Monday, 15 June 2015

Discussion......

I was at the Artful Angels Crop at the weekend. It was a lovely day and I made up the grand total of three pages. My average is 4, so I guess I took rather longer over something or other. I don't know. When you see them, you'll have to ask yourself what took the time, they are rather simple pages. I rather suspect that it was the break for lunch!


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?

15 comments:

Helen said...

Thought provoking post, Julia.. there was a very similar discussion amongst a small FB group I'm in just the other day. I "might" be guilty of looking at the new stuff as it is launched, but these days try not to get sucked into having it all... mostly!
Love the layouts; it must be lovely for you to "do" rather than organise. Have a great week.

misteejay said...

Great LOs Julia.
I haven't done a 12x12 for a couple of years - I seemed to go down the mini-album route and am currently in the image colouring area of papercrafting. Two of our local independents have closed their B&M stores - one will be carrying on with on-line only and the other has moved into another area of retail. I try to support my local shops as I'm a person who likes to see & touch before buying but options are becoming fewer.
Toni xx

Sue said...

Loving the LOs.

Even here craft shops are closing. I think a lot of things are just too expensive now and you can get some craft supplies from places like The Range, which can buy so much stock their prices are lower.

Hope you have a good start to the week. Sue

Christine said...

I started deleting 'sale' emails as my stash is crowding me out of my room! I buy the magazines and store the relevant pages, or photo copies, with the freebies. Looks untidy but keeps the ideas close to hand. I also clear out boxes, as has been documented, and it is surprising the forgotten stash that turns up.......
Love those layouts but wonder if scrapbooking has been given up in favour of journals?
X

Christine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jill said...

You can get so much inspiration when meeting up with other crafters . Lovely Lo's Julia.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

The one TRUE scrapbooking store in my town closed about three years ago. They had two stores and I suspect their locations weren't the best. Great locations, too expensive to keep up the rent, I believe.

When I first started making altered books, the scrapbookers I spent time with stuck up their noses at them and wanted nothing to do with them. Suddenly, things I found on the ground, like used bottle caps, or things I found at the thrift shop, like puzzle pieces and Scrabble tiles became popular as NEW items in the craft stores. They were geared for both scrapbookers and altered book artists. Now mixed media and journaling are all the rage.

I think things go in cycles. I remember two years ago, the HOT, HOT item to get was washi tape. The more you had, the better off you were. Last year, washi tape suddenly was on clearance and the "good" colors and designs were sold out, not to be purchased again.

I'm not sure if scrapbooking has run its course, because I never got into it in the first place. But I know that the three AWESOME layouts you created are proof that it won't go out of fashion in your world anytime soon. And I always appreciate your pages and your justifications for them.

Shaz Brooks said...

Hi Julia, thats a really interesting post. I have to admit to having too much time on my hands of late, and browsing to internet shop is way too easy! On the other hand, I do try to go out of my way to avoid the latest craft 'fashion', whatever it may be. I do think that a big part of the problem is that many craft shops tend to be in slightly out-of -the-way places, understandable, as the rents would be so much lower than High Street shops, something that most councils have made ludicrously high, and indeed, many High streets have vanished all together, and I doubt many an independent trader can afford Mall prices. The easy availability of stuff online is bound to hit craft shops, as it has every other type of store for that matter. But it definitely isn't just a British thing, many people on SCS complain of the loss of their local scrapbook/stamp store. It's a shame, as like most I love to really see stuff before I buy, but I'm sure I'm typical of many- I don't drive, so have to rely on Hubby taking me where I want to go, and asking him to scour the Midlands with me looking for a certain stamp/product just isn't going to happen. Apart from the fuel costs, I'm using up his free time, so I'm afraid that even though I totally agree with you, I will mostly be buying online for a while to come. Hugs, Shaz xxx

Cardarian said...

I really liked the debate you have launched about craft shops! I am new to living in England and initially I thought "oh what fun I will now be able to actually shop for stash!" How wrong was I? The only independent craft shop anywhere near me is The Artistic Stamper, which is 40 minutes away driving! Yes there is a Range and a Hobby Craft close but that is pretty much all there is - there really aren't many craft shops in Kent! So what do I do? I shop online. Of course as soon as you look at a crafty website you see something you don't have and you "really" need. I have given myself a challenge for the next month - not to look at any website and not to buy any stash - I'll see if I feel any withdrawal symptoms. I must admit though that although many websites encourage me to buy I do get lots of ideas from them too. So really I will let you know how I am getting on!
Lots of hugs,
Cardarian

voodoo vixen said...

I think it came to a point of sensory overload and the amount of stuff that was expected to be put on one layout - the page should be telling a story and not declaring look how much stash I can get on here... and I am trying my best to get back to the purpose of doing this hobby... and that was to save the memories and have fun. It certainly takes the pressure off when you aren't using the latest stuff and just picking some papers that you like!

Monica said...

How right you are. Every craft i am in required you buy buy buy. Designers alter their way for the new things. When I cleared out my fabric stash I started on beads. They were expensive and I now have to dispose of them. Cleaning out for new stuff is almost a ritual. Around 2013 i switched to paper crafting. went through the Tim holtz phase and then on to others. Now decided to no longer follow sales pitchin blogs or FB postings. Last year tried Watercolors decided I prefer mixed media and will stick with this. I bought a set of acrylics as the cheap brand is always out of stock at a box store. May even curb the stencil and stamp buying, well it is helped by dropping blogs. I live 75 miles from the nearest box store the last paper store is closed so on-line is the only way.

have a great day. OH I was tidying my room for weird wednesday!!!!!!!!

Elizabeth said...

Interesting post, Julia. Our local shop closed a couple of years ago, one in the next town has closed down too and one that I had to travel to did the same. The local shop was absorbed into another but that means that all the crafting stuff is now stuffed into a back room which is doesn't exactly encourage me to look around. It's such a shame that this is happening but I suppose online shops are doing well out of it. Anyway, last year I decided to use up what I have and, in the main, I'm sticking to it. As I'm the only one in the family who scraps no one is going to know whether or not I'm using the trendiest papers - they just enjoy looking at the pages. Love your pages - the simplicity of the layouts works so well. I'm trying to aim for less is more too - I'm done with adding too many embellishments :) Hugs, Elizabeth xx

CoventryAnn said...

No bricks and mortar craft shops near to me, only The Range and Hobbycraft (I do admit to going in to paper-stroke though...still addicted!)
I am lucky to live near the NEC so I can see stash in real life twice a year, and have to admit I am still buying; although I don't feel too guilty as I am still scrapping. With over 20 full scrapbooks in the house I am trying to find a home for them too.
I don't care if scrapbooking is out of fashion; I never was a big follower of the latest thing as my bum is too big :D

Belinda Basson said...

This is a constant topic of conversation around me that I hear all the time and I am in South Africa! Here we have two major cities with different spending power and styles...I am in sleepy Cape Town, known as the Mother City (and the joke told is that it is because everything takes 9 months to happen!) in our other capital we have huge spending power and everything happens at the speed of light! I was a partner in a store for 2,5 years and we closed cos we both have other day jobs and our store was so successful that we could not cope! Oh the irony! We made lots of samples with the new dies and paper so customers were inspired and we also stocked dies, stamps and Ranger products which the other LSS don't. We were in a terrible part of town, but it worked as I do believe crafting is a destination point store, not a store for a mall as people don't walk by and decide they are going to become crafters cos they saw the store...you either are or aren't crafty...if you are you will seek out your stores and make the effort to go there...or buy on line. I do prefer to see the stuff before I buy, especially paper as it has to match the photos and colour on a screen is often so wrong. However I am happy to buy Tims stuff on line as I know it well enough...perhaps too we'll...I do follow CHA to see his new stuff as I "need" it all...but I am starting to become fussy as to what I really want to own! For years I have rather bought tools over paper and stickers as I can do more with stamps and dies and they don't run out. I never seem to have enough "e" letters on a sticker sheet for example! I could go on and on...and on...

I do think Scrapbooking is no longer "the" craze it was, but it will keep ticking along and other crafts will wax and wane and stores must move with the phases, as someone else said, it is now mixed media and art journaling. 25 years ago I started with rubber stamping on cards, that nearly died out and now stamps are everywhere again and have been for a few years. Stencils were in 20 years ago and ticked along quietly, now they are out with vengeance...

I think crafting is around to stay, it is mearly the "fad" that changes.

Belinda Basson said...

did my LOOOOOONG post go Awol?