May 24, 2012

The Hive 2012

Did you know Peggy and I have our own blog conference? Yes, me. The one who has a blog, but doesn't blog for months. Perfect, right?

Well, this past weekend it was time for the very first The Hive - the European blog conference in Berlin.
All the endless e-mails, sleepless night and hectic hours paid off. Peggy and I were talking via text one day in November 2011. Our timelines had been filled with tweets about bloggers, who planed to go to Alt Summit. Then she texted this:

Translation: We should organize a cool blogger meet up. With keynotes and speakers. I asked her "like Alt Summit in Eurpe? I'm on board!".

Two days later I told Peggy that when I think about a blog conference a beehive comes to my mind. She liked the name and The Hive was born.

We did your research and couldn't find a blog conference that was similar to what we planed. How sad. So we were very sure, we had a good thing going on.
But if you have nothing to show for, how do you convince speakers to tie their name to our conference? How can you convince bloggers to pay 85€ for a ticket? How do you get sponsors?
The speakers were quite easy. Easier than we thought.
Radostina, Peggy and I come from different areas of blogging and different interests. We just contacted the bloggers we have been fans of and asked them to come speak.
Thankfully and to our joy, almost everybody we asked was game. Have a sponsor like 9flats, helped us to accomodate some of our speakers. No one was paid any money. We just tried to help out with either travel costs or a place to stay.

I'm not gonna lie, ticket sales were slow and worried us every once in a while. But I totally understand, for reasons already mentioned. In the end we had 155 people with tickets (sponsors, press and friends included) plus our great speakers. Check all our speakers out on our webpage

I arrived in Berlin on Friday and Peggy, Radostina and I spend the evening at the betahaus, our location, to get it ready for the next day.

The Hive took place on the 4th floor. A lot of stairs! I'm sorry, you guys!

 Photo taken by Little Pink Cakes

Saturday we opened the doors at 8am and everybody came.
I was not nervous. Just thrilled. I really wanted The Hive to start.

Peggy and I welcomed the crowd. Radostina was still at the entrance making sure all the late guests could get in.

 Photo taken by The Ex Expat

And then the keynotes started. Bloggers had to decide which one they wanted to attend. We always offered two at the same time. Check the schedule here for details. 

There were few keynotes we made available for everybody to listen to at the same time, because we knew they would be popular.

We were thrilled to welcome Gabrielle, Design Mom

Photo taken by Hidden Blossom

I have been a fan of Gabrielle for some time. Her blog was one of the first ones I started reading. And even though my taste in blogs has changed, hers stayed in my reader.
As many of you know she lives in France. When we started planing The Hive, plans for Gabrielle and her family were to return to the US in 2012.
One day I just took a chance and wrote her an e-mail. Introducing myself and asking in a very lengthy mail if you would consider coming to Berlin and speak at our conference. Less than 24 hours laters, she said yes. I told eeevvveerrryyyboooddyyy. Even though most of my friends are neither bloggers nor know who Gabrielle was.

I had my doubts if you would accept my invitation. Having met her now and having written numerous mails forth and back, I can honestly tell you that she is such a kind and wonderful person. She said that The Hive had such an "amazing energy" and she was right.

We also had Jeanette of the gorgeous magazine Fryd&Design come speak.
Another one I wasn't sure would accept our invitation. But she came and gave a keynote about online magazines.
 Photo taken by Kiezlage

There were also so many more wonderful speakers, who shared their knowledge and experience.
If you have time, take a moment and google The Hive. You will find many recaps.

Besides blogger we also had some companies and agencies there who wanted to get in contact  and learn how to work with bloggers. I truly hope we pushed a door open for that. Next year we want to provide more possibilities for getting in contact and opening up communication. Most of the bloggers who came were women. Blogging about design and lifestyle is indeed a field in which you find more women than men. And also our design was probably more appealing to women.

But let me tell you, that there were such great women at The Hive. Nothing cliche about them. We're talking about media savvy professionals here: journalists, photographers, bloggers who deserve to be taken seriously.


 Photos taken by Currystrumpet
We will make some changes next year to ensure that. Because that is a point very dear to my heart.

Besides keynotes we also offered workshops.
Now, we knew we would have over 150 people there. In order for participants to enjoy the workshop there could only be a limited number. We had three photography workshops and one practical workshop. Screenprinting tea towels. Which yours truly really got into.

 Photo taken by Smil

Here is Anne of Annes Kitchen who held a food photography workshop. I had followed her blog for some time, but never got involved. I was extremely happy she accepted my invitation to come. 

 Photo taken by Little pink cakes

For the people who couldn't get into the workshops, we offered more keynotes. We just got back some feedback on that and some people were bumped they missed some keynotes while being in the workshops. We wanted to keep everybody busy, but the route we took might not have been the best one.
We listen to feedback and will make changes here, too.
We also had two speakers who reached out to us and asked for a speaker slot, we could provide that and Emily and Anne rocked.

So if you have something you want to add to The Hive, come on forward and reach out to us. We can't promise anything but we will listen to your ideas. 

Looking back I can say, organizing The Hive was a lot of work. Like A LOT! But so so rewarding. During the keynotes I looked around and watched bloggers from all over Europe listening, networking and engaging in conversations.

I'm very happy that we provided a place where big and small bloggers spend two great days together.

Thank you all for coming. Hoping to see you next year.
All photos can be seen on our Flickr page: The Hive 2012


Eleni said...

What you did, you girls, was really awesome and turned out to be even bigger and greater than ever imagined! Thank you again for the opportunity you have created for us to meet all together and get to know each other and collect all the knowledge and great feelings of sharing and gratitude that was in the air!
We will met agin next year hopefully! xoxo

Kickcan & Conkers said...

A huge thank you from me - such a great initiative and the start of something big. Looking forward to next year already.

Lesley said...

I was sooooo sad to miss the first conference, I really wanted to attend but due to a packed traveling schedule I had to say no. I hope to make it next year though!! :) So happy to hear it went well!

Esther said...

So sad I missed it :-(.
The idea to organize something like this on an European level is genius, thumbs up for you guys and see you next year ;-)!

Sophie said...

I really enjoyed the whole weekend! Thanks for bringing us all together. Thank you also for sharing my picture above :)
Sophie (Hidden Blossom)

Svenja said...


I am Svenja and quite new to the blog world out there. I also only knew about those American conferences and now found out about the event via Megan @
that she will be speaking in Berlin next year! I am so excited and hope I will be able to get tickets!