The trends, the issues, and productive business
What To Do About Scrapbooking
Reconnect with its roots: printing photos and
preserving family legacies.
by Peter Curran (December 5, 2011)
(Note: Peter Curran is the Director of
Sales & Marketing for WorldWin Papers since November, 2010. Prior to
WorldWin, he was a consumer marketer for the past 25 years, having
worked in advertising agencies, and non-profit marketing and sales.
Curran has been journaling since high school and enjoys photography
and now scrapbooking where he tells stories for his two sons.)
Scrapbooking research numbers and consumer
comments speak loud and clear: it time to collectively react?
Here’s a thought-starter we've been sharing
with the scrapbook industry media, bloggers, and customers over the
last three months. Do you think it’s worth thinking about?
It's called "Print a photo. Save a Memory."
It's designed to encourage non-scrapbookers to print some of their
favorite photos currently stored on their computer's hard drive.
Then, encourage them to visit their local scrapbook or craft store
to get some photo-keeping supplies to save the prints for
generations to come.
The effort, during 2012 would provide a
percentage of manufacturers' sales to the National Alzheimer’s
Association. Through this donation, the scrapbook category could use
the Alzheimer's Association logo. Memory keeping and saving a
loved-one's memory is important to many.
Why would we suggest something like this?
Consider the numbers from CHA's annual Attitude & Usage
1. Scrapbook Category Sales: Down $1
billion dollars since 2006
2. Number of households participating in
scrapbooking: 16%, unchanged in the last four years. From all
accounts, it appears that the category is not growing.
3. Percentage who say they agreed with
this statement in 2010, "I'm interested in preserving my family
history and memories": 55%. This percentage is down from 66% in 2007.
Why? Don't people care? Is scrapbooking "old fashioned,"? Too hard
to do in a busy, modern world? We need to find out.
More insight: 78% of consumers have a digital
camera. … Consumers take more photos than ever before. … Only 60% of
them print any photos. … Most photos are stored on a personal
computer hard drive. … Most view this as “the” place to store photos
today. … Facebook is approaching 100 billion photos uploaded for
sharing; many don’t see any better way than this to share a photo. …
Nearly all "photobook" companies online now offer "print-from-Facebook"
options for prints and books. … Passing around a camera and viewing
pictures in a view-finder is not unheard of today.
The consumer comments
(From the CHA Insight study of 2007)
Some craft less because they are "too busy or
stressed." … There is a "not finished" syndrome; some crafters have
a hard time finishing projects and a few have quit as a result. …
"Work" and "life" get in the way of crafting.
From blog and article comments:
"I briefly scrapbooked, but realized it took
more time, effort, and money than I wanted." -- Families.com blog,
"We have to help women believe that their kids
really won't care what the pages look like, as long as there are
photos and names, dates, and places that help tell a story." – a
retailer in Minnesota
"Our system makes it easier than ever before to
capture, document, and share your memories in a simple, yet
meaningful way – but without all of the time, guilt and stress!" – a
Utah manufacturer's "Idea Guide" for his product
"I think we would do better to put the emphasis
on photo and history preservation and not on the "artsy" part. I
think the sample layouts manufacturers are posting on their blogs
are over-the-top ridiculous." – a retailer in Washington
"Somewhere between the card stock and stickers
aisles, I broke out in hives. Overwhelmed by options and my lack of
creativity, I panicked and fled the store." – Renee in a newspaper
article, October 2011
Has scrapbooking lost its way?
I did a Google search on what scrapbooking "is"
today and found an online download publication called, "21 Ways to
Find More Joy & Ease in Memory Keeping." If scrapbooking needs
"self-help" tools to make it more fun, my fear is that the industry
is in deep trouble. If scrapbooking is a craft or a hobby, aren't
those activities supposed to be fun? If it's not fun, who's likely
to continue to do something that causes pain?
What can the industry do to collaborate?
I suggest a year-long, CHA-organized public
relations effort targeted exclusively to non-scrapbookers to give
the industry a chance to attract new consumers into the category.
Position scrapbook and craft stores as places
for "photo keeping experts." They have been for years and still
Align with the Alzheimer’s Associaton.
Create the following tools to spread the word:
1. A YouTube quarterly video series
announcing the alliance and why we believe it is important.
2. Static-cling stickers for all store
fronts in the U.S. and Canada identifying the store and industry as
home of "photo experts."
3. Memory Keeping Stories blog.
4. Weekly stories about how memory
keeping helps those in crisis.
5. Examples of what keeping a photo
means to families.
6. Why keeping printed photos is so
important in our growing digital world.
7. Historians' view that a "generation
of family history could be lost if consumers don't start printing
8. Preservationists' warnings that
technology is not fail-safe and that a printed photo should be saved
along with digital files.
9. Encourage manufacturers to create
"photo-centric" concepts that align with their mission and attract
non-scrapbookers who don’t know what a "corner chomper," a "mist,"
or for that matter what a Cricut is.
10. Provide retailers with plan-o-grams
and merchandising strategies for creating a "photo organizing"
section of their store to sell just photo stuff that meets the needs
of the non-scrapper.
So what about my core scrapbookers?
We aren't suggesting that you ignore them. What
we are suggesting is that it is time to segment your store,
marketing, and mindset into a "new users" segment and an
We no longer can view all consumers who walk
through the doors as looking for "scrapbooking" supplies. Some just
want to mat a photo, put some photos in an album, or some want to
add some alphabet stickers to make a graduation album quickly.
As you've seen with a lot of new products over
the past couple of years, enthusiasts often scoop up the latest
ideas first. They love to try new products, forms, and techniques.
They will continue to do that. Yet, they can't grow a category where
manufacturers are only designing products for current users.
Didn't it all begin with a need/desire to keep photos and tell a
story of family lineage? This manufacturer believes it's time to
focus on that message again, especially to non-scrapbookers. If we
as an industry, don't tell them "what scrapbooking is still about,"
we aren’t likely going to capture new users.
Pushing new designer collections, patterns,
colors, metal embellishments, and the like will do nothing to bring
in new users unless we bring back a photo-centric industry voice and
"Pushing" cardmaking and making paper banners
and handmade crafts, etc., will do nothing to build the core of what
started the papercrafting industry: scrapbooking of family photos.
What do you think?
If you want to be a part of a movement in the
industry to attract non-scrapbookers, then raise your hand!
Please let me know your comments at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll share your comments with CHA to
inform them of what the industry is thinking.
Ask a fellow retailer to offer an opinion by
sharing this article with them. Talk with manufacturers you want to
see succeed by sharing your thoughts and this article with them.
Thanks for reading this article and considering
this point of view.