I don’t like to write “year in review” posts until the year is actually over. It seems to me that it’s tempting fate the moment you hit publish that the biggest story of the year will happen. So, now that the ball has dropped in Times Square and the last note of “auld lang syne” has faded…here’s a look back at the high points and low points of 2014 in scrapbooking.
The industry, unfortunately, said goodbye to a lot of longtime institutions this year. Several designers, including Jenni Bowlin and Kristen Young (of Lily Bee Design), decided to take their creative efforts in a direction outside of scrapbooking.
The Craft & Hobby Association’s traditional summer show was among the things that the industry lost in 2014 (although 2013 was technically the last show). The ending of the show in Chicago, however, allowed for the birth of a new show: CHA PaperArts. The inaugural CHA PaperArts show took place in Atlanta in July (photo above).
Perhaps the most shocking event of the year for most people was the June announcement of the impending closure of longtime online retailer Two Peas In A Bucket. The site’s online store, design team, and online community had been a powerful market force during the height of the scrapbook trend and it’s loss was felt hard by many devoted community members.
No sector of the industry was hit harder than publishing in 2014, however. The year began with New Track Media, the publisher of the newly revamped Paper Crafts Magazine, being sold to F + W Media (the former publisher of Memory Makers). The year ended with the announcement of Paper Crafts Magazine shutting down. In between, All American Crafts (the publisher of Scrapbooking & Beyond) filed for bankruptcy liquidation, and Northridge Publishing – the producer of Scrapbook Trends, Cards, and Cricut magazines – suddenly ceased operations under mysterious circumstances.
Our final goodbye wasn’t really a goodbye, but more of a “see you later”. In August, not long after the departure of co-founder Rhonda Anderson, Creative Memories – in its current incarnation as Ahni & Zoe – announced that it was filing for liquidation bankruptcy. However, the Creative Memories name was resuscitated out of the bankruptcy by investor Caleb Hayhoe, who bought a large portion of the company’s assets and reopened an overhauled version of the company late in the year.
Making New Friends
While some things were ending, new partnerships were beginning to move the industry into the future.
American Crafts continued its expansion spree in 2014. In April, the company acquired cardstock company Bazzill Basics and shortly thereafter, also added We R Memory Keepers to its growing portfolio. Studio Calico, which licenses with American Crafts to manufacture and distribute its wholesale products, also made a major acquisition when it purchased Big Picture Scrapbooking from co-founders Stacy Julian and Kayce Rehn.
Studio Calico got itself another new partner this year: Ali Edwards. After concluding her contracts at Technique Tuesday and Designer Digitals, she signed a new partnership with Studio Calico to help her run her own signature branded store to sell her product lines on her own website. While that partnership may have ended for Designer Digitals, a big new one is just starting for owner Katie Pertiet. She announced in December that she is partnering with Our Memories For Life, the new brand being launched by Rhonda Anderson, to be the brand’s exclusive product designer.
It was a big year for Kelly Purkey. It began with the launch of her signature line with Basic Grey, and is closing with the announcement that Hero Arts will be launching Kelly’s new line, Clearly Kelly, at the upcoming CHA Mega Show next week.
Two industry companies – both retailers – made mainstream news headlines this year. First it was Michaels Stores, which announced in January it had possibly been hit with a credit card data breach. (This was later confirmed to be true). On June 27th, Michaels Stores launched their long-awaited IPO on the NASDAQ exchange. Initially, response to the stock was unimpressive but it has since gathered momentum and is performing well.
Hobby Lobby made even more headlines in 2014, and earned themselves a place in legal history, with their lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate. After a long legal battle that was surrounded in controversy, the case reached the Supreme Court this year. On June 30th, the court announced its decision to side with Hobby Lobby in the case, provoking protests and boycotts of the retailer.