Pinterest fans get together for 'pinners' convention

Published: Friday, Oct. 25 2013 6:40 p.m. MDT

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SANDY — Thousands of crafty, do-it-yourself, fitness-happy and fashion-savvy women — and a sparse number of men — are congregating this weekend at the Pinners Conference & Expo, where Pinterest comes to life.

Pinterest is a website that combines elements of scrapbooking and social media. Users share pictures that link to blogs, shopping sites and recipes. The company was valued at $3.8 billion as of Wednesday, the New York Times reported.

Conference attendees can attend any of the 90 classes offered by 70 presenters, nine of whom came from out of state. They can also visit 150 booths, where they can shop and meet presenters at the South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State.

“We wanted to do something different and unique, and something that hasn’t been done before that can evolve over time,” said event organizer Roxanne Bennett. “We’ve got all of the great huge pinners locally where the customer can actually come and meet them.”

The conference is the brainchild of Bennett's husband, Kendall. The Utah couple owns Bennett Events, and they started thinking about doing an event for pinners a couple of years ago.

The $20 entrance fee allows attendees to go to their choice of classes ranging from healthy lifestyle tips to holiday decorating, “iPhoneography” and relationships.

Karla Krause, of Hooper, said she attended the event for a class by relationship guru Matt Townsend and another about toddler hairstyles.

“It looked fun, and there are some speakers I want to see," Krause said. "I’m liking what I see, and I’m excited for my classes.”

Some of the presenters teaching classes are the Six Sisters, Dating Divas, Heidi Swapp and Cara Brook.

Brook is a makeup artist who started her blog Maskara.com 2 ½ years ago. She’s Allure magazine’s beauty blogger of the year and flew in from Las Vegas to teach classes at the conference.

Before Pinterest, Brook said, she got about 2,000 hits a month on her blog. Now she gets between 2.5 million and 3 million.

“Pinterest is everything,” she said. “I had a pin go viral on Pinterest, and since then I’ve had a few go viral, and it’s just grown and grown since then. … Thank heavens for Pinterest.”

Swapp, a scrapbooker from Herriman, agreed that Pinterest is a vital part of her success, especially as a marketing tool. She is presenting at the conference and running a booth to show off her tools, kits and products she sells at Michael's and Hobby Lobby.

“Pinterest is pretty key. It’s pretty significant in my marketing,” she said. “We rely on it for searching, and it’s more effective than Google. It’s a powerful way for us to archive and to catalog all of our ideas.”

Swapp said she has been scrapbooking since she was little and travels all over the world to teach it. However, she still finds time to make scrapbooks to record memories of her five children and to give as gifts.

“I believe documenting memories is a responsibility, not just a hobby. … It’s a true investment. You get way more out of your scrapbooks than you ever put in,” Swapp said.

Email: madbrown@deseretnews.com

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