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s note

Editor’s Note: S

ome of my best friends in the industry have told me I am too optimistic, and why do I think things are getting

better. I must admit; it isn’t that I am overly optimistic, but I firmly believe that if we stress over what we watch on the news and listen to the outlandish claims by politicians, we will drive ourselves to the poorhouse and give up on our dreams as both entrepreneurs and business people. The economy is not improving due to the massive bailout money or enormous expenditures the government is pitching. The economy is improving due to the recession. This phenomenon is forcing the entrepreneurial spirit that has brought us out of recessions in the past. According to Challenger, the Gray & Christmas job market index shows 8.7 percent of job seekers found employment by starting their own businesses in second quarter of 2009 up from the 2.7 percent in end of 2008. Some of the largest companies in the world have been started when the economy was pressured.

I have been reading about trends this year that reference noted experts and research firms to back up claims of an improving economic climate. Although services and manufacturing were hit hardest, even financial institutions are seeing improvement due to increase in new businesses. There has always been a lot of money out there, but consumer confidence and lending is slowly building. Retail is getting hit in the luxury market but discount purchasing is on the rise and most middle class has shifted their spending habits to more affordable and sensible purchases. According to a Gallup Poll, discount chains and dollar stores are booming while “high end” stores are seeing significant drops in revenue.

Other areas of interest are the Green movement or alternative power along with senior care or “aging-services management” as us baby boomers experience more aches and pains. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this will probably become one of the largest industries along with health and wellness which was reported by the US Census Bureau as up 3 percent from last quarter. Boomers are the ones with the money and will make up most of the spending for the next few years.

As I travel around with some of our other publications, I am reminded how the state of Texas truly is a country unto itself. If you want to feel better about the economy, just ask a Texan

8 scrapbook business

and you will be encouraged. Sure, tax refunds haven’t hurt how much Americans will spend on frivolous items, but more family oriented items and recreational vehicle purchases are on the rise... at least in the state of Texas. :)

The most incredible and surprising statistic that I read about was by the American Pet Products Association that claims that the money spent on those furry friends was 45.3 billion dollars in 2009. This number is greater than the gross domestic product of all 64 countries in the world... AMAZING.

How about our industry? As the only trade publication in paper crafting, I do know that the number of stores we distribute to is up just over 6 percent from third quarter of 2008.

The number of recurring visitors to our online magazine is 62 percent and the number of open rates on our blasts for customers is up from 19 percent to 24.5 percent on average. Advertising dollars are down from one year ago, but most of that is due to the consolidation of companies and more money and resources being spent on customer education and market research; We project and increase of 24 percent through end of 2010.

I’m not trying to lecture or convert the skeptics out there but we need to hold our heads high and press forward in our pursuit of a better life and success in our businesses and know that it is up to all of you who are reading this article to get this country back on track. Maybe I am too optimistic, but I choose to live and do business with an attitude of positivism. Share ideas with our colleagues who we stand across the aisle from at the trade shows and we see from time to time when attending crops and other industry events. Collectively we will find ourselves more profitable and enjoying new success as we broaden our audience.

Kevin Nelson, Editor in Chief

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