Episode 73: All About Stores And Designers


 Available on iTunes

Robin Carlton of Sweet Shoppe Designs and Kami Leonard of Scrap Orchard join us this week to tackle a hard topic. Digital scrapbooking stores and designers: why do stores open and close so often; what do store owners look for in designers; what should designers look for in a store, and so many other questions you have been asking us for 2.5 years! We are answering them today!

Joining the Discussion:

Kami Leonard
Robin Carlton
Peppermint Granberg
Katie Nelson

From the Show:

  • Leave us a comment for our 75th show in the right sidebar

Kami: Grey Card by simmogl
Robin: Poppin
Peppermint: Inspiration Board
Katie: AppGratis
Steph: Template Builder (12×12 and 8.5×11)



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This entry was posted in Kami, Katie, Peppermint, Robin Carlton, Show Post, Steph. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Episode 73: All About Stores And Designers

  1. Traci Reed says:

    Fascinating! I loved this! I’ve always been open and honest about what I make with friends and other designers who need to know from a business perspective. I’d be willing to answer and anonymous poll :)

  2. Awesome discussion!

  3. LeslieM says:

    Haven’t listened to the show, but Pretty Presets had a blog post about how to use your old Lightroom 3 presets in the new Lightroom 4 and I thought of Katie. :)



  4. Suzy says:

    I agree with Traci. I’d be happy to participate in an anonymous poll about designer salaries.

    And I LOVE printing photos & digi pages on metallic at Persnickety Prints. It really makes the colors pop. I don’t use it on every layout & photo. But definitely on the awesome photos. I’m really anxious to try printing some journal cards.

  5. Melissa Bennett says:

    What a great discussion!! I loved listening to today’s show. I too would be wiling to participate in an anonymous poll about the salaries. :)

  6. Carrie A. says:

    This was a very interesting show! I ran a successful resale e-store for a couple of years, which I closed by choice. It was hard to run by myself, so I can’t imagine having to manage so many people! I appreciate store owners A LOT. Without them, where would we be. Sad that stores close, but it’s the nature of any industry.

    While running my store, I joined a group of other similar store owners and we often discussed and debated business practices/models philosophically and gave each other advice as needed (like with tricky customer service issues). During that time, I learned the key to business success isn’t complicated. It starts with passion and it ends in tireless hard work. In between is an open mind that allows you to learn, grow and remain adaptable because everything changes and elbow grease. Putting that in practice is harder than it sounds and those that can’t don’t survive.

    As for getting the lowdown on income averages for designers, it would probably just be a matter of figuring the variables and collecting the data. It’s sounds more complicated than it really is… every industry takes similar surveys and so does the Dept. of Labor. Considering how smart digi scrappers are, I think it’d be completely do-able.

  7. Amber LaBau says:

    Love this, ladies! Kudos to all of you for taking this on.. I loved hearing everyone’s different opinions and experiences.. I’m in the camp of being very transparent with my team about numbers, sales, etc. I’ve had my own bit of being burned as a designer under several store owners who never communicated or disclosed major issues, so I consciously chose to be very open with the team when I purchased ScrapMatters. My philosophy is that we’re all in this together, and the best way to work toward a common goal is to know what the variables are.. Not that we’re openly discussing each others salaries or the specifics of what the store is or isn’t making, but if something was a total wash, I don’t hide it from them. Conversely, we frequently do team promotions and I’ll post which the best and lowest sellers were to help communicate what’s working and not working for our customers. I also rank each designer by sales each time I do payout and include this in their report, so they know exactly where they stand in the grand scheme of things. If someone is consistently at the bottom of the scale, they know they have a lot of room to grow. I think as a business person, having all the resources available to make decisions about how you run your business is essential, so I do my best to provide that to my team.

  8. Amber LaBau says:

    Oh – and Robin.. Poppin – wow! It’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven… *sigh*

  9. L Squared says:

    I really enjoyed this show – even though I don’t ever plan to design or sell, I still shop and loved hearing more about the backside of the industry.

    On another topic completely – I’m wondering if anyone has ever used the Project Life design E page protectors for their digi pages. This is the one that has 4 6×6 pockets. I know this would be smaller than the 8×8 I’m printing right now but I’m thinking about doing a little hybrid to gather more ephemera in pockets and wondered about adding some digi pages in those pockets. I’d love to hear if people have tried this and what they think.

  10. Jeannine says:

    It was very interesting hearing the discussion. I am by far a beginning digi scrapper, but it didn’t take me long to figure out which stores or designers I like. Since I have built up my stash, I have become more particular. I really gravitate to sites with great customer service. Things that sometimes are a little annoying are when the store has too many technical issues. I like shopping where I get my purchase at check out, the download is fast, and when my email in box doesn’t fill up with a receipt for each individual designers item. I very rarely go to sites anymore that do not have those qualities. I only have so much time to work on my layouts, and I do not want to waste it waiting for a download, or cleaning out my inbox. I hope that didn’t sound too harsh. I love and appreciate the work that goes in to running a shop or designing artwork, but some shops have done a great job figuring out what customers need and want and I’d love to give a shout out to them. I’m just saying…..

    • Carrie A. says:

      I get what you are saying about the emails. I wish the receipts/download keys would come in one email as opposed to multiple ones, but I would imagine it’s done that way for a reason or due to limitations of the shopping cart or record keeping technology or something that makes perfect sense for the store. I’m sure if it could be streamlined then store owners would streamline it.

      I do like having a the receipts/keys delivered in my inbox because I don’t always have the time, bandwidth (thanks to kid and husband) or inclination to download purchases immediately (don’t always feel like organizing new product).

      I’ve encountered lackluster customer service at one store, which actually kept me from shopping there for awhile. That store redeemed itself recently, so I gave it a second chance. I don’t know what changed, except may be me. I am finding that accessing customer service through social media is more effective (and not just with scrap stores, but across the board).

      I think social media and newsletters drive me to a lot of stores more than anything else. If I don’t follow a store/designer I love on Facebook, et al, then I get their newsletter. But I’m less likely to browse if the store isn’t clearly laid out (where’s that designer and the new/advertised products?) and whose previews are small and/or fuzzy. I’m blind, so quality, clear visuals are a must.

      I’ve been noticing a lot of product that doesn’t have example pages made by a CT team. That’s probably stopped me from making several purchases because I can’t see how I would apply the product to my layouts (aka no inspiration!!). The reverse is true, too. CT pages are great for getting me to hit add to cart.

      • StudioWendy says:

        In xCart, the preferred shopping cart of most multi-designer digi stores, accounting is done by issuing a separate invoice for each designer. It’s the best way for the software to handle sales reporting, as well as ensure the one designer’s personal sales information is not provided to all the designers.

      • Katie says:

        I agree with you about the CT pages. I love to see how a kit is used :)

  11. linda says:

    It was a bit relieving to hear that others know of the sketchy situations. It seems unbelievable, but I love of crazy stuff happens and it’s just so hurtful and sad. I’ve experienced it and honestly, had no inkling that someone would do such things. It seems like such an opposite of the personality of the scrapbooking community, but perhaps I’m stereotyping! Perhaps, when it comes to online – people do things that they would never dare do in real life – you know?

    Anyway, aside the risks and negative things… it’s nice to know that many designers have a sustainable business with their work. Of course, it takes time and hard work!

  12. Kim Still says:

    Fantastic show! As a new designer, I am always hungry for more information about this industry and you guys have created a great resource with this show. Thankfully, I had some great designers who gave me pretty transparent advice when I was looking for a store.

    It’s really hard to know when you haven’t sold at a store before what you are looking for, so I highly recommend asking other designers and owners. It’s tempting to take the first offer you get, but it’s not always worth it.

    I am super pleased with where I ended up and I wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t taken some time to ask around first.

    Congrats on Persnickety as a new sponsor. They were the first place I ordered prints of my layouts from and they blew me away.

  13. Sarah T says:

    I was really inspired by episode 72 when you were talking about curating memories from different places online. I’ve thought about that before…I have so many memories kept in Flickr, OhLife, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, my personal blog, and other places. I try to pull those thoughts onto my scrapbook pages, but sometimes things get lost in translation…especially when it comes to video. I was inspired by your show to add a QR code to the video my son made for a school project to a layout about how proud I was that he used his creativity. I’m so excited about how it turned out. I feel like in the future he will have so much fun going on a “treasure hunt” of sorts as he finds all the little pieces of himself that I’ve saved all over the place in different spots on the internet. I wrote a blog post about it. http://sarahscrappin.blogspot.com/2013/02/on-curating-memories-in-multiple.html
    I know this won’t be the last time I’ll do this. I’m still wrapping my mind around all the possibilities of clues I can leave for my children and my future family.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Lara Read says:

    I don’t think the comment form for the 75th episode is working correctly, on one computer all I see is vertical scroll bar under persnikity prints (which by the way is great they are your sponsor). On the other computer I can see some text in a very narrow vertical column in the same place. The column is only wide enough for one letter. Anyone else seeing issues with this form?

  15. Linda says:

    I think a poll/survey could be written strong enough to determine things you touched on in the podcast.

    the key is to word the questions so the fill in the blank isn’t open to wordy responses.
    have it only multiple choice

    for instances, when you have a toddler (boy)—you say to them “did you wash your hands” they say yes—but then you ask “did you wash your hands with soap?” they grunt and turn back towards the bathroom….

    like when I take annual surveys for companies I work for to help them with retaining and other HR goals….”do you think you get paid enough?” will always be NO
    With work experience, tenure with the company and job grade: does your salary meet your expectations? I bet peeps answer yes to that.

    Me–not so much. why, because money is the biggest motivational reason I go to work in the first place. :>

    Since this is all a digital world, the shops should have strong analytics to support quick answers.

  16. Rhadonda says:

    Steph i had bought the Lynn Marie templates a while back. She has a great how-to video to go along with them. Genius!

  17. Sarah Walker says:

    This isn’t about your show -but for your “mailbag”:
    I am arrived at a brick wall on is how the BEST way to archive the family tree (for my family – esp children). I just went on ancestory.com and had so much fun finding relatives and for some reason I think my kids would value in having that info later on – but now I’m rethinking adding all those names! So what advice do you have about taking out the important parts (like Peppermint’s little quote last show about the “method”) of our family history? Have you guys done this before? Do you have pointers?

  18. Over in the knitting design world, (not all filled with yarn snobs ;-) there is a book called “Market Yourself” which might be helpful for some of the marketing questions designers have to go through. http://www.cooperativepress.com/shop/market-yourself/

    It’s hard over there to figure out how to price patterns, and find markets too.

  19. StudioWendy says:

    Jennifer Wilson over at Create More Media did an income survey along with Stephanie Medley-Rath last year. I’m not entirely sure what they did with that information, but it may have been related to her Digi Biz Camp?

  20. Anna Forrest says:

    OMG Peppermint – I thought you had a major aversion to glue!? I gotta say… I’ve been doing way more paper than computer anything lately – it is nice to mix it up for a while and I have no guilt what-so-ever. Well, except for the guilt that comes with spending way to much money on more supplies… :) But that’s the same in both worlds! See you at Joanns!

  21. Terra says:

    LOVED LOVED LOVED this show! Thank you ladies for being so candid about “taboo” topics. It was great to get an insider’s viewpoint both from another designer who recently changed stores, and from owners about what owners are looking for! Definitely food for thought and definitely a “Must Listen” for anyone in the business or considering jumping in! Best Show Ever imo!

  22. LeslieM says:

    I bought Lynne-Marie’s Template Builder set a few weeks ago and second your recommendation. I’ve enjoyed using them and they are extremely versatile. Leslie

  23. Lynne-Marie says:

    Wow Steph! Thank-you for picking my DYY Template Builders! I wanted to add that I’ve since released a landscape 11×8,5 version and I have a few more in the works using squares that are 3×4″ based (typical Project Life sizes).

  24. Tiffany says:

    Loved the show! A great question was about shoppers…what makes you shop at a particular store? I love newsletters and Facebook pages, and an amazing kit will definitely draw me to buy. But, I have to say, most of my shopping takes place when I’m looking for something *in particular* for one of my layouts…something I know I’m going to use right away. If I’m doing a beach page and am dying for a cute sailboat, or a movie page and need a bag of popcorn. I’ll run to my favorite stores first, the ones I know have designers with styles I love, and see if I can find the perfect kit for that layout. Often I’ll search the forums by keyword to find just the right element. What drives me CRAZY though, is to find the perfect kit, with just the perfect element, and then find out that it’s been RETIRED! Arrrggh!

    I’d love to know how designers/stores decide on when to retire products. I know there isn’t room for everything, but this has happened to me more than once…I have my money, ready to spend, and I can’t :( Are designers willing to bring kits out of retirement if requested? What about collabs? Is that more difficult because more designers are involved?

    Thanks for a great show!! Loved the inside scoop on my favorite stores!