#1 Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator Pootles – A Trip in a Million! And Stamping with Sara Douglass
Well it has been almost 4 months since Luke and I went on our amazing trip to Utah to the home office of Stampin’ Up! to celebrate my 1 Milllion CSV ($$$!) sales achievement.
We were there right before Coronovirus lockdown happened, the timing was just right for us, and within about 10 days of arriving home, the world had shut itself down and it felt somewhat trivial to be talking about a trip out of the country.
So I made the decision to hold off sharing our trip until I could share the video that Sara and I filmed as part of my visit.
Before I share the video at the end, I feel I need to do a kind of precursor to it. We didn’t have anything planned, I’d just asked that someone select some random new products for us to work with and that we would create on the go and see what we came up with. Now, given that this was back in February and before many products had labels or sizing etc, we really were working on the hop.
I have to confess, every possible creative idea exited my head and I came up blank! Me? I can create on the hop so easily, yet it seemed that faced with 12×12″ cardstock, 6×6″ paper and 5 colours I’d never seen before drew me that creative blank.
I did pull it together and came up with a box, but at one point I was carrying both metric and imperial measurements in my head and just losing it!
Anyway, it’s a bit of fun, we had a good time. I didn’t bring my project back with me as it would have been crushed in my luggage, but I do have Sara’s cards sitting on my desk.
So that’s the precursor to the video, but as for the trip itself, we had the most amazing time.
Luke joined me on this trip, he’s my 2nd eldest son and Jack (the eldest) was due to join me in Maui for this year’s incentive trip, so for those who wondered why Luke got to come, that’s why! Eventually all the boys will join me on a trip at some point!
So we flew for about 10 hours out to Utah and were put up in the most incredible hotel. I can’t really describe it other than old school luxury. And there were fairy lights everywhere, and you know me, I have fairy lights all over my office, lounge, bedroom and even garden!
We had a full day to ourselves to try and get over jetlag, so we headed to the Midway Crater to swim in a hot spring. The snow wasn’t really on the ground in Salt Lake City, but it was certainly around in Midway! And yes, we both swam in the warm water of the spring!
The following day was our day at the home office, and despite seeing photos and the odd video from other million sales achievers, I’m not sure anything could prepare me for the feeling. I was shaking even before I stepped out of the car as I could hear the cheers even with the door shut, and I’ve never been so pleased to see Jill Taylor’s face!!!
I was doing really well and holding my emotions in check until I realised that all the staff who were filling the auditorium were waving British Union Flags for me. That’s when the tears came! As the first UK demo to achieve the 1 million mark, it was massively humbling to see all those flags being waved for me.
We had a tour of the whole offices with Rett Christensen who is just a mine of information and he even had Luke doing some picking of products for people’s orders!
I spent some time playing with new products – yes, I got to see the Peony Garden, Whale of a Time and In Good Taste suites way back then. And I did also get a play with the brand new Cut and Emboss machine that we will have hopefully quite soon.
While I spent time with the product design team to discuss my stamp set, Luke went and had the afternoon with Dirk and Ben who are the SU video/photographers. He had such a brilliant time with them that he’s actually asked if he could do an apprenticeship over there, and just yesterday, he and I were chatting and he mentioned it again!
We ended the day at the office with Sara and myself filming our funny fumbly video and just giggling so much!
Of course, we had to stop to have a picture against the giant Stampin’ Up! Rock, and Luke, being a teenager, clambered on top!
That evening we joined the VP team for dinner, and hats off to them for making Luke feel so very included. But it was after the event that I realised that there was one VP missing, Scott Neilsen, so next incentive trip, I shall make sure to seek him out!
Our 2nd day in Salt Lake is where the achieving demo gets to choose an activity to do with their guest. I am the first to have brought a child with me, so as family is as much at the heart of my business as it is at the heart of Stampin’ Up! I left the events team to come up with something and I said that I was happy for any of the Gardner/Douglass children join us if they wanted. That ended up with us spending the day with Sara at her home with her family! I have to say, when I got my agenda a couple of weeks before the trip, I nearly fell off my chair! What an honour.
And what a lovely family. I’ve met the girls once or twice in the past, and of course, Sean too, but it was lovely to spend time with them and Luke and their son Sam (!) got on so well that they were messaging one another for hours after we left to go back to our hotel and they still chat now.
It was lovely to enjoy a meal cooked by Sean and for Shelli to come and join us for the afternoon too. We had decided to create a piece of home decor and do a little memory keeping during my day with them, but I have to confess, I was so busy chatting to them all that Shelli created my memory book herself! I have a Shelli Gardner original!
It was the most amazing trip of a lifetime and from there Luke and I flew down to California for 5 days where we visited 4 different theme parks, of course, Disney was on there and we had 2 amazing days there before flying home and a few days later being faced with the schools being closed and the world changing completely.
It feels like a year ago that we were there, not less than 4 months. But we carry the memories forever and I still pinch myself that it was me.
I hope you enjoyed this project, I absolutely adore what I do and spend many hours working on designs, new projects, new ideas and more.
I love to spoil all the people who shop with me, so every month I post out a handmade card, an exclusive newsletter and a product gift too.
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Sam Hammond Donald
#1 Stampin’ Up! UK Independent Demonstrator
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