When I decided to attend my first PodCamp, I also decided to dive in head first and sign up to lead a session and I don't regret a single moment of it. I spent a lot of time agonizing over what to present and how best to do it. In the end, I decided I would just try to keep it simple and be myself. Everyone's advice was, "Have fun!" I figured that was a pretty great idea. Still, I left the last session on Saturday afternoon wondering if I'd made a terrible mistake by choosing to lead a session. It seemed as though all the other session leaders were not only masters of their particular field (photography, marketing, writing, etc.) but they were also incredibly knowledgeable and skilled with all forms of social media. I felt a tad inadequate that I'd only learned what it meant to use a "hashtag" about three days before the conference.
But I'd already signed up- I wasn't about to back down now. I decided to go with my original plan: just talk about my experience as a fashion blogger and how I do things and just hope for the best. At most, I hoped that someone there would realize through hearing about my story that it doesn't take a lot of money or a high-tech graphic design team or even a lot of experience to have a successful website and/or blog. But I also thought it wouldn't hurt to have presents. Everyone likes presents, right? So as I sat there during the closing comments of day 1, I looked over and saw the table full of PodCampNH t-shirts, some from last year, some from this year, all men's sizes, most bearing Large or X-Large tags. I even had my free t-shirt in my computer bag, a mens size Medium. I started thinking about t-shirts in general. I don't really have many because most t-shirts are boxy, shapeless and really unflattering. They are NOT designed with a woman's body in mind. Even men don't always look good in a basic t-shirt. Unfortunately, flattering or not, that's what the popular souvenir of any event is: a shapeless Hanes or Fruit-of-the-Loom t-shirt with a silk-screened logo on the front and a list of sponsors on the back. (I received MANY black "Local Crew" t-shirts while working at AMT. The only one I saved is my Ringo Starr one.) I know a lot of people who LOVE their collection of event t-shirts, so I'm not trying to criticize the choice of souvenir. I'm merely pointing out that as a fashion choice, it's not exactly one I support.
A fitted jersey shirt and quirky accessories, however, now THAT I can get behind. So on my way out after day 1, I asked some of the organizers if it would be all right to take a handful of extra t-shirts, even if they were from last year. The logo was basically the same, just smaller and in a different location. They were fine with it, and I found myself designing in my head on the drive home. The end result was these:
PodCampNH Bow Tie made using PodCampNH 2009 t-shirt
PodCampNH womens FITTED t-shirt made using both 2009 and 2010 PodCampNH t-shirts
The best part was seeing them on actual human beings who were more than thrilled to wear them:
Photo Credit: Cait Downey
As you can see from the picture above, I gave each of them away to a couple of willing participants and they quickly became very popular. I opted not to take down names and numbers of people who wanted one for themselves- let's just call these one-of-a-kind-limited-edition Bouchard Originals. Maybe next year I'll create a line of PodCamp Fashions to donate to the raffle.
As fun as it was to see PodCamp participants modeling my goofy (last-minute) designs, it wasn't the most memorable part for me. My favorite part was talking to the participants at my session and finding out that they would enjoy participating in my weekly Shoesday Tuesday feature via Twitter. So, starting THIS WEEK, Shoesday Tuesday is now (drumroll, please)... INTERACTIVE! Don't worry- it's also very simple. All you have to do is post a Shoesday Tuesday-related tweet with the hashtag #ShoesdayTuesday. It can be a link to a shoe sale, or a picture of your favorite shoes- whatever you want, really. That's what I like the most about this idea- YOU are in control of how awesome it can be. I'll likely post a round-up of my favorite tweets each week, but I'm hoping you all get really creative and surprise me with some interesting tweets. Who knows? Maybe we'll end up having #ShoesdayTuesday contests! Oprah will call! We'll all get invited to appear on the farewell season! The sky's the limit, friends.
I'll remind you again on Tuesday- you have a couple of days to start thinking about what your first #ShoesdayTuesday tweet will be! Make a good one, a funny one, a bizarre one- whatever you like- from now on, Shoesday Tuesday is all about YOU!