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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 | Pantone, Etsy, Pinterest, Jobs, Calls & More!

The summer shows are over, and it’s hard to believe it but the industry is already ramping up for Christmas and winter shows. Where did 2016 go?

Consolidating. Canvas Corp has announced that the 7 Gypsies and Tattered Angels brands have been consolidated under the single company of Canvas Corp. The three brands were previously separate companies. All of the brands will continue to be marketed, but can now be ordered together from one company.

HOME by Becky Higgins logo

Expanding. Project Life founder Becky Higgins has announced the launch of a new brand called “HOME by Becky Higgins“. The lifestyle brand is launching with an initial product offering of four designs of all-occasion premium wrapping paper. Although she’s known professionally for her work in the scrapbooking industry, Becky’s popular blog often features her home and her style is frequently the subject of admiring comments and questions from readers. Higgins’ move is not unprecedented – it takes place against a backdrop of a changing scrapbook market in recent years that has sent many of the major scrapbook segment companies (such as My Minds Eye, Teresa Collins, Heidi Swapp, and American Crafts) looking for new markets in markets like stationery, party goods, and lifestyle products.

Launching. Ali Edwards will be launching pre-orders for 2016 December Daily kits on September 1st. The designer reveal will begin next Monday, on August 22nd. (Hmm, maybe I should finally finish that 2013 album….)

Mobilizing. Pantone has launched a new iOS app called PANTONE Studio. The app takes mobile the ability to build and share color palettes using Pantone color tools, and apply colors to various designs and surfaces as a visualization tool. Users can also access Pantone trend information. A free limited version of the app is available, or the full version can be purchased for $7.99/month or $59.99 for an entire year.

Linking. Etsy is partnering with Intuit to offer a special Etsy version of Quickbooks Self-employed. Etsy storeowners will be able to download their Etsy sales, as well as transactions from other providers such as Square and Paypal, directly into the accounting software. The software will be available the first year for $5/month, or for $12/month with a TurboTax bundle.

Curating. Pinterest announced some feature changes to its site design today, including a new preferences setting that will allow users to stop the presence of “Picked for You” pins in their feeds. Pinterest, in their announcement, said this feature was added at the request of users. Personally I find the “Picked for You” pins to be a great way to find interesting content, but it seems that a vocal segment of Pinterest users disagree. If a large portion of Pinterest users take advantage of this new feature, it could impact site traffic and account growth for users whose pins are favored by the Picked for You engine.

Changing. Instagram’s new Stories feature has a lot of users wondering what to make of it. Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps has an interesting perspective on exactly how disruptive Stories is to the direction of Instagram.

Sharing. I’m pleased to announce that I will be serving another term on the design team at the Layout-A-Week blog run by Jennifer Priest. My first layout of the new term is a summer garden layout featuring Simple Stories and Quick Quotes products.

in the garden layout preview

Events, part 1. Registration is open for the Designer Day portion of Bella Blvd’s event in Milwaukee on October 20th. Workshops may be purchased ala carte from a schedule that includes Shanna Noel, Jill from Jillibean Soup, and Julie Johnson.

Events, part 2. Prima is launching a planner line, and they are having an event in Temecula, California to celebrate. Tickets are $120 per person for the October 15th event, and include a goodie bag with a planner, a workshop, lunch, demos, and more.

Events, part 3. Altitude Summit, the popular social media and blogger conference for creatives, has a call for speakers out for its 2017 event. The conference will take place in Palm Springs, California from January 31st to February 3rd, 2017, a week after Creativation (and overlapping with Creativeworld).

Returning. The Craft & Hobby Association is advertising a list of previous exhibitors that will be returning to the winter show (now named Creativation) after a break that includes Darice, Walnut Hollow, Coats and Clark, Springs Creative, TrimCraft, Modern Store Fixtures, Prym Consumer USA, and Crescent Cardboard.

Jobs. The following craft industry positions are currently advertised as available:

Calls. The following calls for designers are currently open:

Moving. My company Nally Studios has moved business locations and has a new address. Please contact me by email at nancy@nallystudios.com if you need our updated address information.

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5 Pinterest Pinning Mistakes to Avoid

[This article contains affiliate links that support Scrapbook Update when readers make a purchase after clicking on them. Thanks for supporting our work so we can continue to bring you articles like this one about Pinterest!]

We all know that we need to have a Pinterest account these days if we are running a creative business of any kind. Many of us have spent plenty of effort learning best practices – how often to pin, when to pin, what to pin, what kind of graphics to use. A lot of us have even invested in tools such as Tailwind (watch for my review coming soon!) to help us pin more efficiently and effectively.

But quality of pins is just as important as quantity or schedule. And some common Pinterest mistakes can seriously impact the quality of the pins you are creating, reducing user engagement with them and damaging your Pinterest reputation.

5 Pinterest Pinning Mistakes To Avoid to increase engagement with quality pins - Nancy Nally - ScrapbookUpdate.com

Here’s the top mistakes to watch out for when creating pins, to make sure that you are creating quality content that your followers will love and engage with!

Pinning From the Wrong URL

Since a pin is a link back to content, if you pin from the wrong URL, that pin is useless to future Pinterest users who might try to view it. Before you create an original pin, double check that you are on the content’s direct permalink (article page) page and not the site’s home page, a category or tag page, or an archives page (a URL that ends in something like “/page4/”).

Not Checking the Link on a Repin

A fabulous looking craft room photo comes across your Pinterest stream. “I must save that,” you think to yourself, and hit “repin”. But if you don’t click through to the pin’s link before hitting repin, you don’t really know what you are saving – or more importantly, sharing with all of your followers. The link could be to a deleted article, or a dead website. Worse, the link could be to a site set up (or taken over) to host malware. I’ve had my browser taken over by malware hosting sites several times in recent weeks when I clicked links on completely innocent looking pins. It required completely rebooting my browser (and even my entire computer on one occasion) each time to escape the hijacked window.

Even if at first glance a link looks safe, take a closer look. Is the content owned by the site posting it, or is it a so-called scraper site that steals articles from the RSS feeds of other sites and posts them, hoping to generate traffic from Pinterest and other sources for ad views? Posting links to stolen content degrades the quality of your feed, can get your Pinterest content reported and deleted, and can leave a bad impression on your followers.

Bottom line – if you don’t check the quality of the links on your repins, eventually someone else will – with potentially embarrassing results.

Pinning From within Bloglovin’ (or another reader)

When content is pinned from within Bloglovin’ it causes several problems. First, the pin’s source can only be viewed from within a Bloglovin’ page frame, which is really annoying to most readers. But more importantly, the content’s source shows on Pinterest as Bloglovin.com instead of the actual website whose content you are pinning. This degrades the quality rating of your pin in Pinterest’s content sharing algorithm. If the content has been pinned 3 times through Bloglovin’ and 100 times through the actual content website…then you only get credit from Pinterest for the 3. Also, the original content creator won’t get credit in their site’s statistics for the 3 pins through Bloglovin’. And someone searching for pins of content from that site won’t be able to find those pins.

Pinning from within other feed readers can be even more problematic. Links to Feedly will show dead links as they go to individual user accounts – so unless you are logged in to the account of the user who created the pin, you can’t see the source of the link.

Not Pinning from the Original Source

It’s become very common for sites to publish articles that are round-ups of other people’s content on a certain topic. These can be very useful, and a great way to find wonderful content. However, pinning from curated collection articles steals “Pinterest juice” from the original content creator, creating many of the same issues I mentioned in the discussion about pinning from within feed readers. So please, if you pin from curated collections, either pin the special Pinterest-friendly title graphic that most bloggers create for such collections, or click through to the item’s original source material to pin the individual item from there.

Not Adding or Editing A Description

Part of the way that Pinterest decides whether to show your pin to more people is from the information that is in your pin description. That description is also how you tell your followers why you pinned the content, what is special about it – and that’s especially important when you are pinning your own content, to entice people to click!

If you don’t edit the pin description when pinning or repinning, you will by default get either the previous pinner’s description or the meta description on the image you are pinning. This could be a personal note from the pinner (“this would be so perfect for my kitchen!”) that doesn’t reflect your own opinion or worse, it could be a generic file name like IMG_4358 that provides no useful information to Pinterest’s algorithm or your followers. Instead, take a moment to type a few words about the pin’s topic or its usefulness to you.

We all get in a rush at times and pin without thinking and miss a detail on a pin we are sharing. It’s one of the reasons that I love using Tailwind, because it allows me to save a pin as a draft and then go back and later and edit it for all the important details. Slowing down and taking those extra few moments on the details can make all the difference in our pin quality – and in our engagement.

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Pinterest Inspiration | Scarf & Pendant

I usually browse Pinterest in the evenings and I almost always come away with more pins than I can count that I want to base a layout (and this article) on. But this week, inspiration seemed to fail me. And when it came time to write this article, I didn’t have any pins that I really wanted to use. So I turned my process around and started with a photo that I wanted to use. It’s a difficult photo to scrapbook because it has a busy background and is a somewhat blurry cell phone photo. I started searching Pinterest based on colors in my photo – browns and creams. And when I saw this scarf below, I immediately had an idea.

scarf Continue Reading →

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Pinterest Inspiration | Poker Ad

While looking through Pinterest earlier this week, I clicked on the image below because I thought it was a Christmas-related image. To my pleasant surprise, it was an ad for poker night at a cafe. I love its simplicity and decided to use the ad’s layout design for a scrapbooking layout.

Continue Reading →

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