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Author Archive | Nancy Nally

Michaels Credit Card Data Breach Confirmed

Michaels thumbnailMichaels Stores confirmed yesterday that 2.6 million customer credit cards (approximately 7% of cards used during the affected period) were compromised in a credit card data breach that extended from May 2013 until January 2014. Another 400,000 cards were compromised at Aaron Brothers, a Michaels Stores subsidiary.

The company had warned of a possible data breach in late January, and indicated at that time it was working with the U.S. Secret Service to investigate what it called “a pattern of fraud activity” on credit cards that had links to Michaels Stores.

The Michaels credit card data breach affected point-of-sale systems at a limited number of Michaels Stores between May 8th, 2013 and January 27th, 2014. Not all locations were affected for the entire window. My local store in Palm Coast, Florida, for example, is listed as only being affected from May 8th-July 29th, 2013. The list of affected Michaels Stores, and the dates the individual stores were affected, can be viewed on their website. Continue Reading →

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Update | 4.18.2014 – Tombow, Craftsy, Crate Paper, Our Daily Bread, more

Spring is coming, and the press releases are suddenly popping up like spring tulips in my inbox! Here’s the latest and greatest that is happening around the industry!

American Tombow, popular among many scrapbookers for its Mono Adhesive line and for its markers, has announced that it donated $10,000 in product to the national non-profit Council for Art Education during the recent 2014 National Art Education Association (NAEA) National Convention in San Diego.

The donation was part of Tombow’s “100 Days of Tombow” campaign that was launched in March 2013 to mark its centennial year in business by promoting crafts education through the work of 90 art, craft, mommy and scrapbook bloggers.

“100 Days of Tombow was started with the goal to show our gratitude to the arts and crafts community by supporting its art education efforts,” said Jeff Hinn, president of American Tombow. “With great thanks to our blogger participants and the great people at CFAE, we were able to successfully make that promise come to fruition.” Continue Reading →

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Update | 4.15.2014 – Project Life Stampin’ Up!, Scraptime, Studio Calico, Simon Says Stamp, Bella Blvd

There’s lots of news today from the industry’s biggest & brightest names…let’s dive right into it!

Becky Higgins has just announced on her blog that she is partnering with Stampin’ Up! to create exclusive Project Life products for the direct sales market. The announcement promises card collections, accessory packs, albums, pocket pages, tools, other accessories, and stamps (in keeping of course with the mission of Stampin’ Up!). The card packs will be somewhat different than the ones sold in retail stores in two major ways, however. First, they will have square corners – unlike the signature rounded corners of the current Project Life products. Second, the Project Life Stampin’ Up! cards will come in packs of 100 double-sided designs, with no duplicates in a pack.

Project Life products will be available for order through Stampin’ Up! representatives on May 1st, and more product preview information will be available soon. In the announcement, Higgins also promised a future digital release of the Stampin’ Up! exclusive products. Continue Reading →

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And They All Fall Down: Splash of Color, GCD Studios, Canvas Corp, Lily Bee

Scrapbooking companies have been falling like dominoes lately, as four well-known companies have shut down, filed for bankruptcy (or both) since early December.

GCD Studios

California-based GCD Studios filed for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy in early December, listing assets of less than $2,000 and debts of over $2 million. The company ceased operations in late 2013, listing no profits for 2013 and a little over $300k for 2012. The vast majority of GCD’s debt is to investors, including owner/president Michael Rountree.

In it’s heyday, GCD boasted ground-breaking lines from industry luminaries like Melody Ross, Heidi Sonboul, Kathy Davis, and Donna Salazar, and was one of the first companies to try to bring the concept of mixed media to the masses in the scrapbook segment through lines like Ross’s Chip Art. Sonboul has now launched her own company at the CHA show in January, and Salazar continues to build her licensed line through other companies. Ross appears to be focusing on her retreat business for the moment. Continue Reading →

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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. Continue Reading →

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Is Facebook Marketing a Dead End for Small Brands?

You know that old saying about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Facebook has repeatedly pulled the rug out from under small businesses using its brand pages platform for marketing in the past few years – and yet we keep going back for more.

Over time, Facebook has slowly (and sometimes not so slowly) eroded the reach of posts from brand pages. First it put in place an algorithm that stopped showing brand posts to all followers in their newsfeeds. Then it started slowly tightening that algorithm like a noose, choking off brands’ access to their followers’ newsfeeds – and offering no “follow all” option for brands like it does for personal accounts that allows a user to override the removal of content and see everything that is posted.

Facebook Brand PageWe’ve definitely noticed the decline in reach at Nally Studios. Our stats show our Facebook posts going out to only a small fraction of our followers, and the decline has been precipitous in recent months. Social media research consulting firm Ogilvy & Mather, in a recently published white paper, described our experience as typical and calculates the organic reach of a typical brand post as 6% on Facebook in February 2014, down almost by half since the fall. For extremely large brands, reach is even smaller – more like 2%. Continue Reading →

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