This is a copy of my convention report that was posted on the Stampin’ Up! demo web site this week.
Wow, where do I start. Convention was amazing, wonderful, fantastic--it gives me shivers just thinking about it.
Imagine if you will (for those who weren't there) a room full of 400-500 Stampin' Up! demonstrators and staff, most of whom have never met before. Imagine the noise and excitement as they receive their bags of goodies and stamps and as they swap all their cards. The noise was the first thing that hit me--chatter, laughter, and excitement as we met those we had only chatted with online. And the swaps--each one so different and all provided great ideas!
Next was the running for seats. I wasn't really prepared for this one. There was a queue at the doors before they even opened, and just like you would see at a department store sale, as the doors opened the stampede started--an orderly stampede but a stampede all the same. Everyone rushed for a good seat to see the one person we had all been dying to meet--Shelli Gardner, cofounder & CEO of Stampin' Up!
Shelli was amazing and lovely and warm and very proud of what Stampin' Up! has achieved in the last 20 years. The theme of this year's convention was Celebrate! The reason for this is that Stampin' Up! has been running for 20 years. Shelli showed us a DVD of the Stampin' up! operation in the US and of the home office. Wow, I wish I could work there. It looks lovely and just as warm and homely as you would expect a 'home' office to look. Shelli had asked not to see the DVD before we did so she could experience it with us. She should have brought a box of tissues with her!
So much happened at convention that I can't tell you everything, but the workshops were great with lots of ideas and inspiration. There were also lots of opportunities to give your own ideas and lots of laughter.
The lessons I took home from convention:
- Step it up--demonstrate a simple card, and then add a little bit more glitter, Crystal Effects, Hodgepodge Hardware, or other accessories, and then step it up again by adding something else.
- We all get nervous--even those demonstrators who got top awards and those who demonstrated at convention still get nervous on their way to a workshop. It's not just me!
- Always assume there will be another workshop, and show something they can make at the next workshop.
- No one understands a stamper like a stamper!
- In the face of adversity are you a carrot, an egg, or coffee beans? A carrot, when boiled for four minutes, goes soft and soggy. An egg boiled for four minutes goes hard and stiff. And coffee beans boiled for four minutes changes itself for the better. Which one are you?
I had the amazing opportunity to interview some of the Stampin' Up! team at convention, I asked Jill Kocherhans what she found different between the US Convention and the Australia/New Zealand Convention, and her response was, "very little other than size." She found the demonstrators here lovely and warm. She has been very impressed as to how quickly our stamping has improved in such a short time. We have taken just a few short years to grow creatively and are now at a similar level to the US demonstrators.
Sarah Klass, an Australian demonstrator who presented a great workshop, said she found the experience fabulous and wonderful. And as for presenting the workshop, she said she was . . . scared! (She did a fantastic job).
I decided that if I had the job of roving reporter, I had to use that as an excuse to talk to Shelli and ask some questions. I managed to meet with her after the session on Saturday afternoon, after I waited behind all those wanting a photo with her. She must have had a sore face from smiling so much by the end of the day.
I asked Shelli why Stampin' Up! had chosen Australia and New Zealand to launch in before heading into Europe. Her response was simple--we were ready! We are not too dissimilar from the US, and we speak English, which makes communication much easier.
I also asked Shelli what inspires her both in her work and personal life. With this question, she got a bit teary. Her immediate response was us. She is constantly inspired by the Stampin' Up! demonstrators and their love and warmth and wonderful creations.
Thank you to everyone who was a part of making convention what it was. So much work must have gone into the entire event, and we are all very grateful.
A big 'Hi' to everyone I met at convention, and to all those I didn't meet, I hope to meet you next year in SYDNEY!
Happy stampin' everyone!