Home
Business-Wise
Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard


Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


 


The trends, the issues, and productive business strategies.

Printer Version

What's Happening to Scrapbooking? 

Readers offer complicated, tough answers.

Compiled by Mike Hartnett  (September 5, 2005)

(Note: CLN asked, "What's going on out there?" – and readers responded. These comments relate specifically to scrapbooking. To read other readers' analyses, click on Business-Wise in the left-hand column, or click HERE.)

Industry consultant.

1. Lack of operating capital to stay in business and compete generally due to a lack of business plan or strategy.

2. Discouraged by the number of the "big box" stores bringing in product and more product with a specific focus on the paper arts; therefore they don't feel they can compete so they close.

3. Exhaustion from the everyday business. Mainly due to creative people getting into business and not finding any joy in the mundane, everyday issues and challenges of the retail business; therefore they have chosen to close.

4. Year 3 and 4 stores are in the "Help me I'm drowning" stage; they don't know how to handle it, panic, and close.

5. Many stores, instead of selling, have chosen to simply close. Not because they did not have successful stores, but that they want to try something new.

6. Many multiple store owners are closing their additional stores to manage the first one better. Another factor playing into this has been that they copied the formula of their first store but this has not worked in the second and/or third location.

7. Many stores did not change with the way the scrapbook business is going and stuck to the "cookie cutter" store mentality. The stores failed to establish a strong ownership of their retail corner and supply to what their demographic called for. Many did not keep up with the changes in the industry. Unfortunately, these stores simply ran out of customers willing to shop at their stores.

8. Failure to be able to maintain the high pace of demand for the latest and greatest product driven by the idea magazines. This often led to poor buying and merchandise decisions, then they were too late clearing them out, thus forcing the store to take a great loss on products. This reduced the store's profitability and often crippled the store, ventually leading to closure.

The good news is that we are still seeing new stores opening up, generally by business minded owners. Many solid and strong independent stores are doing very well. The stores doing well have a similar formula. That information, however, is why we are in business! – Pamela Grimm, President, Ideaco. (Note: Ideaco is an independent firm that works primarily within the craft industry with independent retailers and manufacturers. Call 519-798-9930; email gottaidea@aol.com; visit www.bizzyretailer.com.)

A Craft Designer/Memory Manufacturer.

To respond to your question on the decline of independent stores, I had an interesting conversation with an independent store owner at the CHA Summer Show, who had decided to close her store. She told me that she could make more money with less cost and time by using her knowledge to consult for manufacturers and help them connect with independents. She also said that other store owners were doing it as well.

I thought it was interesting that there’s this trend to educate the independents, but independents are quitting to do it.

A Scrapbook Independent.

Lisa Kanak only references the "40% off coupon" as the problem with the chain stores and their prices. While it is true that this particular marketing ploy may apply more to big ticket items and not the paper and stickers, she didn’t mention at all the "50% off all scrapbooking" sales like Hobby Lobby is doing this week. The sale covers everything from stamps and inks to papers, embellishments, and tools. This DOES impact us. Although I don’t sell much of the same stuff that Hobby Lobby carries, it diverts $$ that scrapbookers would normally budget to spend in my store.

A Scrapbook Independent.

I am a scrapbook store owner. I have been opened almost 5 1/2 years. I seem to be getting deeper & deeper in debt. I think the problem is too many stores are taking a piece of the pie. I now have nine places in my small town that have an aisle of scrapbooking products. Sure, none of them carry a lot (although Wal-Mart is getting more & more!), but every sale somewhere else where hurts me.

Also, new products are being introduced to often. I just get a few pieces of the newest paper sold and my customers want the new stuff they saw in a magazine. OUCH.

I am in the process of trying to find a product to sell that will support my scrapbook store. Possibly high quality baby furniture.

Small Distributor.

As a small distributor, we have a close relationship with our regular customers so we usually hear why they close or if they are thinking about closing. Needless to say, dwindling sales is the reason.

One of our healthiest accounts constantly works on new ideas and what they can sell. If

they like a product, we can be sure they will be out there promoting it. But it's hard for a small independent to maintain the high level of activity and enthusiasm that's need for continued success. And it seems as soon as someone gets discouraged, others start slumping.

Yes, there is competition for the same piece of the pie, but I think small retailers have to recognize that they get stale after awhile and their customers slow down. One shop has trouble filling their classes, but the class that did fill had a teacher showing new products and new techniques. In fact, the same teacher did not get a good sign-up for the first class and changed the project. The new project had a good sign-up considering it was a substitution that did not receive the advertising the original class did. Many teachers have had no particular training and many don't know how to promote product. The chains might have the advantage here of knowing what category is not performing and moving on to devote more space and classes to whatever is "hot".

A large store can easily make a transition whereas the average independent probably doesn't even have a POS system and tries to hang on to what used to sell well.

I'm not sure the old adage that it's cheaper to get an existing customer to buy more than it is to attract a new one is true anymore. The chains may be able to keep a customer because they are able to offer a new craft when the customer is ready to do something different. The independent who is specializing in something like scrapbooking doesn't have that option. They aren't going to start selling expensive yarns when knitting is hot and they aren't going to bring in a line of beads.

Basically, I think there are different reasons behind a slowdown for the independent and one for the chains. The chains should be able to answer the question, "Are there less customers or is the average ticket sale down?

(Note: Where does scrapbooking go from here? What should be done to improve the situation? Email your thoughts to CLN at mike@clnonline.com. To read more comments on the state of the industry, click on Business-Wise. To read previous Memory, Paper & Stamp columns, click on the titles in the right-hand column.)

xxx

 

horizontal rule

horizontal rule



   
   

Memory, Paper & Stamps Recent Columns...
SCRAPBOOK ETC, READERS SPEAK OUT; They are sad and angry.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT SCRAPBOOKING; Return to preserving memories and other suggestions.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT SCRAPBOOKING; Reconnect with its roots: printing photos and preserving family legacies.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING IN MICHIGAN; And probably everywhere else.

WHAT'S HAPPENED TO SCRAPBOOKING; Why it's not what it was.

WHY SCRAPBOOKING NEEDS A NEW WAY TO MARKET OUR PRODUCTS; An invitation to an informative seminar.

BUSINESS TRENDS AT THE CHA SUMMER SHOW; Adjusting to the tight economy.

THE SECOND HALF OF '09: SCRAPBOOKING; Challenges...and opportunities.

RETAILERS COMMENT ON THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Is the demise of Memory Makers a sign of scrapbooking's decline, or a decline in advertising?

PAPER VS. DIGITAL OR...Is there a profitable middle ground?

Q. & A. ABOUT PRESERVATION; Preserving newspaper articles in scrapbooks, and other useful tips.

VENDORS JOIN FORCES TO SUPPORT INDEPENDENTS; A special event to boost sales.

SIXTEEN WAYS TO ATTRACT NEW CUSTOMERS; If each method attracted 20 new customer...

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO SCRAPBOOKING? The digital world is changing the category and the consumer.

A PHOTO/SCRAP STORE CHANGES COURSE; Offering digital services rather than scrapbook supplies.

PROBLEMS IN SCRAPBOOKING...Will only be solved by cooperation.

A SCRAPBOOK SHOP HOP: AN INNOVATIVE MARKETING STRATEGRY FOR 2008; The nuts and bolts, and why they produce results.

UNAPPRECIATED LOYALTY; Why many devoted scrapbookers are angry.

CONSUMERS RESPOND; Anger, misunderstanding, and thought-provoking comments...

CHALLENGE #1: INSPIRING CONSUMERS TO PRINT PHOTOS; Interesting advice and comments from CLN readers.

STOP WORRYING ABOUT DIGITAL SCRAPBOOKING...And worry about printing photos instead.

PMA SPEAKS OUT; On trade shows, scrapbooking and more.

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE SMART GROUP'S DENNIS CONFORTO

ME AND MARTHA STEWART

A SCRAPBOOKER'S IMPRESSIONS OF CHA'S WINTER SHOW, 2007; A step in the right direction.

CRAFTER'S HOME: BIG PLANS, NEW PERSONNEL; All designed to help independents and grow the category.

PREDICTIONS FOR 2007; Further consolidation and new opportunities.

WE NEED HOG WILD CRAZY CUSTOMERS; They're our best customers, but they morph into no-so-good customers.

SCRAPBOOKING IN 2010; Sound advice for retailers and vendors to survive and prosper in the next four years.

DIGITAL OR HARD-COPY SCRAPBOOKS? Is one better than the other? Or is there a "best of both worlds" solution?

WILL SCRAPBOOKING FADE LIKE OTHER TRENDS? No! Yes! And maybe it's a moot point, say subscribers.

THE SCRAPBOOK WARS: A REPORT FROM THE TRENCHES; Clearance sales and short-sighted vendors make a tough business tougher.

CHA's DIGITAL IMAGING SEMINARS; Digital and imaging programs for retailers -- and vendors.

TECHNIQUE OR STORYTELLING? Techniques enhance memories by appealing to more senses.

WHO'S TO BLAME WHEN A STORE CLOSES? Outside competition? Or something else?

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Readers react to the thought provoking comments by Crafters Home's Shane Cullimore.

CRAFTERS HOME'S SHANE CULLIMORE SPEAKS OUT; Thought provoking analysis of how scrapbooking is changing.

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO SCRAPBOOKING? Readers offer complicated, tough answers.

WHY INDEPENDENTS AREN'T MORE "LOYAL" TO SMALL VENDORS; Large vendors: Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

THOUGHTS FROM AN EX-SCRAPBOOK RETAILER; Who's to blame? Not the chains, but vendors?

THE PAPER CHASE; Too much paper, there are more profitable products to stock.

MERCHANDISING MATTERS; Advise to vendors on packaging and racks.

INCREASING THE SIZE OF THE PIE; Attracting newcomers by creating an identity.

SCRAPBOOKING IS APPEALING TO THE WRONG MARKET; We aren't keeping it inviting to newcomers.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING AND INDEPENDENTS; The new leader of Crafters Home speaks out on what's right -- and what's wrong -- with retailing in 2005.

DO WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DONE; The scrapbook industry is in trouble! Some possible solutions.

MORE WAYS TO TURN A CRAFTER INTO A SCRAPBOOKER; Bring the message to the consumer, use consultants, and don't call it "scrapbooking."

TURNING A CRAFTER INTO A SCRAPBOOKER; Strategies to attract the doubters.

GREAT BRITAIN: GETTING CRAFTIER BY THE DAY! Scrapbooking is growing, but card making is king.

LEARNING FROM ANOTHER MARKET FOR SCRAPBOOKING; Gaining a broader perspective on your business.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Interview with Crafter's Home President Norm Carlson.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A HARDCORE SCRAPPER; And how to keep her coming back for more.

PROBLEMS LOOM FOR SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS...But there are some common sense solutions.

MEMORIES COMMUNITY RELEASES SURVEY DATE, PLANS MAGAZINE; Demographics and media.

AN INTERVIEW WITH SUE DIFRANCO; Candid talk on the state and future of scrapbooking.

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS; Strategies to make 2004 more profitable and enjoyable.

PAPER:THE NEW FOUNDATION; Allows scrapbookers to go beyond scrapbooking.

INTERVIEW WITH SANDRA JOSEPH; Blunt talk about challenges, trends, and the future.

STAMPERS, SCRAPPERS, AND ALTERED BOOKS; Who does what, and why.

SCRAPBOOKING STILL SHOWING STRONG GROWTH; New study pegs market at $1.2 billion.

SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS & CRAFTER'S HOME; How joining forces can help independents survive and prosper

SO, WHO'S AFRAID OF MICHAELS?; It's way, way too early to panic.