Selling Scrapbook Supplies

This entry is part 54 of 86 in the series Scrapworthy Lives Results

Each Wednesday, I write a post from my dissertation.

 

People who work in the scrapbook industry see their way of selling[1] the product as superior to the alternative. I was surprised to find that industry workers overall had little knowledge about their competitors. One reason for this is because industry workers shopped for supplies where they were both convenient and less expensive due to their employee discount. I bought very little outside of the store I worked. Industry workers have little motivation to seek out scrapbook supplies elsewhere. Most direct sellers did not use brick and mortar stores and most brick and mortar workers had never been to a direct selling event. Very few purchased scrapbook supplies online (though I’m sure this has changed since these interviews took place due to the closure of local scrapbook stores and the increase in people shopping online in general). Their unfamiliarity with the competition strengthened the differences in their mind between direct selling companies, brick and mortar stores, and online stores. The main differences among these different types of scrapbook suppliers can be thought of in terms of variety, exclusivity, and limitations.

Variety

Brick and mortar stores are known for carrying a wide variety of product from a variety of vendors. Online stores are able to carry even more product than offline scrapbook stores because they do not have the overhead costs allowing them to have an even larger variety of product in-stock. Online stores can spend more money on inventory compared to brick and mortar stores and direct sellers.

Exclusivity

Direct selling companies offer products that may not be found elsewhere or they may sell products made by them and also some products from other manufacturers made exclusively for them. For example, Creative Memories carries exclusive products, but they also now carry a line of exclusive Cricut cartridges. These products can only be purchased through Creative Memories.

Limitations

Scrapbook stores and online stores have more product diversity than direct selling companies because direct sellers are individuals who have to store their inventory in their home. Direct sellers tend to emphasize their company’s superior products and the fact that customers get them (i.e., the consultant). What direct sellers can’t offer in terms of inventory selection, they make up for in superior products and personal contact.

Conclusion

I did not set out to compare these different forms of selling scrapbook supplies and how supplies are sold has changed quite a bit since the industry became “an industry.” Unlike other industries, scrapbooking has a had a strong direct selling component. I’m left with more questions than answers about these different selling methods.

Do you work in the industry? Do you know what is going on with competing ways of selling scrapbook supplies? Join the conversation below or on facebook.

Photo by Sara Grafton. Sara can be found at 1200 Some Miles, @SaraGrafton on Twitter and on Pinterest.


[1] I interviewed industry workers from three different brick and mortar stores, two direct selling companies, and one online store.

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Stephanie

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  • Interesting!  As a customer, I have bought from all of the sources you discussed.  The supplies shown were purchased from a local scrapbook store and a big box craft store.  Recently, I just received an order from a Direct Seller since they had some items I’ve wanted on sale.  

  • Thanks for commenting (sorry for the delay, at a conference and the semester just started). Right now, I think I buy from everyone. I don’t buy much from direct sellers (I just don’t have a local rep for anything).

  • P.S. do you have anything on scrapbooking yardsales. I usually buy things at these yardsales and spend between $10-60 typically. I am thinking of selling at the next one but am thinking it might be more trouble than its worth –

    1. One side of me says, think small just get a table and bring a small amount of things and maybe use that money to buy other things while I’m there – sort of like a swap.

    2. Another side says, go full barrel and try to sell a ton of things and have a goal of making $500, downside to this is the amount of work that would need to go into the purging and organizing process / upside would be a major purge.

    3. Yet another side of me says skip the selling, just go and be social and limit myself to say, $30 of spending.

    What do you think?! Of course I’m leaning towards one extreme or the other, but I’m undecided and its coming up soon so I need to decide.

  • I’m to the point in my life that I can actually use donations as tax deductions, so I just go with a tax deductible donation and skip the selling. But then again, it depends on the location. Do people get rid of a lot of what they sell? Then it might be worth it. I’ll take kid’s clothes for example. I consigned some stuff in a store about 30 minutes from me. I had one trip to drop off and one trip to pick up. I only made 60 bucks and came home with two bags of stuff that didn’t sell. To me, that wasn’t worth the time or effort. Now, I just donate the clothes. I would talk to other sellers or just go small and see what happens. If it goes well, then go big next time. Good question.