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Author Archive | Lain Ehmann

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.

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Social Media and its Impact on the Scrapbooking Industry

Lain Ehmann thumbnailToday Lain Ehmann joins Scrapbook Update as our guest blogger.

Lain Ehmann is CEO and co-founder of Ella Publishing Co. A former “Simple Scrapbooks” contributing editor, she is the author of “Snippets: Mostly True Tales from the Lighter Side of Scrapbooking.” She blogs at Five Things.

Why can’t we all get along?

American Crafts buys Pebbles, Inc. Rhonna Farrer, Heidi Swapp, and Janet Hopkins band together to create House of Three. Colorbok buys Heidi Grace from Fiskars. In addition to creating an entertaining game of corporate musical chairs to observe, mergers and partnerships like these say that the time of cooperation is at hand for the scrapbooking industry.

Social media is ushering in a new era of interactivity between companies, even those who appear to be at odds with each other. The Internet is such big property that one company or entity can’t cover it all, and the only way to make an impact is to team up. A great example of this is our very own Nancy Nally working with Noell Hyman of Paperclipping. Instead of viewing each other as competitors, they’ve teamed up to bring a very valuable – and fun! – resource to the scrapbooking community via Paperclipping News Break.

An area where I’ve seen rampant and impressive RAKs (random acts of kindness, for the uninitiated) is in the digital scrapbooking arena. In my experience, digital designers go above and beyond to promote other digital designers. For example, in a recent article for Ella Publishing Co.’s Scrapbook Ellaments eZine, digital designer Jodie McNally sang the praises of Paislee Press. “When I’m in need of a perfectly precise, quirky quote… I go straight to Paislee Press,” she writes. It reminds me of the scene in “Miracle on 34thStreet” when Macy’s gained tons of great press when their Santa Claus forwarded children on to competitors when the toy they wanted couldn’t be had in-store. Not to call “Scrooge,” but when’s the last time you heard Stampin’ Up! sending people over to Close to My Heart?

Speaking of good ole’ Stampin’ Up!, they’ve been taking quite a beating lately. When they mandated that their demonstrators sever Internet ties with non-SU entities, the backlash was swift and immediate, with many demonstrators choosing to lay down their Stampin’ Up! aprons rather than forsake their friendships. The statement was clear: Consumers, employees, and industry bystanders have seen the power of connection and aren’t willing to relinquish their personal or professional networks in favor of corporate short-sightedness. And they shouldn’t have to.

Despite the economic realities of our times, the scrapbooking pie is a large one. Rare is the consumer who uses exclusively one product line; most have scrap rooms where Fiskars punches are used on Bazzill cardstock, and Fancy Pants patterned paper co-exists peacefully on the shelf next to Piggy Tales. It’s time for the manufacturers to realize the next generation is about interaction and support, not exclusivity and isolationism.

For manufacturers and designers who want to make their way in today’s social media but don’t know how, here are a few starting points:

Twitter. Open a Twitter account and freely offer your expertise and support to those around you – yes, even to your competitors! If that’s too big a step, start with companies or designers who sell complementary products rather than competing ones.

Facebook. Become a Facebook fan of a competitor. When you do so, the news is relayed to your entire network – what a powerful statement of solidarity!

Blogs. Mention a cool product you saw from a competitor on your blog. Go over to their blog and leave a supportive comment. Or in your next tutorial, use products from a competitor and give them credit. Instant karma boost!

To me, the future is clear: Those who pair up and work together will prosper, while those who insist on going it alone will suffer and eventually die off. Survival for all of us in this global economy, in this recession, depends on partnerships. After all, if you Tweet in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make any noise?

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