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Update | A Special All-AFCI News Version!

The summer AFCI shows are coming up fast – and it’s even time to start thinking about the winter ones, too! Here’s all the details that you need to know about what is going on for the upcoming shows. 

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for AFCI.]

Mixed Media

Registration is now open to attend the Mixed Media Event for wholesalers and retailers in Sandy, Utah on July 16th-18th, 2018.

Are you a retailer that is not a member of AFCI or SPC? Would you like to attend the Mixed Media trade show on July 17th and July 18th? Use promo code NN2018 when registering to get free trade show access!

Visit the Mixed Media Event website to register today.

Fourteen workshops have now been announced for the Mixed Media Event’s education day on July 16th. Workshop prices range from $5 to $50 each for two hour long workshops. The education day schedule is arranged into four class segments, with multiple workshops to choose from to register for during each segment. Sponsors include retailer favorites Graphic 45, Lawn Fawn, Sizzix, Lindy’s Stamp Gang, Hero Arts, and Bella Blvd, among others. Click here to view the entire workshop line-up.

Wondering who else is coming to Mixed Media Event 2018? See the video below.

In The MKING™️

Details continue to be announced for the new AFCI consumer event called In the MKNG™️ that will take place in Bethel Woods, NY on September 29th-30th, 2018.

Sister Hazel

Today, AFCI announced the event’s headlining musical act. Sister Hazel is known to most music fans for their 1997 rock hit “All for You”. The band is touring to promote their latest album, Lighter In The Dark, which is their first country album and features a collaboration track with Darius Rucker. Other musical acts confirmed for the festival include CMA artist Lauren Davidson, pop/rock band Wild Planes, alternative rock band Don’t Believe In Ghosts, and singer-songwriter Zach Matari.

Tickets for In the MKNG™️ will be available starting on June 1st. Click here to learn more!

Creativation

It’s hard to believe it’s already that time again but badge registration opens for Creativation 2019 on June 12th!

AFCI Hotels for HopeIn addition to the impending opening of badge registration, hotel reservations are already open through the official AFCI portal for Creativation. This year, AFCI has a new hotel provider, Hotels for Hope. This new AFCI partner is a travel agent with a charitable twist – for every room booked through the AFCI reservation portal, a $2 donation will be made to AFCI’s selected charity.

Through Hotels for Hope, AFCI is now able to offer reservations for more (and more affordable) hotels closer to the Phoenix Convention Center than in past years. Book early to get your best choice of rooms!

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Update | Martha Stewart, Craftsy, Snap, Jobs, Dave Grohl, and More!

Support. A Gofundme campaign has been established to help Bella Blvd founder Stephanie Smokovich with medical expenses. Stephanie, for those who haven’t heard, was diagnosed with brain cancer after experiencing a seizure shortly after Creativation. She has already undergone surgery (and a lengthy hospital stay) to remove the tumor and is now facing radiation and chemotherapy treatment. You can keep up with Stephanie’s progress on her Caring Bridge site.

[Sending you hugs and wishing you a speedy return to running marathons, Steph!]

Video. Craftsy Unlimited is now available for subscribers in the U.S. to watch on Roku streaming devices. At a cost of $14.95/month or $120/year, the channel is similar in price to other premium channels available on the device like HBO.

Moving On. SNAP! Conference founder Tauni Everett announced at the annual conference last weekend that she has sold the event and will be moving on to other projects. Mandy Beyeler of Sugar Bee Crafts and Kim West of A Girl & A Glue Gun are the event’s new owners.

Contests. Duck Brand has launched its annual Stuck At Prom contest awarding prizes for prom clothes made out of Duck Tape. This year, instead of awarding prizes to couples, Duck is awarding two grand prizes – one for a tux and one for a dress.

Revamp. Stampin’ Up! has announced their annual update to their color palette – and it’s a big one. In addition to announcing a new In Color palette, that company has completely revamped their core color palette as well. The palette still has four color groups with ten colors in them, but a new group of Basics has been created to hold the colors basic black, whisper white and vanilla. Thirteen core colors are being retired along with the In Color group that is due for retirement. Because of this, there are 21 new colors being added to the Stampin’ Up! color palette in the revamp. (Flirty Flamingo actually appears on both the retirement and new color lists. It is being retired as an In Color and added to the core collection.)

Along with the color revamp, Stampin’ Up! is also refreshing their iconic ink pads. The new cases are slightly smaller, stackable, open more easily, and close tighter. But the changes aren’t just cosmetic. Stampin’ Up! has also made a change to their ink formulation that they say will reduce bubbling in the ink and give better stamp impressions. For more details on all of these changes, visit Stamp Your Art Out.

Martha, Martha, Martha. Lifestyle icon Martha Stewart has several big new products rolling out at Michaels. Ten new themed collections are being added to the Martha Stewart Celebration line of party supplies. There’s classics like gold, or black & white, along with trendy Meyer Lemon and even Iridescent (complete with the requisite unicorns).

In addition to the party collection. Martha and Cricut are pairing up for a Martha Stewart special edition Cricut Explore Air 2 machine. The machine’s bundle includes a special Martha Stewart tool set and 25 free Ready to Make Martha Stewart projects. Currently available for order for $279.99 on the Michaels website, the machine bundle will be available in-store at Michaels on May 4th.

Martha Stewart Cricut Explore Air 2

Martha Stewart had previously partnered with Cricut for a Martha Stewart-branded version of the Cricut Cake machine.

Shopping. Bella Blvd has joined the ranks of manufacturers who are selling direct-to-consumer online. Their newly-launched retail store can be reached at www.bellablvd.net

Crime. A JOANN store in Lansing, Michigan was the site of a murder-suicide on March 26th. Store employee Rachel Renee Duncan’s ex-boyfriend, against whom she had recently secured a protective order, murdered her with a gun stolen from a local gun range before turning the gun on himself. At least 15 people were inside the store at the time of the murder, according to police. An unidentified store employee told the Lansing State Journal that counseling services were being made available to store employees by JOANN.

[Disclosure: The following item contains Amazon affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to the reader when a purchase is made after a click.]

Books. Designer Amy Tan’s publisher has republished her 2017 book Craft A Life You Love: Infusing Creativity, Fun And Intention Into Your Everyday. The new edition hit stores earlier this month.

Lia Griffith Cutting Machine Crafts

Lia Griffith’s new book on digital die cutting will be available on May 1st. Cutting Machine Crafts with Your Cricut, Sizzix or Silhouette includes instructions for 50 projects and 60 downloadable SVG files for readers to use to create the projects.

Careers. Have you ever wondered how you could turn your career into a craft career? Brittany Luiz talked to PR Daily about how she turned a career as a journalist into a position as the PR and media relations manager at Tombow.

Cool Crafters. You never know who you might run into at your favorite craft store. ICYMI earlier this year, apparently when Dave Grohl isn’t busy being a rock star he hangs out at Michaels in his spare time. (Definitely worth clicking the link just for the crafty Foo Fighter lyric puns.)

Jobs. The following industry jobs are currently listed as available:

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Update | Stamp Presses, Craftsy, Deals, Sneak Peeks, Jobs, & More

Peeks. Next week is the AFCI Mixed Media show in Salt Lake City, and that means it is time for our sneak peeks page of summer releases! Click here to check out the Summer 2017 sneak peeks page, and watch for more updates this weekend and also next week as more products are unveiled. (Also, coming soon: features rounding up previews of the Christmas and Fall/Halloween lines, so if you’ve got one to share, send it to nancy at nallystudios.com)

Changes. It’s hard to believe, but Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman are celebrating the 10th birthday of their website A Beautiful Mess this week. Along with the celebration, they made a big announcement: A Beautiful Mess is ending its arrangement at the end of August with Inked to  produce and handle orders for their products. (Inked is the parent company of Studio Calico). The Happy Mail and Messy Box subscriptions will be going on hiatus during the transition to new arrangements, and the pair promises exciting news coming soon about future plans.

Neutrality. Etsy was among the major internet sites taking part yesterday (July 12th) in a day of action to support net neutrality regulations enacted by the Obama administration – which are now under threat by the Trump administration’s FCC. Etsy spent the day displaying a special banner as part of their rotating box at the top of the site. Clicking the banner took site visitors to a special page on the Battle for the Net site that lets Etsy store owners send a message to the FCC explaining how ending net neutrality will hurt their businesses.

Etsy Net Neutrality

What is net neutrality, and what is all of the fuss about it? To quote Google, net neutrality is “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.” Put bluntly, net neutrality helps prevent your internet provider from holding your access to small sites like this one hostage – or relegating it to a slower access lane – because we haven’t paid them for access. Net neutrality is also an important way of way guaranteeing that, for instance, Comcast won’t try to force you to watch the cable and network tv assets that they own by choking off the streaming access of (or charging exorbitant fees for access to) digital competitors like Netflix and Amazon. In the craft world, net neutrality is an important part of the marketing process, as a large portion of marketing in the industry has moved to digital platforms like blogs, social media, and YouTube.

Presses. The stamp press wars are heating up again, as both We R Memory Keepers and Tonic Studios are coming to market simultaneously with revised competitors to the MISTI. The MISTI has been the only stamping press on the market since its patent was granted in April and legal action resulted in the pulling from store shelves of products from Hampton Art and We R Memory Keepers. Legal action also delayed the release of the Tim Holtz Stamp Press from Tonic Studios, who is still mired in litigation with MISTI manufacturer My Sweet Petunia over alleged patent infringement by their original design.

The revised version of the We R Memory Keepers stamp press, called the Precision Press Plus, is currently available exclusively on HSN. The special HSN package retails for $44.95 and includes several stencils and stamp sets to use with the press. What is new about the Precision Press Plus, versus the previous Precision Press, is that the press comes with three interchangeable lids. One is the familiar one from the previous press to use for stamping, and one has channels for sliding in small alphabet stamps for stamping envelopes. The third “lid” is not a lid at all but a clipboard clip to hold stencils in place on the press’s work surface.

No word yet on details of the revised Tonic Studios Tim Holtz stamp platform. A photo of boxes of it at the Carson Stamp Show, where the platform was first offered for sale, was posted on instagram last week by Mario Rossi. It’s also shipping from Scrapbook.com. [affiliate link]

Education. It’s being reported by Abby Glassenberg at Craft Industry Alliance that Craftsy is planning to offer a subscription  model in 2018. It’s unclear at this time whether this will replace their current à la carte pricing model or be an addition to it.

Changing pricing models on customers always comes with risk of backlash. Craftsy would do well to learn from the experience of Big Picture Classes. That company switched to a subscription model and ended “forever” access to previously purchased classes after its purchase by Studio Calico, causing a huge uproar from customers.

Deals. Bella Blvd is hosting an online warehouse box sale for its Illustrated Faith brand on Monday, July 17th starting at 9am CT. Boxes with a retail value of $191 will be available for $49.50 plus shipping. U.S. shipping will cost $12, and priority shipping to Canada will be $45. (Elsewhere in the world, shipping cost will be $60.) Visit the Bella Blvd website to take part in the sale.

Online retailer A Cherry On Top is holding a warehouse sale at its warehouse in Saginaw, Michigan this Saturday (July 15th) from 9am-4pm. For all the information about the location, and tips to make your shopping more efficient, visit the sale information page.

Events. Etsy will be holding “Etsy Community Market” events in Australia on July 29th.  Local showcases in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, and Adelaide will gather together some of the best of the Etsy marketplace in Australia to promote their creative products in person to shoppers. To get details on locations and times of the event in each city, visit the Etsy Australia blog.

Apps. Persnickety Prints, the favorite photo printing service of many scrapbookers (including this one!) has announced that customers can now upload photos from any web browser. Previously, photos could only be uploaded to the site from the company’s phone app. This change makes Persnickety much more accessible to dslr shooters and photographers who edit their photos in programs such as Adobe Lightroom. It means these photographers will no longer have to transfer their photos back to their phones after editing or use a solution like dropbox to upload from their mobile devices. (Excuse me while I go do a few cartwheels.)

Jobs. The following craft industry jobs are currently posted as available:

(Above is just a selection of the 51 jobs currently listed on the Michaels website. Click here to view them all.)

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Update | Amazon, Prima, Jobs, Events, Trends, & More!

Losses. Condolences to the family and friends of Jeff Murphy, known to many in the industry after his thirteen years in sales at EK Success/Wilton Brands that ended last year. Murphy passed away last week in a hiking accident in Yellowstone National Park.

Openings. Hobby Lobby has set the (tentative) opening date of its new store in the Ozark Crossing strip mall in Harrison, AR for August 7th. The store is expected to hire between 30 and 50 workers.

Costs. Users of Intuit’s Quickbooks Online accounting software service are being notified about upcoming price increases that will go into effect in July for users. The price for the Quickbooks Online Plus level of service will increase from $39.99 to $50 per month. Suggestions for replacements include Sage, Xero, and Less Accounting.

Changes. Amazon has announced to affiliates that it is retiring the aStore tool in its affiliate program due to low usage and poor conversion rates on the tool. Starting on July 14th, new aStores can no longer be built, and on August 11th existing stores will no longer be able to be edited. The feature will be completely retired on October 27th, at which time all aStore links will redirect to the Amazon.com home page.

Ventures. Toronto-based Scraptime host Christine Urias is branching into food art, marketing a line of candy through her new company Sweet Artisan Candies.

Designer Laura Bray is preparing to launch a line of stamps in her signature style later this month under the Laura K Bray Designs brand name, available through her website. To get a sneak peek of one of the set, visit her blog.

Events. AFCI President Mark Hill attended the 41st Japan Hobby Show put on by the Japan Hobby Association in April, and shares an interesting look at the event and trends seen at the show on the AFCI blog. Some of the trends seen may be regional while some may be harbingers of things to come in other parts of the world.

Alt Summit has announced their 2018 event dates. The 2018 Alt Summit will take place from February 26th-28th at the Saguaro Hotel in Palm Springs, CA. Registration begins on Wednesday, June 21st

Alt Summit 2018

Trends. Trend Curve is predicting that pink will be a hot trend for the Christmas holidays for 2018-2019. Also, Quilt Market’s e-insider has a look at trends from Spring Quilt Market for quilt fabric, which often shares design and color trends with scrapbook paper and embellishments.

Fun. Maybe it’s because he didn’t get the memo that scrapbookers think cats are trendy and cool…but whatever the reason, Garfield the Cat has been poking fun at scrapbooking.

Teams. Prima Marketing has design team calls open for their Design, Mixed Media & DIY, and My Prima Planner teams through June 30th. For information on how to apply for the teams, visit the Prima blog.

Jobs. The following industry positions are listed as open and taking applications:

Financial:

Sourcing:

Design:

Marketing:

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Update | Stampin’ Up, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Jobs & More!

Color. June means a new Stampin’ Up! annual catalog, and with it a new edition of the trend-based “In Colors” that are added each year to the Stampin’ Up color palette for a two year limited edition. Of note this year is that the palette is completely pink and green in shade: Fresh Fig, Berry Burst, Powder Pink, Tranquil Tide, and Lemon Lime Twist.

2017-2019 Stampin Up In Colors

Endings. Craft Ideas magazine is ceasing print after over 40 years in production. The Summer 2017 issue will be the magazine’s final one. Editor Molly Goad told readers in a letter published on the magazine’s blog that the company is looking for strategic partners to continue the magazine, but has no certain relationships at this time. Best wishes for the future to their talented staff . some of whom I’ve previously worked with – from the Scrapbook Update family.

Redesigned. Tonic Studios has issued an update to its customers indicating that it plans to ship a redesigned version of the Tim Holtz stamp platform beginning the week of July 9th.

As we move to catch up with the demand for the product we will be releasing the incoming shipments on a first come first served basis based with our retail partners on when we received the orders. We will be confirming the expected delivery date to each of our retailers within the next 7 days. The first shipments we expect to be dispatched on the week of 09 July with the second delivery to be on the week of 16 July. We are working to improve this wherever possible; however, we want to provide a clear and realistic route to completion. We also want to be realistic that the product will be entering the country during the holiday period which may involve additional small delays. These dates are when we will receive product into our warehouse in California so there may be a few more days to get the product to the partners and then onto the consumers.

Shows. Hotel reservations are open for Creativation 2018, which takes place in Phoenix from January 18th-22nd, and badge registration begins on Tuesday, June 13th.

Crime. According to a report in the Santa Clarita Valley area publication The Signal, the assistant manager of the Hobby Lobby store in Saugus, California has been arrested on child pornography charges. Donald Anthony Little has been charged with two felony counts related to alleged sharing of child pornography images online, and with being in possession of more than 600 child pornography images on his laptop computer. Little is free on bail pending his arraignment on June 22nd.

Neighbors. The White Sands Mall in Alamogordo, New Mexico, is losing its major tenant with the impending closure of the Kmart that has been there since 1976. However, the owner of the property told the Alamogordo Daily News that his company isn’t worried about filling the space, and has over a dozen prospective tenants lined up to tour the space. What’s the draw, in an era of dying malls? The mall will be breaking ground this month on a new Hobby Lobby next to the soon-to-vacant Kmart. “A lot of merchants, it appears, love to be next to Hobby Lobby,” Griffith told the paper.

Earnings. Michaels Companies held its earnings call for the first fiscal quarter of 2017 on Tuesday morning (June 6th) before NASDAQ market open. Net sales were flat for the quarter, with comparable same store sales down 1.2%, due the company said to a decrease in average purchase ticket. Gross profits, though, were up .6%, due to an accounting adjustment from the Lamrite West acquisition and increased margins (from the expansion of the company’s store branded merchandise lines). Michaels held its fiscal year 2017 expectations the same overall at net sales growth of 2.2% to 3.7%, and says that it expects that in the 2nd quarter same store sales will be down .5% to 1.5% (or flat to down 1% on a constant currency basis). The company plans to open four new stores in the quarter, relocate two others, and close four Aaron Brothers stores.

Michaels stock (NASDAQ: MIK) did not react well to the news from the Tuesday earnings call. It had been trending upward on Monday the day before the earnings call, closing up $.28 on the day at $19.83. Opening at $18.91 on Tuesday due to losses in after hours trading, after the morning earnings call the stock dropped hard and closed at $18.16. This was followed by an additional drop to $17.51 by close on Wednesday, a total loss of over 10% in value over Tuesday and Wednesday. Today, the stock started trending back upwards, closing up $.81 at $18.20.

New. American Crafts is launching a new decorative food collection with Sweet Sugarbelle in Michaels Stores. The line will include stamps and cutters and dough die, along with edible coloring book pages and paint palettes, to create decorative cookies.

Peek. If you are fan of artist Katie Pertiet, you might appreciate this profile with a peek into her studio and thoughts on design in a profile done for the blog of art licensing company Wild Apple.

Jobs. The following industry jobs are currently posted as available:

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Update | Michaels, Studio Calico, Jared Leto, Sew Sweetness & More!

Dream Job. For many crafters, the dream job is to get a staff designer position where they get paid to craft to produce project samples all day. Find out from three of Cricut’s staff project designers how they got where they are, and what the job is really like in this fascinating behind the scenes article.

Sizzix Sew Sweetness Box Pouch

 

Designers. Sizzix used Quilt Market last month to announce the launch of their new collaboration with “Sew Sweetness” blogger Sara Lawson. Lawson’s three new Bigz L Dies, which retail for an MSRP of $29.99 each, will launch this month. The three new dies create a box pouch (pictured above), coin purse, or purse tabs. For more information, visit the Sizzix website.

Designers, part 2. Tammy Tutterow has announced a partnership with StencilGirl to make signature stencil designs. The initial release of 9 designs includes 7 two-step stencils that create layered designs such as flowers and plaid.

Exclusives. Joann Fabric & Crafts stores are getting four new exclusive kits to add to their large Project Life offerings. There’s “Lullaby”, a value kit available in boy and girl versions, as well as a recipe card value kit and matching album. There’s also an exclusive core kit called “Modern Wedding”.

Mixed Media. Designer Anna Dabrowska has announced that a selection of products from her popular Finnabair mixed media line made by Prima Marketing is hitting the shelves at Michaels Stores. The selection includes rust paste, patina paste, mixed media essentials, glitter, and more.

Trends. Slime is hot this summer and according to Adweek, the trend is paying off huge for craft brands like Michaels Stores and Elmers that have committed heavily to it. My own local Michaels store has an end cap right by the register area in the seasonal section containing gallon sized containers of Elmer’s along with all sorts of additives and other slime accessories.

Marketing. The wedding market is highly competitive, and content marketing continues to become more and more important. How important? Blogger network Aisle Society has just completed a successful $30,000 Kickstarter campaign to create an online tool to make submitting products and content to their more than 30 top wedding bloggers simpler and more streamlined for companies. The tool, called Matchology, will launch later this month, and cost $69.99 a year to use.

Equity. Kentucky-based Inked Brands – better known to most scrapbookers as Studio Calico – has raised $4 million in Series A equity funding. The equity was raised from BIP Capital, whose portfolio also includes companies like Tropical Smoothie, Huddle, and a variety of technology and health companies. Inked Brands was founded in 2007 by April Foster, and creates products for influencer brands such as Ali Edwards, A Beautiful Mess, Baby Boy Bakery, and Tom Kat Studio in addition to their in-house brand Studio Calico.

Equity, part 2. Digital education platform CreativeLive has raised $25 million in Series C funding from a combination of investors that include GSV Acceleration, Creative Artists Agency, Greylock Partners, Jared Leto, REV, Richard Branson, and Social Capital. (Now there’s a few names I thought this site would never have Google results for…) This raises to $58.8 million the company’s total funding. Part of the new funding will be used to extend CreativeLive more into the enterprise market.

Earnings. Michaels Stores will be reporting its first quarter earnings on Tuesday (June 6th) before market open, followed by a conference call at 8am central time. For information on how to take part in the conference call, visit the Michaels website.

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