The trends, the issues, and productive business
Will Scrapbooking Fade Like Other Trends?
No! Yes! And maybe it's a moot point, say
by CLN Subscribers (March 20, 2006)
(Note: The March 6, 2006 edition of Creative Leisure News
included a three-part series comparing scrapbooking with counted
cross stitch, which was the "scrapbooking" of its day in
the 1980s. It faded from its preeminent position. Will scrapbooking
do the same? Below are some answers. To read the original articles,
read the March 6, 2005 issue in the CLN Archives -- right-hand
column of the main page.)
I enjoyed the commentary on the "trend" of scrapbooking
as compared to macrame, cross stitch, and other "hobbies."
I am a small retail store located in Southeast Arkansas and wanted
to throw in my two cents from a scrapbook (non-chain) retail owner's
point of view.
Will scrapbooking fade into the archives as other "hands
on" hobbies have? No!
The difference is this: folks will never cease from taking
photographs of children, loved ones, occasions, and events. With the
onset and explosion of digital photography, I have only seen my
business grow! Moms and grandmas will continue to take photographs,
therefore there will always be more cropping to do!
Scrapbooking, although viewed as a trend by those who don't
participate in the craft, has been around for years and years; but
since it has become known as a "hobby," some see it as a
new fad. In fact, our grandmothers' grandmothers were putting their
black-and-white photos in plain-jane, oversized binders using scotch
tape! That was scrapbooking; it was just not known as actual
scrapbooking back in those days!
It is sad to see small retailers like myself who are not able to
compete with the Hobby Lobbys and the Recollections of today's
scrapbook retail world. I feel my only advantage is that, other than
Wal-Mart (which has nothing in the way of acceptable scrapbooking
products to sell, according to my customers), I do not have
competition in the way of a large chain store like Michaels or Hobby
Lobby within a 40 mile radius of my store – and for this I am
I feel more recognition should be given to small "serious
scrapbooking" stores such as myself who had the guts to take
the plunge and make a go of a self-owned business in this market.
Owning your own business is tougher than anyone realizes; most of us
are lucky to have a part time worker for a Saturday, so therefore we
ourselves not only SELL the product, we must MARKET it ourselves,
PLAN classes, MAKE the projects, TEACH the classes, and ORGANIZE
weekly fun events to keep customers active, SEND the email blasts,
PLACE new orders, STAY on top of what is new, etc., etc., etc., all
the while smiling when our customers come in with their bags from
their most recent trip to Dollar Tree where they found the
"coolest pack of papers for $1!"
Makes us wish that large chain stores would stick to what they do
best and let US stick to what we do best. Customers recognize there
is no clerk in the Hobby Lobby aisle to advise you about which
eyelets go with which papers, and you also do not your
frequent-purchase card punched at the chain stores as you do at the
smaller retail venues such as mine. – Lea Ann Sorrows, The
Scrapbook Patch, White Hall, AR
Reading your latest issue regarding the growth and demise of
single craft retailers and the explosive growth and subsequent death
of the category reminds me of the history of Pretty Petals,
the product I was so closely associated with in the seventies and
(Editor's note: The Pretty Petals line of
flower-making products was one of the most successful lines in
Pretty Petals took off like a house on fire and took the
industry by storm. At the beginning we couldn't keep up with the
demands of the craft market and couldn't fill the pipelines. We
created the bridal market in the craft industry and retailers were
springing up all over the country catering exclusively to the
wedding business. Brides came in to make the silk flowers for their
weddings and the business grew so fast that the retailers and their
customers didn't have the time to make the flowers anymore, so they
started using finished silk flowers imported from overseas. In other
words our success created our own competition.
Retailers from outside our industry started benefiting from our
pioneering work creating this market; pretty soon the Pretty
Petals bubble burst and the single-category retailer was out of
In my years in the industry I've seen this happen with macrame,
with decoupage, with cross stitch, and every other trend in our
industry. So it went with rubber stamps as it will go with
scrapbooking. I preached years ago that we must always support a
varied product mix to be successful and things haven't changed. I
look at the trade magazines now in my comfortable retirement (thanks
to Pretty Petals) and I don't even recognize my beloved
industry anymore. It's all "Johnny One Note" and I don't
recognize the tune. – Wolfie Rauner, retired Manufacturer's
Too much already!
In Scrapbooking & Cross Stitch, Pt. III it said, "…Yet
scrapbooking has a far greater potential. Consumers take billions of
photos each year. They have to do something with them. Some
retailers have joined forces through Crafter's Home, et al, but
vendors continue to do their own thing without joining forces to
promote scrapbooking to the masses."
My question: Why does the consumer have to do
"something" with their photos? I suspect that most people
are perfectly content to load them onto their computer, email them
to friends and family, and show them to others on their laptops in a
slide show while having drinks at a convention.
That’s the "something" I do: create computer files
such as "Caribbean Cruise 2005," "Katie’s
I don’t have the time to create elaborate pages for scrapbooks,
don’t have the space to store them if I did create them, and don’t
have enough time for the hobbies I already have like jewelry- and
card-making and gardening. Most of the people I want to show photos
to are not in my home where scrapbooks would be kept if I was a
scrapper. I want something more portable and my computer suits my
needs just fine.
Plus, I have BOXES of old photos and family memorabilia from dead
relatives – and to be quite honest, I couldn’t care less who
most of these people are and I doubt my great-great grandchildren
will want to inherit volumes of scrapbooks from some relative that
they never knew. Photos of people who were close to me are in two
albums and labeled with their names, relation to me and approximate
date, and that’s good enough.
I have actually seen bookcases full of scrapbooks in people’s
homes! And I wonder, where will they all end up when the owner dies?
A few may be passed on if they are specifically on a family’s
heritage, but the others will end up at the dump. Every generation
will have their own photos and only so much space to keep them all
Think about the snowball effect: If I leave my son 10 scrapbooks
when I die, and his wife’s parents leave them 10 scrapbooks when
they die, and my son and daughter-in-law already have 10 scrapbooks
of their courtship, vacations, bridal shower, wedding, etc., they’re
starting out with 30 scrapbooks. Twenty of which were someone else’s
memories. Supposing they’re newlyweds and are expecting their
first child; they could create a scrapbook for each school year of
the child’s school (12 more), then 3-6 more per additional
kid), then there’s all the other events worth scrapping -- grandma’s
95th birthday, remodeling the house, the exchange student,
I know a young couple that has a baby who just turned 1 year old.
They already have at least a dozen scrapbooks: 1st haircut, 1st
teeth, 1st steps, 1st birthday, sleeping, in the swimming pool, in
the bathtub, pulling the dog’s tail, 1st Easter, 1st Christmas,
1st Halloween….jeez! It HAS to end somewhere.
But when it does, something else will come along. It always does.
I started out in this industry almost 20 years ago with a company
that made fabric paints and dyes. It was at the beginning of the
"wearable art" craze. We sold thousands of gallons of
fabric paint to OEM accounts that made hand painted T-shirts and
clothing. Then they segued into home dec items like pillows and
shower curtains. That business financed growth and the creation of
other products. I would look at the sales of that fabric paint and
wonder what would happen to the company if that business ever
It did, eventually, and yet the company is doing just fine. Susan
Kocsis, Search Press USA
PS You’re right about the vendors not joining forces to promote
scrapbooking to the masses…but I suspect that Martha’s going to!
(Note: So who's right? Is scrapbooking unique, so
different from previous hot trends that it will not suffer an
eventual decline? Or will it inevitably suffer the same fate? Email
your thoughts to CLN to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read previous entries in Memory, Paper & Stamps, click on the
titles in the right-hand column.)