Wow! 30 Years! Thru thick and thin. Thru all the ups and downs of national economies, natural and man-caused disasters, and an exceptionally ill-timed UPS strike! And I'm both amazed and proud to have been part of the adventure for 3/4 of those years!
Many (most?) of you have already heard my story:
I was invited to a "stamp" party by my best friend - way back in January of 1996. As I had nothing else to do that night, and after all it was being hosted by my BEST friend, and yeah, I did use stamps up in the right-hand corner of all the envelopes I mailed out regularly (remember, this was back in the days when you hand-wrote checks to pay your bills and mailed them through the postal system), so I showed up, figuring I'd could buy some stamps from her party 'cuz I used 'em practically every day anyway!
Well, man-o-man was I ever in for a surprise! The party didn't turn out to be about POSTAGE stamps, it was about ART stamps! Decorative stamps, which, when combined with beautiful colors of ink, could turn plain white cardstock into an absolute work of art!
Back in those days the only person at such an event who ever touched the goodies was the demonstrator, so I never laid a finger on a stamp that night. But I left that party already knowing I was a rubber stamper. I was totally over the moon - without ever even having touched a stamp or ink pad. In fact, I was SO excited I confess to having immediately hunted down a "stamp" store in town so I could get my first "fix" before my Stampin' Up! order even arrived!
But 4 months later, I was a demonstrator. Getting a discount on everything I purchased through Stampin' Up!, so my retail stamp store infatuation faded real quick.
My plan was to purchase a personal party's worth of stamps each month for 6 months. (Back then a "qualifying party" to earn you free host product, was $100.) So I would purchase $100 worth of product (at discount) AND get free host goodies every month - for those 6 months - and then quit. Surely $600-worth of supplies would provide all the stampin' supplies I'd ever need in a lifetime, right?
Well, a funny thing happened on the way to my quitting date. I made the "mistake" of attending a Stampin' Up! Convention, and absolutely fell head over heels in love with the COMPANY! So instead of coming home and quitting, I came home and planned an open house. And the next 2+ decades of my life took an amazing, but unpredicted, turn.
Fast forward more than 22 years, and Stampin' Up! has touched the lives of almost everyone I know these days, in one form or another. I've moved to new states twice (which means I've "started" my business 3 times). And life has changed, too. When I first started out, my son (then about 12 years old) went with me to every party. He was my right-hand man, carried and set up my gear, spoke of the world's colors in Stampin' Up! lingo, knew the names of all the products, sorted and bagged orders for me, and even eventually learned how to submit orders for me. But eventually, he grew up. A busy high school schedule, college, then marriage, and now 3 kids. And most recently, my life has included several years of caring for aging parents, which has significantly impacted the time I've had available to attend to my stampin' business. So now I'm rebooting it yet AGAIN, lol.
Along the way, our forms of "demonstration" have evolved, too. I still do hands-on classes, which I love, and David still helps me set up for booth events when he can, but much of my daily work is now done over the internet. I have a team of demonstrators who live in several different states, so when we "meet", it's online. Who'd have envisioned THAT back in 1996?!?!
But here we are.... still creating art with stamps and ink, and still looking forward to the future. Do I dare wonder what even 10 years from NOW might look like?
So! Birthdays call for celebrations, don't they?!? And for Stampin' Up!'s 30th birthday, what would make more sense than a SALE on stamps?!? So that's exactly what they're doing - for 24 hours only - Tuesday, October 23rd. (Note, those are MOUNTAIN TIME hours!) So check your wishlists and help yourself - at store.YourPaperDreams.com