Update | 4.15.2014 – Project Life Stampin’ Up!, Scraptime, Studio Calico, Simon Says Stamp, Bella Blvd

There’s lots of news today from the industry’s biggest & brightest names…let’s dive right into it!

Becky Higgins has just announced on her blog that she is partnering with Stampin’ Up! to create exclusive Project Life products for the direct sales market. The announcement promises card collections, accessory packs, albums, pocket pages, tools, other accessories, and stamps (in keeping of course with the mission of Stampin’ Up!). The card packs will be somewhat different than the ones sold in retail stores in two major ways, however. First, they will have square corners – unlike the signature rounded corners of the current Project Life products. Second, the Project Life Stampin’ Up! cards will come in packs of 100 double-sided designs, with no duplicates in a pack.

Project Life products will be available for order through Stampin’ Up! representatives on May 1st, and more product preview information will be available soon. In the announcement, Higgins also promised a future digital release of the Stampin’ Up! exclusive products.

The Project Life announcement puts the direct sales market squarely on the front lines of the pocket scrapbooking product wars. Close To My Heart recently started selling a pocket scrapbooking line it calls “Picture My Life”. Now with Project Life aligned with Stampin’ Up!, the lines are clearly drawn for the expansion of what until now has largely been a battle of the stamps between the two companies.

Canadian podcast Scraptime, hosted by Christine Urias, is spreading the word that they will no longer be available for subscription on iTunes. Good news for fans though – the show is still in production, they are just changing the method of bringing it to you! To see their new episodes twice a week, visit the Scraptime blog or subscribe to their YouTube channel! (And if you aren’t already a Scraptime fan, be sure to check it out. Each episode Christine shows off a new product or technique in a way that you’ll be sure to learn something!)

Studio Calico has announced a new line called “South of Market”. It’s a spring/summer line, full of fresh color and produce, and containing some of the industry’s hottest current trends: chalkboard, mason jars, and text fill.

South-of-MarketOnline retailer Simon Says Stamp has announced an event for next month called Simon Says Create. The event will take place May 30-31st in Columbus, Ohio, and will feature classes by Tim Holtz, Shari Carroll, Jennifer McGuire, Lawn Fawn’s Kelly Marie Alvarez, Sandy Allnock of Operation Write Home, and Stephanie Klauck of Simon Says Stamp.

Tickets for the event, which cost $495 for a six class bundle, have entirely sold out. However, the company will be running an onsite store, including a clearance rack, at the event’s location (Northpointe Hotel and Conference Center) which will be open to the public from 9am-6pm on the days of the event.

Bella Blvd has announced several new collections that will be shipping in May! Summer Breeze, Sprinkles, and Classic Calendar are exactly what you’d expect from their names – a bright fun summer line, a line perfect for celebrations of any kind, and 12×12 calendar pages.


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11 Responses to Update | 4.15.2014 – Project Life Stampin’ Up!, Scraptime, Studio Calico, Simon Says Stamp, Bella Blvd

  1. Dakotajung April 16, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    Dear Becky Higgins, thanks for adding more competition for the independent retailer with your addition of Project Life to “stampin’ up” home sales.

  2. Debra Williams April 16, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Wow! Thanks nancy for all the updates!

  3. Sharon April 16, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    I swear, this papercrafting industry is going to destroy itself. I agree with Dakotajung. What is a direct sales stamp company doing competing with independent scrapbooking retailers? Must be afraid of the knowledgable people who own brick and mortar shops. Square or round corners…so?
    Not sure if Stampin’ Up reps will be thrilled to move in that direction….I thought they loved stampin’, not scrappin’!

    • K April 17, 2014 at 10:42 am #

      I am a SU rep who is NOT thrilled with this latest development. Frankly I think many other companies do pocket page products much better than Becky Higgins so I am sad to see them partner with her…and utterly disappointed that they are moving further and further from what made them who they are. STAMPS…and I should add RUBBER stamps at that.

    • Sheila July 30, 2014 at 9:06 am #

      I had not seen Project Life until Stampin Up featured it, then I searched the internet to see how it was utilized. I found many approaches, some very complicated, others very simple. I found a way to use my older retired SU cardstock and DSP. I cut the paper into 4×6 inch cards. Also did the same for a the coordinating cardstock for each DSP. I used. I use the clear medium envelopes (page 194) to hold the cards. In front is a white card with the name of the cardstock. If DSP I list the coordinating colors. I keep all the packets in a basket. When I sit down to do a set of pages, I choose a DSP packet and the coordinating cardstock packets so I don’t have a lot of supplies on my table. Also, the packets are easily placed in my craft bag if on the go.

      Like many, I can not see buying another scrapbooking system. I love SU because everything is coordinated and I don’t have to try and match colors. Using the PL method has allowed me to use scraps and older paper that would otherwise be stored in a box and to scrap the extra pictures that were left after completing the more formal layouts. I did 48 PL-type pages in 6 hours. Mind you, the cards aren’t fancy but the pages do look coordinated and I have a journaling card on each page. One suggestion that I like is to use a different DSP for each month.

      My PL-type pages are of events. Some scrapers use the pockets to record daily events with the pictures and journaling cards. Some of the cards can be embellished but the idea is to keep it simple and fast.

  4. donna c April 16, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    As a Stampin’ Up! rep, I’m over the moon excited! I love the way that Stampin’ Up! continues to stay on trend and innovate, unlike another direct sales company failed to do, and we all know what happened to them.
    Independent retailers need to give us as consumers a reason to want to come to the store. We know we can usually get things cheaper online, but there are things you can’t get online. There are myriad things that retailers can do to manage their bottom-line……you just have to be educated enough and willing to put in the time. Of course some brick and mortars do everything right, but still fail. I imagine sometimes it’s a bad location….not just physically, but demographically. Demographics are dynamic, and if the demographic was good when they opened the store, but has morphed over time to perhaps a younger demographic, then they need to know that, and make business decisions accordingly.
    This is all speculation on my part, as I am not a brick and mortar store owner, nor am I educated in that field, so don’t hate me for my opinion! 🙂 (let me add that i have zero desire to be one either! :))
    However, I also feel sad when another scrapbook store closes, but we all know that many of them started because people thought it would be “so much fun” to own their own scrapbook store, but had no background to do so. Nor did many of them even have a business plan!!! That’s been financial suicide for many of them, sorry to say.
    Anyway…I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth enough for today! I hope everyone can co-exist and maybe as an industry more companies can pull together to create greater success for all of us! Cheers!

    • Sharon April 16, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      Donna, brick and mortar stores close because consumers, such as yourself, shop online, Online stores don’t have the overhead, the service or knowledge that a good physical store will have, in any business. It’s a tax savings to operate an online store out of one’s home, not an expense.
      Until you’ve been a retailer, please do not presume to know why stores close. I have done direct sales in the industry, and on-line sales for the same product we sell in our physical store.
      If you feel sad about a business closing, try supporting one with your wallet. Revenue is what keeps a company solvent. That’s the bottom line.

      • I Try to Shop Local.... April 17, 2014 at 12:03 am #

        I am a small business owner. I know how much stress, blood, sweat and tears make a business operate. I’ve experienced financial loss via business. We started and closed two businesses before we found our successful niche. I know both success and failure.

        Now while I’d not desire at all to operate an LSS (way too small of a potential market and way too many variables such as how to organize: by color, theme, manufacturer to sell maximum product for your clientele). One has to sell a lot of papers at a $1 price point to make the overhead. Yes, I ran numbers once. It made my head spin. That being said, there is a two (or more) fold problem for many LSSs in my experience as a customer and a business owner. First, many LSSs are opened by hobbyists who try to turn their hobby into an income source. Like many other small businesses, some are opened by people who have no business operating a business. Having the business cards stacked against you to begin with makes a hard hill to climb to success. I’m not saying this is all, but it is certainly many. Secondly, if one has the business capabilities they must not only be able to operate the business side, but they must also be able to meet the needs of the customer. Thirdly, there is way too much competition from box stores for the same small customer base. That’s not the fault of the LSS, but it requires the LSS to do a STELLAR job at what they do. I operate a business in direct competition with a big box store and we kick their tooshy every time we’re given the chance because we are so good at what we do. It’s not easy for a lackadaisical business owner to be highly successful.

        Five years ago, I used to spend a lot of money at my LSS. I was a regular customer. Sadly, several times I knew more about product than the girls working did (I’m not talking box store knew more than, I don’t even ask questions at the box store). And I was regularly told I was their most knowledgeable customer. All this was while I refused to shop online because I liked to touch the product I was buying. However, for the last 18 months, they have brought in very very little new product. I had been such a faithful customer I had already purchased all from their selections I already liked! Without bringing in new products, I have spent less in the last 18 months than I used to in one month. It should be noted that my LSS is 65 miles away from me, so shopping is a very intentional choice. Because they have not done their part in meeting my needs as a customer, I have taken my dollar elsewhere, online. I still stop in once every two months at minimum, I still put my effort in. But I have unfortunately begun shopping online because they cut back their inventory by half, and have failed to bring in new product. I certainly understand why they cut their inventory, they are trying to keep the doors open. But bottom line is, it’s not my job to keep their doors open. I don’t exist to serve them, they exist to serve the customer.

        It’s not an easy position to be in. The reality is that most small business positions are not easy positions to be in. Actually, that’s probably true of big business in general. Even McDonald’s has taken a huge hit in sales lately. If McDonald’s, the corner stay of American culture has a hard time increasing sales, why on earth do we think that every penny fought for in the LSS would not be won by blood, sweat and tears??? I never give anyone an excuse to complain about a business closing if they didn’t support it. I’ve called many of my friends out on that account. But please don’t place all the fault to the consumer shopping online. The LSS needs to step it up and FIGHT! for their customers. Be BETTER than the online options. I know the amount of peddling my husband and I had to do to get our business to where it is today. 11 years worth of it. It has paid off now, but it certainly didn’t just happen. The LSS can’t cop out and blame it all on online shopping. The LSS would do well to remember they exist to serve the customer, not vice versa.

  5. Cassi April 16, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    Thanks for the news roundup!

  6. gabmcann April 17, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    Lots of interesting news, thanks Nancy!

  7. PjP April 18, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    When I heard that PL was joining the SU product line-up, I was really happy. It’s the first time in ages that news out of SU has made me do anything other than curse. I’m really excited about this partnership and I think it’ll be great for SU and for the local demo whose customer I am. It’s kind of tricky to “shop local” where I live and I’ve found the staff at one particular LSS to be unwelcoming and unhelpful. My SU demo, in contrast, has always been great about answering questions, providing customer service and teaching me new techniques. I’m not ashamed to say that I enjoy pocket page albums of all sizes (and by all manufacturers). It may not be “scrapbooking” to the purists, but it works for me. I’ve been a stamper and a cardmaker for much longer than I’ve been a scrapbooker so I’m more comfortable with smaller format projects and products. I realize that this PL/SU partnership makes life harder for the brick-&-mortar stores and I regret that for the sake of the business owners who’ve poured their hard work into their concerns. ON the other hand, theirs are far from being the only businesses hit hard by on-line sales and the recession.

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