Sunday, February 17, 2008

Savile Row & Scrapbooking...



You may wonder what the two have in common... The finest tailoring in the world, famous for quality, detail and excellence - and then the UK scrapbooking industry. Seems an odd fit - until you think a little more about WHY there is an entire row of shops ALL SELLING THE SAME THING - ALL in the same place. Surely competition must be fierce, and locating that close to a competitor business suicide??
BUT we know different - as Savile Row is a destination... it is the epitomy of excellence in dress standards - and as punters we KNOW where to go. We know that in this one road there is a veritable feast of choice... and we then can make the trip pretty confident that we will find what we are looking for (if you have the mullar to spend ;)
So why are scrapbooking shops absolutely killing themselves as soon as a competitor opens within a 20 mile radius... or when a big box store starts stocking shelves with some product that they also stock? Suddenly it is panic stations, and the industry can as good as wash its hands of independents because they are a dying breed.
I read Craft Business - and I have heard the complaints from independents. I totally appreciate their worries and fears, as they may have less capital to ride consumer storms that are brewing... but they are also positioned to act quicker and smarter than the chains... just because they are by nature a smaller business.
I met the lovely folks from Sir Stampalot at CHA. All they wanted was to know how to work smarter - as they are already working HARDER. To me, the thought of Savile Row springs to mind... as well as the word FOCUS (AK *bingo)
When I was in the US I visited Michaels, and then some other stores. There were out of stocks, and many items not stocked (which I was frustratingly looking for) and the thought did occur to me that if a smaller independent was to be a stone throws away from the chain, it really would attract traffic and attention. For one, there is just that one trip - not multiple. For two, I bet they are stocked full to the rafters with the niche product - as well as the mainstream - that I wanted to buy. As a consumer I want choice, proximity and excellence. Independents can tick each of these boxes - hands down...
If I want that - there has to be hundreds more crafters like me wanting the same thing...
Savile Row.

1 comment:

Liberty said...

You're absolutely right. I set up my own online store just 5 months ago, and I have to say I have felt disappointed and slightly hurt to have received the luke-warm-almost-cold shoulder, wariness and guarded reactions from other store owners and others in the industry(not many I might add only a few!). There are SO many products out there, and SO many customers - not even including those waiting to be tapped who haven't even heard of scrapbooking. I have a policy of only stocking what I like - and my DH often says "why don't you stock such-and-such, people obviously like it..." - but I don't, and my policy must work as I blew my business plan out of the water in my 3rd month and I can guarantee no-one else has felt the pinch from my success! We can all have a niche and be successful. BTW I am on the doorstep of the big H so there you go!