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Purple Cows and Tonic Studios Announce Partnership

Purple Cows and Tonic Studios have announced that they will partner on future product distribution and development.

Tonic Studios Trimmer

Beginning in March 2013, Purple Cows will be responsible for distributing Tonic Studios product in the Americas, and Tonic Studios U.K. will distribute Purple Cows products in the U.K. and parts of Europe.

No change of ownership has taken place as part of the arrangement – both companies are remaining under their existing ownership.

“We are very excited about this new partnership”, said Rick Tremmel, CEO of Purple Cows. “The two companies have complementary strengths in sales, marketing, distribution and product offerings.

Tremmel also said that Purple Cows is already working with Simon Bathard and Gareth Davies at Tonic Studios UK on development of future products. Continue Reading →

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Scrapbook Update CHA Winter 2011 Top Ten Hot Picks

Many thanks to Contributing Editor May Flaum, who contributed extensively to the creation of this article.

Here it is finally…the Scrapbook Update CHA Winter 2011 Top Ten Hot Picks!

For those new to Scrapbook Update, our CHA Top Ten Hot Picks list are our picks for the products and companies that we saw at CHA that are sure-fire winners, heavily buzzed-about, or groundbreaking in some way.

Making the selections this time around took a long time because it was surprisingly difficult, much more difficult than it usually is after a CHA show. As we discussed on the Roundtable show at CHA, the show felt somewhat muted. There wasn’t a lot of buzz about very many things. The choices weren’t as obvious as after a lot of CHA shows when the air is just electric with excitement about things.

Also, some of the clear standouts were companies that have been heavily featured on recent Top Ten Hot Picks lists from CHA shows. We didn’t want to sound like a broken record, but we also didn’t want to penalize companies who have been consistently on top of the industry lately.

Ultimately, we came up with a great list of products, and it is full of a lot of familiar names. I think that says something about where the industry is right now: We have some companies that are simply dominating certain categories of products from both a market and quality standpoint.

So let’s take a look (in no particular order) at who and what made the Scrapbook Update CHA Winter 2011 Top Ten Hot Picks list!

Tim Holtz

Ok, let’s just get the obvious one out of the way…Nowhere on the show floor are the crowds bigger (except for the big Provo Craft giveaways) than for anything that Tim Holtz does. He is the arguably the most marketable name in scrapbooking right now, with his name on products by Advantus, Ranger, Sizzix, Stampers Anonymous, Core’dinations, and Tonic Studios.

Tim’s workshops have sold out almost immediately at all of the recent CHA shows and this time was no exception. On the show floor, his demos were always surrounded by huge crowds.

Holtz’s products sales are spurred by his marketability and gift for teaching, but also by his brilliant market placement: he exists in an area between mixed media and scrapbooking, enabling him to reach an audience in both markets. His booth displays always contain a mix of everything from scrapbook layouts (including some at CHA Winter 2011 by Scrapbook Update’s own Contributing Editor May Flaum) to shadow boxes and jewelry and other three dimensional decor items.

Perhaps the flagship introduction of the new Tim Holtz products at CHA Winter 2011 was the Distress Stain, a whole new category of Distress colorant from Ranger. Available in 12 Distress palette colors, the Distress Stain comes in 1 oz bottles with a dabber top, similar to walnut ink many scrappers and stampers may have used. Distress Stain is a water-based dye that soaks into porous surfaces like paper. It’s not blendable like the Distress Ink pads are. In CHA demos, Holtz showed its usability for covering large areas (like a tag background) with color and for creating soft ink effects, like a watercolor look, with stamping.

Two of the other new Tim Holtz items at CHA Winter 2011 that look destined to be extremely popular with consumers are his new Kraft Glassine paper (pictured in use with an embossing folder above) and the Core’dinations Distress cardstock pad (photo below shows Tim demonstrating the monochromatic contrast between the outside and the inner core).

His two new patterned paper pads, including one that is kraft colored with resist ink designs on the pages, will also be wildly popular. But in reality, I expect most of his product lines from this show to be top sellers, with a few exceptions.

Core’dinations

Speaking of Core’dinations, it isn’t just their Tim Holtz products that attracted a lot of attention at CHA Winter 2011. This company has been lining up licensing arrangements right and left, taking part in one of the industry’s hottest business trends, and their introductions in Los Angeles were their best to date.

In addition to the Distress and Adirondack pads, they introduced pads for Graphic 45, BasicGrey, and a host of other companies. Perhaps most amazing were the Core D’Amour collections of papers designed by Teresa Collins and Jenni Bowlin. Those papers featured both embossed and printed design elements, with the contrasting color core for distressing. The result is absolutely beautiful. Photos don’t do the depth of the effect justice (a close-up of one of the Jenni Bowlin papers is below).

With all their licensing arrangments, Core’dinations is bringing a lot of design punch to what used to be a boring scrapbooking staple. In the words of Contributing Editor May Flaum, “They’ve made cardstock sexy!”

Cosmo Cricket Glubers

This is one product that I knew instantly when I saw it would be a hot pick! It was one of the few items I heard buzz about in Los Angeles.

Like most of the best ideas, the idea behind Glubers is deceptively simple: it is a giant round dot of adhesive. The brilliance is in the application of that giant dot of adhesive. Cosmo Cricket is marketing Glubers (available in packages of 12 for $4.99 and multiple sizes from 2″ to 3″) as the basis for creating custom fabric flower embellishments, a look that is currently extremely trendy. Booth samples showed fabric, ribbon and other items being used to create large decorative flowers.

Uniformed Scrapbooks of America

There is a huge market for military scrapbooking supplies, but there tends to be little innovation in that market. Heather and Charles Lovern have brought something new with Uniformed Scrapbooks of America, a new exhibitor at CHA Winter 2011 that sells scrapbooks that have covers that appear as if they are made out of a military uniform shirt.

The product was originated when Heather decided to make a scrapbook for her ex-Marine husband, Charles. She sewed a cover for the scrapbook out of one of his uniform shirts…and a new product line was born. The company is licensed by the US Armed Forces. In addition to the album covers, the company also sells customizable embroidered name tapes that adhere to the album cover “shirts” in the appropriate places, and rank insignia to adhere to the shirt collars.

Something fresh like this should be a big hit in communities with a lot of military families who are sick of the same old, same old in military themed scrapbook offerings.

Technique Tuesday

This company revamped their entire offerings for CHA Winter 2011, with dramatic results. Technique Tuesday eliminated virtually all of their alphabet stamp designs from their catalog, and redesigned their packaging to be much smaller. Instead of being packaged on 8.5 x 11 storage sheets, sets are now packaged on 4 x 6 sheets. This will mean stores will need to devote less display space to sell the products. Technique Tuesday has also lowered their price points, important to be more competitive in a market that is flooded with clear stamp designs.

Balancing the shrinking of their alphabet catalog, Technique Tuesday unveiled a large expansion at CHA Winter 2011 of their most popular offerings: their Ali Edwards signature collection. The five new mini sets of sentiments in Edwards’ distinctive handwriting, with an MSRP of $2.99 each (one is pictured above), will certainly be popular. Love, travel and other theme sets round out the stamp set offerings. The company also introduced new paper designs by Edwards in its Perspectives collection.

The company also expanded their popular class kit offerings, including offering a new kit that capitalizes on the trend towards large dimensional flowers in scrapbooking. The “In Bloom” by Technique Tuesday class kit creates 9 flowers and can be taught over one or two class sessions.

Bella Blvd: Sophisticates by Stephanie

Since its inception, Bella Blvd has consistently provided scrapbookers a bright, cheery look without going 100% over into the cute style dominated by companies like Doodlebug and BoBunny. Existing in a middle ground has allowed the company to draw from a wide range of scrapbook customers.

The new Sophisticates by Stephanie collection introduced at CHA Winter 2011 will certainly continue that wide appeal. Consisting of 11 monochromatic patterned papers, 4 embellishment papers, cardstock alphabet stickers, and chipboard alphabets & embellishments, the collection provides good usable basics in Bella’s signature happy color palette.

Bella Blvd is now including their Blooms a Bella flower embellishments as part of the Sophisticates collection, and introduced a new, smaller, size with buttons in the center to the collection.

Jenni Bowlin

Jenni Bowlin showcased an all-star line up of releases at CHA Winter 2011. At the last show she partnered with Ranger and released high quality inks and paint dabbers, and now she’s returned with even more amazing designs and all new products that all vintage loving paper crafters will need. While she has a new paper line, the real star of the show is all of the trinkets and treasures she released that mix so well with any of her current or past products – and that will also appeal to the growing group of papercrafters who are dabbling in mixed media projects. The hidden genius in this release is how simple it is. Packages of little rosette ribbons, colored plastic bows with rhinestones, additions to her Core’dinations cardstock collection, and trend-forward silhouette rub-ons are only a few of the things coming from Jenni this year.

Bowlin is expanding her usual array of goods that go so well with card making, scrapbooking, and altered arts by also adding vintage inspired tins (shown above – projects above and below by Ranjini Malhotra for Jenni Bowlin Studios), as well as vintage inspired wooden thread spools (shown below). These items have any number of uses for home décor and mixed media work. They are fresh additions to the market as well as simple enough to be user friendly.

For those who aren’t into altered items, Jenni has released more of her popular bingo cards. She is also introducing three Hodge Podge mini books that work as a mini book, or can be taken apart and used in other paper craft projects. The materials featured vary from board book to transparency, and they include brass rings to bind them together.

Bowlin now also offers some stamps, as well as more chipboard shapes, flag banner stickers, and even some rhinestone charms. It is obvious that Jenni Bowlin Studio has put time and effort into a release that should be a winner with consumers. These products build on her existing line of products, complementing and adding new dimension to them while at the same time they’re fresh, new, and must-have items.

EK Success Smash Books

These were one of the most buzzed-about items at the show (if not the most buzzed about, period). These fun journals are designed more in the style of “old-fashioned” scrapbooking – to capture the random scraps of our lives – but are very modern in design.

In addition to the four spiral-bound journal designs (which come with a double-ended ink/glue pen), the Smash line includes accessories like date/phrase stamps, page markers, decorative tape and paperclips. The Smash book pages are heavily designed – this product is obviously intended for a young (or at least hip) audience. This isn’t your grandma’s scrapbook!

We R Memory Keepers Lucky 8 Punches

At CHA Summer 2010, We R Memory Keepers caused a buzz with the Sew Easy tool. This time around it was the Lucky 8 border punches that had everyone talking. This company is quickly becoming the company for tool innovation in the scrapbook industry.

The Lucky 8 punches, available in 6 designs, turn any sheet of 12 x 12 paper into die cut paper. Since the punches can cut an outer edge design, an inner edge design, or both designs at once, they can create three different effects from the same punch. Additional effects can be created by punching fewer than the 8 punches needed to do the entire outer edge of a sheet of paper, to create a partial die cut effect (for instance, just doing opposite corners with the inside cut design).

The Lucky 8 punches have an MSRP of $29.99 each, but compared to buying die cut paper at $3/sheet, the savings of using the punch can add up quickly.

Webster’s Pages

They’ve been reliably producing beautiful vintage collections for several shows now, but this time Webster’s Pages hit every note just right with their five new collections. In particular, their new Trendsetter collection is very eye-catching, calling on a more modern period for its look than most of Webster’s collections while still echoing their romantic look.

In particular, some of the collection’s smaller patterns and its embellishments seem to be very usable – even for scrapbookers who aren’t necessarily into Webster’s signature flowery look. Trendsetter may bring a new audience to Webster’s Pages with its more modern, yet still classic, look.

With designs containing butterflies, dress forms, birdcages, and silhouette portraits, Trendsetter’s name is very accurate. It hits on many of the most prevalent trends on the CHA Winter 2011 show floor, while presenting them with Webster’s Pages own signature style.

Want to stay up-to-date on all the latest scrapbook news?

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