Opening a Scrapbook Store

Unless you have unlimited resources at your disposal, you will likely finance the opening of your scrapbook store with a Small Business Administration loan, a traditional bank loan or a home equity loan or line of credit. Whichever you choose, don’t make the mistake of going in with too little capital. But also don’t be so eager to stock your new stores with all the latest and greatest things that you make another cardinal error of the doomed businessperson: putting it on a credit card.

If you are applying for an SBA loan, you will definitely need to write a business plan. There are many manuals, Web sites and guidebooks that can help you with this. But even if it’s not required, a business plan is a great way to get your ideas down on paper and organize your intentions, direction and budget.

There are myriad things you will need to do to get your business in order—everything from filing a fictitious business name statement with your city or county to getting set up to accept credit and debit card payments. You’ll need to get a resale license as well, and set up a merchant account at a bank. There are zoning issues, taxes and various components of doing business that may require the advice of an attorney or other expert. You also have to make decisions such as whether you’ll invest in an automated inventory (barcode) system that tracks each specific item, or use the traditional cash register approach. Check out the Small Business Administration for tips. Visit a community college in your area and set up an appointment with the Small Business Development Center or one of its counterparts across the nation. Much of the business counseling they provide is free, and they offer classes ranging from QuickBooks to marketing for a small fee. Another helpful group that can match you with a business “mentor” in the community is S.C.O.R.E.—the Service Corps of Retired Executives. These people know about business because they’ve been successful in it, and most of their services are free. Chambers of Commerce, too, offer courses, and if you join the Chamber they’ll likely announce your store opening in their newsletter, host a ribbon-cutting and provide other services, along with networking. Don’t overlook the local university, if you have one. The business and marketing department can be a rich source of interns, advice and other help.

If you don’t feel up to starting a scrapbook store from scratch, perhaps you can buy an existing store. Racks, registers and the works are usually already set up, right down to a large inventory of existing product. “Turnkey” scrapbook stores are routinely listed for sale in the range of $55,000 to $140,000. You might also look into a scrapbook store franchise. (Watch for an article on this in the future.)

There are a handful of books on the market dedicated to scrapbooking businesses. One is The Scrapbooker’s Guide to Business by Kathy Steligo, and another is Memory Marketing : How to Successfully Promote and Publicize Your Scrapbooking Business, by Sue DiFranco who also wrote Secrets of Scrapbooking Success : Making Money, Making Memories. More recently published is Scrapbooking For Profit: Cashing In On Retail, Home-Based And Internet Opportunities by Rebecca Pittman.