Saturday, June 25, 2011

as promised.

So today is the day for my Becky Higgins rant.  It's going to feel so good to get this off my chest!  But let's back up, because if you aren't familiar with Becky Higgins then this whole post is going to be meaningless, so here's a little history.

Becky Higgins is a scrapbooker.  Really I would like to say was a scrapbooker.  Through a quirk of fate she happened to sit by Lisa Bearnson's mom in church years ago - Lisa Bearnson is a scrapbooker and was the founder of Creating Keepsakes magazine, which is sort of like scrapbooking's version of the bible.  Seriously.  So Becky, back when she was a scrapbooker, was amazing and her talent was recognized and she became well known in the scrapbooking industry.  She wrote a monthly column for Creating Keepsakes, wrote a few books on scrapbooking, yada yada yada.  Not taking anything away from Becky, she deserved all of the attention and accolades she received.  Back when she was a scrapbooker.

A few years ago, after having 3 children and all that goes along with it (and other things I'm sure - not pretending that I know her or have a window into her life), Becky decided that she didn't like the pressure that came along with staying up to date with scrapbooks.  Totally get that, I'm behind myself.  She ended her Creating Keepsakes column and designed her own scrapbooking product called Project Life.  There are a number of items that fall under that umbrella including a binder, page protectors, journaling cards, stickers, etc.  She sells them as a set or individually and the theory behind the project is that you slip photos and journaling into the page protectors rather than designing pages on your own.

That's great - inventive, creative, easy to use.  The probem that I have with the product is that Becky doesn't use it!  Ok, that's not exactly true because there's also a digital version of Project Life and that's what she uses.  However, that's not a new product because you could do the very same thing on Shutterfly and other photo websites.  For a lot cheaper.  For the non-digital version Becky depends on her customers to do the work and uses their photos, videos, etc. to promote her product.

An even bigger problem, the thing that really gets to me, is that the other way of promoting her product is to criticize traditional scrapbooking, the very thing that she used to do and that put her in a position to create and sell her own product.  She doesn't criticize traditional scrapbooking in an outright, honest sort of way, but in a manipulative, condescending sort of way.  As in, "if you want to continue to spend tons of money and time doing traditional scrapbooking you sure can, but it's certainly not the smart thing to do".  Clearly, I'm pharaphrasing or even more accurately, telling you what I'm hearing even if that's not what she's saying.

In stark contrast to Becky's message are people like Ali Edwards and Cathy Zielske, other well known scrapbookers that use and promote Becky's product in a way that Becky does not.  In my opinion they do a much better job of promoting her product by actually using it and showing creative ways to make it your own.  They aren't doing that for any reason other than they like the product and it works well for them.  And it feels honest.

So, why do I care?  I don't have to buy her product - and I won't - but it's very disappointing to have someone that you have admired badmouth traditional scrapbooking in order to sell her own product.
I have continued to read Becky's blog but honestly it just upsets me.  In one of her most recent posts she tells us, her readers, that now that summer is here and her kids are home from school she won't be blogging as much so that she can spend time with them.  Oh, and design future products.  She goes on to say that she's sorry if we are disappointed but she's really doing it for us, and if she did have to continue the daily grind of actually writing a post it would mean that she would create less future products, so we should be happy that she's going to be less active.  Again, not her exact words but the message I got when I read it.  Here are her exact words:

The more time I take to answer questions, the less time I am working on product design for items that are coming out this year. Which means the process will be delayed and ultimately, you’ll be frustrated if products aren’t being released when you’re expecting that they’ll be released. So … I want to answer your questions. I really do. I love to help. But I have to stay focused, especially for the next little while, on some hard-core design work. Trust me, this will benefit you

So, there you have it.  My Becky Higgins rant, for what it's worth.  I've had a link on my blog to her site but I've decided to remove it, not because I think it matters in the scheme of things but because I don't want to link to someone that no longer appreciates the creative process of scrapbooking.  I don't expect her blog to suffer due to my non-linkage, but I do feel better knowing that I'm not promoting her disparaging remarks about a hobby and creative outlet that I love.

So there.

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