine and on HGTV.com among others.
11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Luncheon
A Mansion & Moo Shu
Simply step next door from the American Theater for a fabulous Moo Shu lunch from Chef Nico Romo of FISH Restaurant with kate spade new york tabletop décor provided by Lifeguard Press. The historic William Aiken House and its stunning garden are the backdrop for a leisurely lunch while enjoying good conversation and catch-ups. Sip Salty Dog cocktails by Cathead Vodka with Bittermilk’s Grapefruit Tonic under the tent designed by event designer Tara Guérard in the courtyard before lunch and end lunch with a sweet treat from Grey Ghost Bakery.
1:30 – 2:15 p.m. Session #4
Bring Your Brand to Life with Photography (ballroom)
Join Maggie Kennedy photography director of Garden and Gun magazine and accomplished Author, Stylist and Photographer Angie Mosier of Placemat Productions for a conversation on creative direction and bringing your brand to life through photography. These two creative powerhouses will give you a roadmap for producing inspirational images for your brand. Everything from strategizing and planning your photo shoot to tips and tricks of the trade.
Ready to Play the E-Commerce Game? (cinema)
Learn some proven tactics from Stacy Smallwood of Hampden Clothing and Jamie Meares from Furbish Studio , two proven e-tailers in the fashion and interiors industries. From inventory management to customer engagement, building an online following to different e-commerce platforms, these retail veterans will share their proven strategies and common pitfalls.
2:15 – 2:45 p.m. Session #5
The Wonder Years: Navigating Growth, Funding and an Advisory Board (ballroom)
Jamee Haley, Executive Director of Lowcountry Local First – a non-profit advocate for education, outreach, and relationship building that promotes the many benefits of buying from local, independent businesses – presents an insightful interview with Christine Osborne, owner of Wonder Works Toy Stores. Jamee will explore how Christine has funded her growth to multiple locations, developed an advisory board, brought on long-term employees as partners as well as what’s next for this “Magic Maker.”
Demystifying SEO for Business Development (cinema)
Michael Hamrick and Stephen Rosenberg of Perfect Pitch Concepts pull back the curtain and discuss the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization and offer tips on how to prioritize your efforts for maximum impact. They’ll also share how they are applying these SEO principles to their new startup BoxKite Designs, which sells made-in-the-South customizable fabric and wallpaper.
2:45 – 3:30 p.m. Session #6
Social Media Strategy (ballroom)
Mandy Rye of Waiting on Martha shares tips and tricks to grow your audience and engagement and in turn grow your business or brand. Along with the blog and her online shop, Rye is an editorial & interior stylist as well as the Editor at Large for Occasions Magazine and a regular contributing Editor for Style Me Pretty Living and Euro Style Lighting.
3:30 – 5 p.m. Southern Grown Sipping Hour
Head next door to the garden of the William Aiken House for a happy hour hosted by Sea Island, coastal Georgia’s Forbes Five Star resort. You’ll be treated to a sneak peak of Southern Grown – one of Sea Island signature culinary and music events. Featuring craft cocktails and light bites from the resort’s chefs and mixologists, you’ll find plenty of time to mingle, talk about the days sessions and plan out the nights activities.
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Shop, Sip & Socialize
Shopping app House Account will host a cocktail party at two of its Charleston stores, Hampden Clothing and Croghan’s Jewel Box, along with bloggers Chassity Evans of Look Linger Love and Hanna Seabrook of Gadabout. At Hampden, guests will meet the SUNO designers who will debut a capsule collection exclusive to Hampden and styled by jewelry designer Jenny Thompson of Theodosia. At Croghan’s, guests will shop styled vignettes in their private space while trying on new and estate jewelry from the 100-year old store. House Account will be giving away a handbag from The Row, along with items from both Hampden and Croghan’s for a lucky guest.
Explore Charleston with Dinner on Your Own
Gather with other TSC Summit friends to enjoy dinner in one of Charleston’s phenomenal restaurants.
Friday, May 1
9:30 – Noon Brunch & Bloodys on the Ashley River Bank
Head to Le Creuset Headquarters where you’ll be welcomed into the world class Atelier Kitchen by Jimmy Hagood of Food for the Southern Soul. Jimmy will be serving soulful lowcountry fare alongside cookbook authors and culinary entrepreneurs. Enjoy freshly baked Callie’s Biscuits and eye openers poured by the owners of Fat & Juicy and King Bean Coffee while the One Love Organics founder shares ways to renew and relax with inspiring insight and an Atlantic Sea Salt Soak Bar with an opportunity to make your own soak for the bath. Creatives from the team at The Land of Nod will share a favorite DIY project for those of you feeling crafty.
TSC SUMMIT 2015 04.29.15 - 05.1.15SOLD OUT - waitlist at email@example.com CHARLESTON, SC SIGN UP NOW
•online influencers •social media junkies •creative entrepreneurs •seasoned business owners •new business owners •bloggers of many forms including food, family, fashion, lifestyle, designers, event photographers and artists.
Robert Leleux is the newly appointed editorial director of domino magazine. He previously served as the magazine’s creative director, and was the managing editor of Lonny Magazine. The author of two books–The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy (2008) and The Living End (2011)–his articles and essays have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and The Huffington Post.
East Coast Producer & Editor for Print & Digital
Eddie Ross is East Coast Producer and Editor for Print and Digital of Better Homes and Gardens. Ross joined Meredith on March 14, 2013, and is responsible for producing home, decorating, DIY and entertaining stories for print, digital and video in Better Homes and Gardens’ New York City offices.
Ross has been a design, decorating, and food editor for Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful and Food Network. In addition to his print work, which has been featured in Elle Decor, Domino, Lonny and The New York Times, Ross has appeared in numerous TV specials for Martha Stewart, HGTV and Bravo.
Ross graduated from the Culinary Institute of America with an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and Chef Training in 2000.
Senior Design & Market Editor
Tori Mellott is legendary in the design world for her pitch perfect taste. The Senior Design & Market Editor at Traditional Home got her start in shelter magazines at now-defunct HomeStyle magazine and worked as an assistant to renowned designer Elizabeth Mayhew. But she really made a name for herself as Decoration Editor at Domino, where images of her own apartments zoomed virally through the blogosphere long before the days of Pinterest. She is a frequent host of Editor at Large.
Gwen & Lindsey
Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd weren’t always international soap mavens, delighting fashion-istas, value seekers, and environmentalists from New York to New Delhi. Many laundry cycles ago, they were young fashion enthusiasts, launching careers in one of the world’s best-dressed cities. As Lindsey and Gwen invested in building their wardrobes, they were confronted with the frustration of maintaining them: replacing prematurely worn items and paying painful dry-cleaning bills. As graduates from Cornell University’s Fiber Science, Textile and Apparel Management and Design program, they saw an opportunity to advance the world of fabric care.
Laura Vinroot Poole
Southern entrepreneur and renowned international tastemaker, Laura Vinroot Poole, has spent nearly twenty years as the owner of celebrated boutiques Capitol and Poole Shop in Charlotte, North Carolina and recently co-founded the innovative shopping app House Account. Her widely admired style and notable accomplishments in the fashion industry have been revered by prominent publications from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, Women’s Wear Daily and Vogue. Laura resides in her hometown of Charlotte with her husband Perry and daughter Fifi.
Maggie Brett Kennedy
Maggie Kennedy is the photography director of Garden & Gun magazine. Since the premiere issue in Spring 2007, she has helped shape the visual identity of the G&G brand. Prior to returning to her Southern roots, Maggie spent ten years with Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in San Francisco. There, she held she held the position of Creative Director for the Williams-Sonoma catalog, allowing her to oversee all aspects of the high-end brand’s creative development and production as well as collaborate with world-renowned photographers, stylists and chefs. Her work has been recognized with two National Magazine Awards in General Excellence by the American Society of Magazine Editors, and by the Society of Publication Designers and Photo District News.
Maggie grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina and now resides in downtown Charleston. She and her husband spend their free time chasing after their young daughter and English Spring Spaniel.
Writer, Photographer, Stylist
Angie Mosier is a writer, photographer, stylist, and cook endeavoring to merge all of these skills in a meaningful way. Telling the story of food both visually and with words is important to Angie and through her company, Placemat Productions, she serves her clients to help them express themselves, build better brands and reach a broad audience.
Her work has been seen in Food & Wine, Town and Country, The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Washington Post, Southern Living, Cooking Light, Taste of the South, Atlanta Magazine, Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, and Garden and Gun magazines. She is the author of the 2014 book, Buttermilk for Short Stack Editions and her essays on Southern cakes, pies and traditional meals can be read in The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. She has collaborated with cookbook and craft authors such as John T. Edge, Natalie Chanin, Matt Lee and Ted Lee, Virginia Willis, Kevin Gillespie, John Currence, Vivian Howard, Cheryl and Griffith Day, José Santaella and the Southern Foodways Alliance. Angie is also honored to have worked as co-author and photographer on Chef Eric Ripert’s two most recent books, Avec Eric and My Best…by Eric Ripert for Alain Ducasse Publishing as well as working as part of the film and content crew for Chef Ripert’s Emmy Award winning show, Avec Eric.
In addition to being a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and The James Beard Foundation, Angie is proud member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and is pleased to have served as a past president of the board of directors. Angie lives in and is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and currently sits on the Board of Trustees for the Atlanta History Center.
Torri Leeds is a beauty + fashion enthusiast, in life and work. She has worked in beauty PR/marketing for more than 13 years and is currently Managing Director at DeVries Global (Interpublic Group). She’s passionate about discovering dynamic people, places, partners and trend movements as inspiration for driving consumer product brand equities and businesses. She describes her approach as a mix of pragmatism + instinct.
At DeVries Global, she is responsible for leading teams to deliver insight-driven strategic and creative earned media programs for iconic brands. Torri has a proven track record in delivering relevant new and existing product positioning stories and platforms for clients that build their business. Her current responsibilities include P&G’s beauty brands: Olay, Vidal Sassoon, Sebastian, Wella, Nioxin and Clairol Pro. She has also worked on projects for Samsung mobile (New York Fashion Week) and Daily Candy.
Her New York public relations career started at Cairns+Associates where she launched Unilever’s Pond’s and Vaseline face and body skin care products. Prior to that, she held a marketing position at a fundraising firm, CAPTEL (Capital Teleservices), in Washington, D.C.
Torri is an Interpublic Group IDEAL mentor, as well as a member of Cosmetic Executive Women and the French Alliance (NYC). In 2014, she served as the chair of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Gala Benefit Committee.
Torri lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies (Economics and French). She grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, MD.
Craig Evans lives and breathes the South. Born in Atlanta and raised in the Carolinas, Evans’ spent his formative and young adult years below the Mason Dixon line. He attended Sewanee (aka The University of the South) in Tennessee along with his four younger sisters and graduated with a degree in Art History. After college, Evans took some time off and moved to Colorado and Wyoming for some R&R, snowboarding, and fly fishing. After four years, he returned home to Charlotte determined to attend graduate school for advertising and design, so he worked three jobs to save money. Two years later, he saved enough to attend the Portfolio Center in Atlanta and graduated from the Graphic Design & Art Direction program. Evans then journeyed to New York to begin his advertising career. Nine years later, Evans has worked with some of the country’s top agencies, such as the renowned firm Wieden+Kennedy, creating successful campaigns for celebrated brands like Nike, ESPN, MasterCard, Miller Lite, Hershey’s, NFL and NFL Network (including a spot for Super Bowl XLII), MLB, NBA, and Volkswagen. Throughout his career Evans has lived between New York and Los Angeles, a long time to be away from sweet tea in restaurants, he says. Even though his chosen career pulled him out of the South, he always dreamed of a way to celebrate the uniqueness of the place he calls home. Enter Y’allsome – a lifestyle brand created by Evans with Southern-inspired products like shirts, hats and prints (with more to come) that gives back. Each Y’allsome product is made using Southern businesses and purveyors and 15% of Y’allsome proceeds go to help Southern foster kids find permanent homes through an organization called Adoption Discovery. Evans became involved with Adoption Discovery as a mock client while in graduate school, and his passion for their cause continued through the years and culminated with a partnership for Y’allsome. By creating a brand that helps Southern foster kids and uses Southern businesses, Evans hopes to not simply support the South, but foster it. Evans currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Megan, and their pup, Hawk, a rescue from Sumter, SC. When he’s not creating campaigns for the nation’s top brands or dreaming up new Y’allsome goods in his garage, Evans’ enjoys going back home to the South, drinking way too much sweet tea, and spending time with family and friends.
Harper Poe was born with a serious case of wanderlust. Always looking to experience something for the first time she decided to incorporate her lust for discovery into a social enterprise, Proud Mary. Harper scours the globe in search of traditional textiles and handcrafts which she then employs global artisans to create for Western markets. She is equally inspired by the ideas of economic development, craft preservation, and the celebration of beauty, which she pridefully shares with her customers and clients.
Amy Hughes has 14 years of publishing experience; previously an agent with McCormick & Williams, she started her career as a publicist at Simon & Schuster, and as an editor at Penguin. She specializes in non-fiction in the areas of history, cultural studies, memoir, current events, wellness, health, food, pop-culture and biography as well as literary fiction. She grew up in Tennessee and is a graduate of Sewanee, The University of the South.
Writer and Editor
A native Charlestonian and barefoot beach girl, Bessie Gantt is a writer, ghostwriter, and editor who still can’t believe she figured out a way to make her obsession with words and stories into a successful career. She writes and edits cookbooks, memoirs, novels, and corporate materials, in every case capturing the voice and personality of her client. She savors her time at the keyboard crafting or polishing just the right turn of phrase, but her best asset as a writer is her ability to listen. The magic happens in those moments when a client says something in passing, an off-the-cuff comment that all at once captures the very essence of who the person is and what he or she has to say to the world. It’s these easy-to-miss moments that Bessie relishes in recording—first as scrawl on her yellow legal pad and then in the midst of published prose where the client’s voice can speak, shout, whisper, and sing from the page. Her own essays on everything from boiled peanuts to the delightful inconvenience of traffic-halting swing bridges have appeared in magazines and she also serves as copy editor for The Local Palate magazine.
Susan Hable Smith
Born and raised in Corsicana, TX, Susan currently resides in Athens, Georgia and is the designer behind the strikingly colored and lofty-scaled patterns cast on Hable Construction products.
Susan’s fine art background in collaging, sculpture, welding, and painting, bound by an intuitive color sense, has lent an aesthetic that’s timeless and universally sophisticated. Travels to Italy, Asia, and South America also serve as a backdrop to Hable’s inspiration. After a 6-year residence in San Francisco working in the design field, she moved to New York City to capitalize on her strength of fine art and design, fusing her love of art’s industrial facets and applying that to textiles.
In her world, whimsical forms are combined with a unique color palette inspired by nature, motherhood, and beauty, rather than trends. Susan’s design process begins with the most mundane of moments: “I get inspiration from the simplest things like the flower market, my aunt’s photos from the Big Thicket, my hometown, fabric swatches, or a knitted sweater. Happiness brings inspiration.”
Rinne Allen is a photographer based in Athens, Georgia who loves books. Over the last eight years, Rinne has photographed over 10 books, and her book experiences range from making limited edition, handmade artist books to photographing and art directing award-winning cookbooks from large international publishers. Rinne has enjoyed working with chef and fellow Athenian Hugh Acheson on his three book projects, as well as working with longtime friend and collaborator Susan Hable on her first book, A Colorful Home, out in spring 2015.
Tara Guérard is the Southeast’s preeminent wedding designer. Tara’s debut book, Southern Weddings: New Looks from the Old South (Gibbs-Smith) was published to rave reviews in 2007, and her second volume, Weddings by Tara Guérard (Gibbs-Smith) premiered in early 2010, further establishing her as an authority on gracious entertaining. Looking ahead into 2015, Tara is working on several new projects including a product line, broadcast development and her third book.
Erika Hollinshead Ward
Interior Designer, Writer, Philanthropist
Atlanta-based interior designer, writer, and philanthropist, Erika Hollinshead Ward worked in the design-build industry as an accountant before turning her passion for interior design into a successful business.
Named by Atlanta Tribune as having one of the top design firms of 2012, Erika’s work has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Atlanta Home Improvement Magazine, and on HGTV.com.
In addition to providing decorating advice and inspiration on her internationally recognized blog, BlulabelBungalow.com she is also a writer for Huffington Post, houzz.com, Williams-Sonoma’s Designer Marketplace blog, and Atlanta Tastemaker Magazine. Her other contributions on the topic of interior design can be found on SheKnows.com, Heart and Soul Magazine, and Jet Magazine.
In 2010, Erika co-founded Room Service Atlanta, a non-profit group of interior designers and design enthusiasts who provide pro-bono services to Metro Atlanta shelters.
Erika holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Georgia and has completed coursework in Interior Design at American Intercontinental University. She resides in Atlanta with her husband and children.
Mandy Kellogg Rye
Waiting On Martha’s founder and curator, Mandy Kellogg Rye, lives by one mantra, “Life should be lived beautifully every single day.” Drawn to the “finer things” at an early age, her mother taught her how to appreciate beauty while her father how to create beauty.
A Michigan native, Mandy left the mitten behind and headed to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois where she graduated with dreams of becoming a high-powered attorney. However, her dream quickly fell short when she realized law school wasn’t all about wearing a designer suit and winning arguments with loads of whit and banter. Law school wasn’t a complete bust though; it introduced her to Chicago, her first big city and one she still holds dear to her heart. A city that unknowingly became the backdrop, and beginning of Waiting On Martha.
A bracelet actually started it all. Well a bracelet, an obsession with food, an incessant need to throw a party whenever an opportunity presented itself, and an adoration for all things DIY. But back to the bracelet. One fateful day Mandy ventured into a Chicago bead store while a class was in session. Thinking that jewelry making would be a fun hobby, she began taking classes. To be clear, Mandy had no plans of it becoming anything more than a hobby. You know what they say about best laid plans…in 2011 Mandy opened an Etsy shop and officially launched her Waiting On Martha bracelet collection in April. The response was, and still is, quite overwhelming. Individuals not only loved the bracelets, but they wanted to know more about Mandy and her life. Enter Waiting On Martha The Blog.
As the ultimate creative and personal outlet for Mandy, Waiting On Martha The Blog focused simply on creating a beautiful everyday through fashion, food, décor, and DIY. As the reader’s grew so did the oh-so common question “where do I get that?” And thus, as Mandy puts it, “It only took one reader’s question to push me to indulge my dream of opening a boutique.” Waiting On Martha The Shop opened as an e-commerce boutique in July of 2012 with future plans to open brick & mortar location in Atlanta in 2015 (where Mandy now resides with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Addison).
Founder and Creative Director
Julianne Taylor is the Founder and Creative Director of Taylor Burke Home, a rapidly growing luxury home decor brand. A designer by trade, she gains much of her inspiration from her many years spent living abroad. TBH’s statement making designs were put on the map after a feature on their trend setting Brass X Benches in Better Homes & Gardens. The company is popular with interior designers and bloggers all over the US. Taylor Burke Home products were recently featured in a project with actress Tiffani Thiessen and are a top pick at this spring’s designer show houses in Atlanta, Charleston, High Point and Rumson, NJ. Made in the USA, Taylor Burke Home is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina.
Danielle Kurtz has been part of The Land of Nod team for 16 years. In that time, she’s held positions in Marketing, Merchandising and Design. In her current role as Creative Director, Danielle oversees design, copywriting and photography across all three of the brand’s sales channels. In addition, she’s recently launched the company’s interior design services, and oversees PR and Social Media for Nod. Danielle frequently writes about design, DIY and parenting for Honest to Nod, the company’s blog. As the mother of 2, an avid maker and self-professed social media junky, Danielle truly lives and breathes the Nod brand lifestyle.
Manager Getaways Customer Experience
Catherine Schenquerman has held a variety of marketing positions at JetBlue for the past three and half years ranging from advertising to customer experience marketing. For the past ten years Catherine has worked to build brands at advertising agencies like Crispin, Porter & Bogusky and Beber Silverstein Group as well as on the client side at Carnival Cruise Lines.
Born and raised in Richmond, VA, Stephen went to the University of Wisconsin, studied English at Oxford University in England, then after a few years in the corporate world as a turnaround specialist, he earned an MBA in entrepreneurship from the University of Georgia, where he was one of only 4 people inducted into UGA’s Terry Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He also created the annual UGA’s Next Top Entrepreneur $150k startups contest, covered by CNN.
Stephen and business partner Michael Hamrick run Perfect Pitch Concepts, a cross-functional marketing agency that specializes in SEO and lead generation. They also have a number of entrepreneurial side businesses including GroundBridge.com, a local networking organization.
Stephen enjoys cooking, spending time at the beach with family, supporting local nonprofits, and getting to come to cool conferences like this one.
After earning six undergraduate majors in four years from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Michael went on to receive an MBA from the University of Georgia. Michael’s interest in entrepreneurship led him to work on a startup that ultimately resulted in a career in online marketing technologies.
Since founding Perfect Pitch Concepts back in 2006, Michael has continued to serve as General Manager and all-around production ninja, honing his expertise in the areas of design, content development, and search engine optimization.
Founder and Owner
For Jimmy Hagood, Food for the Southern Soul™ isn’t just the name of his specialty food and catering business; it’s his way of life. Following his passion, Hagood has made an indelible mark on the lowcountry food scene. As a barbecue impresario and an advocate of coastal South Carolina’s unique culinary culture, he has brought national visibility to the art of barbecue cooking, and further elevated high-quality Southern pantry items. Slow cooking began as a hobby for Hagood, a born and bred Charlestonian. An insurance advisor, he traded his briefcase for a 30 ft long barbecue rig to launch his catering, specialty foods, and restaurant businesses. Hagood’s natural talents were evident from the start – he simultaneously managed a full-scale catering and barbecue business, bottled his award-winning sauces and dry rubs and earned his pit master stripes in top national competitions. Further investing in the heritage of lowcountry fare, in 2005, Hagood moved to acquire and manufacture some of the south’s finest food brands. In June 2011, Hagood opened his first ‘Cue*Osk (think BBQ kiosk) in the revitalized Great Hall of the Historic Charleston City Market. Here traditional barbecue and sides plus beef jerky, pork rinds and all of his southern pantry items are sold 364 days a year.
Attorney at Law, Side Hustler of Hammy’s Lowcountry Cheese Straws
Hamlin O’Kelley is proud to be a native of Beaufort, South Carolina. After attending elementary and middle school in Beaufort, Hamlin went on to graduate from high school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He is a proud to be an alumnus of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned his B.A. in History. Between college and law school, Hamlin served as the administrative assistant for the Association of International Schools in Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. Having spent an adventurous year in Africa, Hamlin enrolled in the University of South Carolina School of Law eventually earning his law degree. He has practiced law continuously since 1998. He has lived in Charleston since his marriage in 1999, but he’s been coming here all his life since, as he says, growing up in Beaufort we would have to drive to Charleston to buy socks.
Growing up, Hamlin benefited from being the fourth generation of his family privy to a celebrated cheese straw recipe. In Law School, he begin to give these cheese straws as Christmas presents, as house warming presents, as additions to cocktail parties, as thank you gifts. At a birthday party in the fall of 2010, a friend suggested that he sell his cheese straws. Hamlin laughed at his friend, but then thought about it. He has been selling them as his side-hustle ever since. He has balanced practicing law full time while also running Hammy’s Lowcountry Cheese Straws with nothing more than a cookie press, word of mouth, and a Facebook page. His cheese straws were featured on the cover of the October/November 2014 Garden & Gun focused on Southern Style & Entertaining. One day, he plans to make the side-hustle his full time job, but the law is a jealous mistress.
Hamlin lives in Charleston and is married to Mary Perrin O’Kelley. They have two amazing daughters who will be the fifth generation of cheese straw artisans in the family.
After many years of doodling all over every piece of paper Nikki Nuckols could get her hands on and even more years of rescuing every dog that she found roaming the neighborhood, no one was surprised when Nikki created Doodle Dog Creative. With a background in strategic marketing, a history as an art director at various advertising agencies and a stint as an in-house webmaster she was able to offer her clients a one-stop-shop, and as they say the rest was history. Today Doodle Dog consists of a team of dedicated designers, developers and writers who have the capability to strategically design your brand identity, develop your web presence and help people find you online. They create smile-worthy concepts that capture personality and inspire brands.
Long story short, she is an Iowa girl turned Texan with a love for design, creativity and innovation. She is lucky enough to be married to her best friend (Tommy), they have a super handsome little man (Colton), who has taken over her Instagram feed (@nikkinuck), 2 giant dogs (Lucky and Ringo) that hang out in her office with her every day, and they’re one happy little family. She loves life, adventure and every bit of what she does. Whether it’s helping business owners find their brand personality, designing their identity, or building their website, it’s a dream job.
Haile Parker McCollum
Haile McCollum is the Owner of Fontaine Maury a brand and design firm in Thomasville, Georgia. Fontaine Maury works with emerging and growth minded companies and non-profits nationwide to engage their audiences in a more meaningful way and maximize profits. She develops, documents and extends brands through creative business strategies including, print design, digital design and social media.
She has worked with artists worldwide to license designs to Walmart, Target, Tiny Prints, Treat, Shutterfly and others. She was featured as a Country Living Woman Entrepreneur in 2007. Her work has been featured in Country Living, Southern Living, Real Simple, InStyle and O Magazine. She is a contributing artist in the book Crafting a Meaningful Home by Meg Mateo Ilasco and is honored to appear in the Country Living book The Mom’s Guide to Running a Business by Michelle Ribeiro.
In addition to running her brand and design studio, Haile’s current passion project is being the Creative Director of Thom, a bi-annual arts and culture magazine published by Thomasville Center for the Arts in Thomasville, Georgia. Thom is the personification of the creative life in Thomasville. Weaving together the written word and stunning images, Thom expresses and promotes the abundance of creative thinking in Thomasville. It introduces thinkers, visionaries, muses, artists, entrepreneurs and professionals to the region who share their talent to shape Thomasville and beyond.
Haile has a B.S. in Human Development from Vanderbilt University and an M.F.A. in Graphic design from The Savannah College of Art and Design.
When owner Stacy Smallwood opened Hampden in 2007, Charleston had yet to see the type of emerging talent and under-the-radar designers the store would stock. Stacy knew that the city was ready to raise the fashion bar, so she set out to create a shopping destination for locals and visitors alike which would quickly become one of the south’s top style destinations.
The King Street storefront expanded in 2012 with the opening of James (a nod to her great grandfather James Hampden Small), Stacy’s accessories boutique. While styling customers in the store and through private appointments continues to keep her busy, Stacy began to travel on behalf of NBC Sports to dress their female anchors in early 2014 after landing a spot on NBC’s TODAY Show. Her unerring eye for discovering the seasons most covetable pieces – from jewelry to jeans, eveningwear to everyday essentials – make Stacy and her stores an respected resource for fashion insiders far and wide.
A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Stacy enrolled in the prestigious Neiman Marcus buying program in Dallas, TX before working for one of the city’s top specialty stores. With these early experiences she learned some critical retailing tenets that lead her efforts at Hampden and James today. Customer service and relationships – with customers, designers and employees– reign.
Founder and Creative Director
Jamie Meares is the Founder and Creative Director of retailer Furbish Studio and blogger behind I Suwannee. Featured in Elle Décor, House Beautiful and Lonny magazine as a master of the mix, Jamie Meares is an inveterate dabbler — her go-to answer is “I’ll try anything once.” It’s her eccentric take on tradition (and bright red hair) that makes Meares stand out in a crowd.
The brand’s daring mix of southern tradition with bohemian wanderlust is truly one-of-a-kind, with a bricks and mortar store that serves as a mecca for design-lovers and trendsetters across the country. With her products and decorating projects regularly featured in top magazines and blogs, Meares continues to build momentum as a design-darling of the South.
A self-described localist, Executive Director of Lowcountry Local First Jamee Haley has been at the helm of Lowcountry Local First as co-founder and director since inception in 2007 bringing with her expertise in the culinary field as well as that of a small business owner.
Since 2007, Haley has been responsible for developing the “Directory of Local Independent Businesses,” has produced eight successful Buy Local and Eat Local annual campaigns, worked with municipalities to adopt a local preference option, launched the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative, which includes the Growing New Farmers Program and created awareness throughout the community about the importance of supporting a localized economy and family farms.
In 2012, Haley was named one of Charlie Magazine’s, ’50 Most Progressive.” In 2010 Haley was selected by BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) as one of 9 local economy Fellows in the first cohort in North America for a two year Community of Practice, and in 2014 The Charleston Business Journal named her as one of the ‘Most Influential Women in Business.’
Most recently she launched Dirt Works, the first incubator farm in the state of South Carolina in 2012 and Local Works a collaborative co-working facility for local entrepreneurs in 2014. She believes that innovation is equally important in nonprofit management as it is in the for profit sector.
With a contagious spirit and enthusiasm, Christine Osborne has owned Wonder Works toy stores for 25 years.
With the uncanny ability to spot a craze and hot items before they even hit the shelves, Christine leads her team with a passion to provide children and families with the most magical toys that help develop social, mental and physical skills. Of course while inspiring fun, creativity and imagination! As the owner of Wonder Works, Christine has been an integral part of the Charleston community and toy industry for many, many years. She and Wonder Works toy stores have won countless awards and recognitions based on the business’ success, achievements and community involvement. As a notable member in the toy industry, Christine serves on the board with several toy manufactures to help create the next ground breaking toys (including Dynepic and the Swufer).
Christine is devoted to supporting the talented children in the Charleston community and provides a platform for child entrepreneurs, child musicians and singers, child authors and children’s charities. “Wonder Works is truly a magical world and it has unveiled my true passion. One child can make a difference; it’s as simple as that. My mission is to empower these children and to help them find their voice and their passion so they can then inspire others.”
Jackie & Libba
Leapfrog is a boutique public relations and marketing firm specializing in “lifestyle” related businesses – from specialty food products, dining and fashion to textiles and design. Based in Charleston, SC, leapfrog’s small and savvy team offers a unique mix of national brand experience and extensive media network with accessible and high-touch customer service. Led by principals Jackie Thomson and Libba Osborne, current clients include Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, Marysia Swim, Tara Guerard Soiree, Schermer Pecan Co., King Bean Coffee and Shop BuRu among others. A graduate of the University of the South – Sewanee and The French Culinary Institute, Libba has been promoting culinary businesses for over a decade with boutique firms in Atlanta, New York and Charleston. An Atlanta native, she now resides in Charleston with her husband and two young sons. A native of Annapolis, MD and College of Charleston graduate, Jackie began her career working in the New York fashion industry and now partners with design and retail brands in the south and beyond. She lives in Charleston with her husband and son and daughter.