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American Crafts Acquires Bazzill Basics

American Crafts announced today that they have purchased Bazzill Basics.

Bazzill logoThe name of Arizona-based Bazzill has been practically synonymous with cardstock in the scrapbook industry for well over a decade. The company’s canvas textured cardstock sparked a craze in the late 1990′s for textured cardstock that literally changed the face of scrapbooking. It’s only been with the rise of stamping, which isn’t compatible with textured paper, in the past few years that smooth cardstock has made a serious return. The company has met the trend for smooth cardstock with a popular line called “Smoothies“, available in a limited selection of colors.

Margie-HeadshotIn recent years Bazzill has expanded into patterned paper with the help of Margie Romney-Aslett, Janet Hopkins, and several other well-known designers. Their early efforts met with mixed results, but their most recent releases are stellar – most notably a vintage-themed travel line by Romney-Aslett, whose distinct style shone in the Winter 2014 “Worldwide” collection. The company has also started producing sets of pocket journaling cards that coordinate with their collections, with beautiful results.

“Bazzill has a long history in the craft industry due in large part to its passionate customers,” said Jones. “And as bittersweet as it is to move on to other ventures, we’re excited that American Crafts will be able to step in and ensure the brand continues. They’ve got a great track record of staying true to the brands they’ve purchased, and we expect they’ll do the same with Bazzill.”

Jeff Mitchell, president of American Crafts, describes the purchase as positive for the company, retailers and consumers. “Adding this great brand to the products American Crafts makes and distributes will increase Bazzill’s use and strengthen overall opportunities for Bazzill and American Crafts,” said Mitchell. “Our hats are off to Doug and his team and all they’ve done to build such a strong name in our industry.”

American Crafts has been on an acquisition binge the past few years, pulling some of the industry’s brightest brands into their increasingly large tent. Pink Paislee, Heidi Swapp, Crate Paper, Imaginisce, and Pebbles were all acquired, while Project Life and Studio Calico were brought in through licensing and distribution deals.

Why would American Crafts want to acquire Bazzill when it already has its own brand of well-received cardstock, AC Cardstock? No matter how well AC Cardstock has done, it simply can’t compete with Bazzill’s name brand, which is easily the Kleenex of cardstock. And with fellow industry mega power Darice having snapped up Core’dinations for their stable of brands a few years ago, it makes competitive sense to have as strong a cardstock brand as possible in their own arsenal.

Basic embellishments like flowers and brads are making a comeback in the industry with the rise of stamping, and that makes Bazzill attractive to American Crafts as well. These items, designed to coordinate with the company’s cardstocks, are a real strength of Bazzill and the Bazzill Basics brand has pull in that market.

Another possible motivation is Bazzill’s patterned paper operation. Bazzill has built an impressive stable of designers in a short time, and they are just starting to show their true strength. American Crafts has been building their company lately based on signature designers, and this acquisition gives them access to some of the industry’s top names in an area that has been under-served by their portfolio to date: hardcore vintage.

The acquisition is effective immediately and administration of retail accounts has already been transferred to American Crafts’ offices. Shipping will remain in operation out of Bazzill’s warehouse in Arizona at the moment.


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23 Responses to American Crafts Acquires Bazzill Basics

  1. Jennifer Rogers April 2, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    This is indeed Momentous news- and as usual, you had it first. Well done, SU. I am hoping that the quality of our beloved Bazzill will remain the same.

    • itsybel, IsabelsScrapbooks.com April 2, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      I sell AC cardstock right alongside Bazzill and customers can’t tell the difference–they are both the same high quality, textured or smooth, it’s always given me a wide color variety variety, I’m hoping we can still get color variety with the two being together now.

  2. Erika @ Scrapbook Obsession Blog April 2, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    I’m a Bazzill Babe – only use their cardstock – so this is very interesting news to me! I hope their linen textured cardstock doesn’t change. American Crafts is on quite the buyout run. Wow!

  3. Blayne White April 2, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Wow. I, too, hope the Bazzill paper will stay the same. I use Bazzill exclusively and prefer card stock over patterned paper any day. Hmmm……

  4. Kristol April 2, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    I hope the quality does not change. I don’t use much cardstock but when I do it’s always Bazzill Kraft, French Vanilla, Black or Grey. I would hate to see that wonderful quality that Bazzill is known for disappear.

  5. Addie April 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    I like having a lot of smaller companies instead of three or four big ones. Oh, well, it’s the American way –gobble, gobble!

  6. Sharon April 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    What a sad day. We converted our store cardstock from AC to Bazzill due to quality issues with the AC lines. Bazzill gave excellent service, AC was too big to take care of the little guy. Crate Paper lost its soul at acquisition, Imaginisce isn’t fun any more….oh Bazzill quality, I hope you survive this.

  7. Susanne April 2, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    I’m not sure so much consolidation in the industry is a good thing.

  8. scrapper al April 2, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    I agree that all this consolidation may not be a good thing. Can AC really take care of all these brands and maintain quality?

  9. Joan April 2, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    No, no, no – please say this is a late April Fool’s joke. There is no other paper available to retailers that can match the quality and selection we have come to trust Bazzill to produce. AC – please pay close attention to consumers and retailers – we are concerned with the number of companies you are buying out – not everyone is only focused on low price and low quality. I use products that make my projects look good and to do so, I very seldom if ever use AC products.

  10. Debra williams April 3, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    I had a problem with an Imaginisce product and I was very, very pleased with the way it was handled by American Crafts. I think they are taking very good care of the lines they have acquired and look forward to their future.

    • Debra williams April 3, 2014 at 9:55 am #

      Want to follow this thread.

  11. American Crafts April 3, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Hello everyone! Thanks for the well wishes. We’re excited about having Bazzill be part of the AC family. It’s an incredibly strong brand – and our respect goes out to Doug and Marti Jones for all they’ve done to build it.

    Just wanted to address two general concerns that have appeared here and in other places…

    First, we want to assure everyone that the quality of Bazzill cardstock won’t change.

    Second, both Bazzill and AC Cardstock will continue to co-exist. Each product has its purposes and we will keep offering both. Thanks for your support and business!

    • Nancy Nally April 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by to answer our readers’ questions! I, for one, look forward to seeing what Bazzill can do when it has access to the resources available at American Crafts!

  12. Veronica Hugger April 3, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    “the Kleenex of cardstock”. “Hardcore vintage”. Love it, Nancy!

    • Nancy Nally April 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

      Thanks, Veronica! :)

  13. Christine Tricola April 3, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    Wow. I hope the Bazzill cardstock will not change. I have and still use Bazzill exclusively for many years and it would be sad to see any changes. The quality and large array of colors are wonderful to work with and they make all crafts project look beautiful.

  14. gabmcann April 3, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    I love Bazzill too! Hope AC really can and will maintain colour range and quality

  15. PjP April 4, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    So Bazzill and AC cardstock are going to co-exist are they? Any bets on for how long? All due respect to the giant Hoover that is AC these days, but I’d say the writing’s on the wall for Bazzill.

  16. Nancy Nally April 4, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    I highly doubt that you need to worry about the future of Bazzill cardstock. It would be insanity to spend all the time, effort and most importantly MONEY to buy the company and then shut down its signature product line. The cardstock brand is BY FAR the most valuable asset Bazzill has. Buying the company just to shut it down would be a waste of money.

    The AC Cardstock and Bazzill brands occupy different price points and marketing angles. AC Cardstock is less expensive and sold exclusively in packs. Bazzill is more of a “luxury” brand and sold almost always by the sheet. They really can co-exist.

  17. Addie April 5, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    PjP, I agree with you. American companies expand too fast and too far. The list of Chapter 11 bankruptcies in the last decade is enormous, and not only the result of the 2008 economic collapse. Today’s corporate strategic plan isn’t acceptable without expansion for its own sake. There are other ways to increase profits beside expansion and layoffs. How did we get to this ridiculous place?

  18. Ruth G April 6, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    I am glad to hear that quality is being considered important in this acquisition. As a crafter, I love the Bazzill Matchmaker and hope that will continue for the wide range of manufacturers that it currently supports! It’s such a time-saver and ensures that I always look to Bazzill for my solid cardstock purchases!

  19. Candy Clouston April 16, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    I’ve been reading the last month’s discussions here. I prefer to scrapbook digitally, but I am primarily a cardmaker. I only need smooth cardstock to stamp on, and I’ve gone to papers that commercial printers buy in the past for that. With the popularity of alcohol markers and Distress Markers, I’ve switched to paper specifically for Copics and hot press watercolor paper. I have a closet full of textured cardstock, which is critical for card bases and layering. Lately, however, I’ve mostly been buying smooth colored cardstock because it’s easier to use with electronic cutting machines (e.g., Cricut, Scan N Cut) and I’ve been using a lot of embossing folders.

    I end up buying printed 12″ X 12″ paper so I can make envelopes to fit non-A2 cards. I’ve been disappointed in the last few years because everything does look pretty much the same, and orange and green are not the highlights of my artistic experience. I was hoping that Pantone’s orchid would help shift the trend to more blues and purples, but I’m not seeing that happening.

    While watercoloring stamped art seems to have picked up (whether with Twinkling H2Os or watercolor pencils or water-based markers), I discovered the other day that pulling out the old Radiant Pearls avoided a lot of the frustration I was having with markers. I wish Leslie could resurrect her business (with the help of a competent business manager) and bring them back.

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