There’s tons of great – and even industry changing – news this week! Let’s dive in!
Kickstarter. Chameleon Art Products, which has been getting notice for its self-blending pen products, has launched a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign aimed at funding an expansion of its color palette. Chameleon’s current palette is 20 colors. With Kickstarter support, Chameleon is planning to add 20 more colors plus 5 skin tones and 5 gray tones to the palette, more than doubling the company’s offerings. The campaign has raised raised over $73,000 from 669 donors, far exceeding its posted target of $25,000. Supporters can still get in on the offering until October 30th.
For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is an online crowdfunding app for creative businesses. Companies or individuals can make an offering where users get certain benefits for pledging certain amounts of money if the Kickstarter meets its funding goal and goes live. In Chameleon’s case, Kickstarter contributors will receive various products for various contribution levels, beginning at a single pen for a $5 contribution, and going all the way up to a contribution of $499, which will get you the complete line of Chameleon products.
Warehouse Sale. American Crafts is having a warehouse sale so big this year that it needs two locations to hold it. The company opened a warehouse location in Salt Lake City, UT in a former Big Lots building at 1274 East 3300 South. The store will be open from 10am to 8pm on Monday through Saturday. In addition, American Crafts promises that in November it will reopen the previous location of its warehouse sales in Orem, UT.
Instagram. Wondering what all of those weird shaped pictures in your Instagram feed are recently? In a recent update to their app, Instagram made it possible for users to post pictures that aren’t squares. These pictures now appear in users’ feeds with white space making up the remainder of the usual square photo area. Adoption of the new option has been limited, with most users preferring to stick to Instagram’s signature square photo format.
In the scrapbook industry, practically an entire sub-section of the industry has grown up around the square Instagram photo: special albums, page protectors, die designs, and a plethora of “insta” themed stamps and embellishments.
Work. A large number of job postings are posted for Cricut, including a highly coveted Project Designer position. These positions are on-site positions at the company’s headquarters in South Jordan, Utah.
Designer Lia Griffith is looking “for a a dynamic and craft loving office administrator to assist me in growing our little company. This is a Portland, Oregon office and onsite position.” Interested applicants should Lia an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Design Team Call. Faber-Castell has a design team call open for their Design Memory Craft Guest Design Team until October 19th.
Walmart. It appears Walmart is engaged in a major overhaul of its scrapbook offerings. Becky Higgins has announced that her Project Life products are going into the stores. Stores will be receiving in October all or part of a selection of products that includes Be Bright themed cards, Becky’s Quotes themed cards, Perfectly Imperfect themed cards, DIY Shop Value Kit, Good Times Value Kit, Lucky Charm Value Kit, Design C photo pocket pages, a photo pocket page multi-set (A, D, C, L) and several 12×12 albums. In addition to the Project Life offerings, some Walmart employees are reporting on Facebook seeing Cricut machines being brought in to the Walmart craft departments again after they were discontinued in store some time ago. No sign of either of these product lines yet in my local Walmart in Florida, however.
Changes. Noell & Izzy Hyman, hosts & producers of the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast, announced last week that the show (of which I was the founding co-host before leaving in 2012) will be shifting to producing shows only once a month, starting immediately.
Books. The new memoir by Teresa Collins has been officially released to stores. Titled “Live LIFE in All Caps“, the book details Teresa’s struggles with a difficult childhood, a stroke, a divorce, and losing her husband to cancer. And along the way, she also became one of the scrapbook industry’s most recognizable brand names and successful entrepreneurs.
New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs has released the next book in her popular Scrapbooking Mystery series. “Parchment and Old Lace” is set in New Orleans, where its lead character Carmela Bertrand owns a scrapbook store – and solves murders with her handsome police detective boyfriend in her spare time. [Disclosure: I am the blogger outreach representative for the Scrapbooking Mystery series for Laura Childs. But it really is an enjoyable read!]
E-commerce. Amazon has entered the handmade crafts market, taking on Etsy with its new “Handmade At Amazon” section of the e-commerce giant. As with anything Amazon, the project launched big, with about 5,000 invited crafters selling products on launch day. Vendors in the new marketplace must be approved by Amazon, and all products must be made by hand (and not from kits) – a direct thumbing of the nose to Etsy, which has taken fire for the decision in recent years to allow small scale manufacturing into its listings. In exchange for access to the Handmade at Amazon platform, crafters must give up a much larger share of their sales than is taken by Etsy, something that is causing pushback in some corners of the craft market.
Who will win the showdown between Etsy and Amazon over the handmade e-commerce market? If you ask investors, it won’t be Etsy. Since the spring, when word began to leak out that Amazon was pursuing its own Handmade marketplace, Etsy’s stock has tumbled 65%. The stock, which had been over $31, settled into the $14-$15 for most of September and early October. Then on October 9th, Amazon went public with the Handmade at Amazon announcement. Since then, Etsy stock has steadily fallen, losing 20% of its value to close today (Wednesday) at $10.99.
Organizations. Abby Glassenberg (While She Naps) and Kristin Link (Sew Mama Sew) have joined together to found a new trade organization for craft professionals called Craft Industry Alliance. Membership is available at a discounted rate of $48/yr until January 1st, when it will increase to $60/year. Benefits include a bimonthly journal and a forum for discussing industry issues.