Oct 17, 2005

Men In Suits

One thing I noticed at Memory Trends that I had never noticed before was the huge number of men in suits. It was like the mafia was taking over MT! They were everywhere! There has always been men at Memory Trends - vendors, store owners, etc. But I don't recall seeing so many dressed like an ad for "Men's Warehouse".
When I got home from Memory Trends, I pondered that for a few days - then I sort of got an attitude about it. The Scrapbook industry is a women's industry - we don't need the MBA's to come in and clean up after us! We are doing just fine on our own, thank you!
Who are the men? Well, some were probably investors looking to invest in the industry. They seemed to be standing around in groups - I assume they were comparing notes. I guess that means the industry was "grown up" a bit and now the venture capitalists are snooping around.
However, it concerns me because this industry is about art and emotion - two things many men can't really understand. Once they take over, is the scrapbook industry in danger of becoming nothing more than a commodity on the store shelf?
I already don't like what some (some, not all) men are doing to the industry. I heard a rumor that the sales manager of a very large scrapbook company is taking accounts away from their female customer service reps and giving them to their male customer service reps because the women spend too much time "servicing" the accounts and too little time selling their products. OUCH! If that's true, I think we should put that man in a large dunk-tank full of sharks at CHA and show him who's boss. Women are women - we take care of each other. It's not a bad thing. It's just not a guy thing. I enjoy talking to customer service reps. Yes, they are busy, but they have the time to be friendly. I don't want an emotion-free high pressure phone call from a male sales rep that makes me feel like I'm buying a used car, not products for my business.
In a nutshell, men are welcome in this industry. My own DH knows more about the scrapbook industry than he cares to admit! But, men need to understand that they are not welcome to come in like a marauding band of Huns to "fix" it.
We are doing pretty well on our own...


Kim said...

Men are MORE than welcome in this industry! I recently posted a call for male designers to join my DT...not because I have anything against women, but because I wanted a different perspective represented in the projects.

Commericalizing an art form is always wrought with turmoil. On one hand, I welcome that investors are becoming interested in the industry, but on the other, this isn't an MBA's market exclusively.

Anonymous said...

I found today's post mildly annoying - I just wonder what we would be doing if men were making the same comments about businesswomen showing up at say a sportsmen's trade show?

But I wasn't there and the "suits" are also annoying. I just don't think it would have mattered about the gender KWIM?


Kim Guymon said...

Absolutely the men would make the same comments if a bunch of pink suits showed up at a sportsmen's show and offered to buy out Cabelas. There would be a riot.

I have not problem with men in the industry. But, once you start looking at the industry as ONLY an investment, it loses it's creativity. These are NOT creative men - they are investors and investors are ONLY interested in one thing - making money off their investment.

At least one ScrapBiz member overheard "buyout" conversations in several booths. It was men in suits doing the talking.

Someone once said that the best ideas are produced by individuals and not by groups. I think that's why the hottest products are from the smaller companies. Individuals are creative, not organizations.