Mar 30, 2006

Scrapping for others...

I believe that the services part of the scrapbook industry is just begging for growth. Nearly every person in an industrialized country has photos in a box somewhere. Most of them wish they knew what to do with or had time to deal with the photos so that they could enjoy them. Enter, the freelance SCRAPBOOK ARTIST!

A few years ago, there was a book circulating that claimed that you could make $10,000 albums and that S4O (scrapping for others) was the thing that was going to make you rich. That notion is so completely unrealistic that it irked me that it was even being "sold" as possible. Maybe ONE person in CA made an album for some Hollywood Producer's wife ONCE. But, the "golden goose" is not going to happen to 99.99% of Scrapbook Artists. You will likely find your customers to be more "mainstream" - retirement albums, birthday albums, anniversary albums, baby albums, business albums, etc.

Another false-hood circulating is that it's unethical, illegal, etc. to sell supplies to your customers. Some claim that it's legally impossible to be both a retailer AND a service provider. Interestingly, those claiming that are themselves BOTH a retailer and a service provider. I say it's smart business to do both. My auto mechanic sells me the parts that he uses to fix my car (retailer and service provider). My florist sells me the flowers she arranges in a vase (retailer and service provider). Why, then, is it so different for a scrapbook artist? It's the smart way to do business. Your customers are going to have to purchase their products from SOMEWHERE and SOMEONE will make a profit off that purchase - why not you? It will GREATLY increase your bottom line!

The other issue that scrapbook artists need to get over is the notion that every page must be an original piece of art.......... okay, if that statement makes you squirm, get up and walk away for a few minutes to think about it before you continue reading. You must learn to use page templates for efficiency in both time and materials.

Let's break it down into another scenario. Remember I Love Lucy? Ricky Ricardo was the owner of Club Babaloo. He put on shows probably 6 nights a week. He was a musician which is also an artistic pursuit. Did Ricky put on a completely original show EVERY NIGHT??? Nope. It would have been inefficient to make the band learn a new set of songs 6 nights a week, 52 weeks a year. They probably put together a new show seasonally. They may have added a song or two here or there - for Christmas, for Valentine's day, etc. But, the show was basically the same each night for many weeks or months. Was Ricky LESS of an artist because each show was practically a duplicate of the night before? Nope. Did the audience feel ripped-off because their show was the same as the one the night before? Nope.

Now, let's apply this to scrapping for others. If you have a basic birthday page and you make that page for Customer A on Monday and then make virtually the same page for Customer B on Wednesday - both customers are going to be thrilled with your work. A and B are never going to see that you did the same page, nor will they care. And, here's the best part - the first time you make a page, it might take you 2 hours from conception to the minute you slip that baby into the sheet protector. But, the next time you make it, you will be able to pull it together in 1/4 the time. The next 10 times you make it, you will be even quicker. And, you'll have all the materials on hand (that you already sold to the customer) so there's very little time invested in coordinating products. That allows you to buy a pack of Bazzill and use it all. It's YOUR original page - duplicated many times. That means more $$$ in your pocket because you are faster and more efficient.

So, if you are a scrapbook artist, don't be a starving one. I see so many people undercharge for and overthink their pages. The customer came to you because they don't scrap. You have to get over the notion that they came to you for "art" - they just want their photos in a nice album that they can show others. It's not a HOF entry.

If you want more information about scrapping for others - check out ScrapBiz. We have had a lot of S4O members TOOTING lately over their successes. They have set up their businesses using smart business principles that will give them the best chance of financial success.


Kris said...

Kim! Thanks for the reminder - Stop overthinking your layouts! Recycle!! Thank you - I enjoy reading your posts.
Custom Scrapbook Designer

SB said...

so so so true. I scrap by commission and it gets tough when I "agonize" over these pages. One lady told me flat out "just do what YOU think looks good. I don't CARE. I just don't want them in a photo album anymore."

What freedom that gave me! I'm no Stacy Julian but my waiting list for 12x12 complete album is 8 deep and my commissions will pay for my kids' jungle gym this Summer...

Thanks for all your great advice...

Christy B said...

Well said. I photograph or scan almost every book I make for others. I keep them in a notebook and reuse the ideas. And no matter how hard I try, they are never exactly the same. I might add something on one that's not on the other. Plus just different colors make a huge difference. My commissioned pieces are simple and quick. The layouts I do for me are more involved and require more time, but I love them the same!

Custom Scrapbook Artist

Sandra @ The Memory Workshop said...

My BIZ is not about's just not my thing. I'd rather teach people to scrap themselves. But I get inquiries almost weekly from people who want scrapbooks and don't think they have the time or talent. And cost is not their concern. THERE IS A HUGE MARKET OUT THERE!! Go find them, and charge what you're really worth!

Pam Tremble said...

Kim - I just found your blog today based on this message. Some very good tips on reusing layout designs - that's why I love sketches so much! Just design 1 layout, turn it a quarter turn and use the same design for the next page, turn it again and you have a 3rd page, etc. You could do an entire album with 2 or 3 designs.

Thanks for the great blog - I've got you bookmarked and will visit often.

Scrapbooks by Pam

PaulaJ said...

very interesting article. I am just starting off trying to get together an S4O biz and I really need all the info I can find. My b/f found your article on scrapping stores and I worked my way to this. Thanks for the encouragement. I know it won't make me rich but if I can keep the bills paid and have some fun money leftover at the end of the day I will be thrilled because I will be doing something I love. I do tend to want to do every page unique and I knew that was going to be an issue and you reinforced that for me.