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. :-)


  1. Provo Craft actually went to 4shared about some handbooks I had uploaded there, and ended up getting my 4shared account banned. It's taken care of now, but I was genuinely unimpressed that they didn't say anything to me first.

    Yeah, I'm still trying to calm down from that one.
    (check out these posts: and

  2. I totally agree with your thoughts, Jay. Even though I don't even have ANY of these things. I love looking at your work and I KNOW that you KNOW what you are talking about. And I agree with supporting those who have good will. End of story. :D


  3. Hi Jay,
    The only SU products I have are what have been won in blog candy. Partly because I think their products are rather overpriced and there are plenty of alternatives out there much cheaper.
    After reading a little about what has happened and the restrictions they are imposing on their demonstrators, I cannot help but feel they've shot themselves in the foot and are going to lose some very talented people because of this.
    Loyalty to the brand is one thing ... but dictatorship is something else altogether and I'm even less inclined now to ever part with any cash for their products or be responsible for promoting them as a company, on my blog or anywhere else.
    As a subscriber to many blogs whose authors are involved with SU to varying degrees, I too will be hitting the delete button if they become exclusively SU 'cos I'd rather not have their products rammed down my throat.
    Whatever happened to 'choice' ?


  4. And just who do you think you're "hurting" by propetuating the inaccuracies like this? It is your God given right to unsub from SU blogs, as it is mine to unsub from yours

  5. Wow, Gracie. I'm sorry to hear that you've had so much trouble with Provo Craft, and I agree that it was rather heavy-handed of them to not even contact you first and instead go "over your head" to your web host regarding the files. It smacks of the mentality that they're a big company and can do what they want--whether it's hosing their vendors who'd offered preorders for bundles and exclusive dies that were not delivered as promised, or your case where they've just bulled their way to get what they want when they want. To me that's indicative of a lack of respect, a lack of something very basic and essential to a productive working relationship. In a way it makes me glad that I never jumped on the Cricut bandwagon, despite my usual need to try out new tools on the market--not that it helps your situation at all. But I hope you get your blog up and running again the way that you'd like very soon. :-)

    Hi Judie, seems like it should be so simple, eh? Show good will, get some in return.

    I'm with you, Max. I've not got anything against SU demos, but I don't want to visit sites that are exclusively SU. I own so little of their product that it's not really helpful to me to hear the names of stamp sets, ink colors, card stock colors etc bandied about--it can be almost like a foreign language after a while. That's why I didn't subscribe in the first place and why I'll end up unsubbing now as blogs move that direction. Too many other sources for inspiration out there that can give me more of what I'm looking for.

    And Anon, this is a personal blog expressing personal opinions--my take on what's going on the crafting world. I try to read and be informed and that's why I include links to tutorials/techniques/manufacturers etc whenever I post, so that readers can go back to the source and look at things for themselves. That's also why I took care to provide links in this post so that others could read and draw their own conclusions rather than taking my word for it. Now you didn't enumerate what you perceive to be inaccuracies, so I'm not sure what you're referring to. Not sure where you got the idea that I'm trying to "hurt" anyone by posting my thoughts either. And yeah, you bet that I have a right to subscribe to or unsub from blogs just like you do--go for it. I just used this particular blog post to relate my disappointment with the way that a couple of companies have decided to conduct their business and my personal decision to spend my money elsewhere as a result.

    Thanks for stopping by, all!

  6. I agree with your take on this whole thing, Jay.
    I have only a few SU stamps, and only ones I bought at Yard sales or from ebay because as another poster said, I find them rather overpriced, AND I've seen many sets as derivative of other lines.
    Wonder what SU is afraid of? Don't they understand that we have a choice, even if their demos don't? Choice and competition is a good thing!

  7. I agree with your views and I know that my SU demo friends are hurting right now. They have said they feel like they've been sucker punched and are really stepping back to think through their decisions.

    I have lots of SU stamps but only because I was supporting friends who were SU reps. I didn't really need to have SU stamps (& I have tons of other company stamps) but I have enjoyed them very much over the years. Only time will tell.

  8. Thanks for sharing, we still have freedom to is a shame for some people that have to make a decision about SU, whether to follow or not.....I will think twice about what I may order if any now..........

  9. I think your comments are very well thought through and coherently presented. I agree with you 100%. I just don't like the idea of a crafting company being so greedy. That's just not what crafting is about.
    Kikki M. Kikki at yahoo dot com

  10. Thanks, everyone! I think that what we're seeing with SU! is similar to what we're seeing elsewhere--the sports world comes to mind. The use of social media has grown immensely--not just email and texting, but Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed.... the list goes on and on. Companies and corporations of all ilk and of all sizes are having to figure out how to deal with social media. Some have seen the writing on the wall and have embraced it and used it to their advantage. Others are still trying to maintain the status quo when really it's already way too late. So you see the Southeastern Conference trying to control who can tweet what and when in their arenas, and the NFL trying to control its players and come up with proscriptions for use of social media in an attempt to protect the exclusivity of their broadcasts etc--both received a backlash of criticism. And then there's SU! which seriously underestimated what the impact would be of their trying to control what demos do or say on their personal Facebook posts, blogs, emails, Tweets etc. These are all growing pains--it's just A LOT more painful to watch some grow than others! As for SU!, we'll see, eh? And I really hope they eventually see their way clear to letting their demos give credit where due as far as non-SU! items that they use--seems to me that's just the right thing to do.

  11. Reading here about SU's actions was news to me, but I completely agree with you. I've never bought their products, though there were stamp designs I like, because I thought they were way overpriced and I don't like buying sets when I only want one stamp. I hope the backlash on their policies is loud and large.

  12. I agree with you...i will unsub from any blog that is out there to promote only one company...there are so many beautiful and useful things from other's ashame that SU feels it has to restrict competition in this way. I am reminded of an "old" movie where a Macy's Santa recommends other stores to customers and in return they actually improve their own might be Miracle on 34th Street, but i'm not sure. It really turns me off when I get something pushed down my throat, so thanks, but no thanks. I also agree that SU is overpriced.


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