In my last post, I shared a video with all of the fun fall finds from Michael’s. I also was awaiting a shipment from the seasonal catalog from Stampin’ Up. There were so many cute and creative things in this year’s catalog, I just wanted to share them!
So Much Fun Stuff!
After a very uninspiring offering in 2016, both the annual catalog and the holiday catalog at SU contained tons of stuff I couldn’t wait to start playing with. The annual colors this year also inspire me. The Christmas and fall stamp and die sets are lovely. And that door die/stamp set! Oh my goodness, all the things I can create with that. But most of all, it was the graveyard gate that sealed the deal. I’d been looking for an ornate but not fussy gate to use on Halloween crafts. I’d seen an awesome one on Pinterest, but it happened to be a placemat and not a stamp or die. The only other one I liked was on a Cricut cartridge and I just couldn’t get into the thought of having to hack one of those just for one image.
Before I clicked any of these items into my cart, I had to think of five different ways I could use them in my crafts. Because they’re a little on the spendy side–especially the stamp/die bundles, I wanted to make sure I had lots of ways I could put them to good use. That means, lots of ways for you to see how you’d use them in your crafts!
Over the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing lots of posts with projects made with these purchases. I plan on presenting three series as we go through the seasons: #LoveFallArt, Halloween, and Christmas.
So, without further adieu….
What did we get?
What was your favorite item? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll make sure to work on those projects first.
What About Stampin’ Up?
I fall right in the middle of the fence when it comes to Stampin’ Up. For those who might be wondering, no, I am not an SU demonstrator. I would consider it, but you have to agree to not promote other company’s products and to limit your videos to their products. I really don’t want to be so closely tied to one company like that since there are several companies whose products I love (yes, Lindy’s, that would be you, and Bo Bunny and Viva Decor too).
You can make marvelous amounts of money selling and promoting Stampin’ Up’s products, so it’s not that I’m against multi-level marketing sales structures. (Because think about it, for almost every single thing we buy, there are always several layers between a product manufacturer and you, the consumer. So, why not help support small business owners instead of large distributorships and middlemen.)
In fact, when I decided to make my first purchase from SU, I chose a demonstrator supported by Darlene Devries at Live Love Cards. Darlene’s friend donates all of her earnings to a children’s foster charity. I like that my purchases go to help foster children. As our local mattress chain says, not everyone can be a foster parent, but anyone can help a foster child. And with my recent purchases, those kids are in for a treat!
The Pros and Cons of Stampin’ Up
So why do I sit right on the middle of the fence when it comes to SU? Here’s some pros and cons:
- Love the color coordination–paper, inks, markers, ribbons and embellishments. Coordination makes it easy to find colors that go well together and coordinate exactly with their designer paper packs.
- The ink pads are awesome! And there’s an excellent range of colors to pick from.
- The paper is amazing. It’s nice, thick, creases well and provides physical structure to 3D projects. Cheaper by-the-sheet than branded paper at local and chain stores (with the exception of stock-up 10/$2 sales at Joann’s)
- So many demonstrators, so many creative ideas to be inspired by
- Well-made, brand-name and re-branded products (Sizzix dies and embossing folders, for example).
- Wide variety of greetings and sentiments.
- Not solely focused on cartoonish or grunge-ish designs
- Fast processing and delivery
- Expensive and not many sales. This is probably the biggest knock I have.
- So many demonstrators! And the pitch to sign up with them can be wearying. But the ones who are especially good at it are making six figures+ doing something they love, so there is something to be said for that!
- This year, they discontinued sales of 12×12 paper, with the exception of some key colors. Want to create a project with your favorite color that’s not one of theirs? Too bad!
- Except for the color-coordinated basics, each year the catalog is almost completely refreshed. Which means your favorite products may just disappear before you know it. While that’s true across the industry, it seems SU discontinues even some of the best basics.
- Shipping can become disproportionately expensive since it’s always 10% of the purchase price. As your purchases add up, the weight to send it does not increase at the same rate. And, in the day and age of prime shipping and priority mail, paying $20 or $30 just for shipping seems a little ridiculous.
- The designer paper packs have limited designs and are launched just once per year. Often, there’s just one or two pieces of to-die-for paper mixed in with a lot of ho hum. Not inspired? Gotta wait until next year.
- If you run out of their paper, or other supplies, it’s a long wait to get more! Not like running out to your local store for that one last sheet of paper you need to finish something up.
- Year over year, the new designs released can be hit or miss. When there’s just one main catalog to last you all year, and it’s an uninspiring year, I tend to lose interest.
When I see products that I really like, especially the embellishments, I always keep an eye out for less-expensive solutions when I head out to the craft store. This is particularly true for things like ribbons and enamel dots, as well as basic dies. In fact, you’ll see where I CASE SU products with craft store sources in some of my posts.
Stampin’ Up carries many basic tools (Aqua Painters, Versamark, Tombow Multi-purpose Glue). For demonstrators who have to meet quarterly sales minimums, these are an easy way to meet those goals for consumables that you’ll need to purchase anyway. They’re also good fillers for making the $150 minimum to get 10% back, if you’re just a few dollars short. But, given the prices aren’t competitive and you’re paying 10% extra for shipping, it doesn’t make sense to add these products into an order unless absolutely necessary.
So there you have it. Share your thoughts on Stampin’ Up in the comments below. Love ’em, hate ’em, just curious–tell us what you think.
I hope you enjoyed seeing some fun stuff that will become projects over the next few weeks. Check back often to see what we’re up to, or better yet, subscribe so you don’t miss a post.