Editor’s Note: This post debuts the latest addition to Scrapbook Update’s staff, Stephanie Medley-Rath.
Stephanie’s first post opens discussion on an important topic. As a scrapbooker who participated in the hobby for well over 5 years before the birth of my daughter, I’m very conscious of this industry’s emphasis on child-focused marketing. I hope Stephanie’s post can open a discussion among our community on the topic, and help make industry businesses more aware of what consumers they might be overlooking in their marketing.
I recently wrote an article on my site on child-free scrapbookers, that raised some great discussion. Part of the discussion was over the terminology: should this group be described as childless or child-free? Both are value-laden terms, and both describe people without children by choice (child-free) and by chance (childless). The terminology does not matter nearly as much as the point of the article: people without children scrapbook.
The scrapbook industry does an excellent job zeroing in on the key demographic of new moms as new scrapbookers (and rightly so), but in this quest to convert new moms to scrapbooking, the industry as a whole tends to overlook scrapbookers without children.
The industry needs both groups to continue growing and needs to take care to not alienate either group in the process. Why might the industry need both groups? Scrapbookers without children are:
- More likely to be motivated to scrapbook for reasons other than creating family heirlooms to be passed down to future generations.
- Less likely to be creating scrapbooks to record stories or memories for other people.
- Are more likely to be scrapbooking only for themselves.
Scrapbookers without children are more likely to be intrinsically motivated, which means they will continue scrapbooking as long as they remain intrinsically motivated and feel there is a place for them in the hobby.
People who take up scrapbooking for others (e.g., new moms) may not scrapbook outside of their family responsibilities. This means that once their children grow up or their child’s memories are scrapbooked, they may not continue scrapbooking. The industry hopes that new motherhood serves as an entry point into scrapbooking beyond parenthood, but this does not necessarily happen. In some ways recruiting moms to scrapbooking is somewhat risky because it uses guilt and obligation to motivate scrapbooking rather than intrinsic value.
The industry needs both groups and needs to make sure neither group is alienated. When I interviewed scrapbookers without children who were fairly emeshed in the hobby (i.e., they were aware of the larger industry), they often talked about the magazines with cute kids. They talked of being alienated from the larger industry by this perception that it is moms with kids who scrapbook. They mentioned not fitting in at crops and sometimes even being questioned by other scrapbookers for their participation in the hobby.
The industry needs to work at changing this perception that scrapbooking is just for moms. Many of us (myself included) became scrapbookers way before children were ever considered.
The magazines have a reputation of showcasing cute kids on the covers. Cute kids may sell magazines, but does it sell the hobby? Kids on the covers imply that scrapbooking is a child-centered hobby. As a customer, if I don’t have children and see these magazines, I interpret that to mean that scrapbooking isn’t for me. Other craft magazine covers are not nearly as child-focused. Look at the covers of other craft-magazines: knitting, quilting, or mixed-media.
I don’t suspect the magazines are going to change a whole lot but if you are a business owner, you have the power to make sure both scrapbookers with and without children are welcome in the hobby. When you offer classes, make sure you offer classes that are about children and classes that are about things besides children (e.g., travel, all about me, technique-based). When you promote your business on social media, make sure you include posts to reach both of these markets.
Now might be a good time to do a little brainstorming:
- How are you reaching scrapbookers with children?
- How are you reaching scrapbookers without children?
- What could you do to increase your business’ reach towards scrapbookers with children?
- What could you do to increase your business’ reach towards scrapbookers without children?
What are your best practices for reaching scrapbookers with and without children? Feel free to leave a comment below.
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