Looking ahead to 2005 - An Interview with Jill Davis

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Where do you think scrapbooking is headed next year?

First, I think it will continue to become simpler. Second, seasoned scrapbookers won’t be experimenting as much with new products and techniques. Every scrapbooker has a personal style that, when discovered, becomes their niche. They’ll still be interested in new techniques, but they’ll focus on their niche and get more albums completed. What I call experimental, or cutting-edge, scrapbookers will still be interested in the new and trendy techniques.

What are some of the established niches?

Before I answer that, let me add a little to my first answer. Many of the scrappers I talk with are weary of being over-stimulated with new ideas and products. So, I think we’ll see scrappers be true to their own styles and not follow trends like they have in the past. If they have found that they like working with dies, they'll stick with those, not embellishments . Those who prefer embellishments will continue to use them and not get distracted with “the new”. Right now there are so many choices and techniques that it’s impossible for most people to expend the funds to buy products in all areas. People will have to pick where money will go, and that forces them to work with the styles they feel most comfortable with. They will stay primarily with one system – one that gives them the greatest return for their time and money. I’m speaking from what I’ve seen happen in my own scrapbooking too. I walk into a scrapbook store and say “Oh my gosh! Where do I start?” The new will still be attractive to many who love to experiment.

What's going to happen with the recent ephemera craze?

It’s here to stay, but will become a niche, and the trend-driven scrapbookers will be off to search for the next new thing.

Speaking of the next new thing, what's going to be hot next year?

Color. Right now the colors in the industry are muted because of the ephemera craze but they’ve been perking up with the retro lines. I think we’ll see more vibrant colors. We’ll see more of the distressed European style; for example, look at the stuff Basic Grey is doing. It’s a happy European style, an old-world style with a new color palette. I like to call it the “Streets-of-Paris” look.

Can you talk a little bit more about color?

Over the last few years we've been “browned to death” with sepia tones. A couple of years ago the industry lacked products that could help with the design of layouts using vintage photographs. There was a lack of stuff for scrapping heirlooms. But we overcompensated and went to browns and the antique look to the point of oversaturation. Because scrapbookers scrap ANY photograph, they need colored paper and products that help them to do that—whether the photo is of their great-grandparents or their two-year-old. Color is so important to art and to scrapbooking.

Thanks for talking more about that. OK, back to what will be hot next year, what else?

Personally, I have a problem with all of the embellishing that’s being promoted. For heavens sake, I’ve held albums that are so heavy they’d seriously injure children if the album fell off the shelf onto them. That’s why I’m still going to say flatter and simpler layouts. I hope we’ll see manufacturers provide more products that integrate with the sports themes and that the products will be more realistic and not have that graphic look. Hopefully, more free-form stuff, more life-like sketches will emerge.

I’m interested to see if anyone will produce Italian-themed products. Italian stuff hasn't been explored, but could be red-hot.  If you watch where people are traveling, you will have a good idea of what kinds of products could be in demand or themes could be in demand. A lot of people are venturing back to Europe post-9/11, and Italy is a favorite destination. the Tuscan look is still “in” in the furniture industry.

As I look way far ahead, I see a successful launch of space travel products. A couple of months ago the first personal space craft was launched into space. Think about that. We’re starting to think about space again. Some people, over the next 20 years, will actually get to travel to space, get a look at the earth from that vantage point, return, and their lives will be changed forever. Children will start talking more about space, like we did when we had men land on the moon. I predict that sometime over the next 20 years well see a real return to pre-occupation with outer space related themes.

That’s very interesting. How about some more trends you see developing over the next year?

Well, there’s a lack of music-themed papers and embellishment - both vintage and modern. Every home used to have a piano, and that was entertainment. Now very few pianos are sold. If we play piano music anymore, often we’re playing an electronic keyboard, and currently our culture is more entertained by the television set and stereo systems. For those reasons, among others, I think that the music theme has been overlooked, yet there is still a lot of untapped demand for this.

What else has been on your mind as you look at the future state of scrapbooking?

No one has done anything with astrological signs, months or days of the week. You know, the Zodiac. Scrapbooking is in a transitional phase. It is going from a regional, parochial mindset, to a global market. The possibilities are endless. There are new languages, numbers, and calendars. There will be paper lines for months for the various calendars in the different languages of the peoples who get into scrapbooking. There could also be entire paper lines devoted to a single month, for example the “Month of January” paper line. I see opportunities for introducing a line of paper for "milestones,” a line composed of coordinated papers for births, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, school classes, holidays and graduations, so that all these milestones are scrapped with a similar theme and can be made into a year album. There is actually a company doing this now but it’s not well known, yet.

What do you see happening with tools?

There is no truly great paper cutter. In the future, we’ll be able to put paper into a tray in a machine, type the dimensions we want into a computerized keypad, and a blade will cut the sheet into the desired dimensions. I’d also like to see a good guillotine cutter, where the rulers extend from both the right side and left side and blade drops in the middle. A couple of companies have taken a stab at this concept.

I’d also like to see affordable large dies that cut paper into color blocks, so we have different sizes and shapes of color blocks without having to trace them and cut them out by hand.

Digital cameras are important tools. They will continue to sell. People will make their own background papers with digital cameras. The background papers will be composed of elements that are also in the photos being displayed. What I mean is that you will have backgrounds made from pictures of the same locations where the displayed photos were taken. I am doing this already and have been for a couple of years. For example, I’ll take a digital shot of wall, rug, and tile, in a room where I had my family pictures taken. Then I’ll take the shots of the wall, rug, or tile, and create customized background papers. The layouts are amazing. The feel of the layout is harmonious.

Some people are afraid of the digital technology, but many of us are getting more comfortable with cameras and computers each year. The new technology is wonderful it lets you make totally personalized and uniquely individual layouts. They become pieces of us, totally unique, just as each of us are. It’s only a matter of time till this idea catches on.

How will scrapbooking change as people age?

That’s a really interesting question, because age of scrappers drives the industry in a big way. Right now 70s-themed products and layouts are in vogue because people who grew up in that era are scrapping and have disposable income. The principal demographic of current scrappers grew up in the 70s. Soon, that will shift with the main scrapping demographic being children of the 80s. Then 80s paraphernalia will be nostalgic. At this moment I can think of two items that will be incorporated into those themes, jam shorts and jelly bracelets. Some people are getting the "jelly" look now, but not calling it that. After that runs its course for a time, the 90s will follow.

On the other side, you see that for the generations that have passed or are passing, there’s a real lack. For example, there's a real lack of 40s-themed materials, especially World War II. People from that generation are now dying, and many people, their descendents, are scrapping their memories and lives, but there's not much product for this era. However, the ephemera products are a wonderful option.

You spoke of demographics. How does the scrapbooking landscape look to “non-traditional” scrapbooking demographics?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this. There are many people who would have what we call “non-traditional life experiences,” or minority experiences. Whether you think it’s too out of the mainstream or not, somewhere there will be people who tap this market and create for it. There’s a product line for single women that I think is fun. What about people who have been adopted or are adopting? That is a beautiful story and experience. There as need for adoption-themed product lines. For example, “my birth mother,” “the lawyer,” “my foster family.” There are a number of other non-traditional experiences. Plastic surgery. Birth defects. Handicaps. Terminal illness. You don't want to label people, but these are real experiences and many people want products that will help them document these significant events in their life stories. There could be an “old folk’s line” for those aging people who want to laugh at the aging process. I’ll be there someday. Wheelchairs. Walkers. False teeth. There’s also a need for products depicting accidents. My broken arm. Dental work. Stitches. We’re starting to see a little of that. The key will be to find ways of economically producing such. I know that Scrapbook.com is giving serious thought to these special markets and ways to service these niches with their E-Cuts and other printable products.

All of these items, when used in scrapbooks, help tie generations together, and that is the ultimate appeal and blessing of scrapbooking. Recognizing that, there’s probably room for a genealogy paper with your family tree, if it’s done really well. The marriage between genealogy and scrapbooking hasn’t happened yet, but it will someday. One hundred years from now, scrapbooks left behind from deceased family members will be invaluable in the genealogical process. Scrapbooking ties generations together.

My final question is: Why do you think people scrapbook?

I love this question. People scrapbook for lots of reasons, but I believe there’s one anchor at the bottom. Scrapbooking is something people can do that stays done! You don’t have to have a degree, specialized training or a mentor. Most of the tasks we women complete each day have to be done again and again. For example, food is fixed, eaten, eliminated, and we have to do the cycle again when hunger returns. Cleaning is the same way; clothes get washed, folded and dirtied-again. Lawns get mowed, they grow back. But scrapbooking, glorious scrapbooking, stays done so the time and money we invest has short-term rewards, and long-term benefits. Scrapbooking is giving many families some stability. And what could be more important than that these days?

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today.

My pleasure.


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