We had an interesting and enlightening conversation at ScrapBiz recently and some very valid points were made. We were talking about all the "latest and greatest" products out there and what was selling for members. A few "themes" emerged from CHA last week - Black and white papers with bold graphics, paper with BIRDS on it and then "skull and crossbones" grunge for boys. Those are the new "trends" in scrapbooking.
Okay, great. But, I can't think of a single photo I have that will look good with BIRDS. I don't now, nor have I EVER owned a bird. And, the grunge look is not going to fly at our house, either. The Scrapbook Fashionistas out there are thinking, "Who cares if it matches - it's POPULAR!" Okay, have you SEEN a photo of Mary-Kate Olsen lately? Just because it's popular, doesn't mean it looks good. How many girls are wearing ripped tights and looking for those shoes right now? Probably quite a few. But, how many of us think she looks ridiculous? Most of us.
The Scrapbook Fashionistas in this industry have LOUD voices. Yet, they are the vocal MINORITY. Our conversation at ScrapBiz - with actual retailers - shows that the "latest and greatest" is sometimes hard to GIVE away. It sounds shocking, doesn't it? But, the trendy stuff doesn't go with the activities most of us have photos of. My 9 year old's Pinewood Derby photos would look stupid on black and white. I need Cub Scout paper for that. And, you know that popcorn paper that you Fashionistas laugh at in the scrapbook store? I've used it - RECENTLY. One of my sons had a school concert in 1st Grade called "Popcorn Tonight". Those photos would have looked ridiculous on bird paper but the popcorn paper, that you would think should be banned from scrapping, was perfect.
Most of us are not scrapping GIANT photos with philosophical introspective comments that say nothing about the "back story" of the photo. Those are the magazine layouts, but not the layouts of MOST scrappers. Unfortunately, those layouts will paralyze some scrappers into inactivity. They think that they are the ONLY people in the world still using their punches and deco scissors. Guess what? They aren't!
Now, this brings up a business point. I have people who join ScrapBiz and immediately want to get the NEWEST stuff possible. They are "Fashionistas" and want to sell only the new stuff. But, they quickly find out that their customers aren't interested in that stuff. Or, if they are, it's only a small number of their customers. The goal in business is to figure out the 20% of products that make up 80% of your sales. Then, stock your business with those products. Limit the amount of trendy stuff you have because your customers aren't neccessarily looking for it. That's a challenge for some of the scrapbook direct sales companies. They sing the praises of carrying the latest and greatest, yet, is it actually a negative rather than a positive? It might have been the "hook" for the consultant to sign up, but if you're in, say, Kentucky, how many scrappers there CARE about the trendy stuff? Not many. Yet, you're stuck selling ONLY the trendy stuff and often, wondering why you can't get anyone to buy anything from you.
The fact of the matter is that real scrappers scrap very differently than what you see in the magazines and what you see on some message boards. I have lots of scrapping friends who don't know what CHA is, nor do they even know when CKC comes to town. Many of them use the cheap, non-textured cardstock they can get at Michaels. They wouldn't know Bazzill from Chipboard. They just scrap the events and themes of their lives with the products that coordinate. And, in case the Fashionistas have forgotten, in 25 years, when your Grandchildren are going through your albums, they will not know, nor will they care, that you were using the trendy stuff. My Hash Jeans with the star on the back pocket might have been cool and expensive in the 7th Grade, but now, they are just old jeans. No one would be impressed or care.