Jun 23, 2008

Random News and Views

I was browsing through one of the photography magazines I get and came across an Q & A column. A photographer with an old-fashioned camera wanted to set up a business taking vintage look photos. He wanted to make the white edges of the photos deckled like they were many years ago. He was asking how he could possibly make the edges look like that.

The answer was something scrapbookers already knew...

The Fiskars rotary cutter has a deckle blade. The answer was to pick up one of those and trim the photos with it to create that old-time photo edge. We have as much to offer the photo industry as they have to offer us. I look forward to a closer alliance with them.

In fact, my local scrapbook store who recently celebrated a dozen years in business (Wow! That's nearly a record in this industry!) just added a Kodak Shoebox scanner to their list of services. I have been advocating adding those types of services to stores. I hope they will think about adding slide scanning next! They also do the unthinkable... THEY ADVERTISE IN THE NEWSPAPER! Yup, every Thursday, they have an ad in the Home and Garden section of my local paper. They must be doing something right - they've expanded from one space into THREE store spaces in the last few years and they've been around for a long time while other stores around them have come and gone almost instantly. Hmmm, I'm feeling the need to go shopping today.... :-)

AND, I thought this was interesting. A group of retailers in California are setting up a co-operative organization. Here's a LINK to Angie Pedersen's Scrapbook Industry News site with the story. "The group aims to foster success for member stores through vendor partnerships and alliance benefits in operations, purchasing, and business education." They just pretty much described ScrapBiz... We've been successfully bringing retailers together for nearly 6 years now. It works and it's good for the industry. It's just too bad that many stores have spent the last few years eyeing one another suspiciously instead of working together.

A similar idea was mentioned by a retailer at Scrapbook Retailer Magazine's site recently, too: LINK

I wish this group of stores success. Although, I have a feeling they are already successful because they were smart enough to work with potential competitors and not against them. Although, I doubt these stores are that close to each other. But still, the time to work together with other stores and manufacturers is far past in this industry. We have spent too much time trying to be independent of one another and in the words of Dr. Phil... "How's that workin' for you?" In my opinion, it isn't...


Silence Dogood said...

Kim, I loved this entry because it shows what can happen when people start looking at their scrapbooking business from a perspective of "what if..." and "why not?"

I think alliances are key, especially for the independent retailer. I wish I could see more "events" such as a "Passport to Memories" day where you'd get discounts from stores that specialized in photos and scrapbooking. (Camera stores, film developing services, scrapbooking stores.) The only thing with that would be the driving. (!)

And advertising! Good for your local store! If scrapbooking stores want new customers, then why not advertise more? I hardly ever see advertisements in the paper and never have I heard a radio ad.

Maybe we'll see more stores doing just that in the next few years. Meanwhile, the Big Box stores continue to draw in customers with their constant coupon giveaways...

Kim said...

Consumers are concerned that scrapbook sections are shrinking at the big box stores. I say that's a good thing for independent retailers. It gives LSS's a chance to step up and show consumers how great they are! There are still plenty of scrappers and potential scrappers our there - we just need to reach out to them more than we have in the past. Unfortunately, we have acted like sending a monthly email to our opt-in list (the people who already know about us) is a complete marketing plan.