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Old 12-03-2013, 01:02 AM   #1  
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Default Thoughts on Monthly Release Sales Strategy?

There are just so many wonderful designs hitting the market month after month that I have to just sit back and wonder how all these companies do it.


Trying to keep up with trends is beyond me... The other day I counted 57 sets that were released in October that I would love to have. Even if I were nuts enough to buy them all, I wouldn't have time to use them or space to store them!!



I'm not complaining. If I were trying to grow a small company, I'd do whatever I could to increase sales. And I do buy from companies who release product monthly. But it is crazy out there! I wonder how the owners feel always having a deadline with no break on horizon...
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:59 AM   #2  
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I used to look forward to each monthly release for several companies I am fond of, but as a consumer I have become overwhelmed by it all. One company alone had over 20 new releases in stamps and dies. I have started to balk at making purchases simply because there is so much being thrown out there, I can't make up my mind what I want. I tend to want them all!
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:30 AM   #3  
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So agree. Crafting became big business somewhere along the line, and thats turned us into a cash cow! Speaking for myself, I hate how crafting has become trend & fashion led. To me, the whole point of it is to create something individual- not one of a whole raft of birdcage/cupcake/owl/moustache cards! I know everyones take on a stamp/die will differ so they won't all look exactly the same, its just the fact that the same feature image is everywhere.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:50 AM   #4  
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I personally wish all the companies would do a release every other month. I have a hard enough time using stamps from the company I design with (Gina K). It's so overwhelming!
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:14 PM   #5  
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I prefer to see a longer term catalog or such. I buy just as much, but it gives me time to consider carefully. I know, I don't have to buy each month (and I don't - I'm not a release day buyer) but I like seeing the "big picture", I guess.

As far as the constant deadlines - I think most jobs are like that, but I agree that a creative field does put a little different focus on things.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:51 PM   #6  
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I would love catalogs 4 times a year. Not the biggest problem I know, but gee companies keep producing awesome stuff!!
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Old 12-04-2013, 05:56 PM   #7  
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I've felt for a long time that this business was going the same way as the music industry seems to have done - one band will be successful because they have a unique or "new" sound, so instead of finding another unique new sound, the record company signs five or six other bands that sound the same as the first one. Stamp images and other papercrafting "trends" are slightly different takes on the same thing, seems to me... I love new toys as much as the next girl, but I'm getting more and more selective and some of the trends are not even remotely tempting to me. I am another one who is overwhelmed with the onslaught of release after release after release. Maybe I'm just getting jaded, but even a few of the truly phenomenal companies seem to have had less than stellar releases of late. I think it would be sufficient to have releases every quarter, rather than every month - if even that often. Maybe a spring/summer release and a fall/winter release...? Easier on everyone - designers, design team members, consumers - we could all ease up a bit!
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:00 AM   #8  
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I would think the stamp companies are losing sales also with all of the releases so close together. For example so the first month 10 stamps are released and I only like one. I won't order just that one because shipping wouldn't justify the purchase. So the next month I wait to see what comes out so I can add to the first stamp, and I don't like anything. The third month I like 2 stamps, which brings my total to 3, but I still don't qualify for free shipping. By the fourth month I've already moved on to something else that has caught my eye and don't always get back to the first company. Also with the pressure of always releasing I noticed that some companies follow the same themes pretty much every year. Like January are snowmen, February are hearts, March are shamrocks etc. and it gets pretty predictable. I would like to see them sit down, take a breather and come up with something original. 2 times a year would be okay be me.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:20 AM   #9  
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I used to follow releases but not anymore. It was just too much hype over release parties and such. Now I just browse the sites when I'm feeling the need for something new.

I feel for companies and designers having to come up with new ideas. I have found that I'm not a person that is much into what is trendy or the latest holy grail. I don't care if a stamp is 2 weeks or 10 yrs. old - if I like it, I like it. Too much of the "trendy" stamps are not going to be something I would use for years and to b honest, I dislike a lot of the new trends. Also, I shop specific stamp companies because I like their style and when they switch to some of the new trendy stuff they loose me as a customer.

Also, I want the theme stamps earlier than what companies are doing now. I like buying Easter, Valentines, etc. any time of the year. It gives me a chance to think about the design, buy coordinating papers and embellishments, especially when I'm planning for a class. Like others have said, give me a couple of catalogs a year and stop with the releases.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:42 PM   #10  
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I guess I'm in the minority 'cause I love the monthly stamp releases. However, I only check them from two companies: Papertrey Ink and Paper Smooches. I rarely buy stamps from Papertrey 'cause they are too modern, too adult-oriented (versus kid-oriented) and too clean-lined for me. But I still love looking. I do love looking at Paper Smooches every month to see what's new but I almost never buy anything unless I Heart Paper (who carries Paper Smooches) has a sale. I also don't go to any release parties. Once in a while I'll think "oh!! Have I seen the new releases yet this month?" and then go look. No one that I know of makes any stamps in the style I love anymore, which is country cutesy - like DOTS of the 1990s or Dianne's Hook's Lines & Inkers of long, long ago. The closest I have found is Wood Cellar Graphics, who sells some Angi B & Co., but they don't have monthly (or any) releases.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:01 PM   #11  
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I guess I'm in the minority 'cause I love the monthly stamp releases. However, I only check them from two companies: Papertrey Ink and Paper Smooches. I rarely buy stamps from Papertrey 'cause they are too modern, too adult-oriented (versus kid-oriented) and too clean-lined for me. But I still love looking. I do love looking at Paper Smooches every month to see what's new but I almost never buy anything unless I Heart Paper (who carries Paper Smooches) has a sale. I also don't go to any release parties. Once in a while I'll think "oh!! Have I seen the new releases yet this month?" and then go look. No one that I know of makes any stamps in the style I love anymore, which is country cutesy - like DOTS of the 1990s or Dianne's Hook's Lines & Inkers of long, long ago. The closest I have found is Wood Cellar Graphics, who sells some Angi B & Co., but they don't have monthly (or any) releases.
I loved DOTS stamps! They were they ONLY stamp company I even knew about for years! Fond memories.
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Old 12-06-2013, 02:32 AM   #12  
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Not entirely on thread, but the other thing I hate is being told what colours are 'in' for the next year/season! Same reason as before, I don't want to look like everyone else. To the point that whatever colours are 'in' I will deliberately avoid, lol.
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Old 12-06-2013, 02:52 AM   #13  
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Maybe we're rebels!! HA
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Old 12-06-2013, 03:26 AM   #14  
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Not entirely on thread, but the other thing I hate is being told what colours are 'in' for the next year/season! Same reason as before, I don't want to look like everyone else. To the point that whatever colours are 'in' I will deliberately avoid, lol.
I'll come along on your highjack I think that following trends - including color forecasts - takes away from the aspect of this hobby that is "art". One of the things that has caused me to burn out on my "day job" (sewing and upholstery) is that I'm always executing someone else's ideas, rather than my own - something I hope to change in the coming year. Same with papercrafting/cardmaking/stamping - I like challenges to give me a jumping-off point, but I don't like CASEing someone else's ideas too closely... The cards that I'm usually happiest about came entirely out of my own head (as much as that can be true with all of the things I've seen percolating in there )
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Old 12-06-2013, 03:54 AM   #15  
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Gregzgurl, I know exactly what you mean. Being known as a cardmaker at work, I'll often get asked for cards, which is fine when people ask me for a birthday/anniversary card, and leave the card to me. I'm quite happy if they provide a photo they want on the card. The cards I hate doing are when they ask for 'a Star Wars' theme, or an 'insert name of football club' theme! They can buy cards like that, for heavens sake!It does take all the joy of creating out of the process, and then it becomes a chore.
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:16 AM   #16  
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Gregzgurl & Shazsilverwolf - I'm with you. I can't exactly CASE a card or make something based on a specific request. I tried doing some production work (invitations, wedding, etc.) but it was too hard for me to design and then the customer would want changes I didn't like. Challenges are hard for me also - I go into a design freeze. Silly, but I know.

As for what colors are in doesn't make me want to use them. In fact, I may not use them much because that is all you see. Even though I love die cuts and use them frequently, it's like almost every card you see in magazines has a die cut. There should be (or maybe there is) a challenge where no die cuts are allowed.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:17 AM   #17  
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Agreed! I tried doing Wedding invites twice, besides doing my own. Never, ever again!There should have been about three/four months between them, but the first bride took forever in deciding what she wanted, then giving me quantities/names/ info for order of service/menu,so it dragged on & on,( she asked me to make them in August, for a May wedding, and sent me the OOS info in March!) and the second one turned into Bridezilla, and wanted everything yesterday.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:23 AM   #18  
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I've never been happy making more than two or three of anything, so I'd never do production (she says as she attempts to finish the last 35 box spring covers for the second hotel, after completing 86 bed scarves and 49 other box spring covers...I think I must be in Purgatory or something - what was I thinking?! Oh yeah...paycheck...) My hobby needs to stay a hobby, obviously!
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:31 AM   #19  
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I do have a hard time using specific colours. Every Tuesday I look at SCS's colour challenge, and every week I try to think of something that I think would look good using only those three colours, and every week I fail.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:53 AM   #20  
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I do have a hard time using specific colours. Every Tuesday I look at SCS's colour challenge, and every week I try to think of something that I think would look good using only those three colours, and every week I fail.
Oh I remember trying the color challenge I would hate almost everything I made. Sometimes the colors were just weird "to me" so I stopped.
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:52 AM   #21  
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I've never gotten caught up in the monthly release frenzy. I tend to buy stamps that appeal to me, whether they have been out for 10 years or 1 week. I'm not big on following trends, so that's probably why.

This can get me in trouble. I'm not a fan of cupcakes, so I don't own any cupcake images despite their recent ubiquity. Just recently, I found that I needed to make some cupcake-themed cards and ended up borrowing a stamp set from a friend.

I also have trouble with color challenges. While I'm not against the concept of trendy colors, I only buy the trendy colors that I like. So while I jumped all over Emerald, I won't be picking up a lot of items with 2014's Orchid Opulence. I also prefer neutrals with maybe a pop of color, or cards with analogous color schemes. The color challenges here use colors that are just too different for me, and I always end up forcing something and not liking the result. I really should do more of them, just to force myself out of my comfort zone and try to figure out how to work with complementary colors better.
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Old 12-07-2013, 10:05 AM   #22  
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I don't do challenges and find all the tends and monthly stuff-including the weekly and whatever that SU is doing now-a pain. Please don't tell me I have to buy something NOW. The people who get my cards haven't the foggiest idea as to what's on trend anyway.

I'd be perfectly fine with just a few releases a year, but realize that's not going to make the companies as much money.
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Old 12-08-2013, 01:25 AM   #23  
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Just recently, I found that I needed to make some cupcake-themed cards and ended up borrowing a stamp set from a friend.
And that's something we should all do more often, rather than feeling we have to own every stamp set!
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:09 AM   #24  
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You have to be careful where the stamps go, though. I let a friend (new to stamping) borrow a stamp set that I bought specifically to make a scrapbook for my youngest grandson, and she can't find it now. She offered to replace it, but that set is discontinued
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:34 AM   #25  
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You have to be careful where the stamps go, though. I let a friend (new to stamping) borrow a stamp set that I bought specifically to make a scrapbook for my youngest grandson, and she can't find it now. She offered to replace it, but that set is discontinued
I've never had that happen, but I have had cases where I loaned out stamps and the person didn't return them for months and months. I would go to make a card and the stamp I really needed was what I had loaned out. Frustrating.
This happened several times (slow returning of borrowed items), with different people. I figured people's lives got busy and getting the item(s) back to me wasn't urgent so it kept falling on the borrower's to-do list. So finally I said, you can borrow my stuff, but please come over and use it in my craft room -- benefit is fun socializing also. Drawback is trying to schedule the joint time.
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:43 AM   #26  
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I've never had that happen, but I have had cases where I loaned out stamps and the person didn't return them for months and months. I would go to make a card and the stamp I really needed was what I had loaned out. Frustrating.
This happened several times (slow returning of borrowed items), with different people. I figured people's lives got busy and getting the item(s) back to me wasn't urgent so it kept falling on the borrower's to-do list. So finally I said, you can borrow my stuff, but please come over and use it in my craft room -- benefit is fun socializing also. Drawback is trying to schedule the joint time.

Ooh, that's a good idea! I only loan out my stamps and accessories (dies, etc.) to two people. However, this is because I only have two real-life stamper friends. And I am the one who goes over to their homes 'cause it is more convenient for me. I use their stuff too, while I'm there. Yeah!
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:34 AM   #27  
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When I first started stamping, I enjoyed the monthly releases, but I don't follow them anymore - except for Waltzingmouse, and blessedly she doesn't have a regular monthly release all of the time. I think she'd like to do that, but I'm very happy with the little surprises! And she doesn't spend a ridiculous amount of time building up to her release - a few days, and then you can buy them! Love that.

Every now and then I check in to see what's new with certain companies, but even after paring down the stamps I own, I don't feel I'm missing anything - too many look-alike companies with too much that I don't like.

I watch for something different, and I'm finding older but new-to-me companies with more "classic" designs (for example, ATC style). So while I think the monthly releases are overdoing it, it doesn't affect me because I'm not looking. You could call it my self-generated quarterly catalog. It can be overwhelming if you follow the monthly releases, but maybe they are just hoping to catch the eye of that new customer.

Like many of you, I just go my own way with colors, stamps, and what's trendy for me is what I'm loving right then.

As for companies keeping up, when I created and sold my own stamps, it was a bit much to get everything ready on a monthly basis (notice the past tense there? ).
I love that I'm now working for a terrific company that offers two catalogs a year, and I sometimes work on the monthly offerings to brick & mortar stores.

Another thing that is tricky from the business end is working for a season that is months away! It can be a little difficult to *think Christmas* in May. The best thing is to get ahead a year and be in sync!
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:12 AM   #28  
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You have to be careful where the stamps go, though. I let a friend (new to stamping) borrow a stamp set that I bought specifically to make a scrapbook for my youngest grandson, and she can't find it now. She offered to replace it, but that set is discontinued
You can always "suggest" that she keep a lookout for it on Ebay! That's sooooo awful that she lost it!!!
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:51 AM   #29  
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Sophie, I purchased Paper Smooches way back when Kim was also at CHF and love her cute distinctive style. I just checked them out today, after quite some time, and I really like her selection - and the new website! It is wonderfully designed and so easy to see the products.

I don't tend to use the cutesy range of stamps, but there's something about Kim's style that makes cutesy appropriate for any age, like Eat Cake Graphics. Thanks for mentioning PS - I'm pretty sure I'll be shopping!
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:20 AM   #30  
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Sophie, I purchased Paper Smooches way back when Kim was also at CHF and love her cute distinctive style. I just checked them out today, after quite some time, and I really like her selection - and the new website! It is wonderfully designed and so easy to see the products.

I don't tend to use the cutesy range of stamps, but there's something about Kim's style that makes cutesy appropriate for any age, like Eat Cake Graphics. Thanks for mentioning PS - I'm pretty sure I'll be shopping!
I dunno why I never bought them from CHF - maybe 'cause they were rubber? Maybe 'cause there wasn't free shipping? Or a bad angel policy? I have no idea! I did look at the CHF a few times but I don't think I ever bought anything from them. But I've bought tons and tons of Paper Smooches!! Kim's style is so... wonky... wacky? I love Eat Cake Graphics too. I have the patriotic children from her (one long stamp with two boys, two girls, a dog, paper hats, etc.).

Edited to add: No no, CHF had a good angel policy - well, I forgot why I never bought stuff from them!

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Old 12-12-2013, 10:16 PM   #31  
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I am REALLY interested to read the responses, but I wanted to give my 2cents first.

As a stamp company owner, monthly releases are HARD!!! My stamp co has really blossomed this last year especially & I just can't keep up any longer. I feel like it is kind of overkill every single month, and especially with having HUGE monthly releases that some companies do (I had some pretty huge monthly releases for certain things like Christmas releases, but not EVERY month). It's a vicious cycle I feel like. I never got a break from release frenzy.

I felt like I was either designing the stamps, sneak-peeking the stamps, working on projects for the release, actually having the release, and even before I had a chance to really absorb & use the new stuff enough, it was on to the next release. It left me feeling less excited about crafting in general actually.

As a customer, I don't have the buying power myself to keep up with all the companies I love every single month. I feel like the monthly release thing is my biggest issue with companies (and my own company!). It adds to that buy buy buy mentality and what I want to have is a scrap, scrap, scrap mindset!

So starting next year, my company is going to quarterly releases. We still plan on releasing some great stuff, but I don't want to keep feeding into that buying frenzy. To me it just isn't worth it. I want to be able to take my time & enjoy what I am releasing in my own crafting.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:20 AM   #32  
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I am REALLY interested to read the responses, but I wanted to give my 2cents first.

As a stamp company owner, monthly releases are HARD!!! My stamp co has really blossomed this last year especially & I just can't keep up any longer. I feel like it is kind of overkill every single month, and especially with having HUGE monthly releases that some companies do (I had some pretty huge monthly releases for certain things like Christmas releases, but not EVERY month). It's a vicious cycle I feel like. I never got a break from release frenzy.

I felt like I was either designing the stamps, sneak-peeking the stamps, working on projects for the release, actually having the release, and even before I had a chance to really absorb & use the new stuff enough, it was on to the next release. It left me feeling less excited about crafting in general actually.

As a customer, I don't have the buying power myself to keep up with all the companies I love every single month. I feel like the monthly release thing is my biggest issue with companies (and my own company!). It adds to that buy buy buy mentality and what I want to have is a scrap, scrap, scrap mindset!

So starting next year, my company is going to quarterly releases. We still plan on releasing some great stuff, but I don't want to keep feeding into that buying frenzy. To me it just isn't worth it. I want to be able to take my time & enjoy what I am releasing in my own crafting.
Well good for you! I cannot imagine trying to keep up, especially with most of the companies owned by one or two folks. When do you sleep? Go on vacation? So now I'm off to check out your store...
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:30 AM   #33  
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Aw, thank you! I am the sole owner and it is tough! Sleep? What's that?! LOL My motives for going quarterly are purely selfish though: I want to have FUN with my own releases & that just isn't happening with so many releases. It is overwhelming for me, and if I'm the owner & I am overwhelmed, I am sure customers feel the same way.

Seriously, just announcing the change to quarterly has felt so relieving (and I feel like I am getting my mojo back)! Monthly releases are something I did kind of begrudgingly because "everybody is doing it so I should too", which I know is SO LAME to try to stick with the crowd! We don't follow much trendy type stuff (don't get me started on the fox. . .) so we don't really stick with the crowd all the way lol.

I feel like this is such a GREAT question & I would love more stamp co folks to weigh in.
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:33 PM   #34  
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Samantha - I really feel like ALL of the other companies should adopt your attitude and scale back. As you've been reading here, most of us seem to feel overwhelmed with the constant onslaught. I think that having a few months between releases will actually help build anticipation, which will probably result in more people paying attention and (hopefully) translating into more sales. I lose track of who released what when because there's JUST SO MUCH!!! And I don't even follow any particular company with any regularity - I just see blog posts referencing them and hear about them from posts here on these forums and what have you... Congrats on your decision and I hope that the new year brings you much success and more mojo and "breathing space"
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:23 PM   #35  
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I don't pay any attention to new releases whether they are monthly or yearly or whatever. When I get the urge to shop I usually have an idea of the sort of thing I want and that is what I look for. If I don't know what I want then I am going to look at them all until something catches my attention.

And as others here have said I do not care if the stamp is one day old or ten years old. If it is what I want then that is what I buy.

I stay away from trendy. I hate feeling like part of a herd.

I only use colours that I personally like and could care less about the flavour of the month. I want my work to reflect me not some marketing guru.

But that is just me. And as they say "each to their own".
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:22 PM   #36  
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Well, I like seeing the monthly releases! I only know of PTI that does that so that is who I watch. I don't necessarily BUY every month...I don't know anyone who does though. I do not fully understand the posts about not buying in to the hype or being told what is "in" or not caring how long a stamp has been out because I don't see what that has to do with a monthly release. I mean, it's not like they are discontinuing everything from last month and replacing it with something new. No one is saying that you have to buy it, they are just releasing it to add to their store, right? I saw some new releases a few months back that I liked but did not have a use for at the moment. I remember what they were though so if I ever have a need in the future, I know where to go. So, yeah, add me to the list (however small) of those who like to see new things!!
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:37 AM   #37  
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I have never followed monthly releases from any craft companies. I am always so surprised there are so many. I have always bought what I like. I admit I usually don't buy from the trendy companies. Nothing against the trendy companies. I think my style for stamping is less trendy and more quirky or classic. When I started building my stamp collection I knew what subjects I wanted and I ended up buying from smaller companies. I thought that was the norm. Not until I started posting at SCS did I see there were popular stamp companies and lots of trends in crafting.

I agree with the influx of certain theme stamps from the companies. It's very frustrating as a stamper when you can't find Marie Antoinette stamps but every company has fifty versions of mustaches or chevron. I think the influx has made stamp shopping a lot harder and not as enjoyable. Finding those special stamps that mean something to you is becoming more rare. I have noticed stampers tend to use their special stamps more than the latest trends.
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:13 AM   #38  
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I look at several companies releases and I almost always see something I like. I don't buy that often, but that constant new, new, new makes me tired, lol! Like I can never ever catch up with my wish list. The thing I don't like about the trend stuff is not that it's telling me what I should use because I only follow the trends that I like, but rather that everyone ends up coming out with similar items so you have to wait until everyone releases their stuff to see which one works best for you and by then a lot of time things are sold out. (Sorry for that mega run-on sentence!)

I love the idea of every other month or quarterly releases. I really only want to make a big order quarterly anyway so I have time to use the stuff I bought last time. I wouldn't mind seeing new cards at a certain time each month, but maybe featuring the last release?
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:38 AM   #39  
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On our local news this morning they had a segment about this very issue. Consumers are feeling too overwhelmed by the constant sales emails and commercials. Most consumers said they are just clicking the delete key on their emails and not even opening them. And they are muting the commercials on TV. I feel the same way.

Another thing I can't stand is blog hops to release new product. I don't care how much the prize is that is being given away, I hate blog hops and won't participate. I know a lot of people who feel the same way.
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:53 AM   #40  
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On our local news this morning they had a segment about this very issue. Consumers are feeling too overwhelmed by the constant sales emails and commercials. Most consumers said they are just clicking the delete key on their emails and not even opening them. And they are muting the commercials on TV. I feel the same way.

Another thing I can't stand is blog hops to release new product. I don't care how much the prize is that is being given away, I hate blog hops and won't participate. I know a lot of people who feel the same way.
I so agree. I DVR all programs and go do something else for about 15 minutes so I skip all commercials. I delete almost all emails but I'm not ready to unsubscribe because sometimes I want to know the latest.

I used to follow blog hops but found it was just a waste of my time. In fact, I don't go to blogs much anymore. The gushing about how they loooove every product is too much. I like to read about the good and bad so I can make an informed decision. I know it's their job to sell a product, but I don't feel I can trust what I read because not every product is perfect. I'm more apt to buy a product when I'm told it may have a couple of warts but this is how you work around the problem.
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