Tuesday, November 06, 2007

the implosion of the scrapbooking industry

I gave up on competitive scrapbooking about two years ago. I just couldn't compete with new product lines every three months; I was just collecting supplies. I said goodbye to the fifteen-dollar special issues and stopped obsessing over anything scrapbooking...until I found The Blog.

I knew that there was somewhere like this out there. Back in 2002-2003 I met and scrapped with a couple of women who are considered scrapbook "celebrities" and remember the kind of shit that gets talked at crops. You'd have to have your head firmly planted in the sand to think that they don't talk! It was always about whose nanny takes pictures of their charges so their famous scrap-mother can scrap them, who sucks, etc. Not so much who doesn't suck 'cause women are catty.

Back to the implosion: as our disposable incomes dwindled over the past year or two, more and more women got sick of the constant blizzard of new scrapbooking products (some of which really just sucked but we'd buy them anyway) and the new trend of being a "life artist" (that term is a diatribe in itself) and the mutiny began.

First was the saga of "So There Stacy". I always suspected something like this would happen but was shocked that it was the happiest woman alive that fucked up first. STS was followed by the drama of a shitty scrapbooking class by Red Heidi and her sudden exodus to China. I know who these women are and I used to be a fan...not so much anymore.

The next drama that came up had to do with Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame contest, which actually made Newsweek. No shit.

If scrapbooking conjures up images of kindly suburban women passing pictures around the kitchen table, then you don't know the modern hobby. Outraged scrapbookers recently forced the industry's top magazine, Creating Keepsakes, to strip a New York woman of its coveted Hall of Fame title after readers noticed a photo credit on one of her layouts. The rules require all entries to be the "sole work" of contestants. But while Kristina Contes admits that she made a mistake, she blames "petty, jealous women" for bullying contest officials into disqualifying her work. "I mean, it's not like I stole someone's boyfriend," says the 28-year-old restaurateur. "This isn't high school."

But it is a cutthroat business. Scrappers spent $2.6 billion on supplies last year, according to the Craft & Hobby Association, and one in four households contains a scrapbooker, making it more popular than golf. The Hall of Fame award can bring celebrity status, TV appearances and teaching jobs. After Contes declined to return her title voluntarily, irate hobbyists smeared her on blogs and threatened to flood her restaurant with fake reservations. "The b–––h doesn't have a moral bone in her body," wrote a commenter on the Scrap Smack blog. Over on the Creating Keepsakes Web site, angry readers cried cover-up and threatened boycotts when editors deleted unkind comments about the company from the site's discussion boards. "I wanted an explanation," says Noell Hyman, who was among the first to question Contes's work. She got more than that: Contes and another woman whose work was questioned have been replaced in the 25-member Hall of Fame class for 2007. "Women prove time and again that they are ridiculous, vile creatures," says Contes. She plans to retreat from the scissors-and-glue game—but she'll always have the memories.

P.S. The Blog is worth a read just to find out the nicknames that have been thought up for some of these women. Well, if you like that sort of catty shit. ;)


Modern Princess said...

I used to read and post at the Creating Keepsakes bored. I found it a great place when I first started scrapping and was overwhelmed by my local ACMoore. They answered my questions like "What the f do I need glitter for?" Ultimately I wasn't sucked in, and decided to keep things fairly simple. I use only my glue stick for adhesive, and I handwrite 99% of my journaling. The only "extravagant" thing I have is a cricut, with only a couple of cartridges, and thats just cause I'm horrible at/takes too much time to cut things out even with templates.

But I kept reading the Creating Keepsakes board anyway. Then the drama hit with HOF. I stopped reading. Seriously, that was the hugest turn off ever. I bet there were tons of entries whose husband or friend actually took the pictures. Big deal. I'm also sure that 95% of the photos you see in the mags were taken by someone other than the scrapper. Which just makes the rule laughable. Heck, The idea of "celeb" scrappers is laughable.

Anonymous said...

Last January I took ONE scrapbooking class as a favor to my favorite auntie-in-law and was so overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of all scrapbooking things that I never even finished the page I was working on. Yes, I am a scrapbooking quitter!

Laurie (LC)

Zee said...

Hi! I came over from NaBloPoMo. I'm challenging myself to comment on as many blogs as possible this month as well as post.

I had no idea! I've stayed far, far away from scrapbooking because I know if I got sucked in, I'd never get back out. But I didn't even realize what a cut-throat business it can be! It's like I'm seeing the world in a different light!

Happy Posting.

Anonymous said...

Guess what? Hubby bought me (among other things--like a Nano--yay!)Martha Stewart scrapbooking supplies from Michael's. My first thoughts were: a.) I can't imagine my husband in Michael's. b.) Does he know about the 40% off coupon?

WTF? (We traded vehicles- apparently he forgot all about the Michael's bag in the trunk.)

-Laurie (LC)