Anyway, I sat at a table of seven and the topic of conversation inevitably turned to the purchasing of stash. It was interesting that their overwhelming opinion is that Scrapbooking is now out of fashion and shops (even online) are closing. Backed up by the cessation of magazine publishing too. One Cropper was able to report that shops in her favourite US holiday resort were closing too; apparently our American cousins aren't as big into Scrapbooking as they used to be either.
Now, you know that I love scrapbooking. You know too that I only do it at a Crop because I'm bone idle and need others around to inspire me. Or copy from. Either works. I don't have enough paper and embellishments to last until my dying day, but I certainly don't need to be shopping for more in a hurry. You also know that I'm an ex craft shop owner and still very deeply involved in a small business. I am the first to regret the loss of any independent shop or business; I've been there and it's pretty frightful, whether it's by choice or forced by economics.The Craft market is hard on independent businesses..they have to be there as the stuff is launched, orders and money in hand. They have to judge which lines and which colours we're going to want, pay up front, and then...sit on all that paid for stock just in case one of us gets the whim to buy a single sheet of something they've had to buy in packs of probably 50. And the storage of it is a pig, let's be honest. It's not easy. It never was. Some people get it right, others don't.
Because we've all got lots of stuff, the manufacturers are bringing out new models, , bigger, smaller, coloured....hoping to snaffle the 'new to the hobby' and maybe turn the heads of existing owners who can't live without it in purple. Pink. Whatever.
There's bound to be a saturation point. And I think we're witnessing it. In part, forced on us by the world economy, we've wised up and decided to use up. Or like me...I realised I was wasting time looking at what was coming instead of enjoying what I'd got. I no longer look at previews, CHA posts, product launch announcements. I don't feel I'm missing out; indeed, the stuff trickles into my line of vision eventually. And I've stopped feeling overwhelmed by a feeling of needing to 'keep up'. A luxury, I know, that only the consumer is allowed.
I can tell you that walking into a store a week after you were last in and asking 'what's new?' is a heart sinking moment for the owner. How about looking for something that is new to you; rummage a little, consider some papers that you may not have looked at properly. Try not to approach with a specific in mind...quite often that is a strangle point for your basket and your creativity. Ask the staff. You'd be amazed how often your single line vision can be achieved via another route. The answer, sadly, is pure economics. If it's not worth the cost of the storage, the import taxes duties and staff, these businesses will not survive. Because on top of that, there's the constant exertion of keeping up and being in the know about what's coming, how to use it, how to sell it, using valuable stock to make samples, advertising and push push push pushing all the time. Exhausting. I miss the people and the atmosphere of my craft shop, but my life prefers me to stand on the customer side of the counter. Maybe that has a lot to do with some of these closures. We need to demand less and enjoy more?