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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. https://shop.amytangerine.com/subscribe

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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Update | MISTI, Project Life, Etsy, Jobs, Events & More!

The post-winter show doldrums sure are over! Lots of companies have been busy with the result being lots of news to share!

[Disclosure: Some links in this article are affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to you if a purchase is made after a click.]

Endings. The Project Life partnership with Stampin’ Up! is ending. Project Life branded products will continue to be sold (while supplies last) through Stampin’ Up! demonstrators until the end of the current catalog year on May 31st, 2017.

Patents. My Sweet Petunia, the manufacturer of the popular MISTI stamping tool, was granted their application for a U.S.MISTI patent on March 21st. The original MISTI tool took the stamping world by storm in 2015 and 2016, and the new Mini and Mega sized versions together won the CHA Hot Products Award for Papercrafting products at the 2016 Mega Show.

The MISTI patent had first been applied for by My Sweet Petunia on January 13th, 2015, but was initially denied in the summer of 2016. The company was able to secure approval of the MISTI patent last month after making a revision of their original patent application.

Winners. Etsy was honored as a finalist in the first-ever “World Changing Ideas Awards” sponsored by Fast Company magazine. The online marketplace for crafters was recognized as one of the top 24 finalists out of over 1000 submissions for the idea “Economic Security for the Gig Economy“, a method of ensuring freelance and self-employed people (like their marketplace participants) have stable access to items like healthcare and retirement savings.

Extensions. Tim Holtz has announced a new line of jewelry products that will be exclusive to Jo-Ann Stores called Tim Holtz Assemblage. The line is in Tim’s signature vintage style, and many elements are recognizable as adapted from metal elements designed for his papercrafts line. The line is available now – at 50% off – on Joann.com.

 

Changes. Megan Hoeppner is leaving her role as Editor-in-Chief of Scrapbook & Cards Today magazine for personal reasons. She will, however, continue with the magazine as its Pic Tips columnist. The Editor-in-Chief position is being filled by Susan Opel, who is familiar to many in the industry from her time at the now-defunct Papercrafts & Scrapbooking magazine.

Megan Hoeppner

Megan Hoeppner (on left) and I together at SNAP Conference in 2016.

Changes, part 2. Etsy has named Rachel Glaser as its new Chief Financial Officer. She replaces Kristina Salen whose intended departure as of March 31st was announced last fall. Glaser will start work on or around June 1st, and Karen Mullane (Vice President, Corporate Controller) will serve as interim CFO. With 30 years of executive experience in finance, Glaser comes to Etsy from Leaf Group, a consumer media and marketplace company whose brands include Society 6, Livestrong.com, ehow.com, cuteness, and Techwalla.

Events. AFCI (formerly known as CHA) is partnering with SPC (Sierra Pacific Crafts) to put on a Mixed Media buying event in Salt Lake City this summer. Education will be on July 17th, and the show floor will be open July 18th though July 20th. Exhibit space is selling fast, and attendee registration opens on April 19th.

Events, part 2. It may feel like you’re barely over your jet lag from this year, but exhibit registration is already open for the 2018 Creativeworld show at Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany. Book before April 13th for an early booking discount. More than 130 exhibitors were already signed up as of the end of March, according to Messe Frankfurt.

[Note: Messe Frankfurt and its Creativeworld show are a Scrapbook Update sponsor.]

Considering whether to go for the first time? In case you might have missed them, here’s my show reports from Creativeworld 2017:

Documenting. Ali Edwards has announced that the next “Week in the Life” project will run the week of April 17th. New digital and physical product kits are available for the 2017 project on the Ali Edwards webstore.

Teams. Graphic 45 is skipping their usual design team call for 2017, and instead have announced a group they call the 2017-2018 Graphic 45 Brand Ambassadors. The company promises that the design team call will return in 2018, but for this year, the new team includes lots of returning names from last year, with a few new ones mixed in.

Jobs:

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Update | Core’dinations, Tim Holtz, Miniatures, Jobs, and More!

The holidays are over…and that means that trade show season is upon us! January will bring us both the brand new Creativation show from CHA, and the Creativeworld tradeshow in Frankfurt. Of course, trade show time brings lots of news too…and even though the month has just begun, the news wires are already starting to heat up! Let’s get started!

Nancy Nally

Endings. Tim Holtz has announced on his blog that he will no longer be doing the immensely popular “12 tags” series. The series has been running for an astounding ten years. The first five years it was “The 12 Tags of Christmas”, and then in 2012 it was reinvented as a monthly series. The tag has become Tim’s signature piece in trade show demonstrations. (Pictured above: me with my special “grunge free” tag that Tim made for me at CHA.)

Exhibits. Miniatures are getting hot in the crafts industry! If you are interested in seeing handmade, artisan miniatures, the Houston Center for Contemporary Art has an exhibit called “Pocket Museum” opening on January 20th. Running through March 18th, the exhibit features the work of miniature artists Jon Almeda, Althea Crome, Sean Donlon, Nash Quinn, and Marco Terenzi. Miniatures created in ceramic, fiber, glass, metal, and wood will be on display.

Acquisitons. American Crafts has announced that it has acquired cardstock company Core’dinations, which was previously owned by Darice. In February 2016, Darice became a subsidiary of Michaels Stores when Darice’s parent company Lamrite West was purchased by Michaels. American Crafts already has multiple cardstock brands under its umbrella, having acquired Bazzill in 2014 and also selling cardstock under its American Crafts brand. The company will continue to use the Core’dinations brand after the acquisition but as part of the transition many of the brand’s products have been discontinued, including the Tim Holtz branded Kraft Core line.

Teams. A new year means new creative teams at many companies, and the announcements are rolling in! Becky Higgins has announced new paper and digital teams, Neat & Tangled has also announced a new design team for 2017, an Instagram team, as well as a video team.

Jobs. Does your New Year’s Resolution include a new job? The following industry jobs are currently listed as available:

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