This was our first year attending The Gathering in Banff. Since the beginning of the pandemic, this has been our first enormous event and, although slightly overwhelming, we dusted off our interpersonal skills and dove in headfirst. We felt like an unofficial sponsor of The Gathering because we had the privilege of giving away *free* Local Laundry & The Gathering branded sweaters! Who doesn’t love free sweaters, right?! Let’s get some of our team’s favourite takeaways and key teachings from The Gathering! 

Day 1: There was such incredible content presented throughout the three-day event. On day 1 we heard from speakers like Khartoon Weiss from TikTok, Kofi Amoo-Gottfried from DoorDash, Sona Khosla from Benevity and so many more. To boil it down to a consumable level, here are our takeaways from day 1:

  • TikTok is an entertainment app, not a social media app, and was created by creators for creators. Did you know we watch TikTok? 

    • TikTok has moved the dial on the funnel from discovery typically being top of funnel, it’s moved to bottom of funnel - which made us think of how many products we’ve purchased from TikTok… many! 

    • We don’t check TikTok like we check Facebook or check Instagram, neat, huh?! 

  • Consumption is a cultural act. As consumers, we purchase products or services that embody what we want to be off. People consume things and convert to buying certain products because it’s a culture we want to emulate.

  • If you are going to a conference, bring a piece of your product or offering that you can showcase or give to conference-goers

  • Storytelling never stops being powerful

  • Helping someone get what they want will help you get what you want - that’s the unlock 

  • Don’t be a know it all - be a learn it all! 

Day 2: Day two kicked off Bozoma Saint John, and we were off to the races. Taking in content from Todd Meleney from Nobull, Artis Stevens from Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and Todd Humphrey from the Seattle Kraken, to say we were inspired, motivated and overwhelmed would be an understatement. Here are some of our favourite key takeaways from day 2:

  • Act on what your brand embodies

  • Design and community-led innovations 

    • Are there communities your brand can move into? Are you inadvertently excluding anyone? Uno launched a card deck with braille and a card deck for those who are colour blind!

  • It’s not the length of your life that counts but the width of it

  • Find your community on TikTok and make content for them

  • Be easy to do business with 

  • Create memories with people 

    • Garments are special - you remember what you did when you had a bag to help tell a story 

  • Values have to have a cost values can’t be free

Day 3: Day three, the last day of the conference, and we were hungover. I mean tired! Just kidding, of course a conference is not without a few adult beverages, our team was truly overstimulated with content, full up on human interactions, and a wee bit sleepy, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t love hearing from Tim Ellis from the NFL, Meredith Madden from Chobani and author Ryan Berman. Here are our final lessons from day 3:

  • Make Impressions - Don’t Buy Impressions. What can we do, from a marketing perspective, to be creative, to stand out, to cut through the noise? It’s these activities that will help us gain awareness, spread our message, and continue to build our community. 

  • Controversial topics like Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ aren’t politics,  they’re basic humanity and human rights

  • Immerse your brand in community efforts and find connections of authenticity. Find a way to be relevant to your customer and know that your brand understands them.

    • Tim Ellis from the NFL said, “understand the nuances of fandom” → what are the nuances of your customers that you as a brand can seek to understand?

  • Be a brand that matters

Below is each of our team member’s biggest takeaway from The Gathering: 

  • Erin - Step outside of your comfort zone - try things you never have before - be brave - give yourself butterflies - take risks

  • Connor  - The power of stories and storytelling. We need to hit people in the emotions 

  • Dustin - Sharing our story is the most valuable thing we can continue to do. How do we reach more people with our story? Because our story resonates 

  • Kathleen - Our brand and the garments we sell can have a direct impact on the culture we choose to either shape, emulate, or take part in

The Gathering was an incredible event, rich in content, networking and inspiration. This event is a must-attend for years to come. If you were at The Gathering and want to connect, hit us up on LinkedIn and let’s share notes!