Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cliques suck- a rant

When I was in High School I was not popular. I was an invisible. This was sad because the school had maybe 300 people in it- it was a Science and Arts start up and I was in the third graduating class. The odds shoulda been for me but alas... alak... it was not meant to be.

In my junior year I became a summer program counselor for the incoming freshman class. I though this would mitigate some of my nobody status since I could make friends in the summer before everyone hit  school walls and spied me over at the "nerd table".

Only the nerds were too cool for me as well. They read comic books and talked computer games but I read different books and my family was too poor to own a PC.

I was at the Michelle table. Alone. Reading. Listening to Def Leopard and wishing Ralph Macchio would come take me away like the chick in the Calgon ad.

So as soon as school started I became invisible to the frosh kids too. Everyone was struggling to be in The Group and quickly noted who was "in" and who was merely eating lunch.
Anyway that is my psycho-babble reason for having a very strong anti-clique streak. And an even stronger contrarian one.

I CANNOT STAND when people exclude others to make themselves feel better. The only thing worst is when it's done for financial profit.

I've been quiet for months because I didn't want to make any waves. I do not want to annoy anyone- especially YOU dear reader.

And I don't especially want to get a big scarlet B for BEOTCH on my forehead forever and ever or get blocked from DTs in the distant future when I'm actually good at this scrap and art thing.

I am going to say this and get spanked- I KNOW IT.
Or maybe it'll be like high school again and go totally unnoticed.

Studio Calico is a clique.
And I'm over it.
I love their products. I love their DT. I love the pages made by their members and the fun contests they run.
But I cannot abide the exclusive mentality.
In the past exclusive meant colored folk had to drink from the other fountain.
Did Michelle really just "pull the race card"?
Not quite.
I'm not saying I've been excluded because of my race or that Studio Calico is racist in any shape or form.
I'm saying "exclusivity" or the seeking of said status is highly problematic for me, a woman of color who values fairness and openness to everyone equally.
Exclusivity reminds me of segregation- financial and status segregation- the cool ones go here and everyone else over there.
Is that crazy?

Michelle it's just PAPER!! DAAAAAAUUUUM!
Yes and No.
It's just paper. I get it.
I have enough paper already to last a lifetime.
It's also a business and a brand with a certain set of values I'm buying into and thusly agreeing with. Increasingly the Studio Calico brand is one that gets more expensive with time while the actual amount product you buy is dwindling.
Not to mention the uncreative choices being made. Basic Grey brads- AGAIN? I fully expect the Basic Grey "partnership" announcement coming- or is it just a back door thing?

Studio Calico is a brand that uses the threat of product "sell out" to make you stay up till midnight or tune in at noon and HOPE to get the item you want. And I happen to know this is standard marketing 101 so please don't deny it.
If you want the aura of exclusivity you can't have kits hanging around for months and going on sale all the time- that would make you boringly normal.
But I was ok with that because I have the time and I sincerely LOVE the items.
What I could not understand was WHY an item I bought at the set time was suddenly "sold out" when I got my order and some crap product I would never buy was sent in it's place.  Yes you gave me a refund- you HAD TO- it's not a GIFT- it's money to pay for a product you didn't have- you ain't doing me no FAVORS.
What I wanted was THE ITEM. Why else would I stay up till midnight? HELLO? Anyone in there?
And why not just give me a percentage off my next order since it was Studio Calico's inventory mistake? A mistake made 3 times in the last 7 months- including the very first kit I ordered!
Oh- is that unreasonable?
Guess what? That bait and switch "product sold out" practice ain't gonna cut it anymore. Studio Calico you have too many competitors. And lots of discount retain lines I can buy everywhere.

Studio Calico is also a business with a very loyal following who will NOT let you air critique openly (and politely) without slapping you back into place- whatever place they deem that to be.
Well let me say this- this scrappy Latina does not have a place you can assign.
And NO ONE shuts me up.

Have we become so enamored of the cool glow we get from that box of paper that we can't listen to dissident voices? Not angry, cursing voices- voices of people who have genuine concerns or disagreements? This is a problem. A problem with the "exclusivity" mystique.
And I'm done.

I'll go get Midnight Rooster, Noel Mignon, Cocoa Daisy, Scarlett Lime, JBS Mercantile or Kreatorville Kraft sub. Actually- there are many kit clubs that are amazing. And many Etsy stores too. And even more Artfire stores.
My Cocoa Daisy stamp subscription is in! WOO HOO!
Chells OUT!


  1. Well said and I agree 100%! Love your writing girl.

  2. So very, very true. I find it funny that other kit clubs have contests where you win a kit, or pieces of a kit, or even a pad of paper. At SC, all you win is a measly $5 GC. Yeah, that'll get me far. I have never bought an SC kit...I've found cheaper kits elsewhere, and never had a problem not getting the product I need. One club I've subscribed to over the past few months has been awesome, and the product I order is ALWAYS in there. For us subscribers, we pre-order so that she *gasp* knows how many kits to order and never runs out!!!!! It isn't hard to run a company profitably but in a very smart way, as not to alienate your subscribers. SC is all in it for the money I am afraid, and you're right, prices keep rising, despite their hoards of loyal followers. I know you'll find another kit club out there, and let me know what you choose. I've only been able to try a couple of them (3 kids and one income sucked...we're almost to a happy place of finances, so I think I'll be able to do a lot more next year.) Maybe you need to start your own kit club...hmmm..... Keep on speakin' out! The world needs to know!!!!

  3. I dont know anything about Studio calico because I honestly never liked their kits. LOL! But I do know what you are talking about because sadly it happens in every aspect of life and this business. I have a rant like this every month or so lol! I just did one about how the dt thing is sooo stupid and how they pick friends or big names. Really lame. Anyway I agree with what you said! Very well put and you go girl! :)

  4. I don't know anything about Studio Calico but I hate the idea of "exclusivity" being used as a marketing tool or price hike - ESPECIALLY when we are talking about paper and stickers. I mean - it's not like we are talking about Jimmy Choos here. I mean - imagine showing your scrapbook off to someone and EEK - they have used the same paper as you.

    You just gotta vote with your feet in situations like this - and spread the work about poor customer service/business practices.

    One has to assume American Crafts did their due diligence - maybe things will change now?

  5. I certainly hope I never made you feel this way @sc. If I ever have I have never meant to and Im sorry. I dont feel part of any clique though so you are probably not talking about me lol. I love your post because it's from the heart.

  6. Love to hear people speak from the heart! I like SC kits and impulsively re-subscribed after leaving for about a year because I was just collecting the kits. Now after my second kit I am having buyers remorse- because I don't need the stuff! It's an addiction! But, I totally get what you're saying about the clique thing because it does seem a little "housewives of scrapbooking" at SC but oh well, like you said there are so many more options out there. One of the sweetest kit clubs I've ever belonged to seems very small compared to SC and didn't have "exclusives" but the actual kit owner made me feel like more than just a number she actually visited and commented on my blog and personally responded to emails! I also like Scrapbook Circle kit club which I also subscribe to, even though I think they go with the "friend" or "popular" girl DT, too! Oh, well- they still have great customer service. Please, keep us updated on what if any kit club you decide to subscribe to. Thanks for ranting! : )

  7. if there is one thing i DO NOT do - that is clique~ing, cliques, the IN group.. so i get you, girl. don't be a stranger, you know i love you! :)

  8. How did I miss this post?

    I'm an old fart. I've never been to concerned about being part of the "in" crowd even in my teens. One thing I've learned, and this will piss people off, is...women are the worst at this silly game. Its why I've had more male friends than female I guess. I love having friends and meeting people. But in real life, the first time I sense someone trying to suck me into taking sides or gossiping etc., I start closing the door.

    I've learned thru the years that time is precious. And I just don't have the time for BS.

    Don't be discouraged, Michelle. You've got plenty of friends out here. Hugs.

  9. I totally agree with Kim. It's never worth it to be part of somethings if you don't agree. And this applies even - or rather even more - when the "crowd" are not using their brains... (Oooops. I also pissed someone off now... hehe). You go and be true to yourself!

    PS. I tried to add the translate function to my blog, but it messed up. Will look into it again later on. :)

  10. nice one. my feeling is that exclusivity pervades throughout any community - i'm not saying it's rife, just that it will pop up here and there - and it just takes an extra bit of intelligence and independence to resist, fight against, and make your own way. which is what you're doing, what i'm doing, what anyone who commented on this post so far is doing. it is hard to speak out, but it disgusts me that it should be and that people feel they can't rock the boat for fear of exclusion. i'm with you - tbh if i had the capital behind me i'd probably start up my own kit club - just for me at first! :-)

  11. hey hon...thanks for popping by my blog & leaving some love! glad you like the cocoa daisy stamp sub idea. there are many fun ones in the pipe line, so watch out for them.

    by the way i love your outspoken vibe here... from the comments of your fans it sure sounds like a resounding hear-hear from all 4 corners.
    happy monday!

  12. Thank you for writing what I was thinking.

  13. DId you erase another post? I totally made a comment and than saw this post and couldn't remember if they were I went back and now its gone...I think?! Anyway, I think that the only reason I've ever even heard of Studio Calico is because of "THE Michelle Hernandez"

  14. Ohhhh. This is why!

    I love you! It's true. I may be developing a girl crush.

    By the way - transport your story to the UK, flip it so it's a chubby white girl that towers a good 2 or 3" above everyone else, has crippling shyness and gets regularly bullied... yeah - same story. Kind of. Avoided the dinner halls like the plague and left school at 15 instead of going to art college like I wanted to.


Ok peeps lets CHAT! You tell me what you REALLY think and I PROMISE to keep it open minded here.