An Honest Question--and an Honest Answer

I’m working on my next Question & Answer post but noticed this comment and felt like I needed to answer it separately—and quickly!

Someone wrote, “My New Year's wish: Please don't abandon those of us who are loyal hobby demonstrators.... it definitely feels that way right now with the heavy duty push to recruit.”

This demonstrator then goes on to explain that, because she doesn’t have any support from her upline or any opportunity to join a stronger upline, she doesn’t really feel comfortable recruiting anyone. She also noted that she feels like a “hanger on” and that she wonders if a lot of hobbyist demonstrators are having to leave in this economy because of the quarterly minimum requirement.

She says, “I hope that just this once someone asks, ‘What could we do to support you more effectively?’ without saying, ‘You need to perk up and work harder at building your business.’"

Several things came to mind as I read this comment. . . .

First, I’d like to say that I appreciate this demonstrator’s honesty.

Second, I have to admit that my heart broke when I read her words. Through the years we’ve said over and over again how much our “hobbyist demonstrators” mean to us—and we absolutely mean it! These demonstrators are crafting enthusiasts who value our product, and love to create. In fact, many of them live to create!

We try to do as much as we can to support these demonstrators—offering a nice variety of the highest quality products available; providing LOTS of fun, inspiring projects; creating a community (Stampin’ Connection) where they can share and be recognized by their peers; profiling artists in our magazine (Stampin’ Success) every month. . . those are the things that come to mind immediately, and I know there are more. In fact, the monthly So Shelli Creative Challenge was a direct result of trying to meet the needs of our demonstrators who live to create!

Third, as a company whose very existence depends on growth, Stampin’ Up! has always had to  focus on recruiting at some level. And in these challenging times, we’ve had to focus our efforts and resources more than ever before on a few key things that will ensure that we survive—and even thrive.

We have focused on recruiting heavily during the past year, but that increased focus doesn’t mean we value our demonstrators who enjoy creating any less than we value our demonstrators who enjoy building a business. It just means we’ve been talking about recruiting more. Our priorities haven’t changed—every single demonstrator is important to us, and we will do all we can (recognizing that our resources are limited) to support and encourage every demonstrator, at whatever level she chooses to be part of our Stampin’ Up! family.

I can understand why this added emphasis on recruiting might make a demonstrator whose main priority is stamping feel less valued. All I can say is, if you’re feeling this way, please don’t! Please know that we care about you. You are part of every conversation we have and every decision we make. We are trying to carefully balance our need to encourage growth and recruiting with our absolute commitment to reach out to EVERY demonstrator in our Stampin’ Up! family and make sure they can continue to love what they do.

Thank you, Dona, for sharing your feelings. I promise you that your role as a “hobbyist” is and always will be valued.