Welcome to another Freebie Friday! Today we’re pleased to have with us Jeanette Herdman, founder of Scrap In Style. She’s going to dish about her growing (and immensely popular) online community, her favorite SIS product and tell us why she has the ultimate dream job.
For today’s giveaway, Jeanette’s agreed to donate four SIStv online class tuitions (see descriptions below), as well as two $15 gift certificates to the SIStv Boutique!
Are you ready to learn more about Jeanette and Scrap In Style? Here we go!
What exactly is SIStv?
SIStv is “Scrap In Style TV,” a magazine style web TV show that my husband and I created and produce that is centered around memory keeping and the paper arts. ScrapinStyletv.com is the web site that we developed to help build our viewership as well as the brand Scrap In Style.
How did you come up with the idea of SIStv?
Creating the show was actually my husband’s idea several years ago. He has been in the entertainment industry since the early 90′s and thought producing a cutting edge show that featured scrapbooking would be a great niche. It took some time for me to catch his vision. Once I got on board, I dove in head first and found out that producing and hosting a show about my favorite hobby was like my dream job.
What do you want our readers to know about your growing online community?
The most important thing I want people to know about our online community is that it’s a place where scrappers and paper crafters of all levels can really engage in the process of becoming better at what they love to do. The idea of “community” is that everyone has something to offer that will benefit the other members. And when a person joins the Scrap In Style community, I sincerely believe that they will learn, become inspired, interact with people all over the world, and (hopefully) give back. In the end everyone grows. Okay, I’m feeling the need for a disclaimer: I’m talking about paper and glue here people…
One of your big pushes on the site is education. You actually offer a lot of online classes on paper crafting, photography, sewing, blogging, etc. How have these been going?
Our classes have been going really well. I think we’ve really started to hit our groove with what we’re offering in the way of content and classroom environment. I love that people always seem to have that hunger to learn new things, and it only seems to grow as we get older. I tell ya, education is wasted on the young… what I wouldn’t give to go back to the 5th grade!
Tell us a little bit about your two classes Scrap In Style Home: Decorating On A Budget (A six-week course beginning April 13) and Bling Out Your Blog 2.0 (April 20-May 1). By the way, thanks so much for donating these classes to our readers!
These two classes are especially exciting to me because they are both incredibly relevant. We came up with Scrap In Style Home: Decorating On A Budget because I believe crafting and home decorating really go hand in hand. I don’t think it’s a stretch at all for a scrapbooking web site to be offering a class on home décor. Crafters are especially good with repurposing, whether it’s an old clock or their scrapbooking supplies. Most people in today’s economy have had to cut back in some area, and where a lot of people wouldn’t dream of redecorating at a time like this, we’re showing people that it’s the absolute BEST time to do it because you really get to use your creative “chops”!
Bling Out Your Blog 2.0 is another class that will be of tremendous help to people. Writing and reading blogs has become one of the world’s favorite pasttimes. It’s like the ultimate in Internet Grass Roots Marketing (is that an oxymoron?). People are starting to really utilize their blogs in a variety of ways, many of which go well beyond the idea of keeping family and friends up to date on who they’re dating or on Little Jimmy’s first steps. In order for a blog to stand out in the crowd, it requires top form and function in its design and content. When people get done with this class, they will be able to create top notch blogs that will keep their readers coming back day after day.
SIStv actually has its own product line. What’s your favorite?
MODsheetsTM (short for Multi Optional Design Sheets) are papers that offer classic style but with versatility and value. Each sheet is modular in design (get it, “MODsheets”… ah, so clever are we!). Various patterns are included on each sheet in standardized sizes that are perfect for paper crafters. Each color coordinated line has three sheets and each sheet has between two and five patterns, in sizes ranging from 8″ x 12″ down to 2″ x 3″. You can use the sheet whole if you like as a background for your layout, knowing that the proportions of each pattern create “safe” design elements, or you can cut each pattern out and use it in a variety of ways, which is great for card makers. Over the last couple of years in the “paper biz” I have noticed that people really gravitate toward those classic patterns: houndstooth, polka dots, brocade, plaid, etc. because they want their projects to have a timeless look to them. Don’t get me wrong–I love an owl motif as much as the next guy–but ten years from now, nothing will say “2007″ more to me than layouts made with owl paper. And that’s totally okay for some of your stuff, but you don’t want everything to look dated. It’s like with clothing… each season you want to get a few items that are really on-trend but for the most part it’s best to buy stuff that will really last you, items that you will be able to use with those trendy pieces a year from now. I just believe that offering customers variety and value… you know really give them some bang for their buck is where it’s at right now.
The gaffer tape is incredibly utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing all at the same time. It’s one color and features a classic pattern. It’s the most fantastic stuff. It’s low-tac, somewhere between masking tape and duct tape, so it doesn’t ruin something you’ve put it on when you pull it off. Also, it’s super easy to tear through, which is really nice. I use it for everything – file folders, labels, my kids’ school projects… I’m seriously addicted to it. I wish I had it in every color and pattern… hmm… maybe someday I will!
What’s seems to be the most popular section of your web site?
Hmm… I would definitely have to say the SIStv Webisodes or the SISter’s Portfolio, which is our main gallery. We just started season two of Scrap In Style TV, and the response has been great so far. We had been in “reruns” since August because my husband who does all of our video production was diagnosed with a stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil in July (did I spell all of that correctly? Those are real long cancer-y words… I’m pretty sure I got “cell” right). He just got a clean bill of health about three weeks ago, so we’re getting back to normal… well, if you consider having two belly buttons normal (he has a pretty deep scar from where his feeding tube was).
The SISter’s Portfolio has lots and lots of eye candy, and great ideas are uploaded there every day. It’s hard to keep up with it sometimes, so we have a feature called “Favorite SISters” where you can put another member on your “Favorite SISter” list and on your profile when you sign in, you will see links to their latest layouts. It’s really cool because the main gallery moves really fast.
Now that you have a loyal following, how do you keep people coming back for more?
That is something that can be really challenging to be honest, but we have a really loyal following. In fact, I think it’s something like more than 50% of the visitors we had in 2008 have visited the site more than 100 times since we launched in May of 2007. The numbers are pretty incredible, but I know that we must continually improve the site content and its features if we want to stay in the game. I don’t want to go down in Internet history as some flash in the pan web site.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The absolute most rewarding thing is when I hear someone say that SIS has changed their life. (And yes, I have heard that on more than one occasion.) It’s completely humbling. Not that I was a direct part of it, but knowing that something that I had a hand in creating was a part of something big in a person’s life is amazing.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who’s just getting started in paper crafting/scrapbooking?
Simple… don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. It’s not an all-or-nothing hobby. You can invest as little or as much time and money as you want, and it will be rewarding either way. Find someone (or somewhere, like a web site, cough cough www.scrapinstyletv.com cough) that will help you get started by easing into it… none of this “spending $200 to get you started” business, okay? Promise me! Promise!
Jeanette, thanks so much for being with us today! Like we mentioned before, Jeanette has graciously donated two tuitions to her Scrap In Style Home: Decorating On A Budget class and two tuitions to her Bling Out Your Blog 2.0 class. In addition, two lucky winners will each receive a $15 gift certificate to the SIStv Boutique. Leave a comment telling me what advice you would give a brand new paper crafter. All comments must be received by midnight on Sunday, March 29. I’ll announce the six winners on Monday, March 30.
P.S. Our fabulous editors Brandy Jesperson and Susan Opel participated in a live chat with SIStv members last week. Along with a few Creating Keepsakes editors, they answered questions on how to get projects published. If you’d like to read the complete transcript, click here!