Feb 3, 2008

My PMA Report

I spent one full day walking the 2 very large floors of PMA. It was an amazing sight! The show is much larger than CHA and there is a whole lot more money dumped into it by the exhibitors. And, every morning, a batch of show reports and magazines were dropped outside my hotel room door. It was great to be able to read about the show and the companies there each morning.

Once you get through the GIANT camera booths (my husband calls them "Islands") and start walking the outside aisles and the back of the show, you find the gems. Yes, there were a lot of companies pushing photo backgrounds and lights and other photography related stuff, but that's no different from the basket and styrofoam shape booths at CHA. You have to wander through to find the good stuff!

Things I found:
  • Photo Jewelry: The Lucky Feather stuff was REALLY CUTE! They have been at CHA but were not going this year. There were several other photo jewelry companies - including Memory Maker Photo Jewelry. Remember them? They have all sorts of cute stuff now.
  • Camera bags - there are SO MANY fun, cute camera bags out there - very chic and hip. Advantus was there in the mix with their AMM line, but there were lots of funky bags. I could see a scrapbook store carrying some of the really "scrappy" looking ones. Check out these ultra chic Jill-E camera bags! They even have fashion lens cleaning cloths and fashion camera straps coming soon! I doubt you'll find these at too many local camera stores.
  • Photo books - yes, there were plenty of companies wanting to sell you the $50,000 photo book machine, but honestly, there were just as many wanting to make them FOR YOU and give you 25-30% of the profit. Several allow you to have your OWN BRAND on your OWN SITE. My favorite is Rocket Life - they are about to update their software and there are some AWESOME changes to it (like nearly 1000!). Like you will be able to upload your own PNG files to use on their pages and new scrappier looking backgrounds! I'm really excited about this company! If you are a retailer, you can have your OWN brand on the website. How about teaching a class on photo books in your store??
  • Slide scanners - I checked out several of these. I really want my LSS to get one and I promise, I'll be their best customer!
  • Batch Photo Scanners - I already talked about this Shoebox Scanner. It's so awesome! I talked to one scrapper who is going to buy one for herself to use because she has so many photos she wants to scan.
  • Digital Frames - I talked to several digi frame companies about square frames. At first, they didn't get it, but finally they did. I said that our pages would be cool scrolling through a frame, but rectangles don't work for most of us. They hadn't considered it before. One company just announced their 32 inch wide digital frame! Holy Cow - that's a BIG FRAME! Can you imagine your scanned traditional or digital pages on that?!
This is the year of the point and shoot camera! Features are going up and costs are coming down and color is EVERYWHERE! You can get a pink camera to go with your pink iPod and pink cell phone. I saw camera's in tons of new colors! That's scrappy!

The Scrapbook companies that exhibited were in the back but the booths seemed to be busy. Honestly, it doesn't make a TON of sense to me to have a camera store add scrapbook products since not every photographer is a scrapper, but it DOES make sense for a scrapbook store to add photo services since every scrapper has photographs. I'm not talking about photo printing because it can be done so cheaply elsewhere, but I'm talking about services that your cheap photo printing place won't do correctly like scanning or teaching you how to make great photo books. Did you know that by 2010, the photo book industry is projected to be like $11 BILLION dollars big? I want a piece of that! The scrapbook industry is only about $2.5 billion dollars in size. Also, 75% of all photo books are never finished and printed. Why? Because the person making them gets overwhelmed by the process. I'd say there's money to be made and classes that need to be taught.

One of the biggest things I noticed was the international-ness of the show. I have NEVER heard so many languages at CHA as I heard at PMA. So, looking at the industry as a whole, wouldn't it be fabulous if the scrapbook industry had a presence and introduced scrapbooking to people from Russia, Greece, Israel, Thailand, Germany, France, etc.? I know that scrapbooking is IN those countries already, but scrappers often have trouble finding retailers. If our own manufacturers were selling to all those countries, the industry would still be growing. A rising tide will lift ALL boats. Manufacturers would be able to afford to crank out new stuff because they would possibly pick up some of those international buyers. Yes, I know there are quite a few international buyers at CHA, but not nearly the diverse crowd I just witnessed at PMA. I can't help but think the industry as a whole is missing something there. Scrapping is still largely unknown in many countries - especially among businesses who could be stocking and carrying the stuff.

Finally, one large scrapbook industry manufacturer who has been around a long time that was there to attend the show (but wasn't exhibiting) was overheard to say, "I'm glad we came. Now we 'get it' about this show. This is a great place!"

Word on the street is that scrapbooking will be back next year in some form. Honestly, do you think the crafters at CHA "got" scrapbooking the first year we showed up at CHA? I don't think they did. But, it made sense for us to be at the craft show on the same levels it makes sense for us to be at the PMA show. Next year's show will be AFTER CHA, in early March. It will be interesting to see what happens.

1 comment:

Focus said...

Thanks for the report, Kim. Sounds as if you had a great time. I'm looking forward to seeing all the photos that you took. '-)

I'm always looking for new toys, I mean ideas, to enhance my own photography. My next adventure is photo books to try and sell to retailers. So any helpful advise that you can send my way will be greatly appreciated.