A New Model For Scrapbooking

In my last post, I outlined some typical business models for scrapbooking companies and presented the results of my efforts to re-think scrapbooking and scrapbooking business models. I don’t pretend that all of my ideas were good ones, but here are a few of the re-think ideas that particularly resonated with me:

Free – According to Chris Anderson, in his book, Free: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit By Giving Something For Nothing, “free stuff” is the economy of the future. Free music, free movies, free calendar apps, free online storage, free software, whatever it is, people increasingly expect to get something for nothing. Why not scrapbooking?

More time – According to a scrapbooking survey I ran, the main problem respondents had with scrapbooking was not enough time for their hobby. It wasn’t their lack of money or interest, it was time that was limiting. But how can I give scrapbookers more time? I can’t exactly go to all their homes to do their laundry for them. I can however produce an app that is easy to use, thus requiring less time to learn, and can also make it possible to scrapbook anywhere, anytime, on any device: at home, at the dentist’s office, on a friend’s computer while traveling, or whenever a scrapbooker has a little extra time.

Sharing – As part of my scrapbooking research, I took a class in paper scrapbooking at a local store. The main idea I took from that experience was how social the whole scrapbooking experience was. People were chatting, looking over and commenting on each others’ work, and sharing materials to make pages. Likewise, nobody makes a scrapbook page just for themselves, they are made to be shared. Therefore, sharing creations through social networks will be incredibly important.

A storeroom of supplies – Having a limited number of kits, created by a one or a very few designers, is not enough for many scrapbookers. They like to have a lot of kits to choose from, in a variety of styles. Up until now, however, scrapbookers have always had to buy a full kit even if all they wanted was one element of the kit. There’s no technical or economic need for that. Why not create a virtual storeroom of elements, in a wide range of styles to choose from? When all you need is a green ribbon or a yellow rose image, you find one and use it without buying a whole kit to get it. Of course, that brings up the need for a good way of finding elements:

Search – I’ve tested a few of the existing scrapbooking software programs, and the place where they almost universally fall short is in finding elements when you want them. Where was that yellow rose image I saw once before? What kit was it in? If you own more than a couple of kits, finding things gets to be a real challenge. A good search function could substantially enhance ease of use.

That’s some of my better (or more feasible) ideas. What the heck does all this mean for my app? Well, at the very least, I will want to take advantage of “free” and provide a “try before you buy” option for my app. Better yet would be to make all scrapbooking free, but charge for the other activities surrounding scrapbooking, such as sharing to social media, creating slide shows, and printing hard copies of scrapbook pages. Also, I would create a web app, as I’ve mentioned before. That way, the scrapbook pages would reside in the cloud, rather than on any one device, so they would be accessible any time the user had an internet signal.

I would also like to get away from the model of selling kits to some other economic model. The app would still use the design elements from kit designers, but use them in a different way, perhaps through purchase of individual elements, or perhaps a subscription model, where people get all the scrapbooking materials they want (their “storeroom”) for a monthly fee.  With a large store of design elements, a search function will certainly be important, since it is easy to get lost in a large library of image files. Ideally, the user could search by color, type of element, theme, or designer name. In addition, the user should be able to browse kits and elements, for those serendipitous “finds” that make scrapbooking fun.

I believe these ideas provide me with a good template to work with, though they all need to be tested with actual scrapbooking enthusiasts. Any other thoughts on what a scrapbooking app should look like? Let me know!

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