We arrived back in the States last night, home from our first-ever Stampin’ Up! convention, held in Frankfurt, Germany—and it was delightful!
I don’t know how else to describe it. From beginning (helping the staff set up and prepare for the convention) to end (saying good-bye to many demonstrators and employees I’d gotten to know better), I enjoyed every minute!
Our staff was much smaller than at a US/Canadian event. Only a handful of employees from the home office flew over, along with most of the staff from our three European offices. We worked side by side to get everything ready, and I loved the opportunity to put faces with names, and meet some of these wonderful people for the first time. How blessed we are to have such great people working with us in Europe!
After spending a whirlwind couple of days in preparation, Sterling and I returned to the hotel and actually giggled in our hotel room as we heard the familiar sounds of Stampin’ Up! demonstrators coming together for convention. It doesn’t matter if we’re in North America, Australia, or Europe, the sounds of happy women gathering together for a few days of stamping, playing, celebrating—and likely escaping from the demands of home?—are the same. And it’s wonderful to be part of that.
We had about three times the number of demonstrators we had at our first convention in the United States 20 years ago, but it was still a very intimate event, with plenty of opportunities to chat. Probably one of the things that stood out most for me was that, even though we had three different countries and three different languages represented, there was an overwhelming feeling of unity and kindness. I teared up more than once as I watched demonstrators cheer for each other, laugh with each, and support each other in their shared love of Stampin’ Up!
I must admit that I was a little apprehensive about the language barrier. All of the Main Stage presentations were done in English, with translators sitting in the back providing translation in French and German. Individual classes were presented in each of the three languages.
But I found that the language wasn’t a problem at all. Many of the demonstrators knew enough English that we could carry on a decent conversation. And even when we didn’t know the exact words, there’s something about sharing the language of stamping that brought us together. We hugged, we smiled, we looked at projects, and we communicated.
In addition to the abundance of fun and support, there was an abundance of inspiration. I’ve actually started stamping birthday cards today (I send Stampin’ Up! employees greetings for their birthdays) for November, and I’m basing them on a Workshop Wow I saw at the convention.
I do want to share a few of the projects that I showed on Main Stage. I won’t show them all—there has to be some perks for attending convention, you know. But here are a few that I hope will inspire you.
One thing I feel badly about is that I didn’t take any photos. I had my camera with me the whole time and completely forgot to take it out, I was so busy! We had some camera and video people there, but I forgot that they weren’t from the home office, and so I wasn’t able to just call and ask them to send me a few of their photos. We’ll eventually get the photos they took, but it will be too late to post here, and I’m so sorry! I’d love for you to get a feel for the beautiful venue and, even more important, the amazing people!
As we said good-bye, I was impressed with the genuine feelings of love and concern I saw. It reminded me of the early days of Stampin’ Up! when we were small enough that most of the demonstrators knew most of the employees, and vice versa. In Europe, that’s the case—employees and demonstrators know each other, and if they didn’t before convention, they do now! What a wonderful feeling to be part of that again!
Over all, our Europe convention exceeded all of my expectations. That doesn’t mean we can’t improve—there’s always room for improvement! (And we do have a list of things we’ll do differently next time.) But overall, I was pleased and delighted and returned exhausted but happy!