Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Very un-anonymous around here!

I have 3 blogs. And on one of them, I get hundreds of anonyous comments daily. People who disagree with what I have to say. People who lack the self-esteem to put their name beside what they have to say. I block almost all of them!

But I see so many anonymous comments in scrapbook forums and other craft sites on the internet that it just makes me wonder. Is it a designer trying to promote the product? An employee? And if it's a negative comment, is it from a competitor? If you have something to say....even if it's something bad....be real and put your name next to the comment!

Someone asked the question, "Are design teams just a manufacturer's marketing gimmick?" Excellent question!

Many design team members will post as an "anonymous" person to market the product they are designing for....or to write negative comments about a competitor's product. And that's just not me. I don't post as anonymous anywhere....so I guess that makes me unanonymous!!!

Anonymous comments reflecting the benefits of a product are just not fair. If you like it, put our name out there....even if you design for them! And anonymous comments reflecting negativity about a product are equally unfair. If you don't like something, say it, and put your name behind it!!!

What I like even less are manufacturer's yahoo groups. I think I have one of the very few yahoo groups where the members are free to post negative comments and questions about any product out there. Be very careful when you join a yahoo group. If you cannot post a negative comment about a product....then it's most likely just a marketing group for a specific product! What I have learned over time is that many negative comments are valid....and it is the only way the manufacturer can improve their product. To refuse to listen to negative comments, or to ban them entirely is really doing the manufacturer a disservice. Good manufacturers will listen to both postitive and negative comments about their products and services and grow from such input.

I have learned so much from being on design teams. But I have decided that I will not be on them again. OK, never say never, huh? LOL! I am really enjoying my time this year and the ability to play with unlimited products from any manufacturer that I want. So I thought I would take a moment and make it really clear about why I promote some products on my blog.

So I'll go down the list and give my honest reason why I use/like their products - that's being very un-anonymous!

AMStamps. They produce my Lucy McGoo line of stamps. But I was a fan of theirs way before then. I have always loved their embossing opals. Unlike any other product out there. Does she send me free product? Only when I am going to demo for her using it. But she does send very generous prizes for my charity events. And I make samples for her using my Lucy McGoo stamps. It's a good partnership.

Amaco. I met Linda Peterson on a cruise in 2004 and she taught me how to use their products. I have truly loved it from the first moment. I do design work for them in exchange for free product. But I have spent hundreds of dollars buying their products in my local stores. I just happen to really like it. No, not all of it. If you read my blog, you will know which items I love....like their pewter, copper and mesh wire! I guess you don't have to like a company's entire line to promote the products that you do like.

Art Institute Glitter. I have never done any design work for them. They do not send me anything at all. I just like bling! And now I have a wholesale account with them and will be selling it in my little store.

B-Line. I first saw their product in a stamp store that is now out of business. I just happen to LOVE their stamps. As a member of the Ranger Design Team, I did receive free stamps from them. Again, I don't "LOVE" every single image, but as a whole...I like what they make! I'm friends with 2 of their designers and they keep me informed on what's new.

Colorbox. HA! I like them and I like Ranger. Very different inks, work differently, have different colors. I love the fluid chalks, but long before that, I loved their little stone tiles. Such fun to alter and make things out of. If you are a multi-media artist like me...you can never have too many different products to play with! I do design work for them every once in awhile....simply because I like their product!

Crafty Secrets. I met Sandy on the cruise. I immediately fell in love with her entire product line. But then, I love vintage stuff and it's great for collages. I have done several samples for her and been published tons using her stuff, so yes, I'm not a designer for her, but I design a lot with her stuff and she does sent me free product. But if she doesn't send me what I want..I just go buy it! LOL!

Creative Impressions. A local manufacturer and if you met the staff in person, you would know why I and everyone in Colorado loves and supports them! Same thing with Holly House stamps and MSE....local Colorado companies that we just try to support the best we can!

EZMount - from Sunday International. I looked and looked for a mounting system and this is what I like the best so far. I'm even going to get a wholesale account with them and sell the stuff in my little store. They have never sent me product...I buy it all!

Just for Fun. I think I first saw one of their stamps at a local show and fell in love with it. Another company that I buy retail. I just happen to like their designs.

May Arts Ribbon. Well, I think they are the only company that sells white silk ribbons and that's why they are listed here. I've never designed for them and buy what I want retail.

MercArt USA. Again...I buy retail from them as well. But I like them so much better than any other metal tools. They are NOT cheap...but very well built.

MSE. Another local Colorado Company. And if I've missed any...I'll be happy to add them to my links as I just believe in supporting local businesses. MSE has been extremely generous donating product for my charity crops. And while their sentiments may not be for everyone...I truly find a use for almost all of them!

Ranger. Yep, I was on their design team. But I applied because I loved their product. And thought it would be totally fun. And it was. It's over with, and now we can just play even more! I'm a certified Ink & Embossing powder educator, so of course, when I teach Ranger, I only use their products, because I truly love them! And I do not get paid or get product to say that....I just say what I mean!

I've often wondered how many people ever apply to a design product that has products they do not like! LOL! I'd venture to say it's not too many!

Scor-it. Yep, they sent me a free mini scor-it to try out. And I do totally love it! I think it's a good, solid product and well worth the money. So yep, I get paid in product to say that. You choose if I'm right or wrong. And if I'm wrong...feel free to tell me!

Swarovski crystals. Yep, they sent me free product...but I asked for it! I wanted to do some designs for magazine work. And I knew what I wanted to use. And I convinced them to send me free product to use on my project that was going to be published. On the other hand....who doe not love swarovski crystals? Well...I do love my bling and as long as it's swarovsky, I don't care who sells it...I'll buy it!

Tombow. Again, I have used every different tape runner out there and this is the one I like the best. It fits in my hand (old lady here) and is the "best" at not breaking, tearing, or getting snaggled. The refills are so easy. I just happen to like it best.

Zip Dry. As an artist, I am always getting free adhesives. I struggled trying to find something that would adhere paper without wrinkling the paper. So far, this is the best I've found. I know lots of people will disagree with me on this, but as a collage artist, I haven't tried anything that I like better!

So, now you know the truth about me and my product partnerships. Some give me free product, some do not. I just list them because I really like them. And there are plenty who have sent me free product as a designer that I have not listed here. Some of them I don't like. Some I do. I just picked what I liked the best to put on my blog.

And as you can see...I am NOT a "one product" artist. I have been advised that I should stick to one company and use only that company's products. But what fun is that? I really get a kick out of layering competing products in the same project. Oh dear! I mean, Ranger's distress inks really do work well over Colorbox Fluid Chalks...have you tried that?

And what about diecuts? I was on Spellbinder's design team, of course. And I have almost every die they ever made. Spellbinders does send me free dies to demo with. And I can honestly say that their patented 3-step technology far exceeds the other companies at the moment. So far. At present. (get the message there!) Many are just on the tails and their ability to produce new dies at an extremely fast rate sets them above the rest. I love bosscut dies. They are so delicate and intricate. Absolutely yummy!!! And the new slimmer quickutz flourish dies are among my favorites! Cuttlebug. I just want to smack them and say WAKE UP!!! They have the new 2 part cut and emboss dies. Just make a matching stencil....and you have all 3 steps!!! I thought Sizzix was going to go by the wayside....but they turned it around with their flowers, their swirls and their kids clothes and accessories. I pick and choose my dies based on the versatility of the die. It has to do multiple things for me before I will buy it. I'll buy almost any tag die, envelope die, paper doll clothes die, swirl, flower, flourish. I can use them over and over. I buy most of my dies at Album Memories in Commerce City (Colorado) because she offers everyone who buys from her the best discount that I've found.

I really like NOT being on a design team because it gives me the freedom to pick and choose what products that I like. If you read my blog over time, you will see a variety of products used here. Yes, I do have my favorites that I will pull time and time again. But I like EK Success, K&Company, Design Originals and a whole lot more. I guess I just like stuff!

When I have something to say, I'm happy to put my name beside my comment. I'm also very happy to let you know who I design for...and why I happen to like their stuff. I'm just a very un-anonymous type of gal!


mkwyahid said...

Okay, Jen, I'll step out of the anonimity of the shadows from her on.

As usual, you are right-on about most of the products you mention in today's blog. I'm a bit down on Spellbinders because of some recent experience with imperfect dies, poor customer service and their shortcomings in supply chain. If they aren't careful, they will never be able to keep up with the "big boys."

Jen Lowe said...

LMBO....you are too funny about being anonymous! But I agree with you on Spellbinders. From the simple standpoint that every manufacturer should provide a good product, good customer service, plan for demand and listen to what the customer has to say. It's just simple rules of good business management.

Gerrie Johnnic said...

This is so kewl, just like you to put it all on the table! You are my kinda' gal GF! So when you coming to teach in FL?

Jen Lowe said...

Kerry (hubby) is in Florida right now! So you just never know when I might join him on one of his business trips! :o)

Margie H said...

LOVE this post! Well said...hoping that we can meet face-to-face one of these days!
Oh! Enjoying the Ranger white pen btw! Thanks again!