Thursday, March 20, 2014

my five faves -- what i look for in a scrapbooking store

I live in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, where we are very lucky to have a large number of excellent scrapbooking stores in or around the city. Each store has its cachet and I love to support all of them (as much as my budget allows... hmmm did I say budget????).  :-)

I'm often asked which scrapbooking store I would recommend and, to be perfectly honest, they're all great. There are five elements which I draw me into a scrapbooking store and keep me coming back.

Sometimes a store only has one of these elements. You'll know right away when they're so good at this one thing that it will become your go-to-place for scrappy goodness pretty quickly.

1. The owner
Selling scrapbooking supplies must be a tough business. I see owners working long hours and dealing with tough clients, but their passion always comes through. It's very contagious! If the owner is a scrapbooker, then I feel an immediate connection to them. When the owner is friendly and they want to hear about my projects, I want to stay in their store. When they are more than happy to help, offer advice and give guidance, I'll keep coming back.

My interaction with a scrapbooking store owner is the number one reason why I don't buy much of my scrapbooking supplies online. Yes, I could get these at the same price -- and sometimes cheaper -- online, but the owner makes the experience of going to their store worth the trip every single time.

2. Ordering
Ordering scrapbooking supplies from a scrapbooking store should be easier than trimming paper. It's probably a lot more complicated behind the scenes, but for customers, it really should be easy. All I expect from an owner is to talk me -- let me know the price, let me if you can't bring the product in, let me know if there's a delay, let me know when my order comes in. Most store owners do this naturally and make it so easy peasy for me that I keep ordering from them (sometimes it's too easy!). I do appreciate the planning, the organization and the time that the owner puts into ordering (some store owners will even ship your order to you!) These interactions are also important to keep me from ordering online.

3. The products
Each store offers something a little different. One store in my area specializes in mixed media products, one is a haven for Prima, while another is my go-to stop for Bo Bunny products. With these niches, I know what to expect from a store and where to go when I need just the right item to finish my layout or when I need to browse products and be inspired.

4. The classes
When a scrapbooking store brings in industry big wigs like Anna Dabrowska, Cari Fennell or Donna Salazar, you can bet that I'll be there! Not only do I get to learn from the best, but I also get to play with their products, which the store will carry.

Of course, not every class features a scrapbooking star; sometimes they feature their own design team; and sometimes the owner herself gives classes. Whether they are layout or technique classes, if I learn something new, I will be a big fan of the store.

5. The crops & retreats
Not every scrapbooking store has crops and even fewer offer retreats. Those that do go through a lot of work to bring something special to scrapbookers. I would even go so far to say that they build and strengthen a scrapbooking community. Scrapbooking crops and retreats have helped me make connections with some amazing women, given me the time and space to create and provided me with the time away from the day-to-day buzz.

All this to say that supporting your local scrapbooking store is so important. It's important because you'll get the best scrapbooking products and the best advice. It's important to help you keep on top of trends. It's also important for you to learn more about scrapbooking.

Happy scrapping!

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