Scrapbooking, Tips for Getting into the Industry
By Kathy Tapley-Milton
Scrapbooking got a start in 1980 with the Christensen’s who live in Utah and created the company Keeping Memories Alive. Since then scrapbooking has exploded into a huge industry that includes direct sales consultants, instructors, events organizers, product designers, gurus, professional scrapbook artists, retailers, and online sellers. Basically there is room to teach scrapbooking workshops, do scrapbooking for others, and sell all kinds of supplies for individuals to do their own scrapbooking at home.
Of the whole craft industry, scrapbooking is the one cottage industry that is growing the fastest. In the US it is estimated to bring in 2.5 billion dollars per year and worldwide it is earning over 5 billion dollars annually. Business-minded people are writing scrapbooking books, instructing classes, inventing new products, and selling products. Some people estimate that the craze has not even reached its peak yet, so there is lots of money to be made. Some potential customers are just becoming aware of scrapbooking and will be buying products and courses in the future. Some scrapbook artists, who work on scrapbooks for other people, can make $100 an hour.
If you want to teach scrapbooking you will need to buy supplies and get some information. There are many places on the internet where you can order supplies. If you would like to freelance, you can start a scrapbooking newsletter, teach workshops, open a store online, make scrapbooks for other people, or if you have the capital open an actual mortar and bricks store and sell scrapbooking supplies.
If you want to work as a scrapbooking consultant, companies such as Creative Memories and Scrap in a Snap offer opportunities. This home-based business can consist of hosting parties, teaching in people’s homes, or doing workshops. Making scrapbooks for other people is an option if your skills are honed to a high level.
To teach scrapbooking you can contact church groups, the YMCA, community education centres, craft stores, schools, women’s groups, or anywhere that you think a scrapbooking workshop might go over well. A scrapbooking newsletter could prove profitable if you have a lot of information and can attract advertisers. You could sell it online or print it out. Opening a store is not for the faint hearted. It requires a big financial commitment and a lot of hours of work.
You can start a business for as little as $50 or you can pay upwards of $150,000 for an actual physical store. An online store is a fraction of the cost of a mortar and bricks store. You can sell scrapbooking supplies on Ebay or work for a company who pays you to sell their services.
To have an Ebay store you can buy one of three levels. The cheapest level is the Basic, which costs $15.95 a month. The Featured store level is $49.95 a month and the Anchor store is $499.95 a month. With an Ebay store the merchandise can be sold at a fixed priced or by online auction and Ebay charges 10% of the final value of the product. To access Ebay customer service or to ask a question there are links at www.ebay.com.
The easiest way for a person to break into the scrapbooking business is to become a direct sales consultant. You promote your business by word of mouth and by having home parties. Some people become a consultant to get discount prices on scrapbooking supplies, however, if you are good with people and networking you can make a good business out of it.
Although it probably will not allow you to quit your day job, becoming a scrapbook teacher can bring in some income. If you do this through a church you could advertise in the church bulletin. However, places like the YMCA will do their own promotion. To become a good instructor you have to be organized and prepare well, show passion for your subject, use visual examples well, meet the needs of your students but don’t run overtime, know your subject, and hand out evaluation forms for feedback. Study public speaking, visual presentations, and join online scrapbook teachers groups.
Becoming an events organizer where scrapbookers can go to retreats, conventions, church camps, or even cruises can be a lucrative proposition if you are good at it and advertise well.
If you really think that you have a winning product idea, becoming a product designer or manufacturer could make you a multimillionaire. To invent something in scrapbooking that is wildly successful can be your dreams come true.
Some scrapbookers can develop fan clubs by submitting articles on the topic to a magazine or idea book. This can lead to connections with manufacturers and designing products for the market.
Becoming an artist who works on other people’s scrapbooks hardly has a start-up cost at all and can earn from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Word of mouth or business ads in the paper can promote you in the business.
Some online directories you can advertise in are www.scrapbookingtop50.com and www.scrapjazz.com.
Since 1996 commercial scrapbooking has been geared more and more to the expert, leaving the novice in the dust. Products have become more complex and have generally ignored the non-crafter. If you decide to sell scrapbooking supplies don’t just cater to the expert — packages that get the beginner started immediately are the wave of the future in the scrap booking business.
Online scrapbooking stores are popping up as quickly as mushrooms and some go poof like puffballs. The competition is savage; however, doing your research before your store opens is essential. Rushing into a business can spell disaster. You have to make sure this is what you really want to do—that it will be fun—and then that you have a top quality product. Make a study of the scrapbooking industry and see what people really want. While it is good to be aware of what the competition is doing it is more important to focus on customer service and fast delivery of the product.
With all the competition in the industry it may lead you to believe that there isn’t room for anyone else, but there are a lot of potential customers who haven’t been introduced to this type of craft yet and will be interested in workshops, and products that are easy to use for the non-expert.
The advantage of starting your own home-based business is low overhead and flexible hours. You can even work in your pyjamas! In the beginning you may have to invest in taking workshops and offer friends and relatives free product for referrals.
Katherine Tapley-Milton lives with her husband, Dave, and four cats in Atlantic Canada. Katherine has been a freelance writer for the past 25 years and has been published in over 80 periodicals. In 2006, her autobiographical book Mind Full of Scorpions was published on Amazon. Her hobbies include cooking, organic gardening, writing, reading historical romances, doing crafts, and researching diets and fitness.
** Photos courtesy Rejane.r Flickr Photostream, Creative Commons License.