Paper-arts pro Ann Clemmer and her dog Stamper are some of the Sacramento area’s most notable craft bloggers. Clemmer sells rubber stamps for the company Stampin’ Up, and Stamper shares free scrapbooking and paper-craft techniques on their blog StamperDog.com. Clemmer was named the fourth best demonstrator for Stampin’ Up last year due to her unique approach to business, which combines modern technology with personal touches.
What exactly does your business involve?
I teach rubber stamping and scrapbooking. I also have a blog, and at least 50 percent of my businesses is done through the blog. I am the stenographer for my dog. He dictates what I write.
What is Stampin’ Up?
Stampin’ Up is a company that has been around for 22 years. We’re in seven countries. I sell their stamps. The initial business model is like a Tupperware party, except it’s a stamp party. With the Internet, I do technique videos so people don’t have to leave their homes. The dog, because he’s the director, appears in all of them, like Alfred Hitchcock. All the videos are free. At this point, I’m looking into a subscription-based site in the future.
How popular is your blog?
The blog is small by some standards and large by others. I get about 1,200 to 1,600 hits a day, 800 on the low end. I attract people who like to stamp or who want to learn more about how to make cards and three-dimensional items. I have people from all over the place, because I also offer an online newspaper that comes out twice a month with free instructions and techniques. I have people all over the U.S., but also the Sacramento area.
What do you hope to accomplish with the blog?
I want people to come back and see what the dog says tomorrow. That’s really what I want. I want to inspire someone to try and make it themselves. I want someone to go, “I can do that.” I want them to make it their own and have a sense of accomplishment. They realize they can be creative even if they can only draw stick figures.
How did you get started scrapbooking and blogging?
I worked at News10, and that’s when I first became a demonstrator. Then I worked at Comcast and got an opportunity to leave six years ago, and I don’t have any desire to go back. They’re great places to work, but working for myself is so much better. I’ve been doing this for 11 years, six years full time, and I’ve had the blog five years.
Have you always been into arts and crafts?
I was a horrible stamper when I started. One of my friends said she didn’t know how I was going to make it. The success has more to do with follow-through and good customer service than talent. In stamping, the art is done. It’s just learning a few things, and it’s not hard to learn them. It’s a lot of copying. I’m not sitting in front of a blank canvas with watercolor brushes; the work is mostly done.
Do you sell your cards and other creations?
I could sell my creations. Some demonstrators do. I personally don’t sell a lot of finished product. I keep them for ideas for later.
How did you get the idea to incorporate your dog into the blog?
He’s a chick magnet. Jack Russells are interesting creatures; they’re really cheeky. He can say things I can’t. He’s helped the blog stand out. Other dogs send him e-mails. He has an official girlfriend who lives in Texas, though they are not monogamous. She’s an agility champion and a Jack Russell.
Do you think it’s important for businesses to have an Internet presence, through things like blogging and Facebook?
I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for having an Internet presence. I still like a personal touch, and I like live events. You think the Internet is impersonal, but it truly isn’t. I talk to people all over the place because I do my blogging differently—I’ll actually pick up the phone and talk to people if they want to. I offer a more personal experience than just blogging.