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Summer 2009 Scrapbooking Store Blossoms

In 2005, Michelle Rubino’s scrapbooking business—Scrapbook Central Inc.—was located in an office building in Coconut Creek, FL. Even though the location was obscure, the business developed a following. “Scrapbookers will seek out a place where they can go to work on their albums, learn new techniques and purchase supplies,” Rubino says.

But last year, Rubino did some research and found only five percent of women scrapbook. In other words, only a very small subset of the larger consumer base would actively seek out her store as a destination. Rubino felt she had to act to widen her customer base. She knew she was missing out on a large section of consumers—the less devoted enthusiast who might just buy an album or take a photography class.

Movin’ on up

To move beyond the hard-core scrapbookers demographic, last summer, Rubino began shopping for a new retail location.

She knew synergy with neighboring stores was vital. “[Scrapbooking] is a relatively expensive hobby—it’s comparable to golf—and we needed an upscale location,” she says, implying she was looking to draw the attention of more affluent customers. With stores like Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, and Jos. A. Bank, and a mix of other apparel, gift, jewelry, and children’s stores in addition to restaurants and cafés; a new outdoor shopping center in town—the Promenade at Coconut Creek—seemed like a perfect fit.

In April, Rubino made the jump and moved her business to an inline store in The Promenade.

Image overhaul

But she wasn’t finished. Rubino decided a new name was needed to broaden her clientele. “Cherry Blossom Studio is an intriguing name—I think it makes people want to come in and see what we’re about,” she says. The hard-core scrapbookers, on the other hand, can tell just from the window display alone, that the store specializes in scrapbooking.

In addition to selling scrapbooking supplies and gift items, Cherry Blossom Studio also offers scrapbooking sessions and classes. These are designed for both the veteran and occasional enthusiast. Twice a month, Cherry Blossom Studio hosts three-day “crops,” in which customers can scrapbook for three days and leave their supplies on one of 40 five-foot tables rather than lug them back and forth. There are also two one-day crops each month. Scrapbookers pay $10 for the one-day crop or $20 for three days.

“When these women are at home, they are a lot less likely to scrapbook, because they’re distracted by the kids and all that they have to do,” Rubino says. “Here, they’re able to focus on creating a legacy to hand down to their children.”

Course list

Cherry Blossom Studio offers a wide variety of related classes, from photography to computers to scrapbooking, stamping and card-making techniques. Fees for classes range from $15 to $95; the cost depends on the techniques involved, the number of hours and who teaches the class. This month, the store plans on having Donna Downey, a best-selling author and instructor in the crafting industry, teach a class on creating fabric albums.

According to Rubino, the store had about 100 new customers in its first month at the center. “There’s a lot of interest in our classes and learning new techniques,” she says.

Years ago, Rubino started a scrapbooking business because she enjoyed it as a hobby. But now, she is so busy with her business that she only has time to scrapbook about once a year. “But I absolutely love the business,” she says. “I love helping people transform their pictures into artwork.”

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Bernadette Starzee

Starzee, a Long Island, NY writer who covers business, sports and lifestyle topics, is a senior writer for SRR. She can be reached at .

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