My Dilemma. What do You Think?

Good evening all,

I’m in a little bit of a quandary about an issue that has come up this week. I’ll need to start with a little history, but I’ll be brief…

About six months ago, Stampin’ Up! sent me an email and asked me to remove all links on my blog to competitive sites.  Typically, in my supplies list, I would link to both Stampin’ Up! and non-Stampin’ Up! products that I used (e.g. to Hero Arts or to Two Peas in a Bucket). They had an issue with me linking people to buy non-Stampin’ Up! products. They said I should be careful about using competitive products, but they did not tell me to stop. All they wanted was for me to remove the links. I could understand their position, so I complied and removed the links.  And this is why you see the separate supply lists after each video.

On Monday, I received another email from Stampin’ Up!. This time, they asked me to stop using all non-Stampin’ Up! products immediately (including products that Stampin’ Up! does not sell, such as liquid pearls, spellbinders, etc.). In addition, they specifically requested (well, I guess I should say “demanded”) that I take down every video that uses Copic markers since March, 2011. I’m not sure why they picked that particular product to censor… maybe because it’s the one non-SU product that I use most often?

I sent them a response on Tuesday, explaining that I only use non-SU products when there is no SU equivalent. For example, Copic markers are alcohol-based dye ink markers. Stampin’ Up! does not sell any alcohol-based dye ink markers. I use Ranger liquid pearls because SU does not have a similar product. I gave several examples. I also explained that when SU releases a product that I already own from another company, I spend my own money to purchase the SU version (so now I have duplicate products), so that I can use it in my videos.

For those of you who saw me Wednesday, you know that I have been on pins and needles, awaiting a response from SU, hoping they would understand my position and reconsider their request. My husband said, “Seriously Darlene, can you please think of something else?!”

Their response came this afternoon. They explained that while they understand my position on using products that Stampin’ Up! does not sell, they cannot condone it because they need to also protect potential future Stampin’ Up! products.  Um, seriously?  (Sorry, my commentary).  They have their policy and that’s it. They asked me to notify them in writing by tomorrow (Friday), that I have complied with their demands.

So now you see my dilemma. I am just totally distraught over this situation. On the one hand, I love Stampin’ Up! products and want to promote and use them. On the other hand, I feel like Stampin’ Up! is censoring the content of my personal site and they shouldn’t be able to do that. I mean, I can understand that they don’t want me promoting products that they sell, but if they don’t sell it, how is it wrong? There are so many non-SU products I love – do I really want to limit myself to only Stampin’ Up!?

My husband thinks that what SU is asking is completely outrageous. He says I should sell every Stampin’ Up! product I have on eBay and use that money to buy a whole new set of products that I like from other companies. That seems a little drastic to me. But, is he right?

I wanted to just put this out there and see what you think. If you were in my place, what would you do? And, conversely, what is it that YOU want to see?  To be honest, I’m having a hard time even conceiving of taking down so many of those videos I worked so hard on.  I’m just plain mad.

You can view the entire email thread HERE.

Ugh!!

Comments

  1. by the way, they targeted COPIC simply because it is the largest, most used alcohol-based marker ever! My personal favorite, though I do use others…SPECTRUM NOIRE, SHARPIE, both great markers. They would be In direct competition with SU’s STAMPIN’ BLENDS.

  2. Kathlene says:

    Hi, I totally understand your dilemma. I also love SU products and even became a demonstrator in 2012. I quickly found out about the [non compete] clauses and because I love other Brands [such as Hero Arts-Penny Black- etc}. I stopped being a demonstrator. Also because when I realized with all the products purchased and they decide to retire so many stamps and colors, then I was left with tons of product I couldn’t use in classes etc.

  3. I was doing research on Stampin up! to see if it would be something I would like to do. However, I changed my mind after this. You haven’t done anything wrong here. If they care about their customers then they wouldn’t care where the products come from, they would be happy that we are expressing ourselves. I am subscribed to your youtube channel, and you are one of my favorites. I considered Stampin Up! because I trusted you. Not because I trust Stampin’ Up. I can see now that they only care about what benefits them. Paperwishes is a great sight! Provides amazing monthly boxes, not just limited to cards. They have a die subscription, a stamp subscription, cheaper than Paper Pumpkin. Plus, their products are just as good but cheaper. Stampin’ Up! isn’t the only company out there. I agree with your husband!!! Go with what you feel is right.

  4. Hi! I came upon your site when I googled what to do if I don’t like my Stampin Up purchase. You came up as the second and third choices, so I thought I would give it a look. I just spent over $50 on product, and let me tell you, I have NEVER had to do so much work to use a stamp. I was completely deflated when I saw that ALL of the stamps I had ordered were rubber. I see no reason for using a stamp you can’t see through. I stupidly assumed that when it said “use with clear blocks” you could see through the stamp. The consultant had told me they weren’t photopolymer, that still didn’t click. I just thought I don’t care what plastic they are made of. LOL
    I used to be a paper instruction teacher at Michaels and was only allowed to use what they sold. Which I get. But I was teaching classes IN their store. What you do on your personal website should be YOUR business, not theirs.
    I was looking into selling a home based craft business, and honestly, looking through the SU catalog could not find $155 worth of product I wanted (other than possibly stamp pads) to start my business. I remembered about Close to my Heart and checked out their current catalog. I had over $100 in the first 10 sets of stamps. And I have used and own CTMH stamp pads and stamps for about 17 years. Even the stamp pads STILL WORK. Upon further investigation, I saw that unlike SU, when you join CTMH, you don’t pick your own product. They send you a kit meant for success. Complete with 2 sets of stamps, pads, etc so you can begin hosting your own party and making money right away. I liked that much better.
    I haven’t decided if I will sign up with CTMH yet, but I know for dang sure I will NOT be signing up with SU.
    Thank you for your post!

  5. came across this 2011 post and all the comments and the followup. My friend and I were discussing how some people only use StampinUp products and how their cards get to looking sort of mass produced, while she and I prefer to be more creative (and we use all sorts of products, household items, old stuff recycled, etc) and not have our cards look just like someone else’s we saw on Pinterest.
    So truthfully, I was doing a quick google for “stampin up is boring” just to see if anyone ever wrote that kind of opinion, and your blog came up.
    Looking forward to reading on the rest of the blog and comments!

  6. Happened to come across your blog doing a search on Stampin Up products as there’s a lady that sells it here in town and wanted to find out more. I flipped through the catalog and surprised at how much wasn’t there despite how thick the catalog is. For such a big company, they are rather small minded in products and after your experience extremely arrogant and uppity. If this company truly wants to be competitive, they need to compete with the products already out there. I only happened to buy some paper because she had the exact colors I needed for my mini album that I’d been searching for weeks.

    I’m glad you found a way to move on (been reading other posts) and still work with what you love. You have gorgeous cards and you’ve inspired me to try some new things. I’ve enjoyed your blog and your creative spirit. Thanks for sharing your talents despite a company trying to hold you back.

  7. Anna Jernigan says:

    Well here I am, ages later, issues are probably all resoloved, but here is my two-cents: NO-ONE tells you what to do on your own blog, censorship is what our fore-fathers fled from, and started this nation with all the freedoms that we have, and hold dear. Good grief woman, run don’t walk to the nearest Post Office with your letter of resignation. IF a stamping company wants to run their business like the Gestapo, then quit! I agree with Hubby, and shame on Stampin Up for their ridiculous “demands”. Were you an employee? Or a prisoner? I’m guessing this is all under the bridge, and I know that you made the right decision for yourself, you just seem like that sort of person. Darlene, a job is a job, not to dictate your entire life, although their are some loyalty issues, which it sounded like you followed. After that, it’s not competition, it’s weird. Remember the Cricut versus that SureCuts Issue? Cricut may have won the lawsuit, but they lost a lot of followers. Me thinks that Stampin Up ought to realize that the public sees or hears this type of “employee control” they will boycott their company, it’s been done before, so, just saying. Anyway trust your instincts, and your sense of right and wrong, and maybe it’s time to say “hey, it was fun while it lasted, but it is over”. Got to find out how this turned out. Remember the closed door, opened window adage? Well….just saying.

  8. Although this is an old post, I feel compelled to comment. I am not a SU demo but I always found their products to be limited and extremely pricey. I don’t have half the supplies that others do but when I want something, it’s easier for me to get non-SU products that are less expensive and I can use coupons etc. These non-SU products are just as good or better in many cases. Sadly I met an arrogant SU demo in my area and she was so darn intimidating and made me feel like I was a cheapo for not buying her SU products. I never liked her tactics and I have seen one more like that since 🙁 I have no doubt that most are very nice folks. My problem is with the products, the company attitude and their exorbitant prices.

  9. Well Darlene I believe you should abide by the SU agreement it is not the right thing to go against the agreement you signed. If you want to promote the other products you use don’t do it along side SU, go to the other company’s and sign up with them and get paid for it. I certainly wouldn’t promote another product if your not getting paid from that company.

    I suggest do as your asked and stay with SU they are best products and great quality, I have purchased other products and they are definitely not as of high standard as Stampin Up. Thanks for sharing your wonderful talent.

  10. I just came across your site and this thread. I have been a demo for a few years and about to kick the bucket for the very same reason – the IDA, on paper *seems* reasonable, but it is reinterpreted by whoever, whenever, and mostly jealous demos reporting successful ones, the demos who base themselves only on copying other people’s work because they cannot create themselves.
    I am a bit tired of this. My worked has been copied up and down under their “case” idea (which benefits SU only, and not the demo who created it), my work was used by another demo to get published (I get so mad when I think about it, it’s not funny), my upline dropped, my customers are tired. The whole thing is stale. And all the while, all these wonderful stamps, tools and papers out there in the world!!! (I buy and use them like crazy, just can’t post them or make videos on how to use them. ugh).
    I hope you are happy with your decision to leave SU! – I am about to do the same… not only that, but am also getting ready to release my own stamp and paper line – my blog will finally be awesome, populated with all the cool stuff I’ve been making but can’t show.
    You have inspired me to brake free LOL! Cheers!

  11. What you need to do is resign and not be subjected to these ridiculous contracts that only serve their needs and not your own. This was happening to me 2 years ago and I was fed up. What I did was resign but then continue to buy from a different demonstrator and resell them MY WAY with no rules!!! haha!! I have made $150k over the past two years doing it my way. Their rules are limiting the sales of their products.

  12. Hey Darlene! I just read this post even tho it was last year. I hope you DID leave SU and possibly buy from a friend that sells SU or go on ebay to buy whatever you need. Yeah..I totally agree with your husband and I can also understand your dilemma…I do NOT however, understand SU’s stance on this. How rude..they are NOT the ONLY distributor out there and like you said..there are things THEY dont make that you love using on your crafting. I hope you left SU and are happy. That must have been a hard decision and to be bomarbed with such petty crap..well…is just that: petty crap!!

    Have a great day and keep your head up and keep crafting!! ..Pam

  13. Hi there. Just needed to write a swift remark and tell you that I wholly agree with your specific post. Entirely spot on.

  14. wow I’m in marketing and this is a STUPID move on Stampin Ups part.

    Just the fact that you use a SU product IN each video is a tremendous marketing benefit to them and you as a rep for SU.

    What terrible sportsmanship, censorship, and PURE lack of understanding of marketing and the use of social media.

    Major fail in my book. And, when I happened upon your site I was actually surprised to see SU was still around and became interested in them until I read this.

    I work in marketing helping companies and non-profits with social media (and have been in this field for 11 years) so really, I can’t understand WHAT they were thinking from a marketing and business perspective. Shows they are very small fry.

  15. Gosh, it’s a tough spot to be put in. I’ve gone through something similar myself. I was able to give myself some time to think it through and to let the heat from my own anger and frustration cool down before I made a decision. It’s too hard to be forced into a decision when the emotions are full on. But sadly, it sounds like you don’t have a lot of time to let it cool.

    I can only put out there that if you decide to resign, you could always re-join at a later date if they decide to change their policy, couldn’t you? It doesn’t have to be a forever situation. Especially since you really love the product. Change is hard. I personally think they are shooting themselves in the foot with these rules.

    I too, don’t think a personal blog should be able to be regulated by a company that you independently sell for, and where there is no reimbursement to you whatsoever for your time, ect, for basically selling and promoting on their behalf. I call that free advertising for them… and they get to tell you how to go about doing it. Gosh, my personal feelings over my own issue are coming back up to the surface…

    Wishing you the best in what ever you decide. Hugs to you. 🙂

  16. What they are asking is completely out of line. I love your videos and your projects. Like you I also use stampin’ up products with all the other amazing product lines that other companies make. All stampin’ up is doing here is losing customers with this kind of tyrant behaviour. Yours is not the first case like this i have heard of and it just makes me sick! If Stampin’ Up wants to behave like children then stop supporting them. I am now going to find alternate products to replace the Stampin’ Up products that i currently use. I say leave them behind if they are going to treat you like less than a human!

  17. I think SU is being completely unreasonable!! Please don’t change your blog at all. There is “no one size fits all” company for our paper crafting supplies. I think it is wonderful that you coordinate products from many different lines. I think many of SU products are overpriced but have bought some of their products because I’ve you seen you demonstating them. I, like I’m sure many others, have to spend their craft dollars wisely. There are many blogs and classes out there that encourage us “to use what we have” because they know money is tight. However, when economic times get better we will buy what we can.

    There was another “big” company out there who also went after other companies who created software that went their product. I think they lost a lot of business because people saw this as a big company going after smaller ones. I, for one, stopped buying their products. And, I had been buying a lot of stuff from them.

    I know that business need to stay competitve but I think ethics in business can go a long way to create customer loyality and increase their bottom line.

    Your blog has been such an inspiration to me and I hope you continue as you have in the past.

  18. SU has done this to so many wonderful stamping/paper artists, and I find it very distasteful for this huge company to take this position. I’m a SU demo, but only for the discount. I will probably drop them now. Your blog is one of my favorites, and I would be so sad if you had to change because of their completely paranoid position. I’ve purchased several stamp sets from SU based solely on projects from your blog. If SU doesn’t want their demos to use other products, maybe they should step up their product line. Please don’t change your blog post, or your art. Your work is outstanding, and any product company would be fortunate to have you on their team, no matter what tools you choose to use. Holly M.

  19. I think SU finds sites such as yours because others are reporting these sites to them. Another artist I used to follow also was reported to SU and she had to quite SU to continue her own journey and started her own on-line company. I do like the SU products, but they are just too costly compared to other products out there. Their prices aren’t competitive and their selection of products isn’t large enough for me. I realize that contracts are black and white for very good reasons, but one only has to read the comments posted on this issue to see they are not doing themselves any favors. I’m sorry you are going through this inner turmoil; you sure have a lot of support out here : ) Love your work!

  20. I think your blog is fabulous. I know several demonstrators who are in the same position you are. It is unfortunate that SU is doing this to their demonstrators, especially for product they do not sell.

    My suggestion… hee hee… play the game, and do 2 blogs! They don’t need to know…. hahahah!

  21. Darlene,

    I am a SU! demo too, and you’ve enabled me to purchase many a Stampin Up product! I’ll be sad if you no longer are a demo, but I’d understand and continue to come to your blog.

    I really love SU things, and can’t see myself moving away from it but I’d understand if you choose to no longer be a demo.

    Good luck with your decision Darlene!

  22. Darlene, you knew your descision when you first got this news……go with it!!!!

  23. Do they pay you for doing this blog, and promoting their products? I love your videos, and would really miss them. I don’t buy SU products because they can only be bought at a party, and I’ve never been invited. (It definitely stunts their sales potential.) It’s just rediculous that they would be unhappy that you are doing this – on your own time. You don’t mention whether you work for them or not… if you don’t, then don’t worry about what they like. If you are one of their representatives, they should pay you for getting people interested in their products – and I’d say the other products you use should pay you, too!

  24. I am really sorry for the way SU is treating you. My first thought would be that I would never comply with such a stupid demand, but thinking about it a little more I realized that I don´t know how much you need of don´t need the income you generate being a SU demonstrator. I am glad I live in Europe, where an agreement like SU has with their demonstrators would legally and socially could never be possible.

    Maybe there is a possibility you have a SU-blog and a non-SU blog?? I mean….. if you have a non-SU blog, where you just post your art, without mentioning you are a SU demonstrator, could they still demand you stop that too?

    I wish you all the best, please let us know what you decide on the blog!

  25. You are totally right — they should not be intruding/censoring your PERSONAL website especially about products they don’t even carry.

    SU has the right to “police” their own DWBS sites but not the personal sites. Besides, they make money on DWBS whether you sell or not and the majority of reps I’ve talked with make little OR NO money off these sites. Only SU makes money for the fee.

    SU also makes money thanks to you on your personal site as well as some other companies — it’s called competition! If you make great products, they will sell. If you don’t keep up with trends then the competition sells what you don’t have — Copics, Spellbinders, etc. As my old Pappy used to say ” you can’t sell empty shelves”.

    Anyhow, nothing is worth being unhappy for. Listen to hubby, give it up, and we’ll follow you. As stated by others, it’s SU’s loss. Your talents and creativity provided more sales for them.

  26. It’s a heartwrenching decision regardless which way you go. I’ve seen so many of the SU! demos leave in the past 2 years because of the continual reinterpretation of the IDA. Yes, the Demo Manual does state in its section 6.2 you may not actively promote, market, or sell competitve products and goes on to state and any products that SU! decides to sell in the future. But in section 6.22 (Internet/Web policy) it states that demos may make casual or incidental references to competitive products. SU! encourages generic references but still allows the demo to use the name of the competitive product, artist, or supply in a supply list form without giving sales information or linking. Seems to me you should probably further discuss the discrepancy with the Compliance Department. Good luck!

  27. Wow! I am also a demo (I just don’t blog) who uses non-SU stuff when there is no equivalent. I’m with the person who said to get out if you can afford to. There is just too much fun stuff out there to limit yourself to one company. Good luck.

  28. emilyvilla says:

    I think your husband is right. SU doesnt have a few products equivalent to other products that you use. Why should you be punished . Your work is outstanding. If you only used SU they would see a downgrade in your work . Do they really want that???

  29. Addendum to my comment above. The manual link is actually located on the bottom left of the Printing Place.

  30. While I understand that it appears that SU is being unreasonable, I suggest you check out the original IDA that you signed when you first became a demonstrator. Also, check out section 6.3 of the demo manual which is located on the demonstrator website. (Home > My Business > My Business Resources > Printing Place. The manual link is located on the bottom right under “Business.”)

    SU is just enforcing an agreement that you signed and agreed to when you signed up to be an independent demonstrator.

    I’m sorry that you are facing this challenge to your business but hope that this information will help you with your decision.

  31. DISGUSTING!!! This is your own private blog and you should be able to do what you want. I think one day someone is going to challenge SU in court about their idealisms.

    Ter 😉

  32. Darlene, I am a huge fan of your videos as you make amazing cards using ALL SORTS of products. I think SU is being unreasonable in their request, especially to remove all old videos from your own personal blog. I can understand their part if a contract was involved and they are trying to protect their company, even though I believe they are making plenty of money off of you regardless of other products being mentioned on your blog. I guess the real issue comes down to whether or not you need the money that comes in from being a SU demonstrator and saleswoman. If you can afford to part with that income, then I say do so and be free to use any products that you desire. Like you said, if SU had product equivalents to everything out there, that would be one thing…but they don’t. So why should your creativity suffer just because SU is paranoid that they are losing money because you happen to use a few other products. Follow your heart Darlene, it won’t lead you the wrong way! Good luck!!

  33. Honestly?!! I would just say NO and move on. That is ridiculous!

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