August 19, 2007

Open Letter to Stampin Up

Dear Shelli, I used to be a demo for SU. Before that I was a very loyal customer. If you were to visit my craft room, you'd see a well stocked room full of Stampin Up inks and papers and ribbons and embellishments and stamps. But a clever eye would notice that I haven't purchased a thing from SU since December 2006. I would like to be your customer again. May I be so bold as to make a few suggestions? 1. Remove things from the catalog that can be purchased elsewhere for significantly less. For example, your shimmery white paper is about 4 times the retail cost. By including items that are really over priced, it makes me wonder about your profit margin on other items and I feel resentful. Before the internet, customers had limited ability to purchase items and often did not have access to information about alternative cheaper sources. We do now. Just take them out of the catalog, provide a unique version of them, or drop the price. 2. Play to your strengths -- one is your color coordination. Almost every stamper I know loves SU's colored cardstock. We put up with the design of your ink pads just to get our hands on that cardstock! Give us more items that color coordinate -- I'd gladly pay a bit more for sheer polka dotted ribbon in the SU colors. Or watercolor pencils in the colors. Or, just about anything in the SU colors!! 3. Another strength, of course, has been your stamps. I'm guessing that you are losing market share here. I can see it on blogs and on stamping forums. You just don't see that many new SU sets being used and the ones that are being posted are from the same sets. It looks like you have 5 or 6 hits on your hands. One reason for this is the proliferation of design teams and blogs for your competitors. It is time for SU to do the same thing. Get some amazing stampers on board as part of your own design team and let them loose. Put together an SU blog using these artists and see what happens! Small investment and it may pay off big time. Don't limit it to SU demos and let them use other products as well with the SU stamps. I know that you think that your demos will feel cut out, but I truly think that is a mistake. 4. About your stamps. I'm not even going to get into the unmounted/clear debate. Personally, I think you are making a huge mistake by not offering a clear option for some of your sets, but whatever... you are a much smarter business woman than I'll ever be! But, the stamp designs? They are fine. But the catalog is full of so many items that look just like each other and look like other brands. This cuts down on the reason to buy multiple sets. Diversify. How many dots and flourishes does one stamper need?? 5. If you are going to offer wood mounted sets at $ 30 - 40 a pop, you've got to give us a reason to buy them. Why buy the Wild West alphabet set from SU when there are so many similar clear ones at less than $20 or even wood mounted ones much cheaper? This isn't a rhetorical question. I really want to know. Your demos need to have an answer to this question. 6. On line purchasing. Have you noticed the number of stampers who are buying Papertrey's releases BEFORE the images even pop up on the internet? Some of us are addicts and are immature. We go with the mob mentality. You NEED us because we tend to be the big spenders!! For better or worse, the biggest spenders are IMPULSE spenders. Give your demos the ability to have websites with shopping carts and you will increase sales. 7. Shipping. Can we talk? I've heard a hundred demos quote you as saying that "SU loses money on shipping." Let's assume that's true. You have a business problem. No company should lose money on shipping. At the best, you should break even. Fix your problem. Now let's really talk. I don't believe it. I don't believe that SU is losing money on shipping and, even if it is true, it is annoying to hear it. Don't say it. Own up to the fact that shipping isn't your strength and just don't talk about it. Better yet, do something about it. If I'm going to pay that much for shipping I don't want to wait 10 days to get my stuff. Remember, addicts don't like to wait for anything!! Thanks for listening! edited to add: Some of my favorite folks are SU demos. This posting is meant to open a dialog that I hope will lead to increased sales for SU and by definition, its demos.


  1. Excellent letter - you nailed all my frustrations with Stampin Up.

    I was a demo as well, but decided as soon as I saw the new fall catalogue that I would not be buying anything from it - as you said everything is the same. Plus the cost 6-8 stamps for $30-$40 compared to more than 20 stamps for $24 at Papertrey. Plus Papertrey's are exciting and new.

    Thank you for posting the letter and helping to confirm that I am doing the right thing by dropping as a SU demo.

  2. Thank you for having the ...... to write this. I agree with what you have said and would like to add a little on the stamp pads, a big part of their color co-ordination. SU must surely know by now that their stamp pads are not the best quality? Design is OK but they sag in the middle and this is frustrating, for the price they should last a stamper's lifetime.
    Just wanted to have my say as the answer I recieved from SU was certainly not satisfactory. Not a demo but a customer. Sheila

  3. Joan - I commend you for this. I don't know if you are actually sending this to Shelli and if not, I hope she sees it, however it gets to her. I agree with everything you said. It really bothers me when an SU demo pushes a product from the catalog that is not exclusive to SU and plays "dumb" that a person can't get that item elsewhere for much less money.

    Thanks for saying what a lot of us are thinking!

  4. Well, you've done it again! You know exactly how to express things that most of us just think. There are some SU things I LOVE, but other things like the ones you've mentioned have me hanging on to my demo-ship by a thread. Send it.

  5. Interesting letter. I think there is a large profit margin in accessories and some customers will buy these items from SU. You can see how much the profit margin is by comparing the items that can be easily purchased elsewhere.
    Your comments on clear stamps is correct. SU has waited or denied the viability of clear stamps -- this is a big mistake. Could be their downfall. I personally have gotten rid of all my SU alphas when I discovered I don't have to use that silly Stampamajig, but can easily line up letters on a clear acrylic block. Plus, I don't have to waste my time mounting stamps.
    I do still like rubber stamps, in particular detailed images. Not sure if clear stamps can handle the detail. It appears the most of the clear stamps are bold images or outlines.
    Not sure if comparing Papertrey to SU is appropriate. The items Papertrey sells would barely fit a SU mini catalog. What I love about Papertrey is the project gallery for their stamp sets. It seems that they feature many ideas for a particular stamp set whereas SU shows their ideas in their catalog, but one would have to buy many different stamp sets to complete the SU project.
    I think cardmaking has changed dramatically over the last 2 years and the stamped images are really just one component of making a card now. The designer papers, ribbons, punches and embellishments are sometimes taking center stage. I find that I can make fabulous cards only to discover, I did not use a single stamp.
    I so enjoy your point of view Joan and would love to read any response you may receive from SU.

  6. I agree 100% on all of your comments. If you wanted a list of people who agree let me know, I would be one of the first. I was and still am pretty faithful to Stampin'Up but I find so many wonderful girls out there selling their products that I want and I buy them!!! The prices have gone up so much and what is this, they loose money on postage? I don't think so. I especially like the unmounted stamps that you now have a chance to choose with these companies. Storage is a problem for me and if everyone else is like me, they will catch up and have the same problem. I still like the detail of the SU stamps, also the cardstock and they do have some nice designer paper. I like to go on line and buy just the particular paper in a bundle rather than the whole bundle and of course, AC Moore, Micheals and Joann is here in our area. Good thoughts from you and the other comments. It will be interesting to see when there will be a new approach from them.

  7. I agree with most of your comments, but I personally would like to see more elegant designs as opposed to all the whimsical and cartoonish ones. I also wish you could purchase a catalog direct from SU. Then, if demos had SU websites those of us without a demo (both demos I knew recently got out) could log on, find a demo in our area and place an online order right there, without having to try to find a new demo we trust.

  8. Great letter, Joan. I am not sure if I should be posting: I am not a demo, not even a seasoned stamper, but more of a novice who buys a lot of SU products. My thoughts: love your point about diversity of stamp sets. The catalog makes a big deal behind the three major themes, but what if one doesn't care for western? Also, I bristle when anyone acts exclusive about what products to use; I enjoy using whatever manufacturer's products are appealing, cost effective, and available. I like mixing it up a bit. Nothing can beat SU cardstock, IMO. I agree that working toward strengths in any company helps ensure success. Hope your letter is read by those who can make a difference.

  9. Well there's one in every crowd. So I guess that would be me.
    I think your letter is very well written and does make alot of good points.
    I have to disagree with you on many points.
    I do not like clear photopolymer stamps as much as rubber. I own both. But if a stamp is offered in both rubber and clear...I buy rubber mounted on wood. I love wood.
    I love alot of the sets in the new SU catalog. I am not an impulse buyer, But I spent over $2400 on SU stamps alone last year. Not to mention the over $12000 I spent online and in local stamp stores. If SU began offering clear stamps I would not buy as much. Only 3% of my stamps are clear.
    Yes I admit that I am a collector and I do over spend a bit.
    I do not allow the frenzy that sweeps thru the blogs dictate my purchases. I also do not follow trends. I have never sold a stamp and I will use a ten year old stamp with a new stamp in the same piece of work. I now own over 15000 stamps, from every company out there.
    I am not a fan of the matchy matchy color combos. I have two good eyes and can easily match color on my own. Although I know many people do need help in this area.
    I have never heard a demo tell me that SU loses money on shipping. but then again I never complained about the shipping.
    I do agree that SU Ink Pads are the worst, and SU does offer quite a few things in thier catalog that can be purchased elsewhere for less money.
    But other than that I love SU.
    It seems to me that you really do want to purchase from SU again but will only do so if on your terms.
    Otherwise you would not waste your time even addressing it.
    God Bless SU and Shelli.....may she live forever.

  10. Just a few of the many reasons that I am no longer a SU demo. Last month I quit after 6 years...but it's a good thing. There is so much more in the stampin world than SU has to offer.

    But I agree their market is the paper and color combos...for sure. Great letter.

  11. Very good letter Joan! Some of those points I have brought up myself with SU. This past year I mentioned to one of my friends on the AB about blogs & design teams. I made a few suggestions myself. Honestly, I think they have way missed the boat on that one. By the time they get anything like that going it will be far too late and they will be a dime a dozen.

    You are the best!! I'm personally not too concerned with SU anymore now that I am a retired demo. I figure they can do what they like and I will just shop around more and have fun with it! :)

  12. As always you make very logical and good points. I hope you send this to SU! because many people agree with you. I think they could make an even better company by making changes that keep up with the times. I noticed too myself that there seems to be only a few "hot" stamping sets -- kind of disappointing!! And they are definitely missing the boat on the design teams. That is possibly the smartest marketing move a company can make. It seems I buy seeing what bloggers do or design teams. That's better than any advertising they can do in a magazine or site.

  13. Very nice letter! I really hope you send it to SU! as it is something that they really need to hear. Actually, I think they hear these same complaints quite a bit they just choose not to listen because they figure if you don't, someone else will. I, personally, find myself buying less and less and the reason for this is 1. I don't have a lot of room to store all those wood mounted products and 2. they are just too darn EXPENSIVE!! Anywho, thanks for sharing your thoughts, I really appreciated your honest and open opinion!! :)

  14. Yes! Joan, you speak so well to this issue, and to the right place. I complain and moan, and just shop around, while your approach might actually accomplish something. It's my pet peeve that we basically purchase unmounted rubber from SU, have to trim and mount them, and if we choose to use the unmounted method with acrylic blocks we have wasted wood that is expensive and I have no use for it. Give me a price break, an option for unmounted, die cut rubber and make me a happier shopper.
    Thanks, Joan. You rock! (haha, I don't usually talk like that, but you do!)
    Sue in Texas

  15. Hi Joan,

    I agree with all your points. But I would like to add one more point to the discussion - I'm sure you could phrase this better, but could SU knock off all the control freakish behavior over how their stamps can be used! Sheesh, if I buy I stamp I should be able to sell a hand crafted item made with it and not need to clear it with my legal advisory team first. This (along with the cost of the mounted stamps) is what prevents me from buying.

    Good luck getting a response....

  16. great letter! I sure hope it does not get thrown out & they give some serious thought to everything you say...AND MAKE SOME CHANGES

  17. Joan - I agree with every observation you have made, and congratulate you on conveying information to SU without vitriol! You covered my own personal observations, plus a few I had not considered. (I note that I am not, nor have I ever been, an SU demo.)
    I also agree with Sue in Texas - it has always made me absolutely FURIOUS to pay top dollar for an SU "stamp" - which isn't trimmed, mounted, or indexed. That is NOT a stamp; it's unmounted rubber, with a kit to turn the rubber into a stamp! SU charges mounted stamp prices for their stamps, but, in my opinion, saves the cost of paying an employee to trim and mount the rubber by making the buyer do that work for free.
    In addition to my gripe about the cost of SU unmounted rubber, I have also been torqued about the secrecy regarding the cost of SU's accessories - I, too, am well aware of the cost of accessories from places other than SU, as I started stamping before being introduced to SU products. My first SU demo person did NOT even admit that one could purchase the same article for less, albeit in a different color! My second demo person was very upfront about the fact that SU has rebranded basic accessories, which could be purchased for less elsewhere.
    I would note that SU has only done what is commonly done in the market - as a referent, go look in Michael's and see the Martha Stewart label; that line has all their own tape, punches, acrylic blocks, etc., in their packaging and in their colors. My objection is not (was not) that SU decided to sell their own brand of accessory, but that the existence of a less expensive alternative was kept "secret."
    Thanks for speaking out.

  18. well thought out and articulated message. I'd add a blurb about the angel policy. Not being able to sell or offer items made with the product has caused me to look elsewhere for stamp images.

  19. Excellent letter~!! I would love to buy SU unmounted ( without the blocks ) if it meant a considerable savings. I still want the red rubber, but yeah, we need the option of not using the wood. Firstly to save the poor trees and second to save on my stamping space at home, thirdly - I need the extra money for more stamps and cardstock. :)

    I just want to say ditto, ditto, ditto to all those points in your letter and to the points that other commenters have made. You all are very much on the money and SU would do well to listen as the market is getting harder to compete in.

  20. Great letter - do send it in.

  21. WOOHOO! Joan you nailed it! I hope you actually forwarded a copy (or link to your blog) to SU!

    I know my hobby demo days are numbered...there just isn't a way for me to justify spending $300 a quarter anymore. Too many other things available (for less $$, too) that I am interested it.

    I will always be grateful to SU!, because that is how I was introduced to this hobby and so many wonderful cyber friends.

  22. BINGO! Thank you very much for your letter... so many feel the same way.

  23. WOW!!! this really hits the nail on the head and could have written myself if I could write so well! You hit on everything I've been saying for months now!

  24. AMEN!
    People have been saying the same thing for a LONG time and it seems like no one is listening, I hope your letter hits home!

  25. Your letter is perfect. It says EVERYTHING I want to say to SU too. There are so many cute stamps that I just won't be buying because 1) cost and 2) not being acrylic or unmounted. I just don't have room for all those wooden blocks!

    I too feel resentful about being over charged for something I could have picked up at Michaels or Hobby Lobby WITHOUT using a coupon. I usually just tell my customers where to buy those items cheaper so not one feels ripped off.

  26. Way to go, Joan! You summed up all the reasons that I let my demoship go this year and it seems from reading the comments that I am not the only one who feels this way. I hope SU is listening....

  27. Brilliant letter! You absolutely nailed my frustrations with SU and the current catalogue!! I was afraid I was the only one that liked 2 or 3 of the new sets.

    Cudos for putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys!) instead of just sitting around complaining.

    Please keep us updated if you get a response.



  28. Here, here! This is a fabulous letter.

  29. Wow! Great letter Joan. I agree with you on so many of the things that you mentioned in your letter to SU. I love that they offer products that co-ordinate. I too , wish that they would offer more ribbons that would match. I feel that they are a tad limited in that area. Sheer polka dots and stripes in all of the colors would be awesome.

    I feel that SU has been a day late and a dollar short in keeping up with the ever changing designs in stamps. As for them offering some clear stamps....I'm not so sure how I feel about that. In the alphabets and sentiments I think that would be a great idea. But for me there is nothing better then a rubber image. Just my opinion.

    Your point about them putting a design team together and having them on a blog is something that they should have started doing this year. I am surprised that they haven't. IMHO that is a huge mistake on their part.Stamping and other crafting blogs are very big right now and I do not see them fading away any time too soon. I also agree with you about the SU demos being able to have shopping carts on their SU sites. And I think they should offer them at NO extra cost! They have gone up on their sites this year and as far as I am concerned they do not offer enough for me to pay for one. I could go on but will stop. :)

    I look forward to reading about what type of response you will be getting from Stampin' UP!


  30. I also agree with your letter 100%. I have been a hobby demo for approximately 5 years now, but I will be dropping my demonstratorship at the end of the year. Don't get me wrong ... I love SU products, especially the coordinating cardstock and inks. But I have been very disappointed with the stamp sets that are being offered. There are so many other companies out there that are offering fresh new things. I have fallen onto the Papertrey bandwagon and love her new images as well as being acrylic. I hope you send your letter to Shelli as I do feel that SU needs to make a few changes.

  31. Great letter ... logical, well-written, accurate. Great idea on the design team. Although they offer samples in the catalog, a design team/blog should have already been done, in my opinion. Thanks for voicing what I've never said. Let us know if you get a response.

  32. Hey Joan!

    Well written letter, excellent points.

    Regarding #1- I know that at least within Canada, and possibly other international markets, some of those rebranded accessories are not readily available here. I would still have to order online, pay shipping that is just as expensive, then possibly get dinged with customs fees, and I my actual price is dictated by the exchange rate- yes it's good now, but when I was first introduced to SU! only 3 years ago, our dollar was .68.

    Regarding #2- Totally agree!! Why don't they add more specialty ribbon in even more colour matches?? They know we go nuts for that kind of stuff. I guarantee that if they sold a Certainly Celery Polka Dot Organdy there would be people buying it from them instead of a non-matching green from May Arts!

    Regarding #3- I do wonder how much of a strain they are feeling from all the new competition. All these other companies do not have the restraints of the catalog system. If they see an unexpected new trend, they can get a new set to fit that trend up for sale within weeks! I would love to see them form a really talented design team. However, I think asking that this be open to non-demos and that there be freedom on product use is something SU! would absolutely refuse. It'd be nice to see, but I don't think it would ever happen!

    #4- Totally agree. Although I seriously doubt a clear option, a woodless option (I don't say unmounted, since they come that way anyway!) would be nice! As far as the freshness of the designs... You know it wasn't a very exciting catalog for product, when I think hmm, only 6 months til the next one. And what about their designer papers. What's up with revamping last year's design!!! Either re-release last year's so people who still have it can start using it again, or just come up with something entirely new. None of this in-between stuff!

    Regarding #6- YES! They need to add this function!!!

    Regarding #7- Shipping. This is something I really think a lot of people don't totally get. I'll at least explain things from a Canadian viewpoint. Okay, my minimum shipping is 9.95 or 10% is higher. Keep in mind that $5.00 of that is a customs fee right off the bat. Okay, so 4.95 isn't too bad for shipping. Next, let's say I order $100.00 of cardstock, just cardstock. That's only going to cost me $10 to ship. Want to bet they lose on that one. How heavy is that box!! Yes, they make up for those types of packages when people order higher amounts (since I believe the actual rates max out somewhere...), or when people order say $100.00 of brads. Clearly that would not cost $10 to ship. I guess this is just me wondering how much of this balancing out is in their favour. As you say, I don't think they can actually be losing money on shipping otherwise they would increase it more. My point is more that I don't think the shipping is that outrageous (at least from a CDN viewpoint).

    Wow, that was longer than I intended... You make a lot of good points! Unfortunately, I fear that you will get a form letter back, and that some of these suggestions SU! would never even consider.

  33. I am going to be the black sheep with my comment. I am a SU demo and LOVE what SU has to offer me and the customers. I have always been reminded of the quote from the movie Polyanna "If you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." I think that goes with everything in life. If you look for negative you will find it.

    I love SU and feel they are always trying to give a variety for all different likes and interests. They are unique and I think they are cuter than the competition. I guess for those of you who have issues with SU, I say GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!

    A loyal SU demo and customer,

  34. Hi Joan -
    Right on! I hope that you have or are sending it to Shelli and I, too, will be interested to see her reply.
    I have been noticing the number of SU! examples on SCS decline and wondered what SU! will be doing to get their brand out there again but so far they do not seem to notice or care.
    Thanks, Joan.


  35. i hav eto say that I agree with Emily .. There is a lot of negativity, and it stems from our own attitude. I love stampin up products, and will continue to buy.

  36. Joan!! I love this!! So true. I only buy cardstock from SU - drives me nuts to have to pay so much for a set of stamps, which would be half price if I could buy them unmounted....then there's that "set" thing.....not a favorite of mine.

    You go girl!!

  37. Hi! I am an SU! demo, and I read your letter top to bottom. :) Although I do think you have some valid points - like the new Idea Book & Catalog seeming to have a LOT of the same, rather generic designs in it - some of them are completely about personal preference. I, for instance, immensely dislike acrylic stamps - they don't stamp well, I can't ANYTHING straight to save my soul, and I'm THRILLED that we're letting others like CTMH "corner" that market.
    It looks like you got your wish with opening a dialog! :) You've got a LOT of people who seem to totally agree with you; I hope they will perhaps also write Stampin' Up! with their OWN suggestions. But as you said, Shelli's pretty business-savvy, and I don't expect to see SU! going belly-up in the forseeable future! :)
    Thank you for the deep-thinking time today! :D And for your enthusiasm for stamping. God bless you!

  38. AMEN, SISTER!!!!! I really like Stampin' Up since through a workshop is how I was introduced to stamping. BUT being an addict, I was soon broadening my horizens and found unmounteds/clear stamps. I actually buy more TAC stamps because they come unmounted with EZ Mount that I can store in binders or CD cases. I don't have ROOM for wood stamps. I probably have over 5,000 stamps - NO MORE WOOD! I have started to mount my Stampin' Up stamps on the new thin EZ Mount (GASP)! I only buy a few sets now from Stampin' Up and those are the ones that are unique from all the other companies. I also love the color coordination of their stuff - I have the inks and also love the papers and other coordinating stuff. I would buy more if it were unmounted since I still prefer the way rubber stamps over acrylic. TAC has you beat in that area. Close to my Heart is also one I buy from because they coordinate everything from the stamps to the papers to the inks. WAKE UP and smell the coffee! You are losing sales by keeping the same old same old.

  39. if this were a petition I would sign it!! Maybe they'll take your advice on just one of those, can we hope for more?

  40. I totally agree with your letter and sure hope they see your letter and in doing so ...change a few things at Stampin Up. I found very few "likes" in this catty. I love the unmounted option like TAC and Close to My Heart. Have taken most of my Stampin Up stuff off of the blocks...even though it was such a waste for all that wood. I can't believe how expensive this year Stampin Up is. Yikes...I will not be purchasing much.
    Thanks again for your letter and hope they see all of our points. And PAPERTREY u rock!

  41. I have to agree that so many of you are talking more about personal preferences. Sure, TAC has ummounted rubber. I might think that was great except for one thing...I cannot STAND their images. That's a personal preference though. TAC is perfectly welcome to do whatever they wish; I just go elsewhere.

    I guess I just don't get the whole concept of telling off a company for doing business the way they want to. Of course, you are all welcome to buy anywhere you please. Chase after blogs, whatever! But to say that SU is a dinosaur because they don't do that (yet?) is a little, um, ok, I'll just say it: arrogant. Shelli leads a multi-million dollar company. She started it, grew it, and maintains it. I have no illusions that I could ever do anything even close to an achievement like that! So, there's no way I'd be offering up "advice" to her on how to run her business.

    Write and tell them what you'd like to see, sure. Tell her what you don't like. She loves to hear stuff like that. But if she doesn't snap to your "suggestions," geez, just go to those places that offer your style of stuff! Trust me, there will still be many who will keep buying from SU, me included (until dh cuts up my credit cards!).

  42. Amazing and wonderful, I certainly hope that Stampin' UP has the foresight to read and learn!

  43. Your letter could not be more right on the money. What concerns me is how many of us have repeatedly complained about those ink pads and they go right on saying there is no problem rather than fix the darn things. I have not purchased an SU pad in years and I LOVE their ink and colors. Instead I buy the ink and make my own pads--but should I really have to do that seeing that customers in general have been unhappy with these pads for years?

    As to their pricing, when the fall catalog and first mini came out this year my mouth just dropped. PaperTrey offers me 30 stamps for $24 and SU offers me 5 stamps for $32. Now it would be one thing if SU's designs were fabulously innovative, but in addition to being repeats of things you see everywhere, it is rare that I even want more than 1/2 of what comes in a set. Paper Trey on the other hand has such creative ways to use theirs that I "need" LOL every stamp in the set!

    Don't even get me started on having to buy the wood!

    When I first started buying SU I had a feel that it was a family company who cared about the craft. Now I feel like it is big business who won't listen to the consumer, stubbornly I might add, and that they are all about getting as much money as fast as they can put out new catalogs all the time. If they cared about the hobby they would be taking some of your suggestions and get some design teams going.

    SU could have ridden the peak longer if they had paid attention to the very things you mention in this letter. As it is, even if they make some big changes now, and I sure won't be holding my breath, they are going to have a really hard time making a come back. In the last year I have started spending my money with Paper Trey, My Favorite Things, Verve Visual, Rubber City, Fancy Pants, and many, many companies who are giving ME, the consumer, what I want.

    I have been a loyal SU customer for over a decade and will continue to buy their wonderful cardstock in wonderful colors (except the white which smears) unless they continue to raise the prices again. I will buy a must have set now and then, but looking at the prices usually just turns me off. I have a source where I can get SU at quite a discount and if I have to have a set, that is where I genrerally go. If that source dries up, I will be back to cardstock only.

    Thanks for your willingness to speak out on this subject. I think you will find that your points are well taken by the majority of those who have purchased SU for years.

  44. You made some great points Joan. SU does need to find a way to differentiate themselves. I was looking at the catalog the other night to place an order so I could help a friend and I honestly could not find an image that I couldn't get cheaper (rubber or clear) somewhere else. They need to revamp their designs and make us want to buy. As for the accessories, there are actually quite a few people that don't know about some of these as they choose not to go to a store, so I could see them buying from SU but I had always thought that SU was a stamp company, not an accessory company. I want the stamps back that I fell in love with. The beautiful elegant images that screamed a SU style not what they think the market wants. I am like you and would love to buy from SU again. Hopefully they will listen.

  45. I loved SU when it first came my way..Now I can look at a catty and see that I have other stamps that look like what they are offering.No need to purchase a $40.00 +tax+postage set that I HAVE TO PUT TOGETHER when another company does it for me for half the price-I am not a fan of the clear stamps so I have tons of red rubber and feel SU is really short changing themselves by yanking the price so high on a set of 6 stamps..I can spend my money elswhere and get twice as much..I LOVED the old SU pads but like Bill Gates they fixed what "aint" broke.I hate the new ones so I use a lot of chalk ink and Tim Holtz inks instead.If they ever go back to the old snap off tops--I am there.Finally SU and their so called "Angel policy".If I am forced to buy a set of stamps to sell my item well not so much an angel policy--If I use 2 or more sets on the same card and one is NOT SU--SU is actually claiming that all stamps used are theirs by my having to put their credit on the back,so silly on their part.I also can not sell to a flower shop who is going to resell them-that is plain DUMB. As long as they are handstamped I should be able to sell them anywhere and to who ever I wish.I have purchased 1 punch from them in the last year and nothing else.I like their products but feel the cost is way to high for my pocket.They better get on board and lower prices- give demo's the option of a purchase basket on line and find a cheaper way to ship things- I shipped something back to them once for less than half what they charged me.I have recently tried CTMH paper and cardstock and found it to be of equal quality.So do you think SU listens to the little guy?Thanks for the open forum and a place to vent.

  46. All fantastic points Joan! All I gotta say is, "USE THOSE BALLS" I have to say I do love SU! products, however, my problem has been with my demo. I can't tell you how many times I've had to correct my order totals and found the mistake MYSELF! I felt I was totally being mislead and robbed by my demo so it was time to move on. I asked several times if she could please write me an itemized receipt and never would receive one(total, tax, shipping, I don't think I was asking for too much). Now, I did sell CM products for about 2 years, so I have some idea on how these companies work. I don't like being lied to and this is when I knew it was time to cut ties with her. I love to use all products and when it comes to SU! did they really think we weren't going to "notice" the huge increase in prices?? I have to say it would be silly to buy their extrememly overpriced ribbon...seriously, you get very little for the price you pay. I'd rather buy a whole roll of May Arts thru Jody:)

  47. You have a great gift for getting your thoughts out in print. I wish I had that gift. Thank God for people like you who can take what's in my mind and put it down for me!

    I agree with you on just about every point. I have been a faitful SU customer for at least a couple of years (not long to most of you).. but I do own every ink pad, every color of paper, 100's of stamps already). But like so many others, space has become an issue, so I unmounted all my stamps, slapped them onto EZMount and now use my sets on acrylic blocks. Because of this I can't be a demo for SU. Ridiculous.

    I was recently sent a catalog for an unmounted company, and I was floored at how much money I could save on stamp sets. They're rubber, just like SU, but with EZMount. I became a Demo for them on those two counts... MUCH MUCH cheaper (read more stamps for the buck), AND unmounted? Not much of a decision there.

    My main point is SU needs to jump on the Unmounted bandwagon. Yes, yes I know there are many who love the "feel of the wood." But is it worth, in some cases, almost twice the value of a stamp set? I don't think they should ever go clear though. They're a different breed altogether.

    I still love SU, but will probably limit my purchases to the paper. Not sure how long that will last though.

  48. Joan, your letter created a furor on the Gingerstamp website. You were very brave to write the letter. Not too many will stand up and be counted.

  49. Thanks for opening this "forum" up. I started out stamping with Stampin' UP! and have attended many many parties, etc. I love their stamps. I sent an email to my demo for an SU order, only it was from the "old" catalog, (by one month) needless to say I was shocked at the price increase. An $8.00 increase per set! And that was the background "set" with 1 stamp per "set". How ridiculous is that? I have arthritis and it is getting too difficult for me to cut and mount and etc. with their sets. I was only ordering those 2 BG stamps and some wheels, paper, etc. I figured I could handle those easy enough. When my demo got back to me with the "new" prices, I almost passed out! I had it totaled up myself for $206.00. When the "increase", for one month's time hit, it came to $259.00. Now that might not seem much to most of you but when on a fixed income let me tell you, it's a lot of money! I cancelled my whole order I was so upset.
    Also to the lady who said something to the effect, "if you don't like them, go somewhere else", as you can see by these postings, they will lose quite a few customers. Think of all the people out there who didn't comment, but feel the same way! I, too, agree that to be able to buy SU online would be great! In that case I might even consider them again. (my daughter would cut them out for me). But I truly don't think that would happen. Anyhow, thanks for opening up this can of worms. Judi

  50. Your letter is fabulous! Your third point is what I have noticed for a very long time. SU might overtly hire a design team to post frequently somewhere on the net. Or, they could also take a more subtle approach and plant some top designers who would be paid to contribute regularly to SCS. Superb Internet examples are what keep us all lusting after stamps in the modern era.

    Another part of the modern era is the ability to quickly and painlessly buy online (after seeing all those great design examples on the Internet). However, if, as you suggest, customers could buy from a shopping cart on their demo's website, why would they even need a demo? Why not just allow customers to shop online and skip the demo altogether? (That would bring costs down as well.)

  51. I am with ya Joan! Great letter! You are officially the Norma Jean of stamping! (*wink*) :)

  52. As a new and ecstatic demo for SU!, I have to say that I agree with the freshness factor. We do need more diversity in future designs. However, I have to disagree with the clear stamp comments. I own several sets of clear stamps. They are easily stored in cd cases in a basket on a shelf in my craft studio. And there they stay. I love all of the colors SU! offers in classic ink pads but clear stamps (everyone should be nodding their heads at this) do NOT hold dye ink well AT ALL! It took me a very long time to admit this to myself.
    I don't see an open letter to Nichole Heady, asking her to change her products or pricing.

  53. I think a lot of what is being discussed here is personal preference, as noted by several others already. When comparing the prices of the SU stamps to other wood-mounted stamps, such as those found at craft stores, I find that the SU prices are much better. I have a hard time paying $8-10 for one medium-sized stamp even with a coupon! Plus, I do notice a difference in the quality of the image between the SU stamps and some of the ones I buy at craft stores.

    I am confused by the lady who seems to think the BG stamps went up in price by $8? In my catalogs, they went from $16.95 to $17.95, so I'm not sure where she got that info.

    I would like to see less flower stamps and more stamps I can use for my teenage boys, I do agree that there needs to be a little more diversity in their current selection.

    But my main issue is the whole wood mounted/unmounted/acrylic debate. Obviously this is strictly a matter of personal preference. I personally prefer rubber wood-mounted stamps. I used to buy a lot of stamps from CTMH (back when it was DOTS!) but now even though I may like some of their images, I don't purchase anything from them because I frankly do not like acrylic stamps and the pain it is to me to mount and unmount them from the acrylic blocks. Do I write a letter to them to tell them that they aren't running their business well because they don't make what I personally like? No. I think they meet a need and Stampin' Up meets another need. I don't like unmounted rubber, either, but I'd like to see them offer that option for those of you who prefer that. I can understand the frustration of paying more for the wood blocks that you don't use.

    Finally, I did go look on the Papertrey website because everyone here seems to be so impressed with their stamps and personally I didn't see anything all that different than any other stamp company, assuming I went to the correct website! :-) I thought a lot of the images were very similar to many of Stampin' Up's images. So I think maybe we ought to realize that there are a lot of stampers out there with a lot of different tastes and preferences and all of these companies are meeting many different needs. We don't have to shop at all of them! If they're meeting a need then they will find customers.

    Just so you know, I have been a SU customer for about 12 years and a hobby demo for about 1 1/2 years.

    Just my opinion...

  54. This is the first I have read anything on you blog (it is bookmarked now, by the way) I have to say I agree 100%. Su did get me in to this whole mess but I no longer buy from them exept that pretty paper. I don't have the space and I hate paying shipping on my TAX. What is that? I like the incentive to buy more then pay less for shipping. Not more! Papertrey havs recently won my heart!! Thanks Joan

  55. I too am a retired demo. I've only bought ons stamp set in the last 2 years! I too, have to question the paying shipping on the tax...I've always that legal???? Great letter!!

  56. I gave up my demo status last year when i asked questions on the Stampin Discuss forum that SU did not feel were "in the spirit of our company" and was blocked from accessing the forum.

    This year, when the catty came out and the Canadian prices were completely out of line with the rate of exchange, my direct letter to them was replied to with a form letter--not one of my questions was even addressed.

  57. As an SU demo, obviously I am loyal to them, so I will leave most of the comments alone. However, I do want to clear up some confusion regarding shipping and tax. You are not being charged shipping on your tax. You are taxed on the subtotal that includes the shipping and handling. This is only in certain states and is dictated by the state government, not SU. If you have an issue with that, take it up with your legislature.

  58. Well, Joan, I don't agree with everything you say, but you have the right to say it.

    I will say that there is a difference between direct sales and mail order/internet companies for a reason. Papertrey et al are cheaper because there is no brick and mortar store adding overhead to the price. While SU! is not a brick and mortar, it has the overhead of its demo base. So if you're looking for SU! to cut their prices to compare to companies like Papertrey, you are going to have to say goodbye to demonstrators. Other companies that sell through brick & mortar stores charge even more than SU!...I still see single stamps at stamping stores for $8 a piece when a similar stamp in a SU! set prices out to about half.

    I also disagree that there is a dearth of people using SU! stamps...even were I not a demo, I'd probably still be using mostly SU! And most of the bloggers whom I visit regularly do the same. Personally, I don't care for most TAC, CTMH, Papertrey or Amuse images...I don't own any Bellas. The only other stamps I buy regularly are Inky Antics and one 2" x 2" image will cost me $7.30 plus shipping...I'm not saving any money buying from them.

    If SU! went the route of selling as an internet company exclusively, you'd probably see less people using the stamps, not more. I, for one, pay for my obsession with SU! stamps by being a demo. Take the opportunity to sell away from me and I'd probably not be doing nearly as much stamping as I do now because I couldn't afford it. And I think this would also be true of many of the other demonstrators I know. I think there would be far less creativity using SU! stamps as a result.

    Last year at convention, we were told that SU! was finally doing market research (before they were just guessing!); I feel strongly that the newer fresher designs we see now in the catalog is a direct result of that research. I don't think that SU! went to the trouble to research trends, only to turn their backs on consumer demand and put out what they did. The market must support the demand for the styles now in the catalog or they wouldn't be there. Do I think there is product duplication? Yes, maybe they went a little overboard with the swirls and dots, but I think it's probably an overcorrection...kind of like swaying from one side to another as you regain your balance. I think we'll see a better mix in the next catalog.

    As far as your problems with the products, I don't see the ink pad problems, myself...a SU! ink pad that is used properly and kept well-inked usually has a fairly even surface, in my experience. I don't really care for clear stamps, the ones I have just don't suit my stamping style; I hate cleaning and unmounting stamps right after I use them, when I'm stamping, the stamps are piling up on the sides, things are getting stacked everywhere; clear stamps get lost under the pile, fall on the floor and get crud all over them. I don't find that many give me a great image either. But I personally wouldn't mind if there was an option of buying unmounted, but I don't see that making a big difference in the price.

    SU! is a big company and I've seen them moving to adapt to new market trends...I think we'll see very positive changes in the next year. Try to remember that the blog revolution has only happened in the past year or so...SU! will catch up! The best thing to do to get the change you want is to send the company your letter on paper, the old fashioned way (stamping on it can't hurt either.) A letter in the hand is worth 20 on the internet. ;-)

  59. Honestly girls, there are pros and cons to every side and although we are looking at things from a demo side, I would challenge all of you to look at it from Shelli's perspective. Running a demonstratorship and running Stampin' Up! as an enterprise organization are two totally different things. There are a lot more issues and costs that crop up as an enterprise. For example: As demonstrators, did you every think who pays for the computer technicians to run the Stampin' Up! website and the cost of upgrading to new servers when the old machines become too small to handle the load - or how about the cost of marketing in every major magazine out there not to mention the cost of the photo shoots and photographers... or how about the creative way Shelli's design team thinks up new marketing ideas or concepts... really guys... you need to look at both sides. Also if you look at the positives,you might be surprised at how abundant the positives are...

  60. Very interesting morning reading. Better than the daily paper!
    MANY valid points from both sides. And I have noticed that SCS as well as blogs are featuring less of SU and more of other stamp companies. I wonder how this is affecting SU.
    I was a demo for 5 years, but felt a big load go off my shoulders when I "retired". I have so much fun now using whatever products I want and mixing and mtaching.
    I will say that one of the things you pay for with SU is the convenience of having everything in one place- in that one don't have to shop around if you don't want to. Personally I love shopping around. But SU's strong point is indeed it's color family of CS and inks! I will continue to go there for those things!
    If you look at Allison's blog and see how many "new" blogs she finds each day, it's astounding! the more companies to buy from, the merrier. There are enough of us stampers out there to buy it, that's for sure!

  61. Oops, I didn't mean to make that anonymous... that was me.

  62. You have pointed out many reasons why I'm probably not going to be as big of a customer this year...and I absolutely adore my demo/next door neighbor!

    I did ask her about clear stamps and the reason she gave me was that the town where SU! is located is the rubber manufacturing part of it and the whole town would dry up if they went to clear. Or something similar to that.

    But I will still buy their color coordinated stuff!

  63. Wow! You did get a lot of comments! LOL! As a hobby demo, I'm not threatened by this letter. I agree with some points and disagree with some points. I think the blog idea is cool, but it would never, and shouldn't, endorse the use of other products along with their own. Why? SU sells everything needed to make one card, not just the main image.