Thursday, May 14, 2009

From Where I Scrap

a few random thoughts on scrapbooking as provoked by some simple questions the wonderful Wendy Smedley asked on a post during Celebrate Simple Week.

What next?

What would you do?

Where do you see the scrapbook industry going?

What needs are out there?

Before I begin here is a bit of my personal scrapping history.

I started scrapping in 2002 when I was invited to a Creative Memories party by a friend at work. Not until we moved to Kentucky in 2003 did I really step out of Creative Memories.

Another group of friends at work, who says accountants aren't crafty, invited me to a Stampin Up Party. There began my stamp obsession with a little Bunko thrown in for good measure. We moved back to Texas and I met yet more crafty friends at work that introduced me to the Scrapbook Retreat. Good times.

Somewhere in between our final moments in Kentucky & our trek back to Texas I discovered Simple Scrapbooks & subsequently Big Picture Scrapbooking.

In the last year and a half I have been on a creative awakening. I attribute much if not all of that to Stacy Julian teaching the Library of Memories Class & her Photo Freedom book. This truly shifted the paradigm in which I created and opened worlds of possibility. I have been able to give life to dreams of mine & continue to chase bigger dreams.

I think we'd all agree that it seems our industry is going through a downsizing of sorts. We have publications ending and local scrapbook stores ceasing to exist. I know that to compensate I am spending more time & dollars online. I still support the one local store in my area, The Scrapbook Barn but I do much of my shopping online and scour blogs & galleries for inspiration. I've recently joined Studio Calicowhere I'm finding plenty of both.

On several occasions I've tried to carry conversations in my LSS or with my friends outside of online scrapping communitities about my online world of inspiration and there just doesn't seem to be a connection.

I sincerely believe that the friendships developed in both places are extremely valuable not only to ourselves but to the industry. There is so much purchase power that follows word of mouth and in the end the industry needs us purchasing both classes & product to remain vital in both the brick & mortar stores and online.

This is why I think there is a need for a bridge between the two. I want this industry to not only survive but thrive. Many of us have limited discretionary income right now. I would love to see partnerships built where we as consumers can leverage the best of both worlds. Think cross pollination. I don't know but I think there is so much to be gained for everyone when good relationships are built and we all work together.

Speaking of working together I think we also need to bring others along. Had it not been for fellow scrappers bringing me along I wouldn't be here blogging to you today. How many times have you been in a craft store and watched someone who is obviously overwhelmed by all the product? I'm sure many women have gone home telling their others about the strange lady at the craft store who was all too willing to weigh in on adhesive. However, that is a chance I'm willing to take because I do believe that as seasoned scrappers it is our responsibility to bring others along if we want our world to thrive.

This may seem to be coming heavy from the business side but in order for what I love to have a strong growing presence in this world the business side must also thrive. I have absolutely nothing to financially gain in this industry from where I scrap. I'm just a crafty mama who takes in all the inspiration she can get & is chasing a few dreams in between her day job.

I need this industry to thrive because it is my place in this world. These are my people. We are out here telling our stories, cheering one another along and as silly as it sounds making not only our little worlds better by championing & celebrating our families but the bigger world better my making a statement that personal realtionships matter. They matter enough to take time out of a busy crazy world to document the threads that hold us together.

So not only do I think that we need more bridges between our local scrapbook stores & online communities I also believe we need even more ambassadors spreading our message. While a large component of scrapping are the pretty things we get to play with I think the bigger, longer lasting message is one of affirming life. Our lives.

I've gone on longer than I intended but from where I scrap these are the thoughts running around in my head.



Melanie said...

That was a really good post! I hope we can get together when I come to Texas this summer.

Lisa said...

Awesome post! I started scrapbooking for more of a creative outlet. But now, it is becoming a way to tell my stories so my daughter will know more than the basics about her family. For me, finding LOM has allowed me to find my "place" in scrapbooking. Finally, people who get the idea that there is a story that needs to be told, not just what happened in the photo. And that story is the depth of the relationships in your life.

Sorry this is so long (and sappy)! Just nice to see that someone "gets" it too!

Lisa (ellcee)

Kyla said...

Wonderful, wonderful post! I couldn't have said it better, myself!

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your thoughts on this wonderful industry!

wendy smedley said...

seriously great thoughts- I completely agree about bridge between lss and online
way to think!
thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

amazing post and i completely agree. my local scrapbook store is closing its doors and focusing more on kits and events. glad those are staying but so sad about the store being closed.
thanks for sharing your thoughts. very well put.

Kim said...

You are one smart cookie! This industry will not survive without the support of customers. Often times, scrappers look at their LSS's as more of a community center. They don't spend much there but are furious when it closes because they've lost their place to "hang out". The only way scrapbooking will keep from being just another aisle in Michaels or Hobby Lobby is for scrappers to not only shop the LSS, but get others excited about the hobby. Word of mouth can help us grow. Retailers don't have the money to advertise so we need scrappers to be our evangelists. Everyone has photos - we need to help them see how important it is to preserve the stories with the photos.

Tricia said...

Certainly something to ponder on.

jacki janse van rensburg said...

this problem is an international one. i have a small scrapbooking shop in south africa, and everything you said applies here too.

my focus has never been to 'steal' my competitior's clients, but to grow the passion and so the consumerbase and the industry.

i find what kim said about clients not spending much money but loving to have a place to hang out, is true for my shop. but if i had to close, and the bigger 'chain' type stores moved in, then what happens to the teaching, and the inspiring, and the passion?

online shopping is not so big here yet.

these are indeed difficult times..

Anonymous said...

My favorite idea about scrapping these days is "perspective". That's where "Simple" comes in. Make albums that are simple and not too complicated. I wrote about this on my current blog post actually.

Teresa McFayden

StudioB said...

Great post Monica! I love my online community (at BPS especially). I don't have any scrappy friends and don't go to crops or retreats. I do support my LSS that are in the city. I have ordered online, but the really good 'stores' are in the US and now the Canadian dollar sucks so that those orders have stopped.

HappyGirl said...

wow -- lots of thoughts here . . . i love your line about sbooking being about life -- our lives. so true . . . "write" on. :)

marcie said...

Excellent post! I had a recent discussion with friends about how I think we have made scrapbooking overwhelming to the majority of people and they agreed (too many tools, large elaborate layouts, etc). Then I told them about Stacy's LOM class and her ideas for photo album scrapbooking and suggested we all get together over the summer to make a small photo album scrapbook. They loved the idea.

PS... I'm in the ECWL class with you and I'm currently taking LOM.

Anonymous said...

Well said Monica.

Fun Mama - Deanna said...

I found many years ago that my online friends were much more into discussing scrapbooking with me that my real life scrapbooking friends were. I got labeled some unkind things (like obsessive) because I had an activity I enjoyed and liked to share. Sometimes it can be difficult to share the love! That said, I still feel that scrapbooking is important and has true value. It's still a challenge to show people how to fit it into their lives.

Jennwhite said...

I worked for my LSS, and it closed when the owner refused to embrace anything digital. She'd get annoyed when people would bring their cameras in for me to answer questions, annoyed if they wanted to know how to do things in Photoshop, and would not entertain embracing the digital side. I think it's these attitudes that will kill the LSS. True, one can source product from around the world online, but in a LSS you can touch it, feel it, and enjoy a community that is different from an online community. LSSs who harness the power of the internet, sell online, build online communities, embrace and encourage digital technology in scrapping (hybrid scrapping) will thrive. This is the same revolution the film industry has seen, and the end result is clear - my husband's pro photo lab just stopped processing film for good this week. So you're right, we need to bridge the gap or be gone.