Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lovin' the Club Scrap Retreat...

Did I mention it was amazing!? In fact, the Club Scrap retreat exceeded ALL other scrapbooking retreat events I have ever attended (3 CKUs and Scrap Etc.). For starters, the Club Scrap team goes out of their way to make sure each and every attendee is pampered, cared for and showered with meaningful gifts and mementoes. For instance, upon arrival, we were presented with a canvas bag to hold our projects, as well as a goodie bag that contained chocolates, a split of zinfandel, a split of custom root beer with the Club Scrap founders names and images on it, bottled water, a packet of microwave popcorn and my favorite, cheese curds. Well, we were in Wisconsin. OK, I will be honest and say I didn't try the cheese curds (they squeak against your teeth when they're fresh...) BUT my BFF said they were delicious!

In addition, all food was provided during the event and it was absolutely scrumptious! The night time meals all included soda, wine and beer too. By the end of the weekend, I couldn't eat another morsel. During classes, a wonderful Club Scrap staff member made various Starbucks runs and would also go anywhere else (Walmart anyone?) to pick up anything you might have forgotten to pack.

Beyond that, we received a new binder for unmounted stamps, a new set of unmounted stamps and glue to use to mount them, wine glass, picture frame with photo taken with Tricia and Dinah (the owners), free link to download all the photos they took during the weekend at high resolution, embossed paper personalized for each of us with our full name, and of course, a giant pizza box filled with a whole kit of specialty retreat papers. Did I mention they shipped all this and all our purchases/class items home for free? No extra baggage fees here!

Oh, and they had one afternoon of champagne shopping at their headquarters' warehouse - that's right, full access, with specials, sales, and the ability to see and touch all the yummy papers, stamps, etc. And the check out process was seamless - they had one table called IIB (Ignorance is Bliss) where you just gave them your bag(s), told them your name and they charged it to your card on file and shipped it home to you. If you wanted to pay the normal way, they had stations set up where a staff member would count your papers, and organize your purchases for a smoother check out process. I thought I would zip through the warehouse as I had really studied the website and "thought" I knew exactly what I would get - turned out I was the second to last person on the last bus...

But, really, the best part of it all were the people! The owners, Tricia Morris and Dinah Mueller, were very kind, available and fun! They were very approachable, ate with all of us, circulated, provided time for photo taking and were just so gracious all around. I ended up sitting with Tricia numerous times at meals, not by any stalking efforts of my own even (ha ha!) and enjoyed talking to her about her company, scrapping in general, and just visiting. On top of that, Club Scrap has a very active message board (www.clubscrapchat.com) and it was really wonderful to start putting voices and personalities to all the faces on the board. It truly is one of the nicest message boards around, with none of the usual snarkiness and drama! The people were like that in real life also - very kind, relaxed, courteous - none of the pushing and shoving I had seen before at other events was evident here.

And finally, the classes: EXCELLENT! New type projects not seen before! Every teacher was clear, precise, patient and miracle of all, everyone finished their projects (anyone know how rare that is?).

The club is the best in the business - creative, professional, thoughtful, fantastic customer service! I'm going back next year - maybe some of my other scrapping friends will join me!


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