We’ve hit the road to join the great, global conversations about books, photography, and art. The Blurb Roadshow was launched in the fall of September 2015 with the goal of connecting with our community on the ground, in person, face-to-face, while creating really unique events and experiences. We traveled to over 10 cities, met with hundreds of customers and partners, and hosted dozens upon dozens of events. Our very own Jessica Klimczak, Director of Brand Marketing, gives a recap of the Australian leg of the Blurb Roadshow.
From the moment I boarded the plane, I knew the Australian stop for the Roadshow was going to be one for the books. We had high aspirations, a jam-packed schedule, and a limited set of Blurb people to make it happen. Typically for a Roadshow stop, we spend a few days to a week in single city. But given the length of journey to Australia, we hoped to maximize our time. I have loved Australia since the first time I was able to visit as a child, and I was excited to interact with Australian Blurb customers and makers.
Divide and Conquer: Sydney & Melbourne
The first weekend found the team split between Sydney and Melbourne as we sponsored the HeadOn Photo Festival and exhibited at the Melbourne Art Book Fair. HeadOn opening weekend was a flurry of photographers looking to learn more about how to take their art from photos to photobooks and the Art Book Fair was just as busy. The Melbourne Art Book Fair was two and a half days of non-stop book discussions. From making, to buying, to destroying and recreating, the makers of Melbourne came out in full force. It was incredible to see the passion in the attendees. While I make books, I am not driven by their creation. It was fascinating for me to see the need to create fuel these incredible artists.
Food Blogger Master Class
After the whirlwind weekend, we reunited in Sydney for smaller customer and blogger events. When we were planning the Australian portion of the Roadshow we knew we wanted to connect with food bloggers while we were in Sydney. With a similar foodie culture to the one we have in San Francisco, we had to host an event to surprise and delight known food bloggers. We love food books and helping foodies understand how their art can be expertly transformed into a book or magazine. Kent, our own resident creative, created a magazine to help foodies realize how easy it is to take their food to food book. We hosted a wine tasting master class at the event at the Sydney Wine Center for 20 food bloggers. We were fortunate enough to have the head of Riedel Australia host the class which showcased how the glass you choose can dramatically change the flavor, smell and overall appeal of the wine you are drinking. Needless to say, the class was incredible. Don’t take my word for it, see what one of the bloggers in attendance had to say.
Meet & Greet
The next evening, we spent a few hours with our Australian customers, eating, drinking, and enjoying their books. We were thrilled at the number of people who attend from all over Australia, especially given how large that country is (I realized all of Europe could fit within the boarders of Australia with room to spare!). This is a standing event on every Roadshow stop because we truly love to chat with our customers and flip through their books. I must have looked through 50 books that night and each one blew me away in its own unique fashion. One of the author’s from our8 Author Spotlight series showed up, and while we had interacted many times, there is nothing like putting a face to a name. The evening flew by and before we knew it, everyone had gone home to get ready for the work day ahead.
Adobe & the Book Puzzle
The next morning, we jetted off to the Adobe MakeIt conference. Think of this as the Adobe Max of Asia Pacific. A fun day for designers and artists to see the newest tools and applications from the folks at Adobe. We hosted a Blurb Puzzle Hunt where attendees had to locate hidden puzzle pieces and assemble a 4×4 book puzzle we created using the book of an extremely talented Australian artist named Jessica Watts. We have wanted to create a book puzzle for an event for years and we were finally given the opportunity to do it. The puzzle, and the hunt, were a hit, and we look forward to taking the puzzle program on the road again in the future.
Real Time Book Design
Throughout the week, the HeadOn photo festival was taking place. In addition to showcasing Blurb made books and speaking with photographers, we found four artists and asked them to spend three days with a professional designer to build their book using Blurb’s plugin for Adobe InDesign. We set up a workspace in our Blurb lounge and HeadOn visitors were able to stop by and see the designers and artists work together. Given that we, at Blurb, rarely see people creating their books in real-time, we (and our visitors!)were fascinated to see the designers transform stories, images and illustrations into a flowing story across the pages of their books.
Comic Books & Costumes
Our final weekend in Sydney was spent at Kinokuniya bookstore, the largest bookstore in Australia, hosting the 10th annual Free Comic Book Day. This event was incredible. Lines around the block (look at the video below), starting at 6am, of people dressed up as their favorite comic book character. Earlier in the week, we had installed a Blurb Author Exhibit in the Gallery space which showcased what Australian authors used to create their book (see some examples below). It made for a great backdrop when taking photos of everyone in their cosplay attire.
Before we could even blink, the week and a half had flown by, leaving us with wonderful memories of the events, the people, and the books. Working at Blurb HQ, it can be easy to get sucked into the day-to-day tasks and forget to stop and look at the beautiful books people create using our tools. Everyone we met in Australia was incredibly friendly, kind, and eager to start their next project with Blurb. These events give us the opportunity to connect with our customers, view the incredible pieces of work they craft, and to see the impact those books make on their lives and the lives of others.
We’re happy to be back home in San Francisco, but miss our friends around the globe. Keep in touch via our social channels – we always want to hear from you! To see more photos from the Australian leg of the Roadshow, check out our Facebook page.