Sunday, 5 July 2015

Scrapbooking 101 - Lesson 1 Part 1 - How to Win Scrapbooking Challenges & Get onto Design Teams

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Hello everyone!  Welcome to a little 101 lesson on what we all want to know!
The answer is not easy nor is it short but I'm in the mood for sharing whilst I 
drink my tea so here goes.  This is a much more complex topic than you
might imagine.  There are many factors involved, from personality to
 location, it's not all to do with inborn talent, in fact very little of it is.

1.  You need a blog.  Work out how to do it.  It's not rocket science.
Nor is it easy if you are as computer illiterate as I was when I began,
but where there is a will there is a way & if you want to be involved
in the scrapbooking community online you need a blog & you need
a good one.  Get some nice blog wear to dress it up or get a digital
designer to help you out.  Not too cheap but not totally unaffordable
either.  Your blog needs to be bold but simple & easy to navigate.

2.  Spend some time online looking through Design Team pages of
manufacturers you like or challenge sites you enjoy playing at & follow
their Design Team members whose style appeals to you & check out
their blogs for the format.  Things like set-up are important so make
sure you add all the sidebar gadgets & pages you need without
over-cluttering. Lesson 2 next week will be all 
about setting up a blog, blog design & what to do & not to do.

3.  Once you have your blog set up get your social media game on.
Set up a Facebook Public Page for sharing your creations.
I share a lot on my personal page because most of my FB
friends are bona fide scrapbookers but it's essentially scared
away my real-life friends & I don't blame them.  I actually tell
them not to friend me on Facebook because 90% of what I 
share is scrapbook related, so start out with a Facebook page
 just for your scrapbooking - it's the best way to go.  

4.  Get an Instagram account.  Only once you are on there will
you realise there is a huge & buzzing scrapbooking community
inside there & if you keep your feed as focused as possible
with the right pages to follow you'll be giving yourself a free
scrapbooking/art lesson daily & the inspiration will make you
feel alive & ready to create as soon as you can!

On the other side of the coin you will be getting your work out there
&  noticed if you hash-tag & link up correctly.  Just get going with it
as that's how you learn.  If you keep posting regularly you'll get
 the hang of it & start building a following if you keep your account
focussed on what it is all about - it is not 'social networking' like
our kids do - it is 'industry networking' like our peers do!!

5.  Sign up for a Twitter account.  I can't stand Twitter & find
the whole concept completely narcissistic but don't throw the
baby out with the bathwater, just push your Instagram photos
through to Twitter & do the same with your blog posts.  That
way you'll maintain a presence there without even having to 
log on!  Score!!  Why is all this important?!  Because you are
branding yourself.  You are focusing on your passion & you 
are letting people know this is you, this is your life & you are
serious about it & serious about making a name for yourself.

6.  Start playing along in challenges, you've got to be in it to win it!
Visit the other player's blogs & get to know some people online.
Online relationships are fab, don't let any cynics tell you otherwise.
I've met handfuls of online friends who have all been more wonderful
in real life than they are online.  Start searching for your tribe.  Those
people who are like you.  They share your passions, your hopes,
your dreams.  They are your soul sisters.  They may be decades 
younger or older & their lives may be very different to you but when
it comes to your all-important lifestyle passion, you speak the same 
language.  Even if you don't end up winning any challenges or
getting onto any Design Teams I can promise you awesome friendships!

7.  Make friends.  Don't ever look at networking like a waste of your time.  
Just learn to control the habit!!  The saying 'It's not what you know, 
it's who you know' has a certain truth to it.  Companies & communities 
like to know that you are aware of who they are & what they stand for
 so make sure they know your name.  Very rarely does a complete 
outsider make a team - that would be down to pure talent & most
 of us don't have the sure confidence to rely on that alone in
 this very competitive industry.  Get online & the first thing that 
strikes you is how far you have to go!

8.  Follow the blogs &  Facebook feeds of the challenge sites & manufacturers
you aspire to (the ones whose teams you want to be on or whose challenges
you want to win).  Look at their designers & their winners each month.  Study
what they have in common.  If all the winners & designers have a particular
common thread then that gives you some clue as to what they are looking for.

9.  Make sure you have a chance before expending a lot of energy in the 
wrong direction.  For example, if, like me, you are an international, your
chances of making an American Design team will be 50 % at most.
That is just a sad reality.  Postage is expensive & time-consuming
& companies need a fast turnaround on trade show samples, etc,
so if you don't live in the right region & you want to make the team
be prepared to try long & hard as it could take years. 
 Your game is going to have to be strong!!  

Look at their team - do they have international designers at all? 
 If not you are barking up the wrong tree.  Do their designers
 create in a style you like?  Some companies take on a varied 
bunch but alot prefer the same style & if you don't like it there's 
really no point in pursuing a place on the team.  For example,
there's an American company whose products are really nice,
that I've admired for years, but they don't take many international
designers & even more significantly, although their products are
pretty spot-on they prefer their designers to use them in a very
CAS {Clean & Simple} way.  Result?  I gave up buying from them
many years ago.  Extreme?  Well not if you want the end result
of your journey into online scrapbooking to be using as much
sponsored product as possible, which is what I am after, due
to the fact that it's the most affordable way to scrap!!

10.  Make sure your entry is amazing!!  Judging challenges is HARD
& the entries that stand out are the ones that are super special.  Not
necessarily because they are full of complicated techniques, in fact
that's often not the case at all.  They are usually fairly simple, but
vibrant & cute pages.  SOMETHING about them makes them stand
out from the crowd.  It could be a really amazing photo {keep your
less than perfect photos for leisurely scrapbooking not competitions}
or it could be great photo taking & editing of your project.  Look
at the 'spec' {the sketch/mood board, etc} & think of something
unique & different to do with it, not necessarily the first thing that
comes into your head.  At the same time don't overthink it!!

And that is it for now!  My tea is cold & I have a project that needs
making!!  Please let me know if this has helped you & any ideas
you may have for future 101 lessons Thanks for swinging by again :-D


Please bear in mind that this is part ONE of a series so does
not contain a conclusion nor my final thoughts on the matter.


Christin aka Umenorskan said...

On #3, I have separated all my Facebook friends into different groups so my non-scrapbook friends don't have to suffer all my scrapstuff. So all things scrapbook related is published to scrapbook friends only. I have even set it up in Instagram no only publish to my scrapbook group of friends, so if they pics from Instagram are not Scrapbook related I change the setting on the pic to all friends (or most friends depending on the pic) That way I have no need for a public Facebook page. This way I have much bigger control on who is viewing what I am publishing.

Unknown said...

Hello !, Helen
I just read everything you've written and I thank you for all the information and advice. Every day I try to be better at what I do and although sometimes you wonder why not mine, go ahead and stronger if possible. Again thank you very much and I hope the next !!
A hug :))

Sanderijn de Bruin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valia Katzaki said...

Thank you for all the valuable info Helen! ❤️

Unknown said...

Oh wow - this is sooo GREAT Helen. I wish I would have had this when I started a few months ago but there is still alot on here that helps so much. You are such an icon to me... even though I'm not good at scrapbooking... I still love reading your posts and seeing your work. Looking forward to part 2. Thanks bunches and bunches for doing this. j.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful post! You've shared your honest opinions with us and so many of us need this type of information.

Paula Calvanico said...

Thanks Helen :) I need all the help I can get! I torment myself with a running tally of all the no's, my hubs yells at me, but I never give up!


Tusia Lech said...

You are a great observer Helen! I suppose that is the way scrapbooking "business" world goes around. There are many people, that wants to get on the teams and be "famous". For those people your blog-post is a chest of treasures! :)

Lizzy Hill said...

Great post! Have to agree with what you say even though I don't choose to do it all! But then, it depends WHY we scrap I guess. I like being on teams that 'fit' what I do & also that have products that challenge me - so not always those that I would necessarily normally use....but that's just perverse me, I think!!! Great run down - really enjoyed reading it:):)

Di Garling said...

Some really great points there HELEN. I sure a lot of people will get a lot out of this. TFS your thoughts.

Rachelle Olaridge said...

Fantastic article Helen. Love all the tips and so thoughtful for newbies and us senior designers. Great info for all to know. Thanks!

Rachelle Olaridge said...

I so forgot...Love your work Helen!

Sandi Clarkson said...

#7 is so right on! Much of it is who you know~ Of course, a good eye for design is important. But I like your points about considering if they do internationals etc~

Lizzyc said...

Good tips! But always remember to enjoy the process of scrapping!

Deena said...

Thank you for sharing your tips, ideas and knowledge Helen. I love visiting the different blogs. I have only recently started entering into challenges as I never thought my work was good enjoy and then I realised that I am not creating for anyone but myself and I do a challenge because it challenges me to use some elses criteria. There are sooo many talented scrappers out there and I just love being part of this community.

Kathy Bradley said...

Your article is wonderful, insightful and very HELPFUL! I was a cardmaker for 4 years before falling in love with mixed media and scrapping. It is a totally different world, but there are so many talented and kind ladies out there from which to learn. Thank you so much for these awesome tips and can't wait until tomorrow.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

You are a ROCK STAR!! Thanks for all the tips!!!!!

Wilma Voermans said...

You wrote a great post and it is so true.. Social media takes a lot of time, not only when you want to make a team, also when you are IN it. Visiting blogs, commenting etc etc. One thing I also learned, there are many super scrappers and creative people that I admire (on pinterest mostly) , but they just dont want to have free stuff, bee seen, or take time for teams. I can be at a lot of teams, having a great Youtube channel, I never forget that there are unknown people walking around that are wayyyyyyyy more creative and have more skills than I ever will have.Thanks for sharing your knowledge x ps: I had to laugh about scaring family and friends on facebook :) I am sure a lot of them stopped my timeline...aiiiii. Well the most important are still around me in real life .

Nicole Doiron said...

What an interesting post Helen! So helpful to many of us! :)

The Colour Press said...

I have biiig thank u n hug coming ur way. Few days back u posted about Instagram on ur fb page n I finally mustered d courage to give it go. N guess what. I like it more than fb! Simple n easy to post. So much inspiration. Thank u Helen. M goin to start pushing these posts onto Twitter from next week. One step at a time.

Margaret Mifsud said...

Absolutely fantastic post Helen!! Some fabulous tips for those wanting to get published or be on Design Teams!! Great read!! xx

Unknown said...

Taking your time to share your success secrets, what a girl! Xxxx

Jaya Raghuvanshi said...

Great and a very useful post Helen! Really informative :) I have to say you are so right about the social media thing.. It takes up most of the time.. these days even more than creating the projects ;) Lol!
And all thanks to you for introducing me to Instagram... I still have to get a hang on it, But I sure love it :D

Katie said...

Thank you for sharing Helen.
i dont see the point of twitter either but i love working with Instagram as its great for making those snaps a bit more eye catching.

Cherry said...

Great post Helen. Really informative.. Love how you pull is in with your amazing art , and then give us some info on how to get ours our there. Thank you. :)