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

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"The History of Plaid Enterprises, Inc.

It's come a long way in 36 years.

Staff Report (November 21, 2011)

Plaid Enterprises was founded in July 1975 by craft industry pioneer David Cunningham. Doing business as Craft Publications, the company began as a publisher of how-to craft books. Over the next two years, the company expanded its product offering to include craft kits, pearls and beads, wood products, doll house accessories, and paint.

In 1977, the company bought the assets of Cunningham Art Products which included major paint and aerosol filling equipment. Also in late 1977, Connoisseur Studios was purchased, providing the brands Patricia Nimocks and Mod Podge. From that point to the present day, the company has maintained the position as the preeminent supplier of paints and finishes to the craft industry.

In January, 1978, the various company operating units were merged into the corporate entity, Plaid Enterprises. Later that year, Plaid became one of the first craft suppliers to obtain product placement in Wal-Mart Stores.

Over the next decade, Plaid continued to grow, broadening both its product and customer base. Major product introductions during this period included nationally recognized paint lines Folk Art (1982) and Apple Barrel (1985).

In 1989, as part of a planned retirement strategy, Dave Cunningham put the company up for sale. Plaid was subsequently purchased by The Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation in July, 1989.
 
The year 1990 saw Plaid become the first craft company to sell product direct to the consumer on television. First through a series of infomercials, and then in mid-1991 on QVC, Plaid products received exposure to more than 90 million U.S. households. Television sales continue today on QVC London; The Shopping Channel (Canada); and HSN (U.S.).

In 1996, Plaid acquired the assets of Bucilla Corp., a leading manufacturer of needlecraft products, further broadening the company's diverse product offering.  Also in that year, Plaid launched its "One Stroke Painting" technique featuring Donna Dewberry, which grew to be the most successful learn-to-paint program in the history of the craft industry.

In 1999, another acquisition brought All Night Media, a manufacturer of decorative rubber stamps, into the fold.

During 2000 and 2001, Plaid built a 282,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility and installed state-of-the-art, small-batch paint production and filling equipment capable of providing more than three million gallons of water-based latex paints annually. This plant also contains a flexographic printing department capable of printing more than 100,000,000 labels per year.

In August of 2005, Plaid opened a sourcing office, Plaid Far East, in Shenzhen, China. This office ensured Plaid competitive pricing and speed-to-market in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

Now one of the largest suppliers to the arts and craft industry, Plaid delivers a wide range of products including paint, jewelry, finishes, fashion crafting, stencils, needlecrafts, surfaces, and brushes.

These products are sold worldwide (in more 85 countries) through a network of independent dealers, specialty retailers, chain stores, fabric stores, catalogs, internet and television outlets.

(Editor's note: Send CLN the history (long or short) of your company (large or small). Send it to mike@clnonline.com.)

 

xxx

 

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