Ever wished one of those gorgeous Pinterest boards would come to life? It’s about to happen.
More than 8,000 Twin Cities makers, DIYers and fashion lovers will descend upon the Minneapolis Convention Center this weekend for the first-ever Pinners MN conference and expo. It’s a gathering of “pinners” — that’s what Pinterest users call themselves — to learn, create and share creative ideas while offering a tactile version of the site’s digital experience.
“Pinterest has evolved into a place where moms plan parties, find recipes, save ideas to decorate their homes,” said Roxanne Bennett, the Utah-based co-founder of the Pinners Conference & Expo. “It fills a purpose of providing users one central place to collect and store their ideas.”
Bennett’s Pinterest-themed event takes place in six U.S. cities this year (including San Diego, Salt Lake City and Atlanta). Each installment features nearly 300 vendors selling crafts and other goods, plus more than 100 Pinterest-based classes led by bloggers, makers and educators. (Pro tip: Look for Minnesota style blogger Jewel Laura’s class on building your wardrobe on a budget.)
When Pinterest was launched in 2010, it was a quick sensation, luring some of the internet’s most stylish users to share inspiring images of fashion, home decor and food. “It’s like a giant, visual Google,” said Elizabeth Kendig (nee Elizabeth Dehn), a longtime Minnesota beauty influencer who recently moved to Brooklyn.
But in recent years, social networks including Instagram and Snapchat seemed to steal the spotlight, raising questions about Pinterest’s viability.
“I think it’s still incredibly relevant,” said Twin Cities blogger Kate Arends, who has more than 3 million Pinterest followers. She finds the platform especially handy “for tasks like mood boarding, event planning and for recipe or design curation.”
Pinterest surpassed 200 million active monthly users around the world, the San Francisco company said in a statement last fall — that’s about 40 percent more than the previous year. While 70 percent of current Pinterest users are women, more than 50 percent of new sign-ups are men. And most of that growth is global — more than half of Pinterest’s 2017 sign-ups came from international users.
But there are still plenty of great pinners here at home. Here are four inspiring Minnesotans to follow on Pinterest:
Pinterest handle: @styleoptimist
Jewel Laura, who works as a school-based mental health therapist by day, founded her blog, Style Optimist, in 2011 while in grad school as a creative outlet. “I really, really love photography,” she said. “I love being in front of the camera and behind it, and I love style and beauty, so I thought, what a fun way to document my style and see how it evolved over time.” A few years ago, she joined Pinterest to find outfit inspiration and share her own looks, inspirational quotes and home décor ideas. “It’s fun to draw inspiration from different looks I find on Pinterest and turn them into my own,” she said.
Pinterest handle: @milessmilesblog
Claudia Camargo started her blog, Miles + Smiles, three years ago to share the experience of being in a long-distance relationship with her future husband. Originally from Miami, she moved to Minneapolis with her sweetie in 2016 to work as a senior art director at Target. Miles + Smiles has since evolved into a lifestyle blog, with Camargo using Pinterest to find inspiration and promote her site. Her boards offer a mix of fashion and beauty inspiration. “Pinterest is the perfect mix of social media and a search engine, which is why I think it will remain relevant for a very long time,” she said. “As humans, we crave inspiration, we need to stay inspired on our day-to-day and Pinterest makes it accessible with one tap.”
Pinterest handle: @katea
An early adopter of Pinterest, lifestyle blogger Kate Arends quickly gained followers thanks to her beautifully organized boards for just about everything. Target even took interest, tapping Arends in 2014 for a Pinterest-inspired party goods collection. Arends uses Pinterest to search for fresh ideas and to promote Wit & Delight, her popular blog and design brand. She keeps her board well-organized so she can easily locate something specific later on, such as “a pretty color palette, favorite beauty look, memorable table setting or an exciting new DIY project to tackle.”
Pinterest handle: @canarygrey
Wing Ta’s Pinterest profile features beautiful imagery with an eye for minimalist design. The Minneapolis photographer and creative director started using Pinterest in 2011, now boasting 195,000 followers. She has boards dedicated to everything from home interiors to fashion and goods with architectural lines and neutral tones. While she uses it primarily for inspiration, she said that Pinterest has helped her attract a few new clients. She likes Pinterest because “there’s no pressure,” she said. “I can go months without pinning anything or go into a deep hole and pin like crazy one afternoon.”
Jahna Peloquin is the former style editor of Minnesota Monthly and a fashion, design and arts writer in Minneapolis.