What's new in various product categories; monthly
Is Scrapbook Slipping?
It's the economy, stupid, or perhaps merely the
normal business cycle.
by Bud Izen, Scrapbook Fever. and a Manufacturer's Rep (July
(Note: Because of news that some scrapbook stores had gone
out of business, CLN wondered if the consumer's interest was
waning, and asked Bud, who operates Scrapbook Fever with his wife,
Shelly, in Salem, OR.)
No, there is NO declining interest in scrapbooking. That is a
myth perpetuated by a variety of sources, all with some sort of
agenda. As long as there are women with families, there will be
I believe that what we are seeing now is a period of adjustment,
having mostly to do with fear. If you watch the news, we are being
told to fear our food sources, our energy sources, terrorists, you
name it. Add to that the climbing cost of living. People have become
reticent to spend discretionary income. How many significant gas
increases have we become accustomed to over the past decade or two?
You and I remember when Chevron Supreme was 27 cents a gallon.
Somehow we still fill our tanks....
In college, I learned that economics was less dependent on the
supply-and-demand myth than upon people's expectations. In economic
terms, if enough of us believe that a certain thing will happen,
then it will happen. That's the way it works. It's the theory of
large numbers (population). Right now, people believe that we are
headed for or are already in a recession, so they act that way.
After the election, hopefully, people will start thinking (and
If this were just a scrapbooking thing, then only scrapbook
businesses would be affected. Come on, Mike! Everywhere you look you
see small businesses going out of business, and bigger businesses
tightening the reins. This is ALL due to the economic impact of
people's beliefs. as manipulated by the media and our government.
I'm no conspiracy theorist; this is just the way it works.
Hobby businesses' main competition is other ways for people to
spend their money. In Salem, we have no same-business competitors.
What few we had either failed or are failing. Craft Warehouse and
Michaels do not compete for the same customers we have. I never
worry about competitors; I let them worry about us (and oh boy they
A Manufacturer's Rep's View.
I'll give you my personal take on the closures and
"downturn," or whatever you want to call it. We've been
hard hit in Kentucky and Tennessee over the last 12 months, but the
Virginia area is still very strong. Not all of our store closures
are due to bad business or lack of sales. In several cases, it's
just what I call the natural life cycle of a business. Store owners
retire or move on to something else. In some cases they can and do
sell the store, and in other cases they prefer to liquidate. But
coupled with the lack of new stores opening, we start to feel the
pinch. – Name Withheld
(Note: Is Bud correct, that consumers are as interested in
scrapbooking as ever, but they're (temporarily, we hope) hesitant to
spend money due to their perceptions of the economy? Or is the lower
number of scrapbook stores just part of the normal business cycle?
Email your thoughts to CLN at firstname.lastname@example.org.)