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Richard Garay Fired from Fun Stamper’s Journey

The Fun Stamper’s Journey community was rocked last week by the announcement that Richard Garay had been fired from the direct sales company that he founded and of which he was the public face.

Richard Garay

Richard Garay at a 2016 Fun Stamper’s Journey event

Garay, who started his career as a top Stampin’ Up! demonstrator and concept artist, founded Fun Stamper’s Journey with his family in the garage of their California home in 2011. A majority interest in the new company was sold by the family a few years later to investor RAF Industries, and FSJ moved to Arizona to be run alongside RAF’s other craft industry asset, Spellbinders. In the past few years, Fun Stamper’s Journey has appeared to be nurturing a devoted and growing fan base, fueled largely by the cult of personality of Richard Garay himself and his constant travel to host events.

The initial public announcement of Garay’s firing came in a Facebook post by Fun Stamper’s Journey on September 27th (Wednesday). The four sentence statement indicated that, as of the previous day, Garay was no longer affiliated with the company and described it as a “sensitive time for the FSJ family” but gave no reason for Garay’s departure.

The same evening as the public announcement by Fun Stamper’s Journey, Garay held a Facebook Live on his RG Signature Facebook page. His demeanor ranged from teary to defiant during the nearly hour long Q&A session with fans. Garay confirmed that he had been fired, and told viewers that it was “because of conduct and behavior. I guess I wasn’t following policy and procedure. I was going against the values of FSJ…” but did not elaborate further. He also indicated that he had a three year non-compete that bars him from working for another creative company.

Garay’s popular assistant Dustin Capp (known to fans as Potato) has also been let go from Fun Stamper’s Journey. But in his Facebook Live, Garay told fans that his wife, Gabby, still retained her position as Director of Programs at Fun Stamper’s Journey and that she will have to make the decision “on her own” if she will remain with the company after his ouster.

The announcement of his firing by Fun Stamper’s Journey, predictably, initially sparked a lot of anger among loyal fans of the charismatic Garay, especially given the vague explanation of the circumstances from both parties (as is often the case in HR issues for legal reasons). Facebook posts from both FSJ and Garay about the topic quickly filled up with comments from Garay loyalists denouncing their ties to the company and indicating they planned to resign from FSJ as coaches. The mood may be shifting, however, after a new statement that was just issued by Garay.

The new statement, issued this evening by Garay on the RG Signature Facebook page, seems to have been crafted at least partially by lawyers, and Garay indicates in the posting that it is being shared at the request of Fun Stamper’s Journey. In the letter, Garay acknowledges full blame for his firing:

First, despite how difficult this is for me to admit, I must tell you that my termination was completely justified. While I don’t want to get into all the details, I will tell you that I misused company funds for my own benefit. And it involved significant amounts of money. That was obviously wrong. If the situation was reversed, and I was in FSJ’s position, I would have terminated myself for this. I was wrong. I admit that. And I accept and understand the appropriate actions FSJ took because of my behaviors.

Reaction to the new revelation was decidedly mixed, with some commenters expressing forgiveness for Garay but others turning anger (previously aimed at FSJ for the perceived injustice of the firing) on him.

Moving forward, of course, Garay’s termination means some big changes for FSJ brands. The Richard Garay wholesale line no longer exists, discontinued the day of Garay’s firing, and the line’s shutdown is so complete that its website has been erased from the internet. Although it will continue, Fun Stamper’s Journey will have a big void to fill in its public face. The company has started by promoting designer Kim Kesti, a familiar face at FSJ events to many in the company’s community of coaches and customers.

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8 Responses to Richard Garay Fired from Fun Stamper’s Journey

  1. karenmo October 3, 2017 at 5:46 am #

    WOW. Thanks for this article, Nancy.

  2. tli74 October 3, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    Yes.We got an email about his departure from that point on all the FJS boards were nuts. People are going crazy over this. I personally joined because of the set up for hobbyist. I never heard of him or FSJ until a friend sent me a link. I enjoy the company so far. He made a mistake so deal with and move on. Lots left the company just because of him, which I feel is a bit over the top but I guess some became close or been with him since day one or something. I am happy that things are out in the open now, time to move on.

  3. Lyneen Jesse October 6, 2017 at 1:51 am #

    Great article… thanks for reporting it like it is! You are the best!

  4. shirley October 14, 2017 at 7:16 pm #

    While he did indeed create the company, and build a super loving, encouraging community, he did not own it any longer. At some point it appears that he forgot that fsj is NOT all about him; there were others that he had to answer to. I am terribly saddened that this happened; however, the consequences needed to be paid. I truly wish him and Gabby well as they journey on.

  5. Beth January 21, 2018 at 3:42 pm #

    My advice? Steer clear of MLM’s and DS companies period!!! Trust me, you will lose your shirt and your sanity quite quickly! Glad I didn’t fall for this one, I’ve already been suckered in by two other companies and wish I had all that $$$ back in my pocket!

  6. Sharon Gullikson July 6, 2018 at 6:03 pm #

    I hope that FSJ bounces back people stuck by Richard and refused to deal with them anymore. I thought there was something fishy going on, but didn’t know what. I reserved judgment on either side because I didn’t know the details. But I did continue to watch his videos every now and then. It is horrible to me that he tried to pass himself off as a wonderful Christian man, while “misappropriating funds”. Call me crazy, but i think that he is on par with fake televangelists. I certainly won’t be buying anything from him, and don’t have the desire to watch his videos anymore. I am not angry. I just feel betrayed/like a sucker for believing that he was a good person. And I am guessing that Potato (Dustin) was probably doing the same thing. Just a guess since he was also fired…

  7. tli74 July 6, 2018 at 7:24 pm #

    HECK we bounced back even better. Stronger. The vibe is awesome. New look, new products just came out this month.

  8. Alex Gomez Stamps November 28, 2018 at 5:39 pm #

    I just stumbled across this article today. While, I appreciate this site in reporting the latest scrapbook news, I do believe an update is in order.

    Richard Garay continued to create and many times share FREE content in the form of online classes and digital stamps during his 1 year non-compete clause. He is an amazingly talented artist and has now flourished with the official launch of his new company RG Studio 360.

    Richard was always transparent and shared as much as he was allowed to about the situation with his former employer. Although some turned their back on Richard and took the statement posted at face value, they have since returned to create by his side.

    As of Oct 31st, FSJ has discontinued their Direct Sales program. In my opinion, that was a direct result of their own mistakes from their Executive Management team. As a former Executive Manager Coach at FSJ, the termination of Richard Garay was completely unjustified, handled poorly, and just another one of the many inexcusable corporate decisions made that did not align with what its Founders Richard and Gabby Garay had based the FSJ brand on.

    I would strongly urge the Editor to spotlight Richards new company, RG Studio 360 and provide a review and update for the community

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