27th Anniversary

I never stamped or scrapped before, now 27 years later …

In Featured, Other Goodies! by Lynn Como

On August 15th, 1995 I made the decision to become a DOTS (Dozens of Terrific Stamps) demonstrator.  DOTS catalogCan you believe it’s been 27 years since I made that decision and have been with ONE Company (now Close To My Heart) for all of these years?  I’m sure many of you wonder, how did I get started?  Well, my friends, sit back and relax as I share my story:

What started the process …

Back then, we lived in New Jersey and Rick used to commute from our home to NYC where he worked for the New York Stock Exchange. So you can image it was a long day, commuting back and forth, 5 days a week.  Rick’s occupation allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom and take care of our two boys, Nick 6 and Scott 3.  I valued all our time together as a family, but I felt I needed to find something (just for me) that I would enjoy. I had a desire to spend a little bit of time out of the house with other adults.  I wanted to find something that would interest me.

When I signed up with DOTS …

I want you to know I had never stamped before or created a handmade card.  Scrapbooking wasn’t even on my plate!  But being introduced to this rubber stamp art form started to tick off all of my boxes.

  • I could learn something new and explore something for me
  • I could get out of the house and be around women.
  • I liked the idea I could make my own birthday cards, especially with the boys starting school and attending parties.
  • I could create my own invitations for the surprise birthday party I was giving for Rick.
  • I could even stamp thank you, Christmas and all holiday cards when I needed them
  • I could like to make a little money on the side too

My friend Jolie and I attended a La Leche League Conference in Southern NJ where we met Laurie Clift from PA.  She had a table all set up with really cute cards, adorable gift bags and tags.  Laurie was very friendly and showed us how to use a rubber stamp, rainbow pad, prisma glitter.  I really was not interested at all, but Jolie took the catalog home and we talked about it all week.  I kept thinking about all the cards I could make (my list above), and it would give me something to do.  We both placed one large order for over $300 in order to get the hostess rewards (free gifts).  Believe me when I thought about how much money I was spending, I must be out of my mind!  But then I realized I was going to make birthday cards, invitations and thank you cards as soon as the supplies came in.  Along with the goods, Laurie wrote a note about how DOTS was looking for people to become demonstrators and she would kick in $50 towards the new kit (which was about $235).  Back then, it was Kit A or B, made of wood and rubber stamps with farm animals and Lenny the lamb (I think I still have Lenny), which weren’t too appealing to me.  Anyway, this got me to thinking about how this would get me out of the house a few nights a month and I would be around women.  Then I could start to earn a little bit of money if I could teach others how to make their own cards.  Bonus for me was Jolie offered to be one of my first hostesses.

So, even though I had never tried stamping, I quickly saw the potential as a fun hobby to dabble in.  I had no idea it would be something I would still be doing 27 years later!

So, when did I start to dabble in scrapbooking? 

Well, let me say I had never scrapbooked nor attended a Creative Memories scrapbooking party.  It wasn’t until the late 1990’s when Jeanette Lynton added to our line of products and created a new color brochure of products, called Close To My Heart.  It was a complete scrapbooking line with 8 ½ x 11 albums, background and texture paper, pens and more.  As I was attending Convention in Salt Lake City and Jeanette unveiled this collection, I realized, “Well, I might want to learn how to do this so I can share it with others.”  The ABC’s of scrapbooking was also a new program I could learn which was the very beginning of starting a legacy for my family. As they say, the rest is history as I have been scrapbooking for over 20 years!  You can check out this cute little 6×6 layout I had made in which I journaled about the benefits:

my story

I actually love that we add stamped images to our pages.

In the beginning, it was about shapes, cutting around photos and adding journaling to our pages.  The touches of stamping background or images (shoes, flowers, pocketbooks as shown below when my team attended Convention) really added to the process.  Then creating titles with alphabet stamps that you could color in, or cut out on cardstock just added another layer of creativity.  Who knew the start of this would propel my career with Close To My Heart into limitless possibilities?

I’ve met so many wonderful women who have become a part of my team. 

Attending Convention and Leadership events over the years and enjoying these friendships was an added perk!  We have gone to quite a few places where these events were held:  Salt Lake City, San Diego, Florida, Texas, Arizona & Las Vegas.  Here are some fun team shots from awhile ago.  Judy Larsen & Kathy Corson are still a part of my team to this day!

When in Florida and near Old Town, you know what you have to do right?  Get your team suited up as bar maids and snapshot this photo shoot!  We had so much fun dressing the part and acting out our saloon style swag wear!  Oh, what fabulous times we have had over the years!  Love the stamped title, “Wanted .. Wild Women” .. and the paper collection was Sarsparilla!  Do any of you still own this paper pack?

Earning the #1 spot for Top Sales! 

It was the year of Leadership (no Convention this year) which was held in San Diego.  I will never forget this event because of the activity/brainstorming held in circles around the fire pit at night.  It was so much fun, I learned so much and was able to share my ideas too.  The next day was the Awards Ceremony and I had no idea I was going to be recognized for an amazing achievement, #1 in Personal Sales for Close To My Heart!  WOW!  I was so surprised and excited!  Not only did I receive this award, but my downline, Kim Davis earned #6 in Personal Sales.  We were on fire!  It was a year of great memories and personal growth.

In the above photo, bottom right corner is a fabulous shot.  Most of the SU! gals are still going strong:  Amy McGrew, Sarah Boddington, Linda Sturdivant, our President Jeanette Lynton, me and someone I admire who has moved on, Kristine Widtfeldt. This was the fabulous Director’s night out on the town with limo service.  I really miss some of these perks.

It wasn’t until the following year @ Convention that I can honestly say I was so nervous!  My heart was thumping and I was starting to shake a little bit about being called up to the stage and earning #1 in Personal Sales.  As they counted down from #10, 9, 8, 7 … you realize you could be earning it again!  So you just hold your breath and wait, wonder and … there it is!  Oh my goodness … can I just say these are memories that live your mind forever because of the anticipation of it all!

Earning this position with only one or two 2nd or 3rd places in 15 years has been such an accomplishment.  Thanks to all of YOU who have been a faithful, loyal fan of mine and SU!!  Without you, I wouldn’t have accomplished this amazing achievement!  Now, I’m happy to pass the baton to someone who understands how much effort and work it takes to achieve this coveted position.  I’m not done yet, but I am ready to slow down a bit (if I can learn how!) and be consistent with my sales but perhaps with a little bit less work.  We’ll see ….

There have been so many benefits.

I could go on and on about how attending Convention that first time really blew my mind!  I learned so much and saw the potential of making it into a part time job.  Well, it actually turned into a full time job that has supported our family during the tough times and now into our retirement years.  Who knew that it would work out this way?  There are important benefits in owning a small home based business you may not realize.  I would like to mention to women who are considering Direct Sales even as side hustle, especially if this is your only income:

  • #1 Earning income and paying your taxes towards Social Security will benefit you when you retire.  Even if it’s small, it is better than nothing.
  • #2 Being  your own boss and running your own business is very rewarding.  It also looks great on a resume if you plan on returning to the work force.
  • #3 Personal growth is amazing!
    • Take advantage of every opportunity a company provides for you to learn and grow, because you’ll use it beyond this position.
    • If you can travel, attend company events. It helps get you out of your comfort zone and teaches your family to fend a little for themselves.
    • If you have been on the fence about doing something for YOU, find a line you LOVE and give it a shot.  You’ll have so much to gain and nothing to lose.
  • #4 Travel!  If a company offers incentive trips, earning them is worth the effort!  Rick and I have been to so many places since I started earning these trips in 2003.  We have been so fortunate to visit many Caribbean Islands, Mexico, New Zealand, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Rome and Italy, plus lots of cruises too!  Our most recent trips to Hawaii in February and Tahiti in November were fantastic!  We look forward to these vacations every single year.

Deck the Palms Hats

Where we may have met …

I have loved meeting you in person over the years at all the scrapbooking retreats where I was a Close To My Heart vendor.  I started vending back in 2005.  Did you know I have packed up all my products and traveled to these states to bring Close to My Heart to you?  Let’s see …

  • New Jersey was my first event in Cape May with Crop Classix and Mindy Moyer.  Her events led me to Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and I think New York.
  • I traveled 7 hours to work an event at Attatash in NH for only 40 women.  I kept talking to myself on the ride that I must be crazy to do this!  However, it turned out to be one of my BEST weekends! SEE?  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
  • Working with Cris and Cara @ Cool Crops brought me to New England and added plenty of events to my schedule in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine as well as Connecticut & New Hampshire.

Let’s just say, over the years, I have taught many classes, built many relationships which have turned into valuable friendships! My goal has always been to show you how to use the products so you would create on your own.  These have been fantastic experiences in which I will NEVER forget! Moving up to New Hampshire 10 years ago had everything to do with scrapbooking and being closer to my peeps!

Where we meet today … In this Together

Once Covid struck, I had to pivot to virtual and online events.  Going way out of my comfort zone, I had to buckle down and learn key elements of social media, which offered a new opportunity.  Now we meet virtually at my Online Workshops and classes.  I’ve met so many wonderful gals who live far away through this social platform in which I would never have had the pleasure of knowing or teaching!  From designing scrapbook pages and/or cards, then recording the process of  teaching the ‘how to’ aspect of each creation, to the LIVE Event for us to create them together … well, it has been such a blessing in so many ways!  I do appreciate all of YOU who join in each and every month!

27 years with Close To My Heart!

Well, NOW you KNOW! 

Maybe too much? lol … 

It has been an unbelievable career with ONE company.  I am grateful to Close To My Heart and Jeanette Lynton for the opportunities and benefits I have received through sharing this creative art form with you.  We have a passion to create something beautiful which fills our bucket!  Mine has been deeply filled to the brim! 27 years worth and a few more to go!

I hope to inspire you to craft your heart out!

~ Lynn