Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard

Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


Challenges, problems, and triumphs -- from a manufacturer's perspective.

Printer Version

A Savvy Way To Introduce a New Line

Put it in the hands of consumers and teachers.

by Staff Report (July 16, 2007)

More than 20,000 decorative painters have already sampled Plaid's new FolkArt® High Definition™ (HD) Visual Texture paint, even before the product hits store shelves in August.

Introduced at the 2007 CHA Winter Show where it won a best new product award, the program has captured the interest of painters with special features such as its highly defined brush strokes and unique, light reflecting appearance.

While the paint itself can be credited with much of the advance excitement, Plaid has enhanced the anticipation by implementing several marketing strategies that have played a role in perhaps the biggest product launch in Plaid's history. "Product sampling and education have long been key to the success of any new product introduction in our industry," said VP of Marketing Debbie Henley. "By connecting with consumers first and giving them an opportunity to try something new, we are building awareness, generating excitement, and driving consumers to retail stores to find more."

For six months prior to the retail launch of FolkArt HD, Plaid implemented a variety of activities geared to reach different audiences. FolkArt HD's official debut was a TV home shopping event in March. The immediate feedback from consumers was tremendous:"HD paint is awesome ... like nothing I've ever used before! The results are spectacular!" And another: "I did my first [HD] project today and was amazed. The color and texture are wonderful!"

Responses were much the same in June when Donna Dewberry introduced FolkArt HD to more than 600 attendees at the Super Education convention. The artists tried HD for the first time, learning about the paint, its special attributes, and One Stroke techniques during several hours of intense hands-on training and painting.

This month HD One Stroke Teacher Training Kits will be sent to participating retail stores, designed to introduce teachers to the new program and techniques. A key kit component is a one-hour DVD produced exclusively for teachers. Donna Dewberry explains the program's components, product features, and benefits, and new HD painting techniques. Teachers are also given tips and techniques for successful class programs, plus a sample class curriculum.

Earlier this month, Plaid introduced FolkArt HD to the Society of Decorative Painters by sponsoring a painting contest with cash prizes. More than 2,000 members accepted the challenge and were sent an HD sampler kit and canvas blanks to submit for judging later this fall.

An additional 3,500 paint enthusiasts will have been introduced to FolkArt HD at major consumer shows this summer. FolkArt HD painting displays and technique demos were showcased at the recent SDP convention and will also be spotlighted at the upcoming Artist Expo Houston.

"This has truly been a focused grassroots effort to get the product into consumers' hands," Henley added. "Our goal is to generate excitement among consumers and increase visibility not only for the product, but the entire decorative painting industry."

"As Plaid is committed to innovative new product development, we remain equally dedicated to investing in marketing and education programs that drive consumers to retail," added Plaid President Mike McCooey.

For more information on the FolkArt HD program, visit www.plaidonline.com and select "catalogs."

Mike Hartnett comments.

Many years ago when painting was a very strong category, I walked the Society of Decorative Painters show with Pete Rutley, the VP of Craft World, at the time probably the largest distributor in the industry.

In those days there were approximately 20 lines of squeeze-bottle acrylic paint in the market, all scrambling for shelf space in retail stores. We turned at the end of an aisle and started another aisle and saw Decoart for the first time. "What?" we both uttered, "Another acrylic paint?"

We both assumed the field was already so crowded that Decoart's Americana line didn't have a prayer, regardless of its price or quality.

I asked Pete if he was interested in adding the Americana line. "Absolutely not," he said. "I already have too many lines of paint in the warehouse."

"What does this company have to do to get you to add the line?" I asked.

"I have to start getting requests for it from my customers," Pete said.

It wasn't too long after that conversation that Americana became one of the top three squeeze-bottle-acrylic lines in the industry. How did Decoart accomplish that feat? The company gave away thousands of bottles of paint, especially to teachers.

And yes, Pete added the line.

(To read previous "Vinny" columns, click on the titles in the right-hand column. To comment on this or other industry topics, email CLN at mike@clnonline.com.)



horizontal rule

horizontal rule


Vinny's Recent Columns...
ADVICE ON EXPORTING TO THE UK AND EUROPE; An interview with the former CEO of HobbyCraft.

THE HISTORY OF WALNUT HOLLOW; One of the genuine pioneers of the modern craft industry.

HOW MICHIGAN SCRAPBOOKER WAS LAUNCHED; Substantial growth in 3+ years.

THE HISTORY OF PLAID ENTERPRISES, INC.; It's come a long way in 36 years.

"FLASH" SALES COME TO THE INDUSTRY; Q. & A. about the newest way to introduce new products or dispose of overstocks.

SITTING ON A BULLS EYE; What to do if competitors want your market share, or customers want to cut costs.


FIVE COMMON AFFLICTIONS OF SALES TEAMS; The result: Bad morale and lower sales.

BEYOND MARKET MULTIPLES: INCREASING THE VALUE OF YOUR COMPANY BEFORE THE SALE; How to create a company with greater appeal to buyers.

CHA SHOW NEW PRODUCT REPORT; Hundreds (thousands?) of products, many from new exhibitors.

THE SOLUTION TO MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS; A sure fire way to inspire them to quilt.

ATTRACTING YOUNGER CUSTOMERS; Yes, we aren't our mothers' knitters.

NEW PRODUCTS TO BE UNVEILED AT THE CHAS SHOW; Two parts: new exhibitors and veterans.

WHAT SCRAPPERS ARE SAYING ABOUT MANUFACTURERS AND PUBLISHERS; Scrapbook Updates' readers analyze the problems.

ANALYZING THE CHA ATTITUDE & USAGE STUDY; The rationale and the science behind the number.

REST IN PEACE: JEAN HOWARD BARR; JHB International's Founder and CEO.

POSITIVE NEWS ABOUT THE INDUSTRY; What they want/need from the industry.

COMMENTS FROM INDIE CRAFTERS; What they want/need from the industry.

UNDERSTANDING INDIE CRAFTERS (BY AN INDIE CRAFTER); What they want, what they buy, and how to reach them.

CHA EVENTS FOR MANUFACTURERS; How to get more out of a trade show besides selling your products.

CREATIVE INDUSTRY TURNS TO EDUCATION TO BEAT RECESSION; Simple solutions for vendors and retailers to create online video classes.

WHAT HAPPENED TO CREATIVE MEMORIES? Not adjusting to the times.


HOW A VENDOR SCAMMED A SCAMMER; A sharp eye, a sense of humor - and be wary.

HOW A SMALL VENDOR WAS ALMOST SCAMMED; A savvy, suspicious mind averted a serious financial loss.

COMPANY FOR SALE; The owner is retiring.

EXHIBITORS: YOU'RE WASTING YOUR MONEY! Check your customer list before pre-show mailings.

PLAID CONSERVES TO PRESERVE; Simple changes can mean big savings.

SUGGESTIONS FOR THE CHA SHOW; How to attract more buyers and exhibitors.

CHANGES AT A.C. MOORE; They may not be what they seem.

THE TERRI O SHOW IS COMING; Building industry sales by empowering consumers' creativity.


BOTTLES OF HOPE; A polymer clay grassroots movement.

SEWING SMILES FOR KIDS; Pillowcases and quilts for kids in hospitals.

HELPING THE WORLD IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE; Mrs. Grossman's, C&T Publishing, and Tara Materials.

HELP PEOPLE -- AND THE WORLD; How one company contributes to charities and to Mother Nature.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS AND HELPING THE WORLD; Plaid employees' long list of charitable activities.

A SAVVY WAY TO INTRODUCE A NEW LINE; Put it in the hands of consumers and teachers.

CHA AND PMA: SHOULD IT BE EITHER/OR? Why not take the best of both worlds?


RESPONSES TO CLN'S CODE OF ETHICS...from chain store execs, vendors, and reps.

PROVO RESPONDS TO CRICUT CRITICS; Unexpected demand caused problems.

ADVICE TO VENDORS; Common sense, please!

HOW TO HAVE A GREAT TRADE SHOW; It takes more than great products.

KEY CHALLENGES/OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE CRAFT INDUSTRY IN 2006; Office supply, private label, and direct import.

IS MIKE DUPEY RIGHT? The industry's retail pioneer's criticism of chain stores elicits strong reactions.

RETAILERS: CREATE A "PLACE," NOT A STORE; Customers return if they feel a sense of community.

"HOW AND WHY WE CHANGED OUR BUSINESS"; Sometimes necessity forces gutsy businesses into new, scary areas.

WHY INDEPENDENTS ARE DECLINING AND THE INDUSTRY IS SOFT; We can't improve the situation until we understand the causes.

HOW TO MAKE THE SCRAPBOOK PIE LARGER; "Keep it simple and non-threatening."

INDEPENDENTS: SUPPORT VENDORS WHO SUPPORT YOU; "Support goes both ways. It is a relationship of trust and consistency."

WHAT MAKES A GREAT SALES REP? Colleagues and customers remember the late Bob Watikins.

TRADE SHOW PRESS POINTERS; Maximize your publicity for a minimal cost.

HOW CAN A SCRAPBOOK START-UP SUCCEED? The answer may be a "Group" away.

DO TRADE SHOWS REFLECT THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY? If we're like other industries, trade shows may be in trouble.


THE STATE OF THE FLORAL MARKET; A blunt interview with Aldik's Larry Gold.

YOU WANT JUNK? YOU GOT IT; Pricing pressures are ruining good categories.

PLANNING THE PERFECT TRADE SHOW; Ten tips for CHA Winter Show exhibitors.

MORE VENDORS RESPOND...; A dialog between vendors and a savvy but unhappy independent.

VENDORS RESPOND TO INDEPENDENT'S PLIGHT; Why vendors have minimums and what retailers can do about it.

RETAIL, E-TAIL, AND "UNFAIR COMPETITION"; Expensive advertising, false promises, and little education.

THE TRIALS OF A SMALL COMPANY, PT. II; Expensive advertising, false promises, and little education.

THE TRIALS OF A SMALL COMPANY; Talent, drive, and product -- but no money.


THE THREE L's: YOU CAN'T SELL WITHOUT THEM; How to look, listen, and learn.

IT WASN'T ALWAYS THIS WAY...; but why does that matter?

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO STRAWBERRY?; Does every new product have to be cheap?