American Crafts announced today that they have purchased Bazzill Basics.
The 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.
In 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.