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3.16.2006

The Scrapbooking Demographic?

A few years ago Creating Keepsakes Magazine commissioned a study to determine what the *average* scrapbooker looks like. What they found was not suprising. The *average* scrapper:

--is 30-50 years old
--is female
--is married
--is a parent
--has a college degree
--scrapbooks for a few hours per month
--owns about $700 worth of scrapbooking supplies

Frankly, I don't know what the value of being *average* is.

Walk into any large crop (large being 100 scrappers or more) and you'll notice a few other "scrapbooker commonalities" right off.

--Scrapbookers speak a different language.
--Scrapbookers tend to be "fluffy".
--Scrapbooker carry cell phones.
--Scrapbookers like to share information.
--Scrapbookers love to laugh out loud.
--Scrapbookers have tons of "stuff".
--Scrapbookers are nosy by nature.

It has been implied by a few on 2Peas that there's something wrong with scrapbooking because it's shared by people who have much in common. Scrapbooking has a wide appeal to a certain demographic. Is there something wrong with that?

There's a book coming out authored by a man that includes some not-so-ordinary scrapbooking topics by some not-so-ordinary scrapbookers. In other words, these scrappers don't fit the mold, they aren't the usual scrap-demographic. Allegedly, this issupposed to put the book on "the cutting edge" and make scrapbooking appeal to a wider audience. Unfortunately, the PR for the book has been handled in a such a way that it makes an "us or them" statement.

We are a cretive group. We value art and photos and stories. Why does it matter if a fellow scrapper looks like me? Does it matter if their family unit is different than mine? I don't think it does. It's a non-issue. I can be inspired by pages that I find appealing, regardless of whether or not the creator fits into the normal scrapbooker demographic. Many of the "names" in scrapbooking are part of the LDS church, but on the flip side, many are not. Why is that a problem? Honestly, I don't think it is.

I have long held that every person (scrap demographic or not) has a story that is worthy of being told. That thought hasn't changed. For me, this book will not be judged on the type of people who contributed to it, but by the work involved. If the styles used are appealing, the book may have a shot on my very short list. If not, it won't.

I don't take kindly to the blind accusation that if this book doesn't sell well, it must be because it's so "out of the ordinary" and because it doesn't embrace the scrapbooking usual--births and birthdays, kids and pets. Sorry. That's the nature of the book business. It's always a long-shot.

If you don't appeal to the mainstream, don't expect mainstream success. Sometimes the "cutting edge" can be a slippery, dangerous place. Approach with care.

3 comments:

Adrienne " A little dramatic at times" said...

WOW! Love this entry!!!!

Gwyn said...

Interesting observations. I was supposed to send something to that book, but life got away from me. I do agree with you that we should celebrate the commonalities instead of taking sides, but I also see the value in making sure that some of those folks who are not represented in the hobby are seen.

The world will be a wonderful place when people no longer look for "niches," but look to celebrate the niches all of us occupy, scrapping or other endeavors. I certainly agree with your overall points. It's just that I can also see the need to bring others into the spotlight who might be left out of the "mainstream" mags.

Debby said...

I only fit two of those demographics age and female. And I must say that I'm really out of the ordinary I'm sure because I don't really "get into" the whole shebang. I've always been my own person and not very often tempted by the "in" thing or mainstream stuff. I do what I do for my own reasons and for the most part do it with the simple things I have. I must say that I'm very fortunate to have fallen in with our small group because they let me be me without judging. They let me play with their gadgets if I have the whim, they listen to my contribution in conversations without prejudice. Just because I'm a relative newcomer or because I'm single and have no children and work in an office every day, I still feel valued for who I am and that it doesn't really matter. And that is what is priceless to me about this hobby (one of many I have, by the way) and the people I enjoy doing it with. Thanks Sarah for your welcoming nature and the friend you've become.