Stampin’ Up! Convention 2013: The Time of my Life

This past week was one of the greatest weeks of my entire life. While I have heard countless demonstrators say how Stampin’ Up!’s Annual Convention changed their life, I’ve never quite understood what they mean. How could a gathering of people who enjoy a common craft make that much of a difference? I will admit that there was nothing normal about my first convention experience – it’s not what most people go through – but I totally get it now. Convention has definitely changed my life forever, and I am profoundly grateful for every moment of it. I am so happy to share some of this experience with you today.

My Tour of Stampin’ Up!

On Thursday morning, thousands of us converged on Stampin’ Up! headquarters for the annual tour. I want to share a couple of pictures from our visit. Justin Krieger and I are standing just inside the atrium of Stampin’ Up!’s main lobby (you can see the “Be the Difference” sign in the background – it was the theme of this year’s Convention):Justin Krieger and Brian King, Stampin' Up!

More about Justin later. We took a peek at the warehouse while we were there. This is where your boxes are setup and the packing begins:Brian King, Stampin' Up!

I found this lamp at Stampin’ Up! headquarters. I want to own it, please:Stampin' Up! lamp, Brian King

At the main entrance to headquarters, there are two rocks (one on either side of the entrance) that showcase the Stampin’ Up! logo. Thousands of demonstrators have had their picture standing behind the rock, but few are able to mount the rock with just a little hop. 🙂 Justin took this picture of me:Stampin' Up!, Brian King

My Presentation

After the tour, I went back to the hotel to prepare for Opening Ceremonies and my big presentation. As I’ve already shared with you, I was invited to speak at Convention. What a crazy honor! I was asked to prepare a board with 15 new projects and to give a 15-minute presentation on the topic of Masculine Projects. Speaking in front of demonstrators from all over the world was amazing! A lot of people came by my booth, and I was so glad I could share with them. Here is a quick shot of my display board. Don’t look too closely at the samples on my display board, though, because they will each be featured on my blog over the next couple of weeks – I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you.Brian King, Stampin' Up! Display Board

Shannon West is an amazing Curriculum Developer and Trainer for Stampin’ Up! Here’s a snapshot of Shannon and me in the hall where my presentation took place. Behind us is the center of the massive room. I was one of six demonstrators in a tiny booth, presenting my views on masculine cards and some background techniques over and over and over. This room was filled with almost 6,000 demonstrators, many who stopped at my booth to listen to my presentation: Shannon West and Brian King, Stampin' Up!This photograph was taken by my great friend, Nicole Watt. Not only is Nicole a talented artist (she is the queen of MDS and can stamp an awesome card), she is also an amazing photographer. Nicole snapped this picture while I was marketing Stampin’ Up!’s line of specialty paper towels (page 49 of the Annual Catalog):Brian King, Stampin' Up!

I knew I was going to be offering the same presentation every fifteen minutes or so. I assumed I would have a break between sessions, but that wasn’t the case. As soon as I said, “Thank you for stopping by tonight,” one crowd left and another appeared. I only had time to clear my table to start over while another crowd assembled. I loved every minute of it! My good friend, Kris Kilcoyne, snapped this picture of my presentation (that’s a mirror above me so that everyone could see what I was doing):Brian King, Stampin' Up! Convention presentationKris also snapped this picture of some demonstrators who are watching my presentation. I love seeing my name on a Stampin’ Up! sign (does it get any cooler than that?!). The other thing – and I didn’t know this until I arrived to setup – Stampin’ Up! chose demonstrators from each of the major countries where they have a presence. I was the USA demonstrator. WHAT!? That’s absolutely crazy, and I couldn’t have been more honored.Brian King, Stampin' Up!

That was Thursday night. After three hours of presenting to a full crowd, I was done. My voice was gone, and me feet were hurting, but I could have kept going. Again, I loved every minute of it.

Awards Night

Friday was filled with amazing main stage presentations and classes. Friday night was Awards Night. I got to put on my sports coat and dress pants to celebrate the accomplishments of lots of amazing demonstrators.

I worked really hard to have an incredible first year, and I am thankful for every person who supported me and loved me while I worked toward my goals. I earned Stampin’ Up!’s Rising Star Award, which is given to demonstrators who reach certain sales and recruiting levels in their first year. I was one of four US demonstrators who achieved the honor this year, and I am the first male to ever earn the title. How cool is that?! Here’s a quick shot of the screen as Scott Nielsen, Stampin’ Up!’s Chief Financial Officer, made the announcement. Every year, Stampin’ Up! has given the recipient of Rising Star a silver necklace with a star. He explained that they added a watch this year as a gift for the first male. The gracious crowd went wild.Stampin' Up! Awards Night

As my name was called, I felt the immediate embrace of the Pals, but I also felt an amazing roar from the rest of the crowd. It was amazing! Here’s a quick photo of Shelli Gardner and me (either before or after we hugged). While Nicole grabbed a photo that looks like Shelli and I are about to be married, that is not one of the amazing things that happened this week:Stampin' Up!, Brian King, Shelli Gardner

Kris snagged this photo on the jumbotron – a photo I will cherish for a very long time (check out these gorgeous smiles):Stampin' Up!, Brian King, Shelli Gardner

Here’s a picture with Mary Fish and Lisa Pretto, both Rising Stars during their first year with Stampin’ Up! Mary earned just about every award available that night. She is truly remarkable, and I am forever grateful to her for her support and friendship.Stampin' Up!, Three Generations of Rising Stars

Here’s a quick recap video of Convention. I am fortunate to have been showcased a couple of times in this amazing video – see if you can find me.

Friends

While I was super-jazzed about my presentation and thoroughly enjoyed Awards Night, the greatest part of Convention was seeing some great people and making new friends. I have run this blog for over a year now, and I’ve met a couple of blog readers who tell me they read my words each day and enjoy my projects. At Convention, though, a lot of those people were in one place. It was amazing. I finally met a lot of “regulars” on my blog (and you’ll recognize these names): Carol Carriveau, Carol Coneeny, Sharon Francis, Bobbi Miller, Cindie McDuffee and Jennifer Lande. I also met Patti Willey, one of my first dedicated readers:Stampin' Up! Convention, Brian King, Patti Willey

I was also so pleased to meet a lot of the Pals (Mary Fish’s Stampin’ Pretty Pals) I had never met before (a definite highlight of my trip), and I was delighted to see several Pals I had already met, like Ann Schach:Brian King, Ann Schach

And Windy Ellard:

Brian King, Windy Ellard

Don’t pay attention to the top, left corner of this photo. Pam would kill me if I ever shared this picture with you (she was texting), so please don’t look at it so that she won’t be mad at me. That brings me to Pam. When I joined Pam’s group, I had no idea where this journey would take me. I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful woman this is. Pam is my “Stampin’ Mom” – and although she is not old enough to be my biological mother, she has done so much to support and teach me at every stage of the way. Here we are, hanging out in the Convention Recognition Room:

Pam Morris, Brian King

I have a million things to be happy for at Convention 2013. I was given an opportunity to address thousands of demonstrators. I met (and hugged) Shelli Gardner. I spent time with Mary Fish and Pam Morris. I hung out with great friends and met new people. Even with all these great things, perhaps the most exciting part of the week for me was making a new friend in Justin Krieger. When I asked Justin to be my Convention roommate, I barely knew him (he and I were Guest Designers on The Paper Players but never got to know each other). Turns out, we had a lot in common and had a great time hanging out at Convention. Justin and I have a similar approach to stamping and are both very grounded and grateful to have a “place” in this craft. He’s a smart guy.  He’s a kind guy.  He’s a ridiculously funny guy.  I enjoyed every minute I could spend with Justin (except for the whole “walking clear across town to find the hotel key he may have left in a restaurant when it turns out it was actually in the room all along).  I look forward to a long-lasting friendship with him.  This picture was lifted from Justin’s blog at http://www.jkcardsonline.com:Stampin' Up!, Brian King, Justin Krieger

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Tomorrow, I’m sharing my card for this week’s sketch challenge from The Paper Players, along with a summary of the new and fresh promotions Stampin’ Up! is offering right now.  You won’t want to miss it.

Brian

96 Comments

  1. Hi Brian, CONGRATULATIONS on your Rising Star Award. Thanks for sharing your convention story here, I loved reading it. My unexpected and cherished convention highlight was when I ran into you and Justin as I was approaching the down escalator. And, I do think I’m old enough to be your moms, so you have another one now!! Love you, and thank you for your inspiration.

    • An awesome week indeed! Loved getting to know you–and your presentation was amazing! 🙂 Thank you for being so incredible!

  2. Wonderful post – fabulous experience!

  3. I don’t think there is anything that I can say here that I haven’t told you before. I am so proud of you and all your accomplishments. You are well deserving of all the recognition, love and praise that you are getting. Your post is beautiful and your excitement shines though your words.

    Now go get in a time out for posting my text face. Naughty naughty naughty boy!

  4. Congrats on your award! I enjoy reading your clever and funny blog!

  5. Simply said – YOU ROCK!

  6. Congratulations, Rising Star! 🙂 Wow, what a fantastic FIRST SU! convention for you!
    The pictures are all so fun to see! Thank you so much for sharing them – even Pam’s adorable “texting” face 😉 It is so much fun to put faces with names, too!

  7. I love your blog Brian because it’s like you are sitting in my living room having a nice chat. You have a very easy and interesting style. Congrats on your Convention experiences, awards, etc. I’m going through “card making withdrawal”. I’m in Harbor Springs, Michigan on vacation and didn’t bring a lick of supplies – not one piece of card stock!!! What was I thinking?! On the other hand the weather today is sunny and cool – actually “sweater weather” – a far cry from the hot and sticky Georgia I left last Saturday! Thanks for the great job you do, inspiring other stampers and giving us great ideas for our own cards.

  8. So proud and happy for you, Brian! Thanks for sharing all of the wonderful highlights of your Convention experience! I know you’re still on Cloud Nine, as you should be! Stay up there for a while and enjoy the ride! Waving at you big time from Texas! Love ya!

  9. Congratulations Brian! What a way to wrap up your first year with Stampin’ Up. The recognition you received was much deserved. I love your blog…it’s one of the few that I read from start to finish because of your wicked sense of humour and your turn of phrase. Keep up the brilliant work and thank you for sharing your amazing creations with the rest of us.

  10. Congratulations on your Rising Star Award. You certainly worked hard for this special, well-deserved recognition. I shouldn’t say “worked” because it is obvious you have so much fun and love what you do. I love today’s blog, your words and pictures, covering convention. You just didn’t mention you were probably the winner on the applause meter whenever your name was said! Love it! I was so thrilled to meet you there. You are awesome!

  11. CONGRATULATIONS! I do not believe that I have ever won an award for anything other than perfect attendance in school from K-12. (That was a pretty big deal) But yours is AMAZING! I feel so happy for you and I will have to live vicariously through you. You deserve the very BEST! 😉
    Valerie

  12. Esther Schattschneider

    Woo hoo for you and your well deserved awards! You really ARE a STAR…a photo of you was on Shellie’s blog entry about Convention…

  13. Congratulations on all your wonderful achievements! And thanks for sharing the pictures and stories with us. I did not realize you are sooooooooo tall! Since I’m only 4’10”, you are a giant in my book! And a giant in the Stampin’ world too! I’m proud of you!

  14. I didn’t realize this was your first year! How amazing! You are so talented and have done so well. I enjoy seeing what you have in store every day.

  15. Brian, thank you for the great recap! I’m so happy for you and proud to be in the Pals with you. So sorry I wasn’t there to see your big moments, but I sure look forward to meeting you soon! Again, congratulations!!!

  16. Awesome post, Brian. Thanks for sharing your Convention experience with everyone. You have worked hard and it’s so fun to see your success!

  17. WOW WOW WOW ! A very exceptional recap of your convention trip. I ‘ditto’ everything that everyone has commented on today. I have read your post multiple times today just taking it all in. I am so proud of you! So wish I could of been there to see your ‘SHINING’ moment on stage. Talk to you soon my friend. 🙂

  18. I had figured you had known Justin for a long time…and I had never realized that you had not been with Stampin Up for a long time too. It was great to meet you and everyone else!

  19. Many, many congratulations to you!

  20. Congrats!!! You are awesome. I love the text face so funny.

  21. Congratulations on the award. I sure have enjoyed reading about your Convention experiences. Love the cards you make. Keep up the good work. Enjoy the watch.

  22. Oh Brian, all of this looks so wonderful. I’m so happy you had this experience. You deserve all the happiness that was yours at convention. You have some wonderful pix I hadn’t seen yet. Still bummed I couldn’t be there with you too. – Happy to be your PAL, Fawn

  23. Congrats on all of your accomplishments Brian, so well deserved!

  24. You are THE BEST, congrats on a well deserved honor!!!!

  25. Wow Brian! You are truly amazing and an inspiration and as a new demo you give me hope. Wishing you continued success and many blessings. 🙂

  26. I’m so happy for you and all of your achievements. You are a true inspiration to many.

  27. Congratulations, Brian! I hope you continue to enjoy your Stampin’ Up experience. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t go to convention this year! Continued success and thanks for sharing your convention pictures…especially enjoyed your picture with Ann Schach.
    Diane

  28. I’m pretty sure I saw you 4 times in the video but for sure 3. I loved looking at and reading your experience at the convention. Congratulations on the rising star award. You look like what I
    would expect you to look. HAVING A BLAST!!!!!!!
    Sandy

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  30. *LOVE* your Convention post, Brian! Great summary with fantastic photos that really capture the fun, warmth, and excitement of your Convention experience! Hope to meet you in person one of these years myself. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!

  31. looks like it was loads of fun 🙂 Well done Brian. xx ps can I be your overseas cousin! 😀

  32. Congratulations on all your achievements at Convention: what a year you’ve had!

    I’ve so enjoyed hearing all about it from you, and you may have met some of my UK colleagues who were out there; I know they were hoping to say “hi”.

    keep up the good work!

  33. What a blast! I can tell you enjoyed yourself and made many new friends. My friend, Sharon, from NC also attended and I can’t wait to read her blog. I look forward to seeing your cards from the convention. Congrats on being the “Rising Star”!

  34. If anyone should get recognition, it you. CONGRATS!!!! And, thank you for teaching me techniques and design during my first year of card making.

  35. Hi Brian
    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on your Rising Star Award!! How wonderful. I just wanted to say how nice it was to meet you at my first Convention (we were the ones behind you in Joan’s WOW swap). I checked out your blog when I got home and just love it. Thank you for sharing. Have a great day and take care.
    Beth

  36. You have accomplished so much in a year! Fabulous!! You deserve all the accolades. Nancy B

  37. Super congrats! I would so love to go to a SU convention! I could follow you around and be your biggest fan! Thank you for all of your hard work and sharing with us!

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  39. Brian, it was my first convention too, and I just wanted to stop by your blog to say congratulations! You are very inspiring and I love your work! I am happy that I discovered you at convention, I never seen your work before and you are amazing! Keep on!

  40. OMG- What a cute video! Thank you for sharing it and for putting a smile on my face. Congratulations on your success with SU!

  41. Brian,
    I loved reading this and reliving convention through this blog. I remember when they showed the Rising Star watch… I knew it was for you. You are a super amazing talented demonstrator and I’m so thankful I met you at leadership and became aware of your blog. Whether you know it or not, you are a mentor to me. I don’t have an upline to support me and really rely on the insights of other successful demonstrators. Thank you and congratulations! What a journey, I can’t wait to see how this continues to unfold 🙂 Blessings, Kelly D.

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