“A gathering of women working together for the good of the world.”
Last week I had the opportunity of attending the two day Yellow Conference at the Hudson Loft in DTLA. The conference brought together ladies from all across the country looking to learn from creative women running businesses that make an impact on the world. Throughout the two days, we heard stories from a handful of female entrepreneurs, and even a few good men, who have aligned their life, skills, and purpose for the greater good.
The Importance of Fair Trade
I was inspired to learn from women who had embedded the element of giving into their brand DNA, each with a unique focus on empowering women and providing opportunity.
The first speaker we heard from was a woman named Liz, who founded a fair trade sandal company called Sseko, focused on empowering women in Uganda. Her company created fair trade artisan jobs for young girls to generate an income so they can afford to continue on to University.
Another speaker was a man named Barrett. He founded a company called ABLE. A lifestyle brand whose mission is to end “generational poverty by working with women who have often overcome extraordinary circumstances”. They focus on protecting and empowering women by providing jobs with dignity and a living wage. We learned that Barrett is not only a father of 4 girls but is also only one of 3 men in his 100 person company.
“ABLE chooses to work with women because we know that when women thrive so do the economies in which they operate.”
Another cornerstone of their business is making sure the customer is knowledgeable about where their clothes are made and who made them. Enlightening the consumer of the lasting negative effects of the fast fashion cycle fueled by our materialistic society. A great example of this can be seen in the movie The True Cost that was on Netflix and is now available to watch on Amazon Prime. The film shows the working conditions of some of the major corporation’s overseas garment factories and the pennies these employees receive for their labor. I can’t recommend this movie enough. It really puts a face to the people in these working conditions and makes you think twice about the true cost behind that $5 H&M shirt.
Women on a mission: Non-Profit
We heard from women leading the way in the non-profit sector raising money to help those not in a position to help themselves. A woman who found her calling as a creative director of a company called IJM that sends global strike missions to help protect the poor against brutal violence and sex trafficking in the developing world. We heard stories from a woman name Larayia with a big heart and a mentality of loving without reason. Born and raised in Los Angeles she found her purpose in creating a non-profit called Lunch On Me; focused on providing nutritious meals and opportunities to L.A.’s homeless community. Using her time, gifts, and donations she helps to bring organic meals to skid row, to nourish the mind and body, with the “belief that radical self-love is the foundation for permanent healing”.
Every little yellow detail.
In between speakers, the conference held what they called “Breakout Sessions” where you could choose a smaller focused group that you wanted to learn from depending on where you were at in your journey. For those already with a business direction in mind, there were sessions about creating your brand mission statement, about social marketing, aligning sustainable values with your business, and how to gain crowdsource funding. For those still feeling out a new direction, there were sessions about changing your habits and creating a more aligned life.
During breaks, we were invited to check out the ‘Do Good Marketplace’ on the first floor, filled with brands whos core elements embodied that of Yellow. Food and beverage companies, apparel, cosmetic all with the idea of sustainability, organic and fair trade in mind.
Networking and Community
The Yellow Conference surrounds you with creative women looking to use their gifts to make a difference and provides a place to network and share ideas with other women.
“Women coming together to support one another in pursuing their creative dreams”
Before each of the speakers came up we were asked a question to get our minds going and meet some of the ladies sitting amongst us. To my surprise to my right were two other graphic designers, happy with their fulltime roles on the east coast, but came to Yellow looking to get inspired about what their next step could be. Sitting behind me were 3 ladies who worked with a company called SBCC, helping to empower refugees and immigrant women “through innovation and co-creation”. There we just so many women with big hearts and great ideas. There was such a buzz of good energy around the room and lots of potential collaborations were planted.
“Step into who you were meant to be”
A major take away from the conference was starting small and stepping into your purpose. So often we become overwhelmed our ‘big dreams’ that we can feel paralyzed, and instead of moving towards them, we freeze. We think our purpose is something that we have to know right now, and it can feel like we are spinning in circles looking for this life direction.
We heard from a woman named Terces, the founder of Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre restaurant family. She opened up and shared her life story of being a single mother of 3 and struggling with addiction. That she didn’t meet her now-husband until age 50, married at 52 and started these major restaurants at 55. She reminded us to slow down and appreciate where we are at now. To do the inner work of the body and mind first. Work to create space to be kinder, more loving and giving and all that is possible when we let go of our limited thinking.
Share your story
The last afternoon of the conference was wrapped up by the amazing artist and poet, Morgan Harper Nichols, and the lovely Ruthie Lindsey who both reminded us that the path to healing starts with sharing your story and speaking your truth and the powerful connection that can come from it.
Stoked on getting to meet Ruthie at the end of day two.
The Yellow Conference was overall a spiritual experience that at times made my eyes well up with tears. Have you ever had the feeling that you were meant to be somewhere, or sit next to someone? It was a warmth like that, but even more powerful because I had signed myself up for this event nearly 6 months ago. As if it was somewhere I knew my soul needed me to be. I left the conference on an internal high note. Excited and filled with ideas of the small next steps I needed to take. I attended the conference with a new business concept in mind and I am looking forward to creating and becoming something bigger than myself. Cheers to starting small, leading with courage and passion, and knowing that your purpose will begin to surface through action.
“This is the season she will make beautiful things. Not perfect things, but honest things, that speak to who she is and who she is called to be.” – MHN
You can click to learn more about the Yellow Conference or follow along on their via their main collective website and Instagram.