Over the weekend of October 20th, Gala, Kat and I joined forces to teach the first edition of our workshop, The Blogcademy in New York. To say that it was a life-changing experience is a huge understatement…we’re still buzzing about it!
“The Blogcademy was so much more than a blogging workshop. All weekend I was surrounded by my 30 classmates who all proved to me that no matter where you are headed in life with ambition, drive and a kick ass attitude you will end up where you want to be. As soon as I got off the elevator on the first day, I could just feel the positive energy radiating from the classroom.” —Liz Davis
The nervous excitement we felt as we opened the door on the first day is something I’ll never forget.
Individually, Kat, Gala and I had each wanted to do workshops for the last few years. After meeting in Vegas back in February, we realized that we’d be stronger as a trio and in the months that followed, we got to work on building out our ideal blogging workshop. We’d each been to many blogging events but always left feeling like they could be more specialized and hands-on. We wanted The Blogcademy to feature solid strategy and insight focused on building compelling content while demonstrating what it really takes to create a successful blog from the ground up.
Building out a workshop in a few short months wasn’t an easy task but it was worth every second of effort. You prepare for a new venture the very best you can but there are always those moments when life just happens. Behind the scenes, the goodie bags were bigger and heavier than we expected (thank god our cab driver helped us load and haul them in his trunk), the projector cord was missing an hour before show time and the couch quite suddenly collapsed…we sure got a good laugh afterwards! When that launch day arrives, you just have to go for it and realize that though things will never be perfect, what matters is that you give it your all.
My main focus at The Blogcademy was in branding: I shared two personal case studies as well as examples of documents I think every blogger and small business owner should consider. Thinking back to when I began blogging in 2001, I remember how long it took me to piece all this information together. I wanted the attendees to pick up all these insights that took me a decade to learn in a few short hours — I always say that knowledge is power and was important for me to take the secrecy out of what goes into building a successful blog.
We invited along special guest Veronica Varlow for the fun. She is such an amazing, inspiring woman as well as a wonderful friend and client (her media kit is still a personal favorite of mine. Ooh la la!)
Out of pure excitement, Gala and I couldn’t seem to keep our composure. Award-winning wedding photographer Lisa Devlin was along for the ride, snapping every moment.
• A huge thank you to Everly Lane for the turquoise tassels and Peach Blossom for the balloons, striped straws, fans and pom-poms. All these color-coordinated details really made the space come alive.
Goodie Bag Sponsors
• The amazing letterpress graduation certificates were printed for us by A Fine Press!
• We couldn’t get enough of the wonderful Alphabet Bags who supplied tote bags to stash the goodies in.
• Crown & Glory provided sparkly hair bows which were a huge hit (and they gifted me with those amazing glitter bunny ears)!
• Lisa Devlin was not only a guest speaker but also gave away her awesome Devlin Photos CD of Photoshop actions.
• Finest Imaginary kindly sent along custom Moleskine notebooks & heart rings. So cute!
• Garden Apothecary shared awesome vanilla body scrubs. Love!
• Miss Anastasia provided amazing smelling perfume — I actually designed the logo and packaging which I will be sharing at a later date!
• Our dear friend Molly Crabapple provided super fun activity books — perfect for the plane ride home!
• Sugarpill sent along their trademark bright, highly-pigmented eye-shadows.
• Twinkie Chan totally outdid herself with the handmade Blogcademy coffee cozies!
Food & Drink Sponsors
Thank you to Paige Wilcox of Blogads for providing valuable insights into what it’s like working with an ad network AND for providing the spread of food. With the busy days, it was nice to have snacks right at our fingertips.
And on day two, Jessica of Storyboard Wedding arrived with 10 bottles of bubbly for our after-party. Thank you, Jessica!
Attendee Reviews of The Blogcademy
1. The Fete Blog 2. Me and My Ego 3. Me and My Ego (part two!) 4. The Alchemy of Hustle 5. Condiments on a City Life 6. Little Bear in a Big World 7. Eldy’s Pocket 8. Burnett’s Boards 9. Danger Dame 10. Andrea Jaggs 10. Get Your Green On 11. Intertitles 12. Work Life Passion 13. Rubies & Ribbon 14. City Girls Knows 15. Reverie Time 16. 128 John St 17. The Girl Who Knows 18. Bitchless Bride.
Gala got into the spirit of handing out pins and the fab letterpress certificates at the end of class.
“I learnt SO much. I can’t even begin to talk about it, because it’s all still churning round my mind, refusing to settle so I can decide where to begin applying those lessons. But even better than that, I had the most amazing time. Being surrounded by an international community of unbridled talent is where I want to be all.the.time.” —Hayley Judd
I want to extend a huge, heartfelt thank you to our 30 students who believed in us on this maiden voyage, our sponsors for delivering the best goodie bags I’ve ever seen and to Kat & Gala for joining me on this wild ride. I believe in the power of building a community and working as a team more than ever. It is possible to pull off those crazy ideas. The difference between dreams and reality comes down to setting goals and putting plans into motion with firm deadlines. If we can do it, so can you. If you’re interested in attending a future session of The Blogcademy, more dates will be announced on November 14th. And thanks again for following along with us on this crazy, magical adventure!
*All photos are by Devlin Photos. Thanks, Lisa!