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Archive | June, 2008

Digital Pick: Shabby Princess Paint Me Happy

paint-me-happyThis week’s Digital Pick is something that I chose because it has a very different style from a lot of the items out there for digital scrapbookers, and because it has a great summer style: Shabby Princess Paint Me Happy!

The Paint Me Happy kit retails for only $2.95 and comes with 44 handpainted-style pieces in bright primary colors. Flowers, rainbows, sunshine and dot borders are all a part of this kit…great for kid or summer pages.

This kit makes the kid in me want to come out to play!

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Poll: How many pictures do you take in a month?

Visit the Scrapbook Update sidebar to vote in and see the results of this week’s poll question: How many pictures do you take in a month? The scrapbook consumer’s answer to this question has interesting implications to the scrapbook industry and how it should market itself. It will be interesting to see what Scrapbook Update’s readers say about this question!

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CK Media Hiring Editor-in-Chief

CK Media has a job listing up on Monster.com looking for an editor-in-chief for an “Industry-leading women’s hobby magazine.” Although CK Media encompasses more hobby publications than just the scrapbooking ones, the position’s qualifications include “has a strong interest in the paper crafting and scrapbooking industry.”

So whose position is being vacated? Does this have to do with shuffling from Stacy Julian’s leaving Simple – is Jennafer Marten changing positions because of that? Or is one of the other editors at CK Media (Stacy Croninger of PaperCrafts or Brian Tippetts of Creating Keepsakes) changing positions? Obviously some major changes are about to happen at one of the papercrafts magazines. (I didn’t include Digital Scrapbooking in that list because the job description seems to focus so much on papercrafts and doesn’t mention any digital aspect.)

If you wonder if you might be qualified for this position, it is listed as being full-time in Riverton UT (although all three magazines’ offices are actually in Bluffdale, UT so the location is probably listed wrong). CK Media would prefer candidates with at least 5 years of writing and editorial experience, and degrees in English, Communications or a related field.

Other required skills include:

Direct editorial team:

  • Coordinate workload so that editorial, art, and production departments can produce magazines, special issues, web content, and other products with minimal overlap.
  • Track multiple projects and ensure that all steps on the timeline are completed according to schedule and all handoffs are complete, accurate, and on time.
  • Manage budget.

Manage and grow the brand:

  • Oversee the strategic direction of the brand and ensure products produced are top in their category and contribute to the brand strategy.
  • Work with other lines of business to track product effectiveness and improve product accordingly.

Write, edit, and proof content:

  • Work with team to plan content for magazine, special issues, web site, and books.
  • Oversee print proofing and QA for all print products.
  • Write editor’s note and other articles as necessary.

Overall skills required for this position are:

  • Creative, organized, self-directed, and has a strong interest in the paper crafting and scrapbooking industry.
  • Solid knowledge of and ability to perform within magazine and web publishing cycle, with a proven ability to produce deliverables for multiple ongoing projects.
  • An excellent understanding of the paper crafting industry and our readership, or, at minimum a strong interest in paper crafting, scrapbooking, or other interests pertinent to our female demographic.
  • Exceptional writing and editing skills pertinent to women’s lifestyle topics, or the hobby and craft industry.
  • Self-directed and able to proactively solve problems and keep an editorial team running smoothly.
  • Knowledge of basic computer programs (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook).

Best of luck to all the candidates!

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Joann’s Comments on AC Moore Locations

If you haven’t heard the news yet, AC Moore is closing a number of stores in Florida.

I was able to talk this morning to Lisa Greb, the director of PR for Joann’s stores.  I asked her about the reports that I have been getting from various sources that Joann’s will be opening stores in the vacated buildings of at least 3 of the AC Moore stores that are closing in Florida.

Greb said that Joann’s will in fact be opening some store locations in Florida later this year but that she couldn’t be more specific on the locations than that (whether they would be in new shopping centers or other locations).  Joann’s May 28th financial report included plans for opening 20-23 new stores this fiscal year, but Greb’s comments did not clarify how many of those will be Florida locations.

Despite Greb’s basically issuing a no comment on Joann’s possible acquisition of the AC Moore locations, the reports are coming from at least three different store locations of Joann’s taking over. The Palm Beach Post was told by the manager of the Wellington AC Moore that Joann’s is taking over AC Moore’s lease in Wellington. I was told the same thing by store staff about the Daytona Beach store, and customers also report being told Joann’s is taking over the location of the Viera AC Moore store.

Relevant Posts:

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12 Tips To Help Small Retailers Thrive In A Recession

The scrapbook industry was paying a lot of attention to the plight of its small retailers even before the current economic slump, and techniques and advice for retailers are something that I’ve covered extensively both here and in my writing for Scrapbook Business Magazine.

building-buzzI came across a book recently that seems like it might be tailor-made for helping small scrapbook retailers take on the big crafts retailers. It’s called Building Buzz to Beat the Big Boys: Word of Mouth Marketing for Small Businesses. The authors are Steve O’Leary, a 35 year advertising agency veteran, and Kim Sheehan, an Associate Professor at the University of Oregon with advertising agency experience who is also the author of two previous books on advertising.

The book jumped out at me because it is described as using inexpensive methods to increase and maintain customer loyalty, create community both in the store and online, and to get current customers to give you word-of-mouth advertising. These are all classic methods that it seems the most successful scrapbook stores are experts at using to promote themselves, and which all stores should want to learn.

O’Leary and Sheehan realize that their book is especially timely for small businesses struggling in the poor economy, and offer the following tips to small retailers trying to survive the current economic conditions:

  1. Continue advertising. History shows that marketers who stop advertising during a recession lose market share.
  2. Focus on existing customers. You know your customers better than anyone. You know what types of product mixes are most appropriate for them. Use this information to create offers that are most valuable to them.
  3. Listen. Collect customer feedback. Use either formal (surveys) or informal (asking people in store) feedback instruments to find out how your customers are dealing with the recession and how your store could help them. Ask them what types of specials they would like to see.
  4. Focus on the neighborhood. With record high gas prices, people are likely to drive less. Allocate some of your marketing budget to current and potential customers who live close to your store (also known as your retail trading area). Print media is great for this effort, especially flyers and/or direct mail.
  5. Value messages are critical. Think about the prices you can offer as well as the discounts that might be available. Make both prices clear in your messages.
  6. Politeness counts, more than ever. Greet customers when they enter your store. Thank them when they leave.
  7. Consider a loyalty program. If you don’t have one in place, think about a punch card-type loyalty program that is quick and easy to implement.
  8. Create benefit offers. Select specific products or services and package them into a value offer that you can advertise in store and through traditional channels.
  9. Dial up the service. Make sure your employees understand the value of exceptional customer service during this time when customers may be looking for reasons to switch.
  10. Think treats. Even though customers are cutting back, according to Money Magazine, they plan to spend a small amount of their tax refund, or rebate check, on a small treat for themselves. Think about what you might offer your customers as a special, one-time discount on a treat to get people in your store.
  11. Partner with a local cause. During a recession, many of your customers may cut back on philanthropic giving. Partnering with a charitable cause reflects well on you, and can somewhat assuage your customer’s guilt about not donating more to charity.
  12. Evaluate advertising messages and response. If you are promoting sales and discounts in different vehicles (such as in the local newspaper, in ADVO, and online), track your response from each vehicle.

These are all great tips for scrapbook stores (I actually wrote about the need for retailers to focus on your neighborhood just a few days ago). As O’Leary and Sheehan point out in tip number one, even if you are running a successful store, now is not the time to get complacent or you will lose your market share in these tough times.

The authors have set up a website for Building Buzz that has some free resources on it, some brief Q&A material, a blog, and the complete table of contents of Building Buzz.

I’d be interested in hearing a retailer’s perspective on this book. If you are a retailer and have read this book, I’d love to hear from you about it and share your thoughts with Scrapbook Update’s readers.

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Available Scrapbook Positions

The following scrapbook-related creative jobs are recently listed on Monster.com:

  • Product Design Intern: Stampin’ Up is looking for someone with product design experience to work what is described as a full-time product design internship for a period of at least two months in their Riverton, UT offices. Possible opportunity for long-term employment will follow based on internship performance. Candidates must be proficient with Illustrator, Photoshop, In Design and other publishing software on the Macintosh platform.
  • Creative Designer: Archiver’s is looking for a papercrafts designer for their store displays and other marketing materials. This is a full-time position at the company’s Minnetonka, MN offices.
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