Stampin’ Up! Follow-Up

Wow.  I am just overwhelmed by the response of support.  I have read every single comment (twice!) and I sit here in silence just humbled.  So many of you literally brought tears to my eyes.  Doesn’t that sound so dramatic??!!  It’s so true though.  I CANNOT thank you enough for all of your input.  Some of you made me laugh too – especially about being able to show a piece of candy or a Zumba video or a picture of my daughter because SU doesn’t sell it lol!!  And, SU sending non-SU product sniffing dogs into my house – too funny.  Tracy, your comment about the petition was awesome.  🙂  There are some of you that agreed with the Stampin’ Up! policy, which I can understand, too.  There are two sides to every coin.

I learned several things from all of your comments:

  1. Women in the papercrafting world are truly amazing.  I kind of figured, “well, yes, people watch my videos when I put them out there”.  When I saw how many of you were emotionally engaged in this issue and totally charged up over my situation, I thought, “wow, it’s more than just watching a video to people.”  You showed me that you really care about and appreciate what I do.  I cannot tell you how much that meant to me!!!
  2. When I got my first notice from Stampin’ Up! on Monday, I assumed that Stampin’ Up! really couldn’t care less about me – my sales are a drop in the bucket for them.  But, when I read how many of you have bought more products from your existing demonstrators because of what I showed you, it’s a much bigger issue for them… I’m not sure they realized that when they sent me the email.
  3. I don’t mean this to sound like psycho-babble, but honestly, you made me feel worthy of more.  I was so very unsure of myself when I posted last night.  I’m not sure what prompted me to put it out there and not just resolve the situation on my own, but now I know why.  I learned so much about you guys and also myself through all your comments.  From that perspective, SU has given me a gift.

Many people asked me how dependent I am on the income from Stampin’ Up!.  To be honest, by the time I buy all the new products because old ones are retiring and can’t be used anymore and pay the monthly online SU fee (I also have to pay for a Stampin’ Up! branded and hosted site so that I can sell online – a complete waste of money), I’m pretty much breaking even. Breaking even means that I earn enough to cover my SU purchases.  Above that, there is nothing.  A financially lucrative business?  No.  However, I must say that being able to pay for most of my supplies is definitely a plus.

Some other people asked about my relationship with Stampin’ Up!  and what would happen if I don’t comply.  It is a voluntary relationship.  If I don’t like their rules, or they believe I am not abiding by their rules, we part ways and that’s it.  In the end, they define the rules.  If I want to play by those rules, then I can.  If not, then I just don’t join the game.  They have a right to dictate the rules, as it’s their company.  Whether we all agree with the rules is unfortunately irrelevant to them at the moment.  Kimberli emailed me… “why would they want to stop business that you are drawing in for them?”  Good question.  Time will tell.  As Dorothy T put it… it’s “a no win for everyone involved.”

Ok, ladies.  I’m not sure what you have done, lol, but I got a voicemail from Libby today.  She wants her email address removed from my blog.  I think she was afraid that I might post her email if she emailed me about it!  So, since I really have no intent to harm Stampin’ Up!, you will notice that her email address has been removed and replaced with ds@stampinup.com, per her request.  Hubby thought this was hilarious by the way!!

Libby also said that she is extending Stampin’ Up!’s deadline to Monday.  She would like the opportunity to talk with me about the SU policies and how they are in place to protect both demonstrators and Stampin’ Up!.  It didn’t sound like anything had changed, which frankly I wouldn’t expect anyway.

I believe that everything happens for a reason.  Per Marilyn, it could be a “blessing in disguise in a kicking-you-in-the-butt sort of way”.  Several people pointed out that cards that use supplies from just one company are “boring”.  I have to admit that I do see a sort of “stamping, cutting, and layering” consistency across a lot of SU demonstrators.  Sometimes I like to use a SU product with something else (i.e. a Ranger applicator) to bring out a different result.  I just cannot imagine limiting the creativity.

Stephanie summed it up rather nicely… “I would stop and think about what is important to you….making cards and giving others inspiration or selling SU?”  That simple statement really made me think.  And then, from Lisa W… “I had just lost a sister and was trying to distract myself with something that would cheer me up.  I actually was laughing and enjoying you creating your cards.”  Okay, that comment seriously did just stop me in my tracks and make me ask myself Stephanie’s question.

The answer for me is pretty clear… making cards and giving others inspiration.  I didn’t realize until last night how much I had reached others in a positive way and it very much surprised me.  And it made me feel good about what I do.  Don’t you often wonder if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing?  I mean in the grand-scheme-of-things sort of way. I do, a lot.

I plan to resign as a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator, but I am excited about what may lie ahead.

The only other decision I need to make is whether I will continue to use Stampin’ Up! products.  All of you know how much I love the products, not to mention how much I have!  Although it might seem satisfying to just boycott, I’m not sure that’s a good decision for me or for you.  You all still have products that you want to use – right?

Ironically enough, my post for next week was about how to use Stampin’ Up! markers so they look like Copic markers (can you believe it?).  I recorded the video over the weekend, before this whole drama.  I discovered a new technique using watercolor paper, markers, and a blender pen.  It’s just so cool that I have to post it.  I know a lot of you already have the markers, so I’m excited about showing you something new, even though I’m not feeling so great about SU right now.  I am hoping that will change with time.

On that note, I will close with a comment I heard from a lot of you in various ways… “When God closes a door, he opens a window”.  You’re right!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you – words cannot express how much I appreciate the time each of you took to write me.  🙂

Darlene

Comments

  1. Thank you for this, and for keeping this post live.
    You just helped me make a big decision: time to start relying on my own creativity rather than SU’s!

  2. I realize that this blog post is a few years old, but I’d like to say that since your time, SU has gotten much worse. The new comp plan, lowering of hostess dollars while raising the price of the party, never enough inventory, loooong backorder times.
    I quit after nearly 4 years in the company.
    I could no longer lie to my customers. It seems SU’s corporate makes decisions and the demos have to pay for it. Either by loss in sales of by losing customers. They are offering $15 for a $200 party now. My customers are not happy. Many have moved on and when I decided to go to a new company who do not have my area saturated with salespeople, at least my customers came with me. One of the best things of my new stamping company is, I get a FREE webpage to sell from!!
    I admire your courage to take the path you did and I must admit that it helped me make my decision.
    I am not one who likes to upset people, but SU had no problem in upsetting me.
    The FINAL straw was the Blendabilities. Many of my customers bought ALL of them plus the spring colors. Over $224 in marker that they could no longer replace. I finally got all of their exchanges in and my own as well. But SU may it abundantly clear that they PREFERRED customers getting exchanges instead of asking for their money back.
    I turned my letter of resignation in and while they said they were unhappy to see me go, they did not offer any rebuttal to my list of reasons. Since Shelli went on her mission work and her daughter has taken over, SU no longer has the “Customer 1st” attitude they had when I signed up.
    Thank you for your time.

    • Gale Kiser Smith says:

      After your comments from July 7, 2015 you clearly helped me make up my mind about SU. Ihave been debating about becoming a demonstrator. Truth is i need some income. Cant seem to land a job, no one wants an older , over weight woman these days. Anyway , i have a newly found passion for making cards and i make sea shell mirrors. I want to sell my items , but was afraid i couldnt if i use SU. But the company seems to have many issues and not a good profit return. So i won’t be sucked into this company. If you like you , you can see my work on my Pinterest boards…please check them out abd give me your opinion. Thanks. Gale Kiser Smith

    • To Rosemary Paul. Thank you for your recent note. I was searching out thei policy on this issue as I thought they had changed their minds about using other products in their business. If anyone has an update, I would be interested I knowing what it is. I’m thinking about r enjoining but I will not stop using other products. What is the company you have gone with now, if you don’t mind sharing? Any comments from Darlene or her following would be appreciated. I will also ask the question on LiveLoveCards, too thanks. Myra from Florida

  3. Outraged stamper says:

    You shouldn’t take off Libby’s email. When was the last time she did you any favors? Her email is elsem@stampinup.com and anybody who is outraged needs to let her know.

  4. Jessica Yoder-Jones says:

    Do you know, that I was actually going to become a Stampin Up demonstrator until I came across your post. I not only changed my mind about it, I also wrote an email to the above address and how it is appalling that they have done this to you. I think it is horrible. You have to be a very limited-creative person to only use ONE type of style, product, and/or company — we woman we’re just not created that way! We have creativity that needs to come out weather it is using one type of product or another. It’s horrible, and I am done ordering any products of theirs and will be passing it on to my friends what they’ve done to you. You are SO much better off — there are such better products out there and now you won’t be limited!!!

  5. Darlene,
    I have to agree with Christine. Unlike what is being described in some of the comments, SU does not restrict creativity or product purchases. You can buy and use whatever you want. SU has such a wide range of products that if one has freely signed up to become a demo, things like copics are not necessary because you can achieve the same effect with SU markers, watercolor paper and aqua painter. You can use/purchase WHATEVER you want, as long as it is not presented in the context of SU products/blog/activiites that promote SU. SU simply asks that demos use SU only products in conjunction with blogs or events that promote SU. Having links to catalogs and other SU promotional information does indeed place this blog in the business of promoting/selling SU corporate. If the contract that you WILLINGLY entered into with SU is violated, then a decision is made on the part of the blog owner or SU, to come into compliance with the contract or part ways. It is no different from any other contract (hey, that’s what is keeping Judge Judy on air!!). As for SU being greedy, I would have to disagree. They are exceedingly generous to demonstrators and customers in all aspects and their enforcement of a contract is not based on greed, but a need to draw some kind of line where a corporate contract is involved. Demonstrators buy into the “franchise” and thus are asked to comply with the contract they signed, just as McDonalds or any other franchisee is.

    I think that it is great that you have made a decision per what is best for you from a creative and crafting perspective. If the SU requirements have made you uncomfortable or unhappy, then it is in your best interest to follow your heart and do what gives you joy in life! I wish you all the best and crafting fun!!

    Jackie

  6. Hi.

    i just found your blog about 4 weeks ago and love it, I have gone back and viewed nearly all your videos, they are great. So many ideas I have used.
    I am personally a demo in New Zealand, and I cant understand where you are breaking the rule’s, we had regionals a while back and this was a question I brought up with nz head lady, and she said as long as you didnt link or state where you could buy other company product then you were o.k.
    Since you have removed links then what is the problem.
    Keep doing what you love making cards and please keep on posting on your blog, every thursday ( a day ahead down here) you are the first blog i check to see what card you have done this week.

    take care
    megan

  7. I’m so glad this is a positive experience for you in the end! You’re right, it’s a mutual relationship where they make the rules, and necessarily so. However, it’s your right to end that relationship. A word of advice, don’t limit your creativity and keep using their products when they work for you in a project. Show them your grace and forgiveness in spite of their corporate greed and tendency to take all you do for them for granted.

  8. Hi, just wanted to say that I am a crafter from England and our stampin up catalogue is not as extensive as the US version. To be honest I have no choice but to combine products from many different companies. I love stampin up products but also Paper trey, hero arts, basic grey and lawn fawn are amazing to name but a few. I love your blog Darlene as I find it so creative and because of your wonderful work I buy stampin up products even though they are a tad expensive over here! Keep up the good work – you are a very talented lady. Good luck for the future – please keep posting your wonderful videos – we love them over here!!!

  9. SO glad you decided to terminate with SU and continue your blog as it is. I really enjoy your blog. I own many SU products and I am beginning to re-think the decision; I am not a demonstrator (thank goodness). I think it is rather petty of SU to put pressure like this. Another blog I check out made the same decision you did (to terminate with SU) because of the pressures. Maybe SU needs a good dose of failure to change their way of thinking. What are they afraid of…competition?? Very petty SU…get a grip. Love ur blog Darlene!!

  10. Darlene,

    You and Kristina Werner are the two people who have inspired me the most. If it weren’t for your videos, I would probably not have gotten as smitten with cardmaking and paper crafting as I have.

    You are such an inspiration and I love your style, Darlene. Your videos are clear and informative, and your style is fun and beautiful.

    I agree with what several others have said… Is this blog a creative outlet and sharing what you love? Or is it a business project? I have always come to this blog and seen your videos with the first in mind.

    You have never struck me as one of those demonstrators who try to push products on people – it seems you do it because you love it, not because you need the money. I even mailed you from Canada to see if there was a way I could purchase from you because I adore your style and your laid back website.

    I hope you find peace with your decision, no matter what it is, and that it doesn’t take away from your joy of crafting.

  11. Go Darlene!! We will support you any way you go!! IM DONE WITH STAMPIN UP!

  12. Darlene I wish you all the best. I check your blog each week for new inspiration, and have to admit I was surprised up to now that Stampin’ up had not contacted you. I do see both sides of the issue.

    I think what Stampin’ Up are saying is that you can have a blog, show as many products from as many companies as you like, but you can not use the same forum to promote yourself as a demonstrator.

    This is not a new concept. If you worked for a bank and a customer asked for a certain product and you did not have it, it is bad for business if you tell them to go to another bank (and you would probably get in trouble). As a representative of the bank it would be your job to show the customer other possible products that may suit their needs. If you were talking to a close friend at home and they asked you the same question, your answer might be different, because you are not currently in ‘work’ time and your answer would be based on benefiting your friend, not your work place.

    You may still benefit from being a demonstrator, even if it is to get product for yourself at a discounted rate, and still be able to sell through demonstrations, friends needs, regular customers etc.

    I often ponder about becoming a Stampin’ Up demonstrator, and if I ever do I will know that when I am in ‘demonstrator mode’ I will be doing everything to show what I have to offer. If a customer asked about copics, I would probably have some examples of similar effects that can be achieved using a blender pen or watercolouring. While at home or when crafting with friends I will still have fun using my copics, distress inks and many other products and tools that I have accumulated over the years.

    The end result is about deciding whether this blog is just a personal blog, or a blog to promote a business. Because if you promote a business then there are rules that come with that commitment.

    In ending I will continue to enjoy what ever types of inspiration you offer, whether it be Stampin’ Up or other brands.

  13. Christine says:

    I have to say something one last time because this is upsetting to me. As I have posted before SU has NEVER said that Darlene can’t use other products. SU has NOT painted Darlene in a corner. Darlene signed a contract with SU that says she will not promote another company’s product alongside SU product… Do Mary Kay consultants have other cosmetics on their websites or demonstrate them in their classes? No, it is against their contract. Do Mary Kay consultants use other products besides MK, yes but they don’t advertise it. Does the Close to My Heart consultant promote SU or Creative Memories on her website or in her classes? No. Folks it has NOTHING to do with using the other products privately, it has EVERYTHING to do with honoring a contract, a written signed agreement. Darlene could still do all her videos on a blog that does not advertise the fact that she is a SU demonstrator and does not have a picture of the current catalogs with a link to order from her. Darlene could do them both, but keep them separate. SU is a wonderful company, with exceptional products. Markers are markers, ink is ink, paper is paper. These are competing products and promoting them together just happens to be a violation of a signed contract with SU as well as other companies. There are companies out there that will not, by signed contract, allow an artist to be on anyone else’s design teams.
    I see this as not only a legal matter which should be known before signing a contract, but also has a common sense factor to it.
    I respect Darlene for deciding that the SU contract is not for her. What I cannot abide is the bashing of SU and making them the party that is wrong. They held up their side of the contract.

    • I cannot believe that you are the only one saying this. I like Darlene’s craft videos but she was so clearly in the wrong here as SU’s demo. She does not seem to have understood the terms/ her role and what is expected of her before signing the contract to become a demo.

  14. I was somewhat taken aback at the tone of the posting from Anonymous. I feel that using terms like “not bright enough” when talking about Darlene is totally laughable. The part about “if you were TRULY creative” you would not need to use other products”, was over the top. Anonymous, I don’t know if you are a blogger who invests a lot of hours a week doing videos, for free, for the public, but Darlene is. She is not saying you have to use other products. If you only use SU products everyday of your life ,no one has a bone to pick with you. You can become the CEO of SU and that would be fine and we would be happy for you.

    But, the issue here is, is it worth it for Darlene to choose something else when SU has painted her into a corner. I say yes. She is not trying to rain on your SU parade and everyone who reads this blog probably has purchased these products as a result of her influence. So these statements about Darlene not being “TRULY creative” because she has used some markers with a non SU label, is laughable. Hopefully, you will be blessed in your papercraft hobby or business or both, but you don’t need to be unkind and call something into question that shouldn’t be called into question. Also a name attatched to a post is a nice touch.

  15. I’m behind you, Darlene! Artistic talent such as yours should not be restricted, but fostered. Find a company that will appreciate your abilities, not curtail them. SU does not deserve to have you. They have lost many wonderful artists due to their policies. Let them have their repetitive, ordinary (read “boring”), cookie-cutter crafters. There is a place for that, but that place is not my place! Spread your wings. Create wonderful things!

  16. G’day Darlene – just playing catch up with all that has been going on for you in the last few days – wow it’s been big. So glad you put it all ‘out there’ and look at the response, you are truly appreciated and it is worthwhile what you do. I also look forward to your weekly vid’s and on thursday’s my kids are ready for school super quick because if they are I let them watch your newest vid so thank you for helping me run a tight ship in the morning – lol!!! After what has happened for you it makes the SU ‘statement of the heart’ sound a bit hollow for me. I, like so many others, look forward to your continuing creativity. Big hugs….

  17. Pat Longar says:

    Darlene, I am very proud of the decision you have made. SU is not only loosing a good demonstrator but all the good you have done in showing different ways to use their stamps.
    I have just recently found your site but have already enjoyed it enormously. SU has good products but then they are not the only ones that do.
    This is a free country and this sure limits your and other demonstrators of your freedom to create…. Remember no one can make you feel inferior unless you let them….
    You are on the right track….You go girl !!!

  18. Margaret in WI says:

    Good Luck Darlene, I will continue to tune in for your special brand of inspiration and creativity! As to “Anonymous” if you were creative and smart enough, you would be brave enough to post your real name…….’nuff said!

  19. Darlene, I believe you made the right decision! Crafters should never be hampered in their creativity by having to use only one manufacturer’s products. All the “unauthorized” products you used only enhanced Stampin’ Up’s products. It becomes very boring to use the same products over and over without adding something extra once in a while. Cards should never look like they came from a cookie cutter… they need to be individualized and that may require using another company’s product. I look forward to watching all your videos in the future. Great success in all your future endeavors.

  20. Congratulations on your decision. SU is really the loser.

    Darlene, as an aside, I have to tell you I follow several blogs of people who create their own stamps and dies, but that doesn’t stop them from using other’s stamps and dies. They realize that they can’t always fill the need for everyone. I commend these folks and continue to support them with my dollars.

    One thing that continually amazes me about crafters is how supportive they are of each other. They, like you, are willing to share their talents, ideas, and recipes without regard necessaily making a cent. God has provided them a talent and, thanks to the magic of technology, they are able to “teach” others around the world. The world is so full of strife today and it is so wonderful that despite our cultural differences, crafters come together in harmony.

    Darlene, can’t wait until your next video.

  21. You made a good informed decision. SU is losing a big promoter and believer in their products.

  22. Bonjour,
    Désolée de ne pas parler ta langue, je suis française.
    Je viens de découvrir ton blog, et je tenais à mettre un petit mot pour dire combien tes cartes sont magnifiques. J’ai fait une visite complète de ton blog, depuis sa création et je suis sous le charme !
    Un grand bravo !
    désolée pour vos problèmes avec Stamping up.

  23. Yessssss!!! Can’t wait for your next video!! Lets have fun with this new door that God opend!! Creativity at its best is much better with the freedom to express what is inside of you! GO DARLENE GO!!!

  24. You go, Girl! Join Andrea Walford, Valita, Patti Lee, and many other gifted crafters who (perhaps) received “hand slaps” and now recognize the good products beyond SU and are now “free” to use them. (If they weren’t slapped, they must have felt very restricted.) I, also, was hand slapped and left. Your husband gives good advice…as my husband did. We’ll all still be here lovin’ your blog and learning from your creativity! Thank you for sharing.

  25. Darlene, I love your videos. I will continue to look forward to them no matter what Company or products you use. You have an extraordinary gift. It will be Stampin Up’s loss.

  26. Terri (blindstamper) says:

    Well, I’m a little late to chime in (was on vacation), but I (selfishly) think you’ve made a great decision…you know I love your videos. As a hobby demo who doesn’t blog, I was worried this would eventually happen to you. I think you had a great balance of SU and non-SU…even showing how to use SU ink instead of distress ink! It’s SU!’s loss, but the rest of the crafting world’s gain! I’ve been slowly discovering the goodness outside of SU…there’s just too much fun stuff out there not to explore!

  27. Dulce Salvi says:

    Darlene: I share with you the joy and excitement in reading so many positive comments.You’re talented, creative and have good taste. I’ll be waiting for Wednesday to enjoy another beautiful work. And as I said before, you can turn pens, paper,stamps, inks, etc. in art, whatever the brand. Congratulations and I hope you actually take the best decision for you.

  28. I applaud your decision. Creativity was meant to be shared, without boundaries. Diversity strengthens and that includes our papercrafting endeavors. It’s a sad commentary for the SU! corporate culture that there are so many self-proclaimed watchdogs that will report perceived transgressions. And for why. It belittles SU!

    I’m so glad you’ve chosen another path. Your videos have inspired countless more viewers than have commented; I am one of those who rarely commented but avidly scrutinized each video and tried the portrayed technique du jour. Thank you for sharing your creativity and thank you for choosing to inspire us without boundaries.

  29. I have to say I commend you for the thought and concern you put into this decision. I also must say that Stampin’ Up is doing their company a disservice by assuming their demonstrators are not going to use ANY other products that are available. The market is there for all, and Stampin’ Up should realize that if they do not offer products, such as Copic markers, stampers will go elsewhere to find them.

    There isn’t a stamper out there who does not realize the quality product they receive from Stampin’ Up. But there isn’t a stamper out there who doesn’t want to expand their creativity either, which means ALL stampers will use other products on occassion because it is impossible for Stampin’ Up to offer everything available, and only Stampin’ Up offer it.

    I must say the only thing Stampin’ Up is doing by this is putting a bad light on them. Please continue to do the great blogs and Wednesday demos. I love your ideas and have used many of them.

    Stampin’ Sue

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