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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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New “Anthology by Lisa Bearnson” Product Line Announced

Lisa Bearnson, the founding publisher of Creating Keepsakes magazine, has announced that she is launching a new product line with multi-level marketing company Youngevity.

AnthologyComingSoonScreen

Anthology by Lisa Bearnson is described in Bearnson’s blog announcement as “a comprehensive line of scrapbooking and papercrafting products.” Bearnson promised “it will be a collection of fresh, fashion-forward designs grounded on the principle that quality scrapbooking and memory keeping does not have to be difficult.” Continue Reading →

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Katie Pertiet to Partner with Our Memories For Life

Popular designer Katie Pertiet announced today via her blog that she is partnering with Our Memories for Life to be the brand’s exclusive product designer. Katie has previously been known in the scrapbook world for her work with such brands as Autumn Leaves and My Mind’s Eye, and as the owner of Designer Digitals.

Our Memories for Life is the scrapbooking brand that was founded earlier this year at direct sales company Heritage Makers (part of the Youngevity umbrella) by Creative Memories co-founder Rhonda Anderson after her departure from the company she founded. OMFL Christmas Joy Collection Continue Reading →

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Stampin’ Up! Quietly Launching Apostrophe S

Stampin’ Up!, which informed its consultant base back in March that it was launching a new direct sales brand, has spent the past few months quietly launching Apostrophe S. The new venture is being headed by Sara Douglass, a Stampin’ Up! company executive who is the daughter of founder Shelli Gardner.

Apostrophe S logoApostrophe S is a direct sales company aimed at a young demographic of Makers, and is focusing solely on selling self-contained project kits at the moment. The initial product releases includes 8 kits in a variety of craft areas including jewelry, home decor and kids crafts, with price points between $20 and $40 dollars each. For instance – the kit pictured below, called Recycled Romance, creates romantic table centerpieces out of recycled paperback books and ribbon, and sells for $25. Continue Reading →

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MemoryWorks To Cease Direct Sales Operations

MemoryWorks, the direct sales company that gave birth to wholesaler Simple Stories, has announced that it will be ceasing operations effective December 31st.

The company was founded in 2002 by Kevin and Amber Crowell, and carried a range of products from My Mind’s Eye, Fancy Pants, Echo Park, BoBunny, Teresa Collins, American Crafts, Bella Blvd, and a host of other companies. The 2009 release to MemoryWorks customers of an exclusive in-house pocket scrapbooking collection, the same year that Project 365 and Project Life also grabbed the imagination of scrapbook consumers with pocket scrapbooking, catapulted the company in a whole new direction. “Life Documented by Simple Stories” was a massive success and lead the company to launch the Simple Stories wholesale line in 2010. Since then, MemoryWorks has increasingly lived in the shadow of the explosive success of Simple Stories, which quickly became one of the industry’s juggernauts, riding the wave of consumer passion for pocket scrapbooking. Continue Reading →

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Close To My Heart Announces International Expansion

Direct sales company Close To My Heart has announced that they are expanding their consultant sales network into Australia and New Zealand. Currently, the Utah-based company only operates consultant networks in the United States and Canada, although the company had been selling directly to consumers in Australia for about a year in preparation for entering the direct sales market in Australia and New Zealand.

The company is forming a subsidiary called Close to My Heart Australasia, which they expect will commence operations in Australia in July 2013, followed 30-60 days later by New Zealand. The company has purchased Creative Memories Australia’s databases of Consultant and customer names with contact information and distributor genealogy structure, after Creative Memories opted to cease operations in Australia and New Zealand as part of their current bankruptcy.

Brian O’Callaghan, former General Manager of Creative Memories Australasia, is part of the new Close To My Heart Australasia team, as are Susan Wilmot and Diane Lampert, who were both former Senior Directors of Creative Memories Australia. Continue Reading →

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