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The "A.B." in ABCreations stands for Anmarie Bowden, that's me! My favorite ice cream is Mississippi Mud from Baskin Robbins, altho I'm partial to Oreos crumbled on top of Vanilla Bean ice cream too! I was born on Super Bowl Sunday. I have been digiscraping since 2000. I live in beautiful sunny California. I am married to my soul mate and we have two gorgeous children. My favorite saying is, “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart!”


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: December

December's Question: How did you become a digital scrapboook designer? 

December's AnswerAs a customer, I was always a bit disappointed after buying a $7-$10 kit to find I had 12 paper choices but wished I had at least 36 because the papers I liked were the wrong color or not the design I wanted. 

Usually customers buy a kit for the theme. If it's not a themed kit they buy it for the color, to match the photos they have and want to scrap. I was no different, I would buy a kit because it was the right theme only to find the paper I liked from the preview was only available in one color from the kit, not all the colors in the kit's palette. I had purchased that kit wanting the design from the preview on a particular colored paper, but that design was only offered in one color (not the color I wanted). And I thought to myself, why would a designer make that design in only one of the kit colors instead of all of them? I knew changing the background color was literally a 2 step process for a designer: click the background layer, and use the fill tool to fill it in a different color. I was really frustrated because trying to change the color after the file has been flattened is hit or miss at best.

I was a hybrid scrapper before I knew what digi scrapping was. I would use Word Docs to create titles or embellishments, and when I couldn't get Word to do what I wanted, I would code HTML to do what I wanted on a web page and print it out (totally time-consuming!) Then I discovered digi scrapping and as soon as I got my head around that concept, I excitedly bought a few kits. However, I was disappointed, as I explained above; and realized I had enough graphic design background that I could probably use Photoshop to make my own papers, so I set out to try my luck. 

I wanted to learn but couldn't find tutorials specific to digi scrapping, so I looked all over and asked people, and eventually (by accident) found a lady who sold scrapbook supplies from her living room who just happened to own a book on how to digiscrap, so I wrote down the name and searched for it online and bought it. That's how I learned about what sizes to make things, and how to use a lot of the Photoshop tools.

Eventually I started to learn the right places to hang out online, and digi scrap became more and more popular, and pretty soon I was asking designers if I could CT for them. The next step in my journey was to start selling my designs, so I sent my work to several stores, but no one was hiring. Then I heard about DST (digi shop talk) where all the info about digi scrap was located in a non-biased forum (non-biased meaning they didn't have a store or designers back then, they just had a forum full of super great info) and I found an entire thread on stores who were holding calls for designers. So I applied to a bunch and got in at two! 

At first I was worried they just hired anyone who applied, and that I would never sell anything because both were pretty small stores. But one of them grew fast and was a big store very soon. Unfortunately, it went out of business as quickly as it grew. I had to do something so I used my Minor in Advertising and got busy. The more I advertised in the digi scrap community, the more I sold. Soon I was making $200 a month and was the top seller every single month in my store. I was hoping the store would grow quickly, but there was no forum, so I suggested to the owner that she get one. She wasn't too keen on the idea, so I offered to help with her blog train instead hoping that would help get me more sales. 

I am a very hard worker and the owner noticed quickly that my plethora of papers and unique mouse-drawn embellishments were selling like hotcakes. Soon the owner asked me to be a store admin! Then when I pitched the forum idea again and said I would set up and run the entire thing, she was agreeable! I researched all the forums and eventually we found the one that worked best for our needs and was integratable with the store.

Digi scrap just kept growing. Eventually other store owners noticed my hard work, cute designs, and ingenuity and were asking me to sell my kits in their stores. Soon I was selling my kits in 10 different stores! It was an amazing time. I was pregnant and not working outside the home, so digi scrap was my life. I worked all day and most of the night to keep all 10 stores current with new kits, and to keep all my weekly and monthly requirements met. As my pregnancy progressed, I started getting all those pregnancy pains and I was exhausted. I wasn't able to keep up with all my stores and ended up having to leave several of them. Once my son was born, I couldn't keep up with anything. Soon after he was born, I was pregnant with my daughter. I resigned from all my stores but the one where I ran the forum. Digi scrap wasn't as popular as it had been the last several years, and for all the effort I was putting out, I was only making a few dollars a month. Eventually, my daughter was born and I had to resign from my last store. I really missed the digi scrap community so I decided to join a store that didn't have any weekly or monthly requirements. I joined Etsy. Now I can still do all the mom stuff I adore, but digi scrap whenever I have a spare minute or two! For me, it's the best of both worlds! 

All in all, I've learned the customer is always right, even when you yourself are the customer, lol! Check out some of my designs below, you won't be disappointed in the quantity or the quality! 

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