Sunday, October 23, 2011

An ABBW Wrap

Today there are a growing number of beauty bloggers bursting in the web sphere, each with their own voice and thoughts. Despite all this, they are all quite fragmented, spread across the vast country and working independently - in their own time and using their own resources with some bloggers working with PR whilst others do not.

At the same time, marketers and brands are unsure of how to approach since there are no established protocols and it’s a relatively new frontier for many in the industry. 

Jacie Galpin from You’ve Got Nails & Kimberely Nissen from The Plastic Diaries are no stranger to the industry, having their own successful and effective online blog platforms to dish out their views on the latest array of nail shades, hair products and skin lotions and creams.

Having established relations in the traditional Public Relations and marketing industry, they decided to tap into their network and expertise to create an avenue to bring the largely dispersed beauty blogging community together and provide the link for writer and PR to get to meet and learn more about each other. 
Jacie & Kimmi
The result was the country’s first national beauty blogger event. 

Endearing known as ABBW, the Australian Beauty Bloggers' Weekend held on 24th-25th September was the culmination of months of planning and precision organisation that spanned across sponsors from various PR companies and brand representatives as well as media personnel in the digital media space. It gave 85 beauty bloggers across the country a money can't buy opportunity (it was a registration-only free event) to network and learn first-hand more about this fast evolving industry. 

IMATS displays*
The Official events started on Saturday morning with registration at the Novetel (there was also pre-registration the evening before) and saw each registrant gifted with goodie bags from generous majors sponsors Dove, Australis, Garnier and a host of iconic brands to welcome us onboard.

To kick everything off, all beauty bloggers were provided VIP passes to the International Makeup Artist Trade Show (IMATS) and allowed to roam free for four hours where they were treated to amazing demonstrations of theatrical artistic talents, keynote speakers from the makeup artistry world including Nepolean Perdis and Elessa Vavon of Pursebuzz, glorious displays of makeup from Inglot, Makeup Forever, MAC, SLA, Crown and Royal Laneige brushes. 

You’d think that the goodie bags would have already satiated all my beauty needs, but in the face of so many glorious colours and beauty products, I lost my self restraint and proceeded to burn a great hole in my bank balance with purchases of the highly acclaimed Hakuhodo brushes, Inglot freedom palette system, and various other makeup items. 
Mac Pro and Hakuhodo exhibits, selecting Inglot eyeshadows and manicure station*

In following the VIP theme, there was a Royal & Langnicke rest station set up especially for the beauty bloggers where light refreshments were served, manicures offered and makeup refreshed. There was even an eco-friendly gift to see us off to the next scheduled event. 

with Eleanor, BD discussion table, BD panel with Jackie, Eleanor and Kimmi*
The afternoon procession could only be described as invaluably enlightening and insightful with a panel consisting of InStyle Beauty Editor Eleanor Pendleton, Beauty Directory’s Founder Jackie Maxted, and our very own Kimberley Nisssen of The Plastic Diaries sharing with us the etiquettes and expectations of working with PR. We were then invited to share with the Beauty Directory staff our own expectations and needs when working with PR and brands.

After learning all this, we were able to put our networking skills and newly acquired knowledge to practice with brands representatives from the Purist Company, Trishave and nature's botox-alternative Lapurete. Here we learnt more about each brands and were then able to sample some of their core products.
Bottega Veneta; Burts Bees offerings, Nivea Men products

Things then kicked up another notched in the evening at Swanky Establishment hotel where we were treated with a showcase of the latest offerings from Orly GelFX, Coty fragrances including Balenciagia L’Essence, CK Euphoria, CK One Shock, Bottega Veneta's maiden namesake fragrance as well as old and new favourites from Nivea, Burts Bees, Remington and professional hair care Sebastian.
Balenciagia L'essence, CK Euphoria and CK One Shock pour Homme & Femme
It was also an opportunity for me to sneak in quick one-on-one chats with Debbie Sheikman from Beauty Heaven and the various brands’ expert team members who served up some great beauty tips and advice.
Hair and nail services at the Maxted-Thomas Gala; Jacie & Kimmi; Ian Thomas *

The product showcase was then followed by a scrumptious three-course dinner hosted by Ian Thomas, director of Maxted-Thomas PR, which really was the royal icing on the cake before the long day came to an official close.

Sunday morning saw us treated with a light breakfast before a presentation from Alpha-H's Michelle Doherty where we learnt about the wonders of glycolic acid and how a three month skin perfecting system will deliver smoothed, refined skin. Things got interactive after that with a hands on master class hosted by Face of Australia’s Tina Henry where we tried to perfect the art of contouring.
Michelle - Alpha H founder and Liquid Gold* , Face of Australia Masterclass*

The final event in the afternoon was possibly the most polarising one with ABBW trending tweets as Bahar Etminan from Rescu walked us through her journey on building up the Rescu brand and how one could go about monetising their site. Despite the differing views on whether bloggers should be blogging for money or love, all bloggers would agree that today, we are gaining more authority in the online space and our influences on consumer decision making is greater than ever before.

Bahar Etminan; fellow beauty bloggers; MBBE with Kimmi 

When I walked away from my 2-day whirlwind event and headed towards the airport, my head was light, my heart inspired and my luggage much heavier. There were key learnings I took home when I boarded the plane back to Melbourne that I think is worth sharing.
  • Bloggers and PRs alike are still learning about each other and how to work better together. Unlike traditional editorial, this is uncharted territory so the rules are being invented along the journey.
  • There is no other golden opportunity like now for bloggers to have a voice in the industry as the beauty blogging market in the country flourishes and set to ride the wave of authority.
  • Professionalism is important. It doesn't matter whether your blog is a business or a hobby, manners and respect along with common sense will take you far.
  • We all have the responsibility to maintain the integrity of beauty blogging. Invest in yourself as a brand and sell everything about it but don’t sell out.
  • The meeting of so many like-minded individuals who are as passionate about beauty is not only inspiring but also very humbling. There is so much to learn from each other and the friendship built will only create a better blogging community.
  • Nothing beats a good old fashion meet and greet. Being able to put faces to names for fellow blogger who I've known over the past year and PRs who I've only previously had online interactions with is like finding long lost friends.
  • Don’t underestimate the generosity of sponsors when attending a beauty blogging event. Make sure there are no less than 20kg of checked in luggage if you are an interstate travellers as I found out the hard way but luckily I managed to dodge a 4 kg over-limit fine.
With such a successful inaugural event, I have no doubt that next year's ABBW will be even more amazing. My heartfelt thanks for the two extraordinary ladies for bringing us together for the weekend. We beauty bloggers now have an annual national event to look forward to!

some of the goodie bags and purchases from IMATS
This post contains photos marked * in collages that were taken by the official photographer for the ABBW event Liz Giacco. These photos are not to be reproduced, republished or reused without inclusion of this credit. Images remain the property of The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend.


  1. Really great post. I love those points you mentioned and agree :)
    I wanna see your haul :D It was awesome meeting you that day <3

  2. Thanks Su, I'm so glad I was able to catch you, albeit briefly on the day. I can't wait to see what other spoils you bought at IMATS.

  3. Loved reading this, bring back so many good memories of the weekend. You write so well!

  4. Megan - thank you lovely. I was reliving the memories when I wrote this too. I wish we had more time and could chat more during the ABBW - oh well, next time!

  5. What a fabulous post. You really did the event justice and you have brought a tear to my eye (if I had the ability to cry over things other than The Vampire Diaries).

    I can't wait to see you next year. And remember, bring an empty suitcase.

  6. Thanks Kimmi - I'm going to get my camera ready for the tear in the eye moment. I capture that moment for Jacie so can't wait to do the same for you :)


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