Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What's new with you (well - me)

Time to come clean about what I am now doing...!

Since leaving ScrapGenie, I was offered a few different opportunities... and the one I opted for (based on the people) was to head a new Premium Brand division for Design Objectives (Do Crafts, DO...)

I have known this company and some of the folks that work there for as long as I have been in the industry. We often joked that whilst they scored on the 90% of UK craft sales... I would be happy with my 10% of the cream... those with seriously good taste for quality brand (aka the label tarts!)

I was approached and considered it an amazing challenge. Here is a company that is the UK's leading supplier (by quite some yardage) who have always concentrated on the entry level craft materials. Here is a company who have this solid infrastructure; service ethos; integrity and commitment to independent brick and mortar stores; FOCUSED (AK) and thoroughly in touch with the end consumer... and they now want to put all this energy in supporting and building a market that I am very passionate about.

When I visited their offices (and walked into the boardroom to find my daughter #1 on the wall...) I had forgotten that right at the start I had worked briefly as their scrapbooking consultant. Early days - but I had designed (and been the unknowing face of Papermania - as was the BasicGrey sweetpea collection... how crazy is that!!) It is one of those FATE moments...

So what's the beef? What is DO doing that is so radically different from other UK wholesalers. Support and education is a major difference. I am working on a new publication that will promote our brands in the independents; much like the Do Crafts Creativity mag already does for the card making products. I am also working on some great ranges that have previously not really had the outreach in the UK that they deserve. Combine GREAT brands with impossibly perfect customer service, delivery, accountancy, personal sales reps, special in store promotion opportunities, demos... etc - and then you have something to really shout about.

I know that some retailers I have worked with before still harbour myths about DO (like £4000+ opening order values, and selling to supermarkets?!!) BUT luckily all those myths are just that... So there will be lower threshold opening order if you have never dealt with DO (circa £250) and free shipping. All online orders get an additional 2.5% off the order total - and to register you just need to prove you are a business. They will protect independents from rogue traders, and non-business buyers... which is what many retailers groan under the ever increasing strain of.

...and whilst DO have previously sold cheaper entry level craft materials; this is one company that is not cheap. They invest in people, businesses and education. That is what swung it for me. It's not about getting rich quick - but creating something sustainable, long-lasting... a bit like a scrapbook album ;)

So that is why I am excited about 2008.
Becks x


Anonymous said...

do crafts really needs to segregate their craft image if it wants to score with the scrap market - and I believe it will.
Card and scrap snobbery will eventually see eye to eye and papermania will win the hearts of the label whores.
I can't believe what goes on behind shop counters - the business side of the craft industry is fierce, callous and unprofessional at times.
I believe Do play nice and play fair. I feel that they have no hidden agenda nor a get rich quick scheme.
What makes the DO range so believable is that its run by business heads and not craft heads. Thats what makes it so successful.
I can't wait to see how this all develops.

Anonymous said...

DO told me about three weeks ago their minimum opening order was still £4000. As they didn't attend Stitches this year they haven't exactly made themselves available to put any other information across.