to Start a Scrapbook Business
So, You Want to Start a Scrapbooking Business?
Congratulations, and welcome to the booming business of creative memory preservation! I’ve been tracking and reporting on the scrapbook industry since 1998, and each year I grow more excited about the opportunities it has to offer. Of course, starting and growing a scrapbook business or service isn’t going to be some easy, get-rich-quick scheme. Most areas of the industry require hard work and an investment of time. But these opportunities can offer you personal and emotional satisfaction, as well as a profitable living (in some areas, not all – but we’ll get to that later).
Here’s a question: Are you happy with your current job? Are you being challenged and fulfilled creatively? Would you be doing your same job even if you weren't getting paid? Are you satisfied with your income? If the answer to any of these questions is "no," then you have a lot in common with many entrepreneurs. Many "self-made" millionaires started out with just a dream, an idea for a life that would be better for them than the regular nine-to-five rut. But rather than chalking it up to wishful daydreaming, they took a risk and went for it.
But is it really a risk? Layoffs, offshoring, and downsizing have made many believe that it’s actually riskier to work for someone else than to work for yourself. (At least you’ll never give yourself an unexpected pink slip!)
Let me ask you: when you are not working, what do you really love to do? What do you do during your spare time that you really enjoy? If your answer is scrapbooking, you have something in common with the thousands of women and men across the world who took their passion for scrapbooking and turned it into a business. Here’s how you can do it too…
Joining the Growing Scrapbooking Industry
It’s hard to believe, but did you know that scrapbooking as we now know it, got its official start in 1980 by the Christensen family in Utah? (These pioneers went on to launch the hugely successful company Keeping Memories Alive.) It's been almost 25 years, but the scrapbook industry continues to grow at an exponential rate. (And these past four years have really seen a growth spurt!)
It’s no secret that scrapbooking is the fastest growing craft in the U.S. In fact, the latest figures reveal that it’s now a $2.55 billion per year business - and that's only in the U.S.! If true figures were to be told, the amount would certainly be well over $5 billion.
Where is all this money going? Into supplies, workshops, classes, retreats, conventions, cruises, you name it. And innovative entrepreneurs are capitalizing on this obsession by designing new products, opening stores, writing books, organizing events, making scrapbooks for others, teaching classes, and becoming direct sales consultants. Is there room for more? You bet there is! Most industry insiders say the trend isn't even near its peak yet, and there are still many areas that aren't educated or aware of the hobby yet. What does this mean for you? Opportunity – in all kinds of ways.
Many people think the only way to build a business in the scrapbooking world is by opening a retail store - not true! There are more than a dozen other ways you can make a living in this industry (and some of them are much more profitable than retail)! Here’s an overview:
Direct Sales Consultant - This is the way most people break into the industry. In fact, ask a successful retailer or product designer how she/he got started, and it was probably through direct sales! There are currently more than a dozen of these "home party" companies in the scrapbook/rubber stamp world, and they're a great way to get your foot in the door. Many consultants only join to get a product discount, but if you're serious about building this as a business (as well as getting discounted scrapping supplies), there is the possibility of bringing in a good income, many times in the six figures.
Scrapbooking Instructor - Got a knack for teaching? Sharing scrapbooking in classes and workshops at your local scrapbook store or on your own can be a good way to bring in some extra money (although this alone probably won't replace your income).
Event Organizer - There are retreats, crops, getaways, cruises, conventions, and more being held every single weekend now! Scrapbookers love to connect, and you can help provide the connection. If you're well-organized and can put together the kind of event that will generate excellent word-of-mouth, an event planning company could be a profitable venture for you.
Product Designer/Manufacturer – Many scrapbooking products were designed by scrapbook enthusiasts, who saw the need for a product and filled it. Product designers can either license their idea to a larger manufacturer or take the plunge and start their own company! Success stories abound in this industry about people who went from an idea to a multi-product corporation. And if you’re the next success story, prepare for profits! (Of course, going it alone also means an investment of time and money, so be sure you have both before starting your company.)
Scrapbooking “Expert” – Scrapbook enthusiasts who get published in the major magazines and idea books sometimes develop a “fan club” of other scrapbookers. That fame can sometimes be translated into connections with manufacturers (to teach nationally or design products), retailers (as “celebrity” guests), and other industry opportunities. So go ahead, submit your pages!
Professional Scrapbook Artist - There is a growing market for those who make scrapbooks for others. The appeal for scrapbook enthusiasts is great – minimal start-up costs (you really can start with almost nothing!), work from home, choose your hours, and make money. Lots of money, for many professional scrapbook artists. See, a lot of people like the look of scrapbooks, but don’t have the time, knowledge, or creativity to do it themselves. And, as with other service businesses such as professional organizing and interior design, it’s easier for some people to hire out than to do it themselves. This career has really started to grow in the ‘00s, bringing in hundreds and thousands of dollars per album for hard-working professional scrapbook artists who believe in their service and promote it to the target markets who understand what it’s worth. (In our experience, we’ve found that this service has the potential for the most income – but again, that success is ultimately up to you.)
Scrapbook Retailer - Between four to six years ago, opening a retail scrapbook store was a viable option for most people who wanted to get involved in the industry. Although it can still be a successful venture for many, certain circumstances need to be examined carefully before jumping in. A large initial investment and time commitment are needed, as well as detailed research into your local area of present and potential competition. Profits differ, depending on the area demographics and competition, and though many stores report not taking home a paycheck for at least the first year, other stores are quite profitable and open multiple locations.
Online Retailer - Opening an online scrapbook store gives you the opportunity to open up shop in your house or garage, but the business should be treated just as professionally as a “brick and mortar” store. You’ll have the chance to choose your own hours and work in your pajamas if you want, but competition from the hundreds of other online scrapbook stores makes it necessary for things like in-stock inventory and professional design to be a priority. Online retailers who research and develop a niche have a good chance of making this a profitable venture.
Even More Ways to Make Money Scrapbooking
* Writing magazine articles, books, and e-books
* Joining manufacturers’ and web site design teams
* Submitting layouts to magazines and idea books
* Becoming a manufacturers' sales rep
* Building online communities and portals (get paid through advertising)
* Selling on eBay – scrapbook products, pre-designed layouts and paper
* Designing custom digital layouts
* Joining affiliate programs
No matter what area you choose, however, marketing skills are a must. That's why we've devoted many of our books, and a good portion of our web site, to marketing information, ideas, and principles specifically developed for scrapbook businesses. After all, you can have the greatest business/service/product there is – but if no one knows about it, it won’t matter.
Each of our 10 books, Platinum membership, and all of the additional free information on
FunFactsPublishing.com, have been designed specifically to help you start, and then grow, a business in each area of the industry described above. We invite you to set aside a few hours and begin exploring our web site to get started right away!
We wish you the best of success in whatever venture you choose, and please remember we'll be here to help you as much as we can along the way!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sue DiFranco is the founder of Fun Facts Publishing and the author of more than a dozen books on building and marketing scrapbooking businesses and services. This article was based on her books, "Secrets of Scrapbooking Success: Making Money, Making Memories," a detailed overview of the business opportunities in scrapbooking, and "Make Money Scrapbooking For Others: The Complete Guide to Creating the Career of Your Dreams," a 200-page Super-Success manual. Visit
to read a library of FREE information and get started today!
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