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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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World Backup Day | Five Questions to Test Your Data Safety

Sometimes it seems like the whole world is out to get our computers. Fire, flood, power surges, hard drive failures, viruses…the list is seemingly endless of the things that can wipe out our digital lives.

5 Questions To Test Your Data Safety

As scrapbookers, we are aware of the value of our memories in photographic form and mindful of the careful storage of our albums and printed photos. Most of us, however, are not as diligent as we should be about the preservation of our memories – or our business records –  that are in digital form. World Backup Day is our annual reminder to take action to preserve and protect the records in our digital lives – before we learn the hard way that our safeguards are inadequate. Continue Reading →

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Creativeworld 2016 | Creativeworld Trends and Floor Tour

Welcome to part two of my look at Creativeworld 2016, put on by Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany! In case you missed it, you can check out part one here.

[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt is a sponsor of this website, and sponsored my travel to Creativeworld 2016.]

Creativeworld is based in Hall 4 of the massive Messe Frankfurt complex. Hall 4 is a three story building  with a beautiful atrium that is located directly next to the Torhaus services building where the Messe’s S-Bahn train station, press center, and many exhibitor services are located. Each of the levels of the building is designated by a decimal point – 4.0, 4.1, 4.2.

The Creativeworld show takes up all of Hall 4.1, and half of Hall 4.2 (which it shares with Paperworld), while Hall 4.0 is occupied by Paperworld.

Messe Frankfurt building 4

While technically part of Paperworld, there is also “Creative Materials” sourcing in the International Sourcing section located in Hall 10. That hall features three whole floors of international sourcing companies like this bead manufacturer, Banaras Beads Limited, who was located in Hall 10.2.

Source - Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jean-Luc Valentin

Source – Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jean-Luc Valentin

No matter what language you speak, it’s easy to find what you are looking for with Messe Frankfurt’s simple signage. The signs for the various different shows are also color coded, for easy visual reference. Christmasworld, which is also going on at the Messe during Creativeworld, is appropriately color coded red! Continue Reading →

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Creativeworld 2016 | Experience Frankfurt & Messe Frankfurt

The month of January typically is host to two trade shows in the crafts industry. Despite being part of the same industry, their locations on different continents makes them very different experiences. Here’s the first part of my look at Creativeworld 2016, hosted at Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany, and what the experience of attending the show was like.

[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt is a sponsor of this website, and sponsored my travel to Creativeworld 2016.]

Talking the Talk

Creativeworld 2016 was my third year attending the Creativeworld show. When I talk to people about my experiences traveling to Germany for the show, one of the most common questions I get is about navigating the language barrier. In fact, language is one of the smallest concerns in traveling to Creativeworld for English-speaking attendees.

English is the common language meeting ground of many Creativeworld 2016 show attendees who do not speak each others’ native language, and is one of the official languages of Messe Frankfurt. It’s not uncommon to walk into a booth and see people from (for instance) Germany and Russia speaking to each other in English because they don’t know each others’ languages but they both know English. Translator headsets are available in English for organized events like workshops, and signage is created in an easily understandable way for speakers of any language.

But what about outside of the Messe and its accommodations for international visitors? Again, language is not much of a barrier to English speaking visitors to Frankfurt. Many Germans speak English quite fluently thanks to excellent mandatory language programs in schools. Signs in areas like the airport (below) and the major train stations are also in English, as well as critical announcements. Once you get familiar with a few terms and signage system from seeing them on the bilingual signs, you’ll have no difficulty navigating areas without bilingual signs.

Frankfurt Airport Signage

Continue Reading →

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