Loc: london, england
|Posted: 2/6/2013 4:43:41 AM|It's pretty important to keep in mind that scrapbook marketing is continually evolving, so things are always changing about how the design team element works - so while I can try to be as up to date in this post, please don't be surprised or upset if six months from now this information is already out of date!
Yes, Sarah is absolutely right that some teams are by open call and some are by invitation. There are teams for manufacturers, stores (both online and bricks & mortar), and inspiration sources (like magazines and challenge blogs). When a team is selected by a call, the call will have its own details for what they require for your application - usually there are two elements they are looking for - the look of your work and also your ability to market their product to a group of people, which translates to people who 'follow' you in some way.
For the look of your work part, they will stipulate in the call what they want you to submit. Some just want to see what you have already made, others want to see stuff specially made for the call and never before shared. Some are happy to see you work with any product (usually newer/smaller companies) and some want to see you work specifically and (almost) exclusively with their product (especially larger companies). Some want you to stay just within one type of craft and they separate their team into different experts (so the scrappers just make pages, the cardmakers just make cards, etc) and some want all-rounders so they ask you to submit a mix of pages, cards, minibooks, decor, etc.
For the marketing aspect, they are likely to look at your presence in the scrapbooking community (usually online, unless it is an offline type of team). That can be all sorts of things - do you keep a blog with scrapbooking content, do you use twitter, facebook, instgram, or pinterest (etc!) in a scrapbooking way? If so, they may look at what you post there and your follower numbers. Or they may ask for links to your online galleries, like here at Two Peas, and they will look at things like the style of your work, how popular it is with the membership (likes/views/bookmarks), and how often you add to your gallery.
Every team is looking for something a little different because they have their own goals in mind, so don't feel defeated before you start just because you don't have any interest in using facebook or your layouts don't have a lot of bookmarks in the gallery. Each thing they look at is just a small part of the overall package. I think it is also good to think of a design team application like auditioning for a movie or something because it's not a case of if you are the best actor in the world - you could be the most amazing actress in the history of the universe, but if you are six foot tall, blonde haired and forty, you are not going to be cast as Anne Frank! (Maybe radio is a better option for your skills? ) So it's a bit like that except you don't know what part you're auditioning for... it's quite likely that the people choosing the members of the team have a certain set of boxes to tick - they need balance between simple and artsy or vintage and modern or lots of journaling and little journaling or lots of photos or single photos - and there is no way you can plan for that. You just have to be true to what you love (or you will be miserable on the team making stuff you don't like) and if you strike the lucky jackpot, then there you go. If not, you will still have projects you like, provided you stayed true to what you love in the first place.
Staying true to yourself is more important than just design too, in my opinion. Be aware of what is asked for how much reimbursement - and what type of reimbursement. Many teams pay only in product, which you are then expected to use to create the assignments. Some of those teams then have opportunities to work for cash, like if your projects using almost just their supplies are selected for magazine publication, then you could earn a bonus. But only you know whether the magazine publication game is something you want to do with your time. Different teams have different monthly requirements and you need to be honest with the value of your time for what you will receive. There comes a point when if you are asked to do lots of pages and lots of blog posts and send out lots of tweets and upload to lots of galleries... you may very well feel you are working beyond the reimbursement you are receiving. Unfortunately, because many look at the idea of 'free' paper or being named on a team as some sort of 'fame', they will put in hours and hours and hours of promotion just for the supplies going onto their pages. As long as there are still talented designers doing that, it's hard to negotiate with an employer to reward you with more for your work. But on the flip side, if you do treat it as freelance employment and plot out to them how many hours you spend working for them and at what cost to you (because once you figure in time plus the things they won't give you - photo printing, adhesives, trimmer, tools, etc, you may well be losing money to be on their team), it is good to let them know if you think what they are doing is fair. In a polite and reasonable way, of course! But I think it's a case of be the change you want to see in the world, if you know what I mean. If everyone on a team is grumpy but they all keep quiet and just keep doing the stuff even though they feel the company asks too much, nothing will ever change. If you point out that you need to work three fewer hours a month to make it workable, then it's something that can be reasonably discussed with the team manager and they should know their priorities well enough to know whether it would be better to make changes or to use a different designer. Stay true to what feels right.
That also goes for what marketing they want you to use. If you don't want to turn your facebook page into all scrapbooking all the time, then stand your ground and say so. If you have a real groove for your blog and it's all pancake recipes and baseball games and you don't feel anyone reading is really interested in scrapbooking, then be up front about that - don't pretend that really every baseball mom you know is a scrapbooker spending $400 on supplies! However, if you are thinking about getting into the team frame of mind, it is worth keeping your gallery here at Two Peas up to date. It will be obvious to them if the last twenty projects in your gallery were all added the day before the call ended. It's more likely they are looking for someone who genuinely loves to create and share, so building that in your gallery is a great way to show your style and gain some followers here, on a site that is dedicated to people who scrapbook and shop for scrapbooking supplies! Those are the sorts of people they want to reach with their marketing, and thus far, the pancake-recipe-and-baseball-photo target audience is largely not directly related to significant scrapbook purchases. Also, just keep using the products you really love as that's probably a good match to the teams you'll want to apply for - it's always more fun to work with the stuff you like than the stuff you don't!!
There are also teams that do not pay in paper and do pay you in cash for your work. I feel they are certainly the minority of what's out there, but they do exist. Even when working for cash, it is important to keep track of things and not let things get out of control just because you are excited to be asked onto a team. (When I started working on projects for pay, my question to myself was always 'am I making more or less per hour than if I go down the street and work at Starbucks?' because well... scrapbooking design teams don't come with pension and health benefits, you know?) Lots of people who work in the industry at the team level say they get burned out working to team specifications and assignments or they just don't enjoy it as much when they have to work to a deadline. I always hate to hear this, because I personally think the people who are in the public eye of the scrapbooking world (and that's people on teams and bloggers and such) should be the people who are absolutely, completely besotted and in love with scrapbooking. If the people meant to be inspiring us are not inspired themselves, how would that work? I think one way teams can lead to burn out is that moment when you realise you're treating it like a job but you're not getting paid like a job - because then you start to ask yourself why it's worth spending that time away from your family, why it's worth the stress of an assignment or a deadline.
I can positively say that when you find a team that is a good match for you, it can be VERY inspiring indeed and lead you to want to make and share more all the time. But then again, it can also be very inspiring to have the freedom to make anything you want whenever you want (including taking a break!) so if you give teams a try and decide the stress at any level of the process is not worthwhile for you, don't feel you have to burn out on scrapping entirely! Remember why you started scrapping and I'm pretty sure you didn't stumble upon some pretty paper and instantly think to yourself, 'You know what, Self? I could use this and be on a DESIGN TEAM!' Yeah... pretty sure.
Loc: Pea-ing from Orlando, Fl.
|Posted: 2/6/2013 6:57:41 AM|Wow Shimelle, what am awesome, thoughtful and super thorough post!!
Thanks for the honesty- you know, it's interesting you made the acting analogy because I am an AEA actor and it is *very* similar I guess in the way you have to fit a certain spec sheet of requirements- I.e look, personality...quality of work and body of work.
I recently returned from about a 5 year hiatus from 2 peas and scrapping....and it is insane how much the trends, people and products have changed!! Some people I recognize are still around- Jen Gallagher for instance and Shannon Tidwell- but many of the "stars" from scrapbooking back when I started are no longer in the public eye and I do wonder if its that "burned out" aspect of the professional business.
Coming back into this hobby has been interesting as I had to literally rebuild all of my supplies because I; A. Purged and sold a lot of stuff and B. knew I had nothing current in my stash at ALL. It's been fun but expensive ( though I've been using my dinner theater gig money for supplies so it's been good to stick to a budget weekly ) but I have had a great time re-discovering my love for this craft.
When I left five years ago, doodling on your Los was just starting and a more personal feel was starting to emerge to pages after coming out of a more "showy" sort of trend, which I think it what made me leave in the first place. I hated printed journaling - it seemed so impersonal to me jmo- and I love that it really does seem to be a mix of the two styles at the moment- I LOVE that most people journal on their Los now.
I guess I was curious because I do have a bit more free time now that I'm a mom working part-time and I feel like the quality of my work has improved. I do know that social media has really blown this business up in a way that's both good and bad in a way.... It's great for us who don't know a lot about new products so by following a companies Insta acct for example, I find out what's new and in trend. But it's hard I guess if someone doesn't have a big Internet presence and wants to be on a design team, to build it up. For example, I post to the 2peas gallery and my insta acct but not twitter, fb and I don't keep a blog.
You've really given me some things to think about though.
Thanks so much Shimelle.
| After a five year break, I'm back baby!!! Now help Bellies get her Groove back.... |
To God be the Glory!
Loc: Glad to be back in the Carolinas!
|Posted: 2/6/2013 7:46:43 AM|I am in a hurry so didn't have time to read Shimelle's post. I am sure it was awesome. Anyway, one important thing to remember is to NOT change your style to "make a team." Be yourself and stay true to your style. I have been on many, many teams over the years. Some I have been invited to because they have seen my work in my gallery, others I have applied to, and one company I e-mailed and asked if they were hiring DT members--they were! I loved their product, inquired if they needed anyone, they looked at my work, and hired me. So, there are various ways to get on a DT. Applying to a call is not the only way. Blessings to you,