Oct 19, 2006

It's raining so I feel like ranting...

This entry is really for all the retailers and manufacturers out there. If you're a consumer, you might say, "Hey, that's ME!" But this is largely for the trade side of the industry.

So, in walking around Memory Trends and talking to vendors and just in general conversation at ScrapBiz, it seems that consumers aren't buying much anymore - except specific things. Sales have slowed considerably for a lot of retailers. Does it mean the industry is dying? Nope! But, here's my theory - consumers are LOADED with products thanks to several really dumb moves by some in the industry.

Giant packs of embellishments at large warehouse stores, 100 pages of letter rub-ons from TV shopping shows and mega-packs of patterned paper at chain stores have all sent consumers into a buying frenzy this year. Now, they are all sitting in the middle of a GIANT and overwhelming pile of STUFF! If it looks like a bargain, consumers go nuts - who cares if you won't use all of it (who needs 150 rub-on X's?) YOU GOTTA HAVE IT!

When I was at Ikea at the scrapbook organization class last Saturday, when the Design Center team started talking about paper storage ideas, literally, the back two rows of the 4 rows of people STOOD UP and came running around the ends of the rows to get a closer look. It was very telling. Everyone has TOO MUCH PAPER and they don't know what to do with it or how to store it all.

Honestly, are you going to use the 30 pieces star paper in 4 colors from the Costco stack of patterned paper you bought earlier this year? Are you just going to hold onto it FOREVER? GET RID OF IT! Sort it out and donate it to the school. I divided one of those paper packs between my kids' teachers and they were THRILLED to get that ugly paper. Anything's better than construction paper for art projects!

Why are manufacturers doing this? It's like cutting your head off to stand on it in order to get a better view of the landscape. Yes, you are selling a GIANT PACK of products, but then, have you created a stream of demand that will carry you over the next year or did you just create a "Demand Tsunami" where you sell a whole bunch and then... nothing?

So, manufacturers turn to retailers and beg and plead for THEM to buy more products. But, you know what? They can't unload products either. THEIR customers bought the giant pack on the TV shopping show and won't NEED more of it for the rest of their natural lives. Ouch! Can you hear the gun go off? Manufacturers just shot themselves in the foot.

So, what do we have now? We have scrappers literally drowning in the flood of products they have been busily buying. There's a reason that organization ideas are the HOT TOPIC right now. What do they do with ALL THIS STUFF? They are paralyzed and have placed spending moratoriums on themselves and that's not good for the industry.

So, here's my challenge to manufacturers - stop practicing extreme bundling. It hurts everyone in the industry. Here's my challenge to retailers - show customers how to use the old stuff while pairing it with the new. And here's my challenge to consumers - honestly and brutally go through your pile and clean it out. It's okay to NOT keep the ugly stuff you will never use.

If you want the industry to continue to be there to provide you with new products and fun ideas, then EVERYONE needs to do their part to keep it moving forward. Or, eventually, the only place you'll find scrapbook products is in a large chain store and, even then, the selection will be limited to those companies with enough money to survive.

I don't mean to sound like doom and gloom, because I'm not feeling that. But, I do understand that a whole lotta hording has been going on for well over a year and there is NO WAY we could use it as fast as most of us buy i (me included - I was guilty of that but have since "seen the light" and stopped overbuying). But, it's time to use it up or clear it out to make way for all the fun stuff coming from CHA Winter!

If you are consumer and you do have the urge to shop. Stop by the ScrapBiz Classifieds and view what's on sale or find a specific product at one of our member businesses!


Pamela said...

Here! Here! I have been on a paper-buying-moritorium for well over a year now. The ONLY time I buy paper is if I have photos in-hand and I need one or two sheets of paper to coordinate with what I've already pulled from my overflowing stash at home. I just completed an entire album without buying a single sheet of paper or package of embellishment.

Kim Guymon said...

Good job! Use up that stash!