The trends, the issues, and productive business
More Ways To Turn a Crafter into a Scrapbooker
Bring the message to the consumer, use
consultants, and don't call it "scrapbooking."
by Various Writers (November 1, 2004)
(Note: Recently we received an email from an industry
veteran who is very creative, has box-fulls of photos, and no
interest in scrapbooking. If scrapbooking is going to continue to
grow and prosper, the industry needs to attract and convert
consumers like her. We published her letter and asked readers to
suggest strategies for getting her "hooked" on
scrapbooking. To read the original letter, click HERE. To read the
first wave of responses, click HERE. What follows are additional
responses from readers.)
Bring the message to her.
Many of the responses talked about the value and satisfaction of
scrapbooking, which raised the question: How do you communicate
these ideas to non-scrapbookers? The following suggestions are from
retailer Lisa Kanak.)
The core group of scrapbookers will probably always be under 50
– at least for 15-20 years. This is definitely a case of not being
able to bring the horse to the water (easily). But if this were a
market I seriously wanted to go after, here's what I would do:
Since this group of crafters is primarily in the 55+ crowd, I'd
bring it to them. There are 55+ communities popping up everywhere
with clubhouses for meetings, classes, and parties; so, I'd work
with the community planner to plan a class just like this IN the
community. It's a simple enough class to bring; you could require
that each person bring their own scissors, and the teacher could
provide the glue sticks (which is really all one would need for
The students would be able to purchase extra kits (so that they
could make additional books on their own), and would be encouraged
to "play" with adding other things to the book. Everyone
in the class would receive a coupon with percentage off their next
visit to our store, along with a class calendar and sample pages
(following the quick, themed idea, versus the chronological idea),
as well as sample projects such as altered tins, paint cans, books,
I'd also talk about how important their stories are to their
children and grandchildren, and the children that follow –
following the lines of "big picture" story telling, versus
every minute experience.
While I can never hope to see 100% participation -- experience
teaches me that about 50% of those in my initial class will take a
second class and 75% of those who take a second class will continue
with a third.
I would probably repeat this type of community marketing once a
quarter – focusing on card making and gift books.
(Comment: Products and trends may change, but the basic
principles of retailing remain the same. More than 20 years ago,
industry pioneer Aleene Jackson (Aleene's Tacky Glue) told me
that the key to any independent retailer's success was to her
store/products/message to 50 new consumers a week. Lisa's suggestion
is exactly the kind of idea Aleene would applaud.)
Use a consultant.
Regarding the friend, a long-time crafter, with a box-full of
photos, but no interest in scrapbooking:
I agree with Kindra Foster (of Foster Executive Writing &
Editing) who wrote, "I think there’s something to the idea
that we treat scrapbooking as a "serious" activity,
whereas most crafts are positioned as fun."
As a non-scrapbooker, organizing all those photos is overwhelming
to me; maybe it is for your friend, too.
How about a "Scrapbooking Consultant Gift Certificate"
from a local scrapbooking or craft store? A "consultant"
would come to the home and "organize" the photos (like one
of those organizing TV shows). I’m sure you can find a
scrapbooking instructor or two wanting the work. And, of course, the
items included with the "gift" would be from the
Since all scrapbooking starts with organizing photos,
memorabilia, etc., the consultant becomes the catalyst. I find that
organizing is mostly about: a) allotting a time and place in
your busy schedule; b) having the energy & focus; and c)
having a few well-chosen organizing tools/materials/techniques.
Working with a "scrapbooking consultant" addresses
these three areas: 1. Making an appointment with the
consultant blocks out the time and place. 2. The consultant
helps energize you for the task and gives the focus of what to do
first, etc. 3. Brings/identifies the organizing
tools/materials/techniques, and helps start the first scrapbook.
Family members might give this "gift certificate" to a
parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent to help sort photos into
smaller identified groups.
The first scrapbook: This sorting would also cull out a small
selection of photos needed for a first, simple scrapbooking project
such as suggested by Lisa Kanak, The Cropper's Corner,
Fredericksburg, VA. She suggested "... about 12 photos,
spanning birth, her family, her marriage and children, and today.
Journaling would be the basic 'about me' type of
If you can get past the initial sorting stage, I think more
scrapbook-type projects will follow. (Translation: more retail sales
of supplies, albums, etc.)
In my own case, organizing photos for a family photo quilt
project got me motivated to sort the photos. I then scanned the
photos and shared the photo CD with family members who were doing
the family genealogy and scrapbook. Byproduct: I have used the
photos for several of my published design projects. – Patti
Ryan, P. J. Ryan Designs
Roland Belanger, who operates The Scrapbook Centre, a retail
store in Stratford, Ontario, called and mailed a copy of his store's
His store offers a free beginner class and a coupon for 25% off a
beginner kit. The ad's copy included language such as "Discover
how to dress up your photo albums" and "We turn
non-creative souls into top photo album/scrapbooking addicts. It's
about fun, self discovery and new friends. Guaranteed or you get a
FREE coffee with our apologies!"
The idea, he says, is if consumers have developed an (inaccurate)
idea that scrapbooking has to be hard, time-consuming, and
expensive, offer a free class, a discount on a beginner kit, and a
friendly, accepting atmosphere. If you think the label, scrapbooking,
conjures up the wrong image, use "photo album
Use a magazine.
To convince someone that scrapbooking can be quick, simple, and
inexpensive, offer her a copy of Simple Scrapbooks magazine.
It's designed to help her understand how scrapbooking can be all of
the above--and fun! – Vee Kelsey-McKee, Managing Editor, Simple
To read previous entries in the Memory, Paper & Stamps
series, click on the titles in the right-hand column.