Scrapbooking is big business and with the advance in technology, so is 'digital scrapbooking'...have you heard of this?
Well, we wanted to learn a little more so we turned to one of our very own Meylah members, Jennifer, owner of J. Conlon and Sons, who is a web designer turned digital scrapbook designer...oh and she's also a work-at home mom making her a true mompreneur!
Meylah: How did you get started in digital scrapbooking?
Jennifer: I was a web designer for about 15 years and lost my job when my first son was only 3 months old. While I was looking for full-time employment I was also looking for ways I could earn even just a small amount of money to supplement our family’s income. I did some freelance and sold random stuff on eBay and continued to search for the perfect "job" that would allow me to stay at home with my son...not thinking that was possible but still dreaming.
While all this was happening, one day I was buying photo cards on Shutterfly.com and I started looking at their photo books. Being a designer and having lots of PhotoShop experience I knew I could make a decent album. So I started one for a Mother's Day gift. That's how I started "digiscrapping" for myself. As I searched online for interesting digital backgrounds and ephemera to place on the pages I saw that there were packaged "kits" for sale of digital “papers”, frames, stickers, ribbons, flowers, alphabets, etc. and knew I could create these as well.
Meylah: For those who aren’t familiar with digital scrapbooking, can you explain a little bit about your customer base and how they use your work?
Jennifer: Digital scrapbooking is similar to traditional scrapbooking in that you are documenting your life by placing your photos, stories and decorative elements on a page in a thoughtful manner. Rather than printing out the photos, hand writing your story and collecting other physical items for your page, digital scrapbooking is all done right on your computer until you print out your completed layout. You do need to learn how to use the software (PhotoShop Elements is a popular choice) but, once that is tackled, there is so much creative freedom in all that the software itself can do and the digital products available. It’s also very economical – full digital scrapbooking kits are very inexpensive. Some designers (like myself) even offer some free items, which are perfect if you’re just getting started in digital scrapbooking.
What I create are “kits” that have a single theme and contain all the elements to create lots of different scrapbook pages – backgrounds, photo frames, alphabets, and other elements. So a customer would use the items within the kit along with their own photos and stories to design their own scrapbooks.
Meylah: Have you faced any challenges selling your work online? How has Meylah made selling your work easier?
Jennifer: Since my product is digital, it’s perfect for selling online. The biggest challenge for me is exposure and marketing…it takes a lot of effort right now to get a single sale. Using Meylah, I like that I can upload a product and have it be downloadable right at the time of purchase. On other sites, I would have to receive the order then email the (often very large) files to the customer. With all the time-management issues I have being a work-at-home-mom, you can see how having downloadable products was key in my choosing Meylah!
Meylah: You mentioned that you’re a ‘mompreneur’ – how do you juggle being an entrepreneur and a mom?
Jennifer: I have a 2 ½ year old and an 8 month old so they both need me pretty consistently through the day, but there are times where they are both focused on something (coloring and attempts to crawl being favorites right now). I usually check email and do a bit of social media marketing/surfing during those times. Nap time and bedtime is when I get my real work done. I try to keep very focused with lots of lists and calendars so I always know the most pressing thing I need to do at any moment. But most importantly I have to remain flexible...there is the occasional missed nap or illness that will keep me away from my work all day. Fortunately my husband will cook dinner most nights and doesn't mind a messy house!
Meylah: What unique challenges do you face as a ‘mompreneur’?
Jennifer: I think the most unique challenge is juggling a 24/7 job with a part-time job. Something is going to suffer. I'm not going to sacrifice my kids so usually the business suffers. I have MANY more ideas then I have time to produce them. Also -- no matter how focused I try to be -- as I go back and forth between the business and the mothering, I lose productivity. I can't sit at my desk and concentrate on single tasks for a full eight-hour day.
Meylah: What activities do you enjoy with your kids in your free time?
Jennifer: Well, the baby is so young still that just watching him grow and hit all those first-year milestones is what I enjoy most with him. My older son is passionate about his trains, puzzles and coloring books so I am often on the floor with him building tracks or coloring. Now that it’s summer the whole family enjoys going to fairs, the beach or for a walk around the neighborhood. I’m really looking forward to when they are a bit older and taking them to their first baseball game!
Thanks for sharing your story and your work Jennifer! We look forward to making our own digital scrapbook with your designs soon!