On their website, blog, and through Twitter, I have seen a lot of talk from Hero Arts about their 2012 catalog and initial set of releases for the new year. What really caught my eye is how well they are executing their new product launch, and how much excitement they have generated for their new product release. I was able to attend one of the first Hero Arts 2012 catalog preview parties – there are more than 100 stores around the world participating in this program – and today I am here to talk about that event, and the approach Hero Arts is taking to this release.
The above image is from the Hero Arts website - clearly linking to a page posting the list of stores participating, as well as contact information and even hours for the stores. Below is a store details page as seen on their website. This is incredibly useful as well as a great promotion for the stores that carry a lot of Hero Arts product!
For several weeks now the company has been building excitement for the release of the 2012 catalog. Here are some highlights:
* Sneak Peeks: Releasing sneak peeks of new stamp sets via their blog each week built excitement for the full catalog release.
* Going Local: Supporting the stores that sell their products by advertising their parties, as well as encouraging customers to visit participating stores thanks to their complete website listing (here).
* Release Date: Setting a specific date that the stamps will be for sale creates buzz. As a customer, I really liked knowing not only the exact date preview images would be released, but that stores would be selling them as well starting on a precise date. Just like with the release of books or movies, it creates anticipation to know you can buy something on a specific date.
* Blog Hop: Hero Arts really brought some star power to their catalog debut blog hop! While stamping super star Jennifer McGuire was an expected star of the blog hop, Tim Holtz and Ali Edwards - who both design stamps for other companies and normally aren’t seen in “blog hop” type events – participated as well. The rest of the eighteen stop blog hop was well filled with fantastic talent, ideas, and enticing glimpses of the stamps. Not coincidentally, this hop was well-timed to occur the day before the release of the stamps for purchase.
* Retailer Promotion: I saw posts from www.simonsaysstamp.com as well as other stores that they had the new images and were preparing them for sale on the 10th (the official release date). I also received an email reminder from a local store which prompted me to stop in and visit, and see what a Hero Arts preview party would be like in person.
While it is true that all of this hype directly benefits Hero Arts, it also was beneficial to both local stores and consumers. Whether online or in person, consumers are able to see project samples, get ideas, and be inspired.
I visited Scrapbook Territory in Berkeley, CA in the afternoon of the 10th and I was delighted by their selection, and how they had the new stamps set out as well as the fact that they had all the discontinued stamps available at a deep discount. They had two tables set up displaying sample cards created with new stamp images, and that really brought the products to life.
A make ‘n take table was set up, and customers were invited to sit and make a card using new birthday stamps and other Hero Arts products. It was nice to sit down and play, and test out products that I’ve not worked with before. They had an employee stationed at the table to answer any questions that came up and a catalog was available to view (or purchase) as well.
I am really fond of the text filled shape stamps from hearts to birds to the birthday images you see above on my card. I was told that Hero Arts provided the store the materials ready to go – which is fantastic. The store had to order supplies and get the word out, but it didn’t seem like this event was something that a huge amount of time had to be invested in planning and preparing which I am sure is a plus for store owners. [Editor's note: May is a former manager of a local scrapbook store.]
In addition to the Hero Arts provided make ‘n take, this store had a second table with more samples and you could try out the stamp that was first seen on day #9 tag in the Tim Holtz 12 Tags of Christmas series. Since Tim’s tag series is so popular and this stamp in particular is such a useful image, this was a really nice bonus. I ended up buying some new embossing powder (and the stamp) thanks in part to the ability to test it out first.
I have taught classes at this store, and I do know and like the owner and manager, so I tried to listen in to their interactions with other customers as I wandered and shopped, and not just judge their event based on my own experience. What I saw and heard was no surprise – answering questions, providing helpful tips and working with people to teach them about the products, and service with a smile.
There was no pressure to buy as part of the Hero Arts preview event – just the offer of a make ‘n take in celebration of the new catalog, and the chance to be among the first to have the new images.
Did other stores add decorations and food, or make coordinating classes or a “Hero Arts crop” of some sort available? I can think of so many ideas that could be incorporated – all of them fun. However this wildly busy girl appreciated the simplicity of walking in and taking a few extra minutes in my shopping for some play.
Overall, I am glad that I took a detour on my busy Saturday of holiday preparations to stop in at this store and check out the party. I think it is a really well executed concept, and I hope to see more ideas like this in the future from Hero Arts, and hopefully other manufacturers as well.
Can’t decide what to buy? Here are some of my favorite stamp picks from Hero Arts’ December 10th release:
There are even more stamps coming soon from Hero Arts – only part of the new catalog was released on December 10th. Simon Says Stamp (my favorite online store as well as a Scrapbook Update sponsor) is offering pre-orders on the yet-to-be released stamps from the 2012 Hero Arts catalog, so if there are stamps that you know you want that are not yet available for sale you can order now, and they will ship when available. Here are some of my pre-order must-haves:
Editor’s Note: In January, May will be writing a “new & noteworthy” series of reports featuring projects made with pre-CHA product releases. Watch for Hero Arts to be featured in that series here on Scrapbook Update in early January!
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