My 49th birthday & Big News

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Three months ago this week, my business partner Kayce and I (along with our CEO, Mark Seastrand) traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky to have a sit-down with April and Greg Foster and their team at Studio Calico. You may have read about some exciting industry news on blogs and social media today, and I will certainly share links so that you’ll know where to go for the official announcement and answers to questions you might have, but here in my little corner of the Internet, I want to share the WHY behind it all and tell you a story that I know has a very happy ending.

Back in the summer of 2005, I was a very busy mom and editor of Simple Scrapbooks Magazine (rest in peace!) I was traveling (a LOT) and I was writing a book titled, The Big Picture, Scrapbook Your Life and a Whole Lot More. I was also thinking about how people learn and gain experience and confidence with memory keeping and I began to wonder if you couldn’t do more on a website, than was currently being done. Maybe you could (sort of) go behind the scenes of a magazine article and show and tell more? I pictured “lessons” that included downloadable handouts and audio files. Long story short, I took my idea to my boss at the time and was given his blessing to ‘test’ out my idea. I put a URL in my book, right before it went to press and Big Picture Scrapbooking was born. I was in a bit of trouble though because I actually had to create a website, which I knew absolutely NOTHING about. I began to ask around and in what I consider a moment of blessed fate, I met Kayce Rehn, who designed and built a new little website and within a matter of weeks, became my business partner. We had no idea what we were doing, but knew the idea had potential. I knew in my gut that we were solving a problem that hadn’t even fully emerged.

Wow.
Time flies.
That was 9 years ago and Big Picture Scrapbooking, now Big Picture Classes has come a long way.
So has the idea of learning online.

When we started our business, there was no such word as elearning or ebook or e anything really. The Internet (for scrapbookers at least) was all about message boards. You could visit a handful of forums and read about what was going on in Scrapbook magazines and you could talk about product you were seeing and loving at your local scrapbook store. People who didn’t have a local scrapbook store had begun buying a few things online, and there were some kit clubs that you could subscribe to, which would provide a monthly dose of the latest and greatest in scrapbooking goodness. Some of us had started blogs and we were super excited because we were learning how to take digital pictures with our new digital cameras that we could post on these blogs. In a way, it was like scrapbooking on your computer! It was all very exciting and it began to evolve our industry.

Fast forward to …
Facebook
Flickr
YouTube
Twitter
iPhone and
Pinterest

As you well know, the old must give way to the new and so as we welcomed all of these new, exciting tools and ways of communicating and sharing, we also said good-bye to beloved magazines and local stores. Our computers got faster and much, much smaller and the way we take pictures, the way we connect with family and friends and the way we share stories has changed, but our love of photography and storytelling has only grown.

Here we are today (and it’s a GREAT day!)
For a while now, we at BPC have been concerned with how our community gets product to use in our classes. We’ve dabbled here and there and from time to time sent kits or product to registered students, but we’re not a store and we’ve always wanted to focus on inspiration and motivation, lending support to our retail friends, who excel at things like inventory and shipping. We had built a fully custom website from the ground up and we knew we had to focus on staying current with web technology and creating and delivering top-notch online learning over trying to do something we wouldn’t be good at. Speaking of  “good at”, let’s talk Studio Calico. You can read their story here, but suffice it to say that they have emerged as the industry leader in delivering paper-crafting kits, worldwide. They are growing and they have a vision of where they are going. I like people with a vision. We’ve partnered on multiple occasions to do fun things (think Pajama Party, our Play! event and the effort on National Scrapbook Day to flood Instagram with 10,000 scrapbook pages) and it just kind of made sense that we should talk about a more permanent merger of our education and product businesses.

Back to my birthday.
I have promised myself, for a long time that by the time I turned 50, I would know what the future of BPC looked like. In other words, I would have a plan for making sure that my BPC baby and the incredible community that it has grown into would continue to grow and thrive. Now, don’t get any crazy ideas. I’m not going anywhere. If anything, I want to do MORE of what I love and more of what I’m uniquely wired to do.
I want to sit in fewer management meetings.
I want to talk less of numbers and more of new ideas.
I want to create more videos.
I want to blog more.
I want to evolve my digital workflow.
I want to refresh my creative studio.
I want to develop new kinds of classes.
I want to do more travel and teaching (again.)
I want to create a quarterly BPC “stacy julian” kit.

In short, there are LOTS of things I want to do. Mostly, I want to continue to see this industry evolve and I want to influence an inclusive, “It all counts” attitude toward memory keeping and paper crafting. I adore photos and stories and the opportunity to freeze time and relive happy moments. I love what we’ve built at BPC and I love teaching and interacting with YOU. I will never tire of logging into a new classroom and “virtually” meeting friends from all over the world. The other day, in The Phone Photography Project 2, I left a comment on a thread where three women were conversing. One was from Alberta, Canada, one was Melbourne, Australia and the other lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico—that’s just plain cool.

So, on May 6th I turned 49. 
Kayce and me and Mark were eating lunch with April and Greg and some of their associates. We had talked about future possibilities and potential plans for two days and we were very close to making a deal. No one (other than Kayce) knew it was my birthday, so waited until just the right moment to let everyone in on my secret. When it was my turn, I talked about my family and my dreams and what I wanted for BPC and then, I said “and today is my birthday and what a really want is to shake hands on a very bright future” or something very similar to that.

SBC_SC_Announcement-03

It worked.
I got what I wanted.
I really believe that I also got what you want and need.
I’ll be the first to tell you that we have much work to do, but #thefutureisbright and I couldn’t be happier.

You can read more details of this big news,  here and here.
And, if you have questions or concerns or ideas or suggestions, please leave me a comment.
I want to hear from you.
Stacy's signature

p.s. I will write another blog post very soon. I will respond to ANY of your questions with full transparency!

Comments

  1. Stacy, SO well said. It’s amazing to remember how much the world has changed since 2005! That there was once a world before blogs and Facebook and iPhones! Congrats to you. I’m excited to see you have more time to do the things you ARE so uniquely good at. Love you!

  2. I want to see you do more of what you do best too. Kind of excited about all of this.

  3. KristiGilbert says:

    I have to admit I was a little scared at first when I saw the news, (where is Stacy going? what will happen to all the wonderful teachers BPC has always had? why does everything have to change?!?) But after getting past the headline and actually reading the announcements on BPC and SC websites and here, I’m reassured. You obviously know what you’re doing and know that this partnership will be a good, healthy one or you wouldn’t have done it! I’m happy that you can concentrate on the things you love doing and maybe lose some of the things you just HAD to do to run the business you created. That’s the dream, right? To do what we love and avoid what we don’t! : ) I appreciate your explanation of the reasons behind it and the reassurance that you aren’t abandoning your loyal students at all! Congratulations to all of you and thank you for being so awesome! Oh, and happy 49 1/4 birthday!

    • tomorrow is my 49 1/4 birthday. I think I’ll celebrate, ha! I so appreciate your trust and I take it very seriously. thank you.

  4. Sherrie M. says:

    Happy belated birthday! I am reading this news with a bit of trepidation. I’m thrilled that you (Stacy) will still be a part of this online scrapbooking community but the idea of mergers and takeovers makes me nervous. Nervous because I don’t want one of my favorite places on the internet to change or go away. Like when BPC took over Ella Publishing and it felt like Ella kinda faded away. Hopefully this won’t happen to BPC. Hoping this is ALL good news. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and wishing you all the best always!

    • Sherrie,
      This is such a thoughtful comment. You are right, change like is a bit nerve-racking and companies ultimately need to do what will help them to evolve and stay relevant. When BPC acquired Ella, Angie was ready for her role there to change. We planned on Ella fading away. Our agreement with Studio Calico is very different. I’m crossing my fingers with you and will work very hard to preserve what is awesome about BPC.

  5. Wow, good for you, and for BPC!

  6. We still got the best part of your creative side for scrapbooking our memories. Cheers!
    I’ll hope enjoy a meetme with you in a future, you inspired me to start http://www.vivescrapbook.com and I really admire your influence in this industry. I’m scrapbooker because of you. Thanks! I’m a fan of BPC and I happy for all new things in the future.
    Thanks for sharing with us. All the best and you can count with your BPC community!

    • Francis,
      What? Wow! I have just looked at your website. It is beautiful — how fabulous are you? I so wish i could understand and read Spanish? or Portuguese? Not sure which language you are speaking. But, I’m so proud of you. Congratulations!

      Thank you so much for your support.

  7. Good news, and way to go!! Always go after your Dreams.

  8. KnitterPam says:

    Please don’t change the fact that we can revisit previously purchased BPC classes. I don’t think that you will — I just want to put it out there! :) I have many classes that I definitely want to revisit.

  9. I’m not a big fan of changing things that I love just the way they are… but if this merger means you have more time to create cool classes and to teach – then bring it on! And if it means we get better navigation in the galleries and message boards, I’ll be a happy camper.

    Kudos to you and everyone at BPC!

    • Wendy Smedley says:

      We have a HUGE wish list! and would love to know what else you want to see

    • Hello my friend Cheri,
      Better navigation coming very soon and lots of other good stuff too! Thanks for sharing your wants and needs!

  10. Congratulations, Stacy, and Happy Birthday! You’re a wonderful teacher. You have an enormous passion for life and convey it to everyone around you. Wishing you the opportunity to share that passion with even more eager students in the years ahead.

  11. Congrats Stacy for your courage to follow your heart and make changes. You’re great inspiration not only for US community but also for many latin women as me and Francis from ViveScrapbook.com that want to create ways to make memory-keeping an enabler to live life to the fullest. Congrats from the whole Vive scrapbook team! We wish you a bright future

    • Ruly,
      I’ve just left a reply on Francis’ comment — I’m SO impressed with your new venture. Wow! Thank you so much for taking the lead in your corner of the world. We scrapbookers have to stick together and I know your community will grow to become a wonderful gathering place for latin women and families. Bravo! and thanks for your support!

  12. Vonda Orders says:

    I hope this is a good move. I love the way BPC organizes their classes and BPC’s consistency and quality control and I hope SC has “bought” that and into it. And I hope when it comes to adding kits that BPC will offer companion kits as a separate add-on instead of a sign-up teaser the way SC does it. I think it is disingenuous to say the cost of a class includes a “kit” if the kit is only available on a first come/ first serve basis and only for a limited number of class participants. But enough with the constructive criticism of SC – I’m sure there will be other forums for that. Congratulations!

    • Vonda,
      This is a great place to share what your experience has been and let me know what you’re interested in seeing. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  13. Elizabeth B. Jensen says:

    Congratulations are in order for another type of birthday, the day you announced to the world that two industry leaders are joining forces to evolve this ever-changing industry to do bigger and better things! It’s definitely a day to celebrate! Hooray!!!! I may just have a piece of cake, you know…to make it official! :)

  14. Ann Johnson says:

    Congrats Stacy and Kacey – I love BPC and I love taking classes from you. No matter what type of class it would be, like underwater basket weaving, I would take it (this is one of the personal jokes that probably I am the only one laughing at). I hate when your videos are done because I want so much more from you. You are a true inspiration to the scrapbooking community and I love spending time at BPC. Looking forward to reading more of your blog posts, they make my day ~ Congrats on the new things that are coming. ~Ann

  15. Congratulations! And wow—in retrospect, it is amazing what a leader BPC has been in online offerings! I’ve loved everything you’ve offered along the way, Stacy, from the magazine to the books—even that simple Christmas album kit years ago. You also have an incredible eye for talent and innovators. I’ve discovered so many of my favorite bloggers and teachers through your site.

    I love what you said about “making it all count” as memory-keepers and I hope to see a digital version of your Library of Memories system soon!

    Excited to see what the future brings!

    • me too. Thanks for taking the time to comment and for your support! I have some good ideas for LOM in 2015!

  16. Congratulations to you and everyone at BPC and Studio Calico. Like others I was a little nervous when I saw the news but after reading your blog am so reassured. I just love your approach, enthusiasm authenticity and energy Stacy and truly believe that you have only the best interests of the scrapbooking and memory keeping industry in your heart. I don’t think it’s something you do just to make money but a passion. I’ve taken a few classes at each and have had great experiences. I look forward to seeing how this collaboration will play out and to see what you all have in sore for us!

  17. Congratulations to BPC and Studio Calico. Scrapbooking sure is changing and evolving. I love the ‘everything counts’ idea. I totally agree with it and embrace it.

  18. So excited to see you posting on your blog again!! Thanks for sharing more of the ‘why’ behind the news. I appreciate you listing out what you want, and how this helps you do more of that. I want you to do those things too!

  19. Stacy- can I talk about the ‘elephant in the room’ so to speak? What about customer service? BPC is known for awesome, johnny-on-the-spot, we care for our customers, type of service and relations. And let’s be honest, SC (at times) is not. How does that all work? Who will be handling that side of things? Congrats to you, but for me- I can’t help but feel that another ‘scrapbooking great’ is now slowing moving to the ‘it’s all business’ side of things. You have done the most wonderful strides for our industry. This scrapbooker thanks you a million times over, and so I do indeed feel sad today. Sniff-sniff. Too many changes this year. Change is good- but not all at once. We will soon have a monolopy and those are never good. Thanks again for everything.

    • Janet,

      I’m sad to hear you had a less-than-stellar experience with Studio Calico customer service. We pride ourselves on working towards the best solutions for our customers and delivering the best products and experience possible. Please feel free to start a conversation with us letting us know how we can improve. We’re always open to ideas!

    • Janet,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I know change is hard and there has been a LOT of it in the recent past. I appreciate that April has reached out to you here. I think that speaks to the concern Studio Calico has–I have experienced nothing but sincere interest and a desire to understand and improve. This is not a decision we have made lightly. I believe it is the right thing to do for the future of BPC and for my future, so that I can have the time and energy to be an influence in our community and industry at large. Please know that you always have my ear. I will listen. To answer your question, we will continue to operate as separate organizations, so you won’t see changes in how we interact with you or students in general. Thanks so much for your comment!

  20. Laurie Moom says:

    Stacy, I’m excited for you! Change is always hard, and it always fills the mind with questions, but in this every changing industry, change has come to be expected. I can’t help but think of Clay Christensen’s disruptive innovation theory. You are staying on top and keeping your business afloat. That is inspired. Best wishes to you and to Studio Calico. Two great companies joining forces…how can it be anything but wonderful?!

    PS-Tell Grant hello from his Draper friends. ;) He was an awesome missionary.

    • Thank you Laurie — I so appreciate your comment and trust and WOW, anytime you want to talk about me and Clay Christensen in the same sentence, be my guest! When you say Grant, I think you mean Clark — tough when you only know him as Elder Julian :) He is doing great and I am LOVING having him around again!

  21. Stacy you have been a pioneer and a mentor in this industry and its always exciting to see whats up your sleeve. With all the recent changes in the industry I knew we would hear from BPC- but I must admit this was not what I was expecting.

    I too have to admit I am a little concerned about who you have teamed up with. While they obviously have great products their lack of customer service is almost just as legendary. Please tell us that you and BPC will retain the stellar service you have always had.

    • Vicki,

      Similar to my post above with Janet, I’m sad to hear you’ve had a negative experience with SC’s customer service. We talk daily about our customers and how important they are to us, even the packing team tries their hardest to place stickers in perfect alignment on the packages so the product arrives as pretty as possible. If there’s something we can do different or better to improve your experience, please start a conversation with us and let us know.

    • Vicki,
      I appreciate your concerns and like April want to hear and address them — anytime. You can always email us admin@bigpictureclasses.com. From my perspective, there are so many positives in this merger, so many things that we will now be able to do that will benefit you and our other students. Together we will continue to work on improving what we do and we will need you to let us know how we are doing. Thank YOU!

  22. Wow..Happy Birthday! More blogging inspiration & quarterly Stacy kits are part of your dream..Love it! You continue to inspire me with your ideas and love of colors so can’t wait for more of what you really want to do now. Hope a quarterly kit is ready in Oct….a dream gift for my birthday!!

  23. Honestly, I am not excited about this news. I don’t like how Studio Calico has dominated the kit portion of the industry so much and now this feels like a move in the wrong direction. One thing that I love about BPC is Stacy Julian’s strong leadership of the company and how I feel that positively benefits every aspect of BPC. I have always felt that one great strength of BPC was that they encouraged students to utilize their stash instead of consume more and more product. This seems to move that philosophy in the opposite direction.

    • Tiffany,
      I really appreciate you voicing your concerns. I am happy to reassure you that BPC will remain product neutral and focused on education that inspires, motivates and sustains creative women. And, you’re right on … we want you to use your stash, so that you feel justified in making new, fun purchases. This will not change!

      • It has taken time for me to get used to this announcement. However, as I have seen the changes and effort going into the site, I am much happier. I am grateful that we continue to have BPC. I fully understand how stress can take such a serious toll on one’s health. I am grateful that you are making great choices. I am grateful for all your continued efforts in the scrapbooking industry. Best wishes!

  24. Sue Busada says:

    Stacy, you were the demonstrator on my DOTS training video, I’ve seen you at conventions and always loved your honesty and enthusiasm! I am thrilled to see you grow your dream without compromising your beliefs and losing your sense of fun!
    I am so happy to be along for the ride!! Upwards!! XO

  25. Jerri Griffith says:

    Stacy, so happy to hear about this new stage in YOUR life, as Mom, as woman of faith, as scrapper and as business woman. I love your list of wishes and I’m so glad you can see them to fruition. As BPC is “your baby” I have the utmost confidence in your choice of direction. I’ve been a fan and “follower” since the Core Composition days and LOM changed my life (or at least how I view it). Happy 49.25 (right there with you, minus a couple weeks), and I can’t wait to see what comes next! (Hoping your teaching travels might bring you eastward once again)

  26. Sharon F. says:

    Congratulations Stacy, for putting it out there and making it happen. I am so grateful for your energy, enthusiasm for our craft and sharing your revolutionary way of thinking. I too, am conflicted about this change, not because I don’t think its the right move for you, but because while I admire Studio Calico and its products and its very savvy branding and marketing, I have had some very disappointing customer service issues in being a part of one of its kit clubs. What should have been a simple request, took multiple emails and several months to resolve. I had asked for a manager and finally, April to respond, unfortunately, that never happened and I was left with a less than satisfied taste with the experience. Customer service has been the hallmark of BPC and as you would see from my very long list of classes, I have been a long, long time and loyal subscriber and member of the BPC family. My interactions between BPC and Studio Calico have been night and day as Janet has stated above. I am an optimistic person by nature, a customer service and marketing executive, so I will hope for the best and think positively that the BPC customer experience mindset will win out in this new endeavor. I know that people are human and can make mistakes, I give every opportunity for resolution, unfortunately, I found myself in in the company of several fellow scrappers who shared similar experiences. Not wanting to throw cold water on such a wonderful opportunity for you, but sharing a reality and reason for my concern. Please know that I wish you heartfelt wishes and all the best! Thank you for all you do.

    • Sharon,
      Thank you for sharing your perspective. You speak both from a personal place (as a customer) and from your professional expertise — please know that I am going to work really hard to preserve and promote the BPC culture and customer service that you enjoy and expect. I appreciate your optimism. I’m certain there will be bumps—there are always mistakes to be made and things to learn with any new venture—but I’ve been around long enough to know that if we keep talking, we will be able to smooth things out and keep improving. I have faith that we will take the best of both companies and bring them together in a marvelous way!

  27. I was very surprised to hear about the merger but always consider Studio Calico a leader in the industry and I think of you that way as well, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. Maybe just I didn’t realize the connection you already had. I really wanted to just pop on and say that after not listening to PRT for several months, I saw you were on there this week and wanted to hear about this very topic and more and I must say, “Oh my word – I needed a dose of Stacy!” I just needed that so bad. You put into words the things I am thinking but maybe I haven’t figured them out in my head yet and then you say it and I’m like, “yes! yes!! That’s it!!!” I always say the things that inspires me to scrapbook more than anything is going back and looking at what I’ve already done. I go, “I can do this!” and I have to constantly remotivate myself lately because after 12+ years of scrapbooking, sometimes I feel like I’ve said most of what there is to say. I do still have a lot of important stories to tell though….and it will always be my true love. Thank you for being you. I don’t take classes on BPC because I am just not a class taker, in general – but I always think I want to try one someday. Yours, I’m sure. I just love you Stacy Julian. I hope this merger makes your life sweeter in some way and all goes well. -Tracie PS: I can’t believe you were in Bowling Green – that is one hour from me!

    • Tracie,
      You are so kind. Thank you for taking time to come over here and tell me that you appreciated what I shared on the PRT. Means a ton! I just emailed you a little surprise.

  28. Congratulations Stacy with your news.

    I too am a bit hesitant but thats because it takes a while for me to get my head around change. I am a customer to both your sites, so in theory it makes sense that I will love whatever comes out of this.

    I am happy for you that this change will allow to you to pursue the things you love instead of being bogged down in “numbers”. We the world over will be better for this. Yes even little old me in Sydney, Australia. It’s amazing that we get an opportunity to participate regardless of where we live.

    You are an inspiring woman and it was a pleasure meeting you at the Play event this year.

    PS I just told my husband I was writing this and he told me to say hi from him. You made an impression on him too!

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