Creative Leisure News (August 5, 2013)


CHA’s decision to co-locate next year’s summer show with NAMTA in Pittsburgh in late April (see below), is a classic case of how impossible it is to make everyone in this diverse industry happy. Consider, there are tiny shops and Wal-Mart, vendors working out of their garages and multi-million-dollar conglomerates. Everybody has different needs. Most people will probably applaud the CHA/NAMTA connection; stores that sell crafts and art materials will be delighted: two shows for the price of one. Years ago HIA co-located with TNNA; one badge got you into both shows and everyone seemed happy. But there are comments by viewers who read Scrapbook Update‘s report on the change, and some were not happy. It’s too soon after the winter show to develop new products/designs, and it’s too far away to present Christmas items. So some scrapbook folks are unhappy, but I bet they will be next April when they meet all these art material retailers they’d never heard of before. There’s an enormous number of paper-related products that cross over into jewelry. In April I bet vendors will discover there are even more products that cross over into art materials.

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Benny Da Buyer. BERNINA names its top dealers for 2012. (Note: If you click on the column and it’s not the column you expected, click the Reload or Refresh button of your browser.)

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Now it’s time to consider the Knitting/Crochet, Needlework, Paper Crafts/Scrapbooking, Seasonal, and Sewing categories. How will they perform in the second half of 2013? To vote, click on Industry Polls in the right-hand column or click HERE.

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General Crafts scored the highest in CLN readers’ predictions of how various categories would fare in the second half of the year. Here are the grades and grade-point averages. General Crafts: A, 12.5% … B, 62.5% … C, 25.0% … D, 0% … F, 0% = 2.870 Kids Crafts: A, 0% … B, 73.3% … C, 26.7% … D, 0% … F, 0% = 2.733 Art Materials: A, 6.7% … B, 40.0% … C, 46.7% … D, 6.7% … F, 0% = 2.569 Beading/Jewelrymaking: A, 5.6% … B, 44.4% … C, 38.9% … D, 5.6% … F, 5.6% = 2.401 Food Crafts: A, 0% … B, 26.7% … C, 60.0% … D, 5.6% … F, 0% = 2.057 Florals: A, 7.7% … B, 23.1% … C, 30.8% … D, 30.8% … F, 7.7% = 1.848

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The recent Create-N-Connect show in Las Vegas had a positive, upbeat “feel” to it because there was a good ratio of booths to buyers. The number of exhibitors was down about 15%, but the number of preregistered buyers was up slightly. Hence the show floor felt relatively crowded and busy. Most vendors seemed pleased with the event.

  1.  Once again the show was dominated by paper crafting. For more on the products unveiled at the show, visit Julie McGuffee’s blog HERECraft Critique; and Scrapbook Update.
  2.  One exception was a Chinese company, CNCA LASER,demonstrating a 3D printer which was “printing” small (2″) heads of Greek and Roman gods. The price was under $1,000 and the company was looking for re-sellers. (A website is not yet available. The phone is +86-551-653 35248). The detail work of the finished pieces was remarkable. … Another exception was Peachtree Global, offering Magic Marble swirling paint that works with tap water. The demos attracted a relatively large crowd.
  3.  There was an excellent seminar, “How the Affordable Healthcare Act Will Affect Your Business.” Look for a similar program at the January show.

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The CHA Summer show as a stand-alone trade show is over, at least for now. CHA announced that next year it would co-locate with the Int. Art Materials Trade Assn. show in 2014 in Pittsburgh Apr. 30 – May 2. The 2014 summer show scheduled for St. Louis has been cancelled. CHA and NAMTA exhibitors will be in the same hall, so a badge from either association allows buyers access to all of the booths. The two associations will work together on an expanded series of program sessions. “CHA is delighted to partner with NAMTA in their annual trade show to bring greater business opportunity to our members,” CHA Board Chair Maureen Ruth told Scrapbook Update. CHA President/CEO Andrej Suskavcevic added, “I look forward to this partnership with NAMTA as we look to help our members build new relationships to grow their business.” “We are very excited at the prospects of these two well-respected associations working more closely to deliver greater benefits and value to their members, exhibitors, and conference attendees,” NAMTA Exec Director, Reggie Hall said. “Our associations, our members, and our industries overall continue to face a wide range of challenges and this partnership will address those challenges to benefit everyone involved.” CHA also plans to hold “Creative Conferences” at various locations in 2014. Details will be announced later.

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When HIA moved its January trade show out of Chicago to Sun Belt cities, a number of industry leaders thought the Midwest still needed a trade show and formed the Mid-American Craft & Hobby Assn. It held its first show in a Chicago downtown hotel in July, 1977. Similar organizations were formed in the Northeast, South, and Southwest and sponsored their own summer shows, but MACHA was the largest. After a few years it outgrew the hotel and moved to Rosemont. It had become a national show and so the board changed the name to the Assn. of Crafts & Creative Industries. When ACCI and HIA merged to create CHA, the new association ran both shows. The summer show has declined in size and attendance for years. Why?

  1.  Imports took over the seasonal (Christmas) business, and July was much too late.
  2.  Some chains stopped sending their buyers to the show. For vendors who sell almost exclusively to the chains, there seemed to be no reason to exhibit.
  3.  The decline of the independent retailer. There literally aren’t near as many independents as there once were.
  4.  The decline of the scrapbook specialty store. In addition to reducing attendance, it hurt the number of exhibitors who, lacking the resources to sell to the chains, depended on selling to large numbers of independents.

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In a note to members, CHA President/CEO Andrej Suskavcevic reported that changes are in the works for the winter show Jan. 10-14 in Anaheim. “In the works for Anaheim we will be featuring what’s new and innovative via showcases and an enhanced new exhibitor section, special buyer programs, a Bead/Jewelry pavilion, a celebrity speaker series, product and business education sessions for our conference day (10th) as well as on the show floor, and a CHA Foundation Gala.” Details are expected to be released next month.

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Michaels announced it will issue $700 million in new debt to pay a dividend to its private equity shareholders, Bain Capital and The Blackstone Group, and 150-200 current and former execs who have been awarded stock options. Bain and Blackstone acquired the company in a 2006 leveraged buyout. “While the IPO is delayed, this provides liquidity to our equity holders,” Michaels VP Joshua Moore told Bloomberg News. “We want to be sure our new CEO [Chuck Rubin, hired in February] has had enough time to assess the company and have a very clear and compelling story,” Moore said. “Four months isn’t enough time.” The IPO may not happen until next year. “The window is getting shorter before the holiday season,” Moore said. “The calendar isn’t in our favor.” Recent results aren’t in the company’s favor either, Bloomberg reported. The first-quarter results were relatively flat, and through the first nine weeks of the second quarter, sales have declined 0.1% to $631 million. Same-store sales fell 2.7%. Net sales for the five months ending July 6 increased 0.9% to $1.62 billion but same-store sales declined 1.5%.

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U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton in Oklahoma City issued a preliminary injunction that exempts Hobby Lobby from the mandate that required HL to offer insurance coverage for the morning-after pill, which HL says would violate its religious beliefs. The injunction lasts until Oct. 1, to give the federal government time to decide on an appeal. “There is a substantial public interest in ensuring that no individual or corporation has their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved,” Heaton said On June 27, a federal appeals court in Denver let Hobby Lobby challenge the mandate on religious grounds, and said there was a good chance the company would prevail, Reuters reported. The appeals court said HL had “drawn a line at providing coverage for drugs or devices they consider to induce abortions, and it is not for us to question whether the line is reasonable.” However, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in favor of the government in a case that involved a furniture company owned by a Mennonite family that sued the government over the birth control mandate, the Christian Post reported. The ruling is exactly the opposite of the Hobby Lobby decision, which increases the odds that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually rule on the cases. Read more HERE.

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A U.S. district court overturned a Federal Reserve rule capping the debit card fees that banks collect from merchants. The judge ruled that the Federal Reserve improperly set the caps too high after an extensive lobbying campaign by the banking industry, the Washington Post reported. Under the rule, banks can charge retailers as much as 21 cents a transaction, but the court decision could result in debit fees being cut by more than 50%. In a note to investors, Guggenheim Partners said debit fees probably will revert to the 7-12 cents/transaction that the Fed had initially proposed.

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Just prior to the Create-N-Connect show, American Crafts purchased the craft/hobby wholesaler Imaginisce. The change in ownership is effective immediately. Imaginisce was started by Durham Brands and was known for its craft tools, including a cordless glue gun, the iTopbutton maker and iRock gem setter, and paper craft collections. Jeff Mitchell, CEO of American Crafts, says Imaginisce’s lineup of products appeals to a wide variety of crafters. “Over the years, Durham Brands has done an outstanding job of making innovative tools and crafting supplies at an accessible price,” says Mitchell. “The products are easy to use and inspire creativity.” Jeff Durham, president and CEO of Durham Brands says he’s pleased that Imaginisce has found a new home. “American Crafts is the right company to move the Imaginisce brand forward,” says Durham. “We’re excited to see Imaginisce gain fresh exposure and grow under new ownership.” With the purchase of Imaginisce, American Crafts will continue to provide retailers with an ever growing range of scrapbooking, stamping, crafting, and DIY options. At the show Imaginisce introduced a vacuum-powered update to the iRock gem setter, Milk Paint, reverse-tension tweezers, and three new themed collections of paper and embellishments. The new products will begin shipping from American Crafts this month. Retailers interested in ordering Imaginisce products should call 800-879-5185.

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1. iLoveToCreate(R)  named Gregory Waples as VP of Sales. He most recently served as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Absolutely New, a consumer goods company that brings inventors’ innovative new products to market. Prior to that, he worked for Proctor & Gamble, Polaroid, CSS Industries, and Jarden Corp. 2. Craftwell, producer of die-cutting machines and theeBosser, has appointed James Thornton as Board Chair,Scrapbook Update reported.. From 2005 to 2011 Thornton had been Chair/President/CEO of Provo Craft, manufacturer the Cricut line of products. Since leaving Provo, Thornton has been serving as CEO of Digital Art Zone 3D (DAZ3D) a Salt Lake City-based technology company. 3. Spellbinders(R) Paper Arts named Greg Tipsord CEO. He will assume his duties immediately. Tipsord has worked for The Dial Corp, The Henkel Corp., and Proctor and Gamble. In 2012, he founded the Business Consumer Consulting Group, providing management consulting services to consumer-marketplace businesses. Former CEO Jeff Caron remains as a consultant. 4. Spellbinders(R) Paper Arts also named Donald Erlichman as Director of Business Development. He will report to Sales Director Jerry Poffel. Prior to Spellbinders, he held the positions of Director of Business Development for DAZ3D, VP of Int. Sales & Media Shopping Networks for Provo Craft, National Sales Manager for International Molding and Sales Manager, Museum Division for Tru Vue. 5. Fibre-Craft has named David Moll as Exec VP of Sales. He served as VP at Russ Berrie and EVP at Commonwealth Toy & Novelty. The company also appointed Wendy Bucinski as VP of Operations/Finance. She had been Controller/VP of Finance at Bally MFG, First Alert, and Publications Int.

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During the recent summer market, TNNA announced the winners of the third annual Business Innovation awards. This year’s winners received $15,000+ in prizes.

  1.  The Needlework Retailers award: Homestead NeedleArts, Grand Blanc, MI
  2.  Needlework Wholesalers and Affiliates award: Robbyn’s Nest Designs, Cuba, NY
  3.  Yarn Retailers award: Yarnover Truck, Los Angeles
  4.  Yarn Wholesalers and Affiliates award: Skacel Collection, Kent, WA

To learn more about this year’s winners and about the Business Innovations Awards program, visit HERE.

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The deadline for submitting nominations for the three types of CHA awards is Aug. 31. The nomination forms can be downloaded HERE. Complete the form and return it by fax or email to Lidia Diaz at 201-835-1267 They are the Meritorious Award of Honor (service to CHA);the Industry Achievement Award (contribution to craft and hobby industry) and Special Recognition Award(s) (good deeds). The Awards Committee, composed of CHA board members and member volunteers, will review the applications and the winners will be announced in late fall. The awards will be given out during the winter show in January. “Our industry is full of amazing people that truly deserve the recognition for their service and achievements,” said Committee Chair David Murray.

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The company that started in a cheese shop by two European immigrant couples is celebrating its 70th birthday with special programming through Aug. 24. “We truly appreciate being a part of people’s lives and communities over the past 70 years and look forward to continuing that relationship into the future,” said CEO/President Travis Smith. “While the times and trends may change, we continue to work to inspire the creativity that exists in all of us, young and old.” The celebration began July 28 with a Simple Sunday event, in this case creating a handmade gift tag. There is also a “Share Your Story” sweepstakes on Facebook, in which customers are encouraged to exchange their favorite Jo-Ann memories. Each week two random entrants will be chosen to win $100 Jo-ann gift cards. Visit

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According to the Research, IncThe State Of Retailing Online 2013: Marketing & Merchandising, nearly nine in 10 (87%) online retailers surveyed either already have implemented or are planning to implement mobile email optimization in 2013, and seven in 10 will optimize paid search for smartphones and tablets (71% and 73%, respectively). “As consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets in the U.S. reaches critical mass, retailers know that their marketing mix has to work optimally for all customer touchpoints now,” said Exec Director Vicki Cantrell. “Email has always been one of most effective customer retention vehicles in the market, so it’s no surprise to see retailers investing to make email engaging and relevant for the increasingly mobile consumer.” According to the study, retailers say that, on average, 28% of emails sent to customers are first opened on a smartphone; the stakes are higher for small retailers who say that on average, 42% of their emails are first opened on a smartphone.

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Apparently a new trend in the toy industry is what’s being called “snack toys” — quicker, easier board games and projects that take less time. For example, Hasbro introduced a new version of Monopoly that takes 30 minutes to play. Kids are so busy with activities, the theory goes, they don’t have time for long projects. Or possibly their attention span is shorter. Will that trend carry over to kids crafts?

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VANDALISM. Some people in Los Angeles protesting the Trayvon Martin verdict smashed windows and raided a Wal-Mart store, the Associated Press reported.

NEW STORES. Hobby Lobby will remodel an old Menards in Springfield, IL and open this fall. Others will open in Bangor, Maine and Moline, IL. … UK’s Hobbycraft will open in Plymouth. … Jo-Ann opened in Sahuarita, AZ; Athens, OH; and Montrose, CO; and will open in Little Rock, AK. …Michaels opened in San Diego. … Hancock closed one store in Ft. Wayne, IN and opened a smaller one. But the displays will hold two to three times the merchandise – but it will only carry fabric and notions. … A.C. Moore opened in Port St. Lucie, FL.

QUILTS,I. The Kansas City Star recently profiled the Doan family and its Missouri Star Quilt Co. a store in Hamilton, MO, a town of 1,800 about 60 miles northeast of Kansas City. Visitors come from around the world, family members and 50 employees ship a thousand orders a day, and they’re rehabbing two downtown buildings, a hotel/retreat for out-of-towners. All this from a slow start in 2008. The cause? YouTube videos. Read about it HERE.

QUILTS, II. Jo-Ann stores have/will have four new quilt collections: House & Garden Collection from Cloud9 Fabrics (in stores now) … Coats & Clark‘s Eclectic Elements Collection by Tim Holtz (at select stores through August) … Juliana Horner’s Rosette Collection (in stores now) … Rendevous Collection from Modkid Studio (in stores Sept. 1). To see the entire collection, click HERE.

FINANCE. The Blackstone Group, half-owner of Michaels, was highlighted in the 7/19 edition of the Wall Street Journal: “[Blackstone] sold $1.6 billion worth of stakes in companies it owns and raised another $2.1 billion selling real estate during the [second quarter] period. The firm said it expected the robust climate for cashing out of past investments to continue.”

BTS, I. A National Retail Federation survey of consumers’ back-to-school spending plans predicts families will spend an average $634.78, down from $688.62 last year. Why the decline? The 2012 season was an all-time record, the NRF explains.

BTS, II. Jo-Ann is sponsoring a Teacher Appreciation Days event Aug. 10-11 giving 25% discount on all purchases. The company also has a Teacher Rewards Program that offers 15% off total purchases, with some exclusions.

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TECHNOLOGY, I. To read a report on an engineering student who made/invented a working 3D printer with Lego blocks. To read and see this remarkable creation readHERE.

TECHNOLOGY, II. The CHA exhibitor (mentioned above) was selling 3D printers for $1,000, but a recent L.A. Timesarticle profiled a store in Pasadena selling them for $650. The Times predicts the price will fall dramatically next year when key patents expire. Read the fascinating article HERE.

TECHNOLOGY, III. Several new smart fabrics are making their way to market including a Revolution bag that appears to magically repair itself when a hole is punched in it. Designer Suzanne Lee is looking at growing clothing from bacteria using a green tea and sugar solution to create a material that is similar to leather. The Wonderland project is at work creating clothes that dissolve to increase sustainability in the fashion industry. Read the article inPopular Science.

SHOWS, I. TNNA‘s Fall Needlecraft Market (Aug. 24-25 in St. Charles, MO) has made a key addition to the seminar/class schedule: Tammy Browning-Smith, an intellectual-property attorney, will explain how designers and vendors can protect their designs. To register, clickHERE. … The Bead Fest Philadelphia show is Aug. 23-25. Visit HERE for details. … Next year the Bead Fest Texasevent will be in March and rotate the event between Santa Fe, NM and Arlington, TX on alternate years.

SHOWS, II. The 2014 Creativeworld trade show (Jan. 25-28 in Frankfurt, Germany) will feature “Partner Country USA” for the first time. New exhibitors will find the U.S. Pavilion with its turnkey booths an opportunity to check out and expand into this marketplace at a reduced rate. The diversified frame program is designed to focus on the U.S. market and helps create awareness for U.S. exhibitors. CHA will “partner” the Pavilion. This year’s show had 239 exhibitors –162 from outside Germany – 7,205 attendees — 3,181 from outside Germany. For info, call Susanne Bacon at 253-212-1880 or email or email

WEBINAR. As a member of CHA, do you know all the benefits you can take advantage of? Probably not, because there are more than you might think. To increase your understanding, CHA VP of Membership Sue Turchick will host a webinar Aug. 14, 1-2:00 pm EST. To register, clickHERE.

JOB OPENING. American & Efird is accepting resumes for a Sales & Marketing Manager position in the Consumer Marketing Division in Mt. Holly, NC, just west of Charlotte.  The position acts as liaison between A&E and customers throughout the distribution channel — distributors, chains, independents, and consumers. Responsible for promoting A&E consumer products and helping A&E customers succeed, while achieving sales/profit goals. Qualifications: a minimum 5 years of experience in B2B sales, marketing, or product education/training roles. Consumer packaged goods experience in the craft industry is preferred. Bachelor’s degree required, as is 50%-70% travel. Email a resume and cover letter with salary requirements to Wesley Locust, Corporate HR Manager:

AWARD. C&T Publishing‘s Stash Books® title, Modern Patchwork, was a winner in the Crafts & Hobbies category by ForeWord Reviews, a publishing industry magazine and book review service that sponsors Book of the Year Awards JEWELRY. Cousin has named five additional Creative Circle Ambassadors, Allison Cooling, Dawn Doucette, Vicki O’Dell, Lisa Stukel, and Rebecca Utermohlen. As Ambassadors, they will have a platform to share ideas with the product development team, create projects for publications in magazines and on various social media platforms, preview upcoming programs, and provide feedback about products before they go to market. They are highlighted on the website,, and the Facebook page HERE. The company has also introduced a new stainless steel line that included toggle sets, chains, pins, charms, earrings, clasps, etc.

KIDS. Watch for a strong tv media campaign by Fibre-Craft for its new line of Bendastix kits. Bendastix are soft, squishy craft pieces that replace rigid cardboard or wood and can be used — and reused — build cars, flowers, glasses, a bracelet, etc. There are eight kits for kids 6 and older, from $6.99 to $19.99.

CRAFTSRowlux(R) Illusion Film is durable, translucent, 12″ x 12″ polycarbonate sheets that can be cut with scissors, scored, folded embossed, and die cut. Can be used to create craft projects, seasonal accents, party decorations, scrapbooks, greeting cards, jewelry, etc. There’s a blog hop, too, HERE.

STAMPS. Hampton Art obtained the rights to the Action Wobble brand in North America and will be distributing products from its Washington, NC warehouse. It’s available in 6 or 12 packs as well as 48, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 piece bulk packs. Email Lynn Toler at

PAINTING. The recent Artist Expo in Houston broke attendance records. Next year’s event is July 17-19. For info on exhibiting and proposing classes, visit … The new issue of Interactive Artist magazine is online HERE.

GOOD WORKS. Read about a program sewing colorful, fun hospital gowns for kids undergoing extensive hospital stays HERE.

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To read the latest listings click on Jobs in the left-hand column or click HERE.

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In his review of No Joke, by Ruth Wisse and The Joker by Andrew Hudgins, Edward Kosner cites a “classic Jewish joke”: A Jewish mother is at the beach with her 3-year-old son when a giant wave sweeps the boy out to sea. The hysterical mother prays, “God, if you return my son, I’ll keep a kosher home, go to temple every week and be a pious wife.” A second giant wave sweeps in and deposits the boy at his mother’s feet. The mother looks up at the sky and yells, “He was wearing a hat!”

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