Friday, 29 January 2016

Me and the BG

I have been commiserating with like minded Facebook friends over Basic Grey's decision to pull put of the scrapbook supplies market. I did and do agree that they have a school of designers who'll be a great loss to paper designs. I even posted that BG Junkies like me would be saddened by their news.

I've continued to think about their decision ever since. And based only on my own experience with Basic Grey, I think they are doing the right thing. I probably have 100s of pages in my scrapbook collection that are based on, or feature, Basic Grey papers. I used to buy the collections almost unseen. I was definitely on that Merry-Go-Round of new product grabbing. But I grew out of it at some point, and am much more the sophisticated consumer these days. And when I looked through albums to find a few BG pages, the timeline says it all. My albums are overfilled. Basic Grey doesn't appear as anything more than offcuts and borders until I get to three behind the one I'm currently filling. 2012 was the last time I bought a Collection. Since then, I've probably bought less than a dozen pieces of BG 12 x 12. I have one  Basic Grey 6x6 book of papers, I couldn't resist. I have very little use for it!

By the time they reach the shelves here in the UK, these wonderful quality printed sheets are over £1 each. (As are many others, don't misunderstand this as a complaint against Basic Grey). They have remained single side prints, and the quality has been marvellously consistent. But if you extrapolate my purchasing into worldwide sales, hmm. It's probably not worth paying the designer, the printer, the shipping. And then there's all the other stuff that you're sort of expected to produce, stamps, stencils, dies. New releases (note the plural) at least twice a year, and a market which has reportedly levelled out. Certainly the consumer has had to be more prudent in the last few years.

It must be exhausting, keeping up, trying to predict the market in terms of style, design, colour, then being creative but to appeal to the purchaser. I cant cope with the sensory overload that comes out of CHA, so I don't try. I figure that it'll reach my attention soon enough. And I'm no longer ambitious about knowing the who and the what about every company. My interest in scrapbooking remains strong. But individual companies no longer have my loyalty....I buy paper on a whim, when I see something that pleases me. Across many marques. By the sheet.

Whatever the reason, I want to thank Basic Grey for what they taught me: not to be afraid of highly patterned papers! They were really good at those!  And also to applaud their clean and graceful market exit. One announcement, a cut off date and a thank you. Thank You, Basic Grey. I think you're quitting while you have control, and I admire anyone that sees that in their lives.


Cara said...

A very thoughtful and true post. The market is so competitive these days and the demands to diversify are so great, it's a shame to lose one of the big players but like you I find myself becoming more discerning about what I spend my hard earned cash on. Must do some scrapbooking this year! Cara x

Laura said...

That's a really good take on it, Julia. From what I understand they hadn't been at CHA for a while, so the writing was probably on the wall. There are BG papers and collections I've loved, but they haven't been my style much lately, either. They're being smart and good for them that they're not out of business entirely, just refocusing. Happy Friday!

Claire Grantham said...

It is sad, but I agree with your point about not buying collections anymore. I too have become much more savvy.
I should also say Happy New Year I have not been by in a while. I hope to play with WOYWW again soon.

Sue said...

Loving your LOs.

Most people are having to tighten their belts and are on the lookout for bargains.

Hope you have a lovely weekend. Sue

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

As a NON scrapbooker, I don't know may name brands, but I know Basic Gray and Graphic 45. I have never seen their design team entries, but I like your pages you have created. You could have been a designer for them, I think.

I've never quite understood the 6 X 6 or 8 X 8 squares, but I suspect they are used as mats behind photos on 12 X 12 pages. I suspect, since people's tastes change, and budgets tighten, scrapbookers are using what they bought years and years and year ago. I applaud BG for going out while they were still a big contender. And I applaud your scrapbook pages, too.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

That should have read MANY, not MAY. I should proofread my posts more carefully, I suspect. Or drink more coffee, maybe.

misteejay said...

Very interesting post Julia. I must admit that I was much like you and bought collections as they came out, many without seeing first because I knew and liked the style. More recent collections haven't been to my taste so I haven't bought much.
BG, BoBunny and Junkitz were the main brands around when I first really got into scrapbooking and although BoBunny are still around there haven't been many stockists in my area since Artbase (Hornchurch)Ltd closed.
So it is sad to see BG step out of this area of the market but perhaps not so surprising based on retail trends.
Toni xx

Carmen Wing said...

Yep - as someone who can't claim to be a scrapbooker (dabbled, was crap at it, decided to chuck paint instead) I can only name a couple of brands but BG is one of them. I do still buy scrapbook paper - in fact a friend bought me a small (I think it might be 6x6) book for Christmas because they are great to use in our sketchbooks or cut up and collaged. But I love the highly illustrated stuff like G45 and the Once Upon a Time series by DCWV. BECAUSE they can be cut into.

I love the way you have examined this Julia and you are right - it reminds me of Fawlty Towers and Extras. Finished on top - knew when it was time to go. Leave 'em wanting more.

Princess Judy Palmer said...

I was unaware that BG was exiting the market until I read it here on your blog. Immediately I had a stab in my heart, "NOOOOooooo!" Then I stopped and thought about it. Like you, I used to buy the collections almost sight unseen and HOARD them. Still have a bunch hoarded. I never think to use them because I have them squirreled away someplace else and kept together (since the collection go so well with itself). At some point I just quit being interested in their papers. Even nowadays when I think of using them I look at them and can't figure out how to incorporate their patterns and designs into cards. Truly they make for stunning 12x12 pages, but I don't scrapbook. Yes, we crafters have gotten more prudent (plus I think we've run out of space.

Thank you, Basic Gray, for being there when I needed you and good luck with your future endeavors.

Hettie said...

Very well said Julia. I agree with what you say about BG and other companies.

Kyla said...

A good take on it. I agree, I think those of us who have been crafting for a while (lets not say HOW many years) probably have jumped off the merry go round of CHA etc and have become more considered in our purchases. Like you though, I do love BG for their quality of paper and colour, no shiny slippery papers from them...they always took ink well too. A sad but understandable loss (from the past few shows I have been to there has been a marked decline in papercraft stalls-hopefully this will be short lived!).


Aimeslee Winans said...

Hi Julia. I consider BG, along with Chatterbox, my 2 paper crushes. I just cut into some really old Black Tie to use on a card the other day and it looked spectacular! I have enough BG to last a lifetime, both 12x12 and 6x6. But like you, one day I just stopped collecting. I really feel as though I left THEM a long time ago, so I can't blame them one bit for shifting focus. Besides, it's not like there aren't other papers out I will always remember them for jumping on the 6x6 bandwagon first and helping to force the industry to embrace scrap albums in other sizes besides 12x12. Like how Ali Edwards lead the graphic artist charge to 8.5x11 back in 2005-ish, getting flack from the album-makers and saying hey, fine, I'll just use a 3-ring binder from Office Depot. LOL, American Crafts finally snapped and were reborn. BG definitely holds a place in SB'g history for sure. And I'm certain that scores of us will remember them forever, because that is how long it will take most of us to use up all that paper of theirs we've hoarded, lol. Cheers! xoxo, Aimeslee

Zsuzsa Karoly-Smith said...

What?! I LOVE BG papers! Lucky I still have a large stash to go through. Fun layouts, Julia! Love the one with the shoes!