Time for Questions & Answers

Time for Questions and Answers again—probably past time, right! As usual, your suggestions for new products, offerings, markets, etc., I have forwarded to the appropriate departments within Stampin’ Up!, so I won’t address those here.

And also as usual, I appreciate your kind thoughts. I always enjoy reading your comments so much! I hope I’ve answered some of your questions here:

What do you use your journals for? I think you said once you don’t keep a journal, so are they more for notes? To-dos? Reminders?

Exactly! My blog has become my journal, but we have so many fun ways to decorate and accent journals that I have to come up with some fun use for them! I always keep a journal in my purse—always! I write all sorts of things in there—lists of things to do, quotes I hear and want to remember. . . it’s just a perfect random place where I keep random thoughts.

I love seeing your family getting ready for their poses for the Idea Book & Catalog, but I have a favor to ask....can you please put the names under the pictures so we know who they are. I know your children's names but not their faces. 

I understand it’s difficult to keep track of the growing Gardner clan! That’s why I love taking our annual family photo; demonstrators tell me all the time that they enjoy seeing how our family grows. When I began blogging, I thought about putting captions on all the photos, but I decided that, if I was going to blog at all, it would never work unless I kept it very simple. So I nixed the idea of captioning all the photos.  

I could make an exception for some photos, I know, but then I wouldn’t know where to include captions and where not to. So, I do have a solution but it means you have to do the work, not me! (Isn’t that terrible!) If you really want to know which Gardner is which Gardner, just check out the family photo in the current Idea Book & Catalog. We’re all there (except for Makai), and it’s pretty easy to figure it out.

And  here’s a sneak peek of sorts—the next Idea Book & Catalog will make it even easier to figure out who is who. . . now you can’t wait to see the new catalog, can you? (smile)

I love to look at your lovely family photos. I requested this last year, and I'm going to do it again—please make a spot to post each year's Gardner family photo, all the way back to the first one. I've only seen the past 11 years--3 as a customer, and the past 8 years as a demonstrator. I'd love to see them all!

That’s a great idea! To be honest, I’m not exactly sure if we even know where all the photos are! I’ll put it on a list of to-do projects, but I have to admit it’s not a high priority! So I’ll work on it, but don’t hold your breath!

Would love to have the pattern for the mug warmer!

As most of you know, I don’t often post instructions, patterns, supplies, etc. Again, that’s because if I don’t keep the blog as simple and easy as possible, I’ll end up either dreading doing it, or not doing it at all! However, since I didn’t make this project, I’ll check with Melanie and see if she has a pattern. If she does, I’ll share it with you when I get it. Deal? 

I would love to send a card to Carter (the young boy who is in the hospital whom you and your sister visited). Would that be OK with his parents? If so, where should I send a card?

I think it would be great if you sent cards to Carter! He (and his parents; they are both Stampin’ Up! employees in Kanab) would love them, I’m sure! Carter is a second-grader; Leslie is his teacher in Kanab. If you would like to send him a card, just send it to my attention at Stampin’ Up!, and I’ll make sure he receives them. 

Carter
Att: Shelli Gardner
12907 South 3600 West
Riverton, UT  84065

I have been using Stampin’ Up!  products for about three years now and find the products very nice. However, I have seen the prices jump and am wondering why. It would seem that a company as big as Stampin’ Up! could give their customers a break. Also, I'm wondering where all the pastel cardstock has gone to. I have the ink but no cardstock to go with it. Until recently I didn't know about products being retired. 

Good question. We did raise prices last year; I believe it was the first overall price increase we’ve had in years. I certainly wish that we could take the hit on price increases and not pass those on to our customers, but that just not the way it works. If we did that, we wouldn’t be in business very long!

Our costs of doing business have risen significantly in the past several years—just like your costs of living. We are committed to providing our customers and our demonstrators with the finest products available at the best prices possible.

You also mentioned missing card stock—in order to make sure our product lines are fresh, we do retire products on a regular basis to make room for new products. 

I’m trying to figure out that toothed border from Card #3. How did you do it? 

It’s the Tasteful Trim Bigz Die--quick and easy, and creates a great look, doesn' it?   

Australia needs more interesting stuff to sell. Why can’t we have those ribbons and your beautiful flower papers. We are creative here as well.

I know you are! Your creativity is definitely NOT the issue! There are a variety of factors that are taken into consideration when we determine our product lines in all our different markets. For instance, some limitations exist because of the sheer volume of inventory we can store in our warehouses in the different countries, as well as the costs associated with shipping products to those countries. We can’t offer products that we know we can’t consistently keep in stock or that we can’t get quickly if we do happen to run out. Other factors include government regulations, manufacturing costs, etc.

I know that it's frustrating, but please know that we are working hard to offer as many products as we possibly can at an affordable price. And the number of products has NO reflection at all on how creative we think you are! (smile!) 

And as long as we’re talking about Australia, another Australia customer or demonstrator mentioned the price differences between the two countries. There is quite a difference in prices, and considering that the US dollar and the Australian dollar aren’t that different in value, it might not seem to make sense why the prices are so different.

Again, many factors come into play. We set our prices based on the cost of doing business in a country. It costs less for us to do business in the United States, for many reasons. Many of our products are manufactured here, we ship from here, the majority of our work force is here, etc. Therefore, our prices are lower.  

To operate in other countries, we must ship product, pay warehouse and office costs, meet different government and federal regulations. . . and that's just a few of our costs. Much the way that purchasing an Australian product in the United States would likely cost me more here than it would if I bought it in Australia, our Stampin’ Up! products cost more in Australia than they do in the United States.

That said, we are committed to finding ways to keep our prices as low as possible! We are looking at ways to lower our costs of doing business, and when we find those, we will definitely pass any savings on to you! 

Is there a template for the doves that appear in the masthead of the "paper" section of the current Idea Book & Catalog?

Yes, they're darling, aren't they? The doves appear on page 173 in the Idea Book & Catalog, and the template for them is available to any Stampin’ Up! demonstrator. It’s found on the demonstrator website, under Show & Tell>Pattern Library>Other>#16. 

Love your new blog header. Can we make that with My Digital Studio? 

Not this one. We have talented professional designers who work on my blog header. However, I like your idea! I might ask them to design one of the upcoming headers with My Digital Studio!

What stamp set is the horseshoe from that you used to accent Sterling’s endurance ride pages?

Out West, what else?  

Are you honestly all caught up with your scrapbooking?  

I laughed out loud when I read this! I’m SOOOOOOOOO not caught up! However, once in a while I’ll take a photo that I want to scrapbook for some reason, or like in this instance, I want to use some product (our Sale-A-Bration products) so I can create a project to share with you. So when I took the photos of Phoebe, I did make those pages immediately! But I have photos piling up from decades ago, still waiting to be scrapbooked. Someday. . . . 

I enjoy your blog; I also enjoy reading Shalae’s and Shanna’s blog. Do Megan, Sara, or Sage have blogs? Can you link to them? And do any of the girls work at Stampin’ Up!?

I’ve been meaning to include links to the girls’ blogs, so this was a great reminder!

Megan doesn’t have a blog, and she doesn’t work at Stampin’ Up! (Although her husband does!) She has managed to resist the blog temptation!  

Sara is a demonstrator and kind of has a blog. She posts once a week (on Mondays) on the MDS.net blog. (Click here to check it out.) She’s becoming quite a My Digital Studio enthusiast and expert; I’m excited to find some time to sit down and have her teach me everything she knows (or at least a little bit of what she knows!)

Shalae is a demonstrator and has a blog. (Click here to check her blog out.) 

Sage, too, has dodged the blog bullet. She used to work as a concept artist for Stampin’ Up! but currently focuses her attention on her two little boys (little Makai is our newest grandchild).  

And Shanna has a blog. (Check it out here.) She also works for me in a variety of ways, often creating her culinary goodies for several of our events. She often posts photos and recipes of her creations on her blog, so you’ll love checking it out.  

I’ve added these links to my blog, along with a couple of other sites I enjoy visiting. I don’t spend much time on the Internet, but I do visit a few places for inspiration. Love Anthropologie—although their prices are high, I love checking out their styles and designs and decorations.  

How do you do it? You have so much to do, and you get it all done! You’re Wonder Woman! I’m in awe! You’re a natural, and I would love to know your secrets! 

I laughed out loud when I read this one too! I certainly don’t get it all done! I get some things done, but you should see my to-do list! And I don’t have any secrets—and I’m not a natural! What I am is very blessed to have many  people who help me in different ways. My girls always help out whenever I ask them; my mom comes up from southern Utah fairly often to help out. I do have a housekeeper (I know, I’m spoiled—I wish you could all have one!) and some amazing employees who are always there as well. And then, of course, I have a husband who is THE MAN. See, I’m not Wonder Woman at all, just surrounded by wonderful people!

Can you share a picture of your Valentine's Hutch? (shown in the background of one of the pictures) 

This is the hutch that I put all my different holiday vignettes on. I think I forgot to post the Valentine one. . . so sorry! When I get back from Montreal next week, I’ll share the springtime one, OK? I’ll also post a photo with me wearing that really cool retro jacket (several of you have mentioned that you’re still waiting for that photo as well!)

I'm not getting your RSS feed to work. It comes up with a lot of text but no place to subscribe to the feed.

I’ve forwarded this to our social media/IT experts. Not sure what the problem may be, but I'll let you know if it’s anything on our end. I haven't seen any other complaints, so it may just have to do with your computer or settings or browser.  

I’m disappointed in the projects I’ve printed using My Digital Studio. I’m looking for printing tips. I love My Digital Studio and all the downloads, but I don’t want to invest any more money until I’m able to get a clean print.

That certainly makes sense! Everyone’s personal printers are different; some print higher quality than others. We suggest you check out the printing materials and instructions that come with your individual printer.

We always suggest using our printing vendor to ensure that your projects will print at the highest quality. Typically these projects are some of the most important (scrapbooks, calendars, gifts, etc.), and we want to make sure you’re pleased with the projects you’ve created!

If you're still having problems, try calling our Demonstrator  Support number (1-800-STAMPUP) one more time--we have two dedicated agents who know everything (or at least almost everything!) there is to know about MDS! 

What did you say to the ladies who suggested a monthly gathering where they came to your house every month and just stamped, using your supplies?

Well, I was pretty direct! I told them that our demonstrators have to make some money, and that that income comes from sales. Then I transitioned into the idea of classes and hosting another workshop. I kept it friendly, understanding, and kind—after all, I was thrilled that they’d fallen in love with stamping! We know that happens to almost everybody, right? But I also helped them understand that we wanted to share stamping events that were mutually beneficial! 

Where did you get the magnetic board/frame that you used to display your projects at your workshop?

You guessed it—it was a great find at an antique store! Originally, we thought it might be a mirror, but I think it’s a just a tin of some sort. But magnets work perfectly on it, so it’s a great way to display projects! 

Whatever happened to your sister Vonna, who started Stampin’ Up! with you? Is she still involved in the business? 

More than 10 years ago, Vonna sold her ownership of Stampin’ Up! to me, and I became the sole owner. However, she still loves our products, creates amazing projects, and, I think, feels a sense of pride in what Stampin’ Up! has become. We’re still very close, and almost every time I go down to Kanab (or she comes up here) we get together!  

Those blue/white floral plates that the cupcakes came on were gorgeous. Did you get to keep them?

Yes, they came with the cupcakes!

How do you attach your charm bracelet to the long Simply Adorned Chain?

We’ll end on an easy one! I just attached it with baubles, although you could also use a ribbon bow!

Just a note: Several of you noted how much you enjoyed the events you’ve attended the last couple of months (leadership and regionals), and many of you mentioned not being able to wait for convention. I share your excitement! The more I hear about what is planned, the more I can’t wait. We are continuing our focus on shaking things up a bit and making each of our events even more exciting and fun! I hope you’re planning on joining us for Convention 2011! I’ll see you there!