COMMENTARY: NOTHING STAYS
I hope the article "25 Years of HIA Shows" and its
companion piece in the Business-Wise section aren't seen merely as
the rambling memories of an industry old-timer. They were written to
make this point: Things change. No matter how popular a category, no
matter how large or small the exhibitor, things change. Don't count
on tomorrow being like today.
But some principles stay the same. Read those in Business-Wise.
NEW COLUMNS THIS ISSUE
Mike Hartnett's thoughts on what has – and hasn't – changed
over 25 years of HIA shows.
Da Buyer". The buyers from one of the industry's major
chain stores tell stories of how trade show exhibitors have turned
Legal Q & A.
Our legal expert explains when you need a lawyer and how to pick
one with the right specialization.
(Note: To read these columns, click on the title. If it
appears to take you to an "old" column, click your
"Refresh" or "Reload" button.)
25 YEARS OF HIA SHOWS
I realized recently that next month's HIA show in Dallas will be
my, gulp, 25th. At the time, I was assistant editor of Profitable
Craft Merchandising (PCM), one of the industry's three
trade magazines. I had been hired about three months prior to the
HIA show, and went to Anaheim thinking chenille was a bedspread and
pom-poms were used by cheerleaders. Here is what the industry looked
like in 1980:
It was HIA's 43rd show and it broke all attendance records with
16,000 attendees from 62 countries and 500 exhibitors in 956 booths.
(The 2004 version already has signed up 1,114 exhibitors in 2,993
Categories. The scrapbooking of its day was macrame and
accessories. The category had just peaked, but none of us knew it at
Another huge seller was flower-making. The only artificial
flowers available then were plastic junk, but Signaigo & Rossi
had introduced Pretty Petals, which enabled consumers to make
a beautiful silk flower. (For a realistic bouquet, consumers had to
make the flowers first, and then arrange them.)
Miniatures and decorative painting (called "tole
painting" then) were so strong that PCM published
monthly features on each ... Basics – ribbon, pom-poms, chenille,
plastic foam, glue, wiggle eyes, etc. – were also strong.
Probably no more than a fifth of a show was devoted to crafts.
The rest was plastic model kits, model railroads, and radio
controlled cars and planes. Today, you worry about tripping over
retailers' pull-carts. Then, you tripped over toy cars zooming
around the show floor.
Needlework, florals, and sewing/quilting were non-existent at HIA.
They were separate industries with their own trade associations,
shows, and retailers. Scrapbooking and stamping were unheard of.
Fabric painting had enjoyed a brief flurry in the 1970's, but was
almost a decade away from becoming the scrapbooking of its day.
I would guess 80-90% of the craft products were made in the U.S.
and every one was on the show floor. Kits were much more prevalent
Vendors. My editor, Geoff Wheeler, introduced me to what
seemed like 5,000 people during the show. The most prominent vendors
were Plaid, Hazel Pearson Handicrafts, Aleene's, Walnut Hollow,
Delta, Fibrecraft, Westrim, Arrow Handicraft, Deepflex, Grumbacher,
Liquitex, Robert Simmons, Loew-Cornell, Stanislaus, Mangelsen's, and
Zim's. (No doubt there were others, but this is my faulty, aging
memory speaking here.) Grumbacher, then the biggest name in art
materials, was forced to dismiss the scantily clad models in the
booth; they were deemed too racy for crafts.
Aleene had built up her company, then sold it to a model company
which ran it into the ground. Aleene bought it back and was starting
to build it up again. Dave Cunningham, who'd gone broke with
Cunningham Art Products, had founded Plaid. Patricia Nimmocks, the
"mother" of decoupage and the future founder of the
Society of Craft Designers, was very prominent.
Vendors weren't as paranoid about having products and designs
ripped off, so they didn't show new products in private booth
offices or in hotel suites.
Buyers. The chains (Leewards, American Handicrafts) were not
the industry's controlling factor as they are now. The overwhelming
majority of buyers were independent, mom-and-pop retailers. Those
retailers bought from distributors such as Mangelsen's, Craft World,
Westrim, Fibrecraft, Herr's, Sbar's, and many others, so the
distributors were the major buyers at the time. Most distributors
had started as retailers, had a terrible time finding product for
their stores, and realized there was a need for a distributor in the
Michaels was a single store run by Mike Dupey's father, Jim.
Jo-Ann's was called Fabri-Centers of America and had no reason to
attend a hobby/craft show. Wal-Mart was a regional discounter in
small southern towns.
Far more business was conducted on the show floor in 1980. Large
buyers now often need computers to generate purchase orders, and
they have seen most new lines in their office before the show
started – and will order the products back in the office after the
show is over.
Believe it or not, there were macrame specialty shops.
Pricing. Everything was based on the Manufacturer's Suggested
Retail Price (MSRP) and percentage discounts off of the MSRP. Net
pricing was unheard of. I'd hear things like, "I'll give you 50
and 10." Today, if it's not net pricing, the discounting gets
so involved you need a math degree to figure out your cost.
Designs. Most of them were pretty tacky, a residual effect of
the days when crafts were little more than what Boy Scouts did on a
rainy day. Painters Priscilla Hauser and Sue Scheewe were the most
Complaints. Retailers complained that distributors were
selling to home retailers, vendors moaned about the mom-and-pop's
lack of professionalism, and everyone complained about the lack of
craft people on the HIA board.
Media. The trade magazines were PCM, Craft Model
& Hobby (later split into two, one becoming CNA), and
Craft & Art Market. The consumer magazines were Crafts
'N Things and Crafts. The only tv series was the American
Handicrafts' Crafts with Katy, starring Katy Dacus and
carried by local channels around the country.
Atmosphere. The industry was much friendlier, in part because
it was smaller. So small, in fact, that everyone would stay in the
same hotel. It was not uncommon to see competitors having a drink
together in the hotel bar after dinner.
(Note: For thoughts on how the industry hasn't changed,
plus some random ramblings, click on Business-Wise.)
CHRISTMAS: BETTER THAN
Most retailers released their December same-store sales figures
and the results were better than most had anticipated. The National
Retail Federation reported sales rose 5.2%.
The sales data was announced the day before a gloomy December
jobless report. The economy added only 1,000 new jobs, far fewer
than usual because retailers did not add seasonal employees as they
have in the past. In fact, retail employment dropped by 38,000 jobs.
The manufacturing sector lost another 26,000 jobs, the 41st month in
a row manufacturing lost jobs, according to the Associated Press.
The actual unemployment rate dropped because 300,000 Americans have
given up looking for jobs.
Michaels reported a 5.0% rise in same-store sales at stores,
and overall sales rose 10% to $470.2 million. Analysts had expected
December same-store sales to rise 3%, Reuters reported. The company
maintained its profit forecast of $1.28-$1.32 for the fourth
Jo-Ann's reported same-store sales rose 5.4%, and overall
sales increased 6.5% to $246.3 million. A press release said,
"The company was pleased that it was able to achieve strong
same-store sales while also delivering on its earlier stated goal of
improving its margin rates. The company's basic business segments
significantly outperformed the company's expectations for the month
and offset the negative impact in the seasonal category, which
under-performed relative to the company's already reduced
Hancock's same-store sales rose 3.3%, and overall sales
increased 3.9% to $50.7 million. Officials attributed approximately
one-half of the increase to being open on Christmas Eve for the
Wal-Mart's same-store sales rose 4.3% with overall sales up
11.2%. Target was up 4.1% and 9.9% respectively.
Some winners: Ann Taylor, +26.2% ... Chico's, +23.4% ... Sharper
Image, +21.0% ... Neiman Marcus, +12.6% ... Best Buy, +9.3% ...
Nordstrom, +9.1% ... J.C. Penney, +4.3%.
Some losers: Sears, -0.8% ... ShopKo, -2.1% ... Kohl's, -1.2% ...
Toys R Us, -4.9%
A.C. MOORE: A RECORD YEAR
The company does not issue monthly sales figures, but did report
that sales for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 rose 10.9% to $149.7
million, and same-store sales grew 3%. Sales for the year rose 10.3%
to a record $433.9 million, and same-store sales grew 2%.
CEO Jack Parker said, "We feel very positive about our sales
results for the quarter as two major snow storms impacted sales
during our two busiest weekends of the year. The storms negatively
affected comp store sales by 4% for the quarter. We executed to our
merchandise, marketing and operational plans and we were able to
achieve good seasonal sell-through. Our inventories are slightly
below our plan and in good shape for 2004. With continued strong
expense control, we are pleased to be able to re-affirm our previous
earnings guidance which was to be at the higher end of the $0.84 to
$0.88 per share range."
For 2004 the company plans to open 16-18 stores, relocate two
existing stores, and expand one. Officials expect sales to grow
18-20%, with same-store sales growth in the mid-single digits, and
net income to rise 7-10%. That percentage is lower than might be
expected, due to an accounting change. Without that change, net
income is expected to rise 21-24%.
HIA NEW EXHIBITOR PREVIEW
A complete listing of all new exhibitors with functioning
websites is now available by clicking on "New Exhibitors
Preview" in the left-hand column. This enables buyers to check
out the new exhibitors' product lines in advance of the show.
SHOWCASING YOUR PRODUCTS ON TV
Folks from The Carol Duvall show will be walking the HIA
aisles again, looking for products to highlight on Carol's hour-long
special (filmed on the show floor) and segments for the series.
"For the best chance to have product featured in the
special, the vendors really need to send us detailed information on
their products and not just invite us to their booth," says
producer Lisa Sichi. "We'll most likely have two-three people
check everything we're interested in on the first day; the rest of
the days we are filming and have no time to scout anything
Lisa suggests sending an email with a description of the product,
a little "sell" on why it's unique, and contact info.
Digital images are very helpful, she says. "We are particularly
interested in vendors who will be demonstrating the product in their
booth." Demo schedules are always welcome, and a contact
name/number are very important, she adds.
Email Lisa Sichi at email@example.com
or call 818-755-4800 (emails are preferred). Ship samples to Lisa at
Weller/Grossman Productions, 5200 Lankershim Blvd., 5th Floor, North
Hollywood, CA 91601.
Classes. If you haven't signed up for classes, do so ASAP
when you arrive at the convention center; 28% of the classes have
already sold out.
Vendors. The show will have exhibitors from Australia,
Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy,
Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea,
Scotland, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela, and oh yes,
the United States.
Yarn. Lion Brand's annual fashion show with Vanna White will
be Fri., Feb. 6 at noon, 1 pm, and 2 pm in Lion's booth, #2021.
Familiar Faces. Pat Koziol, former Exec. Director of HIA,
will represent the Radio Control Hobby Trade Assn. in the
Information Park ... Sandra Joseph, the former Exec. Director of the
Memories Expo shows and the Memories Community will
exhibit her company, Reminders of Faith, in #1506, offering
religious-themed scrapbook products, including papers,
embellishments, and the book, Scrapbooking Your Spiritual Journey.
New Exhibitors. Two well-known companies in other parts of
our industry will exhibit for the first time. Art Alternatives/MacPherson's
(#324), a top art materials distributor, is exhibiting its Art
Alternatives line – new plastic palettes and new sizes,
styles, and shapes of the company's stretched canvas. Major sewing
vendor Michael Miller Fabrics will also exhibit for the first
time – in #1300.
Names. Some familiar names: eBay (#5209); the DIY
Network (#4460); Dutch Boy Paint (#818); FedEx
(#3425); Microsoft (#1323); Rust-Oleum (#3239); and Polaroid.
(#500). And Rose Art (#5853) will introduce scrapbook
products with the Kodak label. eBay is hosting a free (no
ticket required) seminar (Wed., Feb. 4, 2 pm) on the benefits of
selling on eBay and how to get started. All attendees also receive eBay
for Dummies ... Rust-Oleum (#3239) will unveil American
Accents, a line of craft/hobby enamel and a specialty paint for
Sponsors. For the first time, exhibitors are sponsoring
various events/facilities. The Awards Banquet (FedEx and Polaroid);
the show lanyards and bags (RoseArt); the Cyber Café
(eBay); and the Press Room (Quikutz).
SCD. The Society of Craft Designers' meeting is Feb. 6
at 6:30 pm. Non-members wishing to learn more about this very
worthwhile organization are invited to attend the first half hour.
The remainder will be a business meeting. A highlight of the meeting
will be giving the Designers with Heart award posthumously to Lisa
Julson Cahoon. Her husband, Sheldon, will accept it. For more info,
visit the SCD's booth (#237) or visit www.craftdesigners.org.
Confusion. CLN's rough count reveals there are 23
vendors with "Paper" in their name, 29 with
"Stamp," and 50 with "Scrap" and/or
"Memory" in their name. Just those companies alone
comprise about the same number of all the craft exhibitors in 1980.
HIA EXHIBITOR MISCELLANEOUS
Here is a random sampling of new products you'll find at the
show. (Note: Exhibitors: our next/last pre-show issue will go online
Feb. 2 and will be primarily devoted to items like those below.
Email new product info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janlynn. Will unveil Moments ‘n Memories, a line of
scrapbook kits, tools, and embellishments, plus Cre8
Computercrafts for scrapbooking, and open-stock papers,
stickers, and diecuts. Officials say the "shining star" is
the unique Practice Pages product, which allows croppers to
try unlimited arrangements of papers, photos, diecuts, even
stickers, exactly how they will appear on the finished page with no
commitment until the page is perfect. The line is in two booths:
Moments ‘n Memories (#6962) and Janlynn (#1830).
Milestone Products. (#1751). Amazing Mosaics is a
comprehensive line of popular mosaic decorations and accessories,
including Stained Glass, Vitreous Glass Tile, Word Mosaics, Glass
Gems, Glass Squiggles, Sanded Tile Grout, Mosaic Glue, Mosaic
Sponge, and Tile Nippers. Visit www.milestoneproducts.com.
JHB Int. (1821) Two new lines of buttons, Stitchin' Up The
Pieces and E.S. Garcia, are unique collections of
versatile buttons that can be used for sewing, scrap/paper crafts,
mixed media, etc. Another new line, Tagit, is a collection of
tags and flatback themes for embellishing cards, scrapbooks, gifts,
Prym Dritz. (#2419) will introduce Bag Boutique, a
line of purse-making products that includes handles, hardware and
button-on bags; Elizabeth’s Vintage Notions – 16
heirloom-quality sewing tools; Snap-Charms – removable,
interchangeable charms; Mary Engelbreit sewing notions; and SoGirly
– a licensing program targeted to tweens/teens, including
iron-on embroidery and transfers.
Blumenthal Lansing. (#6200) Also has the SoGirly
licence, plus Sue Dreamer, and A Kid Like Me! with
pand-painted buttons, flatbacks for scrapbooking, charms, and
appliques ... New additions to the Favorite Findings line.
Publishers. They have great track records for being at the
forefront of trends. For a pre-show look at their new books, visit Design
Originals (#6037, where altered-book author Beth Cote will be a
visitor) at www.d-originals.com;
Hot Off The Press (#7330) at www.hotp.com;
Grace Publications (#3916) at www.gracepublications.com;
Martingale (#2537) at www.martingale-pub.com;
C&T Publishing (#1735) at www.ctpub.com;
Search Press (#1750) at www.searchpress.com
... For a preview of Jeanette Crews Designs' (#1701) Jan.
releases, visit www.jeanettecrews.com/results.cfm?Subcategory=99.
Walnut Hollow. (#1331 & 6522). The centerpiece of the Memory
Art Program is the tool, Creative Hot Marks. The program
includes memory albums/journals, frames, organizing items, and
embellishments. Known as a leader in wood, Walnut Hollow is offering
wooden paper in a variety of items such as sheets, tags, and
envelopes. Creative Hot Marks is a unique, heated pen
specifically designed to help create a variety of interesting
Delta. (#2231 & #6331) One of the strongest commitments
to new products we've seen recently: FabriCraft Peel 'n' Stick
Fabric offers adhesive-backed fabric for easily covering just
about anything ... Texture Magic is a dimensional paint that
allows the consumer to achieve dimensional and faux finish looks.
... 14 new PermEnamel colors ... Paint for Paper is
specially formulated and acid free ... Paper Plus is a line
of accents, effects and finishes developed for mixed media products
... Rubber Stampede offers a new collection of wood handled
Lion Brand Yarn. (#2021). The Simply Scarves line of
scarf kits, complete with yarn, instructions, and needles or hook.
Westrim. (# 6527) New designs in the Paper Bliss line
of textured, three-dimensional embellishments.
Crop in Style. (#6417) The P3 features nine separate,
self-rising paper trays in a durable tote. The expandable trays can
hold up to 60 12"x12" sheets.
Sakura of America. (# 6146) Glaze is the first pen to
offer raised lines and glossy lettering for "writing you can
feel" – three-dimensional embossing for a wide variety of
craft and stamp projects without using a heat tool or powders ...
Has added seven new metallic colors to its Permapaque line of
fine-point, pigmented markers. The line now includes 20 colors. More
info is available at www.sakuraofamerica.com.
Yaley. (#5524) Six new designs/additions to the Deep Flex Whimsical
Garden Decor line of stepping-stone kits which include a mold; 8
color-paint pots; StoneCast; a smooth finishing concrete; and
a mixing stick. Mosaic pieces and embed
grout are added to the six embed kits ... Travel Candle Tins are
ready to make, paint, and decorate; available in 6.5-oz. and 4.5 oz.
Creme Wax, Soy Wax, or Glass Fill Wax are recommended in combination
with any of the company's dyes and fragrances offered. Kits
SCRAPBOOKING & DECORATIVE
Scrapbook retailers: Need something new to challenge and excite
your customers, particularly your most enthusiastic customers?
Scrapbooking Plus…the painted touch is a group of
experienced publishers, distributors, painters, and teachers who
have joined together to create a series of painting products – for
scrapbook retailers. The GDP4 Group consists of very well
known names in decorative painting: Jerry and Gerry Klein, Easl
Publications; Gretchen Cagle, Gretchen Cagle Publications;
Tim Mulvey, Houston Art and Frame; and Brenda Stewart, Brenda
Stewart by Design. They will exhibit at HIA in #6312 with a
program of decorative painting supplies for scrapbook stores,
coordinated with painting teachers to enable retailers to offer
The program, which requires a minimum of space and retailer
investment, offers stores an opportunity to provide their customers
with a new challenge – a unique, profitable way to add originality
and creativity to their scrapbooks.
(Comment: Pros in the decorative painting business are
masters at teaching anyone – anyone – how to paint. And
from years of watching decorative painters, I know once a consumer
realizes she can paint, she'll become a real hard-core,
The program includes a series of decorative painting books
designed with projects exclusively for scrapbookers. Each includes
patterns, easy-to-follow instructions, and eight pages of color
projects. Between the books and the in-store classes, scrappers will
have new challenges and opportunities to make their scrapbooks truly
unique – and more products to buy.
Shipments begin in March. Call Jerry Klein at 314-221-3032 or
RANDOM NOTES, RANDOM THOUGHTS
1. I mentioned above that many of the craft projects in 1980
were, uh, tacky. Here's a memory from Jim Bremer of The Tall
Mouse: "beer can hats". Jim says they were "beer
and coke can parts, cut into shapes, punched, and knit together with
yarn or macrame cords into hats, purses, or wallhangings."
I think, Jim, those must have occurred before my first show in
1980. If I had seen them I might have run screaming from the
"So many of these early creations," Jim added,
"gave crafts the junk-art image that still plagues us with some
Books with titles such as Trim Your Trash and Glue Your
Garbage sound awful, and they do plague us as Jim says, but you
know what? They helped create an industry.
3. I highly recommend subscribing to Scrapbook Industry
News Platinum Edition, an online newsletter published by Fun
Facts Publishing. The URL is www.funfactspublishing.com.
Among the items in the new edition: Drug Store News is
encouraging drug stores to put in a scrapbook program ... An
up-to-date schedule of what has become an overabundance of scrapbook
events ... Creative Crafter magazine is changing its name to PaperWorks
... Both ReCollections and Archiver's are looking to
Atlanta to open new stores ... Archiver's also has plans for Omaha
and Kansas City, while ReCollections announced plans for Dallas, the
Washington, DC area and four in the Phoenix area.
Fun Facts will exhibit at HIA in #6673 and the company
seminar sold out two months in advance. (A CLN interview with
Fun Facts' Sue DiFranco is available in our Memory,
Paper & Stamps section in the left-hand column.)
PEOPLE. BagWorks named industry veteran David Watson as
National Sales Manager ... John Suarez, the Environmental Protection
Agency's top enforcement official, will resign to become an attorney
for Wal-Mart's Sam's Club, Reuters reported ... Robert
Laubacher was promoted to Exec. VP/COO for Tombow ... Tim
Hopper of HK Holbein was elected VP/Finance of NAMTA.
QUOTATION. "Only 10% of families are traditional. The
new household formation is mixed, but companies still market to the
soccer moms and white families. About 51% of households are
married-couple households -- down dramatically from 80% in 1950. The
fact is if you are in a new type of household -- your child is
adopted, you used an egg bank [to become pregnant], or grandparents
are raising the kids -- you are being ignored." – Trend
analyst and former HIA show keynote speaker Faith Popcorn (Wall
2004. The National Retail Federation is predicting a 5% sales
increase for retailers. Sales will be helped, in part, by higher tax
refund checks caused by last year's tax cuts.
FRANK'S. Same-store dropped 10.4% in December. Hmmm, maybe it
wasn't such a good idea to drop crafts.
WAL-MART, I. There are numerous lawsuits charging the
discounter with violations of state and federal labor laws – and
they may have just become stronger, reports the New York Times.
The Times received a copy of a Wal-Mart internal audit that
warned execs it may be violating child-labor laws and state
regulations. The audit of time-clock records for about 25,000
employees at 128 stores showed 1,371 violations of child labor laws,
60,767 instances of workers not taking breaks, and 15,705 instances
of employees working through lunch. A Wal-Mart spokesperson told the
Times the apparent violations might simply be employees not
punching in and out as they should.
WAL-MART, II. The discounter has already been found guilty in
one of those lawsuits, and the penalty phase has begun in federal
court in Portland. The jury found that the company forced 134 now
former employees in 18 Oregon stores to work overtime without pay.
TOYS. KB Toys filed for Chap. 11 bankruptcy protection. KB is
controlled by Bain Capital, the investment firm that once owned Tulip
and after driving Tulip into the ground, sold the remaining
assets to Duncan.
GIFTS. The Atlanta Gift Show in Atlanta was a huge success.
"... we haven't seen the America's Mart complex this busy since
the late 1990s. Buyers were just about everywhere, and in obviously
greater numbers than they've been in a long time," reported Gifts
& Decorative Accessories magazine ... "Best attendance
in three seasons," a craft/gift importer told CLN.
"Over half of orders are new customers." ... There was a
scrapbook section, but one observer said, "If a manufacturer
had paper or books, they could probably write a little gift shop
business, but a full service scrapbook store would be disappointed
because the selection was limited."
LOOKING TO HIRE. Scrapbook/paper manufacturer in the
Northeast is looking for an experienced scrapbook pro for its
marketing/product development department. Might need to relocate.
Moderate travel; must feel comfortable selling concepts to retailers
... Midwest industry company is looking for a Key Account Sales
Manager. Must relocate; frequent travel; minimum 5 years sales
experience with a company selling to large retail chains. Salary
commensurate with experience, plus significant bonus potential. For
more info on either job, call Mike Hartnett in confidence at
309-925-5593 or email email@example.com.
NAMTA. Register for the May 12-15 Denver show at www.namta.org.
TNNA/INRG. Booth reservations are being accepted for the
Columbus, OH show June 13-14. Call 800-889-8662; fax 740-452-2552;
or visit www.tnna.org.
ACCI. The deadline for technique class applications for the
July 16-18 show is Jan. 31. Download an application at www.accicrafts.org/pdf/techniqueform.pdf.
For booth reservations, visit www.accicrafts.org,
call 888-360-2224 or 740-452-4541, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
HIA. Will sponsor a free European Trends Symposium on
Fri., June 25th in London. It will offer International HIA members a
chance to network, brush up on industry trends, and hold discussion
groups among their peers. Among the planned discussion topics are
scrapbooking, soft crafts, kids' crafts, decorative painting,
publishing, and fine arts. In addition, there will be a variety of
classes offered to improve the business side of crafting. HIA
members are encouraged to bring non-members. For info, email email@example.com,
or call 201-794-1133.
NEW COMPANY. Cold Porcelain Creations offers a variety of
products/instructions for "cold porcelain" projects such
as flowers, jewelry, etc. The results are quite lovely. The company
won't be at HIA, but see projects/products at www.coldporcelaincreations.com.
Call 941-727-7293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BUSINESS PROFILE: MIDWEST
DESIGN IMPORTS INC.
The Mangelsen name has been almost synonymous with the craft
industry well, just about since the industry began. The President of
Midwest Design Imports, Inc., Hal Mangelsen Jr., started in the
craft industry at an early age, living and working in the family’s
variety store which opened in 1961 in Omaha , NE. The store, now
operated by brother David, is the largest independently-owned store
of its kind in the Midwest.
The needs of the store grew into another family-owned company,
Mangelsen’s Wholesale, which was sold in 1997 to Variety
Distributors, Inc. After working with Variety for almost two years,
Hal decided to start a new company with his partner, Frank Hilt.
Together they have more than 70 years of retail, import, and
wholesale sales and merchandising experience.
The majority of the business is wholesale sales. Opening order
size is $125; reorders are $75. Available plan-o-grams range in size
from 2.5’ to 8’ with more than 1,200 SKU’s, including 350 new
items for 2004 – and many more additions slated for the first
quarter of 2004. Orders are normally shipped within 24-48 hours.
Among the major product lines:
Premier Porcelain is a collection of packaged doll heads with
hands (instructions included), wings, accessories, and five complete
The Touch of Nature is a collection of packaged birds and
butterflies, nests, houses, insects, and fish including the
realistic "State Birds" and "North American
The Mangelsen family was the first to introduce mushroom birds to
the industry. More than 375 items have been added for 2003/2004 –
and there is new packaging in the form of multiple pieces displayed
in acetate boxes.
The Touch of Nature feather line includes the best basic
program for your Craft Department. Retailers can achieve more
sales/sq. ft. with MDI due to MDI's smaller packaging.
The Touch of Nature feather boa line has earned incredible
growth in the last year. Feathers are hot, thanks to the use of them
to enhance home decor and clothing. MDI can create a special
combination for a local team or group.
New additions to the line of Mask-it Designer Masques
include new instruction and paper mache masks.
A line of Mini Porcelain Dolls with more than 50 items in
POP displays, which make great impulse buys for a store.
An important element (40%) is custom importing. MDI's reputation
has been built on its outstanding relationships with our customers
and suppliers. The company excels in sourcing, packaging, printing,
and custom manufacturing of unusual and difficult to find items.
Customers' requests for sourcing are quite diversified, but their
needs are met because of MDI's relationship with its factories.
Examples of the varied requests include baskets, stones,
decorative/floral accessories, pool supplies, and custom-colored
boas, porcelain and vinyl dolls.
So as the industry enters the 21st century, so does the Mangelsen
PERSONNEL. Hal Mangelsen Jr., President; Frank Hilt, VP.
ROLODEX. Midwest Design Imports, Inc., 13303 F St., Omaha, NE
68137. Email email@example.com;
call 402-691-8009; visit www.Midwestdesignimports.com
(call for a password). Over the next 45 days look for the addition
of our new items.
Business Profiles. CLN will profile one company per
issue, which will remain online for at least a year. A Profile is a
perfect way for a new company to let itself be known to the
industry, or for an established company to enhance its reputation by
showing the industry its history, diversity of products, personnel,
For more information on how your company can be profiled, call
Mike Hartnett at 309-925-5593 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE CREATIVE NETWORK: JOB
The only personnel recruitment firm specializing in our industry
has job openings which can be seen by clicking on Jobs
in the left-hand column.
THE CLN RETAIL INDEX
A. C. Moore (ACMR). Last*: 22.50 ... Change**: +3.58
Hancock Fabrics (HKF). Last*: 16.74 ... Change**: +2.19
Jo-Ann Stores (JAS). Last*: 23.16 ... Change**: +2.16
Michaels (MIK). Last*: 43.31 ... Change**: -0.16
Rag Shops (RAGS). Last*: 3.60 ... Change**: +0.44
Wal-Mart (WMT). Last*: 53.48 ... Change**: +1.18
CLN Retail Index. Last*: 162.79 ... Change**: +6.0%
Dow Jones Index. Last*: 10,600.51 ... Change**: +1.8%
*Jan. 16 ** from Jan. 2 Prices are exclusive of dividends
THINGS TO DO AT WAL-MART...
... while your spouse is taking his/her sweet time (emailed from
1. Get boxes of condoms; randomly put them in people's carts
when they aren't looking.
2. Set alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at five-minute
3. Go to the Service Desk and ask to put a bag of M&M's
4. Move a "CAUTION - WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted
5. When a clerk asks if she can help you, begin to cry and
ask, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"
6. While handling guns in the hunting department, ask the
clerk if he knows where the anti-depressants are.
7. In the auto department, practice your "Madonna
look" using different size funnels.
8. Hide in a clothing rack and whisper, "Pick me! Pick
9. When an announcement comes over the loud speaker, assume
the fetal position and scream, "NO! NO! It's those voices
10. Go into a fitting room, shut the door, wait a while, and
then yell, "There's no toilet paper in here!"
1. For more information on how your business can be the
subject of a "Business
Profile" call Mike Hartnett at 309-925-5593 or email email@example.com.
2. Paid subscribers are invited to have their website
evaluated by Lynn Carlisle of Carlisle Communications. She'll check
the site and provide a confidential assessment and suggestions for
improvement. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org
3. If you want a hard-copy of this issue, click on
"Printer Friendly version".
4. If your company is a paid subscriber, everyone in the main
office is welcome to register, free. Just click on "Current
Subscribers Click Here To Register."
5. To recommend CLN to a friend, use the "Tell
Your Friends" box on the home page.
6. Creative Leisure News is published on the first and
third Mondays of each month. Your next issue will be Monday,