It has been over a week since the Yellow Conference in Los Angeles this year, and I have yet to come down from the buzz. I can still feel the energy, the love, and the passion oozing out of everyone that participated. It was an experience I have never quite felt before.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Yellow Conference, it is a 2-day conference that takes place in LA, California, put on by Joanna Waterfall and her wonderful team. It is much more than your average conference though, it is a movement of ambitious and creative women who are looking to make an impact on this world by doing good through their business and brand.
To sum it up, Yellow was empowering, beautiful, and exhilarating.
This year’s conference was held in DTLA in a beautiful modern space called the Hudson Loft. Upon entering the venue, you see the most beautiful contour art work illustrations with touches of yellow, all of which designed by Hanna Snyder. The conference was split between two floors: the first floor was the infamous “do-good marketplace”, where socially conscious businesses from all over the states have set up booths to showcase their products and designs.
Some of my favourites include:
YouMeClothing: a non-profit organization that makes repurposed products to help provide access to education, clean water, and jobs.
Isiko Designs: an online marketplace filled with unique handcrafted goods made by artisans from around the globe.
Parker and Clay: dedicated to transforming communities in Ethiopia through social and economic empowerment through selling ethical handmade goods.
Citizen and Darling: a clothing line designed to build awareness and support to the ever growing epidemic of modern day slavery and human trafficking.
Our Sacred Women: a movement to restore women to a place of reverence through specialty gifts that help women feel seen, valued, and honored.
Dot Cup: a one-for-one menstrual cup empowering a woman in need with every purchase.
Bees’ Wrap: the natural alternative to plastic wrap for food storage.
Of course, a conference wouldn’t be complete without some delicious snacks, compliments of Verve coffee, Matchabar, Hail Merry, The Soulfull Project, Lavva Yogurt, Hakuna Banana, GIVN Water, and Suja Kombucha, to name a few. Caulipower was also present during lunchtime on Day 1 to give out some delicious alt-pizza samples. Mmm!
Overlooking the do-good marketplace was the exclusive Yellow Members Lounge, which had some of the cutest seating areas: perfect for intimate conversations. There was also a booth to get water-color portraits done, as well as a mini-manicure bar by Restore Blank! In the conference space above, the decor furnishing and set-up was intentionally well thought out. There was a silent space dedicated to meditation and reflection, and another room dedicated to creativity and innovation.
Another detail that was AWESOME was the InLieu app, which allows users to make donations on behalf of someone else. Each of the speaker below chose their favorite charity prior to the start of the conference, so if we were to really enjoy their talk, we could make a small donation to show our gratitude. How neat is that?! This is definitely something I am checking out for all of my future housewarming celebrations or special occasions!
Now, to the good stuff! This year’s theme at Yellow Conference was Ownership. As a generation that is inclined to own less in our lives, what would happen if we were to own who we are? Such as “owning the stories, dreams, visions, passions, and abilities that we have? Owning the problems of the world instead of turning a blind eye, and owning the fact that we are in this world as global citizens?”. It is an intense yet intriguing theme to dive into, one that I couldn’t wait to hear more about.
Joanna Waterfall, founder of Yellow, alongside with hilarious body-positivity babe/emcee, Alex Michael May, kicked the conference off with a high, reminding all of us that we are equals no matter who we are and what we do and how the world needs us and our stories. Joanna played us a video within 10 minutes of the kick-off and I was already tearing up – for whatever reason my mind was telling me. I took this as a sign that I was in the right place, right time, with the right people. Immediately, we were followed by a 5 minute meditation exercise, led by Jenna Reiss, which really help set our intentions for the next two days.
Here are a few nuggets of wisdom from each of the speakers that resonated with me deeply:
Nikia Phenoix, Founder of Black Girl Beautiful
“It’s not about showing others who we are. It’s about showing ourselves who we are”.
- Hurt and pain does not define you. Let that shit go.
- Learn to look inwards before looking outwards. Show yourself some love and tenderness as you do to others.
- The highest honour on Earth that you will ever have is the honour of being yourself.
Cassandra Lee, Executor Director of Justice Rising
“If you don’t fit the mold, break out of it”.
- To build a community, you need to be a community first.
- The only way local problems can be solved is with local solutions. Listen and learn from the community, and then find a way to disrupt the issue.
- When you let love lead you, people will take notice and follow.
Candice Kumai, The Golden Girl of Wellness & Kintsugi Wellness Expert
“When we go through trauma, we also go through grace”.
- Learn to embrace a wabi sabi life, meaning living a simple life that is perfectly imperfect.
- Take your mask off. People will learn to fall in love with your spirit and beauty.
- Kintusgi is a Japanese form of art where broken pottery is put back together with gold, built on the idea that something broken can become something more beautiful and resilient.
Allison Fallon, Writer & Writing Coach
“How do you know an idea is no good if you don’t try?”
- Writing 20 minutes a day, 4 times a week, can increase your health and well-being both physically and mentally.
- When you are writing, here are the three things you should include in your journal or post:  What happened?  What I thought about it, and  How I felt about it.
- When you encounter “writers’ block”, it means there is something blocking you in your real life.
Miki Agrawal, Co-Founder of THINX, Tushy, Icon, and Wild
“Lean into the uncomfortable and choose radical authenticity”.
- You can’t change the world if you are feeling hesitant or tentative.
- Invite your audience and customers to take part in the experience, no matter what you are selling or pitching. Success lies in participation. Your audience wants to be included.
- Disrupt the market creativity. Look behind the veil of how things have always been and disrupt the way we have been told to do things. Deliver your value proposition in a fun and unforgettable way. Use GIFs, shareable videos, memes, comics, and infographics.
Enid Hwang, Head of Culture & Community at Pinterest
“If you are in the room, you are in the room. No one else is you”.
- Know your personal statement. If you don’t have one, make one! Include the following:  What skills you bring,  Who you are impacting, and  Your dreams outcome.
- To do lists are NOT goals. Your goals should drive focus and decision making all while being connected to your top priorities. Always make sure your goals are specific, measurable, and realistic.
- Your time is precious, so spend more time on: what you want and what you are good at, and then learn how to use your time wisely doing so.
- Control your growth when you can’t control anything else.
Allison Faulkner, Branding Expert, Podcast Host, Founder of The Alison Show
“It doesn’t serve anyone if you sit around thinking you are a piece of crap”.
- Something doesn’t go your way? Use what you have. Be resourceful and change your narrative.
- If you want to see different results, do things differently.
- If you feel called to do it, you need to do it.
- Confidence is not the belief that you are better than others or more than enough. Confidence is the belief of inherent wholeness. That you are exactly enough.
- Invest in people who invest in you and hold onto your strengths and gifts.
Hoda Katebi, Activist Fashion Blogger, Author & Photographer
“There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard”. – Arundhati Roy
- Fashion is political, period. From production to consumption, it is an industry dominated by women, yet, we live in a patriarchal society that deems women’s work as worthless.
- Fast fashion is real, and research shows that there are 52 seasons in a year.
- As consumers, we need to be more aware of where our clothes are coming from and at whose expense.
- The US Military is the largest contributor to global warming.
Brittany and Ian Bentley, Co-Founders of Parker Clay
Their story was so inspirational and beautiful. You need to head on over to their website to read all about it, and to *HEART EYES* all of their products, all ethically made in Ethiopia!
Amena Brown, Poet, Spoken Word Artist, and Author
“Because nobody needs to tell our stories for us, because our stories belong to us and we belong to each other. We raise our hands, we raise our voices, we raise the next generation, we create, we pioneer, we look ahead and we don’t look back”.
After hearing the inspirational talks by the phenomenal speakers and being surrounded by so many ambitious women, it has truly propelled me to embrace my journey. I think one of my favorite lessons that hit hard was that fact that each of us have different strengths and talents to give to this world and that there is no “right” way to start a business or movement. Everybody’s “firsts” are different.
If there is anything I strive to do everyday after attending the uplifting Yellow Conference, it is to Spread Goodness and Bloom.
Tickets range between $250-$375 depending on time of purchase and group size. Yellow Collective members do get a discount! Your ticket includes admission to the 2-day conference, a fantastic-beyond-belief swag bag that has over $300+ worth of goodies, and an everlasting warm + fuzzy feeling that remains in your heart forever. It is an experience not to be missed, and I truly encourage everyone to attend Yellow at least once in their lifetime! If you can’t make it to LA, don’t fret – Joanna announced this year that they will be doing more in-person events, such as the mini series they did while living an in airstream this past year along the West Coast! So… you might just be in luck if they travel to your city or surrounding areas!
To learn more, follow @yellowco.co!
Seeing people succeed while doing what they love fires her up like no other. Aside from being the co-founder of DiscoverHER Project, Jess is a meeting planner by day and a wedding planner by night. Jess is passionate about giving girls and women around the world the same tools she used to get to where she is today. She believes in wearing her heart on her sleeve, doing everything out of a place of love, and empowering people around her to do the same. When she isn’t working, she’s most often found with a good book in hand, brunching with friends (hello mimosas!), or off exploring the world.