Friday, September 04, 2009
break out the popcorn
Unless you've been engaged in a glorious frenzy of crafting that hasn't allowed you to read any crafting blogs or forums on the internet for the last few days, you've probably heard about Stampin' Up! and the new Independent Demonstrator Agreement (IDA) that their demos are being asked to sign by the end of this month. Wow, talk about opening a big can of worms! There have been discussions galore and the gamut of reactions from hard-core demos, hobby demos, customers, fans.... I'm torn between feeling like I'm watching a soap opera vs a train wreck happening in slow motion.
Rather than try to summarize what's been going on, I'll link to a post on Craft Critique where they discuss reaction to the IDA as well as relate some of Stampin' Up!'s response to the almost immediate harsh criticism they received. There's a link to the IDA as well, so all of the information is there and can be read and you can draw your own conclusions rather than taking my word for it.
Now I'm not a big fan of Stampin' Up! I do have a few of their stamp sets and I have some of the dies and textured impressions folders that they've released in conjunction with Sizzix. I've just never really gotten into their line of products the way some folks have. But I find myself feeling badly for the hobby demos--they're the ones who have probably been the most affected by the IDA. There are more restrictions now in that demos cannot be on design teams for companies producing competing products, nor can they link in their blogs to sites selling competing products. They're even discouraged from mentioning the companies by name if they happen to use cardstock or a die or an embellishment made by a competitor. This was all framed as an effort to protect, and even enhance (?!), the business of the demos. This is the revised version, btw, the version that came about as a result of people objecting to the initial attempt by Stampin' Up to exercise very stringent control over just what could be linked to in personal blogs and electronic communications, even extending into areas not involving SU! at all. They've loosened their grip a bit, but people are already angry and upset, and even this revision may not be enough to appease the crafters who would rather walk away from SU! rather than feel like they've compromised their rights and principles. So it remains to be seen if SU! will make any more concessions.
Personally, I wasn't buying much in the way of SU! product before all of this happened. I'm less interested in supporting them now. I feel for those who are now having to make some tough choices. I also find it rather shameless of SU! to "allow" and even encourage their demos to push SU! products on general crafting forums and to potential customers, but only mention other products that may have been used in the making of a card in the most general of terms. I understand not wanting to give business to "the competition", but as I say and do here on my blog, give credit where it's due. It's not enough to say that if someone is curious enough to write and ask, demos can give out more details. The crafting world has always been better about sharing information than that. The spirit of sharing that I've always encountered from stampers is seriously lacking with the enforcement of this agreement, and it's a big disappointment. As I come across blogs in Google Reader that go the way of becoming exclusively SU!, I'll be unsubscribing. I'd already avoided subscribing to most of the hard-core demo blogs--sounds like I'll be unsubbing to some now. I know that there are a lot of creative SU! demo/bloggers out there who do lovely work, but I'd rather invest my time in reading and being inspired by folks who are embracing more of what the crafting world has to offer and who are willing to share information without prodding.
Anyway, I'm lumping SU! in with Provo Craft. I'm unimpressed by the way they treat their people and by the way that they've elected to conduct their business. As a consumer, I'll be spending my crafting money elsewhere when I do my shopping. There are too many other choices out there these days. Just FYI though--since I know that many readers come by to check out alternative ways of using crafting tools and Cuttlebug folders in particular--I will still be trying to come up with innovative ways of using embossing folders. I'm not tossing out what I have already. I'm just refusing to support them in the future if they continue their current practices. So, you may not see the latest and greatest from Provo Craft when they start releasing new stuff, but you'll probably still find some creative ways of using it here. :-)