The Davis family of Mesa and Gilbert have many scrapbook memories – and people throughout the world have saved theirs because of Scrapbook.com.
Founded in 1999 by Jill Davis of Mesa, the website began as a way for her to share techniques, tips and project ideas from her home office in Mesa.
“My mom had been scrapbooking for over 25 years, was an expert crafter and taught local sold-out classes on paper-crafting,” said her son, McKane Davis, president of the Gilbert-based business.
“Creative expression filled her life with meaning and joy, and she loved sharing that passion with others so much that she wanted to do it on a larger scale,” he added.
“Students asked her: can we keep project examples to learn from?’ But, if she did this, she would not have had any to show her next classes,” Davis said. “So, she came up with the idea of sharing these projects online, so students could log on and look whenever they needed inspiration or a reminder.”
Originally, crafters would mail projects to her, mostly scrapbook pages.
“She would scan every project, upload the images to the Scrapbook.com website and mail each project back to its creator,” he said.
As the site grew, users could photograph/scan and upload their projects. Today, the site’s gallery has three million projects.
Eventually, Scrapbook.com began selling paper-crafting supplies for card making, mixed media art, stamping and die cutting items, journaling and more.
“The website and online store have grown beyond my mother’s wildest dreams,” he explained, noting that Scrapbook.com is the world’s most visited paper-crafting site, with millions of visits each month and 100-plus employees, mostly East Valley residents.
The site also includes forums, an online gallery of submitted projects, free classes, articles and podcasts, a free crafting newsletter and events.
“And we still carry out Jill’s passion for teaching and strive to inspire people everywhere to live a handmade life,” added Davis, noting that his mom and dad Charles are retired and living in Mesa.
His childhood home was suffused with creativity: calligraphy, crafting, card making and scrapbooks. “My mother was also very entrepreneurial,” said Davis. “So those two elements have combined to make Scrapbook.com.”
He attended MacArthur Elementary, Kino Junior High and Westwood and Mountain View high schools in Mesa. Next, he graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, planning a law career.
After moving back home in 2001, his parents asked him to assume operations for the young website, although they were at first reluctant to launch an online store with its paperwork and other e-commerce requirements.
“I didn’t want to become a lawyer and I was enamored with the internet,” he said. “I was all in.”
“We have been overwhelmed by the support, love, and kindness the community of Gilbert has shown us since we moved the business here two years ago,” he said.
As part of the company’s gratitude, Davis began a Cards for Kindness program last year for the annual Gilbert Kindness Week and was asked to participate in some way.
The initiative finds people who need an act of kindness and sends him or her a handmade card.
“The program,” said Davis, “is a way to spread joy and happiness to adults and children who are facing challenging circumstances.”
That effort succeeded so well locally that Davis and his team decided to make it a global effort six months ago – just before the pandemic changed everything.
“We saw how much need there was for handmade cards locally and felt like we needed to expand this globally. We’re just getting started and we’ve already seen tens of thousands of donated cards – and each one of those is a selfless act of kindness,” Davis said.
Crafters make cards that are blank inside, then mail them to Scrapbook.com, which distributes them to cancer foundations, hospitals, children’s homes, shelters, retirement centers, deployed troops and other organizations.
“The cards are used by nurses, doctors, staff members, counselors, parents and volunteers who add handwritten messages of encouragement and love before giving them to patients, children and other people in need,” he explained.
The company is not compensated for the initiative; the participating crafters can buy their materials anywhere, including Scrapbook.com, or use materials from home.
“We donate our time and resources to the project to facilitate it,” he said.
Thousands of handmade donated cards have been delivered to groups such as Operation Gratitude, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Sunshine Acres Children’s Home, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, American Orchards Assisted Living Community, Cardon Children’s Medical Center and Impact One Breast Cancer Foundation.
“Each of our Hope Boxes that is shipped to women all over the country has a special card inside donated by Scrapbook.com,” said Elizabeth Cluff, founder of Gilbert-based Impact One. “These beautiful cards given to women going through breast cancer diagnosis allows our service to add additional hope to women fighting the disease.”
Just before COVID-19, Scrapbook.com employees delivered handmade cards to American Orchards Senior Living in Gilbert.
“The residents use the cards to write to family members, friends and pen pals, and the staff surprises the residents with them on their birthdays, to cheer them up when they need a sympathy or get-well card,” said Aase ‘Osa’ Erickson, Life Enrichment director on the Assisted Living side.
“It’s beautiful to see how tickled they get every time they open one of those special, unique cards.”
They are “a beacon of hope now, and many of them will be saved, cherished and re-read and perhaps become heirlooms,” said Davis.
“Handmade cards say you matter. It’s a great time, particularly now, to show tenderness and care,” he added. “They touch the forgotten, the elderly, the endangered, the overlooked and the underappreciated.”