Jun 1, 2009

Are you a Scrapping "Foreverist"?

Nicole Amsler of Keylocke Services posted a great thought today at ScrapBiz. She posted a blog article about Foreverism. It sparked a good conversation among ScrapBiz members. Really, Scrapbooking or "Memory Preservation" as I prefer to call it, is not a hobby with a deadline. It goes on forever - as long as you have photos, you have memories to preserve.

Of course, some of us look at our photos and think, "Yeah, it will take me FOREVER to scrap all these photos." But, where is it written that you must scrap ALL of them? That's not what we mean by "foreverism". To me, it means that if there is more to the photo than just a photo, that you will want to always be telling the story of your best photos and moments SOMEHOW. That "somehow" can be in the form of traditional scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking, photo books, etc.

The June 2009 PMA Magazine has a GREAT article on Story Telling. You can read it HERE. I think every retailer who has face to face contact with customers should read and incorporate some of their suggestions. We need to teach classes on story telling and encourage customers to not just decorate the page, but tell the story. THAT'S what makes the photo meaningful and helps them capture the importance of their scrapbooking.

For far too long, we have concentrated on embellishing the photos and, frankly, crafts have a short life cycle. We have lost a lot of customers who got burned out on the craft part of scrapbooking. They still have photos. They are still taking photos. And, they still have stories to go with those photos.

I've suggested this approach before and often, retailers will call me a "heretic" because I'm trying to suggest that products aren't important. Actually, the opposite is true. The more we can get people to scrap and the longer we can hold their attention, the better it is for retailers. Customers might not over embellish each page as many have in the past. But, they will be lifelong customers who understand the true reasons they do what they do. THOSE are the people the industry should be looking for and catering to. Short term customers = short term retailers and I don't know any retailer who goes into this thinking, "I'll ride the wave for a couple of years and then close".

We've also had conversations at ScrapBiz recently about theme scrapping. One member said the local scrapbook store she was recently associated with is struggling BECAUSE they chose to follow industry fads when their customers wanted themes. Fads create supply collectors who often become buried in a stash that they will never use. They buy the latest pink flower paper even though they really need to be scrapping choir concerts, track meets and birthday parties. Themes matter. I will scrap Christmas photos 18+ times in my children's lives. I will scrap Halloween costume photos a dozen times. Many of those photos and poses will nearly be identical. I need new products along those themes to keep it fresh each year.

Yet, themes = boring according to many magazines and online communities. Yet, when the black/white/lime green flourishes are long-gone as trends, themes will still be around. Themes are forever.

Memory Preservation is forever. Only when the scrapbook industry catches that idea and opens up their minds to what it means (that it means MORE than just the products we sell) will we ever create an industry that grows and is healthy. We MUST take the longer or "foreverist" view of memory preservation or we become a cyclical craft that ends up as not much more than another aisle at the big-box craft store.

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