If you've been around for a while, you probably know why I became a Stampin' Up! demonstrator. This year marks my 10th anniversary with Stampin' Up!® - the longest I've worked in any field! I want to tell you my story from the beginning until now - so make sure your coffee cup is full, and enjoy the read! :D
About twelve years ago, my mom got an invitation to a SU! party. I'd never heard of it before, but Mom knew I was into crafts - when I got married, I gave away almost all my crafting stuff, so I wasn't doing a lot with my spare time. :) We went to that party together, and I sat there the whole time - back when most parties were mostly demonstration, very little hands-on - looking through the Idea Book & Catalog. I remember thinking, "Wow. This is expensive. I can do it cheaper with my discount coupons from [put in your favorite craft store here!]!"
I ordered a teddy bear set - now long-gone, called Button Bear - and blender pens and the Stampin' Pastels, and I was off! Couponing for card stock, ink pads, and stamps.
In 2000, I had a great job, bringing in lots of money a month (for us, it was a bunch of money!!!), and I decided I wanted to join Stampin' Up! for the discount. I knew of someone in Jackson, TN, who sold for the discount, and signed under her. She warned me that she wasn't active, and wouldn't do anything for me - and she didn't lie! She even QUIT SU! without letting me know - so I was an orphaned demo, and taught myself everything I know about stamping!
Fortunately, Stampin' Up! is FULL of people who are willing to help each other - and the company itself sends out a FANTASTIC monthly magazine for demonstrators, with stamping AND business tips and ideas. But I was only doing it for a discount, not to make money.
Then things changed. :D
The first thing that changed was that someone called me! She had called Stampin' Up! and gotten two demonstrator's names from them - she wanted to join up! I had no clue what to do, so we figured it out together. :) And not long after that, I was "restructured" out of my job.
We decided to move back to the Pacific Northwest; one fantastic thing about Stampin' Up! is that it goes with you - and is not demanding! We have a rather easy quarterly minimum, and from there you do whatever you want. So, it came with me when I started a part-time job at the lodge Kenn had been hired at.
I had my own stamping room, with a door to close when I didn't want to face the mess. :D I got the chance to meet and stamp with some wonderful demonstrators there, and picked up a second downline - a demonstrator who joins under you. Six months after we got there, Kenn's position was gone - and we were living on my part-time pay, unemployment, and whatever I could scrape together.
We moved back to Nashville - and my parents talked to us. They knew how desperate our finances were becoming, and offered us a place to live (paying rent, but not asking much!); we would all help each other, and I would be here for health issues - to be their advocates when needed, help with anything in that line.
I *think* we're going on 7 years we've been back - and I am SO blessed! My parents have been SO gracious and giving; they've given me use of the downstairs great room as my studio, to hold classes and to absolutely clutter with paqper crafting. :D Dad and I designed an easy crafting counter and storage areas, and while Kenn and I were in Oregon/Washington for my stepdaughter's wedding a few years ago, our contractor did the room. It's become a place where people I stamp with have become some of my dearest friends!
All the time we've been back, Kenn hasn't wanted me to go back to office work because of my health. Stampin' Up! was my pocket money when he was working in Corporate America - and since we've been doing just the photography, it's been really helpful to have the income. In the last year, when our main source of photography jobs closed down, Stampin' Up! has become my way of being able to pay some of our monthly bills. It's been a rare month when I haven't been able to take care of the ones I've committed to - thanks to YOU, and to a company that offers my customers great specials and incredible products!
I get to do what I love to do, make incredible friends while doing it, and feel that I'm making a contribution to our household as well. WOW! I am SO blessed!
And if you'd like to talk about how Stampin' Up! can become part of your life like it has mine, I'd LOVE to! You don't have to know ANYTHING about stamping - but if you DO stamp, it's a great way to support your habit. :D
IF you're just not interested in becoming a demonstrator, that's FINE. :D I need you as a customer or class attendee, too! Your support means SO MUCH to me - I tell EVERYONE I have the BEST stampers in the world. You are giving, and fun, and accept anyone who walks in to stamp with us. I've seen you share your products, show a brand-new stamper how to do any project step by step - and all the while, you're fun and caring. And there are some of you who really care about me! :D Keep bringing your friends to stamp at classes; book your parties! You help just by SMILING at me!! :D
Thank you for being in my life! Here's to 2010 - and lots more stamping together!