“It Costs Me Money to Work in the Industry”: Spending Money on Scrapbooking

This entry is part 58 of 86 in the series Scrapworthy Lives Results

Each Wednesday, I write a post from my dissertation.

Excluding scrapbook business owners, industry workers earn close to minimum wage, commission-only, or a combination of the two in addition to discounted supplies. A running joke among brick and mortar employees is that it costs them more to work in the scrapbook store because much of their earnings on more scrapbooking supplies. Some respondents, however, argue they do save money because they would be buying the merchandise anyway only now they get a discount.

What seems to be happening is that women are working in the industry so that they can spend their own money on their hobby without having to justify their spending to themselves or their partners—though none of my respondents mention this type of tension, it is in line with other research regarding women and work. For example, research on childcare expenses finds that women see childcare expenses as coming out of their paycheck rather than the household’s overall budget (Tahmincioglu 2009). In contrast, men do not seem to be taking a job at the golf course (or whatever the hobby is) to pay for his golf game but instead the expense comes out of the household’s budget (read, his budget).

Do women enter the scrapbook industry to support their hobby? Do men and women conceptualize their household budgets differently? Join the conversation below or on facebook.


Tahmincioglu, Eve. 2009. “Many Moms Assume Burden of Child-Care Costs.” Retreived January 18, 2010.

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  • I asked my husband about this. He has several hobbies that he could make money doing if he wanted to, but he does not want to. His hobbies include construction / home improvement, boating, and music. He said he doesn’t try to make money at any of his hobbies because “all the people he knows doing that don’t make much money” and comparatively, his time is better spent working at his real job.

    I think, perhaps, historically – say going back to cave man days – the men went out and killed big game and then rested and the women worked all the time gathering berries; taking care of kids; and probably taking care of the husbands and preparing the meat for cooking. The men went out and got the big prize so then they could coast. Women had to be thinking of how to be useful all the time and get more value for what they did all the time. So I’m guessing cottage industries like cooking, sewing, day care, house keeping, etc. were things women could do in addition to what they were already doing and get paid for it so that was a bonus, they didn’t need the big pay off.

    Historically men have earned more so I think they have less incentive to try to make money in their spare time; whereas women are just wired to try to be useful all the time – even after we’ve come a long way in the work force. Old habits die hard.

  • Interesting perspective. I hadn’t really thought about the history of cottage industries. That might be part of it. I think part of it also has to do with how men and women think of their incomes and how it can be used in the household.

  • My husband turned his main hobby growing up & now (computers) into a career. For him, the lines of hobby and career can by blury. He has purchased new computers for personal use that then led to a new job in the future. He has had some other side hobbies, but those come and go. My crafting hobby is separate from my career. My husband seems to be more comfortable with both of us spending money on hobbies. I do agree that as a woman that I am more critical of how my time and money are spent. I think of child care as coming “out of my paycheck” even though we keep a joint account. I try to stay on a modest, self-imposed craft budget. Even though my hobby is separate from my career, I know that it helps me overall. Yes, I think that there is motivation for women to enter the industry in some form to help support their hobby. Even as a hobbyist, the idea of being on a deisgn team in exchange for free products is appealing to me as long as I regularly use the products. Direct sales can be part of this too. If you spend enough money with a certain company, it can be worth it for you ro become a consultant/demostrator for a discount. I have not reached that level of spending, but it can still sound appealing.

  • Thanks for sharing! I hadn’t thought about computer hobby–careers. Interesting. I’m really interested in the hourly wage breakdown for design teams, demonstrators/consultants, and other groups of people who are in the industry but are there for discounts or free product.

  • It seems like an hourly wage could be hard to calculate for some. Prepping for classes where you have to pre-cut and group supplies could take a long time. On the other hand, the demonstrator I bought supplies from in the past is currently on a vacation that she earned from being in direct sales. So far, I seem to fit into the industry as a hobbyist/customer. 🙂

  • Oh yes, the behind the scenes work. I did direct sales for 18 months. I only did a couple of parties, but I was surprised by the number of emails I had to manage. And, these weren’t emails from customers but from the company! There was so much information about marketing, product, upcoming sales, and so on. They were also videos to watch.