I partnered with Royal Lane Studios and my go-to stylist and good friend, Mareka Baptiste, to put together a legendary creative meetup on September 5th including not only models and photographers, but also makeup artists, stylists and videographers. Admission was only $5 for 4 hours of studio time to give local creatives full access and enough time to make some magic.
Testing the Waters
I hosted one meetup at Royal Lane Studios before this with free admission, as a trial run, and it was a huge success with a turnout I couldn't have even imagined when planning. It was so successful, the studio asked me to host a meetup there monthly, on the first Wednesday of every month. The hashtag for both events is #RoyalLaneMeetup on Instagram, which showcases the work created there.
I honestly thought that if I charged, people wouldn't come, but to pay the studio and not come out of pocket I had to. I was happily surprised that so many people showed up even though admission wasn't free; it helped me see that the work I put into to hosting meetups is valuable, so thank you for everyone who came out to support!
Why It's Worth It
DFW creatives came together at the Royal Lane Studios Meetup to network and create with each other, like any other meetup. The variety provided by the studio, the stylists and makeup artists are what made this event unique. I invite both prominent and up-and-coming models, photographers, stylists and makeup artists as "featured artists" to attract newer creatives. Being featured at a meetup provides exposure to professionals, and novices get the opportunity to collaborate and network with them -- mutually beneficial.
I usually try to participate in the meetups I host in between managing by modeling and photographing others, but this time I didn't get to model at all. I photographed a couple models, but I was mostly networking, meeting and thanking creatives for coming out, and making sure everything was running smoothly. Between setting everything up, greeting and checking people in and helping them find the studio, making sure the makeup artists and stylist had everything they needed, and trying to take behind-the-scenes photos, I didn't have time for much else. But that's okay, I've definitely learned with hosting events I'm not able to do EVERYTHING all the time (although I try).
Even though this meetup wasn't my first rodeo, and won't be my last, I know there's always room for improvement and I love constructive criticism and feedback. Whether you have or haven't attended one of my meetups or any creative event like them, what else could I add to make them better and more unique? I'm open to ideas and would love to hear from the creative community how to improve the experience for everyone!