Making big decisions in life requires connecting to the data, listening closely to yourself and others, and believing that you can figure out the rest. Jennifer Edwardson is a long-time instructor and business owner in our industry who has weathered major pivots to come out stronger every time. In this episode we deep dive into her journey, from attending a home party after her first child was born to how the pandemic forced Jennifer out of her comfort zone.
Jennifer Edwardson 0:00
Women stopping by and you know, we're all masked up and they're six feet away and they're saying to me, "Thank you. This has saved me through this time."
Jennifer Wilson 0:09
Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I'm your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is Episode 99.
Jennifer Wilson 0:28
In this episode, I'm joined by Jennifer Edwardson for a deep dive into her business journey, including the dramatic shifts that allowed her business to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hey, Jennifer, welcome to the podcast.
Jennifer Edwardson 0:43
Hey, Jennifer, how are you?
Jennifer Wilson 0:45
Awesome. Hopefully we don't get each other confused today. I love having a Jennifer on.
Jennifer Edwardson 0:49
Right. Oh my gosh, I know. It's so cute. When I saw your name I was like Oh for sure we're getting along.
Jennifer Wilson 0:54
Yes. So can you tell our audience a little bit about yourself where you live and all that?
Jennifer Edwardson 0:59
Yeah, you bet. So I've been married for 22 years. And I keep asking my husband every year I seem to forget, he always remembers, but it's been 22 years. We live on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, and the very west coast of Canada. And I always describe it saying we are so far west that next up is Japan. So we're on the very west coast of country. Scott has worked overseas for 20 of those 22 years. So he's been offshore for a very long time. And we have managed to raise two children. Emma is 20. And Alex is 15. And yeah, I'm lucky I get to stay in the country with them. Because that was there was always an option to not stay in Canada. And we chose for me to stay in Canada and raise the kids here and he works overseas. So we have kind of a a lifestyle that moves quite a bit. It's fairly fluid.
Jennifer Wilson 2:00
Yeah, Vancouver Island is a beautiful place to have as your home base. So it's incredible.
Jennifer Edwardson 2:05
Yeah, it's incredible. We're really, really lucky. It's very beautiful here.
Jennifer Wilson 2:09
All right. So we will get more into the crafty side of your life later in our conversation. But one thing we always do on the podcast is talk about what is exciting us right now in memory keeping. So do you have one or two things? It really could be anything. There's there's no limits here.
Jennifer Edwardson 2:26
Sure. Yeah. You know, I, for me, it's interesting I was there's the industry I love the change how it's you know, ebbs and flows over the years and things tend to come full circle, when you're talking about supplies and the way that we work and things like that. But for me right now, and talking about where we are in this stage in 2020, I am loving connecting online with crafters, that is something that is really, really new for me. And it's really interesting, because I know it's 2020 and virtual connections have been there for many, many years. But that was never how I ran my business. It wasn't my business was very hands on it was brick and mortar. All of those things.
Jennifer Edwardson 3:10
So for me this year, I have really had to stretch myself, personally, professionally. The technology side was never something that was an interest to me, I was never interested in that, you know, obviously, we always had a computer and all of the things but I don't, I haven't always loved sitting in front of the computer, I want to be working with paper and working with my hands and creating things. And so when things changed this year, it scared me I was really nervous just because I didn't have the knowledge. It was something I hadn't ever really taken the time to learn. And if I wanted to stay in business, I had to change and learn. And as much as that was hard for me in the beginning, it has become something that I am so excited about now, which you know, it's taken a while I put the business online in April. So, you know, April to December, but it's only been in the last couple of months where I can honestly say, I'm enjoying this part of it. And I am excited and I'm finding I'm reaching to learn new things every single day to help connect virtually so that for me, is what's exciting to me. I'm connecting with crafters from all over. I mean, look at where I am and look at where you are, you know, there's just there's something about being able to connect with people from different places. And it's been a lot of fun. So that that gets me excited every day.
Jennifer Wilson 4:37
Well bravo for not being intimidated with at least too much by the learning curve and just jumping right in and seeing what you can figure out and you know, giving it the time to to get over some of those bumps and hurdles which you no doubt experienced in that process.
Jennifer Edwardson 4:55
Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think the biggest one, too for me, you know, it's interesting in just talking just internet, when you just say internet, in itself depends on where you live. I mean, we're not in town, but we're not too far out of town. And we had to make lots of changes to just our internet just for me to be able to run my business from our home, and have that constant connection. That was that was a big hurdle I, I was teaching classes and my classes were dropping, and I felt like I was apologizing constantly. And I'm lucky that crafters are literally the sweetest people in the whole world, we are all so supportive of each other, because I felt like I was saying, oh, gosh, I'm really sorry, you guys. I'm really sorry. You know, just trying to figure it out. And everyone was really understanding and just grateful that I was trying to reach them virtually at a time where a lot of people felt very alone. And I didn't realize how important it was for others, and then in turn, became really important to me. And now, it is just, it's what I'm doing every day, and I'm really loving it.
Jennifer Wilson 6:03
Well, I will be so curious to hear kind of how you've taken your in person experience and transition that to online. And what are the similarities and differences from that? Because I'm someone who never had a local scrapbook store never had a local community. And so my entire memory keeping experience has been online. Oh, that's so I think it'll be it'll be fun to just to hear a different perspective.
Jennifer Edwardson 6:29
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
Jennifer Wilson 6:32
All right. So before we get there, though, we always talk about our memory keeping Bucket List. So these are stories that you are craving to tell, they can be a little bit more meaningful, a little bit deeper, sometimes even bigger. Sometimes they're a little bit heavier. And sometimes they're silly, but still they define who you are. And your story. So Jennifer, what is one story on your memory keeping Bucket List?
Jennifer Edwardson 6:56
Well, it's interesting, I was thinking about this. And I think we all generally start to, not all but a lot of us, gravitate to family history, you know, our parents, our grandparents, great grandparents. And yes, I do want to tell those at some point. But what I really am focused on for this coming year, is telling Scott and my story. I have lots of photos, and lots of layouts and mini books and all the things over our while we've been together almost 24 years, I guess. But I love the start of our relationship, we had so much fun how we met was so fun, our dating life, our just kind of how our relationship evolved. And I don't really have that in our albums. And I'm finding, it's interesting. Now with Emma being she's just turned 20. And she's just kind of starting into her first relation, you know, kind of real relationship. And she's building her own life. And I'm looking at her while I was only 21 when I met Scott. So I'm like, Oh, I'm looking at the kids now at their ages. And I know how interested they are. And it's interesting to hear them kind of just ask certain questions just sporadically kind of out of the blue, they'll ask something. And I was said, You know, I really want to make sure I get that story. And it was so fun. It makes me so happy to think back on those years. And I want to make sure that I get that in there for them. So that is a big goal for me in the coming years to get those photos, the photos that I have. It's interesting, obviously, we take so many more photos now. But I have I do you know I do have I still have lots of photos. And even gosh, you look back at them. And I pulled one out and the kids were like, Dad, what were you wearing? Even just the clothing, they're like, wow, you had a lot of hair that I mean, he still has hair, but he had more than and so things like that. And I just think it would be really fun to kind of enjoy that process with the kids at this age. So I think that they would really enjoy seeing that. So that is my story that I'm going to tell.
Jennifer Wilson 8:58
Wow, what a treasure that will be.
Jennifer Edwardson 9:00
Yeah, I think so.
Jennifer Wilson 9:01
And I love how what's going on in our lives can help trigger some of those stories that we want to tell. And I'm sure it's just so trippy as a parent to have to have a child who's entering adulthood and realizing the time has gone by so fast. My daughter's only nine and I can mentally make that leap yet,
Jennifer Edwardson 9:20
Right? Yeah, no, absolutely it it really is kind of the craziest thing. And when she turned 20 I almost didn't even really register. She's like, Oh, you know, it's her 20th birthday and we celebrated her birthday and but in this last few weeks, I really was like oh my gosh, I literally it is less than a year away from when I met her dad and it doesn't feel like that I don't feel that I'm that old. I mean, I'm not that old. But you know, it just it's kind of crazy, right? When you look at it and I'm looking at her and kind of watching her start to build this new relationship and how exciting it is and it just has really it's just really bright. All of that back for when it was Scott and I and it was just fun and new. And being that we're in this industry and we are the memory keepers for our family I am, I just am really excited to tell because I think it's going to be really fun to watch her relationship evolve in the coming months and years, kind of at the same ages as her dad and I were doing the same thing. So yeah, I'm excited about it.
Jennifer Wilson 10:22
Very cool. I can't wait to see that somewhere, on social media, wherever you are. So one of our new segments for 2021 is talking about your personality and how that intersects with your hobby. And we know everyone has all different experience levels with various personality types, we end up talking about Gretchen Rubin and her four tendencies a lot. But I'm really curious if our guests know their Myers-Briggs type or their Enneagram type, and maybe how they think that impacts their scrapbooking.
Jennifer Edwardson 10:50
Yeah, I was really excited to delve into this because it was I have to be honest, I hadn't heard of either of these before. And I was like, What are these? Of course, I was googling right away. And I did do the enneagram type a test. And it was so fun to go through and just all the questions that they asked. And then also, what I found interesting was, I almost felt like I was at the border, you know, when you're going through and it's customs. And they asked you the same questions. But they asked him like in different ways.
Jennifer Wilson 11:21
Jennifer Edwardson 11:22
It was the same thing. I was like, Oh, hey, wait a minute. This sounds familiar. From when we used to travel.
Jennifer Wilson 11:28
So you're like trying to remember to Oh, what? Wait, did I say it before? I need to make sure I use it the same way again, so I don't get in trouble.
Jennifer Edwardson 11:35
That was exactly so I was feeling the same way in this test. I was like, Oh, I feel like they've asked me that already. What did I say? And so I find it really interesting. But as I was going through the questions, I was like, Oh, that's really me. Like I let you know, reading them all through. And then so I got to the end. And it said that I was an eight and I started reading some of these things. And I was like, wow, this has totally pegged me, this is exactly me. And so then starting to, to look at it and say, Okay, well, how does this relate to me, obviously, personally in my personal life, and then in my professional life, and I found it very interesting, because a lot of the things that came back and the results are exactly how I've been running my business all these years. And obviously you learn and change and grow. And but yeah, there are some some things that they nailed. And I was like, Oh, yeah, that is why I do that. So yeah, I mean, I'm I'm definitely you know, when you talk about personality types, I always say Oh, I'm so type a, you know, which a lot of us are and, and that is it is true. And that really, it really came through in this test for sure.
Jennifer Wilson 12:40
So you might not have gotten to this point yet, but there are a lot of Enneagram related memes. And there's this one Instagram account count called @enneagramandcoffee. Okay, so I'm gonna read you a day in the life of an eight. And I want to know if this resonates. Okay, so it's kind of like a like an up and down type of thing. So upside, daily practices for self improvement. And then never letting anyone drive their car. And then defending the rights of people in the workplace. Let's do it. And then replacing research with common sense.
Jennifer Edwardson 13:14
Oh, my gosh.
Jennifer Wilson 13:16
Pushing my discomfort to get the job done. And then also accidentally picking fights by saying exactly what's on their mind. And then creating a safe place to land for the people in their lives. Did any of that resonate?
Jennifer Edwardson 13:32
Are you sure they didn't write that like, actually about Jennifer Edwardson? Okay, th car seriously? My husband is constantly like, can you actually just let me drive? Oh, my gosh, so funny. Yep, definitely. me very much me.
Jennifer Wilson 13:53
Well, since you're a beginner, you probably haven't had a lot of time to think about this. But does any of any of these clues tell you something about your scrapbooking or kind of you see your greatness come through in your scrapbooking?
Jennifer Edwardson 14:05
Yeah, and I think, you know, just in the fact that when I think about putting all of our memories into these albums, I feel such. Yes, I love it. Yes, it's my hobby. Yes, it's my business. But I'm so passionate about it. Because I'm always like, well, if I don't do it, who's going to do it? Like if I don't put our family's memories into these albums, nobody's going to do it. So of course it has to me and I take that so seriously. You know, I'm looking in the future. And I say, Okay, well, my kids and their kids and then their kids and you know, and I've got the big bin of all of my parents and grandparents and great grandparents photos, and nobody ever did it. And so that's very much Yes, I if I'm not going to if nobody else is going to do it. While it has to be me. This is my job. So yeah, definitely.
Jennifer Wilson 14:57
I love that. Well, I'll be interested to follow your journey. Now that you're The world has been Oh, yeah.
Jennifer Edwardson 15:03
Right. Yeah, for sure. It'll be fun to watch.
Jennifer Wilson 15:06
Alright, let's get into going a little bit deeper in you. And we already know that you've taken your business from brick and mortar to online. But I'd like to go back further. How did you get started scrapbooking? And then how did that become a business?
Jennifer Edwardson 15:22
Yeah, you know, it's funny because you talk to almost any scrapbooker. And I mean, we all owe a lot to Creative Memories, because we all you know, how many of us had a baby, and then were invited to a Creative Memories, you know, little party. And that was me, too. I had Emma in 2000. And I was invited to a Creative Memories party. And I remembered at the time, I mean, I was we were young, like, 25 when I had Emma. And you know what, we were just starting her life. Scott hadn't really gotten going in his career financially. I, you know, I remember being there. And I was like, why do I really want to support my friend. And I really would like to start this, but I don't really have this kind of money. I found I felt like it was too much money to spend. And we just had a new baby. But I thought, No, I'm going to start just with something simple. So I bought one of their little five by seven gray albums, and the smallest pack of anything that I could get. And I made this little baby album, and I gave it as a gift and to one of the grandparents. And that was kind of my first I would say start in kind of traditional like conventional today, the way that we do it real scrapbooking. But before that I was the kid that you get out of school in the end of June, and I would be begging my mom to take me school supply shopping in July.
Jennifer Wilson 16:44
Oh, heck, yes.
Jennifer Edwardson 16:45
Jennifer Wilson 16:46
Best part of the year.
Jennifer Edwardson 16:47
it was absolutely the best part of my summer. And so we would go school supply shopping. And I can remember, we lived out way out in the country in this little place that was like, it was almost like it used to be a modular home that my parents had added on to it. And one of the additions was their master bedroom. And I can remember there my mom's big floral comforter on the bed. And she would always keep the school supplies in her room by her bedside table. But I was allowed to go in and look at them. And it's one of the most vivid memories I have of my childhood. And I every day would go in and I would spread them all out on this big bedspread. And I would look at them all and touch them and get all excited. And I would do it all summer. And I would do it every year. And so it's just interesting when you look at where you are now as a 45 year old wife, mother. S
Jennifer Edwardson 17:41
When you look at it, when you look at that mean now and then you look back to that time, I think that's where it really started. You know, I was always crafty. I was always playing with construction paper, all the things. So that I think is where it is. But you know, as you go through school, a lot of people say oh, you know, I art was my favorite class, or I took design and university and those kinds of things. I never did. I never took an art class. I you know, I took the mandatory art in elementary school. And that was it. And then I still took a big step away for a really long time until I had my daughter. So there was a big gap there for sure.
Jennifer Wilson 18:22
Well, I know there'll be so many of our listeners who identify with the school supply, love and getting the new pencil box. And I think that just having the stuff of your, your mode of expression or your thing. I think it's something that we've always enjoyed. And that's part of why we're scrapbookers today because we like to have our stuff.
Jennifer Edwardson 18:42
Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. Well, and I think that if you look in everybody's craft spaces, we all like our stuff. Like our pretty things.
Jennifer Wilson 18:54
Okay, and then how did that turn, go from there to becoming this brick and mortar store?
Jennifer Edwardson 18:59
Yeah. So then I five years later, I had we had our son in 2005. And he was very sick. He had a very rough first couple of years. And one of the things about that was that he couldn't be put down, he wouldn't sleep and all of the things so I can remember sitting with him up over my shoulder and I'd always wanted to own a business. I had a real business mind, very entrepreneurial, was something that was always a real goal of mine. And I can remember just sitting there with Alex up over my shoulder and I said to Scott, okay, like, this is what I want to do, and I don't know why it was then I don't know what it did. I mean, I wasn't sleeping a lot. So it was probably a little delirious at times. But our town didn't have a scrapbook store.
Jennifer Edwardson 19:51
There wasn't one within a couple of hours at the time. There was still Michaels but it was a long time ago about 15 years ago. It's not. They weren't really selling a lot of scrapbook supplies. I wasn't doing a lot of online shopping at the time. And I suddenly, you know, like, what do you think? And he was like, if you want to try this, then then you go for it. And so I built the first store, it was literally 1234 o'clock in the morning, I'd be up with Alex feeding him. And I'd be sitting there making, you know, doing research and product orders and trying to find places to rent. And yeah, I don't really know, kind of why at that moment, but there was something in me that thought, Okay, you know what I, I want to do this for my family. But I've always wanted to have my own store. So I had the business mind. And that, to me, was something that was needed in our area. So I thought, well, let's give it a shot. And, and so we did. And we found the most adorable little house in a commercial area that was available for rent. And we went in and we painted every room and we got all of the all of the merchandisers and started making the orders, we put up a big sign in a window that was coming soon. And yeah, we opened in the fall of 2006. So Alex was just a year old, and was heading to kindergarten.
Jennifer Wilson 21:15
Wow. So it's kind of your third baby
Jennifer Edwardson 21:18
1,000%. Yeah, it was. Yeah.
Jennifer Wilson 21:22
And what was your favorite part of having that business?
Jennifer Edwardson 21:26
Oh, you know, I loved I loved so many things. And I think the automatic thing people would say, Oh, you get to craft all day. Well, you don't. I opened a business. So I was running a business. You know, which is interesting, because I think a lot of craft stores have been opened by people that wanted to just craft all day, but I didn't, I was busy running the business, obviously. And obviously, I loved interacting with the customers. But I loved merchandising, I loved searching for the product, deciding what I was going to bring in listening to what the customers were looking for watching the buying report, seeing what they were buying in the store, and just kind of building the merchandise side of things off of all of that. So I really enjoyed the ordering process and deciding on what we were going to carry. And I really loved the merchandising It was probably one of my favorite things to do.
Jennifer Wilson 22:22
Now, I didn't send you this question in advance. But I'm curious. Yeah, what trends you observed since you were geeky about all the data of your ordering, and what people were buying what changed from 2006 on?
Jennifer Edwardson 22:36
Well, it's interesting, when people first started coming in, we were still in a time of just fun scissors, cutting your photos out and sticking them on cardstock. You know, I mean, there were that was the time of I mean Doodlebug was just coming out but Scenic Route was still around Chatterbox Making Memories like those are, those are some Basic Grey Basic Grey was like the new hot menu manufacturer at the time. And so those were all product lines that I started bringing them in because I loved them, I could see the potential and I could see how I could educate people to not feel like they had to constantly just be cutting a photo with a scalloped pair of scissors and, and sticking it down with a glue stick on a piece of cardstock I was so fascinated by what was being put out onto into the industry. So that was a really fun time for me, because I was bringing all these things in and women were walking in the store.
Jennifer Edwardson 23:39
They're like, Oh my gosh, like, I haven't seen this before. And I mean, obviously the industry had been changing for a few years prior to that. And I will say you know what, in the US probably a lot sooner than we were seeing it up here. A lot of the manufacturing, of course, was happening in the US. And still and still does. So we weren't seeing a lot of those specialty manufacturers available in some of the stores up here. So that was really fun, a really fun time and people would come in and get so excited. And by all the things which on the business side was fantastic for us. But then it was really my job to try to educate them. But at the same time, I was also educating myself, you know, it was still so new for me as well. So there was a lot of lot of learning happening for me as at the same time trying to teach my customer and that was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun.
Jennifer Wilson 24:35
So another thing that I'm totally curious about because I didn't start scrapbooking till 2008 and I actually started as digital even though I do paper nowadays. But you'd mentioned that you'd been to a Creative Memories party and that's how you got started. So was there any tension between that world and being a way to scrapbook and then you selling other supplies in the, you know, from the other side of the world?
Jennifer Edwardson 24:58
Yeah, no, you know, it's Interesting I kind of, we were living in Alberta at the time when I started, Emma was born in Alberta. And then this store was built in that five years, we had moved back out to the west coast, we've always lived back and forth between Alberta and BC. And so I had kind of left that behind in Alberta, as far as you know, the rep and the girl that was that I was purchasing them Creating Memories with, you know, Emma's first 10 albums, or so are all Creative Memories. But I was struggling with the chronological side of it, that was never something that I really loved, I felt the pressure of I have to scrapbook today. And then I have to scrapbook tomorrow and then the next in the next day and the whole world that can't be on this page. And you have to scrapbook on either side of the page. That was I was finding, I was feeling very confined into this box that I really didn't love. And so when we made the move, and we opened the store, I suddenly felt like, Oh, my God, this is I could breathe it creatively. And I just was so excited. I felt so excited every day, about my memory keeping and being able to put these photos in these albums creatively. And I could create these, you know, little mini 12 by 12 works of art for my family and get my photos and get my stories and get all the dates. But I didn't have to do it yesterday and today and tomorrow. I could do it a year ago. And then I could do what happened yesterday. And then I could go three years ago. And then I could do what happens tomorrow. And for me that completely changed this industry in this passion in this hobby and my business. For me.
Jennifer Wilson 26:47
Oh 100% I hear that so many times. And I think there's also even more examples of ways that that scrapbookers broke what they thought was a rule. And they found so much freedom and re energize re energize ation, let's say what's a better word for that they felt energized by their hobby. In doing so, even though it was you know, on paper will like sure you don't have to do things this way. But if that's maybe how you were, quote unquote, brought up in the industry you, you felt constrained?
Jennifer Edwardson 27:21
Yeah, absolutely. No, I was for sure. One of those people. And you know, it's funny too, because, you know, like I'd said about education and an art and all of the things. So many people over the years have said well, Oh, so you must have been that kid that was always in the art room? Or, you know, did you get a degree in this or that thing? I said no, I never did. But I didn't. It almost took me kind of, quote unquote, growing up a little bit, you know, getting married and having children and, you know, becoming a little bit older. You know, I was 29, 30 when I opened the store and finding myself so to speak, and going Oh, you know what, no, this is me. I you know, I've always been creative. But in other parts of my life, I wasn't conventional in an art class or design, the design world or anything like that. And so it just really kind of learned as I've grown and found what I like, and no, this is exactly who I am. And that was a really big turning point for me as being, you know, quote, unquote, allowed to do what I wanted. So..
Jennifer Wilson 28:26
For sure. So you've mentioned teaching several times. And I'm so fascinated by this process of teaching informally, you know, outside of K through 12, or college setting, just you know, adult education and adult learning. And you know, how much we get from just being continuous learners and soaking up new information. So I'm curious what you learned from from being a teacher in your store. And then even now online?
Jennifer Edwardson 28:52
Yeah, you know, I never saw myself as a teacher before this business. It wasn't something I didn't have the drive to be a teacher in conventional conventional setting K through 12, or in university. And, but this I, as I learned, it started for me just oh my god, this is the coolest thing. I need to share this with others. And so as I was learning, I was really wanting to share that with my customers, my friends, people that I knew would think it was so cool, too. And so that just that's kind of just how it began. And, and it was funny when we opened the store. And one of the biggest questions we were getting was, Oh, are you gonna have a classroom in it and teach classes. And the most interesting part about the business was I hadn't never considered that. Like it was never when I was building the business. I was building the business and I wasn't thinking about Wow, I guess we should have a classroom or maybe we should offer classes because it just wasn't something that was kind of the forefront of my mind at the time. And then the questions started coming in.
Jennifer Edwardson 29:53
And I was Oh, all right. Yeah, for sure. So we will we built into the into this little house, the back bedrooms. We had a wall taken down, and we made this really cool little classroom. And we started teaching classes right away, and people were craving them, they were just hungry for them. And it became a enormous part of our business. And always was all the way through having the brick and mortar store. And then, when I made the decision, our family made a big move from BC to Alberta. I ended up closing the store. And it was a really hard decision. And at the time, a lot of brick and mortar stores were closing, and it broke my heart, it was a really big part of our family's journey. And it was a big part of my journey, personally and professionally. And it was a very, very difficult decision. But it was also something that I could not maintain from another province, it was just too far, you know, as good as the staff that I had, were at the time, it wasn't something for small business, I think the owner definitely needs to be more present. And so when we closed, I wasn't ready to not still have my business. So I had to try to figure out a way to make it work. And I had done some travel teaching, when I still had the store. And I had worked on a lot of design teams. And at that point, it was for some pretty major manufacturers. And so I was getting a lot of education there as well, you know, creating things, learning how to photograph them properly, how to write them up properly, how to blog properly, all of those things. So when we moved, I just started teaching outside of my business a lot in a lot of local scrapbook stores, I would rent locations in hotels, I was putting on large events at the time completely by myself kind of before, you know, now and 2020. And you know, the last handful of years, big events are a big deal, you know, and they're happening all over.
Jennifer Edwardson 31:48
Everyone's doing them, but I was doing them, then, you know, I was doing them way in the very beginning, you know, opened in 2006, we had our first major event in 2007. And it was an anniversary, it was our first anniversary event. So it was a big weekend long where I we the place that we lived was like a beach town. So we had this beautiful resort. So I rented a room and you know, had all these women come in and it was a crop and it was classes and it was prizes. And and it wasn't a thing at the time, you know, but it was like, Oh, well, how am I going to thank my customers for being so supportive of me and my little business over this first year. And that's what we did. And it became an annual event. And then it became more often. So fast forward to closing the store. But continuing to teach. That's what I started doing. I was just renting a room in a hotel and I was putting classes on Facebook, and just however I was able to get the word out. And then that just really was kind of the beginning of the teaching the way that I do kind of up until this point, and of course, and now moving online with COVID. So...
Jennifer Wilson 32:56
So I'm curious, in your experience working, you know, in a classroom setting, whether you're like helping someone one on one, or instructing the group, or there are certain challenges you see come up again, and again for certain scrapbooker things that maybe they can't get their head around, or they can't give themselves permission to do something? I'm just curious what trends you've noticed in that.
Jennifer Edwardson 33:18
Uh, the biggest, the biggest challenge that we started seeing way back in about 2008. So only a couple of years into the business was time, women were just they wanted to do it, they felt passionate about putting their photos and stories into albums for their families, but they couldn't find the time to do it. And so the classes became a way for them to kind of carve out one or two nights a month for them to be able to come in and at least get that handful of pages put together. But what we started to see was there was a lot of shopping because the women were loving what we were carrying and what the manufacturers are producing. But there wasn't the time for them to take the products that they were buying and actually create with it. And so I was trying to figure out a way to help with both things. They we as a business needed to be able to sustain the business and continue to have the customer shopping and wanting to buy the product. But we also needed them to use that product so that they would be able to come back in and buy more and so how are we going to put those two things together so you know, scrap your stash all that kind of thing that's been around for years and years but we were trying to figure out a way to do it in an in a new fun exciting one day format. So I created a workshop called Use Your Own Product.
Jennifer Wilson 34:39
I saw this acronym on your website and I'm like I have no idea what this means.
Jennifer Edwardson 34:44
Yes, yes, it is. So Use Your Own Product (UYOP) it became a while it became one of the biggest parts of my business for what the last 11 years. So we started our first workshop. And it was... we said, use your own product and we... 20 layouts in one day, the women would come at nine o'clock in the morning, they get two one hour breaks, they had a lunch break and a dinner break, and they'd stay till 9pm. And we would, they would leave with 20 layouts done using their own product.
Jennifer Edwardson 35:20
So the first one happened, and there was maybe about 30 people, which I thought was a really good number, you know, small town, small island, new class, totally new concept. And it was a hit like it was amazing. Women were exhausted, like everybody was exhausted by the end of it. But it was good. And I thought, oh, okay, well, the next thing people were saying, Well, why are we doing this again? Thank God, that was a lot of work. Like, I don't know, when are we doing this again, because what I did was I designed the 20 layouts, I sent them an email with the things that they had to pack in each kit for each of the 20 kits. And then they came to me that day, and I taught them all 20 layouts, but using their own product. So that became our number one selling workshop. And to this day, still 11 years later, it is my number one selling class. And I've taught it everywhere I've taught all over. And now we've adapted it to teaching it online. Well, that sounds super fun.
Jennifer Wilson 36:23
I my brain is like spinning.
Jennifer Edwardson 36:25
Jennifer Wilson 36:26
I think it's just genius.
Jennifer Edwardson 36:27
Yeah, it's it... I will say no, it is it for, for us, for me for our business. It was I think it has been probably what has kept our business going through harder times, you know, with financial crashes, things like that throughout, don't you talking just society in general. For us, that was something that I could always throw one out there. And it kept everybody going. And it kept these women scrapbooking and it kept them putting, feeling inspired and feeling creative and feeling passionate about continuing this hobby. At a time when I think a lot of people were wondering whether or not they could financially afford to continue the hobby, you know, it's it's always the one of the first things when times get a little tough. It's kind of it's an expense that usually goes first. And so we got them using all of their things. And then they were coming in again and buying more. And so it just really helped, I think on both sides, and has for a very long time.
Jennifer Wilson 37:32
Sure. And you've added in the item you mentioned earlier with your carving out that time for them to be able to get this done
Jennifer Edwardson 37:40
One day 20 layouts. And these women were like that's more than I did in the last few years.
Jennifer Wilson 37:44
Jennifer Wilson 37:47
So, so you you hinted before we were talking about opening the store and somebody said, Oh, isn't it great to craft all day? And I laugh when people say that to me as well. And I'm like you don't realize that 95% of what I do is not actually a scrapbook. Right? Yeah. But how have you been able to find some sort of balance because, you know, we start these businesses because we love this hobby, and we love the craft of it. So how have you balanced finding your own joy from it with the demands of being a business owner, even as your business has evolved?
Jennifer Edwardson 38:22
You know, I will say that towards the end of when I closed the brick and mortar store, that was probably one of the biggest things I had been struggling with personally and professionally was, I was so busy running the business seven days a week that I was losing some of my love of the reason why I got into it. And so while it was a really difficult decision, and it was sad, for sure. I think it was really necessary for me professionally and for my business to be able to evolve and get to where we are now. I needed that break, I needed to change. And I felt a little bit at the time. And I think we all feel like this. And no matter what we do for our careers, you feel like you get on a bit of that hamster wheel. And it's hard to you know, what you want to do. And you know, you need to make changes. And you know, you want to you know, quote unquote, get ahead with projects, and you've got all these ideas. But it's really hard sometimes when you are just caught in that cycle of running your business day to day to kind of find the time to be able to work on these new projects and things that you know are going to change your business for the better. And I had gotten to that point. So when we made that move, and we made the change. That break was really, really great because it allowed me the time to figure out where did I want to go? What did I want to do? What were the reasons I did this in the first place? Why did I start and where do I see myself? Because you know, at 40 years old, I was like okay, well, my kids are getting older. What do I want to do with this moving forward? Is this the industry that I see myself in continuing to have a career in for the rest of my working years? Do I see myself in this industry? Or do I need to make a change? And so that couple of years, I still was teaching classes, I was still teaching the UYOP classes, probably four or five times a year, both in stores ad on my own. And I was still doing I started doing some kits. I was like, Well, you know, I didn't have the store. But how can I still connect people were still wanting products, they liked what I chose, you know, and at the time, of course, you could definitely go online and purchase from online retailers. But they were still coming to me. And I was like, Oh, well, this is really amazing. I had spent eight, nine years with these women. And they were still coming and asking me and so I thought, well, how can I make this work for me and for them? And also, for the business? How can I make a go of this?
Jennifer Edwardson 40:55
So I decided to rebrand. I had kept my business name for all those years. But I decided to rebrand and have it be me because what I had found was, what I was doing, and what I was creating was what I was getting asked for. So really, the business was not necessarily just a scrapbooking store. It was me it was the things that I was offering. And so I decided to rebrand to what I am now to Jennifer Edwardson Creative Inc. and I did creative because yes, the majority of my business is scrapping and scrapbooking. But I do a lot of other like all of us we got we're all crafty, right? We're all creative, and I do a lot of other things as well. So I thought well, longevity, you know, if I see myself doing this for the next, whatever, 10 15 20 years, I may evolve, it may change, and I don't I still want to be able to have it represent me and who I am. So I rebranded. We rebranded re logo, you know, incorporated, the company really made a lot of real big changes, you know, new website, new all of the things, and kind of started it from scratch completely from scratch on social media, which has been a real challenge for sure. Just we started new, and it has been so rewarding. So more so much work, but so rewarding.
Jennifer Wilson 42:27
Well and I see this kind of echo from when you first opened the store and left an old world behind, and you felt that sense of newness and freedom and permission and then feeling that again with the rebrand. And I think that's just that's, that's what happens in life. But when you can accept it and grow with it and see the opportunities, that's when you can then thrive from it as well.
Jennifer Edwardson 42:50
Jennifer Wilson 42:52
So in terms of bringing your business online, I'm curious what you learned from that shift.
Jennifer Wilson 42:58
Oh, my gosh!
Jennifer Wilson 42:59
How the pandemic, you know, flipped everything on its head for you.
Jennifer Edwardson 43:03
Jennifer, what haven't I learned? I feel like I've had a four year education in the last, you know, six, seven months. I you know, like I said earlier, I was scared. Like, I was super terrified. Because I thought well, gosh, I mean, online business is enormous. And it's been there for years and years. And I is there room for me to start now. And that was actually I think one of the biggest questions I kept saying to my husband was, Yeah but I'm not doing anything new. This isn't new. It's not different. Everyone's doing it. Am I late to the party? You know, should I even be trying to do this? Or should I just ride this out and see what happens when all this is quote unquote, over if it's ever gonna be over? And he he's my he's my biggest cheerleader. And he said, No, Jennifer, like, there is always room, there's room for everybody. You know, you can you can do this because I kept saying, geez louise Scott, I know how to email on the computer, like, I can like, update my blog, and I can send you an email. And I just kind of, you know, yes, I can do a few other things. But really, in a nutshell, that was kind of the extent of where I felt my kind of online presence started and stopped.
Jennifer Edwardson 44:25
And I didn't know, at 45 years old, which is still young, but also, you know, I've raised two kids to almost adult and that really do I want to start this now. I mean, and I'm talking learning Photoshop, learning how to build and run a website, you know, learning the ins and outs of social media and algorithms and all of these things. All of these words felt so foreign to me and I was really, really scared. But then I just remembered back to my love of what I do, and my love for this industry and I love having this business and I loved connecting with people. And I will say that in my travel teaching and all of my in person events, It's so lovely. I'm a very huggy touchy feely person, I'm, you know, if you come and say hi to me, I'm hugging you. And so I love that about that time, but obviously, that wasn't going to happen. So how could I still connect with these women? In this time, and still, Could I come across? Could what I do in person come across a computer screen? Could I still make them feel special and, and wanted to be there and all of these things and inspired could my Could I inspire them through the computer. So I just started reading and researching and then I just one day, I said, I put it on my social media. And I said, I'm going to do a Facebook Live on Sunday, I'm going to do it, like Use Your Own Product. Here's your product list. I'm going to teach you a layout come and hang out with me. And then people showed up. I mean, I was shocked. And I was literally sitting in front of this computer screen Facebook Live. And I was saying, Okay, guys, are you there? Can you see me because that is how inexperienced I was. And this was in April. And people then were putting their comments up on the computer screen. And they were talking and saying hello, and oh my gosh, it's so nice to see you. And I said this is crazy. I'm staring at myself in this computer screen. And I'm talking to you guys. And and then I got the hang of it. And they loved it. And I loved it. And then they were like, okay, so are we doing this again next Sunday? And I was like, Okay, I guess we're doing this again next Sunday. And so then I started just, I jumped right in, and I tried to figure it out. And I started watching lives. And I yeah, I just I started watching everybody else. And I was like, Okay, well, how did he How did they do this?
Jennifer Edwardson 46:52
What do I do? Oh my gosh, they've got two camera views. Well, how do you get two camera views, things like that. So that was really the start. And it has now evolved. You know, all these months later, I do two a week, I'm going to be adding more in the new year that I started offering my use your own product classes online and groups of five layouts at a time and people were buying my workshops. And so out of a time, that has been a real challenge for everybody in so many ways. This has been a really exceptional moment for me, for my company. And I think, you know, professionally, it's been extremely rewarding. But personally, it's been really rewarding in in the way that the amount of messages and emails and we offer local pickup for anyone that's, you know, on our island, women stopping by and you know, we're all messed up and they're six feet away. And they're saying to me, thank you, you this, this has saved me through this time. I didn't. I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know where I was going. This was I was becoming depressed. I was lonely. You know. And this is coming from moms who are at home with their husbands and their children saying I was becoming lonely and depressed. Yet they're surrounded by people. And I think that's such an interesting misconception where people think Well, yeah, but you're at home with your family. How is that happening with for sure is happening because you've lost the whole routine of your life. Everything is different, everything has changed. And just getting together once a week for an hour, and creating something with their photos and their memories with a bunch of like minded women that were all going through the same thing. It was just really incredible to me. And it was something that I never in my wildest dreams would never have imagined, would have come out of this.
Jennifer Wilson 48:52
That's just... this is so beautiful. And we've seen the same thing with the Simple Scrapper community as well. I had heard something and this is a couple months back now that we've seen basically five years of technological advancement and adaptation and at that point five months of time, right.
Jennifer Edwardson 49:09
Jennifer Wilson 49:10
And that, you know, a year ago, we were using Zoom, but nobody else had even ever heard of Zoom.
Jennifer Edwardson 49:15
Jennifer Wilson 49:16
And now everybody uses zoom, sometimes once at least once a day. It's just... It's so crazy. But we've somehow we've made it and we've got grandparents using Zoom and you know, we've we've made it to this other side and seeing that kind of what's possible with especially when it feels like so much has been lost. And yeah, literally so much has been lost in that time as well.
Jennifer Edwardson 49:39
No, it's true. And I you know, I think that that's for me, the biggest thing that I've taken out of all of this is just being able to connect with these women and the thought that something that I did because I love it and it makes me feel good has had such an incredibly positive impact on other people. That has driven me and you know, every with every message and every phone call and every email that come in like that, I'm like, oh, and this is why I do it. And guess what we're gonna do this next week. And then we're gonna do this next week. And, you know, all of these things. And so it, them being inspired. But what I'm doing has just re inspired me, and it just happens every week. And it's just been a really, it has been a really beautiful thing. And I'd have a really, really hard time.
Jennifer Wilson 50:26
Yes. So I'm curious how, and I'm sure you have through ahead to 2021 and beyond? How do you think your business will have changed forever, you know, you seem like a person that would love to still get back in person and travel somewhere to teach again, someday, when you can, but I'm curious what you've been thinking about what the future will hold?
Jennifer Edwardson 50:50
Yeah, I've thought so much about what the future looks like, you know, when travel restrictions aren't playing such a factor in everyone's business. And, and large events, you know, like I said, I mean, I've obviously, I've taught a lot of my own, but I've also been a part of things like, you know, crop and create, and she loves color, like these big events from, you know, manufacturers and magazines. Those are events that I loved. I mean, I the energy of getting together with all of these women, I love that and I absolutely would love to continue doing that in the future, I would love to be asked to teach again, I would love to travel and visit all these women are from different places, I think I still will hold, you know, maybe one or two a year, myself. But I don't think I'm ever going to stop the online. Because now that I've started it, and I've, I'm in a groove, and I'm seeing how many people I'm able to connect with. That, for me has just been incredible. And I love it so much. Because you know, with all the in person and all of those major events, the amount of people that couldn't come, you know, they just they couldn't travel, they couldn't it was out of their reach financially. All of those different factors played such a part and who could attend those events. And now, my goodness, I mean, gosh, Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings, I'm having women log on from all over the United States back East in Canada, places that you know, would never I would never have been able to connect with these women. And that has been really, really fun. Really fun. The conversations that are sparked from my gosh, you're from Colorado. Well, gosh, what's the weather like down there? What time is it like just all those just things that you know, and how people scrapbook and create in different parts of the country or North America? That's been pretty cool, too.
Jennifer Wilson 52:45
So fun to learn about what someone else's life is like in a way that you can't do you don't have your horizons expanded as much in person because, you know, in theory, people were coming from a smaller geographic area than what's possible online.
Jennifer Edwardson 53:03
Yeah, no. So I love it. I won't stop for sure. This will just continue and, you know, lots of ways and talking about you know, the things that I've learned, well, gosh, talk about two different camera angles. Well, I just got my two different camera angles, his little miss, you know, I'm learning all this technological. I'm becoming so advanced. So I do camera angles about two months ago. I'm like, Oh my gosh, okay, now I know how to get three. I'm gonna be doing all kinds of fun things. So said no, I'm never gonna stop. That's for sure.
Jennifer Wilson 53:33
I love it. I actually went so tech that I was I had so many things like hanging over my head, I started to feel like, almost scared. So I'm like, okay, I don't really need the best lighting for every single live I could do the good lighting for like a recorded video. Because I felt like I was in a studio rather than my craft space. And so I had to kind of pare back and adjust because it didn't it didn't feel like cozy and intimate to me anymore.
Jennifer Edwardson 54:01
Oh my gosh, that's so cute. Well, you can come over and help me with mine anytime you like, because adding that second camera angle that was a big step for me. And boy, my ladies were lovely. They're like, Oh my gosh, look at you. And I was like, I know. pat me on the back because I figured that out finally.
Jennifer Wilson 54:18
I love it. So I kind of more on the personal scale though. What new memory keeping projects or or even just additional pages, what types of things do you want to work on for 2021?
Jennifer Edwardson 54:32
Well, I've definitely been trying to expand and also go back a little bit to trying new things stepping out of my own creative box a little bit. I have definitely been a very traditional scrapbooker in the sense that I'm mostly 12 by 12. That is really kind of my niche. It's what I focus on. It's I do most of my sketches are 12 by 12. I do try to offer the ladies a double You know, at least a couple of times a month. But for the most part, I am very much just, you know, my 12 by 12 size. Now, I have started over the last year. So adding in the pocket pages, so my albums now are a mix, when you'll flip through, you'll have a 12 by 12, single and then you'll have doubles, and then you might have a six by 12. Or you might have, you know, your three by 12, or your three by four pocket pages. So I've really kind of tried to expand in that way. I went through a phase of doing all many albums. And then I was like, Oh, these No, they're not for me. But they're amazing. I love them. People love them. So I'm starting to add some of those things in. I always made cards from my leftover layout bits. And, you know, I never really thought that that was kind of a thing. But then people were like, Oh, that's really, really cool. So now we do you know, our scrapbook your cards classes, I offer those through lives. So those are the kinds of things that I've kind of just been starting to add over those last year. Moving forward, I've been doing things where I'm starting to dig out and go back, like, let's pull out my dyes, let's pull out my stamps, because those are things that lots of ladies use every single day, but I don't I it's just not you know, that's not necessarily what I gravitate toward. I'm very product based and pattern paper chips, you know, chipboard letters, ephemera stickers, that is very much my world. I love it. I'm so happy in it. But I'm really trying to branch out again and start bringing things that I have surrounding me that I'm just not using. I didn't lay out recently. That was not for anything. It wasn't for a live it wasn't for a class, it was for nothing. It was just for me, which doesn't happen as often No, going back to random business, right doesn't happen as often as I would like it to. But I did it with a really large numbered background on my base, it was Emma's 18th birthday, and I did the stamps of 18. And then that I built right on top of it with all of my favorite product bits. And it was beautiful. And I was so pleased with it. It was just it was so satisfying to sit down and create something just for me. Just for Emma's album that had nothing to do with anything I wasn't teaching it. I was just gonna put it up on my social media. And it was so wild at the interaction that that layout got, you know, it wasn't for anything else other than just me and me like, wow, how did you make that background, I was like, I pulled out my stamps and three colors of ink, you know, and it was, which doesn't sound like a stretch for a lot of people. But when that's not what you do every day, it kind of was and so that's something that I've really been excited about moving forward over the coming year with I'm I am going to start bringing out all of these amazing products that I have and tools and really start using them. So and I'm loving them really loving the dyes and the sounds and the inks and incorporating those into my my albums.
Jennifer Wilson 57:57
I think that's a really big observation there as well is that when we as creators are most authentic to our selves and what we're excited about and interested in. That will kind of naturally resonate really well with the audience, when sometimes maybe we think we have to overthink and strategize and plan as business owners to, to make sure that we're gonna do something that's gonna reflect well, when really what people want is just for us to be ourselves.
Jennifer Edwardson 58:26
I Isn't that the truth. So right. It's so true. And, yeah, it's definitely something I've been trying to focus on. So that is, you know, moving forward through this next year. That is a big a big goal for me.
Jennifer Wilson 58:39
Well, this has been so delightful. Jennifer, can you share where we can find you online? And anything you have new or coming up that you'd like to talk about?
Jennifer Edwardson 58:47
Yes, yeah, I'm really excited about the coming year. Obviously, I think we're all hoping 2021 is going to bring a lot of new things for us and kind of getting back to a new normal, which people of course, are saying that all too often. But personally, like I said, moving forward with Scott and I and getting all of that into our album. But professionally, I've got lots of new fun things coming up on the website, I've got some new workshops that I'm coming up with. And another thing we're starting to do is we're going to delve a little bit into creating some of our own product. So that's very exciting for us. It's something that we've been talking about for a really long time. And we're going to start small and slow but it I think at some point throughout 2021 you're going to see some product line from Jennifer Edwardson Creative Inc. So I'm really really hopeful to get that going soon.
Jennifer Wilson 59:41
That sounds super fun. And we will include all of your links to your website and shop and social media in the show notes for this episode.
Jennifer Edwardson 59:49
Perfect. Yes, yeah, I know that Facebook, Instagram, Facebook group, Pinterest, YouTube, all the things I've like I said I'm I'm learning about all of it.
Jennifer Wilson 59:57
So it's all up there. It sounds like you just dove in feet first and has managed to make it to the subject to the surface. Even thriving, right?
Jennifer Wilson 1:00:09
Absolutely. I've loved chatting with you. Thank you so much, Jennifer,
Jennifer Wilson 1:00:13
And thank you to all of our listeners. Please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way.
Jennifer Wilson 1:00:20
If you like the podcast, you'll love being a member. When you join, you'll get access to weekly zoom crops, bimonthly retreats and a huge content library. You can head over to simplescrapper.com/membership to learn more and join our creative community.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
- Jennifer Edwardson Creative Inc.
- Use Your Own Product (UYOP) workshops
- Jennifer on Instagram
- Join the Simple Scrapper membership
How to Subscribe
The best way to listen to Scrapbook Your Way is with a podcast player on your mobile device or with iTunes on your computer. You can subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or by searching for “Scrapbook Your Way” in your favorite podcast player in order to receive new episodes automatically.
If you’re enjoying the podcast, we’d love if you left a review on iTunes.