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CHA Winter 2009 Company Notes, Part 1

Here’s part one of a compilation of notes from my visits to specific companies’ booths at CHA-Winter in Anaheim this week.

Ultra-Pro: All of the “Around The Block” products were being offered to retailers at clearance prices in the Ultra-Pro booth. I spoke to their product manager to ask him if the ATB technology would be applied elsewhere in the Ultra Pro lines (such as Chatterbox and 7 Gypsies) to create tools for those labels. I was told the technology would be used but in an updated form, such as by taking the manual tools and creating electric versions of them like they have done with their newly released Binderie punch.

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Carolee’s Creations: A lot of companies are looking for ways to expand their base market as scrapbooking has contracted. Rather than just try to expand their cardmaking or other relatively traditional papercrafting options, Carolee’s is getting into a whole new business: photo canvases. They were selling the program to retailers as an extra service for their stores, and said it was being well-received by retailers looking for more profit centers.

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Making Memories: In an effort to rev up sales of their Tagmaker tool, Making Memories has now incorporated into their Slice product line. The Slice can now cut the Tagmaker’s paper shapes, eliminating the need for annoying tracing and imprecise handcutting of the paper shapes from templates. Tagmaker rims are also being offered in fun glitter colors that I can’t wait to try out. (I happen to really like my Tagmaker, despite it being uncool to do so.)

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October Afternoon: It wasn’t their products, but the fact that they weren’t there, that had people talking about this company at CHA. The official explanation for their empty and unmanned booth was a “freight equipment failure”. Experienced CHA attendees know it’s not unheard of for companies who’ve experienced freight problems with their booth displays to set up shop in their empty booths on tables and chairs and “make do” until their booths arrive. October Afternoon’s failure to take that step has a lot of people wondering why.

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Wooky Entertainment: The Canadian company that produced Paris Hilton’s product line told me that they weren’t taking retail orders but were shopping the line to distributors. They said they were collecting leads that they would use to select a U.S. distributor from after CHA concluded. Personally I found the line somewhat gaudy and overdone, which means it should appeal perfectly to its target audience of tween and teen girls.

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Canon: CHA Winter 09 was Canon’s first visit to CHA. They were in the New Exhibitor section. One of their staff told me that the company’s goal at the show was to establish goodwill with the scrapbook industry and educate people about their products. They weren’t actively selling or taking orders. By contrast, Epson, a repeat exhibitor, was at CHA to sell store owners their wide-format printers to use to offer printing services to customers.

Fiskars: It was obvious visiting this company’s booth that they are already returning their focus to their tool lines like they announced earlier this month that they plan to do. Although Fiskars did have displays in their booth of the last new consumable product introductions that they plan to do, the vast majority of the space was devoted to their tool lines – and so was the traffic, when I was there.

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