One of the best things about starting out in digital scrapbooking is that there are so many freebies out there! It’s nice that you can try digi scrapping out using free supplies so you don’t have to make a big price commitment up front. I (Katie) started out with freebies from 2Peas and from The Shabby Princess and I quickly became a paying customer at both sites. Even after years of digital scrapbooking, I still love and appreciate free goodies, but I have found that I’m much more selective now about what I download.
A “freebie” in the digi world is something (usually supplies) you can download to your own computer for free. Designers and stores give away free stuff in order to attract new customers, reward current customers, and generate new traffic and interest in their designs. It takes a lot of effort to put together anything to share online, so no matter how big or small the gift is, the designer invested valuable time in creating and posting it.
Customers love freebies because they get to try out new designers without any risk. If they don’t like the free gift, they don’t have to download it – or they can later delete it from their files. Many times a free gift is an add on to something a customer might have purchased from the designer. Quick pages, extra embellishments, or matching word art can be a fun reward for a customer who purchased a full kit.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD SIDE OF FREEBIES:
- COST: As a former designer, I have been on both sides of the freebie. I have given away my own creations as well as downloading countless gifts from other designers. The saying “nothing in life is free” also applies to the digital scrapbook community. The freebie costs the designer time (money) and even bandwidth costs in some cases (if the designer hosts it on their own server instead of uploading to a file sharing site, each time the item is downloaded, it costs the designer money). The freebie also costs the consumer time to unzip, use, and file the gift. If your storage space is at a premium, the free download also costs precious gigs on your hard drive.
- PIRACY: Even free things can be stolen. If a designer or store is offering a free gift to attract sales and traffic, then they should receive at least one of those things in return. The majority of scrappers who download a free gift, might not go on to purchase something from the designer or store who offered the freebie. Visiting the blog or site where the gift is offered does increase their visibility and might result in future sales or more customer loyalty. Only download freebies from the original source and don’t give them away or share them with others (send them to the original source).
- QUALITY: The great thing about the internet is that anyone can create and share something. The bad thing about the internet is that anyone can create and share something. There is no “quality control” like you will find in a well-established online store. If the freebie creator isn’t selling somewhere established, they might be just starting out. I know plenty of designers who began their careers by offering freebies. It could also be that the designs are not high quality enough to sell anywhere. Even though the price is free, the “buyer” (downloader) should beware. One thing I hear from those who use only freebies is that they can’t tell the difference and they are sure they are getting good quality supplies. I would encourage you to consider the source and to pay attention to detail. Zoom in on the embellishments and look for jagged edges and stray pixels. Compare quality to a kit from a respected designer and see if you can tell the difference. You are spending precious time putting these elements onto pages with your pictures and special memories. Be sure they look good!
SOME THOUGHTS ON FREEBIES FROM SOME OF OUR TEAM MEMBERS:
- Sunghee – I used to collect them so much when I first started digi scrapbooking, but ended up deleting most of them. Those were the files that I download just because it was free regardless whether I liked the style or not. Now, I only download the ones that I like and if I already don’t have the similar ones. I love the quality of the freebies that the well-known digi stores and designers give out. For me, I don’t know how one can only use the freebies and not be tempted to buy all the gorgeous digi kits!
- Melissa S. – I went through the crazy freebie hunter stage. Though I used freebies a lot in my first year of scrapping I then narrowed down to only downloading stuff I loved. Now I still DL freebies but only from my fave designers.
- Jenny B. – I love freebies, but as my stash has grown, I’ve become more selective. I only download stuff I really like now. I think it’s a great way to get started, though. When I first started, I got all the freebies I could from Shabby Princess, and slowly started buying kits from the Shabby Shoppe. At first, I was very loyal to that store, and couldn’t understand why anyone would use anything else. I slowly started branching out, though, and trying new designers. I like to try out a designer with a freebie, and then if I like the quality and the style suits me, I’ll go back and buy something. I think it’s OK to rely solely on freebies, but you have to realize that you’re limiting yourself. I get most of my freebies from designers’ blogs and stores. I sign up for their newsletters so I know when to go grab a freebie. I also follow Digital Daisy’s Hand Picked Freebies blog, but I never download everything she posts. Even if I liked all of it, I don’t want to spend that much time downloading, unzipping, and filing.
We here at The Daily Digi love a good freebie just as much as anyone else, but we also pride ourselves in recommending quality products to our readers. Whether we are posting on the page on the site where we recommend freebies, in twitter, or on facebook, we are always careful to only link to freebies from designers/stores that we know the quality of and trust. Our enabling posts are not just about supporting the designers who contribute to the Digi Files (although we LOVE them!), but we also point out products of good quality that we find and love, no matter who designed them. Freebies are no different than a purchased kit in our mind because they both take up valuable time and space in your digi stash.
SOME ADDITIONAL FREEBIES WE RECOMMEND: (all images are linked)
P.S. Jennifer A was the random winner from Karah’s post yesterday! She won $25 in product from Karah’s store! THANKS to everyone that took time to post! Jennifer, check your inbox.