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The Importance of Community in Scrapbooking

Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Lain Ehmann joins us today to talk about how to regain cropping community in our lives. As someone who used to work in a local scrapbook store who now lives 60 miles from the nearest store, this topic particularly resonates with me.  – Nancy

I have a confession to make – I missed CHA this year. I didn’t go to Chicago last week, nor did I head out to Anaheim in January. And sure, I was bummed about missing the press room freebies and seeing all the new goodies (can someone please send me some Cosmo Cricket Pixie-Licious NOW!!???), but what REALLY bummed me out was missing my friends. Now that I can’t hang at the local scrapbook store, my scrapping pals are spread around the globe, and one of the few times we get together is at industry events like CHA.

Things were different when I started scrapbooking almost a decade and a half ago. Sure, the cute papers and stickers were a huge allure, but what was almost more important was the fact that once a week or so I could pack up my stash and head to the late-night crop at my home-away-from-home, Picture Passion, in Campbell, CA.

Now, I’m as guilty as the next gal when it comes scooping up an online cheapie deal or heading to the big-box retail craft store for my adhesive and stamp pad fix. But without the local scrapbook store, where can you go to share your latest obsession with ribbon roses? Where can you go to bemoan the loss of yet another print magazine? Where can you go to get advice on everything from die-cutting systems to dandruff? (Okay, I admit it, I’ve never asked for advice about dandruff, as that’s one personal hygiene issue I haven’t had to face. But I wanted some alliteration there and couldn’t think of anything that started with a “d,” so I went with it. Poetic license, and all that!)

Yes, the demise of the local scrapbook store in many areas has meant that there are fewer places for scrapbookers to congregate en mass, at least physically. But there are still awesome places where you can get that same feeling of camaraderie and support. If you want to hang with the scrappers, try one of these options:

-Meetups. Go to meetup.com, enter your town and the keyword “Scrapbook” and locate other scrapbookers in your area who are meeting regularly to rock the paper. A quick search for my zip code showed no fewer than 22 groups within 25 miles of my home! Wowzers! Who knew?

-Online stores. Whether your specialty is digi scrapping (head to Oscraps.com or DesignerDigitals.com) or general scrapbooking (Scrapbook.com or TwoPeasInABucket.com), many online stores have vibrant communities associated with them. While it’s not quite the same as the all-night crops at your local scrapbook store, it’s got the benefit of being there 24/7, 365 days a year.

-Online subscription communities. With the plethora of free communities online, you may be wondering why you’d want to pay to join a membership community. Well, as they say, membership has its privileges! Subscription-based communities (such as Paperclipping.com, which has a membership option, and my new site, ScrapHappy.org, which focuses on quick and easy scrapbooking) often offer exclusive benefits and resources for their members such as projects, videos, resources, and more.

-Education-based sites. BigPictureScrapbooking.comGetItScrapped.com, and JessicaSprague.com are all fantastic education sites that also offer community support around their classes. You can learn and connect all in one place.

The upshot: There’s no reason to be scrapping alone these days – unless you want to! If you’re in need of companionship, you don’t even have to drive the five miles to the local scrapbook store; you can log on, sign in, and immediately start kvetching – or creating. Your choice.

Want to stay up-to-date on all the latest scrapbook news?


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28 Responses to The Importance of Community in Scrapbooking

  1. Icecat62 August 6, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    I do sign up for all sorts of online classes, your LOAD for example, but nothing beats hanging out with people at a table and clipping your papers while chit chatting about anything and everything. At the Creating Keepsake Convention, I had fun in all the classes I went to because every person in the room was there to learn new techniques and share their love of scrappin’ and card making. I really miss the three, yes that’s three, LSS that closed these past two years. Thank God for a friend of mine who still likes to crop and thank God for the online scrapping communities that keep me motivated to put paper and embellies together with photos to make lasting memories.

  2. Dawnll August 6, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    I have a small “studio” that I love to share with my friends- nothing special but it is comfortable and everyone can spread out and we can share our love of crafting.

  3. Renee J. August 6, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    Icecat, I totally agree with what you posted. Thanks, too, Lain, for your great insight. I appreciate all the information that you shared.

    I miss my LSS that just closed at the end of May. Wow, they were our friends for over 10 years.

    I will certainly look into the suggestions made here. I am lucky that my daughter also scraps. She is my scrappin’ buddie for sure.

    BIG thanks to you, Nancy, for Scrapbook Update. I love it!!

  4. Jersey Girl Anne August 6, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    I miss my LSS so much. The owners were wonderful people and I would go there at least once a week just to talk and encourage them in their buisness and then,of course,I would have to buy all the new stuff!!! My local big box craft store tried to have crops on Friday nights but who wants to scrap from 5p to 8p when the store closes?!? Thanks Lain for all the info in this post!

  5. Betsy Burnett August 6, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

    I am blessed to have a store about 15 minutes away but can’t always “leave the house” (I have just too much stuff to pack) so I started having friends over once a month! I love just being able to talk about “girl stuff” while the kids play. While waiting for crop day I do play online with friends at various sites and love it!

  6. LindaBabe August 7, 2010 at 6:13 am #

    Lain, thanks for giving voice to what I have so often felt – That was the most difficult thing about losing our LSS – Memory Lane, your scrapbooking store – now 3 years ago! I drive 130 miles to scrap with friends two states away. It’s not the same.

  7. R. Stafford August 7, 2010 at 6:21 am #

    Where I live, there are a few organized crops throughout the fall, winter and spring. Through the summer, I have a very small group of friends at my home every Saturday we can make it to scrap. Plus, last week, for the first time, My Ohio cousins and I scrapped the night away on Skype. Now that was new for me and a load of fun. Would like to have had one more person at my end, but it worked anyway. We plan another one sometime this month. I am looking forward to it.
    This is the best part of scrapbookig. Comraderie. It is still alive and well, at least on the East Coast of Canada. I have an LSS about 50 miles either side of my town, but don’t get there often. Do have the big M store in town, but only use that when absoluty necessary. I confine most of my Scrappy shopping to a once a year trip to Family in Ohio. Again it is a blast.

  8. Chanele August 7, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    If you do have a local scrapbook store in your area, be sure to support them!

  9. Susan / PaperCrafters Corner August 7, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    We have loads of actual “in person” events listed on our website!

  10. Mary August 7, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    I too miss all the LSS we used to have in Michigan. There is almost nothing left in the state. What is here is about 2 hours away from me…….not feasible for a Friday night crop. I used to work in a LSS and it was so frustrating to try and excite people about the store. The customers wanted everything either cheap……or for free. They didn’t want latest and greatest product……they wanted intricate classes but didn’t want to pay any more than 5.00 for a class fee……..and they wanted to crop for free without making any purchases while they attended the crop.
    Sadly we just weren’t able to compete with the discount stores and the store owner lost her passion for the business and eventually closed. I have seen this repeated throughout my area of the state.

    We have one big crop weekend held at a resort about 4 1/2 hours away from me. It usually draws about 300 people. Not very personable…….but a way to spend the weekend doing some power cropping.

  11. Lindsay Ostrom August 7, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    As one of the “Old Ladies” of this community, i too feel the same way as you. But like Hillary Clinton says… “it takes a village” and i think that village is us. I have worked in this community as one of the first stores in the industry to carry scrapbooking supplies and educating my customers as to what it was to scrapbook, i put on one of the first conventions for the community, helped create a wholesale line of products, authored books for consumers and now… have come full circle and am still doing much of the same. I work in a craft store where i continue to educate the comsumers and they love it! There are still lots of interested folks out there that want to scrapbook… or play with paper crafts ( what we lovingly call it these days), who want to take classes, who pack the room to find out the new goodies i found at CHA and frequent my blog to see all the pictures of what’s new. The community has changed… but is not forgotten. As long as we all keep the word out there, continue to create new ideas and products and most importantly… educate the world. It’s just up to us…. It takes a village to create a comunity. We all just need to support our villages and take great care of it’s community members!

  12. Renee T (italgal on BPS) August 7, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    Great suggestions in your article for meeting up with like-minded scrappers, which I intend to further explore after I post. I was a Yankee transplant in western Kentucky for 10 years, and made many of my friendships at LSS and Creative Memories crops. I miss that connection SO MUCH! We moved to our current location 3 years ago, and – in that time – 3 LSS stores have closed, and I have no access to nearby direct marketing consultants of any kind. I thank my lucky stars for the general online community, but, still, it’s not that same as a good, old-fashioned crop…

  13. EJ August 7, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    I am one of the fortunate people who still has a LSS which has a vibrant local community. I come from the UK and we jokingly say that the reason I now live in MA is because the girls at the store (both staff and customers) wouldn’t let me leave. I have found friendship and support through this wonderful community. It is appreciated by all that these are hard times and that there is a true need to support our local SS but it does work both ways the store has to recognize what the customers want and ensure that there is a regular income of new product. My store has tried very hard to do this. They hold regular crops and events along with an annual “big” crop which brings people from afar. There are clubs to join on an annual bases which gives members various small benefits like the free use of the classroom. Some of us have recently realized that this is something we should take advantage of and regularly meet for a “play date” of course we never leave without having made a purchase however small but in doing so are giving our support. I have also noticed that when we are there many of the tourists that visit are interested in what we are doing which often leads to more sales!

    As Lindsay says it is like a village community which needs everyone to keep alive.

  14. Kathleen R August 7, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    I have the perfect solution. I can agree that scrap stores are closing. But I can’t agree with not being able to get a group of people together and find a place to scrapbook. You got past the biggest hurdle – finding/making time to do it.

    I work for Close To My Heart. I know tons of our consultants who do or would LOVE to run a group in their homes or library or church and have you buy their new products! (If you are close to Detroit, please let me know.) How refreshing it would be to have someone come looking for us and asking us to host a group – but it’s WHAT WE DO! We want to host groups. We want to have fun! Look us up on the Close To My Heart website consultant locator.

    To answer the question of other products, most of us are open to sharing and enjoy seeing non-CTMH products also. But we do appreciate you being respectful of this being a business for us.

    • Kathleen R August 7, 2010 at 11:32 am #

      I should correct that to say that I am an independent consultant for Close To My Heart.

  15. Gab August 7, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    Great article, thanks Lain!

  16. Alison Kirk August 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    Great article and very true that you need somewhere to meet and chat with like minded people.

    I decided to do that about 18 months ago and started a Scrapbooking Class in our local town, about 13 miles from Belfast, where I could pass on my passion and love of Scrapbooking. I did find it quite difficult to find a place that had parking and within a price range that we could afford to pay. My local church was not really interested and I was very dissappointed about that as I had been a member all my life but prayers can be answered we just need to be a little patient.

    We don’t have any stores in our town and travel over 10miles to find a few but they are all worth the drive and are run by friendly and dedicated owners who are willing to pass on the newest arrivals at as low a cost as possible. It is hard to beat the feel of paper and being able to look at all the new ranges in the ‘flesh’ so to speak!
    As I said before prayers can be answered and I now run my class in my Barn at home as it was sitting vacant and was large enough and more convenient for me. I have small classes most night with all ages ranging from 6 to 70+. I really love providing the place to craft and of course the ear to listen.I also keep up to date with online classes and CHA news but for us we still love the chance to chat and craft and of course keep the passion going.

  17. Mary August 7, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    I briefly worked for a LSS a few years ago. It was so sad that we couldn’t get people excited about the store, crops or classes. The customers wanted everything cheap or free. If it didn’t match th box stores in price they wouldn’t buy the product. They wanted free crops without making any purchases in the store during the crop. The most frustrating was the fact that people wanted fabulous mini album and card classes with tons of extra goodies for no more than $5.00 per class. Sadly the owner of the store became disillusioned and closed the store. I have seen this repeated many times where I live. The few LSS left in my state are about 2 hours away……not very convienent for a Friday or Saturday night crop. The best I am able to do is twice a year drive 4.5 hours north to a resort that hosts a 300 people weekend crop. Not very personal…..but it gives me a chance to work on my projects for a few days without being interrupted by family.

  18. Mary August 7, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    In response to Kathleen R. I am someone that uses all kinds of scrapbooking products. It has been my experience in the past that some CM and CTMH consultants are more than happy to host crops…..but they only want their products used at those crops. I know that not all consultants are that way…..but I have encountered a few in the past few years that have taken me aside when I have arrived at their crops and told me that they would prefer I not bring my alternative papers, inks, stamps, embellishments to their gatherings.
    I’m fine with that……I know they are running a business. It is just helpful to know up front if a consultant is open to all kinds of scrapbooking products or not at their crops

    • Kathleen R August 11, 2010 at 10:11 am #

      Mary, that’s specifically why I mentioned that. I know there are some, but I want people to know that there are also some who really love scrapbooking and true scrapbooking keeps the element of sharing! There are situations where I would not invite someone back, for instance “announcing” to my group how awful the products are or how they can get them cheaper at some other store. Or if they abuse the use of my products by never bringing their own or buying any of their own. These are rather typical situations, unfortunately. But I don’t think people realize how detrimental they are (at least I HOPE they don’t – I’d hate to think they were TRYING to ruin my business!) LOL Personally, I visit and support not only one, but two, three LSS on regular occasion and several others on rare occasion.

  19. lisa August 7, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    I agree with one of the early comments – support your LSS. I recently visited Pawley’s Island, SC, a town that is thisbig. Its about 30 minutes south of Myrtle Beach, 70 miles north of Charleston. I told the owner, I was expecting them to a) be closed for business or b) have junk. Man! Was I ever surprised and WRONG. They have a ton of new products, things my Archivers can’t/won’t get. I spent a ton of money in there and was happy to do so.

    Once or twice a year, I meet my closest scrapping buddy in Charlotte, NC, about a 4 hour drive from home. There are at least 2 stores between here and there and I try to hit them both to help keep them in business.

    I do crop at Archiver’s (who just changed their format) but I have a nice space at home as well. Do I want my freinds coming over? Not really (nor would my husband). If we lost that store and couldn’t crop, there are a couple ladies I would totally lose touch with because that’s all that is keeping us connected at this point.

    Love Nancy’s site and am so glad I found it.

    • Nancy Nally August 9, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

      Thanks so much Lisa! Glad you like Scrapbook Update!

  20. Carrie MacGillis August 8, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    In Michigan we are working hard to maintain a sense of community by supporting the local scrapbooking stores. I am the Editor of Michigan Scrapbooker magazine and we distribute our FREE publication in the local stores in an effort to help them succeed. We also offer advertising opportunites that help the businesses reach their ideal target audience. We have a free calendar of events and opportunities to network on our Facebook page. We don’t want to see the scrapbooking community disappear so we are working together towards this goal. If you would like to see a copy of Michigan Scrapbooker, let me know!

  21. Vicki August 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    I so miss having Real Life Scrapping friends!! Online friends are fun but the interaction is almost as important as the glue and paper to our hobby!!

    I have never walked in a scrapbook store and not spent money!! I beleive that each of them has something alittle different to offer and I want to keep them in business. Its sad that there isn’t a way to support them all!

  22. Mary August 9, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    In response to Carrie……..I am familiar with your publication. I have found it very informative. Unfortunately many of the stores you feature are on the opposite side of the state from me. When I am on the east side of the state I do try to stop in at a few of the LSS…..but that might be once or twice a year. I hope that some day the economic environment will prompt new stores to open up closer to where I live.

    • Kathleen R August 11, 2010 at 10:13 am #

      It’s funny, but when I read it, I see that there are a lot of stores on the West side of the state! LOL

  23. Jodee August 12, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    Good article Lain but I’m afraid I have to disagree with a couple of points. First let me say, I really enjoy the online communities I participate in. They can be fun, I learn a lot, and they are there all the time. But, I guess I disagree with your push at the end of your article to go to online sites and use them to replace your local stores/friends. As an employee of an LSS, I say, please don’t. Please support your local store.community as much as possible. Even if you can’t purchase a lot or regularly, go in and say Hi. Check out the new products. Give the store owners your support and praise even if you can’t spend anything. If they don’t hold a crop or classes and you are interested, see if you can start one up. Often these places want to do these things, but feel there is no interest. Or, they just don’t know where to start. And if you are a store owner or employee, get people excited! If you are excited and interested, the customers will be too. And they will keep coming back, and they will bring others! Please don’t replace your LSS experience with online. They both have their place in our lives and our communities but in order for our stores/mom and pop shops to survive, we need to support their efforts! Thanks!

    • Nancy Nally August 13, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

      Jodee, Lain’s article is in no way intended to discourage people from visiting local scrapbook stores and participating in the communities there. She is trying to address the needs of scrapbookers who live in communities where there are no scrapbook stores – the many places where scrapbook stores have closed and gone away, leaving scrapbookers nowhere to naturally congregate together and do their learning. For instance, in my community it is now 60 minutes to the nearest operating scrapbook store – way too far to visit regularly or really take part in a social community at it.

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