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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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Stampin’ Up! to launch new company called Apostrophe S

Stampin’ Up! has informed their consultants that they are in the early stages of launching a new direct sales company called Apostrophe S.

In a video featuring company founder Shelli Gardner and her daughter (and company executive) Sara Douglass, the new venture was described to current Stampin’ Up! consultants as a U.S. direct sales company that will sell self-contained limited edition project kits in craft areas such as paper crafting, metal, leather, wood and glass. No individual items, with the exception possibly of a few basic tools, will be offered.

Gardner and Douglass say the intent of Apostrophe S is to target an entirely different demographic than Stampin’ Up!’s current market. The new target is a young, twenty-something who is highly interested in DIY but wants convenience:

We are targeting a different market segment, and we want to see how successful we are at reaching out in an entirely new way to an entirely new audience. (Sara Douglass) Continue Reading →

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CHA Mega Show 2014 | A First Time Perspective

What was the CHA Mega Show 2014 in Anaheim, California like for a guy who is not a crafter? Amazing actually. Let me tell you my story.

First, in the briefest of autobiographies, my name is Mike Nally and I’ve been married to Scrapbook Update’s editor Nancy Nally for over 20 years. My career background is in business and technology. My creative background can most simply be described as “photographer and technology geek”.  The world of papers, adhesives, paints, and the like has always been a bit confusing and overwhelming for me.  But, now that I’m a full time member of the Nally Studios LLC team, we realized that I needed to increase my education about the space in which we do our work.  It was time for me to go to my first CHA Mega Show.

CHA Show Entrance SignI could probably write a book trying to describe all of the fantastic moments I experienced at the 2014 CHA Mega Show. But, before someone hits me with a “TL;DR” let me try keeping this article to the point by giving you some of the highlights. Continue Reading →

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