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Tag Archives | Michaels

Update | Cuttlebug, Copic, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JOANN, & More!

With the start of the new year and trade shows happening, we have lots of catching up to do with the craft industry news! So let’s get started!

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

Cricut Cuttlebug

Cutting. Cricut has made two big product announcements recently. Fans of the Cuttlebug will be disappointed to learn that the die cut machine and its accessories are being discontinued. Those still wanting one (or supplies for one they already own) can shop while supplies last at Cricut.com.

Files from one of the most popular sources of SVG files for use on die cutting machines are now available in Cricut Access. Miss Kate Cuttables has launched several new collections in Cricut Access, including Spring Has Sprung, Springtime, All You Need Is Love, Be Mine Valentine, Love Letters, and Valentine’s Day.

Closing. Furniture chain Hemispheres, which was founded in 2001 by Hobby Lobby’s David Green, will be closing. The company’s vendors have been told the store will be placing no further inventory orders. Hemispheres’ eight stores in Texas and Oklahoma will close later this year after selling through existing and already-purchased inventory.

Closing 2. Impress Cards + Crafts has been serving Seattle-area paper crafters since 1987. But on February 23rd it will close its University Village store in Seattle, leaving only its Tukwilla location.

Closing 3. Scrapbook Store & More in Greenfield, Wisconsin will be closing their doors on March 31st. The owner, citing health problems and a changing scrapbook market, has announced plans to open a craft retreat house in late spring or early summer 2019 that will sleep 10-12 people.

Every store closure is a loss to the industry, of course. But this particular store is noteworthy as the store that started the scrapbooking career of a young Stephanie Hunt (aka Stephanie Smokovich) – now known to scrapbookers worldwide as the founder and designer of Bella Blvd.

Changes. In yet another sign of the decline of the popularity of pocket cards, Kelly Purkey has announced changes to her  monthly subscription club. The subscription traditionally included pocket cards and an exclusive stamp set. A second subscription option will now be made available moving forward that includes only the stamps, without the cards. The new stamp-only subscription will cost $16/month for a 12 month subscription.

Direct. Too Marker, the manufacturer of Copic markers, has announced that they are discontinuing their distribution agreement with Imagination International in the United States for the popular markers. Instead, the company plans to sell the markers directly themselves to the U.S. market.

Channels. Tonic Studios announced this week that they are changing channels. The company, which has long partnered with Hochanda for TV shopping sales, is jumping to Create and Craft TV starting in March 2019. Click here to see the full announcement.

Legal. After settling their patent infringement lawsuit against Tonic Studios in July, My Sweet Petunia moved on to another target in October: Stampin’ Up. In a widely anticipated move, My Sweet Petunia filed suit against Stampin’ Up in October 2018 alleging the company was infringing its patents on the MISTI tool by selling its Stamparatus tool. Stampin’ Up! has filed counter-claims against My Sweet Petunia challenging, among other things, the validity of one of My Sweet Petunia’s patents.

stamp-n-storage magnet sheets

Stamp-n-Storage magnet sheets in use

Wholesale. Stamp-n-Storage, which produces storage options for scrapbookers and card makers, is entering the wholesale market with its popular magnet cards for storing thin metal dies. All four sizes of Stamp-n-Storage magnet cards (5×7, 6×7, 8×7 and 8.5×11) were on display to retailers at the recent Creativation show in Phoenix. The company had previously marketed its products only via its own website and at consumer craft shows such as Stamp & Scrapbook Expo.

Adjustments. Facing a shrinking market for her company’s core Project Life products, Becky Higgins has shared with fans some major changes being taken to help ensure the health of the company moving forward. The company’s physical office space has been shut down, with all staff working from home now. The Good Life product line – the company’s foray into lifestyle products – is also going away. And they are also stopping exhibiting at consumer shows and shipping product internationally from their online store. Finally, they are discontinuing their affiliate marketing program.

In the email to consumers discussing the changes, Becky promised fans would see more video content containing Project Life projects soon, along with more online courses for the Becky Higgins classroom. The company also is planning what she described as “an adjustment in how we offer / package the Project Life product,” which may be a welcome change to many scrapbookers if it includes fewer duplicates of the 3×4 cards. Too many duplicates of those cards is a common complaint among Project Life core kit purchasers.

Chains. Michaels has announced it is closing all of the 36 Pat Catan’s stores in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The company acquired the Pat Catan stores three years ago when it bought Lamrite West, the parent company of Darice and Pat Catan’s. At the time of the acquisition, Michaels’ public statements pointed to Darice as the motivation for the acquisition, so the announcement of the retail stores’ impending closure is not particularly surprising. Michaels says it intends to rebrand up to 12 of the stores as Michaels stores and reopen them in the 2019 fiscal year. The company will also continue to maintain a warehouse for its wholesale business in Strongsville, Ohio.

“After a comprehensive review, we have decided to close all of the Pat Catan’s retail stores. We expect to rebrand and reopen up to 12 stores as new Michaels stores in fiscal 2019, and we will continue to maintain a support center and distribution center in Strongsville, Ohio to support our growing wholesale business. We believe these changes will provide more value for customers and shareholders by enabling us to leverage a more consistent merchandise assortment and eliminate duplicative retail operating expenses,” says Chuck Rubin, Chairman and CEO of The Michaels Companies. “This was not an easy decision, and I am grateful for the contributions of our Pat Catan’s Team Members. As we work through the closing process, we intend to provide employment opportunities or transition support for all Team Members.”

People. JOANN Stores has a new CEO to replace Jill Soltau, who left for JC Penney in October 2018 – and it’s a familiar face. Wade Miquelon, who had been serving as interim President and CEO since Soltau’s departure, was appointed last week as her permanent replacement. He was also given a seat on the Board of Directors as well. Miquelon joined JOANN as EVP and CFO in March 2016, and came to JOANN from The Walgreen Company.

Cruising. Michaels is partnering with Carnival Cruise Line to be their exclusive arts and crafts provider for their fleet of 26 cruise ships. Onboard ship, Carnival Cruise Line customers will have access to a variety of “Make It With Michaels” craft experiences that will rotate seasonally. And this spring, Michaels will host Carnival Cruise-themed classes in their stores.

“As we continue our mission to make it easy for parents to provide their kids with more mindful, screen-free fun, we are excited to partner with Carnival Cruise Line to inspire creativity at sea,” said Steve Carlotti, Michaels EVP of Marketing. “Carnival carries more than 5.2 million guests every year, including 800,000 kids, and this program will give guests of all ages a new and creative way to interact with our brand. As the number one player in the arts and crafts space, we are the preferred destination for making and creative play, and this new partnership is another way we are solidifying our leadership position.”

To celebrate the program’s launch, the companies are giving away five Carnival Cruises between now and April 30th. You can enter to win on the Carnival Cruise website.

Dates. Speaking of getting away, Jenn Shurkus has announced the 2019 dates for her Creative Journey Art Retreats on Cape Cod. The spring retreat will be April 27th-28th, and the fall retreat is November 2nd-November 3rd. Registration for the spring retreat opens February 17th at 9am ET.

Sold. U.K.-based Coats has sold its North American Crafts business to Spinrite, the Canadian manufacturer of yarn brands such as Caron, Bernat and Lily Sugar n’ Cream, for initial cash consideration of $37 million. The acquisition brings brands like Red Heart, Susan Bates, Aunt Lydia and Coats & Clark to Spinrite.

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Jo-Ann’s Ignites Social Firestorm with Anti-Tariff Advocacy

Jo-Ann Stores launched a political advocacy program last week to oppose new tariffs on product imports from overseas. The result, predictable with anything remotely political these days, was an avalanche of vitriol.

Jo-Ann Made in America Tax

The advocacy program poorly framed the tariffs as a “Made in America tax” in an attempt to stress that the tariffs will make items handmade by American crafters more expensive. (The goal of the campaign is to get crafters to contact their Representatives and Senators via the site linked above.) This high concept slogan fell loudly flat with its intended audience, it seems. Some were just confused by the campaign, seeming to think Jo-Ann’s was claiming that the tariffs applied to American products. Other recipients of the campaign’s email and social posts expressed that they found the wording deceptive.

Many of the outraged commenters on Jo-Ann’s post on Facebook have vowed to boycott the company in the future for engaging in politics. The most popular alternative boycotters are promising to seek out by far is Hobby Lobby, a good indication that the outrage is more about about the specific position that Jo-Ann’s is taking (opposing a policy of President Trump) than that they are engaging in politics in general. Based on the previous experience of Hobby Lobby, Starbucks, and Target – all of whom are thriving after similar consumer boycott threats – Jo-Ann probably doesn’t have much to worry about.

Jo-Ann Stores isn’t the only major craft retailer who has spoken out against the tariffs. Back in March, when the tariffs were initially proposed, Michaels Companies joined Jo-Ann Stores (and 24 other retailers) in signing a public letter opposing the tariffs that was organized by the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

So why would Jo-Ann Stores (and Michaels in a smaller way) voluntarily venture into a political issue that they had to know would cause backlash? The fact, basically, that they were willing to wade into this mire at all is telling of just how serious they believe the China tariffs are for their business. (And this assessment can be extrapolated to virtually all other craft businesses as well.)

What has Joann’s sounding the alarm? As of last Friday (the 24th), a 25% tariff (import tax) now applies to all virtually all craft category products that are imported from China. Jo-Ann’s is highlighting the following items from the tariff list in its campaign:

  • Candle Holders (9405.50.40)
  • Cookie Cutters (8205.51.30)
  • Faux Fur (6001.10.20)
  • Feather Craft and Décor Articles (6701.00.30)
  • Fleece (6001.22.00)
  • Glass Beads (7018.10.50)
  • Glue (3506.10.50)
  • Knit Fabric (6005.37.00, 6004.10.00, 6006.44.00)
  • Magnifying Glasses (9013.80.20)
  • Metal Beads (8308.90.30, 8308.10.00)
  • Paper Cutting Machines (8441.10.00)
  • Paper Products (4823.90.67, 4823.90.86)
  • Twig/Vine Baskets (4602.19.18)
  • Velour and Similar Fabrics (6001.92.00)
  • Vine Wreaths and Décor (4602.19.60)
  • Washi and other Paper Tape (4811.41.21)
  • Woven Cotton Fabric (5208.52.30, 5208.32.30, 5208.52.40, 5208.32,40, 5208.12.60, 5208.22.60, 5806.20.00),
  • Woven Manmade Fabric (Poly, Nylon, etc) (5407.61.99, 5513.21.00)
  • Yarn (5606.00.00, 5511.10.00)

A close examination of the tariff list also shows more items like clay, paints, stamping foils, inks, drawing ink, film, paper, metals, buttons, glue, and sewing machines that are likely to either directly or indirectly raise prices on craft products.

Products that are manufactured in the United States won’t be safe from tariff price increases, either. With items such as chalk, mica, wax, dyes, coloring matter, pigments, printing ink, inks, natural rubber, synthetic rubber, paper, metal, and printing plates and many wood items also on the tariff list, many American craft product manufacturers will find themselves paying higher prices for the raw materials used to produce even their U.S.-made products.

Jill Soltau, CEO of Jo-Ann Stores, told Fox Business last week that two-thirds of the products the company sells are sourced from China, and that no alternatives are available outside China that can meet their quantity and quality specifications. She said Jo-Ann Stores expects that consumers will see a 25% price increase on most products as a result of the tariffs.

The new tariffs are of concern in several ways for the financial health of the crafts industry. Sudden significant price increases may lead some consumers to opt out of the industry altogether due to a decrease in the perceived value they are receiving. Other consumers may find their discretionary hobby spending involuntarily limited by budget constraints caused by tariff-related price increases on non-discretionary household spending. Consumers who remain active in the industry will find their dollar not going as far – the same dollars buying fewer SKU units. Since wholesale and production prices for most items are based on volume ordered by the company, fewer SKUs being turned over could lead to increased wholesale prices – thus leading to even more consumer price increases and a vicious circle of inflation.

One of the Trump administration’s stated motivations for putting the tariffs in place is due to Chinese companies’ violation of U.S. intellectual property. This has been a major problem for U.S. craft companies on platforms like Alibaba, where blatant copies of popular stamp manufacturers’ designs are sold to U.S. consumers with barely any recourse for the companies. Stampin’ Up! made an attempt to file a copyright infringement suit against Alibaba Hong Kong Ltd in U.S. District Court in Utah in April, but then withdrew the suit for unknown reasons six weeks later before Alibaba even filed a response.

Will the cure (tariffs) be worse than the disease (copyright infringement) for the crafts industry? Only time will tell.

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Update | Etsy, Creativeworld, Stampin’ Up!, Michaels, & More!

[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt is a sponsor of this website.]

Increases. Etsy announced yesterday (Thursday) that it is increasing seller fees significantly on July 16th. Transaction fees for sales will be increasing to 5% from the current 3.5% fee. The transaction fees will also now be charged on shipping as well as the listing’s sale price.

In addition to the increased fees, Etsy will be launching subscription services for sellers. The first product launching will be Etsy Plus, for an “introductory price” of $10 per month. (No word on what the price will be after the introductory price runs out.) Etsy Plus will include 15 free monthly listing credits, a $5 monthly credit for promoted listings, some new special features for shop owners, and discounts on items like custom web addresses and packaging. Etsy Premium will launch in 2019, and is targeted for Etsy shop owners who have employees.

Etsy’s Chief Financial Officer Rachel Glaser described the increased fees in the announcement as a method for Etsy to invest in more marketing of its sellers.  “Our revised fee structure will allow us to make more meaningful investments on behalf of our sellers while remaining what we believe is the best value for entrepreneurs looking to start, manage, and grow a creative business. We plan to increase our 2017 direct marketing spend by at least 40% in 2018, revamp our Etsy community platforms, and execute against an exciting product roadmap. We believe all of this will help drive near-term growth and increase buyer lifetime value.”

In the same announcement that unveiled the increased fees, Etsy also announced new market guidance for earnings for the 2018 fiscal year. GMS growth is now predicted at 16%-19%, up from 16%-18%. The company is now predicting revenue growth of 32%-34%, up from 22%-24%. The previous guidance was issued at their earnings call last month. There was no change to the forecasted adjusted EBITDA margin of 21%-23%.

The changes went over well with investors. Etsy shares rose 35% in the first few hours of trading yesterday to a record high of $44.78. The stock closed for the day up over 25% at $41.65.

Endings. Studio Calico has announced that the June kits are the last ones for the company’s Scrapbook and Planner kits. The Scrapbook kit is the original kit that launched Studio Calico 11 years ago. Subscribers to the discontinued kits can transfer their subscriptions to the company’s Documenter (pocket scrapboook), or Stamp kit, or to the new Traveler’s Notebook kit launching in July.

Studio Calico’s announcement on their blog explained the reason for the changes: “There has been a drastic change in the memory keeping industry over the last 11 years, and we are continually thankful for all our loyal customers, their feedback, and the ever-evolving community of paper lovers.”

Creativeworld 2018

Shows. Messe Frankfurt announced last week that 300 manufacturers are signed up to take part in the Creativeworld 2019 trade fair. The event will take place at the Messe Frankfurt exhibition grounds in Frankfurt am Main, Germany from the 26th to the 29th of January, 2019. Companies committed to returning to Creativeworld for 2019 include C. Kreul, Clairefontaine, Creativ Company, Efco Kreativ, Folia, Marabu, Rayher Hobby, Rico Design and Staedtler.

“We are very pleased with the number of registrations received and are keenly looking forward to Creativeworld 2019. Our planning for the hall layout and the multi-faceted programme of events are also well advanced”, says Michael Reichhold, Creativeworld Director, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH. Continue Reading →

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Michaels CEO Rings NASDAQ Opening Bell for Michaels IPO

Michaels Stores CEO Chuck Rubin rang the opening bell on the NASDAQ exchange this morning to celebrate the start of trading of Michaels IPO on the exchange today.

Since the high-tech NASDAQ exchange does not have a physical trading floor, the exchange uses a location in New York’s Times Square for its bell ceremonies instead. Below, Michaels CEO Chuck Rubin (left) poses with NASDAQ CEO Robert Greifeld (right).

Continue Reading →

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Positions Available: Michaels Assistant Store Manager

Michaels Assistant Store Manager: Bradenton, FL & Gulfport, MS

Michaels Stores, Inc. is advertising to fill full-time Assistant Store Manager positions in two of their locations.  Job requirements include 2-5 years of work experience and a high school or equivalent degree.  For more information or to apply for these positions please follow the links below.

*Please note that Scrapbook Update is in no way associated with the companies and the positions listed here.  Please forward all questions or comments about the job listings to the offering organization via the links provided with this article.  Thanks!

Fiskars Merging Distribution Centers in Mississippi

Fiskars announced Thursday that it is consolidating all of its warehouse and distribution operations for its Garden and School/Office/Craft divisions into a single new center in Southaven, Mississippi later this year.

Two warehouse/distribution facilities in Wisconsin will be closed to allow for the consolidation in Mississippi. The company’s Sauk City, WI facility will be closed by the end of 2010, and the Wausau, WI facility will close by May 2011. A total of 115 employees in the two locations were notified Thursday that they will be laid off due the facilities closing. Fiskars is offering severance packages and transition programs to the affected workers.

The merger of the distribution facilities is part of an ongoing effort by Fiskars to merge their Garden and School/Office/Craft divisions to maximize the efficiency of the company and improve its order fulfillment for its retail customers. The effort began last year when the business operations of the two divisions were moved into a single facility in Madison, WI.

The company will begin occupying a 260,000 square foot facility in Southaven, Mississippi in September 2010. The facility will host some light assembly and the distribution functions, employing 100 people in two shifts.

The Mississippi location was selected for the consolidated distribution center because of its proximity to serving Fiskars’ major retail accounts, which include Michaels (Dallas), Wal-mart (Arkansas), Home Depot (Atlanta), Lowe’s (North Carolina), and Office Depot (Florida).

“The new location is in closer proximity to many of our retail partners’ distribution centers allowing us to provide improved customer service,” Fiskars spokeswoman Julia Prohaska told Scrapbook Update. “The merging of our garden and craft distribution also allows us to combine orders in single shipments.”

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