Scrapbooking, anyone?

If you look at the Internet today, with everyone’s photos, movies, and lives chronicled across every forum imaginable, you might easily believe that paper holds no candle to virtual documentation. I was surprised, then, to see what I thought was a very large section of a well-known craft store dedicated to scrapbooking, and at the very front of the store —not buried in a back corner. I saw bins and large freestanding displays filled to brimming with decorative paper of every color and texture taking up at least four aisles.  Behind the paper section, yet more shelves and hangers shouted with stickers, sparkles, buttons, ribbons, stamps, cutters, scissors, and containers to hold all of the stuff. It seemed like the industry is alive and well. It’s not.

The traditional scrapbooking industry is in decline. Large craft and hobby chain stores carry the inventory because the independents have been shoved out of business by digital everything. Peaked in the years 2004-5, traditional scrapbook sales have stair-stepped down at an expected slide. The Craft and Hobby Association of America (CHA) still marked scrapbooking (in 2010) as the fifth highest segment in the overall hobby/craft industry’s consumer spending lineup with $1.4 billion in sales, and second in household participation with 18.4 million households making hold-on-your-lap albums.  The burgeoning store aisles aside, the overstuffed bins notwithstanding, the $1.4 billion 2010 sales represents a decline of over 40% from $2.5 billion in 2005.

I feel stupid. I purchased a glorious hardbound scrapbook, and then added to my investment by choosing a delightful cross section of colored insert pages (some with patterns, some with sparkles, and yet others with unique textures) and stickers to make a gift for my son and his new bride. But I guess I’ll claim the out-of-step award for the day.  In fact I’m a dinosaur with a glue gun in one forepaw, and a husband dinosaur with a real (not smart phone) camera in his claw.  Both of us are eager to print (huh?) and stick (why?) the photos he took.

We’ll do what any self-respecting dinosaurs would do before being sucked into the black muck of technology: Park the photos we took in an album the kids will like for thhourglasse thought, but shove in a cabinet tomorrow.  It would seem quaint to show to their kids someday, but even if we were that lucky, they could all turn to the nearest computer screen, and flip through hundreds of pictures in the time it took us to stick one photo on one page.  We dinosaurs will have a great time as we share a dying hobby, but promise to keep our nostalgia from splashing on the pretty pages.

Tactile art — the kind that you visit museums and galleries to see—is disappearing too fast. The past has, um… passed, and the present slips past too fast. Our memories are amassed behind a vast glassed caste. Hopefully no blast will caste our past in a morass of classless trash.  Maybe, just maybe, our traditional scrapbook will survive, and remind our kids of their old-fashioned mom and dad, who took the time to print photos, pull papers, stick stickers, and keep the industry alive for another month or two.

Curated Brands

Curated Brands

Image
The Getty

When is a post not a post? Hah. This post popped up on Twitter, but has yet to drop here.  It’s a mystery. Here it is today in my blog, and I hope it’s not a repeat for my followers.

Until now,  I did not tend to think of “brands” as being curated.  I think of museum pieces being curated. I think of a curator as in the Wikipedia sense:   “…from Latin, curare meaning “take care”). A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution (e.g. gallery, museum, library) is a content specialist responsible for an institution’s collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material. The object of a traditional curator’s concern necessarily involves tangible objects of some sort, whether it be artwork, collectibles, historic items or scientific collections.”

More things are being curated these days:  I see in the business world the brand manager as curator, in that he or she is responsible for how that brand enters the marketplace and where it is placed relative to other brands. In the same way a museum only shows a selection of its collection, the brand manager strives to show the finest assets of the brand. Or they may choose to carefully and thoughtfully promote their brand to certain demographics, focused on a narrowly defined customer experience.

The curated brands in a recent USA Today article included Gilt, Target, and Apple. The piece was about AC Hotels by Marriott, and the journalist described the AC Hotel target audience as younger travelers, that the experience would essentially be more “tech-y” and hip. [my words]

Another place to look for curated material is at TED.com.  Nowadays, you can find someone you respect/love/would like to know/never heard of/ and see which TED talks they have in their curated collection.  It tells you a lot about that person by seeing how they would curate the thousands of TED talks.

My goal: to curate my own brand. Not there yet, but it is food for thought. Besides, it sounds so cool.