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The trends, the issues, and productive business strategies.

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Who does what, and why.

by Anonymous (August, 2003)

(Note: We were working on an article for CLN on the above topic, and we emailed a few questions to a friend who is a veteran of stamping and wears many hats for her company. We thought her answers were so thought-provoking that we are giving up this space this month for her complete responses -- and we'll be glad to publish any responses to it.)

Q. What do you think of this altered books/altered style concept? Will it be/is it popular with stampers?

A. Stampers have been into altered books for some time (where do you think scrapbookers got the idea?) Actually, it was mostly the domain of paper artists for years, but there is a huge crossover between paper art and stamping; those two art forms are much more closely aligned than stamping and scrapbooking are.

Q. When scrapbooking started, stampers weren't that interested in it. Now, scrappers seem to be using stamps. Are stampers doing scrapbooks?

A. For a long time, people have said stamping and scrapping like it was one sentence, one hobby. It is not. However, there has long been a phrase in the rubber stamper world where stampers will scrap but scrappers won't stamp.

I started scrapping long before I ever heard the word scrapbooking. I used to be a photographer, so hacking up photos (now called 'cropping') was what I did well. I also thought photos were boring by themselves, so I always wrote stories (now called journaling) and added stickers or mementos (embellishing) to make the album more interesting.

One day somebody invited me to a Creative Memories "party." I LOVED it; they were doing what I had always done but they were encouraging people to go further and add colored paper (acid free, of course) and do other fun stuff.

Then one day I showed a Creative Memories consultant one of my best album pages and she came TOTALLY unglued. I had (horrors!) STAMPED on my page. I was told in no uncertain terms that I could NOT use stamps in my album!

That attitude lasted for years. It didn't matter to CM and their army of followers that some people were doing albums for fun and family, not necessarily to preserve the action for the Smithsonian.

Both sides (stampers and scrappers) then seemed to take opposing views of each other and the cold war began. For the most part, it hasn't ended. Scrapbook stores don't carry many stamps; however, since stampers will scrap, stamp stores tend to carry more scrapbook supplies.

The embellishment craze (that scrapbookers think they invented) has caused them to look at stamp companies for ideas. (Now, how could they think they invented the craze when they had to come to stamp companies to get their ideas and products?) Both sides still view each other with suspicion although, like good business owners, we'll sell to them and they'll sell to us.

There is a fair amount of resentment in the stamp community with regard to the way scrapbook companies blatantly copy ideas and products from stamp companies. The difference is obvious in the way stamp company owners deal with each other.

For instance, if I am working on an idea and see that the XYZ stamp company has just put out a product that is very close to what I was working on, I shelve mine and go think up another good idea. Scrapbook companies see a good idea and take it for their own.

At ACCI, I was approached by another stamp company owner who praised our ability to come up with cool "stuff." He then said he would like to license some of those products from us (i.e., PAY us for having done the initial work). Scrapbook companies, on the other hand, patrol our websites and catalogs for cool stuff and run out and have it duplicated, thereby making us unpaid designers for their companies. As one company owner put it, "Yeah, they all know what a license is; to them it means a license to steal!"

(Note: The question of rubber stamps and copyrights is addressed in the Legal Q&A column. Click Here.)

Q. It seems cardmaking is sort of the middle ground for scrappers and stampers. True?

A. Yes, it's where both groups can shine equally and maybe where the walls actually come crashing down.

(Note: If you'd like to respond to these comments, please email your thoughts -- on or off the record -- to mike@clnonline.com.



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