Featured Speakers 2019
Robert & Cortney Novogratz
Husband and wife design duo Robert and Cortney Novogratz have been designing residences, boutique hotels, pop-ups and more for over 25 years in Manhattan, L.A. and beyond. They’re parents of seven (Wolfgang, Bellamy, Tallulah, Breaker, Five, Holleder, and Major), and their love of design, art, and architecture drives their careers.
The Novogratz have starred in Bravo’s 9 by Design and HGTV’s Home by Novogratz, and their books include Home By Novogratz, Downtown Chic, and their most recent Rizzoli book, Beachside Bohemian: Easy Living by the Sea. Their boutique hotels include Timber Cove on the Sonoma Coast, Hotel Dylan in Woodstock, and Bungalow Hotel, to name a few.
The news is out: We're welcoming Joanna Gaines to the Alt Summit stage! Joanna is the co-founder of Magnolia, a home and lifestyle brand based in Waco, Texas, which she started with her husband, Chip in 2003. Authors of the New York Times bestseller The Magnolia Story, Chip and Joanna have been remodeling homes for nearly two decades — as seen by their work on HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Joanna is also the author of the New York Times bestselling cookbook, Magnolia Table and the New York Times bestselling design book, Homebody, which hit shelves just last month.
For Joanna, what began as the "Little Shop on Bosque" has evolved to include Magnolia Market at the Silos, Silos Baking Co., Magnolia Table and a lifestyle magazine, Magnolia Journal, among other businesses. And last year, Chip and Joanna announced the brand’s first-ever retail partnership, a collaboration with Target called Hearth & Hand with Magnolia.
Alison Faulkner of The Alison Show has made a career doing whatever she feels like doing. But it always involves finding ways to feel awesome and help others feel awesome too. Alison is a branding and events expert with a highly engaged online community. She hosts a podcast with her music producer hubby called Awesome with Alison. And founded Alison’s Brand School which hosts workshops and online courses that empower entrepreneurs with heart to build a brand that can support their dreams. She believes in love, dancing inappropriately, and putting your own name in lights.
Joy Cho is a graphic designer, blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Creative Director of the lifestyle brand, Oh Joy!, known for the whimsy, color, and unexpected twists on the everyday. She has authored three books and consulted for hundreds of businesses around the world. Oh Joy creates a wide range of licensed products including home décor, baby & nursery, pet, travel, and furniture collections all of which are housed in the OhJoy.com shop. Looking to support self-starters like herself, the Oh Joy! e-commerce platform also features a curated collection of happy and unique accessories, art, and home décor products. For two years in a row, Joy was named one of Time’s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet and has the most followed account on Pinterest with almost 13 million followers.
Author, illustrator, professional memory-keeper and self-professed confetti addict, when it comes to parties, there isn’t much that Darcy Miller won’t celebrate. Over the course of more than twenty years as the editorial director of Martha Stewart Weddings, and now as editor-at-large, Darcy has become a leading celebrations expert. She is the author and illustrator of CELEBRATE EVERYTHING! (William Morrow, 2016), her second book, in which she shares her tips, inspirations and favorite parties. She is also the author of OUR WEDDING SCRAPBOOK (William Morrow, 2004). Known for her ingenuity, creativity, and distinctive drawings, Darcy is committed to making life a celebration and is known for throwing a party you’ll never forget—and creative ways to document it so that you’ll remember it forever. Darcy believes in finding a reason to celebrate all of life’s moments, from the everyday to your biggest day. Though she’s worked on parties in every size, style and budget, her favorite fêtes are the ones she’s hosted for her husband and three daughters at home in New York City.
Mandi Gubler is the DIY genius behind Vintage Revivals. Vintage Revivals has been named best DIY blog by Apartment Therapy, BHG, and domino and regularly works with brands like Home Depot and Sherwin-Williams. She lives in Southern Utah with her husband Court and 3 kids in a partially renovated mercantile store.
Amber Kemp-Gerstel is the creative and crafty girl behind Damask Love - a top DIY blog. She is also a television personality, on air craft expert and most recently a finalist on Season One of NBC's Making It - a crafting competition show hosted by Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler. Amber left her career as a child psychologist to pursue her passion for crafting and inspiring the maker in each of us. Since leaving, she's found success in building her own brand as a recognized resource for creative inspiration. She's also partnered with brands like JOANN, Canon, Martha Stewart and Toyota, all in her mission to make DIY feel more doable!
CYNDIE SPIEGEL is an outspoken Brooklyn-based speaker [who sometimes drops the F-bomb casually and also uses words like “manifesting” and “belonging”], community builder [she builds the diverse communities that she couldn’t find out in the wild] and all-around executive truth teller on a mission to empower women to live more boldly, refine their mind-sets for good, and help them realize their most ridiculously inspired dreams. Her unique blend of straight talk, relatability, sass, and powerful inspiration has made her a sought after facilitator and keynote speaker. She has been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Glamour Magazine, Teen Vogue, and The Huffington Post. Cyndie is a yogi, thought-provoking supporter of women, former fashion industry veteran and adjunct professor. Her first book, A Year of Positive Thinking, debuts in December 2018. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her photographer husband and two overly particular cats.
Ellen Bennett is the Founder and CEO of Hedley & Bennett, the LA-based apron and culinary lifestyle brand she started in 2012 at age 24 that can now be seen in 6,000+ restaurants/cafes/coffee shops around the world; in national retailers including Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, Nordstrom; and worn by celebrity chefs + tastemakers such as Dave Chang, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Kristen Kish, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Martha Stewart. Bennett was working as a line cook at two Los Angeles restaurants when she noticed the stale look and poor quality of the aprons everyone in the kitchen wore daily. Despite having no formal design or business experience, she was inspired to reimagine the ubiquitous apron, and create a better-looking, chef-approved product that would impart pride and dignity on all who wore them. Bennett grew her #ApronSquad one member at a time by using her larger than life personality to meet and convert the most established restaurants and best chefs in the country. As this community of chefs began to grow, so did Bennett’s desire to outfit not just the professional chef, but the home cook as well, with all the gear needed to look and feel amazing in the kitchen. Eventually quitting her jobs at the both restaurants, Bennett grew the Hedley & Bennett operation from a 2,000 square foot office space in downtown LA to a 16,000 sq. ft, vertically-integrated production facility, showroom and event space - affectionately known as “Apron HQ.” A creative at heart, Bennett has always been eager to lock arms with fellow creators, and to collaborate in out-of-the box ways - her intuition and approach has led to collaborations with Rifle Paper Co., Vans, (RED) and more. In 2018, in collaboration with Samsung, Bennett built a state-of-the-art Test Kitchen Studio within the apron factory for hosting cookbook parties, chef demos or dinners, cooking classes, cocktail classes, conferences, corporate parties and retreats, brand activations, and video + photo content.
Bennett's story has been featured in Fast Company, Inc., Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart, the Today Show and more. She lives in Echo Park with her fiancé and pet pig Oliver.
Jordan Ferney is the founder and Chief Happy Officer at Oh Happy Day, a design and party website known for its original and fun DIY projects and party ideas. Jordan has been featured in Time Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Sunset Magazine, Martha Stewart Living Magazine, Real Simple Magazine, Budget Living, and Anthology Magazine. In 2017, Jordan created a large scale experiential art project with friends called Color Factory.
Brittany Watson Jepsen is the founder and creative director of the award-winning, The House That Lars Built, a craft and design website focused on artful living. With its whimsical DIY tutorials and colorful design, her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Today Show, Vogue, CNN, Country Living, Martha Stewart and many more. She is the author of Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects and just released a new shop featuring souvenirs of the royal wedding. She is the new mother of a baby boy and lives in Provo, Utah with her Danish husband.
Karen Walrond is an attorney, author, leadership coach, and a sought-after keynote speaker. She has spoken extensively on leadership, ethics, diversity and inclusion at multinational corporations, universities, legal organizations and many other diverse audiences around the country. She's a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator, trained in Brené Brown's work on vulnerability, courage, empathy and worthiness, and has trained in positive psychology coaching with Wholebeing Institute. Her keynotes and workshops often illustrate how vulnerability -- the ability to show up in the midst of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure -- is the strongest measure of courage that we have, and helps foster innovation and creativity. She is the creative mind behind the award-winning website Chookooloonks.com, an inspirational source for living with intention, creativity, and adventure. Her work has been featured on CNN.com, USA Today, Good Housekeeping and Wondertime magazines, among others. Her bestselling book, The Beauty of Different, is a chronicle of imagery and portraiture, combined with written essays and observations on the concept that what makes us different makes us beautiful -- and may even be the source of our superpowers. She has appeared on both local & national television and other news media, including PBS, Huffington Post, CNN.com and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Rachel Faucett is the founder of Handmade Charlotte, mom to five awesome children, and Alt Summit lover. The family focused site has been featured in hundreds of publications worldwide. Her collections for Anthropologie + Pottery Barn earned rave reviews and she was recently named in the Top 100 Most Creative People In The Country 2018. She can’t wait to meet you and Love you!
A nine-time Emmy®-nominated children’s television producer, Halle leads the Company’s development and production of all television, home entertainment and digital media in animated and live-action formats. She is currently in production on the Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and the second season of Doozers, a CG-animated preschool series inspired by the wildly popular characters from the classic Henson series Fraggle Rock. Additionally, she is also developing a new animated children’s television series based on the popular female action figures by IAmElemental and an untitled children’s series based on children’s books from Al Yankovic. Stanford co-authored a book series, Jim Henson’s Enchanted Sisters, a collection of fantastical comedy-adventure stories for girls published by Bloomsbury and currently in series development with Cyber Group Studios. Stanford lives in Los Angeles with her sons Max and Theo.
Elle Rowley is the founder + CEO of baby carrier company Solly Baby and co-founder of children's clothing line ARQ. Elle made the first Solly Baby wrap in 2011 in the sewing nook of a little house in Salt Lake City after the birth of her second child and has grown it to where it is today, a multi-million dollar globally recognized and award-winning brand, featured in Vogue, Parents Magazine, and Martha Stewart Baby. Solly Baby is a favorite of celebrity moms from Anne Hathaway to Ayesha Curry. Elle and her husband and business partner, Jared, live in San Diego with their four children.
Elsie and Emma
Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman are the sister team behind A Beautiful Mess. Their blog is a place for their readers to draw inspiration with their motto being 'Stay home and make something!' They have been blogging for over ten years, creating thousands of posts around crafts, home decor, and recipes. They use their blog to also promote their online shop, Oui Fresh, which offers a clean beauty monthly subscription box among other natural living offerings.
Elsie and Emma are also the founders of, A Color Story, an app company centered around photo editing. They offer apps for both iOS and Android, as well as desktop actions and presets. A Color Story has over 10 million downloads to date and releases new features to their users monthly.
Gabrielle Stanley Blair is a founder and CEO of Alt Summit, the blockbuster annual conference for lifestyle bloggers and creative entrepreneurs, currently celebrating its 10th year and 15th sold out event. She is also the creator and publisher of DesignMom.com which was named a Website of the Year by Time Magazine. Her book, Design Mom: How to Live with Kids, is a NY Times Bestseller.
On her website, Gabrielle covers the intersection of design and parenting, while hosting compelling conversations on difficult topics — from gun control to family size to mental health. Gabrielle and her husband Ben Blair, live with their six children — Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, Betty & June — in Oakland, California.
Billy Raffoul released his debut EP 1975 on Interscope Records last summer. The set features the song “Acoustic” which is a fan favorite accumulating over 15 million streams to date. Raffoul’s debut EP received critical praise with The Observer stating, “Falling somewhere in-between Hozier and James Bay is Billy Raffoul. The 24-year-old knows how to balance poetry with an anthemic, hard rock edge,” and Ones To Watch adding “Never hiding behind overly-clever production techniques or superfluous furnishings, lyrically or sonically, 1975 paints a brutally honest portrait of Raffoul as a genuine artist.”
Raffoul grew up in a creative family in the small farming town of Leamington, Ontario. His mother is an artist, writer and teacher and his father Jody Raffoul is a solo artist and hometown hero who has opened for everyone from Joe Cocker to Bon Jovi. Raffoul’s earliest musical influences come from his dad. “The Beatles were like Jesus in our house,” he recalls, adding that he also listened to soul singers like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. On his tenth birthday, Billy received a British Invasion-inspired guitar with a Union Jack on its front from Jody and started teaching himself to play. By 16, he had bought his first real guitar, a 1968 Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty.
After spending the past three years on the road sharing the stage with Kings of Leon, ZZ Ward, Mondo Cozmo, Judah & The Lion, NEEDTOBREATHE and more, Raffoul will head out on the road this spring with Julia Michaels and then a two-month run of dates with Parachute hitting major markets including Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles. For more information visit www.billyraffoul.com
Brooke White, The quirky rhaspy-voiced blonde, moved to LA from her native desert home of Mesa, AZ in 2003 in hopes of becoming a singer-songwriter. After a handful of years spent chasing the dream, writing songs, cutting hair in her bathroom and nannying twins, she finally landed her big break when she was granted a golden ticket on American Idol's season seven to perform on the nation’s biggest stage, where millions of viewers formed an emotional bond and welcomed her barefoot at the piano style into their homes on a weekly basis.
Regarding Brooke’s rendition of “You’re So Vain,” Carly Simon went as far as to say, “This girl is so talented, and she sings the song so much better than I ever did or could.” Touting the fan favorite “Hold Up My Heart,” the seminal sophomore album High Hopes & Heartbreak followed during 2009 as she went on to comprise the duo Jack & White alongside Jack Matranga, releasing Gemini , Winter , Undercover , and Lost .
On the heels of Brooke White Christmas in 2012, she delivered a show-stopping performance on NBC’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting. 2014 saw her record Never Grow Up: Lullabies and Happy Songs, which featured collaborations of original lullabies and benefited Operation Underground Railroad. Brooke has also had opportunities to host live from the red carpet for TV guide, judged Miss America, and starred as lead rolls in two TV movies: Change of Plans that aired on FOX and Banner 4th of July for the Hallmark Channel. She co-hosts The Girls With Glasses Show a whimsical web channel and lifestyle series alongside model and actress Summer Bellessa that can be found on YouTube.
If you follow her on instagram, you'll catch glimpses of her free spirited nature in raising two little birds, London 6, and Sonny 2. Juggling both motherhood and music is the circus she calls "living the dream”.
Most people attribute Brooke's sound to the golden era of singer-songwriters like Carole King and Joni Mitchell. While the music of 70s made its mark on her, its the undeniable influence of country legends like George Strait, Reba McIntyre, Garth Brooks and The Judds she grew up listening to on country radio in Arizona that comes soaring through her pipes. For years she's tried holding back that innate twang. White recalls being in the studio on previous projects, "it wasn't uncommon after a vocal take for the producer to suggest I try another take that was "a little less country”. In the back of her mind she'd always told herself she'd "get to Nashville... where all the country gold is made".
However after years of trying to get there and ultimately crossing paths with producers and co-writers Chris Qualls and Eric Straube, the songstress realized she didn’t necessarily need to book a plane ticket to make a country record…
“Country is a feeling,” she goes on, “it’s about experiences. The songs are stories. It’s heart-driven music... and I found that feeling writing with Chris and Eric right here, close to home."
In Echo Park to be exact. Brooke made regular trips from her spot in the suburbs to track at a hideaway studio belonging to the producers in East L.A. “Chris and Eric pushed me into some places I’ve never gone before,” she goes on. “at first we didn't know where it was gonna go, with their prominant pop background and my throwback singer-songwriter thing, it was all new and experimental... we wrote a couple good songs, but then we wrote honey, that’s when I knew I was ready to make this album and I needed to make it with these guys. I was making a California country record and what better place to do it than in California?”
Cue “Calico”, Brooke’s 2019 country debut that belongs smack dab in the middle of Nashville and Laurel Canyon. The sun shines, the pedal steel wails, and the harmonies are easy as a west coast breeze... A collection of twelve lush and lively anthems, the record earmarks the journey of the songstress as it turns the page on her most passionate, powerful, and personal chapter to date.
For the first time, every song would be guitar-based instead of the piano. “This was a departure for me, but it felt right and natural... especially to sing to.” The warm seasoned tones of the lead guitar are artfully played by Brooke's long time guitarist Kevin Haaland. Chris Qualls happened to hear Rich Hinman playing pedal steel at an artist showcase in town and knew he was the man for the job. Brooke adds "for me, it's the juxtaposition of those authentic sounds paired with the modern beats that Chris and Eric are so good at, that makes the album feel unexpected yet classic".
The stomping groove and sunny storytelling of the first single and title track “Calico” speak to that spirit. Punctuated by a big chant, banjo solo, and handclaps, she recounts her journey up before announcing, “This is the wild, wild west.”
“It’s about how we make plans, and those plans change, but it works out—sometimes even for the better,” she goes on. “That’s happened so many times in my life from ending up on American Idol to having to wait for babies to making the record how and where I did. L.A. is the place where dreamers, creators, and artists come, because anything can happen here. That’s why I’m here. ‘Calico’ is about letting go of what you thought it would be and embracing what it is and where you are and who you are... making the most of it and loving it.”
In the end, Calico is a place you won’t want to leave Anytime soon...