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Tag Archives | Michaels Stores

Update | Etsy Earnings, Closure, Hancock Fabrics, and more!

Welcome to the weekly Update column from Scrapbook Update for August 3rd, 2017!

[Disclosure: I have professional relationships with Cricut and Scrapbook.com who are mentioned in this article but this content is not sponsored.]

Closures. Illinois-based craft product distributor Product Performers closed its doors unexpectedly on June 30th. The closure of Product Performers leaves three remaining major distributors serving the paper crafts industry in the U.S.: Michaels-owned Darice, Notions Marketing, and Petersen-Arne.

Earnings. Etsy reported its 2nd Quarter 2017 earnings after market close today, posting a 19.1% year-over-year increase in gross revenue. The company also posted a 10.9% year-over-year growth in active sellers, and 17.2% year-over-year growth in active buyers. Mobile continues to grow in importance for Etsy, with approximately 65% of visits to the site occurring on mobile. Just over half of the platform’s gross merchandise sales (GMS) now occur on mobile.

Etsy has cut nearly a quarter of it’s workforce since January 1st, and says that this and other operational streamlining to reduce costs should reduce costs by $20 million in 2017 and by $35 million on an annualized basis.

Based on 2nd Quarter 2017 numbers, Etsy released new earnings expectations for Fiscal Year 2017. The company’s new forecast is for Gross Merchandise Sales to be up 12-14% year-over-year, and for revenue to grow 18-20% year-over-year.

Events. AFCI and SPC have announced the date and location for the 2018 Mixed Media Event. The show will take place at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah (south of Salt Lake City). An education day is scheduled for July 16th, 2018, and the show floor will be open July 17th-18th, 2018. For more information, visit the AFCI website.

Endings. The Paperclipping.com online video service run by Noell & Izzy Hyman will be closing down at the end of September. Members are being given one last chance to renew their membership on a month-by-month basis this month and then the Hymans plan to shut its doors after next month. The closure of Paperclipping has been planned by the Hymans for nearly a year, as Noell is moving on to a career as a yoga instructor in several studios near their Arizona home.

Crimes. Israeli police have arrested five antiquities dealers in connection with the illegal sale of artifacts that were seized from Hobby Lobby by the U.S. government over allegations of smuggling.Cricut Maker

Partnerships. Cricut is partnering with Simplicity as part of the launch of its new machine, the Cricut Maker, that was announced on August 1st. Simplicity is making hundreds of its digital patterns available in Cricut Design Space to cut on the Cricut Maker machine, which features a special rotary blade specifically for cutting fabric. Previous generations of the Cricut machine could cut fabric, but only when stabilized with an iron-on backer, which isn’t necessary on the new machine.

The launch of the Cricut Maker machine reflects a broader trend among companies that were once marketing solely to the paper crafts market to try to serve a broader audience – and the sewing market, via fabric and quilting, has been a popular target of many companies making the shift.

Endings II. The liquidation of Hancock Fabrics, which began well over a year ago, is still underway, with the liquidation plan finally being approved by the bankruptcy court on June 20th. Liquidation of many of the company’s key assets had already taken place, despite the lack of a court approved plan. In Summer 2016, Michaels Stores purchased the brand assets of Hancock – its trademarks, brands, and customer database – for $1.3 million. The Hancock-owned trademarks bundled in the deal included the brands Sew Perfect, Absolutely Cotton, and Creative Sewing Solutions (among others). Michaels did notify Hancocks customers that it planned on using the customer database to give them the option to opt out. Whether the company will use the sewing-related trademarks is another question. Sometimes purchases of assets like this are made not for intended use but as a sort of game of corporate “keep away” to prevent the assets from being used by competitors.

Social. If you are an Etsy storeowner looking to improve your social media reach, Forbes has a must-read article analyzing how some Etsy artisans have dramatically improved their sales using Facebook Live.

Change. A lot is written about the local retail businesses that die as a result of ecommerce, but we don’t hear as much about the businesses that are built from the rise of ecommerce – and the jobs they create. To learn more about one company that credits its booming growth to the rise of ecommerce, including clients that do business in the crafts industry such as Amazon, and Hobby Lobby – visit mlive.

Milestones. Congratulations to stamp company Neat & Tangled on reaching its five year birthday yesterday!

Products. Simon Says Stamp has released a new collection of stamps and dies by designer Cathy Zielske. In Zielske’s signature cheeky style, with sentiments like “Hello my hide-a-body friend”, these aren’t your grandma’s everyday stamps. (Unless, of course, you have a really cool grandma.)

Social II. In case you weren’t already convinced that Pinterest was a search engine, the social media platform drove the point home this week by updating its mobile app to reduce the number of clicks required to do a search. The search box is now visible on the app’s main home feed page, instead of buried in the explore tab as it previously was. They’ve also placed the button to access Lens, the feature that uses your device’s camera to take a picture and search for similar items on Pinterest, on the home feed page next to the search box for easier access.

Pinterest said in the announcement that monthly mobile searches are up 40% over last year and that 85% of all Pinterest searches now take place on mobile.

History. For a great read about the history of stamping and the rubber stamp dating all the way back to Old Testament times, check out Scrapbook.com’s article “The History of Stamping“.

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Update | Taxes, Growth, Exclusives, Earnings, Events, and More!

Taxes. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) has proposed a bill that would affect how companies like Etsy, Lyft and AirBnB have to report their sellers’ income to the IRS. The bill would lower the income threshold that requires reporting by these entities to the IRS from $20,000 to $1,000 per year. It’s estimated by one tax policy expert at American University that the policy change, if implemented, will result in billions of dollars of new taxes being collected from sellers in the sharing economy who previously didn’t report their income.

Predictions. Market research firm Technavio has just made a new report available on the Global K-12 Arts and Crafts Material Market that predicts that market will grow at a CAGR of over 2% from now until 2021. To purchase the full report, visit the Technavio website.

Exclusives. Sizzix has announced that its Big Shot Jewelry Studio machine and an exclusive collection of jewelry dies and embossing folders are now available in a limited number of Michaels Stores. Only 30 stores – less than 3% of Michaels stores – are scheduled to stock this collection. To see the list of stores, visit the Sizzix website.

Bella Blvd Designer Day

Events. Registration is now open for Bella Blvd’s “Designer Day” event that will take place in Milwaukee on October 12th. The event will feature classes by Illustrated Faith designer Shanna Noel, Megan Hoeppner, Cynthea Sandoval, Jamie Pate, and Bella Blvd founder Stephanie Smokovich.

Deep Thoughts. Vicki O’Dell has a thought-provoking blog article up about the concept of being a “serial crafter”. I’ve long believed that most crafters tend to migrate through multiple crafts over the course of their lives. It’s an interesting thought to contemplate both from the standpoint of what it means for craft marketing, and what it means for the careers of professional crafters.

Security. In modern marketing, social media accounts are a vitally important company asset. They are also a major target for hackers, and a successful hack can cause at best a PR crisis or at worst the complete loss of social marketing assets. To combat this threat, Pinterest has just announced it is rolling out several new security features to help keep its users’ accounts secure. Turning on the new two factor authentication will require providing a code sent to your phone before you can log in. A list of logged-in devices on their account will also be available for Pinterest users, allowing them to disconnect ones they do not recognize. In addition, Pinterest will begin notifying users via email if a device not previously used on the account logs in.

Expansion. Hobby Lobby’s new store in the Lake Park area of Palm Beach has had its opening delayed until after the first of the year by what the company calls issues with getting permits. Another new store in progress, in Turlock, CA, is expected to open in September. A hiring event for 30-50 positions for the new store will be scheduled once an opening date is set.

Earnings. Amazon announced its 2nd quarter earnings today. Investor anticipation of the number temporarily made Jeff Bezos the world’s richest man, as Amazon’s stock rose enough to put Bezos over Bill Gates before a drop put Gates back on top again. The company reported a 25% increase in net sales versus the same period in 2016. Net income, however, was down significantly compared to 2016: $197 million versus $857 million last year.

The recent Prime Day event on July 11th, which will be reported with 3rd quarter sales, was described in a July 12th announcement as the biggest day ever in Amazon history. While sales were lead by offerings of Amazon’s signature devices like Fire and Kindle tablets, many other companies took part as well. Cricut was one craft company who offered Prime Day items. Even Amazon Handmade sellers took part, with Marcia Ricchiuti of Kahili Creations in Pahoa, Hawaii saying of the day that “So far, this year’s Prime Day sales increased 350 percent from last year’s. Getting the opportunity to offer lightning deals as a Handmade at Amazon artisan has been a boom to my business.”

Salutations. Happy Birthday to Jayne Burns of West Chester, Ohio. Jayne works at the cutting counter at the Jo-Ann Fabrics in Mason, OH – and celebrated her 95th birthday with her coworkers on Wednesday.

Peeks. A lot of crafters joke their homes look like a craft store…but what would your house actually look like if you owned one of the country’s biggest craft chains? You can check out this real estate listing for the answer – it’s the iconic Dallas home of Michaels Stores owner Sam Wyly. For a mere $12.5 million, you too could live in 7579 square feet of historic 1924 home on the Dallas Country Club golf course.

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

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Update | Kickstarter, Stacy Julian, Merger, Crimes, Jobs & More

Recall. American Crafts is recalling two of the Jane Davenport acrylic paint kits that were sold in Michaels Stores in the U.S. and Canada before June 16th, 2017. Some Jane Davenport Portrait Paints Kit and the Jane Davenport Matte Acrylic Paint Kit may contain some defective paint containers that split and leak during use. Click here for full info on the recall, and contact acinfo@americancrafts.com for information on how to get a refund for your paints if you own the affected kits.

Start-up. Designer Lesley Oman is about to conclude a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch her own stamp company, called Heffy Doodle. Her campaign has raised over $15,000 so far to fund the launch of the new company.

New. Stacy Julian, founding editor of Simple Scrapbooks magazine, has a new product line coming in 2018. The product line, called Story by Stacy, was announced on June 30th at the annual Close To My Heart convention and will be a Close To My Heart exclusive. Julian was associated with a previous product line called Photo Freedom with Echo Park Paper, but it is fitting that she should get a product line with Close To My Heart – she started her scrapbooking career as a consultant with the company in 1993. Follow the Story by Stacy instagram account to keep up to date on the upcoming new line.

Story by Stacy logo

Mergers. Liberty Interactive, the parent company of tv shopping channel QVC, announced on July 6th that it is acquiring QVC the remaining 62% part of competitor HSN that it did not already own. Liberty also owns online retailer zulily, Evite, and interests in several other companies. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, after which HSN will remain operating in its St. Petersburg, Florida headquarters under the direction of Mike George, CEO of QVC. The move will combine the two eCommerce channels, both of which have strong presences in the craft segment, into the internet’s 3rd largest retailer.

Hoaxes. Like a celebrity death hoax that won’t go away, the viral Facebook post that claims “Hobby Lobby is closing all of its stores” is making the rounds again. No, it’s not true this time either. This go-round was probably triggered by the recent stories about Hobby Lobby facing government penalties over the illegal importation of ancient antiquities.

Crimes. A 46 year old man was arrested in the Hobby Lobby in McAllen, Texas in the evening of July 13th, accused of using his cell phone to take photos up the skirt of a female shopper in the store. The man was charged with making invasive visual recordings, a felony, and released after posting $10,000 bond.

Crimes II. The Joann Fabric & Crafts store in Thousand Oaks, CA reported to police on July 8th that the store had been the target of petty theft and embezzlement for a six month period beginning in January.

Earnings. Etsy will announce its second quarter 2017 financial results after market close on Thursday, August 3rd. These numbers will be being keenly watched by investors, as Etsy has had several rounds of layoffs recently and also launched its new Etsy Studio website for selling craft supplies.

Location. Michaels Stores is increasing its presence in New York City, with plans to build a second Brooklyn store in a new building going up at 1633 E. 16th Street. Michaels has signed a lease for 20,000 square feet on the ground floor of the building, expected to be completed in 2020.

Sneaks. The AFCI trade show in Salt Lake City is over, but the sneak peeks aren’t. Today we did a major new update to the Summer Sneak Peeks page on Scrapbook Update…check it out for all of the latest!

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

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Update | Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Celebrities, Layoffs, Jobs & More

Crime. One of the culprits behind the 2011 payment card data breach at some Michaels Stores pled guilty recently to two charges related to the crime, which involved installing 88 counterfeit PIN pads at 80 Michaels Stores locations in 19 states. As many as 94,000 cards were believed to be compromised in the breach.

According to a press announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Angel Angulo pled guilty in Federal Court in Camden, NJ on June 20th to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge carries a potential sentence of 30 years in prison (plus a $1 million fine). In addition, the identity theft charge carries a mandatory 2 year sentence, which must be served consecutively to the bank fraud charge sentence. Sentencing in the case is scheduled for September.

Another conspirator in the fraud, Crystal Banuelos, pled guilty in 2015 to similar charges, and is still awaiting sentencing. She also consented in her plea to a forfeiture of $480,300 which is believed by prosecutors to be proceeds of the crime.

Crime II. Ivette Rodriguez, an attendee at Stampfest in Orlando over this past weekend, is being hailed as a hero by exhibitor Marco’s Paper and Crafts after she caught two people attempting to shoplift in their booth. Later in the day, in perhaps proof that the arc of the universe bends towards justice after all, Rodriguez won one of the event’s door prizes – a gift certificate to Marco’s Paper and Crafts.

Celebrities. Does your favorite Etsy seller have a secret – famous – identity? According to several news stories this week, Etsy apparently has some celebrity crafters lurking among its store owners. Singer Adele told a Wembley Stadium crowd recently that she has a secret hobby of making pom poms and selling them on Etsy. Also, Tila Tequila recently opened her own Etsy shop to sell her paintings through. (And of course, it’s not new…but who could forget Snooki’s Etsy shop?)

Celebrities II. Julianne Hough, of Dancing with the Stars fame, had her wedding shower last week for her wedding this Saturday to hockey player Brooks Laich. The event was thrown in Hough’s native Utah by her sister Sharee, who brought in Heidi Swapp to help plan and design the event. Hough’s blog contains an extensive recap of her wedding shower, including details on how Heidi incorporated her Design Boards and Instax products.

Books. Proving that trend is still going strong, designer Erin Bassett has a new book coming out September 5th called [Amazon affiliate link] The Art of Bible Journaling. The book is being published by Get Creative 6, an imprint of Sixth & Spring, which is a division of SoHo Publishing.

Layoffs. Etsy, for the second time this year, has announced that it is laying off staff. This second round of layoffs will include approximately 140 positions (or 15% of its workforce), making a total of 230 (or 22%) of its workforce laid off in 2017 based on end of 2016 employee numbers. The current round of layoffs will primarily be of marketing and product management staff as well as general & administrative positions. Most affected employees will come from the ranks of the company’s Brooklyn headquarters.

Etsy has not fared well with investors since its IPO in April 2015. Debuting at $16/share, the company briefly traded over $30/share before beginning to drop in value. Trading below $7 at one point in early 2016, the stock has been making a volatile climb back up. But as of today, it is still trading at $14.63, well below its IPO value 27 months ago.

Travel. If you are traveling to Creativation in Phoenix in January 2018, and your driver’s license is from Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, or Washington, you will need an alternate form of ID in order to travel home by air (starting on Jan. 22nd, 2018). Starting on that date, state ID from those states will no longer be valid for use for Federal purposes such as entering TSA checkpoints in airports, due to those states’ failure to implement the Federal REAL ID law that was passed on recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. Residents of those states will need to supply alternate ID, such as military ID, a green card/permanent resident card, or a passport, to be able to pass through airport security when traveling. It is recommended that if you need to apply for or renew a passport in the coming months, that you do so early, as the State Department expects a higher than normal level of applications due to REAL ID implementation in 2018.

Fees. Photobucket, in a stealth update to its terms of service, implemented major changes that now limit the ability to link to images hosted on the site from 3rd parties. This ability – which was previously available to all accounts, including free ones – is now limited to the service’s “Plus 500” level of account, which costs $399/year (or $39.99/month).

Linking to graphics hosted on free Photobucket accounts has long been a popular way on the internet of displaying message board images, and of hosting blog graphics to circumvent bandwidth and storage limits on blog hosting accounts. This change by Photobucket has resulted in a millions of images all over the internet now displaying instead as a Photobucket error graphic – being referred to as a ransom graphic by some. In many cases, the refusal of PhotoBucket to serve hosted images that have been linked has totally destroyed the usability of the associated content on blogs and message boards. In the crafts industry, this is especially true of one of the most affected sites – Etsy – where listings without photos are virtually useless.

Changes like this are why I always recommend to bloggers that their graphics be hosted on their own blog host. Linking to graphics on 3rd party sites carries the risk that those links could be cut off at any time. Especially risky is linking to images on accounts controlled by other people, such as design team members, who may choose to delete those accounts or images at any time for any reason.

Events. Ali Edwards has announced a second Story Camp in Eugene, Oregon fot October of this year. Registration opened  on June 27th, but bad news if you are interested in going – all 35 slots are already sold out!

Settlements. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced yesterday that it has filed a civil complaint against Hobby Lobby, alleging the company smuggled Iraqi antiquities into the U.S. in 2010. According to the government, Hobby Lobby spent $1.6 million in Dec. 2010 to purchase 5,500 antiquities from a dealer in UAE. The company proceeded with the purchase, allegedly, despite having been warned by a consultant they had retained about several red flags in the transaction that indicated the antiquities may be looted Iraqi objects. The antiquities were then shipped to the U.S. without proper customs paperwork, and labeled as “ceramic tiles” or “clay tiles (sample)” that originated in Turkey. Some of the shipments were seized by U.S. Customs, and further shipments originating in Israel were seized the following year.

cuneiform tablet forfeited by Hobby Lobby

International law enforcement agencies are highly interested in stopping illegal trade in antiquities from Iraq and other locations in the Middle East because selling looted antiquities is widely believed to be one source of funding for the ISIS terrorist network.

In a stipulation of settlement that was filed with the complaint, Hobby Lobby agreed to forfeit thousands of artifacts it had illegally imported, and pay a $3 million fine to settle the case. In addition, the company agreed to implement changes in the way it will acquire future antiquity purchases and to submit quarterly reports to the government of their purchases for the next 18 months to ensure that such transactions are legal. “We should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled,” said Hobby Lobby President, Steve Green. “Hobby Lobby has cooperated with the government throughout its investigation, and with the announcement of today’s settlement agreement, is pleased the matter has been resolved.”

Jobs:

 

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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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