All photos courtesy of SNAP Conference
SNAP, the conference for creative bloggers and influencers, has new owners and they’re ready to guide the popular event into its next chapter. Founded in 2010 by Tauni Everett, the event blossomed over the past eight years, becoming a major destination for brands and content creators looking to strike deals in the parenting, food, crafts, and lifestyle markets.
When Everett realized it was time for her to move on professionally, she turned down multiple offers to sell SNAP to large media companies, instead opting to place it in the hands of two longtime attendees whom she feels are truly passionate about her original mission.
Everett never set out to found a blogger’s conference. She spent her early career in public relations working for political campaigns, the Olympics, and the NBA. Then, in her mid-30’s, she found herself in a relationship with a man who already had three children.
“I had no idea what to do with them,” she laughs. “So I started reading blogs and, you know, after not too long, I was like ‘oh, I used to be a ghostwriter. I could do this.’” So she started a blog of her own, posting craft and lifestyle tutorials. This was in 2005, before social media, when blogging played a more central role in online communication.
“The way we connected with one another was leaving comments on one another’s blogs, generating ideas together,” Everett says.
She realized that among the women she was meeting online she had an unusual, and very helpful skill set when it came to turning a blog into a business. “Some of them hadn’t had a real career, and if they did it was in a field entirely unrelated, like a science teacher, things like that, that didn’t really give them the skills they needed to run an entrepreneurial business,” she said.
Everett’s public relations background set her apart and she realized that there was an opportunity for her use her professional training to help them. “I was just coming to it from such a different skill set and I saw these women that were sharing their amazing ideas about parenting, and everything, online. I wanted to be able to share something back with them.”
“I started teaching them like, here’s how to pitch yourself to traditional media, here’s how to write a headline that’s going to pull, here’s how to pitch yourself to a brand and generate income with your blog.” In 2008 she decided to host a workshop in Phoenix to more formally teach about these topics, expecting 50-75 people to attend. Over 175 people came, many flying in from other parts of the country.
“I think I realized that there was something to it; there was a synergy that came from bringing all of these women together in one space that couldn’t be replicated anywhere else. And it was fun. Ten years later I still see some of those women, some of them are still best friends. It was a magical connection.”
Mandy Beyeler was there at that first workshop. She’d started a blog the year prior to share pictures of her children with family members living far from her home in Kansas City. She’d post creative projects, too, and when those projects took over she set up a craft blog, SugarBeeCrafts. “I attended SNAP for the first time to learn about blogging, but the side benefit, or the part I didn’t realize I’d love so much, was connecting with other bloggers.”
Everett held the event again the next year and over time SNAP became a premier conference for female bloggers and influencers all over the country. The event welcomed more than 600 attendees and some of the biggest brands in the home, crafts, and lifestyle categories.
Beyeler continued to attend and at one of the events, she met Kim West, an online friend, and fellow craft blogger. The two got permission from Everett to start a special orientation event at the conference for new attendees. “New attendees sometimes just need a little more handholding and may have more questions, and sometimes it’s intimidating to ask a whole community like what would you wear to this, or what should I pack?” They set up a Facebook Group, too, and the goal was for “everyone to at least meet a few people before the conference started because they were all newbies together.”
SNAP’s popularity continued to grow, perhaps more so than Everett had actually intended. “It just grew bigger than I even wanted it to,” Everett recalls. “So then I tried to scale it back and what I realized is once you build something, it’s very hard to scale back.”
After owning and running the company on her own for eight years, by 2016, she realized it was time to make a change. Her personal life had shifted. She was no longer in the relationship with the guy with three kids, and although professionally she remained devoted to working with female entrepreneurs, she was interested in expanding her clientele beyond influencers and bloggers.
Kim West and Mandy Beyeler.
“I had been approached by media companies for buyouts and it never felt right,” she said. “I really felt like there had to be a passion for the attendees. I felt like [the media companies] were looking to make money and, while that’s important in any business, that can’t be the goal.”
After doing some soul searching, Everett approached Beyeler and West and asked if they might be interested in buying SNAP. “I saw in them the passion I had when I started.”
“It was kind of out of the blue,” recalls Beyeler. “It was nothing that we had ever considered before, but it was a fun opportunity and we felt like when those present themselves you just have to go for it, right?” They were able to fund the purchase out of their savings and the deal went through after last year’s conference. This year’s SNAP, which will be held April 11-13 in Salt Lake City, will be the first under the new ownership.
West lives in Pocatello, Idaho, and blogs at Girl With a Glue Gun. The two have been communicating with Marco Polo, an app that allows you to send quick video updates, as well as FaceTime meetings and email as they plan this year’s SNAP, and Everett has been an active advisor. West and Beyeler each have three kids and running SNAP has become a new, year-round, part-time job for them both.
Attendees can expect this year’s SNAP to be very similar to what they experienced in the past. “We’re just bringing back some of the things that had been phased out through the years,” says Beyeler, including swag bags and “just some fun flair, lots of decorations and craftiness. But the other things that have been on the agenda, they can rely on that returning.”
“SNAP is for creative bloggers and influencers who are looking to build a business,” Beyeler says. Classes at last year’s event included “Grow Your Income with Facebook Live!” taught by Lindsey Andrews, “Master the Takeover: How to Work with Brands on Instagram by Creating Custom Content” by Brittany Luiz, and “Insider Tips for Growing Your YouTube Channel” by Ashlee Marie Prisbrey. There were also plenty of chances to relax and get creative in workshops on embroidery, brush lettering, watercolors, and making gold leaf abstract canvases.
Everett has since gone back to school to become a certified life coach and plans to continue to work with female entrepreneurs. “That’s really exciting to me and I’m very passionate about it,” she says, and she’s still a big supporter of the conference. “I’m very excited about where SNAP is and whom it’s with and where it’s going,” she says. “And I will be there this year. I’m excited to be there.”