Keynote Session with Amber Kemp Gertzel (h+h americas 2024 – Day 2)

Host Darrin Stern introduces a podcast episode featuring Amber Kemp-Gerstel, a creator and influencer. The episode covers Amber’s journey in influencer marketing, including a story about her Instagram account being hacked, her transition from a career in clinical psychology to becoming a content creator, and her experiences working with brands like Joanne and Canon. Amber shares insights on creating engaging content, the importance of storytelling, and maintaining boundaries in a busy creative career. Audience questions address managing creative blocks, capturing engaging content, and balancing personal and professional life.


Welcome to the h+h Connect podcast series, a source of insights and inspirations designed to enhance your creativity and overall business. I’m your host, Darrin Stern, the show director for h+h americas and the vice president at Koelnmesse Inc., based in Chicago. It was truly exhilarating to bring you a special recording of the h+h americas Day 2 keynote session with Amber Kemp-Gerstel, a passionate creator and influencer who has made significant strides in the creative community.

Amber shared her expertise and insights on influencer marketing and its impact on her career and business. Below, I’ve highlighted the key points from her riveting story and vital lessons that resonate deeply with creatives and entrepreneurs alike.

Amber Kemp-Gerstel kicked off her keynote session with an engaging story about her unexpected detour into the world of creativity and influencing. Introduced as a creator with a powerful presence in the world of influencer marketing, Amber quickly acknowledged the sheer importance of creativity in her life and how it fueled her career’s significant transitions.

Amber recalled a vivid instance from 2019 when her Instagram account was hacked during a flight from Miami to California. This wasn’t just a mere inconvenience; it was a lesson in cybersecurity and a stark reminder of how reliant her business was on digital platforms. Her interactions with the hacker, Tajir McKees, ranged from polite but firm negotiations to frantic attempts to meet the demands. Through this ordeal, Amber highlighted the crucial need for two-factor authentication, the importance of being vigilant about online security, and the impact social media has on modern business.

Amber elaborated on diversifying content delivery – from blogs and emails to social media and television appearances. She emphasized the importance of reaching audiences through various channels and shared her experiences of licensing and product sales. Her take on leveraging different media to connect with her audience reflects a robust strategy adaptable to various business models.

One striking point Amber made was the sheer influence of social media in her business model. Social media, especially during crucial times like Q4 – encompassing Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah – forms a substantial part of her annual revenue. Amber’s approach involves creating relatable, engaging content that resonates with a broad audience, thus driving engagement and sales.

Amber shared the behind-the-scenes of her popular crafting projects, such as the viral loopy yarn wreaths. These projects, initially simple festive decorations, evolved into an extensive series due to popular demand and creative iterations. From traditional Christmas wreaths to unique shapes like watermelons and suns, these projects underscored Amber’s innovative approach to crafting.

Throughout her journey, Amber has collaborated with significant brands like Joanne and Canon. These partnerships not only helped her establish a reliable source of income but also allowed her to bring fresh, creative projects to her audience. Amber’s storytelling and product development resonate well with her followers, fostering a genuine connection that brands appreciate.

Amber’s television appearances, including “Making It” hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, and her show on Disney Plus, highlight her adaptability and the importance of crossing over into new mediums. These experiences enhanced her credibility and expanded her reach, demonstrating the value of multimedia presence for modern influencers.

Amber emphasized the importance of storytelling in business. Drawing insights from Donald Miller’s “Building a StoryBrand,” she stressed that effective storytelling isn’t just about selling products but about building relationships and narratives that resonate with the audience’s personal stories.

Amber provided valuable advice on managing creative blocks and maintaining authenticity. She suggested embracing your unique personality in your content, as authenticity often resonates more than imitation. Her advice on leveraging audience engagement tools like ManyChat underscores the need for effective communication strategies in influencer marketing.

Amber concluded her session with a Q&A segment, where she addressed numerous practical concerns from the audience, including managing boundaries, improving on-camera presence, approaching agencies, and overcoming creative blocks. Her responses were filled with practical insights gained from years of experience, emphasizing the importance of saying no when necessary, being authentic, and leveraging the strengths of one’s unique personality.

Amber Kemp-Gerstel’s keynote session at h+h americas 2025 was a treasure trove of insights and inspiration. Her journey from child psychologist to content creator and influencer offers invaluable lessons on resilience, creativity, and adapting to new opportunities. Her experiences underline the significance of storytelling, social media’s powerful reach, and the necessity of diversifying content delivery to build a successful and sustainable business.

I hope you found Amber’s journey as inspiring and informative as I did. If you have any questions or thoughts, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We love engaging with our creative community. Don’t forget to subscribe to h+h Connect for future episodes filled with more insights and stories to enhance your business and creativity. Follow us on social media for the latest updates and behind-the-scenes content.


Thank you for tuning in. I’m Darrin Stern, and I look forward to joining you on our next episode of h+h Connect. Until then, keep creating and stay inspired. Goodbye everyone, and have a wonderful day!