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Old 02-02-2017, 01:17 PM   #1
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Default Teaching a card class, seeking advice...

I have been given a wonderful opportunity, but it comes with a dilemma, so I'm coming to the experts (that's all of *you*), asking for advice.

I live in a gated community that has various activities, classes and clubs. There is a Stampin' Up demo who has been giving "card-making classes" once a week for years. She has quite a few devoted regulars (myself included). She's moving, and has asked me if I would like to take over.

Here's the dilemma. I "could" become a Stampin' Up demo myself - it would make coming up with 2 easy-to-teach card designs every week pretty easy, and I know that that is what the other ladies are used to. However...

I have a blog. I've been blogging for a few years now - I've put a lot of time and heart (and money) into it. It is not an SU blog, and as far as I understand their policies, promoting other similar products is strictly prohibited. So...

My question is: if you were to take over a card-making class, what product would you use?

Would you give up a blog to become an SU demo? Would you just convert your blog to an SU-approved blog? Would you decide to become more-or-less loyal to another company, such as Papertrey Ink, My Favorite Things, Gina K... use only their product so everything matches? Would you just use a combination of products (as I am currently doing with my own personal card-making) and hope that you can make the colors match?

And bonus question: any advice on how to come up with two fresh, original, easy-to-teach card designs every week?

Thank you in advance, for any thoughts or advice! This is such an awesome community!
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:24 PM   #2
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You don't need to give up your blog. I teach classes locally and LOVE it. The demonstrator agreement has changed since the one you're thinking of, so you might want to take a look at it before you decide.

I love teaching - and how awesome to be able to inherit some customers too - seems like a great fit.


Best of luck! I want to hear how it goes!
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by UnderstandBlueView Post
You don't need to give up your blog. I teach classes locally and LOVE it. The demonstrator agreement has changed since the one you're thinking of, so you might want to take a look at it before you decide.

I love teaching - and how awesome to be able to inherit some customers too - seems like a great fit.


Best of luck! I want to hear how it goes!
Thanks Lydia! I am really excited about the class.

Here's the part of the "agreement" (copied and pasted from the official sign-up sheet online, just now) that has me worried:
I will not use social networking sites such as "Facebook" and "Twitter;" video sites such as "YouTube" and "Google Video;" and blogging sites to promote, market, or sell the products of other companies (direct or retail sellers) who offer products similar to Company Products, including decorative stamps (in any form), stamp art accessories, scrapbooking products, and digital art solutions.

Maybe this is more of a "CYA" thing for SU, and they don't really care if you have a blog not related to your "demonstratorship"? I like sharing the products that I use, and I do have a couple of affiliate links. I don't have much of a blog following, though, so maybe giving it up, or changing it over to an SU site would be a good move. It would just be a really big switch for me.
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:47 PM   #4
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What SU! is asking is that you not promote, market or sell other products from other companies. If you decide to sign up as a demo, you can certainly still use other products and even mention them; just don't send your followers to another company's store.
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Old 02-02-2017, 01:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by lindylou1220View Post
What SU! is asking is that you not promote, market or sell other products from other companies. If you decide to sign up as a demo, you can certainly still use other products and even mention them; just don't send your followers to another company's store.
I'm thinking that, say, an affiliate link to Simon Says Stamp would be a no-no, though... wouldn't it? But maybe it isn't a big deal, if I don't specifically tell people to shop there? Or maybe it's okay to still have links to SSS, but give up the affiliate status? It seems that if I have any kind of link to any kind of "competitor", that it could be considered "sending followers to another company's store". Or am I just being way overly careful (paranoid) here, and nobody else evens reads the agreement?
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Old 02-02-2017, 02:11 PM   #6
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I think an affiliate link or any links would not be okay. My understanding is that if you have old info on your blog that is okay. They just don't want other promotions once you become a demo.

You're not being overly careful. The agreement's there for a reason and even if someone doesn't take it seriously, there's sure to be someone else out there who will and report it.


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Old 02-02-2017, 02:19 PM   #7
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Quote:

Originally Posted by BashfulStamperView Post
I have been given a wonderful opportunity, but it comes with a dilemma, so I'm coming to the experts (that's all of *you*), asking for advice.

I live in a gated community that has various activities, classes and clubs. There is a Stampin' Up demo who has been giving "card-making classes" once a week for years. She has quite a few devoted regulars (myself included). She's moving, and has asked me if I would like to take over.

Here's the dilemma. I "could" become a Stampin' Up demo myself - it would make coming up with 2 easy-to-teach card designs every week pretty easy, and I know that that is what the other ladies are used to. However...

I have a blog. I've been blogging for a few years now - I've put a lot of time and heart (and money) into it. It is not an SU blog, and as far as I understand their policies, promoting other similar products is strictly prohibited. So...

My question is: if you were to take over a card-making class, what product would you use?

Would you give up a blog to become an SU demo? Would you just convert your blog to an SU-approved blog? Would you decide to become more-or-less loyal to another company, such as Papertrey Ink, My Favorite Things, Gina K... use only their product so everything matches? Would you just use a combination of products (as I am currently doing with my own personal card-making) and hope that you can make the colors match?

And bonus question: any advice on how to come up with two fresh, original, easy-to-teach card designs every week?

Thank you in advance, for any thoughts or advice! This is such an awesome community!
You have a blog that you have put your heart, money and time into. It would seem a lovely and natural fit to connect the class to your blog (and grow your blog) without any restrictions or have to question yourself whether what you're saying or writing is acceptable.

I live near or quasi-near three LSS's. Part of what makes classes so much fun is the variety of companies whose products they use. I'd hate to feel that I couldn't share products I was excited about on my blog or in class.

About colors harmonizing, I assume you're doing that now with your own cards, and a big part of what's fun (to me) about card making is working with color.

There are so many tutorials and videos - here, on youtube, in blogs. I bet you could come up with ten card ideas a week. : ) Or ask here for ideas. You could also be free to shop sales by any company.

I have some SU products, and may be meeting a SU demo at a crop (not that I SB; she's a vendor) this weekend to get a couple items and talk to her about her classes. (That is if my black eye/swelling from a fall is better.) So I'm not anti SU, just pro being free to pursue anything.
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Old 02-02-2017, 02:21 PM   #8
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Thanks, Linda! If I decide to become a demo, I'll call them first.
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Old 02-02-2017, 03:05 PM   #9
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You have a blog that you have put your heart, money and time into. It would seem a lovely and natural fit to connect the class to your blog (and grow your blog) without any restrictions or have to question yourself whether what you're saying or writing is acceptable.

I live near or quasi-near three LSS's. Part of what makes classes so much fun is the variety of companies whose products they use. I'd hate to feel that I couldn't share products I was excited about on my blog or in class.

About colors harmonizing, I assume you're doing that now with your own cards, and a big part of what's fun (to me) about card making is working with color.

There are so many tutorials and videos - here, on youtube, in blogs. I bet you could come up with ten card ideas a week. : ) Or ask here for ideas. You could also be free to shop sales by any company.

I have some SU products, and may be meeting a SU demo at a crop (not that I SB; she's a vendor) this weekend to get a couple items and talk to her about her classes. (That is if my black eye/swelling from a fall is better.) So I'm not anti SU, just pro being free to pursue anything.
Thanks bjeans - you make some good points. I like the freedom of using any product I'd like, and I like the idea of connecting my blog to the class. Ultimately, I think it comes down to the idea that going all SU would be easier, but if I can make it work, the freedom of doing whatever I want might be worth the effort.
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:53 PM   #10
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As a former SU! demo, I'd say going exclusively SU! will complicate your world not make it easier. On the flip side, you can give it a try for a limited time and drop it if it feels like it's cramping who you are and what you're all about, right?
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:20 PM   #11
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My thought is this: If you already have a lot of things in place (blog, affiliate status with various entities, etc.), then trying to re-gear may be...difficult. You are already using a variety of things from a variety of sources and limiting yourself may have unintended consequences, such as killing your mojo, if you have to switch your focus from the creating itself to more mundane things like worrying about policies and quotas and things of that nature.

I just took a look at your blog and your posts are basically mini-classes already, so I don't think you'll have any trouble at all coming up with ideas for classes in real life. In fact, I bookmarked it (thanks!)

As Beth said, I'm not anti-SU, just pro doing your own thing unencumbered...
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Old 02-03-2017, 01:52 AM   #12
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Please don't get the idea that I'm pushing you to join SU! But, here is just a bit of further thought:

I am not sure of the pricing of the classes your demo has been offering. However, I suspect that, like many of us, she offers them for not a whole lot more than her cost. Where some potential earnings come in is when she makes sales from her classes.


I think you'll find it hard to "make sales" if you are sharing supplies from many vendors. Plus, the way things are in my stash, chances are that something I might use may have been unavailable for some time. I know that leads to frustration.
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Old 02-03-2017, 04:47 AM   #13
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I'm so confused! LOL. Seriously, thank you everyone. Your thoughts are really helpful.

Sue, thank you for the vote of confidence! It means a lot.

Jeanniebean, I did think about "giving it a try"... and I still might... but you might also be right about it "complicating things". It would definitely mean a change in my blogging habits.

Linda, the cost is definitely something I have to keep in mind, but according to my demo, she isn't making much on sales, anyway. While there are quite a few women that enjoy these classes, it's more like "getting together with friends, and coming away with 2 nice cards". Very few of them are "avid card-makers", like me, which is why she asked me if I'd like to take over.

While the demo discount would be nice, I'm not sure that it would save me all that much over my current practice, of taking advantage of sales, and purchasing from places that offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount.

Thanks, everyone! Whichever way I go, I know that this community will continue to be my best source of advice.
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Old 02-04-2017, 05:39 AM   #14
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I thought I should come back with just a quick update...

Lydia, I knew you wouldn't steer me wrong. I took another look at your awesome blog (I was already a fan, but hadn't been looking at it from a potential SU demo's perspective), and realized that my interpretation must be just a bit too restrictive...

so, I took Linda's advice and called Stampin' Up. Just in case anyone else is following this thread and might find it helpful, I learned that (1) I don't have remove anything I previously posted on my blog. It doesn't matter what I did in the past - it only matters what I post from the moment I actually become an SU demo. (2) Becoming a demo for, or advertising and/or linking to a direct competitor (such as Simon Says Stamp) is not allowed - but I can use their product and it's okay to mention where the product came from. (3) Amazon is not considered a direct competitor. It is perfectly acceptable to remain an Amazon affiliate.

Now, I can't say that this information has really helped me make up my mind, LOL, but it is good to know. I think now, the real question is: will switching to mostly (but not exclusively) Stampin' Up product stifle my creativity? Thanks everyone! Seriously, all of your comments helped me think through all this.
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Old 02-04-2017, 05:51 AM   #15
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Terrific info, Kitty. Like Jeanniebean said, you could always try it for a bit and if you don't like it, switch back, assuming the cash outlay isn't much. Or maybe before deciding, buy a few SU products to see how you like them? Some SU users don't like the new ink pads, for example, but others do, and you could test one or two out. There's also the issue of record keeping - if you want to add it.

But you know your students - whether they'd buy much - and you know your heart, and as Sue referred to, know where your mojo comes from. My toes would be pinched, and I love plaing with color harmonizing rather than having someone do it for me, but we're all different and thank goodness there are enough companies and methods and differences to accommodate all of us.
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Old 02-04-2017, 06:47 AM   #16
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I've mentioned this on other threads, but I'll say it again here: just because you sign on as a demo (for any company) doesn't mean a lifelong commitment. I've taken advantage of sign-on specials several times (right now during Sale-a-bration is a good example) to get a lot of product for cheap, then let my status fall to junior, then get dropped completely because I never met my quotas. I didn't care, and apparently neither did SU!, because they let me do it at least three times...
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Old 02-04-2017, 06:58 AM   #17
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I'm a SU demo and for 3 years I ran a monthly class. I didn't want to do parties and the classes were a way to make money. I did make money on the classes because I didn't do simple card classes. We did projects were I could charge up to $50 per person (advent calendars, mixed media, etc.). The simple card classes I charged a minimum of $20 and I made sure I never used more than $5 in materials per person.

Pros: teaching is fun, you meet great people, you keep your creative juices flowing, and if you already have a lot of you own supplies on hand that you want to get rid of you can use them in your classes, the money you make on classes can feed your stamping budget

Cons: if you run a monthly class, you are constantly working on the classes by coming up with designs, techniques, etc. You won't have much time to work on your own stamping because it takes a lot more time to get ready for a class then you would expect. Class attendees may not be willing to buy SU products so don't count on it generating sales.

In the beginning my classes were strictly SU products but my customers wanted more that I SU couldn't handle so basically I cheated and taught my classes with whatever the customers wanted. I thought that having the demo discount would keep costs down and it does help, but depending on much you can use up in the classes you may end up with a huge surplus of product because you constantly need to bring fresh ideas/products to the class.

My advice: Teach the classes for a while and get creative about searching for sales, using your own supplies, design cards that use up your scraps and then see if you are making a profit on materials because you will never recoup the price of your time. Then look to see if a 20% discount is going to make much of a profit difference for you. If yes, then consider being a demo otherwise, don't do it. Don't fall into the trap you can always quit. Yes, that is true but will you really quit? It's fun to see products before non-demos, you get access to insider info, etc. and then of course you'll want to buy, and buy, and...

I'm still a demo and I like SU but I think it's great for people who work it as a business but doing just for myself becomes costly. Make your decision based on how disciplined your are about your spending habits and take care not to become overburdened with products.
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Old 02-04-2017, 07:46 AM   #18
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Beth, yes, I really am thinking about just giving it a try. I had to LOL, though, when you said that I know where my mojo comes from. Do I?

Sue, you're right. It might be worth signing up just for the extras they're offering right now. (I'm keeping a close eye on that Sale-a-bration cut-off date.)

Stamphappy, you brought up something I hadn't really thought about: how disciplined am I? It might be hard to give it up, once I start. On the other hand, though, it shouldn't be too hard if I'm not enjoying the product. If I am, than it makes sense to keep doing it.

As for money, the current demo teaching the class says she orders enough SU just for the classes to usually make her minimums. It's actually three classes, every week, with anywhere from three to sixteen people at each class. Huge commitment for me, but also an amazing opportunity.
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