13 May 2013, 09:39
The first time I visited Austin, I fell promptly in love. It’s one of the coolest cities in the world… And that’s why I’m extra-excited to announce that we are bringin’ The Blogcademy to Austin this August!
The Blogcademy: Austin will be held at Vuka, a gobsmackingly beautiful and unique co-working space. I can’t wait to go back, wear cowboy boots, listen to some country music and eat some amazing food!
That’s not all, either: we are also pleased to have added a second Melbourne date — that puppy sold out fast! — and to let you know that our venue in Minneapolis is the ultra-cool Public Functionary. Good stuff!
New York City
As always, we’re offering an earlybird special for Austin and Melbourne for the first three days, so be sure to snap up your ticket with the quickness!
And remember: we offer a scholarship to every single class! The details are at the bottom of our FAQ!
If you somehow missed it, and don’t know what I’m talking about, The Blogcademy is a two-day bootcamp for blogger babes. You can read all about our curriculum, get answers to your frequently asked questions, read some testimonials and watch a video all about it!
11 May 2013, 16:37
Los Angeles was the class that nearly didn’t happen. About a month before we were due to teach in Hollywood, I was in New York City, walking along 5th Avenue, when an email pinged up on my phone. It was from Shauna, and it said, “Bad news: the LA venue have just told us they’re double-booked, and can’t host our class.”
The adrenaline surge was enormous. We immediately sprung into problem-solving mode. Within a couple of minutes, I was on my phone, chatting to potential venues and asking for information. This is always the most difficult part of doing a workshop: finding a great space. But soon, we had discovered a space — McCadden Studio — which looked even more like our style than the first place.
On the morning of class, when we walked in the door, we were immediately psyched! McCadden Studio is such a cool, psychedelic space. It’s a photo studio, so the center of it is enormous, seamless and white, but the rest of the building is decorated it with retro signs, old toys, and mid-century furniture. We fell in love with the owner, Ron, too. We came to think of him as a kind of greaser guardian angel!
You have to remember that when things appear to be going “wrong”, there is always a silver lining!
“The Blogcademy is the best investment I’ve ever made in myself.” Paige
Our Californian babes showed up bright and early, and soon it was time to kick off the weekend!
We loaded ‘em up with workbooks and goodie bags, plied them with Zevia soda and offered them cupcakes. Over the next two days, we watched as their nerves melted away, and they went from being strangers to becoming friends.
As always, we were delighted by our Blogcadettes’ style. It’s true that The Blogcademy is the perfect excuse to bust out your favourite dress and a very special pair of shoes! From sparkly Betsey Johnson kicks to turquoise star crowns, from banana-shaped necklaces to vintage shift dresses, they were a fantastically colourful gaggle.
“So, I have a list of about 50 things I want to fix/improve/write/edit on my blog over the coming months…” Patty
Blogcademy-themed manicures are always encouraged, too, and you should know for any future dates that we definitely give prizes for anyone who makes the effort like this! I mean, how could we not? We’d be the meanest headmistresses in the world!
What a wonderful bunch they were. Paige, who read tarot cards for Kat and I, brought her own teacup all the way from San Francisco. Danielle, our scholarship winner, made us smile with her totally on-brand pastel aesthetic. Kandee made me laugh until tears rolled down my face, and Erika handed me an advanced copy of her book which I devoured on the flight home! Suzy Mae and Sarah had an impromptu photoshoot in the alley outside, and Vivienne put her nekomeme ears on my head! Tiffany put us all to shame with her incredible styling, and Adri came all the way from Mexico City!
You know, it’s funny. When we started The Blogcademy, we didn’t want the branding to be so over-the-top feminine that men were put off. But as time goes on, and as classes fill up and sell out, we realise that no matter what we do, we are girls’ girls! Sure, there might be a dude in class… But probably not. It’s probably going to be a Babe Party™. There will be dresses and perfume and someone will be wearing badass hot pink lipstick. Someone will almost definitely compliment you on your shoes and you might get a crush on the girl sitting next to you.
I kinda love that. In fact, I love that a LOT. I am so into bringing women together and the unique, fantastic things that happen when we’re bouncing ideas off one another. There is a quickening as we all meet up in the same mental space. It’s magical.
“Being in the room with these three women made me want to sing! What happens when three very individual, self-actualized women stand in front of the room is that everyone in it gets zapped with energy. They have a way of creating a space where, first of all, everyone is invited to be themselves completely and fully; and second, where you feel loved. You just feel like all of those little ideas budding in your brain are welcome — these women invite them to the party, and treat them like the guests of honor.” Sarah
During class, we’re always thinking about how we can make it bigger, better, more bombastic. In the middle of lunch on day one, as Shauna and I stood on line for a couple of salads and skull-sized coffees, we realised what would make things better: CUPCAKES!
Yep, as luck would have it, there was a Baked cupcake shop just around the corner from McCadden Studio… So before long, we were stumbling back to the space with three dozen assorted treats. And while cupcakes may not be as cool and zeitgeisty as they were, say, five years ago, trust me when I say that most people will not pass ‘em up!
Needless to say, we sailed into the second half of class on an epic sugar high!
“Shauna, Kat, and Gala were seriously entertaining, hilarious, attentive, positive, welcoming and a great example of truly “living your bliss.” It made me not only want to be their friend, but also want to have more friends that were so deeply in-line with similar passions and career aspirations!” Jenna
On day two, we surprised Kat with a birthday cake, and made the class sing her happy birthday… She went as pink as her hair! Then we posed in an alleyway for our class photo, before collectively running inside to make the absolute most of Snapden, a killer LA photobooth rental company!
We absolutely flew through the second day, and before we knew it, we were taking our very last questions! Karyn presented Kat with an enormous birthday bottle of gin, and we all milled about sipping gin and tonics as we answered some final questions, posed for photos and hugged goodbye.
“Mini-Blogcademy-marketplaces have begun to spring up, with women contracting women to help program, strategize, design, photograph, model for, and promote one another’s blogs. This, for me, is the interesting part. I love to watch commerce thrive in its own little ecosystem— and when this occurs, you’re doing something right.” Suzy Mae
Look at those cuties! We had such a good time with these girls (and a couple of honorary dudes), and were so impressed by their savvy. L.A. was one of the most go-getting classes we’ve had so far, and we just know that we’re going to see BIG things from them!
“I don’t know if this is even intentional, but I think this girls just nailed it in terms of having a blogging-multidisciplinary group working together and having constant feedback… this was amazingly inspiring, incredibly rewarding… nothing compares to actually be there and exchange knowledge!” Adri
Really, it’s not an experience you can put into words. Maybe this video — sent over by our aforementioned greaser guardian angel, Ron — will give you a better idea?!
“I headed into Blogcademy without any questions prepared, any expectations + hoping to make a few friends. I walked away INSPIRED, completely blown away and so happy to learn from such fabulous women.” Ting
Of course, just like every class that came before, our goodie bags were stuffed to the brim with an assortment of fun treasures…
Crown And Glory supplied the ears…
Moorea Seal decked us out with jewels…
Saturday Sequins supplied a little extra sparkle…
Mr Yen handed out hand-cut greeting cards…
Basik 855 gave everyone a pouch, perfect for holding business cards or elusive laundry quarters!
We were all able to transform our shoes with clips from Head Full Of Feathers!
Classic Hardware makes killer art-themed jewellery, and they gave us a few pieces as prizes!
Twinkie Chan gave everyone a Blogcademy coffee cozy… !
And Margravine and Sew Mary Ann added a literal glittery bow on top!
“My time at The Blogcademy was beyond words. I can try to describe the whole experience, but I don’t think I’d ever be able to truly capture the magic of it all in just the right way. No photos or text do it proper justice, it is really something that just needs to be experienced, so if you have been thinking about joining in on the world tour, I encourage you to take the leap and sign up. It’s a two-day workshop, but the community that results from those two days continues to live on. We are all helping each other to learn, to grow, and to be our best selves. I’m officially inspired; I’m ready to take this thing to a new level!” Danielle
And hey, I hate to be a tease… But we’re announcing something exciting on Monday! Ooh la la! What could it possibly be? You’re just going to have to wait… You’re following us on Twitter, right?!
Always missing Los Angeles,
Photographs thanks to Milou and Olin.
2 May 2013, 08:24
The first morning of class always makes our nerves feel like a charm bracelet of plastic skeletons jangling on a chain (as Francesca Lia Block might say). We’re excited, anxious and extra-vigilant. We never know what the class is going to be like, who our students will be, or how it will unfold…
After a few glorious (and slightly debauched) days in Portland, it was finally Saturday morning. We woke up early, piled into cars and headed for our venue, The Cleaners at the Ace. We hadn’t seen it in person, so when we threw open the doors on Saturday, we were beyond delighted. What a gorgeous, open space!
We feel the same way about venues every time: at 8am on Saturday morning, we can’t get over how big it is, and wonder if we’ve overshot the mark. But by the end of the day on Sunday, there are people in every nook and cranny, the space is filled up with joy, and we are amazed.
As soon as we get into the venue, it’s all systems go. We lay out the chairs and goodie bags, we get the projector working, we tie B balloons to chairs and create the sign-in station. There’s never much time to rest; even before the official start time, our babes start to arrive. (It’s like the very opposite of high school!)
“It was one of the most fun and creative experiences I’ve had in a long time.” Sherold
Oh, Portland. What a special city, and that carried over to the class. Our girls were so delightful, with such sweet, gentle energy.
There was Mac Reid, artist and crafty babe, who brought us GALA & KAT & NUBBY prints. Our scholarship winner, Jessica, flew all the way from Arkansas — and it was her first time on a plane! Raye brought us an orchid in Blogcademy colours, and everyone put on their glittery Crown And Glory ears as soon as they found them in the goodie bag. There was even a Kiwi girl, which always makes me so happy!
“I picked up tips and ideas that left me in a bit of a daze afterward. An excited, floaty daze of Awesomeness. I got great feedback, great ideas and met a bunch of awesome women. I was seriously depressed when I went back to work and sat in my cubicle, which has NO MAGIC WHATSOEVER, and realized that it was all over. I had graduated from The Blogcademy.” Erica
Our Portland class happened over Easter, so it only made sense to fill the room with pastel-coloured chocolate eggs. And Easter isn’t Easter without a major sugar rush — in our world, at least! — so we had a big pink box of Voodoo Doughnuts delivered, too.
Every class is different: sometimes, at the end of day one, we literally cannot move. But like I said, Portland was special. At the end of the first day, we checked into the Ace Hotel, put down our bags, freshened up a smidge, and went out to roam around downtown Portland! We had an exquisite meal at Clyde Commons — say it with me now, truffle popcorn — and then hit up Buffalo Exchange, Anthropologie and Wholefoods.
Our hotel room was divine, with a huge tub, a living room, and a stereo. We fell asleep quickly, and woke up easily in Portland’s morning light.
I had struck it lucky at Buffalo Exchange the night before, and picked up this crazy mod dress, which was a clear choice to teach in. Paired with a Crown And Glory flower crown (which I
stole borrowed from Kat that morning), I was ready for day two!
“In other words, it was a workshop full of cute nerdy girl stuff! I loved it. The class was a breath of fresh air. It was the first creative event that I’ve attended that provided an intimate workshop experience which made it was very easy to meet and talk to everyone who attended.” Holly
It’s not The Blogcademy without a whole lot of Kodak moments. So after lunch — and a fresh slick of lipstick — we posed for a class photo. I decided that what the pictures really needed was a dose of bubbles, so we handed a little bottle to everyone in the class. Sitting in the front row, surrounded by laughing babes blowing bubbles, I remember saying, “This is my fantasy! I’m so happy right now!”
The Blogcademy really has a summer camp feel to it. You throw a bunch of strangers who are all passionate about one thing into a room, spend hours together talking, laughing and brainstorming, and then, in a flash, it’s over.
I know I speak for Kat and Shauna when I say that we have met the most wonderful women through teaching this class. There is something truly magical and potent about this kind of in-person creative jamming, which simply cannot be replicated online. There’s just nothing like it.
“It was so put together and full of so many things that will be beneficial to me as I push to be a better blogger and graphic designer. Though my words and photos may not express my full gratitude, I hope that the progress that I make in the upcoming months will show you how well you are doing. Girls, you are not just teaching, you are changing lives!“ Jessica
The video above demonstrates that, I think. You get a true peek into the atmosphere, the silliness and camaraderie that we create in every class. And you get to hear from some of our blogcadettes, too!
“Overall, between the quality and quantity of the info that Gala, Kat and Shauna share (they really don’t hold back), the beautiful branding they’ve created and the warmth and sparkle of their personalities, these gals have assembled a winning combination. I feel so lucky to have been a part of this and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to get inspired and push their blog to the next level.” Lily
Of course, our sponsors help to make The Blogcademy so very special. We love ‘em, our blogcadettes love ‘em even more, and I think you will, too!
You can always tell a blogcadette by her sparkly ears… They’re pretty much an essential now. We are 100% in love with Sophie from Crown & Glory for making this possible! (And check out her flower crowns. TOO GOOD.)
IF Ladies sent us a wild and wacky selection of purses, umbrellas and t-shirts… I know umbrellas get a lot of use in Portland!
Moorea Seal spoiled us rotten with an amazing assortment of jewellery, from necklaces to earrings and bracelets.
Our babe at Head Full of Feathers made sure everyone got a pair of glittery shoe clips. It is, after all, the perfect way to change your heels from drab to fab!
The Pink Samurai supplied everyone with a teal or grey scarf, and since I seem to have caught the plague yesterday, I’ve been snuggled into mine 24/7!
Every blogcadette’s nails looked f- to the abulous thanks to Lex Cosmetics and their excellent chunky glittery nailpolish!
Paige Lavoie sent us teeny-tiny top hats which made us grin! And the immensely badass Paul Jarvis supplied a free digital download of his book, How to Be Awesome Online, for everyone. (It is so great! Essential reading!)
We owe a debt of gratitude to our decor sponsors, too. We fell in love with these teal and pink tassels from The Paper Jar via Cloud Parade, and our photo backdrop was made by Hannah of The Tea Set. Ever since London, we’ve been toting that thing around the world with us… And it’s worth it!
“You’re not only investing in your site, your career as a blogger, and getting some first class help, you’re getting a wealth of inspiration, renewed energy, and some incredible memories. I left the class with the wonderful feeling that anything is possible if you set your mind to it, and that if you love something enough that you absolutely need it in your life, you can have it.” Luna
We are so blessed to be teaching The Blogcademy, to make friends with such extraordinary women, and to travel the world at the same time. And of course, we are so in love with the Made U Look babes, who drove to Portland from Bakersfield (!!!) to shoot our class. Our favourites. For real. Aren’t their photos phenomenal?
So, want to join us? We have seats available for our upcoming classes in NYC, Minneapolis, London, Brisbane and Auckland… Click here for dates and details!
We’re always looking for goodie bag sponsors to contribute and help make our class exceptional! All the info is right here, and we would absolutely love to work with you!
Missing Portland already,
27 March 2013, 15:37
Join us for this event — or get access! — by clicking on the orange button above! It starts on Wednesday the 27th of March at 1pm PST and 4pm EST.
We’ll be taking questions from the audience, and answering some of your biggest blogging head-scratchers!
If you can’t view it live, your ticket grants you access to watch it later!
25 March 2013, 10:07
I wrote this with future Blogcademy students in mind, but truthfully, this advice applies to any workshop. We all want the same thing out of our experience: to feel that we got our money’s worth, that we enjoyed ourselves, and that we asked every question that came to mind!
Sometimes, though, when we walk into a room of unfamiliar people, that all goes out the window. We get shy or anxious, our minds go blank and sometimes we just don’t feel like we have the confidence to approach someone else.
Here, then, are my tips for getting over that stuff, and not letting it encumber your enjoyment of your time. Here’s to a fantastic event!
Fluff up your site!
Before The Blogcademy even begins, we connect all our students together in our forum, where they swap URLs and start to get to know one another. And you know, these days, your blog is like your outfit: first impressions count…
If you’re going to a workshop or a seminar, give your site a good going-over the week beforehand. Check that you have links to all your social media and your email address somewhere obvious. Run a spellcheck. Consider refreshing your “about me” page, especially if your hair is a different colour now!
Just cast your eye over your site as if you were seeing it for the first time. This is probably not the time to start a complete overhaul, but do what you can do to clean it up, and make it the best it can be.
Business cards, business cards, business cards!
Sure, business cards can seem a little old-fashioned in today’s eminently Googleable world… But done right, they can make a fabulous impression.
If you’re going to an event, you absolutely must have a stack of business cards on you… And those business cards absolutely must have your Twitter handle on them. (Other than your URL, it is probably the only information on your card anyone will use.)
At Alt Summit, the business card game is NEXT LEVEL. Look at these turquoise and bright pink cards, for example. When I spoke at Alt in 2012, I was handed business cards which came with bracelets attached, or a little packet of glitter, or a teeny pair of scissors… The ingenuity was incredible.
You don’t have to spend a million dollars on your cards, but do what you can to make them eye-catching and memorable. You never know who you could be handing it to!
Come armed with questions.
As soon as you book your ticket, start jotting down any questions you have, no matter how silly they may seem. For extra-organised Virgo points, put these questions in the notebook you’re planning on bringing to the event. Keep writing down any questions that occur to you in the time between securing your ticket and the workshop itself.
Inevitably, many of these questions will be answered during the class or seminar. But there will be a few that are more specific that you really want to know about, and will fly out of your head when you’re in a room full of people, being overstimulated. (Then, of course, three days later, you’ll be sitting in front of your computer, it will hit you, and you’ll think, ‘DAMN! I wish I’d asked that!’)
So write down everything you can think of… And don’t be too afraid to raise your hand in class!
Wear something that is a conversation piece.
There are a few reasons for doing this. Firstly, it makes you more memorable. Secondly, wearing something a bit bold can encourage you to be bold, too… Almost like wearing a costume. Thirdly, it actually does other people a favour: if they’re feeling shy or don’t know what to say, they can always compliment your shoes/hat/dinosaur necklace!
We always recommend our Blogcademy babes wear ears. It has become a kind of silly signature of our class, which we love (and it makes class photos so much more adorable!). Wearing ears at The Blogcademy shows everyone else that you are part of the clique (or cult, as the case may be!), and it also encourages you to get just a little bit outside of your comfort zone. When you’re a little outside of that cushy place, you’re more likely to take chances or try new things… And that’s what this is all about!
Before you walk in the door, do a quick gut check.
Ask yourself: what do I want to get out of this day? What do I want to achieve?
In fact, Kat, Shauna and I do this before every class. (I force them to do it, but I think they secretly love it!) Before we kick off the festivities, the three of us get into a huddle, like a sparkly football team, and I say, “How do we want today to feel?” We start to throw around adjectives, like, “Exciting! Informative. Friendly. Helpful! Glittery!” That totally sets the tone for the class.
There is no reason why you can’t do this on your own. I often do it before I go out to an event: it helps remind me why I’m going, and what I hope to get out of it. If you try this, let me know how it works for you!
Put yourself out there.
If you’re not the most extroverted person on the planet, that’s okay. Odds are excellent that PLENTY of people in the room with you feel exactly the way you do! You don’t have to be an outgoing chatterbox to get the most out of a class or seminar… But just mustering the courage to say hello to people can work wonders!
As a teacher, you know what’s going on with your students. Kat, Shauna and I are hyperaware of how engaged people are, whether they are interacting with one another, and how shy they are. I get a feeling about certain people all the time, where I know they want to speak to me on a personal level, but they’re afraid to do it…
...And inevitably, I end up having a heart-to-heart with one babe at the very end of it all, late on Sunday night. It always makes me wish we had been talking like this for the whole weekend! I wonder about them, too. Did they get to say everything they wanted to say? Was I able to answer all their questions?
One of my greatest thrills in life is getting to know someone, and feeling like I have been able to help them. It would really upset me to think that I hadn’t made myself approachable enough for someone to feel comfortable talking to me candidly. That’s what I’m always striving for… And I don’t think I’m alone in that. That’s what we all want, no matter whether we’re teaching or soaking it all in.
So next time you feel nervous, just take a big breath and say hello. Start a conversation. It’s what we all want, and it’s worth the risk!
Take notes. Lots of notes!
Some of us fool ourselves into thinking that we will simply remember all the best bits of the day… But the truth is that a full day (or more!) of incoming information will overwhelm even the most magnificent of brains!
Always take a couple of pens and a notebook to any event where you think a little bit of genius might be taking place. Write down direct quotes as much as possible.
I always like to create a to do list while I’m sitting at an event. It’s one thing to take on the information, but it’s entirely another to put it into action. If you make a to do list at the time, you’ll have actionable items to get cracking with as soon as you go home!
It’s a simple tip, for sure, but it makes such a difference! Sometimes when we think we have a neutral face, we’re actually doing a chronic bitchface. Eep! (I am so guilty of this!) Standing around looking dour makes it less appealing for other people to approach you, and that will impact your day.
As much as you can remember to do it, smile! Grin and laugh and beam at other people. Nine times out of ten, they’ll smile right back!
Make an effort to remember people’s names.
We try to do this as much as possible when we’re teaching, simply to show people that we value them, and because it makes our students feel good. They always say that there is no sweeter sound to a person’s ears than their own name, and I think that’s true!
If you’re not great at remembering names, try playing a memory game, or simply jotting notes on any business cards you receive. There is no such thing as a good or bad memory (apparently), simply a trained or untrained memory. That means you’ll just get better with practice… And this is certainly something that’s worth making a little time investment in!
Follow up with your fellow attendees afterwards!
The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter who you’ve met if you never follow up with them! The only girls I remember from Alt are the ones who made an effort to reach out to me — and vice versa — once we’d all gone back home. The rest of them disappear into a haze of faces.
If you’re going to a workshop or an event with the intention of making friends or contacts, this step is imperative! Just meeting someone once isn’t enough of a basis to establish a friendship or a working relationship: you need to follow up, be in contact, and remind them that you exist!
Add the people you met to Twitter. Like their status updates on Facebook. If you took photos together, email them through with a sweet note! Get involved with them, and as Kat would say, “Subtly insert yourself into their life!”
I hope these tips help you at your next event… Of course, you’re more than welcome to put these ideas into practice by joining us on The Blogcademy World Tour! Just click for more details.
Photo by Shell De Mar.
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