Event #5 Smart Girl Tribe Summit
|Location||Aveda Lifestyle Salon and Spa, Covent Garden.|
|Date||Tuesday 8th October 2019|
|Cost of ticket||£26.46|
Back in October 2019, a beautiful friend of mine asked whether I’d liked to join her at a female empowerment networking event. The event concept was to connect with others who want to make their business ideas become a reality including my pal who had her heart set on starting her own underwear business. My answer was of course YES. because 1. I am 100% on board to support her however I can and 2. I’ve always been intrigued about learning the necessary tools to transform my personal passion projects into my main source of income one day. It sounded like a win-win to me.
Smart Girl Tribe was founded by Scarlett V Clark whilst at university. Her vibe is all about embracing your femaleness and owning it. SGT is a platform that seeks to build a successful self-love community and to generate more conversations about women doing and achieving, and less about beauty, boyfriends or bags. It was quite fitting that the SGT summit was held on the International Day of the Girl. My friend and I were ready to get our learn on!
Photo Credit: Scarlett V Clark.
The main event
First things first, it was a good choice of venue. We were welcomed at the entrance with a glass of rose lemonade and offered a blow-dry by one of Aveda’s friendly salon staff. The event felt at ease yet very glamorous, perhaps a potential Smart Girl Tribe Summit trademark for future events? There was a definite buzz of excitement as attendees were given ample time to mingle about their upcoming ventures and reasons for attending the summit. We all sat in rows of benches, which became quite uncomfortable after 2 hours, as Scarlett the CEO of Smart Girl Tribe opened the evening with a question: Who has their own business or side hustle? I was blown away about the number of young women who put their hands up- in fact it was the majority of the room! We heard snippets from newbie life coaches, freelance social media managers and mental health advocates. This is why I love female empowerment events because it is fun, light and safe environments like this one where you’re reminded that everyone is on their own path, working towards their own goals and achieving success in different forms.
Scarlett then introduced herself and the SGT panel. I was intrigued if not slightly confused about the format for the summit. The first half was a panel of female-founded companies and the second part was a one to one with the key guest speaker Jamie Laing (reality TV star and founder of Candy Kittens), all hosted by a BBC reporter. It was even more surprising that Scarlett didn’t host the panel talks but in fact, took part in them. Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting to hear about how she made her side-hustle into her main business; however, I felt as though she should have given more time to the amazing panellists she had organised.
The panellists were the founders of Go Get Glitter, a makeup art brand, and one of the co-founders of Vamp Social Marketing Agency, an agency who primarily represents women of colour in creative industries. They spoke about their journeys of going it alone and financing their side hustles (all which said they did it off their own backs!) in order to start making a profit. All three women made it clear that you have to live, eat and breathe your side-hustle until it reaches a point where you can’t not think about it. At that point, you make it your main priority and take a leap of faith towards success. It was really motivating to hear from young women who found their business niche and slotted themselves into the gap in the market. What’s even more motivating is listening to them urge other like-minded women to work towards being their own boss, offering sweet slices of advice and encouragement.
Now onto the second part of the event where the key guest speaker was... a male entrepreneur? I was torn about this because I could understand how hosting someone with a low-level celebrity status could help bring more awareness to the SGT brand. However, in regards to the concept of the event and the values behind the female-empowerment platform, it felt incredibly ironic that he was the main speaker. Jamie Lang spoke largely about his career and men’s mental health (the second being very thought-provoking!) but neither were really on topic. Plus if I’m being brutally honest, he came across quite badly at one point. To quote him: “Everything is an excuse: being a woman is an excuse, being poor is an excuse...” (this was in the context of building a business- cringe!). I think we can all agree how uncomfortable it was to hear something like that from a) business owner who is b) also a white man who comes from old money and good connections. From the eyes of this attendee, the SGT team should have at least briefed Lang better about the point of the event and for future reference, look to work with more 'on brand' speakers for future events.
At the end, goodie bags were hastily handed out containing a millennial mix of self-care essentials such as coconut water, food supplements, bath salts and sweets. For those who booked the deluxe (and rather more expensive) ticket, one also received the memoirs from a founder of a female-led networking company. Smart Girl Tribe were so close to having a really great summit concept however, there is definitely a need to go over the finer details because at times, it felt more like a sales pitch than an empowerment event.
Food for thought
Smart Girl Tribe are self-professed fans of using fun! slang to unite ladies together. They motivate you to slay the day and to be a #girlboss. Personally, I am not a fan of using terms like #femaleCEO for several reasons (but I'll get into that another time). However, I can appreciate how these motivational hashtags can empower women to step up to the plate and take up their well-deserved space in traditionally male-dominated areas. It also opens up a bigger conversation surrounding the relationship between language and feminism and its power of inclusion and erasure of women across a wide range of contexts.
In a nutshell, here is my mini argument of using female-inclusive and/or gender-neutral language.
- It is important to recognise that everyone lives a unique experience and therefore, aligns to a different strand of feminism that best suits their experiences. The values and beliefs of an individual change and adapt to the experiences they have which in turn, mirrors the development of language i.e. the way we use it and the way we reject it.
- The power of language should never be underestimated. In fact, sticks and stones may break bones but harsh words can last a lifetime and the absence of words can affect a generation's socio-political outlook, especially when it comes to how women are portrayed in society.
- By using language that not only includes women but also assumes the female as much as the male, it changes the social dynamic of what women can do in the eyes of both the woman in question and also the broader societal perception.
- Conclusion: Think before you speak. Who is missing from the conversation (both physically in the room and also in speaking)? Which gender do you instantly assume when talking about doctors and astrophysicists?
Would I recommend this? It is early days for the Smart Girl Tribe Summits so it is important to give them the benefit of doubt. There is a need for more visual branding of SGT at their summits i.e posters, displays etc. If you're intrigued as to whether the SGT is for you, check out their podcasts here. I look forward to going to another summit once Scarlett and her team have put some more thought into what they want to achieve with the events and smooth the edges. Good luck girls!
Love Poppy x
Hi, I'm Poppy
Feminism, creativity, exploring the world & having a good time are really important to me. If you liked the above, why not subscribe to my newsletter? This is just the beginning.