Recently my three-year-old son asked me the question I’ve been dreading ever since he learned to speak: “Where’s my baby book?” Oh no! I rummaged my drawers and computer files for the photos of his first year and started trying to put them in an album. Then I thought, “Wait a minute! There are people who LOVE doing this and can do it much better than I can.” So I went to the Internet and discovered a whole world of Modern Mompreneurs who have parlayed their scrapbooking hobby into a business. According to the International Scrapbooking Association, 1 out of 4 U.S. households have a scrapbooker and of those, 1 out of 100 turn their craft into a business. “For the stay-at-home mom, all I hear are success stories,” says Scott Paul, co-founder of the ISA. “If anything, they don’t charge enough for all their hard work.”
I decided to go with a young mother Ginny Scott (no relation) who launched her scrapbooking business just last fall from her Mound City, Kansas home. While her business has not yet become her fulltime work, it does bring in an additional $1500 of monthly income into her household. I loved her work and wanted to know more about her budding mompreneurship.
1. What made you decide to start a business?
My children. Gabrielle is eight and Garrett just turned five. I have been a registered nurse for the past nine years and I’ve continually struggled with the idea of having someone else raise my kids for eight-plus hours of the day. But we do what we have to do as parents to provide for our families.
2. How long were you scrapbooking before turning it into a business?
About 8 1/2 years. I made my first scrapbook when Gabrielle was a few weeks old and I’ve been hooked ever since! I just love putting photos together to tell a story. That is what scrapbooking is all about– telling your story.
3. How did you know you could make money at it?
It just kind of came about. My friends kept telling me that I should start doing books for other people. The idea grew from there. I now work on three books a month. I charge $500 for a 15-page book with 12×12 pages. That includes all the embellishments. Extra pages cost $22 each.
4. How do you search for clients and customers?
I use my blog, www.scrapbookingbyginnyscott.blogspot.com. I also hand out business cards, and I am starting to run ads in our local newspapers. But mostly people find me by word of mouth.
5. How are you financing your new business?
Over the years I have accumulated several tools and products necessary for scrapbooking. My most recent larger purchase was the Cricut machine. It’s an electronic cutter that I use to crop photos and text boxes and to make unusual shapes. It retails for $300 to $500. I save up for the bigger purchases and rarely allow myself to use a credit card.
6. Tell me about your partnership with local photographer Amy Biggerstaff (www.AmyBiggerstaff.com).I notice on your blog that you seem to support each other in your businesses. How did this partnership come about and how do you support each other? Does having a partner make it easier?
Amy is a wonderful photographer! She took photos of my son in October 2006 and my family has used her services ever since. Amy is a driven woman. What ever your passion is, she wants you to succeed in it. I guess I was drawn to this. I work for her one to two days a week doing bookkeeping and getting orders placed. She helps me with advertising and different business aspects. Amy designed my business cards. Even though our businesses are separate, it is a huge help for me with just getting started.
7. How big do you want your business to get?
Big, but not so big that the uniqueness is lost. I would love to be able to help other mothers stay at home and make an income to support their family.
8. Do you ever have to remind yourself that your scrapbooking is now a business and not a hobby? How do you do that?
Yes, sometimes I almost have to pinch myself! I’ll be working and realize, “Somebody trusts me with their precious memories. How awesome is that!” It is a great feeling doing what I love and able to provide for my family at the same time.
9. How do you fit your work in with your family life?
I work when the kids go to bed and on weekends. During the week I work three days at a doctor’s office, do one to two 12-hour shifts at a local hospital, and I’m with Amy Biggerstaff one to two days per week. Crazy, I know! My husband and I recently decided to have him be a part-time stay at home dad. He is self-employed and able to take Garrett to his half-day of preschool, keep Garrett the rest of the day, and pick up Gabbie from school. We decided this because my job has the health insurance. Our schedule is crazy but it works for us, for now. He is so supportive in wanting my business to succeed. My kids are very excited about mom being able to stay at home eventually. Gabbie asks me when my next project is coming so I don’t have to go to work anymore. I love that she already understands what I am trying to accomplish for our family.
10. What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Flexibility! I can fit it in anywhere in my schedule. I also like knowing that someday in the near future it will allow me to stay at home and take care of my children. And, no more night shifts! (Editors note: Scott Paul, co-founder of the International Scrapbookers Association says that for a scrapbooker, working on four books a month constitutes a viable business. At three books monthly, Ginny is well on her way.)
11. What advice would you give to other moms starting their businesses?
Like everyone says, you can do it! Take care of your clients and you will have lifetime customers. Don’t listen to the dream squashers. Have a blast!