The industry as seen by top designers.
ACCI TRENDS: PRODUCTS & DESIGNS
Scrapbooking, yes, but lots more, too.
by Lynda Musante and Tracia Williams
A few observations from our travels around the ACCI 2003 trade
Great influence of paper crafts was felt through out the show -- a
trend that has grown in strength since the HIA January, 2003 trade
show. Paper has moved to the next dimension with vendors showcasing
papers with textures, suede-looks, and embossing. We saw a lot more
specialty papers, including petals, mulberry, vellums, and
transparents. Many booths featured techniques with paper developed
to replicate metal.
Card stock is more visible than ever. Scrapbooking began with using
solid colors on card stock, then patterned papers rose to great
prominence. Now cardstock is back in demand to provide the
foundation to coordinate photos with the specialty paper's patterns
We don't see demand for paper dying down any time soon. In fact,
many vendors were featuring new tools developed for use with papers.
Big-dollar tool purchases had been dropping off as many enthusiasts
have filled their Cropper Hopper's with their selection of
scissors, punches, and more tools.
We were impressed by Provo Craft's Sizzix Paddle Punch
to punch holes/cutouts anywhere on the paper; all the consumer needs
is a mallet and mat. Provo Craft also showed the Sew Crafty,
a battery-operated mini sewing machine that retails around $10 and
is very portable for sewing papers, fabrics, fibers, etc.
There also seems to be an increased emphasis on quicker assemblage
of scrapbook pages vs. spending time on works of art per page. The
consumer magazines seem dedicated to this very topic.
The "Urban/Found Element" look seems to be growing by
leaps and bounds. While hard to describe, it's not "moldy-oldy,"
vintage/tea stained, or industrial. This is a completely design-driven
look, featuring innovative surfaces, bindings, fonts, papers, metal
accents, paints, rubber stamps, and images. Every product is used
with a series of related elements.
Design Originals introduced us to this look with
instructional books. The only company at HIA totally dedicated to
the Urban/Found Element look was 7 Gypsies -- and they were
mobbed throughout that show. By ACCI, we saw several more
manufacturers who had taken note and introduced similar products.
Interestingly, the additional competition did not seem to lessen the
traffic in the booths featuring Urban/Found Element products lines.
We also saw papers and products featuring Pucci-like prints, retro-50's,
vintage/romantic, and collage. Many designers have been rejoicing
about the lessening in the requests for "cute" designs,
and welcoming the challenge of using manufacturers' products to
achieve new looks.
Three booths that we noticed as among the busiest throughout the
1. K& Co., which showed a "Ralph Lauren" look:
rich, traditional, high-end coordinating books, papers, and more.
2. 7 Gypsies, who were mobbed at HIA when they showcased the
urban/Found Element look, and were mobbed again at ACCI until the
last minutes of the show.
3. Rusty Pickle was another scrapbooking company that also
had retailers placing orders up to the final minutes.
We've been wondering why our industry's large yarn/fiber companies
haven't jumped on the fiber wagon for scrapbooking. We imagine they
have fibers in a zillion colors, and are eminently prepared to
create competitive put-ups.
When EK Success bought the rights to the Adornaments
product line, they've dominated that segment of the market ever
since. We saw companies in the new vendor area bringing fibers/yarn
into this market, so there continues to be interest.
In more traditional scrapbooking, dimensional stickers were
pioneered a few years ago with the introduction of Jolee's
Boutique. EK Success has now innovated and expanded that line to
, which takes that first product line and breaks it down into
smaller components for consumers to use. We see this as a good
example of the role excellent design plays. This product line has
been knocked off -- in fact, knocked off quite successfully at
retail -- but EK remains out in front of the curve with its
innovation and dedication to quality design. We think this is a
perfect example of a product line that would not exist without a
continued investment in design development.
Crafts & paint.
Traditional crafts companies who invested in new product and design
development were definitely busier at ACCI than manufacturers with
displays that didn't look much different than at past trade shows.
We're wondering why paint, brush, and surface manufacturers aren't
jumping up and down about the increasing numbers of finished goods
on display -- a continuation from a trend we noticed earlier in the
year at HIA. Pre-finished goods at the major discount department
stores look great and don't cost much. As a result, it seems that
consumers aren't spending the time or money on classes and supplies
to attempt to get the same look through painting themselves.
We noticed a trend at the Society of Decorative Painters show
(which continued at ACCI) where the painting community's discussions
focused on dropping sales in that category. One thing we discussed
with several vendors and designers is that it's been a long time
since a new surface swept through the industry like rusty tin.
In the beading category, the key players were busy and their booths
displayed a larger variety and additional line extensions. We also
saw a lot of containers pre-filled with beads to make it easier for
consumers to color-coordinate their jewelry projects -- not kits,
really, but a convenience item to make creating the final project
Glitter is making a return! It's not just for kid's crafts, either.
Glitter vendors had line extensions featuring special effects, ultra
fine, and chunky rock glitter with different finishes. The Atlanta
Gift Mart had lots of glitter on holiday products, and we've heard
that the floral show in Dallas show lots of shiny things as well.
Overall, the vibe on the floor seemed positive. We had a needlework
vendor tell us that the ACCI 2003 show was one of her company's best
shows. We saw many chain buyers on the floor and spending time with
The magazines were buying designs as well, including many of the
projects featured in the House That Crafts Built. It was
great to see this new venture receive such wide support from the
craft industry. Many designers reported that the Designer Forum on
Saturday night was well attended, and they were scheduling design
placements with editors, publishers, and manufacturers.
We hope the positive trend continues and look forward to seeing you
at the SCD Educational Seminar which will be held in St. Louis, MO
Note: Have any comments for Lynda or Tracia, or any suggsted
topics for future columns? Lynda Musante, Nifty Development Corp.,
Richmond, VA. email Lsmusante@aol.com Tracia Williams, Tracia &
Co., Orlando, FL email Traciaw@earthlink.net