Scrapping it: Flurry of area shops close the books on once-hot business

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Forget-Me-Not in Greenwood will soon be forgotten. The store, which sold scrapbook albums and supplies, closed last month. It was the latest of at least seven scrapbook stores to close in the past few months in central Indiana.

Business analysts are calling the rash of out-of-business signs a cautionary tale for proprietors who invest in "silo businesses" that base their bottom line on a trend or product that may soon be out of style.

"A lot of the mom-and-pop [scrapbook] stores have [failed]," said David Edelstein, co-owner of Memoirs in Carmel's Clay Terrace shopping center, one of the few remaining scrapbook stores in the area. "It's like any hot thing, when something new comes out, a lot of people jump into it. Then they're doing it for a few years and they see they're not enjoying it anymore or they're not making money with it."

The closure of Forget-Me-Not means seven of the scrapbook stores listed in last year's phone book are gone. Only six remain, including just one in Marion County-Archiver's on Southport Road.

The stores probably closed because the market was saturated too quickly after the trend caught on about five years ago, Edelstein said. And now that big-box retailers are selling scrapbook supplies, it's difficult for small businesses to compete.

Business experts see an additional reason.

"It's the cyclical nature of a niche industry," said Sharon O'Donoghue, director of the Central Indiana Women's Business Center, who helps mom-and-pop businesses get the doors open. "People need to ask themselves [before they open a business], is this just a Chia pet or the next pet rock?"

She's not surprised scrapbook businesses are struggling. Pilates and yoga studios could be next, she said.

But that doesn't mean people wanting to teach yoga should put their business plans in the trash, O'Donoghue said. Rather, they just need to proceed with caution.

"You have to stand back and say, who else touches this target market and has enough of a related product or service?" O'Donoghue said. "Where is there some synergy if I can connect the dots?"

For example, if people had approached O'Donoghue about opening a scrapbook store just as the hobby was gaining popularity, she would have advised them to partner with somebody who might want to stock scrapbook supplies, like a camera shop or a drugstore, rather than opening their own storefront.

It's no different from the advice she gives to people who want to open nail salons.

"Why should [a small-business owner] go out and just open a storefront and be one of 300 other nail shops open?" O'Donoghue asked.

Instead, she encourages nail salon owners-to-be to team with places like hair salons and tanning studios. Because people who get their nails done might also be in the market for a haircut and a stop in a tanning booth, sharing retail space can both bring in customers and help reduce overhead costs for rent and electricity.

That sort of thinking has helped Edelstein stay in business. While the majority of his sales come from scrapbook materials, he's also diversifying, so he has more than fancy, colored paper and glue sticks on the shelves.

"We wanted to create a destination for photographers, crafters, hobbyists, scrapbookers and everybody to have one place they can come for knowledge, education and product," he said.

The business hosts a nightly class on topics ranging from digital photography to traditional scrapbooking. It also helps customers turn photos into things like coasters and clocks.

"Photo décor is becoming an important part of the business," he said.

As the industry shifts away from paperbased scrapbooking to more digital products, Edelstein is ready. The store sells cameras as well as personal printers.

But that's not the only business lesson Edelstein offers to others hoping to turn a hobby into a profession. He accumulated more than two decades of experience in the retail industry before he opened Memoirs. He knew the importance of keeping inventory up to date and following what's happening in the industry before he welcomed his first customer.

And unlike some who rushed into the business, he also took time to draft a business plan.

Edelstein isn't the only local scrapbooking entrepreneur with a little business savvy. Mary Jines, owner of Scrapbook Xanadu, helped her husband run a small business for several years before opening three locations.

The experience hasn't been enough to protect her stores from competition from the likes of Target and Wal-Mart, she said.

She recently closed a store at the corner of 82nd Street and Allisonville Road, but still has locations in Avon and Greenwood.

Yet, despite the rough year for local scrapbook stores, aficionados need not fear.

It's now a $2.5 billion industry, and not one that's in the process of disappearing.

"Scrapbooking is still an area that has some growth potential," said Loren Barrows, spokeswoman for the Elmwood Park, N.J.-based Craft and Hobby Association, a group that represents scrapbook retailers and other hobby-related businesses.

Edelstein doubts his store will be the next to close. The rash of recent closures is more a sign of a bloated industry shaking off excess weight.

"We're here to stay," he said.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Hello Dear Are you tired of Seeking Loans and Mortgages,have you Been Turned down constantly By your banks and Other Financial Institutions or Micro Finance scheme. This is let you know with 100% guarantee that we Offer loans ranging from $1,000 Minimum to $1,000,000.00 Maximum at 3% interest rate per Month. We give out LOANS for developing business. a competitive edge/business expansion. email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com We offer the following kinds of loans and many more; * Personal Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Business Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Consolidation Loan * Combination Loan * Home Improvement * Xmas Loans for contact to seek for loan email this email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com Thanks

  2. My name is Mr Henry Josh and i live in the USA California and life is worth living right now for me and my family and all this is because of one man sent by GOD to help me and my family, i once had a life filled with sorrow because my first SON needed a kidney transplant and all our savings were going towards his medications and this normally leaves us with no money to pay our bills or even put enough food on our table and our rent was due and no funds to pay these bills and life felt so unfair to me and every night my wife will cry herself to sleep every night until one day, i was browsing through yahoo answers and i saw a striking advert of a man that gives out personal loans and that the offer is opened to all and i have heard so many things about internet scams but at this point of my life, i was very desperate and ready to take any risk and at the end of the day, i applied for this loan and from one step to another, i got my loan within 12 hours through bank transfer and you know, it was all like a dream and i called Mr Daniel Jones A Man who is the GOD sent lender i found and said, i have received my loan and he smiled stating that to GOD be the glory and i was so shocked as i have never ever seen anyone with such a GOD fearing and kind heart and today, i am the happiest man on earth because by GOD’S grace, my SON kidney transplant was successful and today he is healthy, i and my family are living very comfortable and happy and if you are in my former situation or in serious and legitimate need of a loan, you can reach this GOD sent lender via fidelityloanfirm@outlook.com

  3. Greetings to everyone reading this comment!!! I am Greg William by name. I am out here to recommend the effort of Mark Oscar,I was in need of a consolidation loan amount of 50,000 and as soon as I got in contact with Mark Oscar Loan Firm on Wednesday last week and on Friday last week as well I receive an alert from my bank(Royal Bank of Scotland Group) that the fund was transferred,I want everybody on this site to contact Mark Oscar now via email on how to get a loan because I got my loan from them and I am very happy,so contact them now. Oscarloanfinance@hotmail.com Thanks!!!!!!

  4. Elected officials, like Mourdock, get vested in 8 years. It takes 10 years for all other public employees, most of whom make a lot less money. So much for the promise to finish out his term.

  5. Great state treasurer and a good man!! Just curious if the folks who didn't quite understand his quote would like to tell my daughter-in-law that God didn't intend her! Mourdock's comment was correct but twisted and the article didn't mention that his opponent and the press let the impression stand that Mourdock meant that the rape was intended. Stupid people!!