alt summit palm springs

Make Room for Creativity

Alt Summit Palm Springs gives entrepreneurs a networking opportunity with like-minded participants focused on design and forging a business.

Alexandria Rosales Attractions, Current Digital

alt summit palm springs
Roundtable discussions on a variety of topics allow Alt Summit participants to engage, trade ideas, network, and take home an action plan.
HOTOGRAPH COURTESY ALT SUMMIT PALM SPRINGS

Miranda Anderson believes anyone can live a life that is creative, adventurous, and abundant — by practicing minimalism. A lifestyle blogger, author, podcast host, wife, and mother of three, Anderson says minimalism can be applied to anyone’s life.

“My intention with my blog and my podcast and my platforms right now is to help people learn how to create space for the things that they love in their life and to know that that’s possible,” says Anderson.“Just like the way I feel like I can fearlessly do the things that I want, I want to inspire people to fearlessly live the life that they love as well, even if it doesn’t look exactly like mine.”

Anderson, 37, is the creator of the blog Live Free Creative and its weekly podcast. Since its start in 2007, it has been a sewing and do-it-yourself (DIY) project based blog. Anderson will speak in rooms full of individuals wanting to connect and grow as creators and entrepreneurs at this year’s Alt Summit, taking place March 1-6 across three Palm Springs hotels.

Anderson first heard of Alt Summit in 2012. She attended in 2013 wearing hand-made outfits that she sewed, with hand-pressed business cards and small handmade sewing kits attached to the back, all meant to show flair and break the ice with other attendees.

Now a fixture as a presenter at Alt Summit, this year Anderson will conduct an 18 minute standalone (TED-style) talk based on the power of enough. Her intent is to share the outcome of her experiment of not shopping for a year and how it has shaped the life she lives today. She will also host a small interest group for writers, publishers, and book agents meant for networking.

“Creating a network of women who are doing similar things at their homes, in their pajamas feels really great,” says Anderson. “I’ve had some amazing friends that I consider some of my very best friends and they don’t live here, they live all over the country because I’ve met them at Alt.” s and bounce ideas off each other.”

Alt Summit, originally called Altitude Design Summit, was co-founded in 2009 by sisters Gabrielle Blair and Sara Urquhart. The conference focuses on design and entrepreneurial-minded individuals. It offers design classes on how to create a website; how to develop a mailing list; how to style fashion, and how someone can use photography to make websites marketable and attract their audience.

mirandaanderson

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY MIRANDA ANDERSON

Miranda Anderson is the creator of the blog Life Free Creative and its weekly podcast. 

“I have always felt really called to amplify women’s voices,” says Blair. “That’s been true on my design blog. It’s been true for Alt Summit. I just really feel compelled to do that, and Alt Summit does an amazing job of that. Probably 96 percent of our attendees are women and they get to teach, they get to learn, they get to share their stories, and it does a fabulous job of amplifying women’s voices.”

As a blogger for designmom.com, Blair and Urquhart created Altitude Summit meant for design bloggers. Before the creation of the conference, Blair would attend conferences for mom bloggers that she found both enjoyable and helpful for her blogging platform.

“Creating a network of women who are doing similar things at their homes, in their pajamas feels really great.”
— Miranda Anderson
altsummit

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY ALT SUMMIT PALM SPRINGS

Alt Summit’s move to Palm Springs four years ago has resulted in a significant jump in attendees.

“I was going to these conferences and they were often a lot of fun,” she recalls. “But my sisters who didn’t have kids at the time were, of course, not interested in going to a mom blog conference. We were at a family gathering and three of us were bloggers and I was telling them how much I loved going to these blogging conferences for mom bloggers. And they were like, ‘Well, we want to hear from design bloggers.’ And I was like ‘Yeah, there’s not a conference for design bloggers. We’re so well-connected in this community, let’s start one!’ That’s really what it was.”

According to Blair, “Altitude” was selected as the conference’s title because it was first held in the mountains in Salt Lake City. They also held two conferences in New York City, one in San Francisco. When Urquhart retired from the conference, Blair bought it from her in 2016 and moved it to Palm Springs. This upcoming conference will be its fourth year in Palm Springs and the 16th year overall.

“We moved to Palm Springs and our social shares went up by 30 percent because it was just so easy to photograph everything. We went from 700 attendees to 2,000 and branched out to additional hotels within Palm Springs because there’s so many cool places. We just love it,” says Blair.

Alt Summit will rotate its programming between the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, the Saguaro Palm Springs, and the Riviera hotel. There will be an art walk where 15 artists will showcase their murals and installations. At each conventional location, there will be sponsor booths and lounges meant for instructional purposes, such as teaching how to arrange flowers as well as photography workshops where attendees can take their cameras and learn new skills with props and food. According to Blair, the conference has become more business and content-focused.

“It’s really changed over the years for sure,” says Blair. “So I would say about half the classes are more kind of business-focused, and then the other half are about content — like photography and styling classes, things that help you create content and are just kind of inspiring. So it’s about half and half at this point.”

Alt Summit has had keynote speakers in the past like HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Joanna Gaines, American entrepreneur and lifestyle innovator, Martha Stewart, New York-based graphic designer and typographer Stefan Sagmeitster, and Pinterest’s co-founder and CEO, Ben Silbermann. Among this year’s noteworthy speakers are Soledad O’Brien, who hosts the TV show, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, and Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“I feel like my life pivoted on hearing Stefan Sagmeister talk about happiness in 2013 — that was my first year of going and his keynote has just totally stuck with me,” says Anderson.

altsummitartwalk

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY ALT SUMMIT PALM SPRINGS

Alt Summit will rotate its programming between the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, the Saguaro Palm Springs, and the Riviera hotel. There will be an art walk where 15 artists will showcase their murals and installations.

She also loved being able to go to a talk by Martha Stewart. “Being in the room with people like that … It’s really cool to have access to thought leaders and inspirational people like that.”

Tickets for the March 1-6 conference are $1,099 for individuals, $2,500 for a business. altitudesummit.com