Scrapbooking Entrepreneur Launches New Business
When Marlene Spies was a little girl growing up in South Africa, her grandmother gave her a camera. “She had no use for it,” Spies said. But, Spies did. She discovered a passion for visual arts that continues to this day.
“I went around snapping pictures and I never stopped,” she said. She even had a “spy” camera when she joined the South African Army's Women's College. She kept the small camera hidden under her hat. “It wasn't really dangerous,” she said. “Mostly, just a lot of fun.”
These days, Spies resides with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada. “I miss hearing my language [Afrikaans], the smell of the thunderstorms on the fields, and the beautiful countryside,” she said. “But, we're very happy in Canada.”
“The discovery of Paint Shop Pro and how to manipulate pictures, lines and shapes into something else, was like the discovery of a whole new world.”
And very ambitious. Spies, who has been creating graphic kits for scrapbooking for the past year, recently started selling her designs on www.scrapbook-elements.com. “It's a wonderful site owned by a husband and wife team,” Spies said “They display the work of a number of designers. People buy directly off the site and then they pay the designers, minus their commission. It really works well.”
Spies learned graphic design by teaching herself – with a little help from Paint Shop Pro. “There were many, many tutorials over the years that helped me discover how to do things,” she said. “Without those people writing tutorials, or explaining their techniques, I would have been much more frustrated. I can't draw, as I told you, but always had a yearning to be able to share what I see in my head. I guess that's why I started being so interested in photography in the first place! The discovery of Paint Shop Pro and how to manipulate pictures, lines and shapes into something else, was like the discovery of a whole new world.”
Paint Shop Pro has been her program of choice for over a decade. “I've been playing with Paint Shop Pro since the early 90s,” Spies said. “I jumped on 8 when it came out because I make huge files that are very memory intensive. They have to be of excellent quality because people print out the scrapbooking graphics. I find Paint Shop Pro handles the files great.”
Spies has noticed a definite boom in scrapbooking over the past year. “There seems to be two fields,” she said. “The glue and paper people and the digital people.” Spies said her goal is to create graphics that can be used by both camps; either printed out, then cut and glued into pages, or assembled on the computer and printed out. “Some people like the tactile quality of cutting out the elements, while others like the cleanness of digital scrapbooking.”
Either way, Spies said, her graphics need to be of impeccable quality. “They have to be very good quality graphics so people can print them out. Paint Shop Pro does a great job. Today, I developed a whole kit with no problems. No crashes, no glitches.”
So far, Spies reports her designs have been very popular. She's not sure where her venture will take her but she knows Paint Shop Pro will come with her. “I love the product and can't see myself using anything else by choice,” Spies said. “I love the help files and the built-in movies in the Learning Center.”
She also looks forward to trying out the new Art Media tools. “That's my next big learning curve,” Spies said. “I'm looking forward to sitting down with the tools soon. They look wonderful.”
For now, her scrapbooking business and family seem enough to keep the ambitious Spies happy and busy. “I've lived on four continents but only use one graphics editor,” she said. "I try the other programs but always come back to Paint Shop Pro.”
Home sweet home.