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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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Creativeworld 2014 | Life at Creativeworld

Next up in my series on the Creativeworld 2014 show that I attended in Frankfurt, Germany, last month, I want to take a look at how the culture and routine of the show differs from what attendees of the U.S. trade shows in the industry (especially the Craft & Hobby Association) are used to experiencing.

The differences start right from when you pack your suitcase and get dressed in the morning. The wardrobe that I packed for Creativeworld was very different than what I packed for CHA two weeks earlier – and not just because the weather in Frankfurt is the polar opposite (literally) of Anaheim.

For Anaheim I packed more casual, less conservative wear – jeans, and khaki pants are perfectly fine there, and plenty of personal style is on display on the show floor. Creativeworld’s unofficial dress code, however, is somewhat more narrow and dressy.

Instead of wearing khakis and golf shirts, a large percentage of men walked around in suits (or at least jackets). Alternatively, a really good sweater seemed to be an option. For women, dressier looks are mostly on display as well. A wardrobe of dress slacks or a skirt and sweaters seemed to be the rule for most women, and worked well for me all week. And whereas fabulous (preferably handmade) jewelry is the must-have accessory at CHA, in Frankfurt the must-have accessory for the show is a scarf.

Earth tones were the preferred fashion color palette I saw all around me. I stuck out like a neon sign riding the train every morning in my bright pink winter coat – I would literally be the only spot of color in a sea of brown, black and gray coats in the train car. Other riders eyed me with sharp sideways glances like they weren’t sure what to make of me!

For footwear, comfort has to be the rule at the Messe. I saw a lot of women wearing dress boots with their outfits. Personally, I opted for running shoes, the only viable option for that venue due to the arthritis in my feet. Paired with slacks no one seemed to pay much mind to my less than stylish footwear.

Business totes or briefcases are the luggage accessory of choice in the Messe – you won’t see rolling crates and craft totes there. The reason for this is two-fold. First, there is the strict emphasis on business style. Second, on a more practical level, they just aren’t needed to carry large volumes of paperwork and giveaway materials (I’ll address why in a moment.) I used my new leather SOLO Vintage Collection Bucket Tote. I also used it for CHA and am totally in love with it – it holds my laptop and plenty of other things very comfortably while staying on my shoulder very nicely, but folds almost completely flat to fit in my suitcase for the trip to the show.

This my best blending-in outfit that I wore all week: earth tones, sweater & slacks, scarf, and my leather tote.

Nancy Nally at Creativeworld Continue Reading →

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