Discussion: Is Scrapbooking Fading…Or Not?

Today’s Scrapbook Update guest blogger is Mike Hartnett.

Mike Hartnett, who has been a fixture in the crafts industry for over 30 years, is the publisher of the online crafts industry journal CLN Online. His extensive resume also includes being a former CHA board member and the publisher of Craftrends magazine.

I’d like to ask the Scrapbook Update readers for some help. I’ve been reporting on the overall “craft” business for 30 years, and chronicled the rise and fall of numerous trends – macrame, counted cross stitch, wearable art, dollmaking, decorative painting, and the list goes on. I edited two trade magazines and now publish an online business newsletter, Creative Leisure News. Scrapbooking has been, by far, the strongest, longest lasting trend in the history of the industry. Nothing comes close.

But like many trends, it inspired a number of enthusiasts to open stores. But too many were missionaries, not merchants, and when the initial fervor of the trend cooled, their stores were in trouble. Many closed, pulling down with them a number of small manufacturers who depended on sales to independent retailers.

So when you look around and see that a number of stores have closed, some manufacturers have gone out of business, and a couple of magazines have shut down, it’s easy to conclude that the consumer’s interest in scrapbooking is fading.

But is it? Consider:

1. Perhaps the market is only changing, that consumers have moved to other stores and the Internet.

2. Thanks to the economy, every category in the industry (jewelry-making, knitting, etc.) is seeing their hard core enthusiasts spending less. They’re not crafting less, they’re simply using up what we call their “stash.” That’s probably happening in scrapbooking, too. If consumers are scrapping as much as ever, just not buying as much, then won’t they start buying again when their stash is depleted?

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