Friday, 13 October 2017

Sharing is Caring

We're full of clichés on the blog this week aren't we?

Well it is a fact that it is caring to share and within the crafting community there is a lot of sharing that goes on. From sharing projects that have been created, to sharing techniques, giving one another the heads up on a special offer or bargain, actually sharing our products and helping out a fellow crafter or sharing a review on a gadget or product. It all goes on.

My most recent share with the lovely Denice, Corenne and Charley 
receiving this gorgeous share from me this week
Another way crafters share is to join together to buy stash. Often DSP or designer series paper comes in packs which are either 12 x 12 inches in size or 6 x 6 with some manufacturers making them in 8 x 8 size. Often you'll find in a regular 12 x 12 Stampin' Up! pack there are 12 sheets with 2 sheets each of 6 double sided designs.  In speciality DSP packs there may be 2 sheets each of 5 double sided designs plus 2 foiled sheets, or 12 foiled sheets 1 of each double sided design in two colours or even 12 foiled sheets all different.  6 x 6 stacks perhaps have 4 sheets each of 6 double sided designs or even 4 sheets each of 12 double sided designs.

So however it's made up, in the entire range there are lots of different papers and designs to choose from and sometimes it can be difficult to really get a feel for how you could use a design if you don't see it in person. Looking at the fantastic images online and in the catalogue is all well and good but nothing compensates for that gorgeous stuff being there in front of you and being able to hold it up against your cardstock and play around with it a bit for inspiration.

Buying the entire range is not going to be easy on the budget remember there are all of the DSP packs in the main catalogue to buy and then all of those that appear in the two annual supplements and all DSP retires at the end of its catalogue validity date so a demonstrator can find themselves left with tons of stash that they can't use for demonstrations.  So stash sharing is a great option.

It's also great for new demonstrators so that they can demonstrate the full range of colours in cardstock to customers without a massive initial outlay. As you go along your demonstrator journey you find which colours you love to work with or which are super versatile for you and you can save your money to stock up on those, knowing they'll not go to waste.

You can also share ribbon, there are over 50 ribbons and trims 
to choose from in the current Stampin' Up! annual catalogue
Also buying full packs and finding that there is a pattern you can't work with or are uninspired by can result in waste and waste is not good for business or the environment, nobody wants paper lying around gathering dust. Stash is there to be used. I would say though that if this happens to you do look around on social media for inspiration and sit and try to use those patterns you're not keen on, you'll be amazed at how quickly you can change your opinion.

Another reason for sharing is that you may need a particular design or pattern for a special project you are working on and want to buy multiples of one design (something you can not do with Stampin' Up!) so a stash share may be the answer especially if you can find people who want multiples of another pattern in the same stack.

So how do you arrange a share? Ask other demos in your team or group or if you are a customer just ask around on groups within your community and social media sites if anyone would like to join in a stash share. Once you have found someone who you feel you can trust to deliver on their part of the bargain you can get started. Shares usually work well with cardstock and DSP if you have 2 or 4 sharers. If you're sharing on ribbon it works best with 2, 3, 6 or 9 people given that most Stampin' Up! ribbons come in 9.1 meter rolls it makes them easier to share either by a direct split or in numbers which 9 easily divides by.

Once you have share buddies decide on how you are going to split the order. If you are demonstrators then it's only fair that you all get equal chare of the CSV (sales value) credited to your account to help towards your targets. So you may want to divide up the buying so each person gets the same CSV. It can get tricky if some attract a 20% discount and others attract higher discounts but the best thing to do is do all of your working on a 20% discount and take a hit on the extra bits or assign slightly higher priced orders to those who attract larger discounts. Of course if all of your sharers earn 25% discount or more then do you working on that basis.

TOP TIP: What I do to help me share the items out fairly as possible in terms of value (not every pack is the same price) is I write down each pack catalogue number and cost on a little piece of paper and then write each sharers name on a bigger piece of paper and I just shift the little pieces around until they equate to more or less the same value. I do note differences and if there is some cash to shift around (usually pence) ask for it to be sent via Paypal to yourself and then you can send it back out to the others in the group. People don't usually quibble about a few pence anyway but it just keeps things tidy.

Produce a spreadsheet or table with each sharers name and postal address and the catalogue number of the items they are ordering with the item name for reference.  Include total cost minus 20% discount and final total so it's clear that each person is spending roughly the same amount.

If anyone has objections they can raise them before orders are placed. Ensure that each person understands they are responsible for covering postage costs not only for the order to reach them but onward postage to the other sharers. Each person should incur same costs and so again this keeps things fair. Agree your postal method in advance so that everyone is aware of the potential cost.

Packaging doesn't have to be fancy like these flip wallets I made
for a 9 way ribbon share, but it does need to be good enough to 
get that share to its owner in a useable state
Once each person receives their share they divide it up, label it and send it on to the others in the group and that's that! You can include share instructions on your spreadsheet too and each person should take care to trim the paper and cardstock as accurately as possible.

If you are not demonstrators or not bothered about CSV then you can assign one person in the group to order all of the stash to be shared. This method is much easier and cheaper as one person places the order, they divide the cost including postage and onward postage by however many are in the group and once the order arrives they split it up and post on.

Sometimes you can split an order easily and send on 12 x 12 sheets, sometimes you have to cut down to 12 x 6 and sometimes to 6 x 6 depending on the stack and the amount of people in the group. Some people are happier to have all of their shares cut down to 6 x 6 to save on postage, others like larger pieces as they work on larger projects. Just agree all of this in advance the crafty world of caring sharing warm people also has its cats and down right rude people in it and sometimes you don't know who they are until you do some kind of deal with them so do get assurances before you begin.

Hope you found this helpful.

Andrea x

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