A Sad Case of the LSS Blues

I just visited one of the LSS a while back that had moved to a new, bigger location, and seemed to be doing quite well. I was excited about the new location, and their super duper scrapping room. I went back the other night to pick up a few things, and when I pulled up, the store was completely empty.

What's going on people? Are we not supporting our LSSs enough? Are we purchasing too much online where the overhead and operating expenses are less? Is the industry shifting?

I think it's all of the above. In the past five years, the industry has seen a shift. Five to ten years ago one could open a store on the notion of "If you build it they will come." And come they did! For years. Scrapbookers are resourceful by nature, and will seek out stores to supply their habit. However, in the past few years, the market has become saturated. Saturated with product, with stores, with online venues, and magazines.

The major downfall of these small local stores is that they have only focused on people who already scrap. Unfortunately, people fall out of the hobby, they themselves get saturated with product and decide not to buy more, or they just flat out don't make the time anymore. Stores and the industry in general failed to recognize this, and worse, failed to react fast enough. They did not start pulling in new blood. Any industry cannot live on their current market alone. No, they must expand, grow, gain a new audience.

The successful stores are offering classes at the beginner level, as well as intermediate and advanced. They are keeping people coming back time and again. And we all know that once a scrapbooker sets foot in a scrapbook store, they are not getting out of there empty handed. It's a matter of getting to those new scrapbookers. Introducing it to people on a simpler level.

How many times have you heard from a non-scrapper, "It just looks like so much work!" It's true. How would you feel today to pick up a magazine, having never scrapped a day in your life, and see the work therein? Wow. Just imagine how intimidated you'd be. Would you honestly feel like jumping right in? Would you really feel like, "Hey, I can do THIS!" Probably not.

It's discouraging to see it going on, and to know that people who really want to scrap and be a part of the community we share are feeling this way. It's time to reassess and bring the industry back to it's roots. Remember what it was like to start out, and try to assist new scrappers where you can. This community was based on friendship, the preserving of our family memories and heritage, and supporting eachother in our own processes. Let's start at the beginning and introduce people to scrapbooking on a less intimidating level. Or offer to teach a beginners class at your LSS.

Support your local Scrapbook Stores!


Scrapbook Answers Closes It's Doors

It's a sad sad day in the industry. If you have not heard yet, it was announced this week that Scrapbook Answers magazine will close it's doors. November will be their last issue.

I am so saddened by this huge loss in our industry. The magazine was phenomenal. Truly. I saw it as the new industry leader that would set the standard for other magazines within the industry. Thank you to all the staff at SA, for bringing such an amazing, in-depth, honest magazine to our mailboxes every month. I can only hope that other mags will catch on and see what the scrapbookers really want. We don't want just oodles of slick pages with showy scrapbook layouts, we want facts, tips, how-tos, real reviews (Not just lipservice to your advertisers), and honest writing.

What a hole this will leave in my monthly magazine stack. It was the only one I rushed to open and read every month because I knew I'd be rewarded with more than just pretty pages. I knew I'd refer to it time and again for the articles. I still refer to my March issue (I beleive it's March 06) with the fantastic photography lessons. PAGES of them! I was floored when I read them. It has been a real saviour to me every month. A refreshing breath of air.

And now I'm out of breath.


Blueprint Challenge: Oct 2006

Welcome to my new Blueprint Challenge series. I'll post a brand new Blueprint once a month for you to interpret as you choose. Use the Blueprint, then send your pages to BlueMedia for their next Layout Blueprints book! Missed the first one? You can get it here: Layout Blueprints

Mail your entries to :


Please make sure the files are no larger than 100Kb each so that they will be considered for publication. And mark your subject with "October Blueprint Challenge" so that they'll know to open it right away. If you'd like some tips directly from BlueMedia on submitting great layouts, check the "Publisher's Perspective" series on their blog at layoutblueprints.blogspot.com.

This call/challenge ends October 31st. Be sure to have your UNSEEN layouts in to BlueMedia by then! Good luck!

For your convenience, I've made both a 12x12 and an 8x11 version of the Blueprint. Enjoy!