Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sisters are doing it for themselves

I recently went to the Scrapbook Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. It was a high-energy affair with aisles full of scrappers and booths full of beautiful, interesting products. The array of wonderful kits, eye-catching papers and creative stamps and stencils was inspirational.

And aside from one guy who looked like he’d been transported from the Ginzu knife booth at the county fair, it was mostly women.

Quilting and scrapbooking are two industries that seemed to have grown up without the help of big, male-dominated corporations. Many of the businesses are women-owned. Not to say there aren’t men involved in every facet of both industries, but it’s mostly a girl thing. Women are designing fabric, scrapbook paper, and stamps and selling it to their public. Finding their retail niche at conventions, home parties.

It’s exciting to see.

I recently enjoyed former Clinton White House Press Secretary DeeDee Myers’ book, “Why Woman Should Rule The World.” Her thesis is that women react differently, based on their experiences and emotions, than men, and that the world will become a very different place as women take on roles of leadership. Not instead of men, but alongside.

I wonder if we can learn anything from the quilting and scrapbooking world. There are stories of bitchy women, of quiltzillas, as Mark Lipinski dubbed the worst of them. But there are thousand examples of businesses, begun by women, that have been successful in the long term. Women own the majority of scrapbooking stores and quilt stores, and are making these industries grow.

When I speak to the general public about my books, people are slightly puzzled by the idea of a craft mystery. How do you kill someone with a rubber stamp, someone will ask. I explain that the craft is merely the world that the characters live in. And then I hit them with the facts, the number of people, worldwide, that are involved in these crafts. They’re always astounded when I tell them how big these industries are. Unless they have a quilter or scrapbooking taking over every available piece of spare space in their home, they’re completely unaware.

Quilting is a nearly four billion-dollar industry now. Scrapbooking and stamping are fast approaching that mark. Women’s desires are driving the industry. And women are stepping up to fill the needs.

By the way, I won a door prize at the Stamping Expo. The prize is a home Mini Photo Album Workshop for six people with Linda Sturdivant of Close To My Heart. I’m willing to share my good fortune. If you’d like to be one of the six participants, email me. First come, first serve. It’ll either be at my house or hers. Sorry out-of-towners, that would be in San Jose.


Monica Ferris said...

For the first time there was a scrapbooking category at the crafts competition at the Minnesota State Fair this year. So it is indeed a growing activity.

Camille Minichino said...

Thanks so much for this, Terri. If you have a good reference to more data/info on this (the business end), please let us know.

I also loved Dee Dee Myers book -- wished it had a different title so more people would read it.