ScrapBiz has always struggled to have its member recognized as legitimate businesses in the scrapbook industry. There are still a lot of bias' against home-based businesses. Some of them are very stupid and illogical. For instance, one LARGE and VERY well-known industry name says that they will only bestow accounts on customers who can provide a copy of a lease - apparently ANY lease will do. You can present a lease from a craft mall, heck, or even a storage unit and get an account. So, I can rent a 2 x 4 foot space in a craft mall for $65 a month and be MORE of a legitimate business (in their twisted opinion) than a woman with a 1000 square foot storage space in her basement in which she intends to stock product for her online store. Somehow she is LESS of a business? REALLY!!!????
The very stupid thing is that this company also sells their products through distributors so it's not like home-based businesses aren't getting their hands on them (a fact they admitted they know - but it's the proverbial "elephant in the room" - they didn't want me to make them say it out loud). But, I have gone round and round with this company and they have their heads in the sand - maybe it's the thin mountain air they live in - I don't know. Their loss! I'm sorry, we were just trying to help you make money directly instead of through a distributor... Excuse me - my bad!
We DO get the recognition we deserve, though. Many companies we work with LOVE ScrapBiz members and are eager to treat them like super-stars. One of the distributors we work with just elevated our members to their special status level. That means ScrapBiz members get an additional discount off of the wholesale price of their private label products!
I also received a phone call today from our wonderful customer service rep at another large national distributor we work with. She wanted to thank me for sending so much business their way over the last year. Apparently, their revenues were up quite a bit last year and it had a lot to do with ScrapBiz members. They don't work with any other home-based businesses - only ScrapBiz.
A Canadian distributor opened an account for one of our Canadian members solely because she said she was with ScrapBiz. They don't have an official relationship with us (YET!), but they have heard our name around in the industry. They said they are VERY careful about home-based businesses, but because she's a ScrapBiz member, they would give her an account.
So, if you are looking at starting a home-based scrapbook business - yes, you could go it alone - lots of people do. But, many of them find out it's lonely. Not to mention that it's sometimes hard to convince vendors that you really ARE a business. But, ScrapBiz has over three years of "business building" history and many people recognize us as a legitmate business channel and will work with our members (and give them special perks) when they might not work with other home-based businesses OR might make other HB businesses jump through lots of hoops.