Feb 5, 2007

Scrapbook Fashionistas

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.


Anonymous said...

ouch-this article hurts! Just because I dont like popcorn paper means I am a 'fashionista'?? To each their own. I like some trendy product, I totally agree with the bird phase and some of the other strange items, but I have also seen stores go under because all they carry is 'popcorn' and 'boyscout' paper. I enjoy your blog and have been a prior member of scrapbiz, but I have to disagree with some of what you say here.

Sandra @ The Memory Workshop said...

In my experience 'name brand' paper is irrelevant to the average scrapper. The Fashionistas and 'collectors' will jump all over the latest MME Bohemia(oh sorry, that's so Paris Spring 06) or Magnolia...but do they actually USE IT, or is it sitting in pretty collections on a shelf? The more typical scrapper wants birthday, summer and dog paper. And if they buy Bohemia its because it looks great with their Grand Canyon photos, not because its the latest CHA release.

Denise said...

This really hits home. Sandra is so right--so many of the trendy paper I had to have due to "buzz" is sitting there as I have no photos that will go with it. Meanwhile, I have used most of the Karen Foster and other themed papers because they matched my pictures. Most of the ladies at the crops I vendor scrap with specific event photos in mind, not to showcase the bird on Basic Grey's new paper.

Anonymous said...

I am not arguing the fact that there are some outrageous trends out there, but for you business ladies, seems to me that publically flocking people that are 'fashionistas' on your blog might not be a great business move for you. I personally hate some of the themed items out there, but would never insult people on my business blog. Just my .02

Kim Guymon said...

You don't sell couture at Sears. There's nothing wrong with wanting to use the new stuff - many business owners do - but, they have to, at some point, come to terms with the fact that their customers don't want it. Many of them mistakenly start out thinking that's ALL their customers want and end up with a lot of product they can't move. If the ugly paper is selling like crazy, then I'm buying more of the ugly paper to sell. It's about profit, not art at that point. We all have customers who want the new stuff, but the majority simply don't care.

americanmom said...

I think you raise some very valid points here. Even on a 'trendy' message board I'm on, everyone was like, "What's with the birds? What am I gonna' scrap with that?" Pretty, but can we use it on our pages? Only time will tell, I guess. I do think those products look great on altered projects. Thanks for the article, very well written.
PS: Trendy products sell magazines :)

Anonymous said...

Wow you really nailed it. Reading online sites like Two Peas in a Bucket you may think the majority of people are into the trendy stuff but the people I know in real life don't care about the latest & greatest.

They just want cute matching paper products that go with their event layouts like Christmas, birthday, graduation, etc.

They don't read CK, and wouldn't know a scrapbook "celebrity" if they fell over them.

Speaking of your popcorn paper layout - what is funny is that I made a layout with *GASP* Cheerio paper of my baby girl eating Cheerios and that is the page that gets the most compliments from my family & friends who look at my album. LOL