Tag Archives | Advantus

Advantus Acquires McGill Inc.

The latest round of consolidation in the scrapbook industry is continuing this week with the announcement that Advantus has acquired “substantially all of the assets” of punch and office supply manufacturer McGill, Inc.

According to the announcement, McGill products will start shipping from Advantus’s headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida before the end of the month.

“We look forward to manufacturing and distributing the McGill products and building on the good name of McGill, Inc., with its reputation for quality products,” said Kevin Carpenter, President of Advantus.

“We at McGill are excited about the acquisition by Advantus Corp. This will be great for all of our customers and allow the McGill product lines to grow in the office products and craft markets,” said Wayne Schwartzman, President of McGill, Inc. Continue Reading →


Advantus to Discontinue Cropper Hopper License

Advantus has announced that they intend to discontinue the use of the Cropper Hopper brand when their license to use it expires in December 2013.

After what the company describes as “a lengthy transition period that will extend into at least mid-2014,” Advantus will no longer represent the Cropper Hopper brand. The brand will revert back to the control of Cropper Hopper founder Scott Smith, from whom they’ve licensed the name for the past 10 years.

According to the announcement, Cropper Hopper items may continue to be ordered as usual by the company’s customers, and there will be no interruption in customer service during the branding transition. The company says it plans to continue to continue carrying “the majority” of the products that are currently in the Cropper Hopper line, under a rebranding that will be launched at the Craft & Hobby Association 2014 show in January.

“We know Scott will continue to do great things in the industry, and we wish him all the best.  We appreciate our customers’ continued support of our product lines and look forward to introducing our new storage brand at the CHA show”, said Kevin Carpenter, President of Advantus.


Advantus Buys Cosmo Cricket

Advantus Corp. announced yesterday that they have acquired Cosmo Cricket from owners Eric & Julie Comstock and Lindsay Moore.

Cosmo Cricket was founded by artists Eric & Julie Comstock in 2006. Moore joined the company a short time later, taking charge of its sales operations. The company is known for its bright, graphic designs with a retro influence, a departure from Advantus’s current design portfolio.

Among its diverse portfolio of brands, Jacksonville, Florida-based Advantus is the parent company of craft lines Tim Holtz idea-ology, Cropper Hopper, and Sulyn. Their Vituri tote brand is also familiar to many crafters by its former name of All My Memories. The company has embarked on many crafts ventures in recent years – it also briefly had the Margie Romney-Aslett signature line The Girls Paperie in 2010-2011, and was also the home of Heidi Swapp’s now-defunct signature line for several years. Advantus has only been involved in the craft industry since 2004, but the company has been in existence since 1913.

This addition will be a great compliment to our existing craft and hobby brands,” said Kevin Carpenter, President of Advantus Corp. “We have always admired Cosmo Cricket’s design and commitment to their customers and we look forward to developing new products with Julie and Eric.”

Julie Comstock said, “The three of us are super  excited to partner with Advantus. We can’t wait to work with their talented staff so that we can focus on what we’re best at – creating more products for our customers to love.”

Cosmo Cricket’s operations will be moving from Utah to Advantus headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida in early September. The Comstocks and Lindsay Moore will remain with Cosmo Cricket as part of its Advantus operations.

All wholesale orders and inquiries for Cosmo Cricket can be directed to Advantus Customer Satisfaction by email to or by calling (904) 482-0092.

Use coupon code “PINK CAMO” to get $2 off registration through September 5th!!!!

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Tim Holtz Debuts “District Market” At National Stationery Show

Tim Holtz debuted a new addition to his idea-ology line from Advantus on Monday at the National Stationery Show in New York.

The new line, named “District Market” was described by Holtz on his blog as “finished products for the stationery, home decor and gift market.” Fans of the existing Tim Holtz lines will be pleased – the designs of the new products draw from existing artwork in his collection, placing those designs on items such as notecards and tote bags.

Photo Courtesy of Megan Hoeppner of Creating Keepsakes Magazine

Despite the description of the products as being finished goods, several items in this line show promise to be cross-marketed to the crafts market as the basis of projects, especially the notecards, tissue paper, and burlap panels.

Megan Hoeppner, Creative Editor of Creating Keepsakes Magazine, saw the products at their debut in New York:

…the Tim Holtz booth was an impressive stop on my Nat’l Stationery Show journey. He was clearly excited about his new products, which he should be. He introduced a number of products that are meant to bridge the gap between traditional stationery and scrapbooking/paper crafting. He has stunning journals that would be great as is, or you can use them as a canvases from which to work, adding your own embellishments and details. In addition to the journals, he has cards, burlap panels, and AMAZING washi-paper tissue, which can all work as stand-alone items or as creative foundations.

Being able to cross-market a SKU to two markets has a variety of advantages, from being able to serve two markets while carrying less inventory, to maximizing return on investment in the product by having a wider possible customer base for it.

Four assortments of 4″ x 6″ notecards are available, with 4 designs per package. Two of the notecard sets are seasonal designs. Six 12″ x 12″ burlap panels are available. Three of the designs are from the “Crowded Attic” collection of papers, and three from the “Lost & Found” collection. The tissue paper comes in two designs – an antique text print called “terminology” and a music print.

Photo Courtesy of Megan Hoeppner of Creating Keepsakes Magazine

Tim Holtz’s District Market collection will begin shipping from Advantus in early September.

[Many thanks to Creative Editor Megan Hoeppner of Creating Keepsakes Magazine for her contributions to this story.]

Scraplifting Inspirations: available now for pre-order at!

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Margie Romney-Aslett Departs Advantus, The Girls Paperie; Announces New Venture

Barely 15 months after the brand was unveiled, Advantus announced early today that, at her request, it has released Margie Romney-Aslett from her contract to design The Girls Paperie product line for them.

The Girls Paperie debuted for Advantus at CHA Winter 2010. Romney-Aslett’s vintage chic designs made the brand’s seven lines a breakout success with strong showings at each CHA show.

The company says it has plenty of inventory of the brand’s existing lines, and is working with Romney-Aslett and its customers to ensure what it calls “an orderly wind down of the line.” The company will continue to take and ship orders for The Girls Paperie until it sells out its existing inventory.

“Advantus is sad to lose this product line; we felt it had great potential and the sales continued to grow. However, Margie requested to end her arrangement with Advantus due to matters unrelated to the arrangement, and we agreed to do this for her. We are working with Margie to ensure an orderly wind down of the line and apologize for the inconvenience to our customers,” said Kevin Carpenter, President of Advantus, in explaining the reason behind the ending of the relationship.

Romney-Aslett also had positive things to say about the relationship: “I loved my time at Advantus. The people that I worked with there were amazing. This was a very hard decision for me but one I felt like for me and my family is the right thing to do.”

Items from The Girls Paperie are currently in stock at Scrapbook.comTwo Peas In A Bucket, and Simon Says Stamp (among other stores) for consumers who’d like to stock up before the lines disappear.

Later in the day today, Romney-Aslett announced on her blog that she will be at CHA Summer 2011 with an as-yet-unnamed brand new company that she is involved in the founding of. Scrapbook Update has been told that Romney-Aslett will be debuting 8 new paper lines at the show.

In addition to her paper lines, Romney-Aslett also co-owns The Girls Loft kit club with her daughters, Megan and Brooke.

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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.


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.

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