Last summer I attended CHA. I never got all of my semi-prepped posts for CHA finished, and thought in the spirit of Summer 2013 CHA, I would publish what was still relevant.
One of the things I paid attention to as I walked around the floor of CHA was diversity, among both attendees and products. It will surprise no one that attendees were mostly white women. I did not actively count people of color or men, but would love to attend sometime and do such a count. Moreover, some of the men that were present were there because of their wife’s involvement in the industry. Do men need an “in” such as a wife in the industry in order to become part of it? How do men enter the industry compared to women? I don’t really know what to make of it, but it is something to definitely consider.
I also paid attention diversity among the products. After awhile, the lack of diversity made it difficult to differtiate among manufacturers. After you’ve seen one chevron or polka dot print, you’ve seen most of them.
Popular themes at the summer show include Christmas and Halloween. Hanakkuh-themed product was rare and Kwanzaa-themed product was almost nonexistant. The notable exception comes from Lawn Fawn, which debuted a stamp that contained both of the words Hanakkuh and Kwanzaa. This really isn’t a solution to the problem of ignoring holidays celebrated by minorities, but good for the cardmaker who has a diverse set of friends.
There was little focus on niche-groups such as teenagers or retirees. This still surprises me. Teenagers are scrapbooking and will eventually have money to spend on the hobby. Retirees have money to spend on scrapbooking.
No surprise that baby-themed lines were mostly gendered with pinks and blues. The notable exception was Cosmo Cricket’s Baby Jane line. I would love to see some baby-themed lines inspired by the research in Pink & Blue.
Finally, Graphic 45 joins my list of companies I will not buy from due to cultural appropriation. I suppose the paper line in question could be viewed as historic as they tend to use more historical imagery in their lines, but everyone working in the booth wore a kimono. Someone else’s culture is not yours to use as a work uniform or to promote your product.
*Yes, I know the photo is blurry. I was attempting to take a photo with only employees in it.
And for more about cultural appropriation (different group, but same point):
Overall, the scrapbook industry continues to focus on the mainstream and ignores niche markets (read more here)