Hi everyone, how has your day been so far ?
When I get asked what I do, it stumps me.
I am :
1) a paper craft Designer and Educator 2) who works part-time in a Scrapbook store 3) who also designs product samples for a die-cutting company whose products are sold in the store. Now this might not sound very complicated, but for many not familiar with the paper crafting industry, especially in Singapore, it puzzles them. One question often causes me much amusement : you mean you can make money from this ? My reply : while I don't expect to see my first million anytime soon, yes it pays a fair salary.
Everything started over ten years ago when my oldest was 11 and I stumbled upon a stamping store, then scrapbooking through the internet, what it is and the products. It was exciting to find out I could document life with photos, to record family moments in a physical way, and with pretty products. One of the women I knew through a mommy forum (we had alot of those then !) was based in the US, really a wonderful scrapper and getting on Design Teams. She helpfully provided tips about the craft, what was new in the industry and together we organised local scrap challenges to encourage anyone who was interested. It was fun, scrapping was new to Singapore, there were fewer brands which made it easier as the releases were paced less frantically. Online shopping for products was less sophisticated, few companies shipped to Singapore and locally there were three small scrapbook stores.
Fast forward to the present : even after acquiring a good working knowledge of brands, products and techniques as well as teaching experience ..... much of it still surprises me. It would be easy to get disenchanted as I've seen some scrappers become, to loose that sense of fun and sponteneity in creating, and getting exhausted managing the deadlines. What keeps me fascinated are the new products, techniques around using them and scrapping styles that were unheard of even a few years ago. One of the biggest developments is die-cutting, how it has taken off becoming much more affordable whether you are using a manual machine or an electronic one.
How good must you be to be on a Team ?
Let's start with this truth : there is no getting away from doing good work. It is a serious business that needs to make money to survive, and being a Deisgner means always keeping up and stepping up. No one gives you products, lots of it and expects mediocre results. If you don't step up by pushing yourself to try new products, new ways of creating, what will set in is complacency, being stuck, ultimately boring your audience. I don't scrap all day, everyday ...... hey, I am a wife and mom, there's a home to look after. Breaks are essential to mantaining quality work, it's a chance to step back and look at the project objectively, then deciding if it needs more work or if it's enough.
Experience makes a crafter good, and constant learning, refreshing the way we craft makes us better. Add on : reliability, finishing what you say you will do, and learning to accept feedback graciously even when it makes you feel discouraged or angry. It's a tough business and you need the right attitude, the mental chops to stay in it.
Is it easy to get on a team ? It's hard work but not impossible. Compared to what it was, today it's easier to get your work *seen* by manufacturers or Kit Clubs by way of Facebook and Instagram, the two most used platforms. On Instagram, a few clicks on your smart phone camera and you can upload your work, then hashtag for the manufacturers to see. People have short memories which means you need a regular flow of posts to keep your Facebook or Instagram interesting.
I am on Instagram, as so many scrapbook Designers are. Some update regularly, some less so and they all have followers. Personally I don't believe in choosing to comment ONLY on posts by famous Designers unless I know them through work. There's so much creative talent on Instagram, they deserve to know through actual comments what you think of their work even when they are not famous. Likers are good, though commenting takes you a step forward to establishing an online connection, as well as a pressence.
One important thing : thank the people who have taken the time to leave comments (they don't have to comment, BUT they did), visit them and reciprocate. Good manners goes a long way and it is always appreciated.
Have a good week ahead, make time to create !