The "best" place? Oh that is a LOADED question!!
Disclaimer: my introduction to stamping was at a Stampin' Up party in 2003. I became a demonstrator for about 3 years; I am no longer one. Now that's out of the way...
Stampin' Up sell quality product. You can purchase online by hooking up to a demo's web site; or find a demo near you and order directly from her in person. You can go to the Stampin' Up web site and click on the demo locater, enter your zip code and a list of possibilities will come up.
What I like about SU...matching ink, paper, ribbon and other embellishments. The option of buying your stamp sets in wood-mounted rubber or in a cling rubber that you will need an acrylic block or two to use. The catalog is full of samples for ideas, and of course if you find a demo near you that really loves the craft she will probably hold classes or workshops for you to learn fun techniques.
Stampin' Up is not the only company selling quality product. Close to My Heart is very similar and also works through at home demonstrators. Amuse Studio also has home demonstrators. Each can be found by visiting their web sites.
Strictly online shopping, no demo needed...GinaKDesigns is awesome. Also offers quality, matching paper, inks, ribbon and other embellishments and has great customer service.
Gina posts out here and is an absolutely LOVELY lady inside and out. Check out her blog here: Gina K. Designs- StampTV blog: Sneak Peeks- Day 2
and the StampTV site where she posts many video tutorials here: stampTV - Card making, rubber stamping techniques and project videos for papercrafters
Gosh there are SO MANY online places that many folks out here have had good experiences from and get great products. Check out this thread here: online shopping
. Once in this thread click on "Thread Tools" near the top of the page and you will see "Subscribe to this Thread". Do that. Then any time you come out here if you want to go back and check out another recommended online place click on My Subscriptions in the upper left and that thread will be there for you.
ALSO...on the home page here you will see many logos of the Splitcoast "Member Companies"...they are definitely worth clicking on to check out their shops.
Finally, do a Google search for any scrapbooking/paper crafts stores near you. It's always nice to support a local business. They are having trouble staying afloat in this economy and many are closing so there might not be one near you but it's worth looking.
AND....there is always Hobby Lobby, Michael's and A.C.Moore. Each of them carry Bazzill papers which are pretty decent. The ones near me are expanding their selections of Ranger Industry products, especially those by Tim Holtz which are awesome. I know they carry Memento brand ink, Distress Inks, and Palette Noir inks which are all good quality. And stamps by companies like Stampendous, Hero Arts, or Inkadinkado .
Phew...overwhelmed yet? If so, I suggest finding a demo from one of the first companies I mentioned and maybe sticking with their product lines as you get started. Eventually once you learn what you like style wise you'll be able to expand your horizons. Most of all, whatever you do....ENJOY!!!