Scrapbooking Classes at Your Store
Whether or not to offer classes depends on a variety of factors, including: regional trends, what other scrapbook stores in your area are doing and the floor space you have available.
If you are a gifted scrapbooker yourself, get the ball rolling by offering your own classes. Then, line up a team of experienced scrapbookers, preferably with different styles so that you can draw from a wider range of potential students. Besides being able to create appealing page designs, your teachers should be good at communicating how to execute the project. But don’t rely on class-night instruction alone. Make sure to include detailed, step-by-step instructions, along with a photo or printed scan of the finished project, for students to refer to. During class time, you can choose to post the finished original on a wall, or let it circulate among the students—being sure not to let anyone “hog” the finished page.
Come to a clear agreement with your instructors regarding payment and other terms. (Will it be per student or by the hour? Must the teacher assemble the page kits or will the store’s paid staff do so? What is the supplies “budget?” Who retains the “rights” to the page? You will probably want to keep the page rather than let the teacher take it home.). Make sure that the work your teachers are doing is original, and keep an eye out for others “scraplifting” your store’s class pages for profit. You may want to get all this in writing.
See if you can get a regional or national scrapbooking “celebrity” to teach a class or make a guest appearance at your shop. Look at scrapbooking magazines and peruse Web sites to see who in your area has won major contests or been chosen for manufacturers’ or Web site design teams. These people can be a huge draw for your store, and it’s fun, too. You may even want to bring in a professional photographer to teach a class, or a genealogist to talk about researching family history, or a writer to talk about journaling techniques.
Set a class calendar well in advance and publish it in your newsletter and/or Web site. Try to get layouts or projects on display several weeks ahead of time, giving potential students plenty of time to see them and sign up. Promote upcoming classes at crops, and, of course, at classes. Offer a mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced courses. Evening and Saturday classes are popular in most regions. Make sure students pay in advance or you could be left holding the bag—literally, with class kits already made and no one to take them. (Of course, you can always try to sell extra kits. Kits are quite popular with advanced scrappers who don’t need the hands-on learning experience but like the look of the class page.) At any rate, come up with a cancellation policy for both classes and crops so no one is surprised.
When pricing your classes, take into account the following: How much do the supplies cost (figure retail, not wholesale)? Will store staff assist in compiling the kits, or in helping students on class night? How much will you pay your teachers—will it be a flat hourly rate, a per-kit rate or per student in attendance on class night? Good teachers are hard to come by, so be sure to value them while protecting your interests as well.
Include non-layout-oriented classes in the mix, especially around gift-giving seasons. Altered books, mini albums, greeting cards, calendars and more can really mix things up and make your store’s offerings cutting-edge.
Classes serve another purpose besides educating scrapbookers. They also generate interest in new products and techniques that can generate more sales for your store. If you are demonstrating a new technique or introducing a new tool or supply, be sure to have some in stock for interested students to purchase. It’s a missed opportunity if someone gets all hyped about a great new tool only to find that it has to be special-ordered.
Don’t let class pages disappear into a back room once the class is over. File them in an album for customers to flip through, or hang them on the wall. That way, customers (potential students!) can get a sense of the range and styles of classes you offer, letting class pages do double-duty.