Lisa Bearnson had an idea to launch a magazine catering to the burgeoning number of scrapbook enthusiasts.
But at a magazine industry conference, many tried to dissuade her from pursuing the idea. Her first problem was money. Some said she needed $1 million in start-up capital.
Bearnson and partner Don Lambson decided to go ahead with a much smaller investment, knowing they could still produce a quality magazine despite what their peers in the industry said. Bearnson took out a second mortgage on her home. Working from their homes, the pair launched what has become a widely popular magazine, Creating Keepsakes.
"It's a lesson of following your dreams and not letting industry standards scare you," Bearnson said.
Creating Keepsakes magazine, which published its first issue nearly two years ago, shows readers how to preserve and present their photos in a creative and archivally safe way. For example, its February issue featured "Purrfect pet pages" and stories on scrapbook layout and specialized craft scissors.
"Scrapbooking is a huge creative outlet, especially for women," said Bearnson, "Scrapbooking is taking over quilting circles."
Bearson frequently attends "scrapbook bashes" and features one of the parties in each issue of the magazine. The craft has also attracted some celebrities. Lucie Arnaz and her scrapbooks filled with memories of her parents, Lucy and Desi, were recently featured in a Bearnson interview.
Craft industry surveys show that in 1996 consumers spent $200 million on scrapbooking supplies.
Creating Keepsakes magazine has grown from a first printing of 40,000 to nearly 200,000 of its latest issue, an extraordinary increase in the magazine industry, in which 95 percent of new publications fail. The 150-page magazine, published nine times a year, is chock-full of colorful articles and advertising. Utah is a center for craft and scrapbook suppliers, which advertise in the magazine.
"We've paid off that bill (the second mortgage) a long time ago," said Bearnson, who left a job as a writer and editor at WordPerfect magazine to start the magazine.
Bearnson, the mother of three kids, said that many people are attracted to putting together scrapbooks because they don't know what to do with all of the photographs they take each year. Americans take about 16 million photographs yearly.
Bearnson, from Orem, and Lambson, who lives in Sandy, create the magazine from their homesusing the Internet. Articles and designs are considered via e-mail.
The magazine has filled a niche and has had to turn away advertisers. The magazine has been a hotbed of craft advertisers, including firms that sell rubber stamps, pens, acid-free paper and specialized paper cutters and scissors.
The magazine has helped Bearnson become a celebrity in her own right. She was co-host of a 13-segment "Craftin' for the 90s" PBS special and is a regular guest on QVC Shopping Network. She's also written a book, "The Joy of Scrapbooking," currently being published.