Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Think outside the box

EK Success announced its launch strategy for the new Martha Stewart Crafts™ line of paper crafting, scrapbooking, and storage products, begining with limited retail distribution in May to all Michaels stores, followed by distribution to EK Elite independent craft and scrapbooking stores later this year.

Today...I highlighted this tidbit of advice offered to independents by Rob Krieger, president of Checker Distributors, in the January 2007 issue of Craftrends, page 34:
The strengths independent shops can use to their advantage...are their unique product selection, classes, and individual attention (emphasis

and he advises retailers to...
"Find suppliers who are directing their total sales and marketing efforts to make independents successful. Why depend on a supplier who is doing all they can to help chains be successful at your expense?"

Krieger goes on to encourage independents to "think outside the box" and lists suggestions like using the Internet to attract younger customers, choosing the right supplier ("Make every attempt to buy products and brand names that are not in the chains."), keeping up with trends, and offering unique classes.

I can't help but think that EK Success released word of the launch schedule as a way to avoid a communications fiasco a la Provo Craft and the Cricut. They're making sure everyone knows that the box stores will have Martha's product before they attempt to ship it to their "elite" customers. Thanks for the warning, EK, especially before you have thousands of independent reltailers decend upon you at CHA.

Independents need to think outside the box or the only place to shop for scrapbooking supplies will be inside the box stores.


Mary Kay said...

I totally agree with the perspective that we have to be really choosy about what we carry-- the first question I ask (after "do I like this and/or will my customers?") is, can you get it at a big box? The next is, can you get it at Archiver's? If the answers are "yes, no, no," I've got a winner.

Kim Mattina said...

Hey Veronica! I hope we get to chat a bit in CA! :) It won't be as good as cosmos under a Mercedes in Vegas, but heh! :)))

I think that EK was just doing a bit of "advanced damage control" in light of recent events. Probably good that they did that. But, I have to say, it will have a huge impact on the orders. Except for the retailers that are not aware of this, I really believe that many will avoid MS line all together. High Price Point + Pre-purchasing at Michaels = low sales at the LSS. But that's ok. They can spend their money where it's appreciated by the manufacturer and where they can get lines not found in the boxes.

Come by and see me if you get a few, ok? I'll be in both 1269 (Queen & Co. fondling the felt! lol)

See ya! :)
Kim M