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16 years ago…

I’m feeling rather nostalgic and more sentimental today as I look back on my 16 years as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator.  I hope you’ll bear with me as I look back on my journey.  I can hardly believe that 16 years ago, I signed up to be a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator.

Sara, me & Shelli at my First Founder’s Circle event

My stamping journey actually began 10 years before I become a demonstrator.  I remember attending a little class, I saw advertised in the The Bay.  The class was held in a small meeting room right in The Bay.  It was an introduction to stamping by a stamping company, the Frog’s Whiskers, that  travelled around to different locations.  I fell in love with stamping right then and there. Finally, there was a craft I could do!

To backtrack a bit, I had never been a crafty girl, and yet I was surrounded by crafty people.  My mom was a sewer. She made everything from doll clothes to wedding dresses.  She also quilted and she was an excellent cook too.  And my grandmother (my mom’s mom) was an artist.  She did oil paintings in her spare time while she raised 3 children.  I still have a few of her paintings in my home. And me, I inherited not a single one of  those artistic skills!

Even my childhood friends seemed crafty.  They took art classes, drew portraits, made macrame and pottery.  But, as a young adult,  when I attended that first stamping class in the Bay, I finally found a craft that I can do and love.

Stamping is the craft for the uncrafty.

Well of course, the crafty people like stamping too! Stamping was a craft where I didn’t have to draw anything or create anything from scratch. The artwork was done for me!  I could focus on taking the awesome stamps and just make cards. My practical heart thought was a a great bonus too because I created a crafty item that had a purpose. And it made people happend too!

After that class at the Bay, I muddled along trying to teach myself to stamp. I invested in the magazine, Rubber Stamp Madness and I looked forward every few months to that magazine arriving in my mailbox.  I was able to get some stamps from my original stamp lady and also from a small store in Kingston, Ontario called Marchants, which sold stamps and some paper supplies.  But I was limited to what I could access and find.

I first heard of  Stampin’ Up! at a Mom and Tots group in Burlington when a friend mentioned that she was going to a Stampin’ Up! party.  I expressed interest and she invited me along.  But the night of the party she was sick! But I was so desparate to find good stamping products that I went to the party anyways even though I didn’t know a soul.  And once, I got those stamps in my hands,  I’m sure my jaw hit the table a few times as I wowed my way through my first Stampin’ Up! Catalogue.  My first card was pretty hideous, by today’s standards, but I was so proud of that card!

 

My First Stampin’ Up! Card in 2003

On top of a fabulous time, Stampin’ Up! opened up o whole new avenue to my craft.  Everything I wanted was all in that catalogue!   I loved the co-ordinating products and the ink pad design was brilliant (still is!).  The day after the party, I called up the demonstrator and told her that I wanted to buy the demonstrator kit, but I had no intention of selling!  Ha…famous last words.  My new team leader, suggested I just show my new stuff to my friends in a party format.  When I did, I realized that other people like to stamp too!

Stamp Club Members 2006

I started my business while I was on an extended maternity leave and earned enough money to pay for my own crafts. But as time went on, I found I was able to use that money to pay for some household bills.  And then eventually I felt like I could quit my full time job, and be home for my young kids, while still contributing to the household income.   As my boys have gotten older, my need to be home for them has changed.

Team Photo ~ Approximately 2009

I found I liked being my own boss and I liked the extra perks of my job too, so I continued to work as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator.  The extra perks not only paid for my own product, but I got sneak peeks of new products, earned cash bonuses and starting earning trips too.

Stampin’ Up! Cruise 2007 to Panama with a giant “Wheel”

I’ve been fortunate enough earn trips to places like Mexico, the Caribbean, Panama, Alask, Disney and Hawaii.  And this summer, my husband and I will go on a Stampin’ Up! cruise to the Greek Isles.  And Stampin’ Up! trips are like no other (but I’ll save that for another post.)

But the bigggest perk of this business, and the resason I’m feeling sentimental today, is the PEOPLE I have met along the way –both my clients and the people on my team!  I have met people thru classes, workshops, team meetings, travel, events and more.

Team Members at Stampin’ Up! 2017 Event

I’ve met wonderful, thoughtful, fun, generous, sweet, silly, empathetic, crazy -you know who you are ; ) -, crafty, friendly,  caring, considerate,  passionate, hilarious, sincere and amazing people! I’ve heard stories about families, work, friends, renovations, husbands, home, friends, babies, cars,  grandkids, and more.  I feel lucky to have been touched and have touched so many lives.  My life, and the lives of my family have been enriched and strengthened by meeting and knowing you.  And without Stampin’ Up! none of it would have happened!!  For something that started as just a little hobby, it surely has been life changing for me.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for an amazing 16 years!  And here’s for more to come!