The trends, the issues, and productive business
What To Do About Scrapbooking
Return to preserving memories and other
by CLN Readers (December 19, 2011)
(Note: Two issues ago CLN asked
readers, "What should the industry do to reverse the decline
in scrapbooking?" In the previous issue, Peter Curran of WorldWin
Papers responded with a thought-provoking strategy to re-position
scrapbooking back to emphasizing memory and launching a campaign in
cooperation with national Alzheimer's groups. His column is still
HERE. What follows are responses to Peter's suggestions.)
Scrapbooking: A Changing Landscape.
By Kim Schofield, Principal, Diversified Marketing
(Note: Kim brings to the discussion a
unique perspective. She is a marketing communications professional
with more than 20 years of diversified and progressive marketing
experience for start-ups as well as Fortune 500 companies. In
addition, she is an avid scrapbooker who has taught for and provided
marketing expertise to her local scrapbook shop.)
One obvious reason for the decline in the
scrapbooking industry is a down economy, however, I don’t believe we
can place all of the blame on current economic conditions. A more
telling trend may be that in the last few years we've seen a
dramatic change in the way that we capture, view, and share photos.
That change has had an impact on the scrapbooking industry. We're
no longer forced to drop off our roll of film at the corner store
and wait, hopeful, that the photos we captured of our loved ones are
in focus and full of smiling faces. Those photos were precious; we
struggled to find ways to effectively store them so they wouldn’t be
damaged and were hesitant to give one away since obtaining another
copy was not so easy. (Where did I store those negatives?)
With the rise of affordable digital cameras
we're now able to instantly share photos with friends and families
via email and online social sites such as Facebook. We no longer
worry about how our photos turn out since we can snap as many as we
want and then simply erase the disagreeable ones with the push of a
Following on the heels of the increase of all
things digital came countless online digital photo-processing stores
that not only process and mail your photos for mere pennies, but
will also allow you to create your own digital scrapbook. These
online tools are easy to use and even come with the option of
selecting a pre-designed book where one only needs to drag and drop
a photo into a page and add some journaling.
With such ease available at our fingertips, not
even requiring that we leave our homes, is it any wonder why many
have given up – or not even considered – traditional scrapbooking
methods? While the traditional scrapbooking industry has had a down
turn in recent years, the digital scrapbooking industry has
continued to grow over that same time period.
We're now faced with the question of whether or
not there are there enough customers still interested in this hobby,
which combines art, design, and the capturing of precious memories,
to sustain or even grow the market? I believe there are, but it's
going to require manufacturers and store owners to work harder,
smarter, and to be willing to adapt and change with the industry.
For manufacturers, don't give up on your
traditional products; there are many of us who delight in the
release of new paper and embellishments, but it would be wise to
also spend time investigating the digital industry. Can you offer
your paper designs in digital format? Are there any services you can
offer your customers that enable them to combine their love of
scrapbooking with the ease of digital options? There are a growing
number of manufacturers out there that are already starting to offer
these solutions. It's said that "the early bird gets the worm," so
step it up sooner rather than later so you're not trying to play
catch-up with your competition.
For scrapbook store owners, the challenge is
greater for you as you not only face a decline in the industry but
you also face a weaker economy. The goal is to work smarter. Can
you offer any digital services from your store? Perhaps you can just
direct folks to where they can find such services (manufacturers,
here's an opportunity for you to work with those independent stores
to create a win-win situation). Be the "go to" place for folks who
have questions about traditional and digital scrapbooking. Offer
classes on photo-taking and editing. Even offer digital scrapbooking
classes! Showcase how you can combine digital and traditional
scrapbooking. (Ali Edwards is the queen of this style and it's
And independent stores, you MUST have an online
presence. There simply isn't an option of not having an online
shopping option. Your prices are being undercut by online stores;
maybe you can't meet their price, but you can certainly take a bite
out of their profits. Be active on online message boards, start a
blog, create a Facebook page! We're all so entrenched with online
social sites, and we like the option of connecting with our favorite
stores from our homes. Be open to creating a personal connection
with your customers via the many online options available today.
In the end, markets will constantly change and
fluctuate and those changes will have a positive impact on some and
a negative impact on others; we've seen this dynamic at work in the
scrapbooking industry. However, I don't believe that means that the
industry is going to go away any time soon. There are far too many
of us die-hard scrapbookers out there who love paper,
embellishments, photos, and journaling. While we may dabble with
digital, we’re not going to be jumping in with both feet. We still
want those traditional items and that demand will keep the industry
Although we have seen a decline, and a reverse
in this decline may not happen in the short term, the reality is
that the scrapbooking industry is still an almost $2 billion dollar
industry! It may be that the extreme highs of the scrapbooking
industry have passed and that's not necessarily a bad thing. That
change in the landscape will give way to companies that offer the
very best innovative and quality products and superior customer
support, and that ultimately benefits customers and local scrapbook
Now is the time for those who love this art of
preserving memories via scrapbooking to grab hold of the reins with
both hands and determine how they can best change with the times. I
believe that those who are committed to their businesses, including
adapting and changing with the market, will survive and even thrive!
(Note: Kim is in Fremont, NH. To contact
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 603-347-1225.)
Reaching Out To Other Demographics.
By Samara Joseph.
I read your article and I think you've hit on
an as yet untapped market. This market has the potential, if pitched
correctly, to increase traffic to the paper crafting industry.
I'd like to also suggest that our manufacturers
have focused primarily on one particular segment of our industry.
Yet, many demographic-gathering companies point to an increasingly
growing population of Latinos, African-Americans, and other
"minority" segments of our society. More inclusive material would
also increase sales in this untapped resource.
For example, historians should be able to
purchase materials that allow them to accurately the Supreme Court
and the diversity of the judges who currently sit on the bench.
Another example: returning solders want to document alliances and
friendships they may have created overseas and need appropriate
materials in which to capture their experiences.
By: Torrie Nelson, Editor, Creative Retailer
My comments today are in response to Mike
Hartnett's question on what can be done to increase interest in the
art of paper crafting and preserving memories. I was inspired by
Peter Curran’s eloquent article that passionately addressed some
issues within our industry. Peter's credentials are impressive, and
I have come to know he is very committed to being part of a solution
for improving the growth of the industry. I commend him on offering
valid steps to getting us in a more favorable place.
Revitalizing scrapbooking is a much broader
issue than a single category or section of crafts. Scrapbooking is
still young as an industry and tied so closely to what we are all
passionate about: family. The reason so many people find personal
gratification in scrapbooking is that it is a craft designed to
share, uplift, remember, and document (surd). This is not an acronym
created from a panel of experts -- it is simply my interpretation of
why we find passion in any craft, particularly in paper crafting.
As I have talked with so many intelligent
people over the years, I am convinced that the message we convey as
an industry to those who have yet to participate is critically
important. Our language needs to convey the purpose of scrapbooking
and its incredible relevance to people's lives. That is what will
inspire consumers to grasp the importance of paper crafting.
Scrapbooking is an expression of love to one’s
family, along with the objective of helping our posterity share in
our lives long after we are gone. That expression should also
include good journaling and enough style to make the pages enjoyable
since it reflects the personality of the person who has created it.
If people are scrapbooking with its true purpose in mind, it will be
inherently enjoyable and give them the satisfaction to want to
continue for years to come. More important, they will want to share
what they have created with their children and pass on a legacy that
will inspire many more to follow a similar path.
To echo what Peter stated, there are many
resources that we can utilize to spread the message on a grand
scale, starting with our own CHA. This organization is more than
willing to partner in campaigns that will expand the industry. Other
resources include community groups and national associations. Blogs
and Facebook campaigns are key to get more people to try something
new, and social media will be central to the expansion of paper
crafting. Publications (such as our own Northridge publications) can
be used to better reach the audience we are all in search of.
Publications are always looking for content that will build their
reader base, and many of you are involved in providing that content.
As you do, you are in the perfect position to share the vision of
the importance of record keeping through journaling and scrapbooking.
From a marketing and merchandising perspective,
Peter's idea on segmenting the store is brilliant. Ensure that the
clerks helping those who come in for the first time are trained to
bend over backwards to help those new customers, getting to know
their needs, and helping them find a path in paper crafting that
will be meaningful to them. Be sure to cater to the new arrivals,
but equally important is your enthusiasts, since they are the ones
that have created our industry. They are our most valuable asset and
can help to share the vision of scrapbooking.
Our family and friends are what add meaning to
life, and providing them with a record of their life's memories is a
treasure worth working for. Sharing our vision of scrapbooking is
what will keep this incredible industry vibrant.
(Note: Care to share your thoughts on
the subject. Email them – on or off the record – to CLN at