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Scrapbooking is putting together photos and keepsakes of a special event in a gorgeous album for people to treasure.
In the US, scrapbooking is huge – it’s a $2.5 billion a year industry – and it’s becoming more popular here, too.
Although some might think they are a bit kitsch and cheesy, the increasing demand for chic and classic presentation of photos and memories from special events means you really could make money scrapbooking. People want something elegant to remind them of their wedding, christening or other special event.
Embellishments like stickers, buttons, ribbons, wallpaper, flowers and photo-safe pens are great for decorating the pages of your scrapbook. You don’t need to use all of these; just whatever you think suits your page best. But do get creative and make the most of any materials you might have lying around. The more you can recycle materials, the cheaper it will be to make each scrapbook.
Photo-safe double-sided tape is probably the easiest adhesive to use, but some people do use glue sticks.
There are loads of supply sites that offer discount offers for members or ‘hobbyists’, but if you’ve got to pay a hefty membership fee to get your hands on them, it’s probably not worth it.
Don’t spend too much at first – get your basics from Lakeland, Hobbycraft, Craftystuff, Glittermonster, ArtyMiss, Liz’s Crafts or Handyhippo, or have a look for some bargains on eBay and then select and buy embellishments according to the theme of the scrapbook you’re making.
The easiest way to get started is to pick a theme for your scrapbook – for example, the first year of your child’s life. Each page of the scrapbook could represent a month within that year, for example.
The album should tell the chronological story of their first year – so the first page would be pictures of them coming home from the hospital, their six-month-old page could be when they learned to crawl, and so on.
Once you’ve chosen the photos you’d like to use, decide on a layout before you actually glue anything down. For inspiration go to Amazon, where you can find helpful books like The Amazing Page: 650 Scrapbook Page Ideas and The Scrapbooker’s Guide to Business: What You Need to Know Before You Invest by Kathy Steligo.
There are also loads of websites with tips for potential layout. Check out the Everything About Scrapbooking pages to get you started. For extra help visit expertvillage on YouTube for a video of how to layout your pages – this is a fantastic resource for beginners.
Each page is essentially a piece of card wrapped in coloured paper. Card is important because it supports the photos and makes sure that they don’t get bent in the album. A small guillotine is the best way to accurately cut pages, whilst scissors are best for more detailed cutting.
The coloured paper is the background that your photos will be displayed against, so opt for plain as patterned paper can look too busy and distract from your photos. Photo-safe double-sided tape is probably the easiest adhesive to use, but glue-sticks can also work.
Before you glue any photos, practice placing them first and make sure you like the layout. Only start sticking them in when you are completely happy.
Once you’ve made your first scrapbook, you should have a better idea of the time it takes and how much it costs. You need to calculate a cost price per page, including the cost of your time and all the materials, and then add on a mark-up to ensure a profit.
Use this figure as the lowest price per page that you initially offer. Once you’ve got better at producing pages you can charge more, but when you are just getting started it makes sense not to add too much profit. This will help you offer competitive and attractive prices.
Once you’ve got your prototype and you’ve done your costing, you can start trying to sell your skills.
Word of mouth is going to be your best and cheapest advertising, so get the word out there. Offer to do a couple of pages of a scrapbook for your friends for free and tell them that if they like it, you’ll finish it for a fee. Show them your prototype and talk to them about the materials you can use to theme each page and make a scrapbook that they can really treasure.
If friends are pleased with the results, ask them to show their friends (or just keep the scrapbook on the coffee table) and hopefully, once word spreads, customers will start coming to you.
Always make sure you consult with your customers to find out exactly what they want. This way they will be really pleased with the results and are much more likely to recommend you to a friend.
You can also advertise your skills on any local noticeboards that are free. Use some of your scrapbooking materials to make a mock-up page that actually advertises your skills. This will give people an idea of your product as well as your contact details.
Include a special offer to grab people’s attention – ‘first two pages free’ or something similar. Put your poster up in your local newsagent’s window or in your local community centre. If you are a PhotoShop whiz, you can construct a scrapbook mock-up page digitally and then post it on scrapbooking forums or on your Facebook page or blog.
Because scrapbooking is still fairly new in the UK, throwing a scrapbooking party is a great way to show your friends and family your skills and the kind of thing you could do with their photos and keepsakes.
A party can also give you a good idea of the kind of things your potential customers might like and how much they’d be willing to pay. There are two ways of doing it:
Allowing people to make a page or two of a scrapbook is of course going to cost more, because you’ll need to buy loads of materials so everyone can have a go. It might also give people inspiration to set up their own business and take potential customers from you.
But it could also make you money, especially if you know your friends like to have a go at something but are unlikely to see the project through themselves. If you’re unsure, stick to the first option and chat to your friends about how you do it and what you could do for them.
If you have been scrapbooking for a while and think you have some tips to share, you could make money by teaching scrapbooking classes. Visit your local arts and crafts shop and suggest a series of in-store demonstrations.
You can theme lessons and talk about wedding scrapbooks, holiday scrapbooks, or different techniques that are easy to do but look great.
You’ll need to negotiate a fee with the shop, but it could be very good for their business, so show them this by doing the first class for free. This will also give you an idea of how much interest there will be and how much you should then charge the shop.
If no one shows up, you won’t be able to charge much, but if your classes are popular you’re then worth a lot of money, so don’t undersell yourself.
Setting up blogs is now easier than ever. With sites like Squarespace and WordPress offering easy to use templates and URL addresses all you have to is register, pick a template and a name and poof… you’re up and running.
It’s often free to start a blog, but you might need to invest a small amount if you want to remove the name of your hosting site from your URL. You will obviously also need to invest your time writing interesting and clear blog posts on scrapbooking. Include lots of tips and ways to save money – it’s always a popular theme. Allow people to post messages so you can answer questions and interact with your readers.
Once you are up and running with good images and content, you can start to advertise your skills on your page as well as trying to get appropriate advertisers on board. Google AdWords is great for this, as all you do is add it on your page and Google will place ads that go well with your content.
If making scrapbooks or teaching classes is too time consuming for you but you have a flair for creative layouts, you can still make a profit by selling them. Loads of people have fun creating books, but need a basic layout that they can add their personal embellishments to. That’s where you step in.
Sell these by offering them on your blog site or set yourself up with your own Etsy store. Setting up is free and you’re able to personalise and customise your store, too. The best part is that their commission fee is only 5% – a lot lower than eBay’s 10%.
If you don’t want make the books themselves, but you are enthusiastic about scrapbooking and being creative, you can become a scrapbooking consultant. It’s like doing Tupperware parties, but instead you are selling scrapbook materials by demonstrating how people can use them and giving them ideas for their own scrapbooks.
Like Tupperware parties, you work for an established company and buy a starter kit from them when you begin as a consultant. You then get a commission on whatever materials you sell. If people really like the idea of scrapbooks but can’t be bothered, you can always offer your services on the side and take commissions.
There are a variety of different ways you can make money as a consultant. You can throw parties where you teach your guests how to make a page, and then sell them enough materials to complete their own scrapbooks. This allows you to demonstrate all the products that you sell and make contacts so instead of buying online, people come to you to get the materials they need.
You can also run an active workshop where, instead of just having fun and throwing things together, you charge people for an instruction session. The price should include all the materials used during the lesson and a little bit extra for you. Your students should then be able to buy more materials from you at the end of the class to complete their books.
If any of your clients really have the knack for scrapbooking or are particularly keen you can recruit them as a consultant and train them up. Then when they go out to sell as part of your team, you will get a commission on their sales.
Have you got any more good ideas for earning extra on the side? Share them with us in the comment box below or on Facebook.