Feb 15, 2021

Stamping Destroyed My Life: I Had A Goal

Stamping Destroyed My Life starts here. Follow the links and read along!  
9 Months Later

Memorandum
To: M and Beth
From: Andrew Farther, Esq.
Re: Agreement Between Beautiful Stamps and Brave Arts
Attached is the draft contract between Beautiful Stamps (BS) and Brave Arts (BA). The following summarizes the key provisions. If you are going to sign, which I strongly recommend, I most strongly recommend signing immediately, given the patent pending situation. As always, happy to discuss.
1. BS sells all equipment, including The Stamp Maker and supplies, inventory of stamps, and mailing list, including emails, to BA for $150,000, payable immediately. BA will arrange at its expense for the packing and transport of all products.
2. BS sells "patent pending" and an option to BA to acquire its patent to design and manufacturer "clear stamps" for $25,000, payable immediately. If the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) approves BS's application for a patent, BA agrees to buy the patent for $200,000. If the PTO denies the patent, no further payments will be made.
3. BA agrees to employee Beth to design stamps and other products -- terms included in a separate contract between Beth and BA. 
FYI - Worked with accountant. After paying all debts, including M's personal debt towards the cost of the Stamp Maker, and all associated legal and accounting fees, Beth's after contract payout (if patent approved): $150K. M's after contract payout (if patent approved): $130K. If patent denied, Beth to get $25K and job; M to get $15K.
Text from ME to Andrew:
No deal. Must discuss. Call me.
We discussed.
All this mumbo jumbo, but the bottom line is that if the patent was approved, I'd walk away with $130K. If it wasn't approved, I'd get $15K. Crazy. I wasn't selling out for that. John thought I was nuts. Andy thought I was nuts. Even Beth thought I was nuts, but I had a goal and I knew that even $130K wasn't enough to make me happy. I'd been a demo, and a good one. I'd owned a stamp company, and we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams, but I hadn't achieved my real goal:
DESIGN TEAM MEMBER
Brave Arts refused to put me on its design team because "you have no record of actually making any cards." Crazy!! After lots of back and forth, they finally agreed to give me all of their products -- every single product sold by the company -- for free for 2 years! That was worth WAY more than $130K. And I figured once I started Design Team Member work, I'd write it all off our taxes. 
We signed. Beth and I and the husbands went out to dinner and celebrated. It was great not to have anymore deadlines -- owning a company with a monthly release was crazy hard. What we we thinking?? 
And then we learned that the patent was denied. 

Apparently, other businesses had been making photopolymer stamps for non crafty reasons so our "patent pending" went to "patent denied." It was open season and dozens of companies began producing clear stamps. It's a good thing we sold when we did!
When it was all over, we had no debt, Beth had some cash and a career with Brave Arts designing stamps. I had no debt and a guarantee of free product for 2 whole years. 
I couldn't believe how lucky I was. I couldn't wait to start making cards and getting on Design Teams. I knew getting on a Design Team would be hard, but I had NO idea what I was about to get into...........







 

Jan 29, 2021

Simple Blossoms

 

Using Pinkfresh Studio's Simple Blossoms set and Pinkfresh inks (love them - great colors).  Sentiment is one of the Sentiment Strips designed by CZDesign and available only at Simon Says Stamp. 

MOOD WHEN DONE: Hanging in there! Hope you have a good weekend.

Jan 26, 2021

Sweet Hearts

Inspired by an older card made by Design with Heart Studio. I wanted to stamp a cone and hearts but didn't have the right stamps, so I die cut the hearts using Hero Arts Nesting Hearts Infinity dies. Hand trimmed the "cone," using a stencil and white gel pen to add some details.

The sentiment is from Concord & 9th's Blossoms and Buds. Lots of foam tape!

Entering this in the Stay Crafty with Hero Challenge

Posting a smaller version of the picture for the challenge.  Sorry about that!


 

MOOD WHEN DONE: Great! Not a lot of anything going on here. There's something wrong with my shoulder, and that prevents me from doing a lot of stamping (or house cleaning!). Doc advises waiting until I get the vaccine before figuring out what is wrong. Luckily, it doesn't appear to be getting worse, so I'm babying it. 

What's going on with you? Hoping you are still crafting and staying well.

Jan 20, 2021

Stamping Destroyed My Life: Chapter 22

Welcome back!

Stamping Destroyed My Life starts here. Follow the links and read along! I had to reread the whole thing since it's been 5 years!

For my new readers -- this "serial novel" is a farce, poking fun at the crazy hobby of stamping. There is a lot of discussion of laws and taxes and "inside the stamping industry" and ALL of it is fictional. I am not, and have never been, inside the stamping industry. I'm just a stamper! I use real people's names only with permission, except for Barbara Bush or other public officials....

Enjoy!

Chapter 22: You Might As Well Throw It in the Potomac

Turns out Beth was very interested in my manufacturing Beautiful Stamps.

"Half? We could cut our manufacturing costs by half?" Beth shrieked. "That's awesome. But how much time would that take and where would we do it?"

I laughed. "Well, that's the thing. My basement is already full of stacks of Beautiful stamps and mailing supplies. I'd have to empty out our garage, and move our stamps out there. I don't see a problem. John can park on the street and I'll take the driveway. No biggie. I'll be able to take an even bigger tax deduction for our home office and John will love that. And I read the directions on how to make the stamps online. Looks like a piece of cake."

"Oh, in that case, I'm all for it," said Beth. "But, how would it work? I mean, how much will it cost us to do this?"

If you are going to succeed in business you have to see the BIG picture and be willing to take a few risks. Otherwise, you'll be one of the majority of small businesses that fail. You might as well just stay a stamper.

Beth was a sweetheart, and a very talented designer, but she had no business sense. She could envision selling a few pretty cherry blossoms stamp sets, but couldn't envision earning enough money to retire to Palm Beach. 

I explained: "I looked into it and we would need to invest 30 thou. . . "

"WHAT? No way. That's crazy," Beth shouted.

I guess I had work to do.

"Beth, calm down and listen. First, and I mean this, if you say no, it's no. You won't get any argument from me. But, 'invest' is NOT the same as 'spend.' 'Spend' is buying craft supplies. It's money you will never see again. You might as well throw it in the Potomac. 'Invest,' however, is a down payment on wealth."

Really, I can't believe people that in 2011 people still have to study economics. It's simple as pie. 

Silence.

Then Beth said, "M, as much as I'd like to quote unquote invest fifteen thousand DOLLARS, we do not have 15 thousand DOLLARS sitting around. And even if we did, there is no way Ted would agree to this.

"Beth, does Ted call you up in the middle of the day and ask your opinion on how to do his job? I bet he doesn't. YOU own Beautiful Stamps. You are co CEO and Artistic Director. It's YOUR decision. And, I'm not being nosy, but I bet you have that money. Haven't you been saving for your kids' college?"

"Are you crazy, M? You want me to spend my kids' college money? I would never do that!"

She really wasn't listening.

"Beth, of course I don't want you to SPEND the kids' college money. It's in some type of mutual fund, right?"

"Well, yes."

"So you took the money out of the bank and INVESTED it in the mutual fund. Nothing wrong with that. You want it to grow. All I'm suggesting, and you absolutely do not have to do this, is to take the money out of the mutual fund and INVEST it in Beautiful Stamps. I have a lot more faith in Beautiful than the market. Look what happened to the stock market a few years ago!!!"

Beth responded, "Oh. Well, when you put it that way, I have to admit it sounds so much better!" 

I didn't want to pressure Beth, so I said: "Listen, if you want to think about it, that's fine. I mean the sooner we start making our own stamps, the sooner our profits will really take off, but it's totally up to you. I am perfectly fine continuing as is."

Beth thought about it for a few more seconds, and said: 

"Um, I think it's fine. It's just moving investment tools and we do that all the time. I mean we usually do it together, but like you said, Ted doesn't check in with me every time he buys a Venti Dark Roast. I'm good. Give me 24 hours and I'll transfer the 15 thousand to our Beautiful Stamps account."

"Oh Beth, I just know we are doing the right thing. I'll transfer my share by tomorrow as well. Eeek! I'm so excited. There's going to be a learning curve, but this is our ticket to success! I'll get in touch with the company that sells the equipment. I'll keep you posted."

Beth responded: "Sounds like a plan. I'm in the middle of putting together some drafts of Christmas designs. I'm thinking beautiful flowers and snowmen and a killer sentiment set. I'll send you them as soon as I'm done."

"Great! Talk to you later."

Beth's designs would be fantastic. We decided early on to keep Beautiful Stamp's designs clean and modern. Unlike our competitors, we didn't include images and sentiments in one stamp. Keeping them separate meant higher profits. If stampers want sentiments that coordinate, they'll have to buy that extra set. I had a few other marketing ideas and Beth was happy to go along with them:

1. No upscale packaging (we emphasized environmentally friendly approach to cover the fact that I didn't want to shell out cash for fancy tissue papers and stickers); 

2. Once our sets sold out, they were gone forever -- stampers will buy anything if they think they will miss out on something (had to make an exception for our initial release, but now that we had real customers, it's "when it's gone it's gone"); and

3. Product placement and celebrity endorsements. No success in getting Beautiful Stamps in Orange is the New Black, but I was working a Simpsons angle. Also, I sent a set of Beautiful Stamps to Barbara Bush to see if I could quote her love of stamping and how much she loves our new clear stamps, but so far no luck. Then I thought about it. What's the chance that Barb would see Beautiful's ads? Pretty small. So I made up a quote and included it on some of our ads.

Haven't heard from any of Barb's lawyers, and under the law, silence is consent, so I think we are golden!

I hung up, sipped on my iced Diet Coke with a straw made from a Twizzler, and called the company that sells the stuff to make your own stamps. 

After some back and forth I told Jim, the salesman, "This is great. I'll have the 30K by tomorrow and can pay the rest in monthly installments. When can I expect The Great Stamp Maker to arrive?"

Jim responded, "Let me check." After a few seconds during which I could hear him clicking, Jim said:
"Looks like we can do next Tuesday."

"Great, Jim. We have a deal. Send me the contract and I'll get it back to you."

Next: Chapter 23 


Jan 19, 2021

Never Far From My Heart

 I'm up on the Foiled Fox blog sharing a card with a great sentiment die. You can read all about it HERE.


MOOD WHEN DONE: Well, pretty good. I have a problem with my right shoulder that has kept me out of the craft room, but I'm slowly sneaking in some stamping. I just have to do it!

The next chapter of Stamping Destroyed My Life will be out this week!