[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt is a sponsor of this website.]
Increases. Etsy announced yesterday (Thursday) that it is increasing seller fees significantly on July 16th. Transaction fees for sales will be increasing to 5% from the current 3.5% fee. The transaction fees will also now be charged on shipping as well as the listing’s sale price.
In addition to the increased fees, Etsy will be launching subscription services for sellers. The first product launching will be Etsy Plus, for an “introductory price” of $10 per month. (No word on what the price will be after the introductory price runs out.) Etsy Plus will include 15 free monthly listing credits, a $5 monthly credit for promoted listings, some new special features for shop owners, and discounts on items like custom web addresses and packaging. Etsy Premium will launch in 2019, and is targeted for Etsy shop owners who have employees.
Etsy’s Chief Financial Officer Rachel Glaser described the increased fees in the announcement as a method for Etsy to invest in more marketing of its sellers. “Our revised fee structure will allow us to make more meaningful investments on behalf of our sellers while remaining what we believe is the best value for entrepreneurs looking to start, manage, and grow a creative business. We plan to increase our 2017 direct marketing spend by at least 40% in 2018, revamp our Etsy community platforms, and execute against an exciting product roadmap. We believe all of this will help drive near-term growth and increase buyer lifetime value.”
In the same announcement that unveiled the increased fees, Etsy also announced new market guidance for earnings for the 2018 fiscal year. GMS growth is now predicted at 16%-19%, up from 16%-18%. The company is now predicting revenue growth of 32%-34%, up from 22%-24%. The previous guidance was issued at their earnings call last month. There was no change to the forecasted adjusted EBITDA margin of 21%-23%.
The changes went over well with investors. Etsy shares rose 35% in the first few hours of trading yesterday to a record high of $44.78. The stock closed for the day up over 25% at $41.65.
Endings. Studio Calico has announced that the June kits are the last ones for the company’s Scrapbook and Planner kits. The Scrapbook kit is the original kit that launched Studio Calico 11 years ago. Subscribers to the discontinued kits can transfer their subscriptions to the company’s Documenter (pocket scrapboook), or Stamp kit, or to the new Traveler’s Notebook kit launching in July.
Studio Calico’s announcement on their blog explained the reason for the changes: “There has been a drastic change in the memory keeping industry over the last 11 years, and we are continually thankful for all our loyal customers, their feedback, and the ever-evolving community of paper lovers.”
Shows. Messe Frankfurt announced last week that 300 manufacturers are signed up to take part in the Creativeworld 2019 trade fair. The event will take place at the Messe Frankfurt exhibition grounds in Frankfurt am Main, Germany from the 26th to the 29th of January, 2019. Companies committed to returning to Creativeworld for 2019 include C. Kreul, Clairefontaine, Creativ Company, Efco Kreativ, Folia, Marabu, Rayher Hobby, Rico Design and Staedtler.
“We are very pleased with the number of registrations received and are keenly looking forward to Creativeworld 2019. Our planning for the hall layout and the multi-faceted programme of events are also well advanced”, says Michael Reichhold, Creativeworld Director, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH.
Sued. An Alabama man has filed suit against Hobby Lobby alleging its pricing practices are unlawful. Steven D. Marcrum is seeking class action status for the lawsuit he filed on June 4th in U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Florida. The suit alleges that Hobby Lobby’s practice of advertising certain items as selling for a percentage off everyday, but then taking coupons off of the higher “marked” price the item never actually sells for, is deceptive and unlawful under both state and federal law.
You might want to start saving your Hobby Lobby receipts. Marcrum and his attorneys are asking the court for, among other things, “[d]amages on behalf of Mr. Marcrum and the class in an amount equal to the difference in calculating 40% off of the “Always” price, as opposed to 40% off of the Hobby Lobby created fictitious price.” Hobby Lobby has until June 27th to respond to the suit.
Opening. JOANN is opening a new concept store to the public this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. The store includes a large community space for store visitors to use called the Creators’ Studio. Customers can take classes or attend events in the space, or rent equipment to work on projects. The photo below, released by JOANN, shows people using Cricut equipment and watercolors in the space (among other activities).
The new concept store will also offer new technology, including a new cut bar experience that lets customers check in and then receive a text alert when it’s their turn, and a special order kiosk. There will also be expanded categories of product offered in the store, in areas like candle-making, fine art, model building and also sewing.
JOANN is also offering some advanced services at the concept store. The new Sew & Go custom sewing service will provide a range of services from custom tailoring to home decor. The Personal Shopper service is described as offering “one-on-one guidance to ensure the crafter’s vision comes to life”.
“Research resoundingly showed our stores have naturally evolved to become much more than a place to buy things,” said President & CEO Jill Soltau. “Customers come in to find inspiration, learn from our Team Members and share creative experiences with others. That discovery, along with industry insights and DIY trends, helped us create a store like nothing else in existence. This is the most shareable and welcoming craft experience ever built.”
As a concept store, the new Columbus store is a testing ground for JOANN to experiment with new ideas for their stores and gather data and customer response to them. How soon, if ever, any of these ideas will make it to regular local JOANN stores remains to be determined.
Earnings. Michaels announced its 1st Quarter 2018 earnings on Thursday morning. (The first quarter fiscal year 2018 for Michaels was the 13 weeks that ended on May 5th.) Most of the report’s numbers were down, with CEO Chuck Rubin blaming most of the dip on one-time charges for the closure of the company’s 94 Aaron Brothers framing stores. Comparable store sales were flat when adjusted for inflation, and only maintained that because the average customer ticket increased. Customer transactions were down for the quarter. Rubin also blamed an early Easter for contributing to soft sales.
Predictably, the market doesn’t like bad news. The company’s stock, which had been headed steadily up since the end of May, dropped precipitously at Thursday’s opening bell. After closing at $21.93 Wednesday night, Michaels opened at $18.40 Thursday morning following the earnings announcement. As of close today (Friday), the stock had dropped to $18.00.
During the earnings call, Chuck Rubin noted that the craft industry has been flat for some time because no huge trend is driving the market. He also described papercrafting tools as doing well in Michaels stores this past quarter, helped by their new Cricut product expansion (particularly the new Martha Stewart exclusive machine). Rubin also highlighted seasonal (Easter) and home decor as strengths in the quarter. Conversely, he cited kids crafts, wood basics, and jewelry making as underperforming areas.
Suing. Direct sales company Stampin’ Up! is suing Chinese ecommerce site Alibaba over alleged rampant copyright infringement on its site. Many U.S-based stamp companies have long been frustrated that U.S. consumers searching for lower prices are all too often buying lower-priced counterfeits from Alibaba sellers. This issue frequently sparks controversy on stamping boards on places like Facebook, where Alibaba is invariably brought up as an answer in response to those seeking low-priced shopping options.
In an attempt to curtail the flood counterfeits of their designs on Alibaba, Stampin’ Up! filed suit in Utah Federal District Court in April against Alibaba Hong Kong and several individual sellers on the platform. The suit alleged, among other things, that Alibaba willfully turned a blind eye to rampant copyright violations taking place on its platform and did not do enough to track down and remove offending products. The suit was withdrawn by Stampin’ Up! at the end of May for unknown reasons.
This isn’t the first time that Stampin’ Up has taken legal action to protect their copyrights. They are currently engaged in a nearly two-year-old copyright infringement suit against ten John Doe sellers on Shopify. Stampin’ Up! was recently awarded a default judgement against one seller in the case for infringing on four of the company’s product copyrights. The company was awarded $3,000 in statutory damages and $25,197.73 in attorney’s fees from that seller by the court.
Shows. NBC has released the official sneak peek of their new competitive crafting show starring Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. The show, “Making It”, will debut at 10pm eastern on July 31st.