In about 2000 I met a woman named Maria who, like me, had relocated to the same area with our families. Maria was the mother of three and two of our children were in the same elementary school grade. We quickly bonded. As we got to know one another, over a few coffees, I learned that Maria was a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator. She showed me super adorable cards using the card stock, rubber stamps, and ink that she sold. To be honest, I thought it was a darling activity but it just wasn’t necessarily up my alley despite feeling I was crafty. As an ice breaker to meet new moms and their daughters, she decided to host a workshop in her home. I volunteered to be her Vanna White helper but I was clear to tell her that I wasn’t likely to place any orders but I would be a competent food server and after-event cleaning crew of one. Famous last words.
While doing my Vanna impersonation at Maria’s event, I watched the excitement of those who were creating while having a chance to also put ink to paper myself. I was unabashedly and thoroughly hooked. Why I resisted or thought this was not my thing, I still don’t know. Maybe it had to do with seeing other stamped projects that other gals I knew did that were really not my style and were not Stampin’ Up! I assumed Maria’s product line would be similar. It was not. Not even close.
I’m someone who calculates value and quality before I buy. I know from experience that saving a buck on some things really shows but I have to watch my pennies. I learned that lesson firsthand when I went to a national craft store and bought card stock that I quickly discovered was coarse and rougher like construction paper. Not like the smooth, “color all the way through” product Stampin’ Up! offered. I went to that same craft store to investigate their stamps and figured that one large stamp of theirs was the same price as 1/2 or 2/3 of a set of multiples that Maria showed in her Stampin’ Up! catalog. I would much rather have a set of 9 images that coordinated for a little more investment.
Once I fully digested the quality of the products, how the color coordination of ink, card stock, ribbon and other products took so much guesswork out of it (which, as the busy mom of four school aged children I really appreciated), and the value of what I was buying, I really didn’t look anywhere else. I started building my Stampin’ Up! collection and have never turned back. A little while into being a novice stamper, I approached Maria to ask her about signing up to also be a Demonstrator so I could get the same discount she got. I was her one and only recruit ever. That was June 28, 2002.
Over the years, Maria had to drop out as she had some important things to accomplish for herself (like completing her bachelor’s degree) and I forged my own path as a Demonstrator without any upline to support me. Just before I began as a Demonstrator, I also returned to full-time work at a school. It was a very busy time for me and our family but I think that the more I had to do, the more organized I was with all of it. Isn’t that how it seems to be?
In 2006, I earned my first ranking on the company’s top-100. I was #21 in the USA. How did that happen? I joined just for the discount but, at some point, a switch flipped and I thrived on sharing these products and the Demonstrator opportunity with everyone I met. Without an upline I didn’t even really make the connections about things like top-100 or the incentive trips. No joke but I learned I was in the top-100 when I got a check for $2,500 from Stampin’ Up! a few weeks after the July 2006 convention that I really wasn’t aware existed. I had to call the company to ask why I received a check of this size. It’s sort of comical in hindsight.
Around that time, solely on my own sales, I earned my first incentive trip which was the Panama Canal which my husband and I traveled on in the spring of 2007. Once you earn a trip like that, you have that taste and you want it again.. As I write, I have now earned 13 consecutive trips to such places as the Mediterranean, Alaska, Fiji, Thailand, all parts of the Caribbean, Bermuda, Disney World, etc…. Each trip has had its own unique highlights but the best part was taking my husband on a vacation that forced him to take time off from his very demanding job and my other favorite part is that I earned that for both of us. I didn’t win it. I earned it. It happens to real people like me and it can happen for anyone else if you put the effort into this.
A very important component of my story is the team that I have built nationwide. For me, as a thrifty bargain shopper, I love sharing the value of the Starter Kit as it’s akin to a giant coupon. Customers have joined for the same reason I had and things just morphed into a thriving group all connected by the Stampin’ Up! thread. We are in over 40 states plus abroad on US military bases. My community is called Stampers for Others as I love focusing on other people and their needs. One simple card can do so much for someone.
Aside from my wonderful husband of 32 years and four awesome children, my relationship with Stampin’ Up!, as a company, plus my customers and team plus other Demonstrators I’ve met along the way has been the most rewarding. The opportunities I have had presented to me as a part of the Stampin’ Up! family have been immensely gratifying. The relationships are beyond compare and have resulted in friendships where you wonder how you existed before knowing these folks. I’m now in year #16, I love everything about it, and have no plans of slowing down.
That’s my story – my how, when, and why. Have you considered creating your own Stampin’ Up! story?