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So Long, BlogPodium

by - Thursday, August 30, 2018

It all started with a conversation. In 2011, a blogger friend and I hatched the idea to create a place for bloggers to gather and learn. And so, BlogPodium, Canada's Conference for Lifestyle and Design Bloggers, was born. Connection, conversation, collaboration - that was the motto since the beginning and it continued to propel my vision of what BlogPodium should be as I continued to helm this business over the next seven years, supported by a team of amazing women. I always knew deep inside that someday the conference would come to an end. And sadly, today is that day.

I hope you'll forgive me if I take a trip down memory lane. It's never easy to move on, is it?

Looking back now, I couldn't have imagined how far that one idea of bringing people together would take us. Seven conferences, held in small meeting rooms to grand ballrooms, in Vancouver and Toronto, over 150 brands participating, and almost 2000 people attending over the years. I am so very proud of what BlogPodium had become.

On stage at the first BlogPodium event at IDS 2012, with Leigh Ann and Kimberley
Keynote Speaker Nicole Balch of Making It Lovely at BlogPodium 2012
At that first two BlogPodium events in 2012, we talked about very timely topics: firstly, how could bloggers get noticed and featured in magazines and on TV; and secondly, could you really make a living as a blogger in Canada? It's amazing how in a few short years traditional media is now struggling, and there is the lingering fear that blogs will follow suit.

And that second question? It's still a valid question. Blogging has changed and shifted and though many more are pursuing it as a career, I'm still not convinced that it will ever be sustainable and profitable for the majority of us.

Talking social media with Scott McGillivray, Monika Hibbs and Leigh Ann Allaire Perrault
Lucky contest winners enjoying a visit to the office of BlogPodium 2013 Keynote Speaker, Sarah Richardson
Keynote Speaker Jillian Harris gracing our stage at BlogPodium 2015

Tiffany Pratt holding centre stage at BlogPodium 2016

My husband Sean, BrittanyBrittLesleyJulie and I getting cozy with Shea McGee at BlogPodium 2017
We were incredibly lucky to hear from the experts over the years, not only our illustrious and recognizable celebrity speakers but the countless bloggers like Becki and Chris, Gemma, Lucy, DonnaKaren, Tracey and so so many more who shared their knowledge and expertise. Because of them, we were able to propel ourselves beyond just blogging and dive into vlogging, photography, shop keeping and other creative endeavours.

The annual photo booth backdrop! This one in 2013 also featured a business card pin up wall.

Barbara getting in some shopping at Justine's booth at the Handmade Market at BlogPodium 2015
It was a personally satisfying time for me too. I loved the idea of creating something out of nothing each and every year. Bringing brands to meet our community, providing space for networking and small markets run by creatives, working with Shannon and Robin to bring the pretty details to life... it was incredibly hard to orchestrate all those moving parts but I simply loved it.

And while I won't be bringing bloggers + brands together in the same way anymore, I'm so very happy with the connections that were made. BlogPodium was the spark to ignite conversations and bring people together who might never have met. I'd like to think we brought legitimacy to blogging in Canada, that we were worthy to be at the table and be regarded by Canada's biggest lifestyle brands. I'm humbled by the fact that the brands I most admire - Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Indigo, IKEA, President's Choice, PARA Paints, Shoppers Drug Mart, West Elm, Delta Faucet, Metrie, President's Choice, HomeSense and many others - saw it fit to be there. That we bloggers mattered. Seeing bloggers working with the brands they met at BlogPodium? That's my favourite kind of reward.

Nancy, Christine, Tia, Julie, Lisa, Barbara, Brittany, Britt. I will miss seeing these ladies in September.
In many ways, BlogPodium is like my first love. It lingers there in my memory and is part of my history. I look back at these photos and remember who I was then and think how I, how all of us, have changed as bloggers.

I feel like BlogPodium was the right thing at the right time. It captured blogging in its heyday, when it was fun and creative and motivated by passion. It's all become a bit more business-like and driven by the numbers (financial and follower counts), hasn't it?

There will always be a need for people to come together in person. Even as we move increasingly into a digital world, where we can run our businesses in isolation and over our devices, meeting in real life brings a certain kind of magic.

I was so happy to be the custodian of that magic, even for a little while. I won't say I'll never go and organize another conference, but for now, it's time to move on. So long, BlogPodium. You were one of my wildest dreams.

To find out what I'm up to next, and to see the next evolution of BlogPodium, please visit Storyhouse Co.

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