To subscribe or not to subscribe. That is the question. Lately, it seems that a lot of the scrapbooking and papercrafts industry is adopting a subscription model. The most recent being the introduction of a subscription to Big Picture Classes. On a recent episode of paperclipping, I got to speak in my role as a consumer. I am not just a consumer.I have also had access to a variety of subscription products through creative team opportunities. Having a subscription is something I have spoken about a bit before. We discussed the role of subscriptions in the digital scrapbooking community during Episode 16 of the DigiScrap Geek Podcast. Shortly after, I shared a blog post with tips for choosing a kit club. However, I think it might be wise to go into the subject a little more in depth. I am going to share with you my personal experiences with a variety of subscriptions as well as a few more tips to help you make the right decision.
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First of all, let me make one point clear. While I do support some scrapbook kit and class subscriptions, ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether subscribing is right for you. Whether it’s a class or a kit club, subscriptions only make sense if they bolster your creative process. It’s easy to fall prey to peer pressure. Chances are that someone you know in the scrapbooking community loves their subscription. Ask them their opinion and the answer will often be a call for you to join in the crowd. The more people in a community who belong to that subscription, the louder the voice becomes. It can be very compelling to give in and subscribe. However, I believe that listening to that voice sometimes guides you into a choice that isn’t right for you. So what question should you really be asking yourself when it comes to a subscription choice?
What you should be considering when you look at any membership is what the subscription will do for you. Does it feel a specific need? Or do you already have something that does that for you? Let’s take a look at a few of the subscription services that I have used to see what they did for me.
Budget isn’t just a monetary consideration. It’s also one that relates to time. When signing up for class memberships you need to decide how much time you have to allocate to use the resources. When I evaluated the time I had to spend and what I really wanted to get from a membership, I discovered that the Big Picture Classes subscription wasn’t a good investment for me. Currently, my personal goals center around improving design, story and organization within my space. Both Get It Scrapped and Simple Scrapper fill those needs for me. I should also mention that I am on the creative teams for both of these memberships. I was a member long before I designed for them. I love what they offer and I support them both wholeheartedly.
When considering class subscription sites, look for opportunities to sample their product first. Many offer free classes or a free trial period. While sampling the content, evaluate whether or not you like the way materials are presented to you. Are they in a format you will use?( For example, some people like videos while others prefer PDFs). If you are looking for interaction among peers, peek at their forums to see whether or not the interactions are a fit for you.
When it comes to product subscriptions there are a few options: Scrapbook Kits, Pocket Page Scrapbook Kits, Embellishments,Planners and Stamp Clubs. The scrapbook kits and pocket page kits are both available in digital and paper options. Though I have been on a design team for a product based kit club in the past, I am currently not affiliated with any. I do currently subscribe to two clubs and have subscribed or used others in the past. Here are my favorites based on current offerings.
When considering kit clubs with product, I make sure to choose ones in which the majority of the items work with my style and process. A few items may not, but as I have mentioned before, those tend to challenge me a bit. I like the challenge. Once again, you need to ask what need the kit fulfills. For me, the kits provide a sampling of new products while helping me stay in a set budget. They alleviate my fear of missing out on the latest and greatest supplies while preventing me from going on a crazy spending spree in an online store.
The hardest part of being a kit club subscriber is my desire to get add on items. If I do so, the whole concept that a kit will keep me within a budget flies right out the door.There area few things you can do to keep yourself from becoming tempted if you don’t want to spend money on add on items. First of all, try to avoid opening the subscriber shop emails. These often tempt me and knowing that I can conveniently bundle the products in with my kits for free shipping doesn’t help. I try to wait a few days past the order deadline or I just delete the email. It is possible to make your own add on kits to supplement your main kit. Once the deadline has passed, I will use the add on kit items as inspiration and then I can shop my supplies to build a similar kit.
Subscriptions certainly are not for everyone. Stop and take a hard look at a subscription before you sign up. Are you choosing the subscription because everyone says you should? Or is it really a good fit for you. Look at your options for trying a subscription. Is there a free trial? Can you buy just one month? If you commit, what are your options for canceling and is there a penalty if you do so? Make sure a subscription truly fits into your budget in regards to both time and monetary means. Most importantly, resist peer pressure which might make you question your choice. Don’t open that email or message board topic if you think something is going to tempt you. And if you are tempted, sit back and consider your choice wisely before moving forward. Remember, the subscription must fill some type of need for you in order for you to use it to its fullest potential.
Do you like subscriptions? Or do you prefer to buy products and classes individually?