Fall Creative Founders Conference Speaker: Valerie McKeehan of Lily & Val

2018 Creative Founders Conference Speaker Valerie McKeehan of Lily and Val

This month, we’re going to be sharing about each of our Speakers individually and share more about what each of them will be speaking on for our Fall Creative Founders Conference.

We are starting out this series today with an incredible artist, Valerie McKeehan of Lily and Val!

Valerie joined us for the first time as a Speaker at our 2016 Conference, and we are thrilled that she is returning to join us this fall. Today, we're going to highlight the specific sessions that Valerie will be teaching in addition to sharing a little bit more about her.  Read on to learn more about Val!

The very first evening of our Conference,  after we get settled in, get to know each other a bit more, and enjoy a dinner right next to the beach, Valerie and I will be leading a discussion together where we’ll review your year in addition to talking about what your definition of success looks like for you and your life.  This is a topic that we felt together to talk about, especially in our creative industry and in the world of social media, we felt it was important to begin the Conference with. This first session is one that we think will set the tone beautifully for the entirety of the Conference.

Fine Art by Valerie McKeehan of Lily and Val

Following this first session, Valerie will be leading two more classes, designed to help you specifically where you are in your business currently.

The first session Valerie will be leading will be a session on telling stories in Marketing, which we are thrilled about!

This is a peek into what you'll learn in Valerie's class:

People are wired to love stories! It's how we become drawn in, connect with others, easily remember information, and communicate emotion. Marketing your brand is the perfect opportunity to utilize story-telling in order to deeply connect with your audience. Story-telling is also the way to stand out from the noise and all the sales messages consumers are bombarded with every day. This session will cover the basics of story marketing and give practical ways to implement stories into your marketing strategy.

The key takeaways you will receive by the end of this session are realizing the key differences between story marketing and sales messages, learning the elements of a good story, and we’ll then work together to brainstorm ideas for possible brand and product stories.

The second session Valerie will be leading will be on Employees and Hiring Help, where she’ll cover these specific items:

Hiring employees can be a scary thought for many reasons. Not only are you releasing control, but questions arise about finding the right fit for you and your business. How do you know when it's time to hire? Should you hire a pay-rolled employee vs. a sub contractor? This session will help break down the idea of hiring to determine what is right for you and your business. We will also cover practical tips for managing employees.

The main takeaways that you will walk away with will be realizing when it's time to hire, determining what type of hire is right for your business, tactics for interviewing, and managing a team without your role becoming a manager.

(Kristin here! One thing I am thrilled about with our Conference this year is that it is set up in a workshop format - meaning that the speaker will lead the session with an overview, and then we will work together so that when you head home, you’re doing so with a plan in place already.  You won’t go home with things to set up after you attend, they’ll already be in place for you.)

Chalk Art with Valerie McKeehan of Lily and Val
Keepsake Kitchen Diary by Valerie McKeehan of Lily and Val

In case you want to learn even more, here is a little bit more about Valerie in her own words, in classic Q+A fashion!

So tell us, Valerie!  How long have you been a business owner, and what do you love the most about being an entrepreneur?

I started my company, @lilyandval, six years ago and it has been quite an adventure ever since! What started as simply selling hand-lettered chalkboards led to a lifestyle brand celebrating nostalgia and the simple things of life, an array of products, a book, and a small team here in Pittsburgh, PA. My favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is being able to set my own rules and define my own version of success! I'm grateful that I get to create products I am passionate about and do what I love.

Starting a Creative Business - Tips with Valerie McKeehan of Lily & Val

Why do you love what you do?

The roots of @lilyandval began in chalk art. These are the designs that started it all! Throughout the years, my mediums & products have expanded, but everything I love about chalk art- the nostalgia, authenticity, beautiful imperfection, and simplicity- has become ingrained into the brand to this day.

I absolutely love creating heartfelt products that are both meaningful and inventive. One example of this is our best-selling Keepsake Kitchen Diary, a recipe keeper combined with a journal. When people say my artwork or products sparked a happy memory for them, it is one of the best compliments I can receive.

If you could offer any advice to a Creative Entrepreneur, wherever they may be in their journey, what would it be?

No matter where you are in your Creative Entrepreneurial journey, I think it's important to do it for yourself first. If you're passionate about what you are creating and it lights your soul on fire, follow that. You were given your individual strengths, personality, talents, likes and dislikes for a reason. It's easy to become discouraged and look at what everyone else is doing, but when you create for yourself first, you will not only be more fulfilled, but you will have authentic storiesto tell and share with the world.


Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Valerie! We loved getting to know you more and can't wait to spend time with you this fall!

Learn more about Valerie here:  Website | Facebook | Instagram

Registration is currently open for our Creative Founders Conference, taking place on the beautiful beaches of Pensacola, Florida, this October. Will you be joining us? For all of the details, visit our Conference Details page here!

We’ll see you back here next week when we share more details about our next speaker!