We know the craft industry, more specifically, scrapbooking, has been in trouble for a few years. Stores are closing, magazines are shutting down, and companies are going out of business. It's not really anything NEW, seeing as we've been in this funk for, what, 6 or 7 years now? I would say the decline started in 2007…
I heard about this article from a friend at a crop this weekend and then I saw a few posts about it on Facebook. Four more craft product manufacturers closing their doors.
I had heard about the posts on Marah Johnson's Facebook timeline and had taken a look at them and made a few comments myself last month. It's sad. At first I didn't think that kind of thing should be played out on social media but then again, what options does someone have left when they feel the rug has been pulled out from under their business and livelihood? I can't blame Marah. She is a passionate artist and this is her life's work and her income that is being affected – when you're a business owner (or in a relationship with one) the business really is part of who you are and your life. It IS a personal attack when someone attacks or damages your business.
I loved Splash of Color back when it was Creative Imaginations. Their lines with Helen Dardik were my favorites, followed by anything Samantha Walker designed. Right around the time they became Splash of Color, my interest waned. I got confused by their giant booth at CHA that year and then had a hard time following what they were doing – I didn't see any more lines from my favorite designers. I already get overwhelmed and easily distracted at the shows so it was easy to pass by their booth. I kind of lost track of what they were doing except for the posts I saw from Marah.
I never really dealt much with Canvas Corp but at one point in time I was an Educator for Tattered Angels, back before they were bought by Canvas Corp. ** please note Canvas Corp has filed bankruptcy but has not announced closures 4-16-14 **
I only ever dealt with GCD Studios through Donna Salazar. I had one interaction with Heidi Sonboul in her position with the company – my overall impression of the company was, at best, neutral. Their paper was kind of weird – I never really like the texture and thin feel of it and it didn't react with ink as well as I would like.
I was really excited about Lily Bee when they came out and I applied for their Design Team. I remember I bought the product from TwoPeas because it was required to use their paper (I think they only had two lines out at the time) to try out. It was the first and only time I have ever purchased paper for a call and I did not make it. I remember being brushed off by them at CHA in their booth later that year when I came in to place an order. I didn't place the order.
Why am I telling you about my relationships and experiences with these companies?
Because I won't miss them. That sounds terrible! It isn't in a mean way – I just wasn't a customer of theirs. I did not buy their products and they weren't on my radar.
Is it because I had too many choices? I certainly am not wanting for product – I mean I am happy with the paper choices I have, with the ink I buy… I don't need anything from these companies. It isn't that I don't like their products (well, except for GCD's paper), it is more that I had so many choices and only so much money/need for product, that I just didn't have the attention to give.
Is that why these companies went under? Do we have too many choices?
The other day, I had a conversation with several other ladies in my area about grocery stores closing. We lost all of our Ralph's stores and have one Vons and one Albertson's left. Fresh & Easy closed. For a while there were grocery stores on almost every corner, some intersections with 2-3 grocery stores on them. We now have Stater Bros., two WinCo locations, a smattering of Latino grocery chains, and Super Walmart or Super Target. Indoor Swap Meets or other stores (not grocery stores) have opened in most of the empty stores. I never really shopped Albertson's or Ralph's so it was no big deal to me. But Fresh & Easy closing was awful for me – I shopped there all the time! Why did all these stores close? There aren't fewer people. And, unlike crafts, people still have to eat every day – eating isn't a luxury. At any rate and for whatever reason, we have fewer choices.
I felt that way about scrapbook stores – like maybe having 2-3 stores in a single city was kind of overkill and not sustainable. That was just too many for the current number of crafters to shop at and keep open. But now it seems there are too few!
The same with scrapbooking paper companies. I felt like from 2007-2010 there were a ridiculous number of companies with more coming out all the time! There was no way to keep them all straight and no way for enough people to buy enough paper to keep them operating. But now they are closing down or being absorbed by larger companies …
At the end of the day, it is sad that people are losing their livelihoods when they have to close their business. It is sad that someone who had a dream to have a scrapbooking or craft company has to close their doors. But if you never shopped there or bought their stuff, do you even notice if they close? Do we still have enough choices for products that we won't feel the loss? At what point will the industry hit the bottom and we'll get a respite from closures? I hope it is soon. Because that means the only way left is up. And that will be a good day!