Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's Time...

I wrote this... I have had a sad, heavy heart and an icky feeling in my tummy for almost a week now. Stampin' Up! recently released news that as of Sept. 30th all demonstrators must sign a new Independent Demo Agreement or their demoship would be terminated. This new IDA restricts me from being on any Design Team (or at least the ones where I am supposed to promote their products...uhhh, That's any DT) , it restricts me from linking to anyone (even friends and family) who may work, promote, market for or link to any competitors of SU! "that offer similar products, including decorative stamps in any form, stamp art accessories, scrapbooking products, digital art solutions, and vinyl wall art." In other words i must agree to have a SU! Only blog, no emails about cool deals here and there, no facebooking about my latest "cool find" at Hobby Lobby or Micheal's, no twittering a link to an awesome sale at Hanna Stamps or The Greeting Farm, etc etc etc!! No posting links to any product I may really enjoy creating with or any companies I may design for... NO links except to SU!

Although, I was shocked and had tons of thoughts and questions, I wanted to pray about and think on everything before leaping...leaping to judge, leaping to be defense, leaping to decisions or leaping to leave SU! I have always loved SU! (just the last week of August 2 new girls signed up under me & joined my team and I would never promote something I don't believe in) I have always loved their products and while I understand that SU! is trying to protect their company and their more business minded demonstrators, I can't with the right heart or in good faith bring myself to sign that new IDA. I don't have a peace about this at all. Something in my spirit tells me to leave, but I am so torn. I keep thinking I should be able to do whatever I want with my own personal blog. I should be able to promote a friend's new business venture if I choose to. I should be able to enjoy my own "creative" life any way I choose to!! Really the only restrictions I want put on my life are those that my Lord and Savior puts there!!!! I would rather quit my blog completely than to push my creativity into a box. I would rather STOP demoing for SU! than to let another tell me what I can and can't do with my own blog. I didn't start this blog to help get SU! sales (I am ONLY a hobby demo), I started it because it seemed like a fun idea and I continued because it has brought me so much joy!!! I almost feel like closing up shop COMPLETELY my blogs, SU!, SU! Website (that I pay for monthly), handing over The Pink Elephant completely to Robin and walking away from this whole papercraft world. I feel very disheartened. I feel like just focusing on the Lord and my family!! Really I want NOTHING to do with the JUNK that causes me to worry over these unimportant issues. Today, at 3 o'clock a friend of mine will bury her sweet little girl who died in utero and was delivered via c- section on Thursday at 7 months gestation. As we were all praying for her this morning at church I couldn't help but think I bet Mattie (who was or is still a SU! demo) wishes that the only thing she had to grieve over was the decision to continue with SU! or not!!! I know there is no comparison between the two, but why waste a second on things that don't REALLY matter. I know that for SU! their $ does matter and on a smaller but equally important scale our $ matters to us, BUT you can't take it with you. However, the joy and fun that comes with crafting and creating, the friendship shared and newly formed through stamping, the excitedness you feel when some says Beautiful Card, the happiness one feels when your little card makes someones heart smile....those things DO matter!! This is the day the Lord made, I will rejoice and be glad in it...not this is a great day to make $, if I make a lot I will be happier!!!! I have made several commitments to companies such as: Die Cuts R Us Guest Designer - 3rd and 4th week of Sept '09, Hanna Stamps Guest Designer - December '09 and January '10, Your Next Stamp Guest Designer - Jan. '09 and a new "yet to be announced" company DT. Not to mention, the Design Teams I am currently on... I WILL fulfill my commitments with them. I want to continue with The Pink Elephant (under the new IDA I couldn't, because we promote our sponsors who are competitive companies to SU!). If I leave SU! I will no longer buy their products (I have 5 kids... I need the discount lol!), I have talked to my Stamp Club that meets monthly and offered them the choice to go to one of my downlines here in town, but they want me and said we don't HAVE to have a SU! Club we can have a regular ole' craft club!! That made me feel good because I felt if I left SU! I would be letting my girls down!! But nope...I discovered it was me they loved not just SU!... my heart smiled!!
As I talked to my husband, Eric, he reminded me that we had prayed about our finances the morning before the evening I learned of SU!'s New IDA. I have been praying about going to work. I LOVE being able to stay at home and homeschool the kids, but I want what God wants for my family. Eric said, " A lot of people have emailed and asked you to start your own stamp line (I always said No because 1. I don't know where to start and 2. I was loyal to SU!) well, maybe that is God's answer...leave SU! and start you own SMALL Stamp Co. I have also been asked by 2 different stamp companies to illustrate for them, but never wanted to loose SU! I don't know what to do, BUT I do know that God cares about even the small stuff and If we put Him in the middle of it all, it will surely work out!! When we put Him before anything else, He works ALL things together for those who love Him!!! And I surely do!!! I need to remember to be Thankful for Him, for family, for friends and for FREEDOM. Once again I know there is no comparison, but this whole SU! ordeal has given me a little taste of what people in different countries who do not have freedom of speech, freedom to vote or freedom to choose, may feel. It is sad!!
Ok, I have gotten way too personal (so not like me) and rambled on...Please forgive me!! Thanks for listening!! If you feel like giving me your opinion I am open to hearing it!!! This has been a bit therapeutic!!

If you find a moment sometime today please say a little pray for Mattie and her husband. A prayer for God to wrap His arms around them and fill them with supernatural peace and strength that only He can give!!!

Love and Blessing to you all,


Kelli in Kentucky said...

Wow Lori I did not know about this. I'm also going to have to think hard about this too. Oh and I love the last card you posted the colors are great and I love the brown gingham bow.

Gabriela said...

What SU has done is opened the barn doors to let some rubber stamp consortium scoop up all the talented designers (former SU demos) such as yourself, start a new company to compete with SU. Did SU really think that by angering all their constituents it would improve its business? From my personal vantage point it seems SU has orchestrated its own demise. May SU RIP. I'm very - VERY proud of your clear headed thinking and wise decision. Hugs, Gabriela.

Davi said...

Continue to seek the Lords direction for your decision an it will take you right to the center of His will. You will be rewarded with His peace. Your talent is a blessing to many and if you leave SU its their loss. Sadly they didn't really think thru their decisions and the long reaching reprecusions. Your cards are sooo cute!!

Peggy said...

Dear Lori,
I know that God will lead you in the way you should go! I will lift up your dear friend and her family, peace to them. As for the SU thing... it stinks! I am afraid a lot of folks may stop buying their stuff... not a wise idea for them to do this.

Robin said...

(((Lori))) This is why I have been trying to call you. I was worried about what you were planning on doing. I hadn't even THOUGHT of TPE...I was thinking of the companies that you design for. So, it wasn't a selfish thing on my part...I was thinking of you and this tough decision you would have to make. I am so sorry that you and many of my other friends have had to make such a hard decision. It isn't fair and it is quite ridiculous in my opinion. SU! doesn't want to open their eyes and realize that they aren't the only company out there. I do like SU!, but I couldn't strictly use only their products just like no other dt expects me to strictly use theirs. What I don't think they realize is that by being mentioned on a blog along with other products is MUCH better than no mention at all. Plus they get a wider variety of customer base if they are on blogs where other companies' fans frequent. It is just a very sad thing and I am afraid that SU! will regret it when they see that many of their loyal demos are leaving rather than agreeing to their very strict guidelines. I wish you all the best in whatever you choose to do...I can only imagine how hard this is for you to figure out since I know that you love SU! Please know that I am here if you need to talk. I know that I am not around like I used to be, but I am ALWAYS here if you need me!!!! Whatever you decide, it will be the right thing for you and your family and in the end that is ALL that matters!!
Love ya!

Claudia said...

Your friend and her family are in my prayers; I can't imagine the hurt they are going through. I also pray and hope that our Lord gives them them strength and comfort they need.

God bless you, my friend!


Karina said...

Yikes - I know it won't/hasn't been easy, but follow your heart. You have a clear head about it all. Many people would have had a difficult time getting past the shock/trauma of being forced into making such a decision. You are a wise woman to look for the opportunity to take your creative life in a new direction. I have always loved your designs and would love to support you in your own venture. Life has a way of putting things into perspective. Our thought are with Mattie and her family. Hang in there!

Terri said...

I think this is the best decision, Lori. The crafting world does not revolve around SU! You are so talented & can definitely succeed in your own stamp designs! I will be praying for God to make a way! I like SU products but this whole "control" thing is very weird to me. I'm afraid it will really hurt them in the long run. Anyway, I am praying for Mattie as well & my heart hurts for them.

Silke Ledlow said...

Lori - I'm so sad to her your friend Mattie has to go this sad experience!!! I'll pray and think of her!!!

About SU - all I can say is God closes one door and opens another...keep praying and follow the path he wants you to be on!!! You will see it's gonna be a fabulous new adventure :)

Once SU made the announcement public I knew thet didn't care for the *average* demonstrator..they are in for the money and I'm my decision was fairly quick and I feel good about leaving them behind!!!

I have tons of SU stuff that hopefully will get used I'm not buying any of their stuff for a while!!!

Big hugs

Unknown said...

(((hugs))) Lori. I will pray for your dear friend who lost her baby. How sad! Too, I know that you are open to God's plan for you. I pray that He will show you inexplicably what He wants for your life.

Amy's Stocking Stuffers said...

Dear Lori,

You don't know me, but I just wanted to say that this is the first I've heard of this, and I wanted to say that I'm sorry for the hard decisions you've had to make. Be true to yourself and the rest will follow. Best of luck, and I will be watching for your own beautiful work out there on the internet!

Heather D. ~ Fresh Brewed Designs said...

Oh my goodness! This is a lot to take in. I know that you will listen to and let God lead you and direct you. He has never failed and will never let you down! I for one have read and see Gods answer and plan for you. I am pretty sure you will too if you reread your post. God is good, all the time! I know this seems all overwhelming and does not make much sense, but KNOW God has his hand in it and will lead you the way he wants you to go. you are a strong and amazing woman. Such an inspiration and I for one would never want to lose the chance to share with you. You are in my prayers and I will also say a prayer for Mattie and her husband. Big hugs and take a deep breath. He will open doors and bless you in ways you could never imagine as long as you have faith and trust him (and I know you will!)

Sheri Gilson said...

Hi Lori, I am so sorry for the decision you have to make. It really stinks. I was thinking of you and some of the others on our team and wondering what you all will choose. Hopefully you will come to a decision that you and your family can live with. (((hugs)))

Toby and Valerie Durham said...

Lori - I know you are having a rough week. I hope everything turns out okay. You are tremendously talented - if I had even a speck of your craft skill, I would be just ecstatic! May God lead and guide you in your decision - I'll keep following you and your blog no matter what you decide! Love you, girl!

Annie said...

oh Lori I really feel for you. How utterly ridiculous of SU - very very bad management. They will anger people and loose tons of business but most important of all they loose talented people like yourself - what an utter travesty? Don't they realise that it's seeing fabulous cards made by you and others that leads crafters to buy stuff. Oh how silly of them?

I love SU stuff but it's not as easy to get hold of other here so I've only bought odd sets from ebay and I will NOT be buying anymore. However, if you do start a stamp range I will be first in the queue!

On an even more heart rending note so very sorry for Matte and her husband. Heartbreaking for them both. They are in my prayers.

Ann xxx

Lara said...

Lori, when I first heard about the new SU! IDA yours was one of the first sites I thought of. I love participating in TPE challenges and reading you blog. I feel for you and the other talented people who will be forced to choose between their business and the freedom to be creative with whatever products they choose.

I recently signed up to be a SU! demo and I too was shocked and saddened by the decision I was forced to make. For me it was a little easier since I hadn't yet begin to build my business. Personally I can't abide by the restrictions SU! is instituting. I'm finally at peace with my descision and I hope you will be soon as well.

Your friend and her family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

MrsMomma said...

Lori, please don't think me forward for this, since we've only recently 'met' in bloggy land but I do feel your anguish. As an outsider I look at the situation and the choice is obvious to me, although I know there's probably more to the situation and I can't possible know exactly what is right for you since I've just recently began challenges and all this is new to me, but the answer to me is to give up SU! and continue with your card club using other great sponsors, stay on TPE, and keep blogging & paper crafting your way. Your work is so beautiful and to put restrictions on that beauty just seems wrong. I know I've just recently began participating in TPE challenges, but I would hate to see you go! Don't be discouraged. You are right, put God first and all else will work out.

Luke 12:27-31 (for a little encouragement)

NinaB said...

I'll be praying for you, Lori. I know it's not an easy decision to make. May God give you a clear answer as to what He wants you to do. "No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." (Ps 84:11). And He is good, no matter what.

Bumbles and Fairy-Tales said...

Oh my, I am so sorry! It's hard to make a decision when it's involving something you love to do!

I read your post above, and I'm happy that you've decided to take on a new adventure!
I wish you much luck, love and peace :*)
~ margie

Sonya said...

I feel for your decision but applaud your faith in the Lord and decision to follow Him first!! He will never lead you wrong!!!! I had considered signing up with SU but did not because of the possibility of this very thing. They will loose many who promote their products through many other challenges and mixture of products, so sad.
My prayers for Mattie and family on their loss. The Lord has the little one and them in His arms waiting until they can be reunited forever.

Betty Boo! said...


I have only had the pleasure of speaking with you once, but found you so warm and friendly. I can't tell you how sorry I am about how much this is tearing you apart. I know we spoke of it, and I know you were worried about my end of it. Please believe me when I say, you must do what is in your best interest. What matters most to you and your family! If you leave bloggy land, you will leave a trail of sad faces. You are too talented to stay in a box as you said! However, the decision is yours and it looks like many of us are behind you either way! I know that there are many of us that would help you in any way we could should you start your own company! I love your work and can't wait to see what you will come up with!

As for your friend Mattie she and her husband will be in our prayers. I can't imagine what pain she is going through. You know what happened to me with my third child, and I almost lost my mind. I had the chance to save my baby, I can't even imagine how broken hearted they are. All my best and love to the two!

Good luck and please call me anytime, even if it is just to vent!

Lots of hugs!


Tracey Lynn 'Fred' Miller said...

I can only re-iterate what so many posters have commented, when one door closes, Gods opens another. I think exciting times are ahead of you :) Take care &

Big Hugs, Fred

Max said...

Hi Lori,
Please pass on my sincere condolences to your friend and her family. It is devastating to lose a child at any time and my thoughts are with them.


Just wanted to add my support to the others regarding the SU dilemma.
I think the recent restrictions SU are imposing on their demonstrators smack of dictatorship and in today's society that is utterly ridiculous.
There are so many products and tools that SU do not carry in their stock, so how on earth can they expect their demonstrators to use and promote only their products exclusively?
It is morally and ethically wrong to use other brands and then make no mention of them in anything other than vague terms and the majority of crafty people firmly believe in giving credit where it is due, so would be very uncomfortable doing what they are asking.
When you consider that the SU brand relied almost solely on word of mouth to promote their products via partyplan prior to the advent of blogs and the internet, it seems rather hypocritical of them to suddenly demand that their demonstrators not link to any site where a rival company is named or credited or where there may the possibily of making a purchase.
It has benefited with greatly increased sales, especially over the last couple of years, which would not have happened without the help of the internet and there are thousands of people worldwide who now know the SU name who didn't before. In all reality, most craft lovers out there probably wouldn't ever have come into contact with a SU demonstrator or indeed attended a house party.
Do SU not realise that creativity cannot be suffocated in this way? It is beyond belief that they don't realise that this decision will hurt their business badly, not only because they will lose so many talented crafters but also customers and potential future customers that they will now not have access to.
Finally ... in my opinion, as a self employed business woman you should be allowed to run your business as you see fit and until SU are in a position to provide their agents with everything they 'need' ... like embossing machines, die cutters and all the other crafty tools, gadgets and goodies that help to enhance your projects, (and work very well alongside their products), ... then they should not and cannot expect exclusivity.

I wish you every success in your new venture ... I'm sure you will enjoy it even if for no other reason than having the right to freedom of choice.

**Max climbs down from her soapbox and scuttles back to her corner of blogland**


Anonymous said...

I read about the new SU! rules on another blog and I think they have gone bonkers! (Soooo glad I didn't sign with them like I was leaning towards when they had the $85 special). You are so talented and so great at everything you do! Good luck! Carmen

~*Joni said...

Hi Lori! I have to say that I have a lump in my throat even though I am no longer an SU demo. The fact that so many of my friends are sad and torn really saddens me as well. I think SU has tainted themselves with this IDA, I do believe that so many people still love SU and that those who love other companies still go back to the SU line for all their wonderful products. IMO I would miss you terribly if you left the other DTs that you have so deservingly earned. I think your talent is too grand to be limited. Hugs and I know He will guide you through this. (I believe He did as I already see a cute little mouse in the next post. teehee!)

Bekki B said...

You know that I am for ya girl!!!! You spoke very elequently and have conveyed your heart without a hitch! Love ya...

Priscilla said...

I just came across your blog - you are very talented! I will continue to re-visit often. :)
Reading your thoughts posted 9/6 about SU! and your friend losing her daughter, my heart went out to both of you and I pray for your friend. You're right - they don't compare, but it does put things in perspective and makes us reflect on what's really important in life.
You're making the right decision to leave SU! behind. Keep stamping and finding joy in your craft!