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Update | Bella Crafts, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Jobs, & More

In this edition of the Update column we’ve got lots of big news from some of the industry’s biggest players: Michaels Stores, Hobby Lobby, Messe Frankfurt, Craft & Hobby Association, and more!

[Dislaimer: Messe Frankfurt is a sponsor of this website, but information included in this article was solely at my own discretion.]

Publishing. Bella Crafts has launched a second digital magazine, called Craft Techniques. The new title, which joins the company’s line-up alongside the original Bella Crafts Quarterly, will be published six times per year with a single issue price of $4.97. Annual subscriptions are currently available at an introductory rate of $17.97.

Craft Techniques coverCelebrating. Stamp manufacturer My Favorite Things is celebrating its tenth anniversary in the whole month of July with a series of special giveaways and features on its blog. Founder Kim van der Sanden wrote a special blog post detailing the history of the company’s early days.

Honoring. The Craft & Hobby Association is accepting nominations for the following awards to be presented during the CHA Conference & Trade Show in Phoenix in January 2017:

Meritorious Award of Honor – Service to CHA
The highest award of recognition bestowed upon an individual member, past or present, who has made a significant contribution to the Craft & Hobby Association.
Industry Achievement Award – Contribution to Craft and Hobby Industry
Recognizing a CHA member (individual, group and/or company) who has made a significant contribution to the growth and vitality of the craft and hobby industry as a whole.
Special Recognition Award(s) – Good Deeds
Presented to a person, group and/or company for an extraordinary contribution in an activity that showcases the craft and hobby industry in a positive way. Award recipient(s) need not be a member(s) of the Association.
Nominations are due by July 30th. Click here to fill out the nomination form.

Clearing Out. After six months of virtual silence, October Afternoon has resurfaced to hold a warehouse box sale on their blog. They’ve held several rounds of boxes already in the past couple of weeks, selling merchandise for twenty cents on the dollar retail ($100 value boxes for $20 retail). The most recent round is sold out already, but owner Jonathan Denton has replied to comments from disappointed would-be buyers, promising more boxes will be offered soon.

Selling. Speaking of boxes, Me & My Big Ideas has been testing a Happy Planner Kit in select Costco stores at a price point of $24.99. The planner alone normally retails for $29.99, so this is a heavily discounted bundle.

Happy Planner Kit

Michaels has also just put out mid-aisle displays of similar kits, in several sizes and themes. There are teacher and student kits, as well as a fitness and a seasonal (holiday) planner. They range in price from $29.99 to $39.99, depending on the size and number of months included.

MAMBI Planner Kit

Prepping. Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes when industry professionals are getting ready for a trade show? Jen Gallacher, who is the marketing manager at Echo Park Paper, made a great video talking about what goes into the lead-up to a trade show. Watch it on YouTube.

Expanding. Messe Frankfurt has announced a new addition to the Christmasworld show that occurs in January every year simultaneously with Creativeworld and Paperworld. The “Floradecora” product area will feature live floral and plant product offerings, which are becoming increasingly popular for seasonal displays, and will be located in Hall 11.1 in the Christmasworld show area.

Damaging. The Hobby Lobby store in Muskogee, Oklahoma sustained damage in a severe storm that hit the city on Thursday, July 14th. The store was closed at the time and there were no injuries in the incident. Hobby Lobby’s communications coordinator told the Muskogee Phoenix that the damage appears to be limited to the external and the company hoped to reopen the store quickly. The Hobby Lobby store is next to a recently closed Hancock Fabrics store. Hobby Lobby will be renovating and expanding their existing location into the newly vacant space, with the makeover slated for completion in November.

Falling. Michaels Companies Inc (MIK) stock took a hit last Wednesday when the company announced two pieces of news. The first was that the company now expects 2nd quarter profits to hit the low range of their previous estimate, which was already a disappointment to analysts. The company also announced that Bain Capital and Blackstone Group, the private equity companies that were the companies previous private owners, are cashing out 11 million shares of the 80% equity they continued to hold in the company after it went public. The twin disclosures sent the company’s stock tumbling 6% by the end of trading on Wednesday, to $27.13. As of the market close today (Monday), the stock had recovered only slightly, to $27.56.

Changing. The Washington Post has a thought-provoking article up about the Millenial generation’s relationship to stuff. Their tendency to lead more simple lifestyles in smaller homes is leading them to reject memorabilia as clutter. Not only do they not want their parents’ sentimental legacies, but they aren’t creating and collecting their own. It’s food for thought for an industry that is built largely on the creation of that “clutter”.

Jobs. The following industry positions are currently listed as open and available:

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5 Pinterest Pinning Mistakes to Avoid

[This article contains affiliate links that support Scrapbook Update when readers make a purchase after clicking on them. Thanks for supporting our work so we can continue to bring you articles like this one about Pinterest!]

We all know that we need to have a Pinterest account these days if we are running a creative business of any kind. Many of us have spent plenty of effort learning best practices – how often to pin, when to pin, what to pin, what kind of graphics to use. A lot of us have even invested in tools such as Tailwind (watch for my review coming soon!) to help us pin more efficiently and effectively.

But quality of pins is just as important as quantity or schedule. And some common Pinterest mistakes can seriously impact the quality of the pins you are creating, reducing user engagement with them and damaging your Pinterest reputation.

5 Pinterest Pinning Mistakes To Avoid to increase engagement with quality pins - Nancy Nally - ScrapbookUpdate.com

Here’s the top mistakes to watch out for when creating pins, to make sure that you are creating quality content that your followers will love and engage with!

Pinning From the Wrong URL

Since a pin is a link back to content, if you pin from the wrong URL, that pin is useless to future Pinterest users who might try to view it. Before you create an original pin, double check that you are on the content’s direct permalink (article page) page and not the site’s home page, a category or tag page, or an archives page (a URL that ends in something like “/page4/”).

Not Checking the Link on a Repin

A fabulous looking craft room photo comes across your Pinterest stream. “I must save that,” you think to yourself, and hit “repin”. But if you don’t click through to the pin’s link before hitting repin, you don’t really know what you are saving – or more importantly, sharing with all of your followers. The link could be to a deleted article, or a dead website. Worse, the link could be to a site set up (or taken over) to host malware. I’ve had my browser taken over by malware hosting sites several times in recent weeks when I clicked links on completely innocent looking pins. It required completely rebooting my browser (and even my entire computer on one occasion) each time to escape the hijacked window.

Even if at first glance a link looks safe, take a closer look. Is the content owned by the site posting it, or is it a so-called scraper site that steals articles from the RSS feeds of other sites and posts them, hoping to generate traffic from Pinterest and other sources for ad views? Posting links to stolen content degrades the quality of your feed, can get your Pinterest content reported and deleted, and can leave a bad impression on your followers.

Bottom line – if you don’t check the quality of the links on your repins, eventually someone else will – with potentially embarrassing results.

Pinning From within Bloglovin’ (or another reader)

When content is pinned from within Bloglovin’ it causes several problems. First, the pin’s source can only be viewed from within a Bloglovin’ page frame, which is really annoying to most readers. But more importantly, the content’s source shows on Pinterest as Bloglovin.com instead of the actual website whose content you are pinning. This degrades the quality rating of your pin in Pinterest’s content sharing algorithm. If the content has been pinned 3 times through Bloglovin’ and 100 times through the actual content website…then you only get credit from Pinterest for the 3. Also, the original content creator won’t get credit in their site’s statistics for the 3 pins through Bloglovin’. And someone searching for pins of content from that site won’t be able to find those pins.

Pinning from within other feed readers can be even more problematic. Links to Feedly will show dead links as they go to individual user accounts – so unless you are logged in to the account of the user who created the pin, you can’t see the source of the link.

Not Pinning from the Original Source

It’s become very common for sites to publish articles that are round-ups of other people’s content on a certain topic. These can be very useful, and a great way to find wonderful content. However, pinning from curated collection articles steals “Pinterest juice” from the original content creator, creating many of the same issues I mentioned in the discussion about pinning from within feed readers. So please, if you pin from curated collections, either pin the special Pinterest-friendly title graphic that most bloggers create for such collections, or click through to the item’s original source material to pin the individual item from there.

Not Adding or Editing A Description

Part of the way that Pinterest decides whether to show your pin to more people is from the information that is in your pin description. That description is also how you tell your followers why you pinned the content, what is special about it – and that’s especially important when you are pinning your own content, to entice people to click!

If you don’t edit the pin description when pinning or repinning, you will by default get either the previous pinner’s description or the meta description on the image you are pinning. This could be a personal note from the pinner (“this would be so perfect for my kitchen!”) that doesn’t reflect your own opinion or worse, it could be a generic file name like IMG_4358 that provides no useful information to Pinterest’s algorithm or your followers. Instead, take a moment to type a few words about the pin’s topic or its usefulness to you.

We all get in a rush at times and pin without thinking and miss a detail on a pin we are sharing. It’s one of the reasons that I love using Tailwind, because it allows me to save a pin as a draft and then go back and later and edit it for all the important details. Slowing down and taking those extra few moments on the details can make all the difference in our pin quality – and in our engagement.

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Update | Warehouse Sales, Moves, Jobs, Trends, and more!

Today, in this Friday edition of the Update column, we’ve got news, jobs, food for thought, and some great sales. (Disclaimer: Author not responsible for damage to your wallet!)

Sales. It’s warehouse sale time! Bella Blvd is selling warehouse sale grab boxes for $25 plus $10/box domestic shipping through their online store while they last. Boxes are described in the FAQ as approximately 70% paper and 30% embellishments, with only 2-3% variation in contents between boxes. [Sold out]

Simple Stories is also running their own warehouse sale, with $200 value boxes selling for $49.99 (plus $10 shipping). Boxes contain mostly the same contents but may vary by 2-3%.

Moves. Up-and-coming stamp company Reverse Confetti has announced that they have signed a lease to move operations into a combined classroom/warehouse space in August when construction on the new building is complete.

EtsyGreenLibrary

The “Green Library” at Etsy. Credit: Emily Andrews

Also moving up – in am much less modest way – is Etsy. The company recently moved into a new headquarters that is a few blocks from their previous Brooklyn building, but twice the size of the old space. More than 850 people work in the new space, which was designed and built following the sustainability standards of the Living Building Challenge from the International Living Future Institute. And of course, a large portion of the decor and furnishings in Etsy’s new headquarters are items that come from Etsy’s own artisans and sellers.

Honors. Sara Davies, founder of British manufacturer Crafter’s Companion, was created a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List this month. According the government website describing the various royal honors, the MBA is “awarded for a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community.” The honors are considered by a committee, but are ultimately approved by the Queen herself. Awards are formally awarded to honorees by the Queen in ceremonies at Buckingham Palace.

Sara Davies

Sara Davies

Davies said of the honor: “I am thrilled, honoured and so genuinely humbled by this recognition. I was surprised to hear that I would receive an MBE and have no idea where the nomination originated but I’m incredibly grateful. By becoming an MBE, I hope it helps raise the profile of our sector and what a thriving industry it is. I also hope it inspires others entrepreneurs in craft to believe, innovate and put our industry firmly on the map.”

The 32-year-old entrepreneur is being recognized for her work growing Crafter’s Companion from its founding in her college dorm room barely over 10 years ago into an operation that employs nearly 100 people on two continents. Davies is also a past board member of the Craft & Hobby Association, and the founding board chair of CHA-UK.

Jobs. The following industry positions are currently listed as open and available:

Jo-Ann Crafts has posted full-time positions for Inventory Management Planner, Copy Writer, Associate Seasonal Buyer, Sourcing Assistant, and a Store Planning Coordinator (Interior Designer or Architect) in their Hudson, OH headquarters within the past week. These positions are accessible in the Joann.com online job portal.

History. The crafts industry sometimes likes to think that we invented scrapbooking, but of course it has been around for centuries. The Messy Nessy Chic blog has a look at a fascinating scrapbook compiled in the late 1930’s documenting the life of a young woman named Lotta June Miller, who traveled cross country from Spokane to Pennsylvania to take up a position as theatre director at a teacher’s college. It’s a fascinating read, and a great look at the roots of scrapbooking.

Trends. Fredericksburg.com has an interesting profile up showing how a group of women is getting together regularly to color, following the growth of the adult coloring trend in the last year. This is an especially interesting look at the current coloring trend when viewed from the perspective of the rise – and then fall – in popularity of the group “crop” in the scrapbooking industry.

Retailers. The oft-controversial Hobby Lobby was the target of anti-gay bigotry at their store in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville, Florida yesterday. An unknown person rearranged letters on the store’s shelves (an increasingly common internet meme) to display an anti-gay message, which was removed immediately upon discovery by store staff. Hobby Lobby communications coordinator Bob Miller told local station News4Jax in a statement that “It is beyond unfortunate that some individuals would use items intended to bring beauty and joy through creativity to instead propagate hate, especially at a time when love is so critically needed right now.”

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Update | Michaels, Scrapbook Expo, Jobs, and more!

In this issue of the Update column, I’ve got some big news from some of the industry’s biggest names – and some great opportunities if you are job hunting! Let’s dive in…

Michaels store

Earnings. Michaels Stores held its quarterly earnings call for investors today. The company surprised market watchers by reporting that it missed its quarterly earnings target for the first fiscal quarter of 2016 that ended April 30th. Michaels stock (traded under MIK on the NASDAQ) fell over 8% after the announcement, to close at $27.69 for the day.

In the announcement, Michaels executives blamed weak April sales for the missed earnings estimate. Michaels is far from alone in struggling to meet its April sales goals in 2016. A whole host of U.S. retailers have announced weaker than expected April sales figures, including Costco, Gap, L Brands, Target, Macy’s and Nordstrom – to name just a few.

Moving forward, Michaels says it plans to continue to focus on the adult coloring trend, extending its selection of coloring books and coloring materials. The company has also begun expanding the trend off-paper, recently unveiling store displays that feature items such as kids’ t-shirts with coloring designs on them along with fabric markers. The company also plans to launch nationwide in July a loyalty program that it has been testing locally in Texas near its headquarters.

For more information on Michaels Stores financial numbers in the first quarter, read the official announcement.

Industry Jobs. The following industry positions are currently posted as available:

New Positions. Bella Blvd has announced that Amy Heller is filling the newly created position of Marketing Director at the company. Heller is known to many in the industry for her time as a Garden Girl at Two Peas in a Bucket, and for her work designing product for the now-defunct Lily Bee Design. But she also has nearly two decades of professional experience in marketing and graphic design, including for Fortune 500 brands. Initial plans for Heller’s role at Bella Blvd include development of a new blog and email interaction with customers.

Amy Heller

Amy Heller

Honors. Congratulations to Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer on their Retail Adventures blog being named one of the “7  Retail Publications You Should Be Reading” by retail analytics platform Celect. Retail Adventures has been basking in the spotlight in 2016, with UK retail analysts Retail Vision also naming the blog to its “Top 50 Retail Blogs” list in January.

Events. I had a chance to attend Scrapbook Expo for the first time in 2016 when it came to Orlando this past weekend for an event at the Gaylord Palms resort in Kissimmee.

Scrapbook Expo Orlando 2016

The shows are now officially known as “Stamp & Scrapbook Expo,” reflecting the growing presence of stamping products on the show floor. Compared to 2015, there was much more current product on the show floor – I saw a variety of current product from Echo Park, Carta Bella, Simple Stories, Quick Quotes, Graphic 45, Photo Play Paper, Sizzix, Hero Arts, Tim Holtz, and many others. Several booths were carrying a good selection of planner supplies as well.

Several well-known industry names were attracting good crowds in their booth. Stayce DeWid of Art Anthology had a make-n-take running in her booth, with the help of an instructor.

Stayce Dewid

Stayce Dewid

As it was throughout 2015 at the shows, the make-n-take being run by Richard Garay at the Fun Stamper’s Journey booth continued to be popular in 2016 in Orlando. The booth was thronged every time that I passed by on Friday.

Fun Stamper's Journey booth

June is a busy month for Orlando area papercrafters, with Stampfest also scheduled to take place in Lakeland at the end of the month.

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SNAP Conference 2016: My First Blogging Conference

Somehow, with all of the travel that I have done for my work running my websites in the past few years, the one thing that I hadn’t done was attend one of the major national blog conferences. I had attended local events like WordCamp here in Florida, but hadn’t traveled further afield for one.

I finally crossed “attend blog conference” off of my list last week when I attended the 2016 SNAP Conference  for creative bloggers in Salt Lake City. For those unfamiliar with it, SNAP Conference is a three day annual event based in Salt Lake City that serves home, craft, and DIY bloggers. The event provides networking, education, and opportunities to connect with sponsors.

Delta Flight Information

My journey to SNAP started with a 4am drive to Daytona Beach International airport to catch a 6am flight to Atlanta. I love Daytona Beach airport – it’s only a half hour away from my house and easy to use because it is tiny. It’s so tiny, in fact, that when I checked in for my trip to SNAP, the check-in agent handed me my boarding pass and said, “Your flight is at gate 2.” I told him, “You could have just said go to the gate with the plane at it.” He laughed and told me I was right. Once, I arrived a bit too early for my flight and spent quite awhile as the lone passenger in the secure area of the terminal, with only the airport’s police officer and the gift store clerk for company. Continue Reading →

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Hancock Fabrics Liquidating

Hancock Fabrics closing down

Sewing and crafts chain store Hancock Fabrics is closing its doors and liquidating after nearly sixty years in business.

Hancock Fabrics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on February 2nd, its second bankruptcy filing in less than a decade. The initial bankruptcy plan called for closing 70 of the chain’s 260 stores. But reorganization plans failed,  as did attempts to find a buyer for the company as an operating concern. This resulted in the company’s assets being sold to a liquidator at an auction on Tuesday. The sale to the liquidator was approved by the bankruptcy court on Thursday, effectively ending the existence of Hancock Fabrics. Continue Reading →

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