Top

Tag Archives | American Crafts

A Look Inside Creativation 2019

Creativation 2019 passed in a whirlwind of travel and long show days! Here’s a look at what I did and saw during my three and a half days in Phoenix to attend the show.

[Disclaimer: This content is sponsored by AFCI and the Creativation 2019 show. I am a member of the Plaid blogger program.]

Creativation Show logo

To get to Phoenix, I left Daytona Beach before dawn on a 6am flight. It made for a long day, but with some quick footwork through Atlanta Hartsfield airport it got me on board a flight to Phoenix that landed before 11am!

Atlanta Hartsfield airport

When we left Atlanta, the crew announced that our arrival in Phoenix would be their very first time arriving at the just opened new terminal in Phoenix. The new terminal, while it might feel small to people more familiar with massive airports like Atlanta, is gleaming and beautiful. With excellent shopping and plenty of restaurants, travelers will find everything they need. (Especially if that thing is coffee – I counted no less than three Starbucks between curbside and my gate!) Being a modern terminal, it also has plenty of power outlets for gadget recharging and even laptop workstations. All in all, it is a vast improvement over the massive construction zone that has greeted Creativation attendees the past two years!

Phoenix Convention Center

The Phoenix Convention Center consists of three huge buildings, taking up several city blocks. The one on the left hosts Creativation.

The building on the right was hosting a a Harley event, among other things, during Creativation this year. People staying at the Hyatt Regency, Renaissance and other hotels walk through that building as a shortcut to get to where they are staying. There’s also a popular Starbucks that can be reached by walking through that building.

People driving to the show location on Sunday morning this year may have encountered another event that Phoenix was hosting during Creativation – the Rock n’ Roll marathon. It closed a couple of streets a few blocks from the convention center for a time early Sunday morning.

The first two days of Creativation are education days. Many classes were sold out, and attendees lined up early to get their pick of seats. Attendees in the photo below were lining up for an Altenew class on Friday that was scheduled to start shortly after I took the photo.

Friday Altenew class

One of the best reasons to take a class, even if you are an experienced crafter, is to learn a new technique. Sara Naumann taught a packed class on Friday how to do various techniques with WOW! embossing powders.

Friday Sara Naumann Wow

Mixed media is taking over the paper crafts industry. Judging by attendance at Dyan Reaveley’s art journaling class for her Ranger Dylusions line that I visited, lots of industry people are interested in learning more about it!

Friday Dyan Reavely class

Another popular mixed media education event was the Jane Davenport “workalong”, where attendees learned how to use Jane’s product line from Spellbinders.

Friday Jane Davenport workshop

Calligraphy is the up-and-coming hot thing in the industry. World famous calligrapher Paul Antonio, who has a product line with Spellbinders, drew a crowd of aspiring calligraphers in his class.

Friday Paul Antonio class

Just as important to running a successful craft industry business as creative education is business education. A variety of business classes were on offer for show attendees, including seminars for store owners from the ever-popular Kizer & Bender. Below, 2019 AFCI Industry Achievement Award honoree Tammy Browning-Smith teaches a class called “What to Share: Sponsorships, Endorsements & Interests”.

Friday Tammy Browning-Smith class

Friday evening, the traditional New Product Showcase took place. This year the showcase was in a space on the back of the show floor. Since construction was still going on building booths, showcase attendees walked down an aisle that had been draped off on both sides to reach the showcase. The showcase area was curtained off on all sides as well to screen unfinished booths from view.

The early part of the showcase event was wall-to-wall (curtain-to-curtain?) people, as attendees fought to weave their way through the crowd to the showcases for their first glimpses of what might be the next hot product.

Friday New Product Showcase

Once some of the crowd filtered out for dinner, it became a bit easier to get a view of the various different products.

Friday New Product Showcase 2

If you missed the Facebook Live that I did from the New Product Showcase after the crowd thinned out, you can view it below via YouTube:

Saturday morning arrived, and with it, the opening of the show floor for business! Entrance to the hall was via an entrance that was decorated to look like a house, declaring the theme “Home is where creativity is!”

AFCI Creativation 2019 entrance banner

Once the show floor opened up, attendees quickly filtered throughout the hall to their chosen destinations and the hall that had held a hushed quiet moments earlier began to buzz with activity!

Creativation 2019

Creativation 2019

Some attendees, of course, headed straight for their favorite companies’ booths to start looking over products and placing orders. (Echo Park is shown below.)

Echo Park Creativation 2019

My Facebook Live from the Echo Park booth shows how busy they were – I kept running into people while running around trying to film!

Many booths were offering make & takes, and so that is where a lot of attendees headed when the doors opened. The chance to try a product out before they order, and create a sample to take home to their stores, is invaluable to many store owners.

Here, attendees take part in the Tim Holtz idea-ology make & take while others wait their turn in line.

idea-ology Creativation 2019

(And yes, that cap and those bare legs can only mean one thing…that’s the one and only Mario Rossi keeping an eye on the whole operation from in the aisle.)

In a different area of the hall, Lynn from Spellbinders had show attendees die cutting, stamping and coloring at the make & take she was running.

Spellbinders Creativation 2019

Over at the Hampton Art/Jillibean Soup booth, show attendees participated in a make-n-take that created a trendy embroidery hoop wall art project.

Jillibean Soup Creativation 2019

Seth Apter had his make-n-take students at Paper Artsy getting so mixed media ink and paint happy that aprons were required for everyone’s protection!

Seth Apter Creativation 2019

For those who wanted to get hands on with the latest stamps, a demo area in the Creativation Stamping Village provided a variety of make & take options throughout the weekend. The stamping village also included a large social area (behind the demo area in the photo below) to rest your tired feet between turns at the make & take table, or to peruse catalogs before handing in your order at nearby booths.

Stamping Village Creativation 2019

While there were many make & takes on the floor that were “drop in” opportunities, some educational events on the Creativation show floor were more scheduled. Some, like the classes taking place in the Plaid booth, required signing up for a seat in advance. A few lucky show attendees got to fill extra seats by lining up to replace last-minute no shows (like a certain scrapbook news blogger who completely lost track of time Saturday morning while doing a Facebook Llive and suddenly realized I’d missed my scheduled class….whoops!)

Plaid Creativation 2019

It wasn’t just exhibitors offering scheduled education on the show floor. AFCI was offering offering an organized slate of education at both the Schoolhouse and the Sweet Spot. The Sweet Spot education, as its name implies, was for food crafting while the Schoolhouse offered business education sessions.

Saturday schedule Creativation 2019

The Schoolhouse was a really convenient venue for attendees to get education right on the show floor (and the events were free). This session on Sunday by Kaylee Pope on email newsletters – an important topic for most industry businesses – was well attended by industry professionals eager to learn how to improve their newsletter usage.

Schoolhouse Creativation 2019

For some show attendees, scheduled educational events in the booths extended outside show hours as various companies hosted early morning events for buyers and/or media. In the photo below, Plaid Senior VP Debbie Henley talks to members of the Plaid blogger program about the company’s new Mod Podge Ultra product on Sunday morning.

Plaid Creativation 2019

One of the quasi-scheduled items on the show floor is always the appearances in their various booths by popular designers. Many of them have to bounce between multiple companies where they have products so you have to pay attention to the schedule to know where to catch them when.

Calligrapher Paul Antonio, a relative newcomer to the Creativation celebrity guest scene, could be seen in the Spellbinders booth promoting his product line.

Paul Antonio Spellbinders Creativation 2019

And of course, Tim Holtz attracted a crowd at Ranger as usual. This year he was demonstrating his new Distress Oxide Sprays.

Tim Holtz Creativation 2019

Knowing the schedule so you can get to a celebrity designer’s demonstration right when it starts (or even before) is very important. It’s the only way usually to get a front row seat. This is especially important if you want to film – and it seems these days, everyone does.

Increasingly, demonstrations on the show floor, especially of the most popular companies, look like the one below by Seth Apter. Designers face a wall of cameras, and within minutes of it ending a half-dozen versions of their demonstration will be online for the public to view on Facebook, YouTube, or other video services.

Seth Apter Creativation 2019

It’s not just demonstrations being filmed, either. Christine Urias and her husband Mark Giles of ScrapTime have long been known for their high quality booth tours from the show, and now the genre has become a industry standard for anyone producing video content.

ScrapTime Creativation 2019

A few companies even bring in major tech for their Creativation filming, like this crew I ran into in the Hero Arts booth.

Creativation 2019

And of course, I can’t forget to mention the original livestreamer from the show floor…Elena from Charity Wings! She was doing her usual livestream this year with a new assistant, her adorable son Devin. It seemed everyone at the show wanted to meet Elena’s “baby unicorn”. And who could blame them – he was the cutest thing at the show!

Charity Wings Creativation 2019

And why did so many people want to meet Baby Devin? It’s because crafting is a community, and through our journey in it we make so many friends of other people in the community. Creativation is a chance to come together with those friends and share our journeys, wins and losses from the last year. It’s a chance to get inspiration from each other, learn from each other, and even find new partnerships to build.

(Now if I could only get someone on the show floor to teach me how to take a better selfie…)

Cynthea Stephanie Creativation 2019

This community is why the day doesn’t end when the show doors close. There were plenty of events to attend after hours at Creativation this year – the Prime VIB blogger party, a Hero Arts event, and a social event hosted by Simon Says Stamp, to name a few – but I opted instead for quiet dinners with what I consider some of my industry mentors. There is something to be said for sitting down and talking about where you are at, where you are going, and what your challenges are with just a few trusted compatriots.

Doing this meant taking advantage of some of downtown Phoenix’s wide assortment of restaurants. I think my mom nearly disowned me when I texted her this picture of her basketball idol’s restaurant – and then told her we weren’t stopping.

Majerles Phoenix

But we were headed to another kind of burger joint, called The Counter. Here, there are so many options of ways to get your burger (including even what kind of patty and bread) that they give you a paper form to fill out checking off what you want! So yes, if you want to have grilled pineapple and bbq sauce on your burger…you can totally have it! I did, and it was delicious. And the fries were amazing. And the root beer float made the perfect dessert!

The Counter Phoenix

But if steak is more your speed, The Arrogant Butcher is the hip place to be in downtown Phoenix. This prime rib practically melted in my mouth, and the flourless chocolate cake was so rich I couldn’t even finish it!

arrogant butcher phoenix

arrogant butcher phoenix

Stay tuned for more reports on Scrapbook Update about Creativation 2019…and if you missed it, be sure to check out the Scrapbook Update Creativation 2019 Top 10 Hot Picks!

12

2019 Valentine’s Day Scrapbook Collection Round-Up!

It’s still two weeks until Christmas, but for us crafters, that means it’s already time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day! Many companies have already launched their 2019 Valentine’s Day collections, and with the Scrapbook Update Valentine’s Day Scrapbook Collection Round-up, you won’t miss a single one!

Valentines Day collections vertical

[Disclosure: Some links contained in this article are affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to you when a purchase is made after a click.]

We likely won’t see more Valentine’s collections released – most companies are already teasing their spring and Easter collections for January and February release. But if there are more released, this article will be updated to include them!

Valentine’s Day is largely a card making holiday for paper crafters. Because of that, several of the collections shown below are only available as paper pads in sizes smaller than 12×12, like 6×6 or 6×8. (But single sheets are available in 12×12.)

What are the trends for Valentine’s Day 2019?

The small number of collections released makes it somewhat difficult to highlight trends for this Valentine’s Day. But one thing jumped out at me in collections that seem aimed at Valentine’s Day for 2019: the colors. Instead of the traditional red and white, a variety of colors appear in most lines. Pink is definitely the dominant Valentine’s Day color for 2019, with red appearing more as an accent color. From a design standpoint this makes sense, as red is a color that can quickly overwhelm a design, especially if photos are involved. It also gives the products a life beyond Valentine’s Day, for wedding, anniversary, and everyday pages.

Trend experts have been predicting that sloths and llamas are the next animal trend. Only Pebbles picked up this trend for their Valentine’s papers, though.

2019 Valentine’s Day Scrapbook Paper Collections

The collections below are arranged alphabetically by company:

American Crafts: Valentines Photo Real

Shipping: now
Wholesale: American Crafts
Retail: Amazon

American Crafts Valentines PhotoReal

Authentique Paper: Romance

Shipping: now
Wholesale: Authentique Paper
Retail: Simon Says Stamp, Amazon

Authentique Romance

Crate Paper: La La Love

Shipping: now
Wholesale: American Crafts
Retail: Scrapbook.com, Simon Says Stamp,

Crate Paper La La Love

Doodlebug Design: French Kiss

Shipping: now
Wholesale: Doodlebug Design
Retail:

Doodlebug French Kiss

Echo Park: You & Me

Shipping: now
Wholesale: Echo Park Paper Co.
Retail: Scrapbook.com, Simon Says Stamp, Amazon

Echo Park You and Me

Pebbles: Loves Me

Shipping: now
Wholesale: American Crafts
Retail: Scrapbook.com, Simon Says Stamp, Amazon

Pebbles Loves Me

Photo Play Paper: Wild Love

Shipping: now
Wholesale: Photo Play Paper
Retail: Scrapbook.com, Simon Says Stamp,

Photo Play Wild Love

Reminisce: Heart and Soul

Shipping: December 2018
Wholesale: Reminisce
Retail: Scrapbook.com,

Reminisce Heart and Soul

Simple Stories: Kissing Booth

Shipping: now
Wholesale: Simple Stories
Retail: Scrapbook.com, Simon Says Stamp, Amazon

Simple Stories Kissing Booth

Webster’s Pages: Love Is In The Air

Shipping: now
Wholesale: Webster’s Pages
Retail: Scrapbook.com, Amazon

Websters Pages Love Is In The Air

4

American Crafts Buys EK Success

American Crafts announced today that they have bought EK Success and its family of papercrafting brands from Wilton Brands.

EK Success Sticko show booth

[Disclosure: This article contains Amazon affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to the reader when a purchase is made after a click.]

EK Success is the fourth acquisition made by American Crafts in barely over 18 months. In 2017, the company acquired Core’dinations, DCWV’s paper division, and BoBunny Press. This marks by my count the tenth acquisition made by American Crafts, starting with its acquisition of Pebbles in 2009.

The acquisition of EK Success brings EK Tools, Sticko, Jolee’s, and K&Company into the American Crafts family of brands. EK Success products occupy significant shelf space at the major craft chain stores. But despite this the EK brands have been hobbled by the scrapbooking downturn (and financial issues at WIlton) and no longer carry quite the same market clout or cachet that they did 15 years ago at the height of the scrapbooking boom. However, the marketing and sales power of American Crafts should improve the brands’ market trajectory.

American Crafts said in the acquisition announcement that new products are planned for the EK brands. The entire EK Success design and product development staff is staying on to ensure what American Crafts calls “design integrity” as EK moves forward at its new corporate home.

Wayne Mitchell, CEO of American Crafts, says EK Success’ lineup of stickers, paper crafting and tools strongly appeal to a wide variety of crafters. “I’m excited to welcome the entire EK Success team to American Crafts,” says Mitchell. “Names like Jolee’s, Sticko, K&Company and EK Tools are simply iconic in our industry. We’re thrilled to work with such a talented team to develop even more amazing products we know crafters will love.”

Sue Buchta, CEO of Wilton Brands, says she is pleased that the EK Success team has found a new home at American Crafts. “The members of the EK Success team are incredibly talented and dedicated” says Buchta. “We appreciate how they’ve shared their time and talent with Wilton and EKSB over the years and wish them the very best. I can’t imagine a better fit for this team and these brands than with an industry leader like American Crafts.”

This is the second major divestment in less than a year for Wilton. Late last year the company sold off Simplicity Creative Group to CSS Industries. That deal (which included the Simplicity, Wrights, Boye, Dimensions, and Perler brands) caused some controversy at the time because it brought large pattern makers Simplicity and McCalls under the same corporate parent. It appears that with this second transaction Wilton is now left to focus only its food crafting brands. Food crafting is currently a trendy and growing craft market segment. The trend is being fed in significant part by the popularity among millennials of YouTube stars like Rosanna Pansino, creator of the Nerdy Nummies web series. Pansino, who is about to release the follow-up to her bestselling Nerdy Nummies cookbook, has launched a Nerdy Nummies baking product line aimed at the youth market that is produced by Wilton.

EK Success products will continue to ship from the current Wilton warehouse through September. EK Success products will then begin shipping in October from the American Crafts warehouse in Utah, after what is estimated to be a 10 day down time to move inventory. Distributors will continue as normal. Orders for EK Success products may be placed with American Crafts starting immediately.

21

American Crafts Buys BoBunny Press

American Crafts announced on October 6th (Friday) that they have purchased Utah scrapbook wholesale company BoBunny Press from the family that founded it over 20 years ago.

BoBunny exhibiting at Creativeworld at Messe Frankfurt in 2015.

BoBunny Press was founded in 1996, on the eve of the scrapbooking boom, by Jan Lanoy. The Layton, Utah company grew to include Lanoy’s husband Don and son Matthew over the years, and today BoBunny product lines are sold in 40 countries.

“It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to the industry, the store owners and the friends that we’ve made over the years, ” says Jan Lanoy. “But with me retiring, I wanted to make sure that crafters could continue to enjoy BoBunny for years to come. I have confidence that American Crafts will do a great job of making sure that happens.”

“The Lanoys have established a wonderful brand that resonates with crafters around the world,” says American Crafts CEO Wayne Mitchell. “They have tirelessly helped built the industry, and American Crafts is proud to continue their legacy by offering BoBunny products to the craft market.”

According to the announcement, product from BoBunny will begin shipping to retailers on November 1st from the American Crafts warehouse. Until then, retailer orders will ship from BoBunny’s current warehouse. Invoices dated October 3rd or earlier should be paid to BoBunny. Invoices dated after that date should be remitted to American Crafts.

Ordering of BoBunny branded product will be available immediately through the company’s sales reps, and new product will be developed under the BoBunny brand, according to American Crafts. Some of BoBunny’s designers have been hired by American Crafts to continue the brand’s signature look and feel under the new ownership.

This is the third acquisition this year by American Crafts, which has become known for acquiring smaller companies in recent years as it has made eight previous acquisitions and signed several high profile licensing deals as well. Earlier this year, the company first acquired Core’dinations (from its previous owner Darice) in January, and then DCWV’s paper division in June.

7

Update

JOANN store exteriorMakeover. One of the country’s largest (and at nearly 75 years old, one of its oldest) craft chains is undergoing a rebranding. The company long known as Jo-Ann Stores recently began calling itself “JOANN” in company announcements and has a newly redesigned logo and a fresh new shade of green as its signature color.

In addition to the new cosmetic look, the new JOANN is also engaging in a branding campaign, promoting the hashtag #handmadewithjoann and launching a series of videos about creating and creators.

In addition, JOANN has created a new mobile app that is much more community focused, allowing users to share their own creative projects.

“As shoppers’ behaviors and preferences evolve, we need to adapt the way we connect with them,” said Chris DiTullio, senior vice president, marketing and omni-channel at JOANN. “We’re committed to the longtime loyalists coming in to our stores, as well as the next generation of creators who want to shop, learn and share wherever they are. This app is so exciting because it offers something no other craft retailer does – the ability for customers to confidently share their finished projects with us, and with friends, family and one another as well.”

Partnership. Etsy has announced that it is launching a partnership with Printful that will provide print-on-demand integration to Etsy sellers. This will allow graphic artists to sell on Etsy and have Printful handle the logistics of printing and shipping items like t-shirts, mugs, hats, totes, wall prints, and other items.

“We applaud Etsy on adopting more professional services for their sellers,” says Printful CEO, Davis Siksnans. “Sellers can continue devoting time to their craft while leaving logistics to third-parties like Printful.”

Support. Taylor Swift got support from an unexpected source during the recent trial in Denver over her successful civil suit alleging she was groped by a radio DJ during a fan meet & greet. The offices of Craftsy are right across the street from the Denver courthouse where the trial took place. The Craftsy staff showed their support for Swift during the trial with a series of Post-It note messages on the windows that were clearly visible from the street below. Swift’s unofficial girl squad at Craftsy did not go unnoticed – they received a delivery of flowers and a note of appreciation from the singer on Tuesday after the trial’s conclusion.

Delinquent. The Tennessean reports that on the evening of August 8th, firefighters had to climb to the roof of the Dickson, Tennessee Hobby Lobby store to remove a 15 year old trespasser trying to use the store’s roof as an impromptu skateboard ramp.

Calls. Tombow USA has a call open until September 11th to find members for their 2018 design team.

Jobs. The following craft industry jobs are currently listed as available:

1

Update | Kickstarter, Stacy Julian, Merger, Crimes, Jobs & More

Recall. American Crafts is recalling two of the Jane Davenport acrylic paint kits that were sold in Michaels Stores in the U.S. and Canada before June 16th, 2017. Some Jane Davenport Portrait Paints Kit and the Jane Davenport Matte Acrylic Paint Kit may contain some defective paint containers that split and leak during use. Click here for full info on the recall, and contact acinfo@americancrafts.com for information on how to get a refund for your paints if you own the affected kits.

Start-up. Designer Lesley Oman is about to conclude a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch her own stamp company, called Heffy Doodle. Her campaign has raised over $15,000 so far to fund the launch of the new company.

New. Stacy Julian, founding editor of Simple Scrapbooks magazine, has a new product line coming in 2018. The product line, called Story by Stacy, was announced on June 30th at the annual Close To My Heart convention and will be a Close To My Heart exclusive. Julian was associated with a previous product line called Photo Freedom with Echo Park Paper, but it is fitting that she should get a product line with Close To My Heart – she started her scrapbooking career as a consultant with the company in 1993. Follow the Story by Stacy instagram account to keep up to date on the upcoming new line.

Story by Stacy logo

Mergers. Liberty Interactive, the parent company of tv shopping channel QVC, announced on July 6th that it is acquiring QVC the remaining 62% part of competitor HSN that it did not already own. Liberty also owns online retailer zulily, Evite, and interests in several other companies. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, after which HSN will remain operating in its St. Petersburg, Florida headquarters under the direction of Mike George, CEO of QVC. The move will combine the two eCommerce channels, both of which have strong presences in the craft segment, into the internet’s 3rd largest retailer.

Hoaxes. Like a celebrity death hoax that won’t go away, the viral Facebook post that claims “Hobby Lobby is closing all of its stores” is making the rounds again. No, it’s not true this time either. This go-round was probably triggered by the recent stories about Hobby Lobby facing government penalties over the illegal importation of ancient antiquities.

Crimes. A 46 year old man was arrested in the Hobby Lobby in McAllen, Texas in the evening of July 13th, accused of using his cell phone to take photos up the skirt of a female shopper in the store. The man was charged with making invasive visual recordings, a felony, and released after posting $10,000 bond.

Crimes II. The Joann Fabric & Crafts store in Thousand Oaks, CA reported to police on July 8th that the store had been the target of petty theft and embezzlement for a six month period beginning in January.

Earnings. Etsy will announce its second quarter 2017 financial results after market close on Thursday, August 3rd. These numbers will be being keenly watched by investors, as Etsy has had several rounds of layoffs recently and also launched its new Etsy Studio website for selling craft supplies.

Location. Michaels Stores is increasing its presence in New York City, with plans to build a second Brooklyn store in a new building going up at 1633 E. 16th Street. Michaels has signed a lease for 20,000 square feet on the ground floor of the building, expected to be completed in 2020.

Sneaks. The AFCI trade show in Salt Lake City is over, but the sneak peeks aren’t. Today we did a major new update to the Summer Sneak Peeks page on Scrapbook Update…check it out for all of the latest!

Jobs. The following industry jobs are currently listed as available:

5