Mar 18, 2008

Recession? What Recession?

You'd think the world was ending. I hate the way the media attempts to manipulate the hearts and minds of America. I don't want to get all political here because that's not what this blog is about. BUT, I do want to make it clear that I believe and know that there are SOME PEOPLE in this country who are struggling because of gas and food prices or the fact that a stupid and greedy bank gave them a mortgage everyone knew they couldn't afford. It's the "buy now-pay later" attitude we have grown too used to in this country. And, when the gas-riots start (remember the Boston Tea Party?), I'll be there with my sign...

That being said, we have been talking about the "recession" (I put quotes around it because I don't believe we're IN ONE) at ScrapBiz and honestly, many members are reporting that the first quarter of this year is either their best ever or much better than the first quarter of last year. Some business members who haven't been able to get out of the gates for a long time are suddenly posting TOOTS! with good news about increased sales or new clients.

Interesting... could it be that we've all finally ditched the stash we would never use (I got rid of a ton of stuff last year that I was hanging onto "just in case") and now we have settled in to the idea of buying what we need when we need it? Or, could it be that more scrappers are coming into the hobby? Or, are more women spending less time on other more expensive and less meaningful hobbies and turning back to scrapping?

I know that the climate continues to be poor for stores with many more closing this first quarter than ever before. But, I wonder if the ones who have always done well are seeing the same increases in revenue?

I wish I had a crystal ball and could see what was going to happen. I see that the Scrapbook section at Michael's is shrinking. At least at my local store, the Martha Stewart section has shrunk significantly. There are no "seasonal" products offered for spring - just the basic every-day stuff. I heard rumors (unverified) that M's is getting rid of scrapbooking to make room for their kid craft section. I don't believe it, though. They may cut back to the basics they had before they started adding the more well-known brands but I don't believe they will get rid of it altogether. I think the T-shirt and fabric paint section would go first.

Some see this is a bad thing for the industry - I mean, if Micheal's is shedding some of it, it must be going down the tubes. I don't think we can gauge our industry by the big box stores. And, if you're in business and haven't noticed - we're already in "the tubes" and headed the wrong direction. Micheal's tuned up and expanded their scrapbook section as the industry started it's decline. They were a little late in the game. In fact, I would LOVE to see them get rid of the brands and go back to selling ScrapPads, HOTP paper books and deco scissors. That's the stuff that new scrappers buy. Let the independent businesses show them all the "pretty things" after they buy out Micheal's.

So, here's to hoping that the year continues to go well for those who report increases over last year! I would love to see more growth than we have experienced in the last few years. There are so many people with photos - let's show them how fun preserving the photos and stories can be!

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