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


A view of the industry through the eyes of a chain buyer.

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How Do We Turn This "Crafter" into a Scrapbooker?

An essential goal if the scrapbook market is to grow.

by Anonymous (October 4, 2004)

The following is an email from a well known, long-time veteran in the craft industry. She has not been involved in the scrapbook business and is speaking here as a consumer. She is very talented and very creative but she isn't a scrapbooker yet.

As a retailer and a scrapbook enthusiast, you will probably groan as you read her email, thinking the author is "wrong" and is missing a wonderful opportunity for fun, fulfillment, and the opportunity to provide her descendants with a family history that is chronological, coherent, and compelling.

It doesn't matter if you think she's "wrong." This is how she thinks. If the scrapbook market is going to grow, we need to entice our talented, "crafty" friend into scrapbooking. Your store needs to continually attract new customers to replace those will eventually die, move out of the area, suffer financial setbacks, etc.

How do we attract new customers? What advice do you have for the scrapbook retailers in the author's area to transform her? What are you doing to attract consumers like her into your store? Email your suggestions to mike@clnonline.com and we'll share them in our next issue.)

Here's her email:

I've been reading all of the columns on scrapbooking over the last few issues. I'd like to comment, not as someone in the creative industries, but anonymously as a mother and grandmother. There is no fluff in my thoughts and no desire to find an answer for any of the businesses involved. I just thought you might like hearing some candid remarks from a photograph nut who has hoarded a trove of pictures covering four generations.

I only know of one person in my personal life who is into scrapbooking. I am including in this group all of the people I have contact with in my family, in my church, in my volunteerism, in my hobbies, and in my personal life. (Note I have not included anyone I know in our industry.) My one scrapbook acquaintance is a 41-year-old niece who has three children, is a stay-at-home mom, and has always had an interest in crafting.

As for me, frankly I have never been impressed with the idea of "acid free" or "archival". You see, I have family photos more than 100 years old that have survived in an assorted collection of old shoe boxes overflowing the shelves of a hall closet. There they sit, along with hundreds of more current candid shots taken over the last 50-plus years. There is no order to any of them as complete chaos abounds within each box. I like it that way. My one concession to a semblance of order is the specially marked boxes for each of my grandchildren, for they ARE truly extra special.

Now and then I pull out a box in search of a specific photo and it is this very search that brings with it the joy of surprise. I love running across long forgotten pictures of my parents at the New York World's Fair, my adult children when they were eight and ten years old at Disney World, or my wonderful old dog, Dynamite, who died when I was 12.

It's a neat feeling as I am filled with thoughts of times and people from the past. Finding the photo I originally was seeking becomes no longer important. I have the time to indulge and when I need to move on, all it takes is to put the lid on the box. I have not invested any money or time developing a story, finding the just right album and embellishments, or building pages to tell it.

Scrapbooking is for the younger generation. They're just beginning their picture collecting. Having the time to stay on top of them is a challenge since photos will always arrive faster than albums can be completed. Still, those who get the bug and are able to develop their albums while enjoying the company of others of a like mind (in my opinion this aspect is absolutely necessary) will probably stay with it for a long time to come. It's just not for me, a life-long crafter.

Note: email your thoughts on how you would change the author's mind to mike@clnonline.com.To read previous "Benny Da Buyer" columns, click on the title in the right-hand column.



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