Wednesday, April 2, 2014

PLANNING Your Stampin' Year!

Hi Chicks!

I've been meaning to post this tip for a while now, but got busy : /

What reminded me was a FB chat I was having with my downline last night, as well as a text convo my soon-to-be-assistant Brittny and I were having last week (well, as soon as I get to be a bigger-time demo, ha ha!!!).

We were discussing ways to build our customer base.

I firmly believe that looking active on your DBWS is key to drawing a potential customer/friend to you.  If you have classes scheduled, it definitely catches their eye.  You will appear to be a thriving demonstrator with fresh, up to the minute event offerings.

Will your classes actually be filled at first?  Maybe, maybe not!  But the KEY is to get them on your calendar, block out the time, and be prepared.  THIS IS YOUR BUSINESS.  Treat it like one!

I sat down in November/December and planned out my Events calendar through June.  WHY?  It forces me to be accountable.  If I know that I have a class/club/event planned, I DO NOT schedule something on top of that, or allow my "real job" to interfere.  Seriously!!  When I submit my tentative work schedule each month, I type in "Can't work - teaching card class" on those days!  I consider my Stampin' Up! demonstratorship just as important as my career as a nurse case manager.

You can see my Events calendar here

Now, are all my classes always filled?  Well, to be honest - no.  I recently added the first Friday of each month as "Freebie Friday" - a beginning stampin' class JUST for brand-new stampers.  I haven't had anyone RSVP to it yet, but I'm hoping to very soon!

I was at a craft/vendor fair on Saturday and will mail free class passes to each of the leads I got inviting them to "Freebie Friday".  Hopefully I've planted a seed while talking to them and my free class pass will intrigue them!

Interestingly enough to me, Lisa Pretto of Ink Big Academy recently had this subject as her Coffee Q & A on March 10th!  Love it!!

My existing customers LOVE that they know my classes/clubs are consistently planned every month.  My Calendar Club gals KNOW that they're meeting with me every third Friday evening, my Basic Techniques and Advanced Papercrafters plan the last Sunday of every month to be at my house, and my customers that enjoy Product Based Classes can't wait to find out what new Stampin' Up! goodie that I'll highlight every first Sunday!  I'm hoping some new stampers will soon come to enjoy Freebie Fridays with me too!

So get out that calendar, block out your time and stick to it!  Let me know how it works for you.  It's working for me!

That's it for now, my peeps!

"Mama Chick" Jeni

Sunday, November 3, 2013

More Tips AND Got My Studio Together!!

Hi Chicks!!

Well, I did it - I FINALLY got my studio space together!  Compromised with the hubby and I am just delighted with my "new" space :)

I originally wanted to use our family room, which is in the back of the house, but it would've entailed him having to rewire all our cable.  After some consideration, we decided together that since we really don't use our living room, which is in the FRONT of the house, if I promised to keep it neat and presentable when people are walking in, I could revamp it into my studio.  You can see it here and here.  I've been happily creating in my new space and working on getting some decorations up on my walls.  My class ladies were just blown away at October's Calendar Club :)  It was so much fun to see them using my cutting table and admiring my artsy space!  It's good to be the Princess :)

Some shirts my friend & former downline "blinged" for me :)
Anyway, I did want to share some of my little triumphs with you all today.

In June, I treated myself to having a professional web designer revamp my blog, Stamp With Jeni (check it out!!).  I'd gone on a trip to Atlantic City and won some money gambling, so that's what I spent my winnings on - great investment!   Julie at Webics Designs is great to work with and really did a fantastic job with my blog - I just love it!

Since September, I've also been setting aside time every Sunday to schedule blog posts for the week.  If you happened to notice, in October I had new blog posts up every day!  So far for November, I'm caught up as well.  Blocking out time on Sunday has worked for me, and scheduling a whole week's worth of posts at one sitting takes the pressure off - I write away like crazy, sometimes detailed, sometimes just quick and dirty - and that's it til the next Sunday.  It's kinda like giving myself homework.  Because I went on crop weekends in September and October, I was able to design and create a lot of cards, which I've been using as "feed" for my blog postings.

I know this plan won't work for everyone - you all may have different obligations and work schedules than I do - but if you set aside time in your planner or calendar to consistently blog in a way that works FOR YOU, it's a great feeling!  I still don't have many followers, but I've been getting some comments and noticed more of a traffic feed, so it's encouraging!

Another thing I worked on last weekend was to sit down for a few hours and plan classes for January through June and GET them on my Events page.

I told you guys back in May that I've been disappointed in myself for not meeting my Senior Supervisor rolling sales quota.  With that in mind, I've decided to feature a product-based class each month starting in January to drum up some sales, along with keeping my Calendar Club going.  I did revamp my Calender Club slightly, starting in September, offering it at an a la carte fee of $15 OR free with a $25 purchase the night of Club.  That's really helped my sales!  I'm still not where I need to be for rolling sales, but I'm getting there!  The last few months have been over $400 months for me - I'm excited!!

Now, since I've also found a few new students recently, I decided to start incorporating some monthly basic techniques classes for $5 each starting in January as well.  This'll cover my supplies without scaring anyone away or making them feel as though they need to purchase something (I hope).  I also hope by teaching these enthusiastic new stampers to "begin at the beginning", they'll STAY excited and continue with more advanced classes later!

Anyway, that's what I'VE been up to for the last five months - how about you?  If I can help you with anything or you need a little brainstorming, I'm here for you!  Drop me an email or give me a call.  I'd love to help you boost YOUR business, Crafty Chick or not - we're all here to help each other :)

That's it for now, my peeps!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Keeping Up With Your Quarterly Minimums

Hi Chicks!

I'm getting ready for a big weekend!  Sadly, not crafting this time :-)  Sunday is my birthday and I'm turning FIFTY (yikes!!!).  June will also be busy with my Baby Girl graduating from high school next Friday, her graduation party next Saturday, and (yay yay yay!!) a visit from my SIL & downline Cheryl - I can't wait!!

In the midst of all this, I ALSO need to get cards created & prepped for this month's Calendar Club.  This is an idea I got from, who else, my FAVE SU! demo, Lyssa!!

Last year, I did a couple of hostess clubs and "buying" clubs.  Those were really great for helping me keep up with my quarterly minimums and my title requirements.  I wanted to try something different this spring, partly because I felt my customers were getting burnt out and partly because I felt like I was always asking for sales.

Calendar Club is simply a paid for class with no pressure to buy.  I design 3 fairly simple cards and the girls make four of each card for a total of 12, at $15.  Now, this has been really fun and popular, but I'll be honest.  My sales, naturally, haven't been as good this spring.  I will tell you the truth - I've barely been making my quarterly minimums and am in NO WAY keeping up my sales for title requirements.  I didn't think that would bother me, because I still consider myself more hobbyist than business, but guess what??  I AM DISAPPOINTED IN ME!!  I don't like looking at my business reports and realizing I'm not performing up to title :-(

Last year, I ran one hostess club and one scrapbook club per month.  It was a lot of work, frankly, since I'd also started my new job in May of 2012.  But it forced me to stretch my creativity, be more organized, my minimums were easily met, and so were my title requirements.  It was so much fun, too!  Unfortunately, when the holidays rolled around, I slacked off.  December, January, and February were really "bum" months for me.  When I found Lyssa's idea, I thought I'd try Calendar Club so we've been doing this in March, April, and May.  We'll finish out June then take a break in July and August (because of vacations and such) and then they want to pick up again in September and do Christmas cards for a few months.

I miss my Hostess Club though.  SO, my goal for this summer is to work on a new Hostess Club and maybe another Crop Club, too.  I'd like to get my sales back up, find some new customers, and even figure out a way to make my class area (which is currently my dining room & I can't fit more than 6 around the table - and that is PUSHING IT) more efficient - or maybe even look at finding class space somewhere locally so I can comfortably fit more students in!

This is a rather rambling post, but I hope you get the gist.  If you have any questions about Hostess Club or Crop Club, shoot me an email or give me a call.  I'd love to help you build your business and keep up your minimums - better yet, let's go OVER minimum and make you some spending money!

That's it for now, my peeps!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Food for Thought . . .

Hi Chicks!

If you follow my stampin' blog, Stamp With Jeni, you know I've been posting alot lately about my "real" job as a nurse case manager for a wellness program, which includes nutrition and how to feed your body.  Today's post there focused on greens - food as well as a pretty green card :-)

You also know one of my favorite creative blogs is Lyssa Griffin Zwolanek's Song of My Heart Stampers  If you've never checked out Lyssa's blog, I STRONGLY suggest you do (go there - RIGHT NOW!!!  Then come back here.  Go on.  I'll wait.).

OK, ya back?  Is Lyssa not the COOLEST??  When I started with Stampin' Up! a little over 2 years ago, Lyssa quickly became one of my heroines in the stamping world.  Not only does she have MAD creative skills, but she is one of the top 100 SU! demos, member of Founder's Circle, and a talented blog writer.  While you were on her stampin' blog, I hope you also noticed a tab there titled "Free Demo Blog".  It's one of my other favorite places to hang out on the internet.  Truly creative people just love to share, and Lyssa always shares so freely and cheerfully.

SO, let's talk about feeding your business or your creative hobby or BOTH, no matter what kind of SU! demo you choose to be.

I'm sitting around today waiting for my new fridge to be delivered, so of course surfing the 'net is a good way to fill time.  Hopped on over to Lyssa's with a cup of tea (isn't it nice to have online friends you can visit 24/7??) and the need to check out some business tips on her Demo Blog.

Interestingly enough, Lyssa has a couple of recent posts there regarding blogging that really hit home for me, since I've been trying to do more of that this month. Since y'all are helping me grow my downline in leaps and bounds, I definitely feel obligated and inspired to be a good Mother Chick and find ways to help YOU grow your business as well.

Blogging is a good thing for your business.  It's fun but can be challenging as well.  Coming up with new post ideas, creating something to blog about, FINDING THE TIME, and being consistent are HARD.  You know this if you follow Stamp With Jeni.  I have not been CONSISTENT.  No wonder I don't have many followers, nor comments on my posts.  As funny or creative as I may think I am, who's gonna keep reading it if my posts are 6 months apart?  BORING.  INCONSISTENT. LOSER!!!

This month, I made a resolution to be more consistent.  I'm busy with work and family, but I've made it my "homework" to blog at least every other day.  I've gone through my photos (I photograph every card I make), pulled out some old ones, created some new ones, and BLOGGED.  My style is a little different now, you may notice.  I'm riffing not just on stampin' and cards, but on life in general.  It works for me - I think I found my blog mojo.  Heck, even one of the GUYS I work with is reading my blog now!  I'm jazzed!!!

To become a business demo, you NEED to be consistent.  You also need to put effort into it.  That means taking out your calendar and blocking out time every day or week to work your business, if that works for you.  Find a way to build your business that WORKS FOR YOU.  But again, if you don't put that time in, don't expect to build anything much.  (I will post again soon about some ideas that work for me to keep up with my quarterly minimums and my title requirements.)

If you're a hobby demo, I encourage you to do the same thing with your stampin' time.  The more you create, the easier it becomes.  If you signed up with SU!, obviously you love stampin', making pretty things, and all our products.  Don't let those pretty things gather dust in your craft room!  Make time for YOU!!  It makes us happy to create, no?

When I started with SU!, I had no intentions of building a downline or obtaining a title.  With barely any effort on my part, I soon realized that this CAN become a business for me.  I will probably never replace my nursing income, but I'm tickled pink that our group is growing and I'm seeing some exciting things happen on my reports.  THANK YOU, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU!!

So, get out there and if you have a blog, POST.  If you don't have one, think about starting one.  If it's your "thing", great!  If it's not, that's okay too.  We work for a company that supports us whether we're business or hobby.  Isn't that fantastic??

That's it for now, my peeps!


Monday, April 15, 2013

The Chicks are Hatching!

Hi Chicks!

Our downline group is GROWING!!!!  One of my Level 1s, Brittny, has been doing some recruiting (you go, girl!!) and now has two active downline & is working on a 3rd.  I'm excited to welcome Judy and Jodi-Marie to our family of Cross Country Crafty Chicks!!  Brittny is well on her way to attaining Senior Supervisor and getting to name her very own downline group.  WOOT!!!!!

I'll be hatching some new ideas myself to help you grow your business, so stay tuned in the next few weeks to see what I come up with.  I will admit to doing quite a bit of "slacking" with growing MY business in the past several months, so we'll work on it together, okay?!

That's it for now my peeps!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Hi Chicks!

I'm so sorry I've been missing in action since September. Lots of personal drama going on the past couple months, but all is well.

I'll be doing some stamping over this long Thanksgiving weekend, so stay tuned!

Thanks for checking in - love you guys!

That's it for now, my peeps!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Craft/Vendor Shows

Hi Chicks!

This is a subject you can find numerous posts on out on the 'net.  I'm here today to give you some tips from my own personal experiences with craft/vendor shows, from the ones I did last season.  You'll definitely find a ton of conflicting advice out there, so bear in mind these are just my own humble opinions :)

1.  Keep your table simple.  Don't overclutter and overwhelm.  SU! tells us to use a plain black tablecloth and a logo banner (available on the supply list).  I like to have out some catalogs in a plastic brochure holder, plenty of current holiday or spring catalogs, recruit brochures, business cards, flyers on my current classes, and a drawing box & forms.  I personally don't give out the big catalogs free at a craft show, because I think a lot of people will just take them home & throw them away - but I do sell them very cheaply - and try to make a note on the drawing form who purchased one.  Those are probably more serious leads.  I do give out the holiday/spring catalogs to everyone who stops by my table, though.  This year, I plan on being a little more aggressive about my classes and attempt to sign people up then & there; as well as offering private classes in their homes - kind of a back-door way to get around the word "workshop", which spooks people sometimes ;)

2.  Don't necessarily expect to sell a ton of your creations.  If you want to highlight that aspect of your business, you may be disappointed to find that most "browsers", unless they're crafters themselves (and more on that later), won't place the same value on your work that you do.  Especially with papercrafts - people tend to dismiss it as "only paper" and seriously de-value our art.  If you want to sell cards, be prepared to price them at $3 or less.  Most folks aren't going to want to pay more.  I personally price mine at $1 - $2 each, depending on how many layers, and I don't sell heavily embellished cards at a craft fair - I try to keep them "mailable".  I have a spinning card tree that doesn't take up much space, and gives folks something to stop and browse.  Even so, it's rare for me to sell many cards.  Same goes for other items like note pad holders and the like - keep it inexpensive (but be sure not to UNDERPRICE your work, either - make sure you're charging enough to cover your supplies used).  Unfortunately, people just don't want to spend a lot of money, at least not in my area.  They seem to look at craft/vendor shows in the same way they look at a flea market.

3.  Be prepared to hear comments like, "Oh, I could make that!" and trust me, some people will just cruise your table for ideas & probably go home & do just that.  Perfect opportunity to show them a catalog, talk up your classes, etc.  Smile and agree, "Yes, you sure could!  Let me tell you about what I offer!"  That being said, I'm also going to try packaging up a few card kits for my next show (pre-cut DSP, pre-cut cardstock, a few embellishments & some pre-cut ribbon - along with a card sketch) to whet the "idea-nappers'" interest ;)  **Remember, if you offer a kit like this, it can't be made up of anything (like a full, unopened product) that a person can try to return to SU! for a refund, and you CANNOT stamp images on cardstock & sell them as part of a kit (refer to your IDA).

4.  You may want to decide ahead of time just what you want to get out of a craft/vendor show.  Sales of what you've made yourself?  New leads?  I've found that it's difficult to do both effectively, primarily due to my own disappointment in poor sales :)  Again, there are lots of sources on the internet that have GREAT ideas for what items sell well at these types of shows.  I have a friend who goes to a lot of the same crops I do, who's also a demo, and she kicks butt at craft fairs with the most adorable little items she whips up - Post It holders, journals, tea bag holders, and the like.  For me, those things just BOMB.  I've had better luck concentrating on building new leads, so any more, I don't fret over whether or not I'm earning back my table fee.  If I get even ONE good customer lead, who makes a purchase or two, or starts coming to my classes, I've gotten my investment back.

5.  Have a drawing & a little form and ask everyone who stops by your table to fill it out completely.  Check it before they drop it in your drawing box & confirm the information.  (Sadly, some people WILL lie about their email address or phone number just to get you off their back!!)  Your prize can be as simple as a catalog and a gift certificate for free product or a free class.  If the winner never materializes when you call them to follow up on the order or the class, you haven't lost anything - great tip from my 4th level upline.  Keep your form simple - ask a few questions like "Have you ever stamped before?" or "Would you be interested in stamping classes?"  (I'm also considering adding "Do you have a Stampin' Up! demonstrator?" to my form this year ;)  Don't ask!!!!)  Follow up on your leads, but don't be pesky.  If you don't hear back from them after a few emails or calls, just send one final friendly message letting them know you're cleaning up your list & will be happy to help them if they wish to contact you in the future.

Craft/vendor shows ARE fun - I hope I haven't discouraged you!  As long as you're realistic about your expectations and make good use of your time, you can get some good experience and hopefully some good business leads :)

That's it for now, my peeps!