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Old 02-18-2013, 05:47 AM   #1
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Default Demo do's and don'ts

I will be starting my new career (far from being an IT Project Manager) and delve into SU! as a demonstrator.
I've toyed with the idea for a while and with the starter kit being $99, I think I should start now. Tell me your experience of starting out, do's and don'ts, what to expect and pitfalls. Feel free to send me a PM if you're more comfortable in expressing your opinion that way.

I'm really trying to think of this as a career change and not a way to add to my stash. In other words, I don't want to be my best customer!
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:06 AM   #2
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I'm sure there are loads of people better equipped to answer this, but I wanted to wish you luck & welcome you to the family!
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:16 AM   #3
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Make sure you join the demo forums. Click on the join a group button on the left of the screen. There is a LOT of good advice over there! I'm hobby demo so I got nothing
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:31 AM   #4
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Congratulations! When I signed up and became a demo I had so much fun. I'm also a hobby demo right now due to several moves and a schedule that's not condusive, but I hope to get back to building my business again someday.

Minders already gave you one of the best pieces of advice in telling you to join the demo forums here. Also, be sure to get signed up for Stampin' Up's Stampin' Connection which is another forum for demos only. I prefer the SCS demo forum, but Stampin' Connection has some valuable information too.

The best piece of advice I ever got was when you design projects for a workshop/party you should keep a box next to you and put every item you use to make the card into the box as you create it. That way you won't forget to pack something you'll need at the workshop.

I also learned the hard way to keep things pretty simple when planning projects for a workshop, especially if you have new stampers there. They can become overwhelmed easily.

Finally, I found offering classes was helpful for my business. I usually had a beginners stamping class scheduled that people at a workshop could sign up for. That way, if someone wanted to learn the basics (masking, sponging, coloring on stamps with markers, etc.) they could sign up right then. Sometimes I found customers were hesitant to commit to booking a workshop at a party, but then once they came to a beginners class they saw that I would help them really learn to use their stuff then they wanted more and would book with me. This beginners class was free, but then I did offer other more advanced classes and project nights that I charged for to cover my time and cost of materials.

Good luck and have fun!

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Old 02-18-2013, 09:09 AM   #5
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I'm so excited for you! Since you're looking for a career demonstratorship (as opposed to hobby) always keep that bottom line in the front of you mind.

It's been such a long time since I was a demonstrator, I'm not sure if the numbers are the same anymore but SU! mark up for demonstrators was/is only 20% so be really certain that when you do offers, you're boosting sales and not giving away all your profits. I made the mistake of often offering free shipping. That came straight out of my pocket and didn't give me chances to upsell. We crafters will spend what we plan on spending so no need to give away the farm so to speak. Also, if you're hoping to go full time, make sure to treat your demonstratorship like a business and dedicate time to it (phone calls, number crunching, research and development!)

Social media has REALLY helped my husband continue to expand his home business without sinking a lot of money into advertising. I carry a pack of handstamped thank you cards with me at all times and when I was a demo they had my contact info on the back. I would fill them out for hairdressers, waitstaff, pretty much anyone I came into contact with who was helpfull. Gave and got lots of smiles and got calls later on from people who had received my cards. I also agree with previous posters that offering classes is a great way to build a customer base and to suppliment that income. Plus it's so fun to play! I miss the teaching and showing new techniques more than anything.

Have fun and keep us posted on how it's going.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:47 PM   #6
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from the perspective of a customer --

1. thank me for my business
2. let me know about specials but don't overwhelm me with emails
3. a free catalog if I purchase a minimum amount would be nice.
4. I want to know when to expect my package to be delivered and if you are holding my order I better know in advance.
5. don't be shy about inviting me to a class but don't let other customers grab the stamp out of my hand to "show me how to stamp." (ok, that was 7 years ago and I'm still bitter.)

Good luck!!
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:34 PM   #7
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All the best in your new endeavor! Customer Service is key and enthusiasm go a long way. I always frequent those who provide it.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:56 PM   #8
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You guys are AWESOME! Thanks you so much for the feedback, well wishes and well, just reaching out. I really appreciate it. I feel like I've spoken to each of you personally today. It's encouraging to know that I have an extended (albeit virtual) family that's willing to go along for the ride.

As my daughter put it...."Mom, just enjoy the journey."

She also has a wish list started of items she will borrow when i receive my package and eventually (her words) will return.

God bless!
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:32 PM   #9
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The biggest piece I advice I have heard is, especially if you're going to be a business demo, you don't need to buy it all!
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:40 PM   #10
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my best advice
Hold your events during first month of each quarter.
Knowing have time to make your minimum. But if you wait til the last month--no time to have a workshop, book party, etc.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:02 AM   #11
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Do: try every kind of event and class you can think of, some will succeed and some won't but that's how you make your business fit you and your customers.
Do: study all the colors and experiment with different combinations.
Do: buy a Big Shot. I'm sorry I waited so long, it's awesome!
Don't: buy everything in the catalog, especially the mini catalogs. You can hold interesting workshops and make great cards with a few versatile sets.
Don't: give up! There are ups and downs but it pays to stick with it.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:27 AM   #12
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I was never more than a hobby demo, but I'll share some thoughts
1) Buy what you like not just what you think will sell. I don't think I ever did as good a job with sets that I didn't like & then they'd retire & I had a set I couldn't demo that I had no use for
2) Keep your demo site current. I have read here that people are looking for active demos so they'll eliminate those who don't have any activity on their site
3) I agree with previous posters: keep your demo party projects simple-ink &paper with a small embellishment so that people can see that they can buy just a few things & make nice cards
4) Try to establish a hostess club where people commit to monthly purchases. This can be what meets your minimum to stay active.
Enjoy & have a great time. I wish you well!
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:40 AM   #13
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I'm just a hobby demo--my own best customer, so take my ideas for what they're worth...Sign up under a demo that is known for having monthly or quarterly meetings. Being under a hard-working demo that will share ideas, offer encouragement and reward you with incentives and/or kudos will really help keep you on track.
It's my opinion that you really need to recruit in order to make much money under the SU demoship, but I may be wrong there. Good luck to you and congrats on taking the plunge.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan B View Post
from the perspective of a customer --

1. thank me for my business
2. let me know about specials but don't overwhelm me with emails
3. a free catalog if I purchase a minimum amount would be nice.
4. I want to know when to expect my package to be delivered and if you are holding my order I better know in advance.
5. don't be shy about inviting me to a class but don't let other customers grab the stamp out of my hand to "show me how to stamp." (ok, that was 7 years ago and I'm still bitter.)

Good luck!!
Definitely # 2......
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:10 AM   #15
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Welcome to the demo side!!! The most important advice I have ever received is have fun with it. If you are having fun, your customers will have fun. It isn't all about selling, most crafters are in it for the socialization as well. Making your classes/workshops fun goes a long ways! You will sell if your customers are happy and having a good time!!! I try to keep that in my mind for every event I do.
I love trying new things, so that is what keeps me going. I am trying out- first time for me- a birthday bash card class this weekend. I hope I have planned it to be stress-free and fun and I can sit a gab and have fun with all the ladies!!!!
My husband and I tell our boys all the time, if you do something in life that you truely enjoy, you will be good at it!!!!
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:48 PM   #16
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When your sets retire, let your customers have first dibs on them, if you are going to sell them. I really look forward to these sales the most!!
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:10 PM   #17
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I just joined in August. I haven't held classes, but have been able to meet my quarterly sales goals (it helps that I didn't have much SU before joining, so I was starting from scratch in some ways) thanks to some friends. I'd suggest having an open house if you can promote it a bit and have enough of an audience to participate - it will help with your first workshop sales as well as get your name out there. Finding new customers can be hard (I have 10 demos within 5 miles of me...).

Like others have said, don't feel you need to buy it all. Get some versatile images and a few sentiment sets, as welll as some dies or punches, considering what occasions you'll be creating for most (whether to demo or make and takes at an open house or to promote on your blog). If you're joining a team of demos, you may be able to do swaps with them, so each swap (monthly or quarterly perhaps) you're coming home with additional designs using products you didn't have to buy yourself, but can still display to customers.

Pick a good upline. My previous demo was a hobby demo, with no downline and wasn't in it to run it like a business, so I picked someone that I thought I could learn more from since I wanted to branch out beyond what my demo did. You want someone approachable and that will have time to answer questions. It may not be someone living down the street, but with enough online presence, you can still learn a lot and chitchat with other demos on FB groups, email, newsletters, blog hops, etc.

Give DBWS a try for the 2 months (and beyond if you can). Give MDS a try. Make invites to your open house or create a newsletter.

ps. not a do or don't, but Demo Support at SU is amazing. I have been impressed every time I've called.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:27 AM   #18
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To add to that....SU demo support is great via email too I work full time (or more than that usually, lol) and a place where I can't really make personal calls so most of the time it's much easier for me to email. Now, it does take a few days sometimes to get a response but it's always been a pleasant experience so if it's not an urgent matter it's really easy to email them! It's funny because if it's something that needs replacing I usually get a shipping email before they even email me back saying they shipped something, lol! Just a little time saving tip should you need it!
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:57 AM   #19
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My Demo always gives me a free catty, because I am a "regular" customer. She's great that way. She also gives out little $5 coupons for my birthday, or as a Christmas gift, or whatever. She lets us use the coupons on our purchases. She always post what the specials are from SU! But she also holds little "sales" of her own. She will take a certain percentage off of cardstock, or embellishements, or ink pads, or scizzors, etc...she always has a little something going on. She also does not charge us for shipping if we pick up our order from her home. As long as she doesn't have to deliver our items, she lets us save a little off our order. Once a week, she does a walk in class to make a couple of cards. She will charge a buck or two to cover her supplies, and it gives the customer a new idea, technique, etc. to try. These are just some of the things I have noticed about how she runs her business. Good luck with your new adventure!!
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:41 AM   #20
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Congratulations and best wishes!

I have considered becoming a demo, but have decided I want to stay "amateur". I have had a series of demos, so as a customer, here is what I have observed:
- the best demo always sent me a thank you note (hand stamped, of course) whenever I ordered or attended a workshop. I still have her cards for inspiration.
- the best demo had written instructions on how to make each card, with a list of "ingredients" and then directions. We could take them home with us if we wanted, and she collected the extras for other workshops. I have gone back to a few of her instructions several times. If you keep them on your computer, you can always e-mail them to customers later, too. I also have found (when I have done stamping sessions with my friends, it helps to keep me organized.)
- workshops have been fun social events, which is what has kept me going.
- introduce one "hard" technique (like embossing powder) at a workshop. The more advanced customers appreciate it, and while the learners might struggle, the advanced people can help, too.
- Figure out how you are going to organize for workshops... have stuff together in one location (or more, if embossing, die cutting, etc.). Having stuff all over the place is frustrating.
- PLEASE have all the cardstock cut and prepped. Don't expect your customers to do it for you.
- The workshops I have been to have charged me $10 for 10 cards, plus $2 for envelopes. (These were Christmas ones). Other ones have been $15 for 8 cards with envelopes included.
- I like to be able to order online. If you aren't online, I cannot find you, and won't place my order with you. I have a demo I have never met who is in my area. I have only ordered online with her. My regular demo does monthly workshops but is not online. If I want to order at the workshop, then I try and save up my orders. But sometimes you run out of cardstock...
- I have always been given the catalog, but I have also been a regular customer.

Have fun. I think someone else posted - if you are having fun, so will your customers.

Hope this helps. Good Luck!
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:26 PM   #21
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What an amazing adventure for you!!

As a customer and someone who did home parties in the past - make sure you ask and show EVERYONE!! You never know who might be sitting there waiting for a hobby!

Hostess Clubs are a great committment for people - not only for sales but to help them bond. Sometimes that's what women want a safe place to have fun.

Make your cards simple at your parties, but have classes where you can show 'special' techiniques like heat embossing and watercoloring. Classes where you can take extra time with each customer showing them how to 'step up' an average card!
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:41 AM   #22
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The demo in my area I buy the most from holds Stamp a Stacks every other month at a church activitiy room. 15 cards for $20 (bring your own adhesive). Some folks make purchases. Others just do the cards and pay her $20. She consistently draws 30+ people to these events (I've been going for about 5 years). I hear her (not bragging, just sharing) with folks leadership functions, trips, etc. she has done/is going to do. I suspect she does pretty well.
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