The fact that I get to do what I love for a living—and have been able to do it for the past 30 years—is one of the greatest blessings in my life.
It all started when I was a young mother, trying to support my family. Getting a “traditional job” meant being outside my home all day, and I was reluctant to leave my small children alone. I was looking for a company where I could be home, be creative, interact with other women, and also earn a living. Such a company didn’t exist . . . so I decided to create one. In the beginning stages, I entertained dreams of where this company could go, but there were many nights when I didn’t know if those dreams would ever come true. But, oh, how they did!
As 2014 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on not only the many blessings of these past 30 years, but also the many exciting Close To My Heart events and innovations that have come to pass during this one year alone.
We held two Conventions this year in order to meet the needs of our ever-expanding Consultant base. I had the pleasure of overseeing and attending our first Australasia Convention, where Consultants from far and wide came to experience their very own Artistic Adventure. And what an adventure it was! Opening the doors in Australasia takes me back to the year we expanded from the United States to Canada. I’ve seen incredible expansion within this company and we’re not done yet! Where will the next 30 years take us?
This year has also been a big one for change at Close To My Heart. We launched a new idea book program, starting with Annual Inspirations and rounding out with Seasonal Expressions. The look and feel of these books is trendy, colorful, and full of life. I hope you enjoy their beautiful artistry. It’s exciting to look back at years of similar publications—idea books, catalogs, how-to books, and many others—and see how they’ve morphed; both trends and technology advancements have practically given our publications complete makeovers! The idea books I hold in my hands today have come a long way from the hand-drawn and hand-pasted stamp designs I drew at my kitchen table 30 years ago.
But over the past 30 years my ability to communicate with the world—with you!—has expanded in ways far beyond print. This year I oversaw the creation of this blog, and I thoroughly enjoy having such direct communication with each of you. Thirty years ago I never dreamed I’d be able to address such a large audience in a matter of mere seconds, and in such a lovely way, at that. I truly hope you enjoy the community building and sharing of inspiration that goes on here. I hope you use this blog as a tool to reach out to one another and to lift and inspire your peers. It’s easier (and faster) than ever before to make a difference in someone’s day, even if they are thousands of miles away. Isn’t that incredible?
We’ve also introduced some fabulous products this past year, including the outstanding Cricut® Artfully Sent cartridge, designed completely by Close To My Heart! It is a stunning product, the best cardmaking cartridge on the market. Additionally, we’ve broadened our product selection for crafters of all skill levels and dispositions by introducing great products like Picture My Life™, Cut Above™, Designer Creations, and several others. Looking back on 30 years worth of innovative products, I see the rise and fall of trends, but always, ALWAYS the consistency and love from audiences far and wide for hand stamping.
Stamps are really where my business started, as you know. This year marks not only my thirtieth anniversary of being in the business, but also my tenth anniversary of introducing the My Acrylix® line of clear stamps and blocks to the world. Clear polymer stamps have completely transformed the way people stamp! As the first direct sales company to produce and carry clear stamps and blocks, we have true reason to celebrate a fabulous ten years of success.
It has been a fantastic year, and it ends on a positive note for me personally. I was recently honored to receive the Legacy Award from the Direct Sales Management Association of Utah. Given in honor of my longevity and innovation in this business, this award represents the challenges and achievements I’ve experienced over the past three decades. It honors not only the creativity and passion that have gone into this business, but also the good old-fashioned sacrifice and endurance. I was honored to receive the award, and, in part, credit the wonderful people who have long worked by my side in pursuit of this dream—both those at the corporate office, as well as all of you!
Indeed, 2014 has been the icing on a beautiful cake that has been in the making for thirty years. Thank you for everything you have contributed to this legacy. Here’s to the many years past and the many more to come!