Today I attended the Seattle meeting of the PMA Co-op Marketing Group run by Dennis Conforto of The SMART Group and sponsored by PMA. It was a fantastic session and Dennis has great insight into the scrapbook industry and how to turn the ship around. I told him I had to bite my tongue to not raise my hands and yell, "AMEN!!!!" several times. We have done so many things wrong. I believe they aren't being done maliciously, but because this industry was a cottage industry that just outgrew the cottage. We brought all our cottage industry ideas, values and systems with us. And, they don't work. But, no one wants to step up to the plate and stop the bleeding, we just want to keep changing the bandage while we bleed to death.
He said something that struck me as hysterical but true. He said that the industry "eats like an elephant and poops like a canary". That was an "a-HA" moment for me. We do this on SO MANY levels. We do this when we buy products that sit in our stash. We do it when we take thousands of photos that we don't do anything with. Businesses do it with their inventory when they go on buying binges twice a year at trade shows but don't sell it fast enough and manufacturers do it when they dump huge amounts of products into the marketplace twice a year at trade shows. We over-do it all over the place but we aren't really getting the results that we want. We are just getting more and more bloated.
So, what can be done to fix it? I believe THIS is the answer. We can find newbies many places. Sign up to attend one of these meetings near you and learn more about how we can come together to fix the industry. Cooperation is the key and we know about this at ScrapBiz - our members cooperate on many levels while they also compete. And it works. I believe it's time for the rest of the industry to catch on to this idea so we can bring it back to the healthy, vibrant, growing thing it was in the late 90's.