There was a fantastic article in this months Stampin' Success magazine (exclusive to demonstrators) that I had to share about my friend and upline Susy Miller. Susy was awarded the Statement of the Heart award at this years convention. It was such a heartwarming moment and we are all so blessed to have her in our lives. I know I personally would never have signed up to become a SU demo if it were not for the influence of this dynamic woman and I hate to think of all the joy and friendship I would have missed if I had not taken this exciting path in my life.
To love what we do and share what we love, as we help others enjoy creativity and worthwhile accomplishments . . . in this we make a difference!
–Statement of the Heart
If there were such a thing as a perfect recruit, Susy Miller was it. She was teaching people to stamp before she even knew about Stampin’ Up! She couldn’t help it. When people saw her handmade cards, they wanted to learn to make cards. So even though she didn’t intend to build a business, once her passion and experience met Stampin’Up!’s high quality products and demonstrator opportunity, there was no stopping her. Susy is known for her determination, optimism, humor, kindness, enthusiasm, perseverance, creativity, hard work, passion, and courage.
She has touched the lives of thousands during her 17 years as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator. She has poured her heart and soul into her demonstratorship, and she is a worthy recipient of the Heart of Stampin’ Up! Award.
“I do not personally know Susy Miller and she does not personally know me. BUT—to say she has touched my life with her dedication to Stampin’ Up!, her humor, and her overall undying positive attitude would be an understatement.
I remember hearing Susy speak at convention many years ago. . . . She has taught me much in our brief encounters. I am lucky that she has touched my life. I am not alone. She touches lives every day. Isn’t that what the Heart of Stampin’ Up! [Award] is all about?”
Early in her Stampin’ Up! career, Susy developed the total hands-on workshop, and it was a huge hit! She has trained on this approach at Stampin’ Up! events, and it’s changed the way many demonstrators do business. Even though Susy has had much success, she doesn’t pressure anyone to do things her way. She teaches several approaches and lets her recruits decide what’s best. “People sign up for various reasons,” Susy explains. “As an upline, you need to respect that and help them achieve what they want to achieve, not what you want them to achieve. If they feel like they’re being driven in a direction they don’t want, they won’t be happy and they’ll quit. Happy demonstrators stick with it.”
“Susy has been an inspiration to so many demonstrators and customers over the years! Susy was the one to take demonstrators to the next level in the early days! When I started 15 years ago, we only demonstrated at workshops. Susy taught us to LET THEM STAMP!”
Susy plans event projects with sales in mind. “Each project markets something— a bundle, a Textured Impressions Embossing Folder, an embellishment, or something else,” she explains. “It takes more time to plan this way, but the sales come. If you just keep showing stamp sets, eventually customers will slow down because they have a lot of stamp sets.” Susy periodically offers specials after customers buy something. For example, if there’s a stamp set with a coordinating Designer Series Paper, she’ll offer the paper at a discount if they buy the stamp set. But she’s careful never to give all of her commissions away.
“Nominations for the Heart of Stampin’ Up! [Award] typically have a specific story . . .Susy Miller IS the story. She is the story of joy. She is the story of laughter. She is the story of loyalty. She is the story of optimism. She is the story of sharing, of giving—with no expectation of something in return. She is the story of perseverance. She is the story of strength. She is the story of seizing— opportunities, friendships, life, moments. She is the story of courage.. . . She has made us laugh. She has made us cry. And on MANY occasions, she has simply made our jaws drop in fear, wonder, amazement, and sometimes SHOCK! She has taught us how to be great demonstrators. She has taught us how to embrace each other. She has taught us business savvy. She has taught us creativity with stamps and business ideas. Susy IS the Stampin’ Up! story.”
Offering different class levels has helped Susy get bookings. At the first class, customers create a simple project. Then she shows them a more advanced project they’ll create if someone hosts another class. She even recommends they invite the same group back. “Eventually, they start asking, ‘What are you going to teach us next time?’” Susy explains. She encourages customers to bring friends (even more advanced projects are done in a way that guests new to stamping can create them), and she invites each new attendee to form their own group.
“Susy has been a true inspiration to me. She is a gifted, vivacious, energetic, creative demonstrator. ..Her idea for doing hands- on workshops did wonders for my business.”
Yorba Linda, California
Susy knows how to spot the most likely potential recruits, and her hands-on workshops have made this easier because customers spend more time stamping. “Walk around during Make & Takes and see who is really engaged,” she advises. “You can pick out the person who, even though she’s never done this before, is helping those around her. You know the type of qualities that make a happy demonstrator.”
“It’s no doubt I’m not the only one who is nominating Susy Miller [for the Heart of Stampin’ Up! Award], for obvious reasons. The obvious reason I’m writing of is not what you might think. It’s the other obvious reason—her extremely kind and generous heart.”
Building and Rebuilding
Because her husband’s job required relocation, Susy built her business three times. Giving handmade cards away helped her find customers in each new area. “People are so surprised when you give them a card and an envelope and introduce yourself,” she explains. “If you do it enough, they finally ask, ‘Okay, how did you do this?’” Susy also hung invitation postcards on her neighbors’ doors inviting them to come to her house, meet each other, and have a little fun.
“Susy has been a demonstrator for a long time. She has touched the hearts andminds of many and has inspired legions of demonstrators to try new ways to entertain their guests (hands-on!). When Stampin’ Up! opened up in Canada, it was Susy who reached out to the US demonstrators and asked that they pair up with a Canadian demonstrator to help transition them into the Stampin’ Up! family as smoothly as possible. She tirelessly worked to make this happen on a grand scale that has come to define this grand woman. I served on the Advisory Board with Susy, and she personifies the Statement of the Heart! She has accumulated quite a following with her specific brand of humor and her willingness to share all of her successes. We have enjoyed every presentation—at leadership, convention, and regionals. Now, as Susy battles ALS, she once again inspires us all with her humor, her courage, her dignity, her character! I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Heart of Stampin’ Up! Award!”
Yorktown Heights, New York
To call Susy a success is an understatement, but her road has not been easy. Perhaps the most difficult challenge she has faced is her declining health. In 2009, she was experiencing loss of coordination in her hands, which she chalked up to too much stamping. She even joked with her customers about it. Unfortunately it was more than that. She was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in October of 2009. Today Susy uses a wheelchair to get around. She is unable to stamp or write or type—and yet, she still runs a business! “If it wasn’t for my assistant, Carrie Huffman, I wouldn’t still be doing this,” she says. “Carrie is my hands.” Susy plans events by designing projects in her head and describing them to Carrie who puts the projects together. Today Susy only holds events for a core group of customers who encourage her to keep going as long as she is able. They have been stamping long enough that they can follow her verbal instructions without a demonstration. When Susy was holding more events, Carrie would attend and demonstrate projects as Susy talked. “This is a great way to train a new recruit too,” she shares. “Have them demonstrate while you talk.”
“For those of us who have been in events with Susy Miller at the stage, you sat on the edge of your seat and waited for what she might say next. She has been a true inspiration to thousands over the years truly, truly deserving of this award. And I think that those who know her would definitely agree, and those of you who don’t know her so well, I hope you feel her genuine spirit of love and giving.”
Cofounder and CEO
Susy looks back on the past 17 years with gratitude. “This is the best job I could have ever had with this disease. I have made so many wonderful friends and have so much support and encouragement. I feel so blessed!”
I hope you enjoyed this article.