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Interviews with (SUPER) Women: Bri Emery & Angela Kohler of BLOGSHOP!

blogshop portrait
Who: DesignLoveFest’s Bri Emery and Angela Kohler of Angela & Ithyle Photography
What: Founders of BLOGSHOP
Where:Chicago, Illinois

The Interviews with (SUPER) Women series is a collection of Q&A’s with women from whom I find inspiration — or women I think are just plain badass, admirable, or hilarious. Probably a mixture of all those things combined. These women can be anyone — artists, mothers, professors, bloggers, career women — who is awesome in some way, shape or form. I’ve interviewed a number of women in the name of journalism over the span of my time at the University of Cincinnati. Each and every one of these interviews has inspired me and validated my own experiences, choices and passions. The collection continues with an interview with the ladies of BLOGSHOP.

Graphic designer Bri Emery and photographer Angela Kohler had two things in common when they first met only a handful of years ago: a love of blogging and two boyfriends who were in the same band. Little did they know, the pair would go on to travel all around the globe together in the name of better blogging. Together, they dreamed up BLOGSHOP, a workshop dedicated to teaching bloggers how to build visually stunning blogs and beautiful brands through the use of Photoshop. At only a little more than two years old, Bri and Angela’s BLOGSHOP has become a beloved staple of the blogosphere. It’s must more than a Photoshop boot camp – it’s a place to meet new friends, eat good food, and bask in the beauty that comes from the colorful creativity that follows wherever the BLOGSHOP twosome leads. I had a quick chat with Bri and Angela in May about future, staying creative, and the power of the blogosphere after attending their Chicago BLOGSHOP. Here’s a peek into the beautiful brains behind the brand — and some pretty pictures to go along with it!
blogshop-13 blogshop-42 Bri-Angela-QA-5 blogshop-24 blogshop-28 blogshop-14 blogshop-43 blogshop-12 Q: You two are about to begin your first “vacation” from BLOGSHOP for the first time since you began teaching two years ago. Bri, you mentioned it’s also going to be a time to strategize your next moves when it comes to the classes and the brand. What do you hope to accomplish as you move forward? What are your biggest hopes and dreams for BLOGSHOP right now?
A+B: We are excited to mix things up a bit and try things that we have not done before. We have been going two years strong, and it’s time to do some brainstorming! There will certainly be some idea sessions over Eggs Benedict happening in July for us!
Q:The Everygirl interviewed the two of you a little more than a year ago now, but it seems like a lot has changed since that interview! How have the classes evolved since the very beginning? How have you grown as a team?
A+B: We are really observing and learning how people absorb information, how to feel the students out, when they need a break, or when to reiterate a concept. There is a lot of technical material in our class, and it is exciting to see when little tricks we give for memorizing something really stick. It keeps getting more and more rewarding. Q:What is the biggest takeaway of BLOGSHOP other than the Photoshop skills?
A+B: We try to infuse the lessons with the “how will you apply this to your lives.” All of our students lead such amazing lives and do SO many things. We are not interested in skills that are going to make everyone create the same content, but when we talk a little bit about theory (we both have degrees in the arts), it’s fun to see the students wheels turning about how they are going to make their new skills unique to them.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge that BLOGSHOP brings into your lives? A+B: Sometimes we both miss our own beds at home with our own boys and our pets.
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Q:What’s the biggest reward you, as its teachers and hosts, take away from BLOGSHOP?
A+B: At the end of day two of the workshop, when everyone is starting to really get it, we feel so proud. We see the creativity start to come out in the practices. Then the students’ questions become more about style and personality and about how to do the things they were picturing themselves creating. When they realize they have learned everything they need in order to do those things, it is really rewarding.
Q: How has blogging grown since you began teaching the class?
A+B: Original content. We talk about this so much in class, about how no one wants to see the same old thing online. More and more people are going to blogs where they can find fresh, relevant, unique content that really gives a glimpse into the life of the blogger. We think this is becoming more and more important all the time.
Q: Why do you think blogging such a worthwhile and meaningful medium for bloggers and their readers?
A+B: We all like to sneak a peek into the lives of others. Blogging is little bite-sized glimpses. There are so many personalities on the web; relatable blogs are so readily accessible. It’s really fantastic.
Q: From your perspective, why is blogging relevant and how will it remain relevant?
A+B: Any forum that allows people to connect with others will have a following. The more authentic the blog content is to the writer’s essence (we talk a lot about the bloggers and their “brand”) the more relevant it will be. We feel that the viewer can feel authenticity immediately.
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Q: How do you continue to stay motivated with each BLOGSHOP?
A+B: We continue to stay motived by focusing on the learning. We remind ourselves each time we teach that we are responding to that specific class, and we try to take mental notes that will allow us to make the next class better and better. Even though it is the same material for us, hearing those “ooooh’s” and “ahhhh’s” when someone learns something new never gets old.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your own blogs and creative endeavors?
A+B:Everywhere! We are so lucky to get to do so many creative things and be surrounded by creative people. There are so many opportunities to be inspired.
Q: What is your hope for the future of blogging?
A+B:We hope that students will use their skills to get to the next level of blog content—to create things we’ve never seen before.

blogshop-8 Bri-Angela-QA-3 blogshop-23 blogshop-17 blogshop-9 blogshop-38 blogshop-chicago12 Bri-Angela-QA-1 (portrait and group photos) blogshop-30 Bri-Angela-QA-2

Have you ever been to BLOGSHOP? What was your experience like? What’s your favorite thing you learned? Let me know what you think in the comments below! Are there any amazing women in your life or whose work you follow that I should interview?

Cliché Beginner Blogger Blues

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OK, so I never thought I’d write one of “those” posts. After being an avid blog reader for years upon years upon years, I dreamed of starting my own blog. I thought I’d have so much inspiration and pent up creative energy — and the truth is, I do…BUT…it’s just hard to post on a regular basis when it’s such a new thing! Is anyone even reading? Who knows! But you have to start somewhere, right?

It’s nice to know that I have a bunch of classmates in the same boat, though. I thought this would seem “old hat,” when I started blogging…I’ve worked for a newspaper, written for a small magazine, update my Facebook and Twitter nonstop. I Instagram often. This is just another form of social media, right? Well, maybe not. Blogging is extremely interactive in a deeper way than a status update or posting a photo. And it’s totally different than writing for a publication — a traditional publication, that is. Because you can see who reads your blog…or who doesn’t read it. You can see how often someone reads it. You can see if no one’s reading it at all. And that, quite frankly, is intimidating! (Sidebar: Yes, I know exclamation points are frowned upon in journalism. But this is my blog. And that’s that.)

So is this whole beginner blogger blues business normal? Is it common? Most likely. I bet there are millions and millions of posts just like this one out there. So it’s probably even annoying that I’m writing this. But oh well! 

Because a cliché post is better than no post. Here’s to breaking the radio silence!

So how about you, fellow bloggers out there? Did you have the blues when you began your blog? How’d you get through it? How have things changed over the course of your blog’s life? Leave a comment below, pretty please!

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