Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Stamp with a Story

This is "Whitney's Message." Unlike the thousands of other stamps that have passed through my hands over the years, this stamp has a story.

My stamp collection began 20 or more years ago after I spotted some wood-mounted rubber stamps in a gift shop downtown named "Home Sweet Home." I arranged my collection on a wall in my kitchen on a shelf much the same way the stamps were arranged in the store. They were cute and purely decorative, fitting in well with the country theme I had going at the time. Down the road, Home Sweet Home started carrying some inks and embossing powder, and of course, I bought some, and every once in a while, played with my stamps. I didn't make cards, but instead, occasionally added a stamped image to a plain piece of stationary (people wrote letters in those days!) or envelope I was mailing. With regard to the embossing powder, there were no heat guns back then. The directions suggested that one hold the embossed image close to a light bulb or melt it in the toaster. After setting my paper on fire several times and ruining a toaster, I gave up on embossing.

My introduction to stamping as we know it today began with an autumn Stampin' Up party my sister-in-law hosted about 10 years ago. I remember being amazed and of course, wanting it all. I don't remember what all I bought but know I bought a stamp set with a newspaper stamp in it. I'd just started my writing career with the local newspaper, so at the time, I thought it was the set I "needed" first. Like I said, I wanted it all and remember jokingly asking the demonstrator if I could just sign my paycheck over to her. I think I spent about $75, which was a lot more money then than it is now.

A few months later, I saw a D.O.T.S. advertisement in a magazine. I believe it was probably Creating Keepsakes. Liking what I saw in the ad, I called the 800 number listed on the ad, and a few days later a consultant from Fargo called me. I believe she sent me a catalog from which I promptly placed an order for a black and red ink pads, Whitney's Message, and Seasons of the Heart, a 30-piece "Super Set" that featured several little sayings that would work with the sign Whitney holds. I was still trying to be somewhat practical and buy stamps that would give me a lot of bang for my buck. Being the good consultant that she still is, the consultant recruited me, too, and I signed up with D.O.T.S. in May of 1998. I don't exactly know why I signed up, because I already knew I wasn't a great salesperson per se, and the job I had at the time didn't allow me a whole lot of free time to do parties. Maybe I was attracted by the discount, or perhaps it was because I wanted easy access to what I believed to be some really great products. All I know is that it was at that point that I started amassing "stuff" and that I didn't have a lick of trouble meeting my quarterly minimums without selling a single stamp to anyone else.

I don't remember if my husband eventually said, "So, when are you going to start selling this stuff," or if I figured I needed to find a way to share these great products, but in November of 1998, I held an open house. I'm glad I did. Many of the people who came are the customers I have today and better yet, have become wonderful friends. At some point in time, D.O.T.S. became Close To My Heart, and while nearly everything about the company has changed from the time I signed up, I still love its products and, most likely, still wouldn't have a lick of trouble meeting my quarterly minimums without any customers.

Whitney's Message didn't sell yesterday even though I was surprised by the number of "vintage" stamps that did. Today, I'm glad I still have Whitney. She has a story, and she's going on a shelf in Kathi's Corner. First, she's going to serve as a reminder to hold true to my new commitment - to buy what I love and stop there, and more important and much more precious, she'll serve as a reminder of the great people stamping has brought into my life. As I said in my very first blog post, it's all about the sharing.


scrappernic said...

Loved hearing your story! You should scrap it. I wish I would have kept the D.O.T.S. stamps my mom and I bought when we used to go to stamping parties when I was in high school (early 90s). I'll have to see if she still has them. My first CTMH set--because they were CTMH by the time I found them again and signed up-- was Beauty of Christmas. It was wood and I've since replaced it with arylic, but will never get rid of that one since it holds a special place in my heart.

Stampin n da Hood said...

It is sooo fun to read others intro to the DOTS/CTMH family!
All of our stories are sooo similar, it's a crack up!

you were in HIGH SCHOOL in the early 90's? That would make you...what 20 or so?

Margi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margi said...

Hey Kathi! Loved your new consultant story! It's been 2 years since you originally wrote this post, but I just had to comment! Whitney's Message was my first DOTS stamp also 14 1/2 years ago! I bought her through a friend's book party along with a scalloped edge scissor. That's it, and it hooked me there on the spot! In those days, there was no magazine advertising or referral line to call, so I wrote a letter to D.O.T.S. to which a week or so later I received a letter from a consultant 1 1/2 hours from me. I drove to see her and hear more about the company and told her I was going to give it a try. She was a hobbiest and had no plans to sell stamps or recruit for that matter. She said, "well, I guess I better learn how to do this business!". We learned together and 14 1/2 years later, I love Close to My Heart more each day! Signing up was one of the best decisions I ever made! By doing so it ultimately led me to recruiting your upline Mary Jo which in turn led you to being on my team! So there's the story, the Whitney story, and I'm sticking to it! By the way,she's on my shelf in my office and a reminder of my very good decision!