Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard

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


The trends, the issues, and productive business strategies.

Printer Version

Retailers Comment on the State of Scrapbooking

Is the demise of Memory Makers a sign of scrapbooking's decline, or a decline in advertising?

Staff Report (May 18, 2009)

The announcement of the closure of Memory Makers magazine stated the reason was the "the recent and dramatic downturn of the scrapbook industry." CLN wondered if it was due to the category declining, or simply a downturn in advertising, so we asked various independent craft and scrapbook retailers. Excerpts are printed in the current issue, but their complete comments are below.

Emma Gebo, Sierra's, Pocatello, ID

We're having consistent interest in scrapbooking. Although the consumers are using stash, they are purchasing more albums to put their newly finished pages in, and they are still buying items that are offered at a great value. Our sales and customer count in scrapbooking have not declined. We're still seeing a lot of enthusiasm among our customers!

Jim Bremer, Tall Mouse, Southern California

Our scraps are full and classes are up. Guests are not purchasing many of the "tool" items and are definitely sharing product and using their stash. Paper, glue sales are at or above previous levels. We have similar results for sewing and quilt classes, bead nights, and knitting events. We have guests purchasing storage boxes to hold several "albums" and indicating they will construct the album later but want to get the pages done. Use of die cutters and other in-store tools is very popular.

Elizabeth Boyle, Treasury of Memories, Bellingham, Washington

It's absolutely an "interesting" time for everyone, isn't it? But I would suggest that scrapbooking still has a very bright future! Our segment of the industry grew so fast that, not surprisingly, when the economy got tight, it became very uncomfortable. We are all now needing to work harder than ever before; we like to think it's making us very good retailers. Can you imagine what strong businesses and practices we will have once we're out of this downturn?

More than ever before, our industry needs to pull together and figure out how we can encourage crafting in our ever busy world.

Bud Izen, Scrapbook Fever, Salem, Oregon

I don't believe for a minute that the industry is dying. I think, as I have stated numerous times before, that when economic times get tough, businesses that are managed poorly will be shaken out. Be it a retailer or vendor who is used to paying this week's bills with last week's cash flow, when the cash flow decreases, the business folds. I believe we are seeing this in all manner of small businesses (as well as some large ones) nation-wide, not just in the scrapbook industry.

Because Mervyn's is closing, Kohl's is in trouble, Macys is closing stores all over the place, etc., does that mean that big box retailing, as an industry, is dying? I don't think so.

During the Great Depression, what types of stores stayed in business? Service businesses, such as radio repair. People didn't have enough money to replace, so they paid for repairs. Other than solid financial management, what keeps a small business in business? The quality of service that they give to their customers.

Again, as I have stated previously, scrapbooking, as a craft, is different than other crafts. It is primarily based on memorializing one's family, and secondarily on the social aspect (i.e. crops) of doing so in the company of like-minded (predominantly) women. Well-managed stores whose mission helps enable their customers to successfully fulfill these two requirements will survive, even thrive, through economic hard times.

There are still scrapbook stores being opened all over the country, and there are new vendors going into business all the time.

The glass is either half full or half empty depending upon who you speak with. The glass is certainly far from empty.

Larry Olliges, Dee's Crafts, Louisville, Kentucky

One only has to talk to any scrapbook manufacturer, distributor, or rep to find out that scrapbook sales have declined, especially the number of outlets where the product is sold. There are no independent scrapbook retailers left in Louisville, and the number in Kentucky has declined by over half Ė as is evidenced by the size of trade shows for the last couple of years, including the demise of Memory Trends, the movement of EK Success to beads, and multiple vendors leaving the business or cutting back drastically, manufacturers no longer selling to independent retailers shows the industry is changing, quicker than we can all keep track.

As for our business, our sales have declined, partially due to the opening of Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann and Archiver's all within a half mile in the last year. Consumers are still buying scrapbooking product, but I don't think you have the super consumer who has to have the latest greatest product the minute it hits the stores. The consumers are still fickle and last month's greatest vendor is now on the bottom of the list.

Scrapbooking seems to be headed towards being a staple item with consumers using more basic products. Tools are hard to sell because everyone has a bunch.

In my view, scrapbooking has peaked as an industry; where it levels off is anyone's guess. (See cross stitching, painting on clothing, etc.)

Bob Ferguson, Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames, Redmond, Washington

So far this year we are not seeing a fall-out that is significant, so, no, we donít have a dramatic downturn in sales in the department. We break out sales five ways in our Paper Arts Department: Paper sales are down about 2% ... Sticker sales are down big at minus 23% ... Scrapbook accessories, which include tools as well as things like punches, up 9% ... Stamping and stamp accessories, IE inks, cards, etc., are up 3% ... Overall sales in the entire department are down 2.3%.

The business has definitely shifted away from the more traditional page-in-an-album business. Cardmaking is huge, and accessories added to school projects are even bigger. Incorporating scrapbooking products into other mediums has kept us going. Paper is being purchased to add to and accessorize many other craft projects, from jewelrymaking to framing and all points in between. The die-cut center has become a magnet for every kind of crafter imaginable, and paper is so well done and so timely, fashion-wise, it is even being used for some home decorator projects.

(Note: What do you think? Is scrapbooking going down, or are manufacturers advertising less? Email your thoughts to CLN at mike@clnonline.com.



horizontal rule

horizontal rule


Memory, Paper & Stamps Recent Columns...
SCRAPBOOK ETC, READERS SPEAK OUT; They are sad and angry.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT SCRAPBOOKING; Return to preserving memories and other suggestions.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT SCRAPBOOKING; Reconnect with its roots: printing photos and preserving family legacies.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING IN MICHIGAN; And probably everywhere else.

WHAT'S HAPPENED TO SCRAPBOOKING; Why it's not what it was.

WHY SCRAPBOOKING NEEDS A NEW WAY TO MARKET OUR PRODUCTS; An invitation to an informative seminar.

BUSINESS TRENDS AT THE CHA SUMMER SHOW; Adjusting to the tight economy.

THE SECOND HALF OF '09: SCRAPBOOKING; Challenges...and opportunities.

RETAILERS COMMENT ON THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Is the demise of Memory Makers a sign of scrapbooking's decline, or a decline in advertising?

PAPER VS. DIGITAL OR...Is there a profitable middle ground?

Q. & A. ABOUT PRESERVATION; Preserving newspaper articles in scrapbooks, and other useful tips.


SIXTEEN WAYS TO ATTRACT NEW CUSTOMERS; If each method attracted 20 new customer...

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO SCRAPBOOKING? The digital world is changing the category and the consumer.

A PHOTO/SCRAP STORE CHANGES COURSE; Offering digital services rather than scrapbook supplies.

PROBLEMS IN SCRAPBOOKING...Will only be solved by cooperation.

A SCRAPBOOK SHOP HOP: AN INNOVATIVE MARKETING STRATEGRY FOR 2008; The nuts and bolts, and why they produce results.

UNAPPRECIATED LOYALTY; Why many devoted scrapbookers are angry.

CONSUMERS RESPOND; Anger, misunderstanding, and thought-provoking comments...

CHALLENGE #1: INSPIRING CONSUMERS TO PRINT PHOTOS; Interesting advice and comments from CLN readers.

STOP WORRYING ABOUT DIGITAL SCRAPBOOKING...And worry about printing photos instead.

PMA SPEAKS OUT; On trade shows, scrapbooking and more.



A SCRAPBOOKER'S IMPRESSIONS OF CHA'S WINTER SHOW, 2007; A step in the right direction.

CRAFTER'S HOME: BIG PLANS, NEW PERSONNEL; All designed to help independents and grow the category.

PREDICTIONS FOR 2007; Further consolidation and new opportunities.

WE NEED HOG WILD CRAZY CUSTOMERS; They're our best customers, but they morph into no-so-good customers.

SCRAPBOOKING IN 2010; Sound advice for retailers and vendors to survive and prosper in the next four years.

DIGITAL OR HARD-COPY SCRAPBOOKS? Is one better than the other? Or is there a "best of both worlds" solution?

WILL SCRAPBOOKING FADE LIKE OTHER TRENDS? No! Yes! And maybe it's a moot point, say subscribers.

THE SCRAPBOOK WARS: A REPORT FROM THE TRENCHES; Clearance sales and short-sighted vendors make a tough business tougher.

CHA's DIGITAL IMAGING SEMINARS; Digital and imaging programs for retailers -- and vendors.

TECHNIQUE OR STORYTELLING? Techniques enhance memories by appealing to more senses.

WHO'S TO BLAME WHEN A STORE CLOSES? Outside competition? Or something else?

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Readers react to the thought provoking comments by Crafters Home's Shane Cullimore.

CRAFTERS HOME'S SHANE CULLIMORE SPEAKS OUT; Thought provoking analysis of how scrapbooking is changing.

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO SCRAPBOOKING? Readers offer complicated, tough answers.

WHY INDEPENDENTS AREN'T MORE "LOYAL" TO SMALL VENDORS; Large vendors: Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

THOUGHTS FROM AN EX-SCRAPBOOK RETAILER; Who's to blame? Not the chains, but vendors?

THE PAPER CHASE; Too much paper, there are more profitable products to stock.

MERCHANDISING MATTERS; Advise to vendors on packaging and racks.

INCREASING THE SIZE OF THE PIE; Attracting newcomers by creating an identity.

SCRAPBOOKING IS APPEALING TO THE WRONG MARKET; We aren't keeping it inviting to newcomers.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING AND INDEPENDENTS; The new leader of Crafters Home speaks out on what's right -- and what's wrong -- with retailing in 2005.

DO WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DONE; The scrapbook industry is in trouble! Some possible solutions.

MORE WAYS TO TURN A CRAFTER INTO A SCRAPBOOKER; Bring the message to the consumer, use consultants, and don't call it "scrapbooking."

TURNING A CRAFTER INTO A SCRAPBOOKER; Strategies to attract the doubters.

GREAT BRITAIN: GETTING CRAFTIER BY THE DAY! Scrapbooking is growing, but card making is king.

LEARNING FROM ANOTHER MARKET FOR SCRAPBOOKING; Gaining a broader perspective on your business.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Interview with Crafter's Home President Norm Carlson.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A HARDCORE SCRAPPER; And how to keep her coming back for more.

PROBLEMS LOOM FOR SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS...But there are some common sense solutions.


AN INTERVIEW WITH SUE DIFRANCO; Candid talk on the state and future of scrapbooking.

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS; Strategies to make 2004 more profitable and enjoyable.

PAPER:THE NEW FOUNDATION; Allows scrapbookers to go beyond scrapbooking.

INTERVIEW WITH SANDRA JOSEPH; Blunt talk about challenges, trends, and the future.


SCRAPBOOKING STILL SHOWING STRONG GROWTH; New study pegs market at $1.2 billion.

SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS & CRAFTER'S HOME; How joining forces can help independents survive and prosper

SO, WHO'S AFRAID OF MICHAELS?; It's way, way too early to panic.