Archive for July, 2009

Taming Yelp & Other Consumer Feedback Websites: a Must Read for Art Material Retailers

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

chowhound-yelpingI picked up on a terrific article in today’s New York Times entitled Managing an Online Reputation.  The point is that your customers are talking about you — and the whole world is listening in. Yelp, Citysearch and Yahoo! Local, Google Maps, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, and Epinions are just a few of the websites where consumers can give feedback on their favorite and not so favorite stores. The article helps provide a better understanding of the phenomenon and gives some practical advice for hardworking and vigilant store managers on taming this ever growing and critically important challenge for art material retailers. Here is a peek at some of the valuable tips:

* Set up automatic alerts to notify you when your business is mentioned in a review or blog.
* Local search sites are the new Yellow Pages — make sure your business is listed. The more complete your listing, the more likely you are to get good search results.
* Respond to reviews to show readers that you are listening and that you care about customer service.
* Online reviews are a gold mine of business intelligence.  Analyze metrics to get a better sense of your customer demographics.
* Don’t write false reviews to puff your business or trash a competitor. You can severely damage your reputation…and look really silly.

Read the entire article by clicking on this link: Managing an Online Reputation

Art Alternatives Kids Easel Alert: Important Information for Retailers!

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Dear Retailers,

aa_13301Our AA13301 Young Artist Easel was tested recently and, to our great surprise, the chalkboard panel did not comply with the the Federal Standard for Lead Paint. We’ve already quarantined our inventory, which is why some of you have been unable to order the easel, and we are working closely with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to conduct a recall.

Finalizing the recall plan with the CPSC will take an unknown amount of time. In the meantime, we need your help!

Please pull the AA13301 Young Artist Easel off the sales floor and hold the easels for further instructions. Our tentative recall plan, worked on with the CPSC’s help, is to replace the existing green chalkboard panels with new black chalkboard panels. These panels will, of course, be shipped to you free of charge. We will have several ways you can contact us to get replacement panels for your existing inventory, including a phone number, an online form, and a special email address. We’ll get you this information just as soon as we are able. We appreciate your patience as we wait.

We’ll be mailing a full instruction kit to every retail location that has purchased the AA13301 easel. It will include instructions for how to convert your inventory, recall posters for your store shelf, cards with instructions for consumers (consumers will contact Art Alternatives for their free replacement panel), stickers with a new item number & UPC for your refurbished easels, etc. But first, we need the CPSC to approve our plan and our literature.

MacPherson’s will also be refurbishing our existing, quarantined easels by replacing the non-compliant, green chalkboard panels with a compliant, black ones. The new panels are in production and we expect to sell the Young Artist Easel again in late August, under a new item number with a new UPC. Our inventory is expected, but not guaranteed, to last through the Holiday season.

aa13325chalkboardside_smMacPherson’s will not be reordering this easel from this manufacturer; we will need to find a new, reliable source and that may take some time. Luckily, we were already working on a new kid’s easel when we discovered the problem with the old easel. The new easel, item #AA13325, is called the Art Activity Easel and it is due into our DCs in mid-September. It’s a better easel than the old one. It’s adjustable, the drawing surfaces are larger, the paper roll is larger, and the easel has handy storage baskets that hang at the bottom.

Please contact us if you have any comments, questions or concerns. Your sales rep and the Art Alternatives team are ready to answer your questions. I can be reached at (800) 289-9899 ext. 6616 from 8am-4:30pm Pacific Time, or at Alternatively, you can call our recall hotline at ext. 1093.

You have our sincere apologies for this terrible situation and the inconvenience it will cause you. We’ll get more info to you as soon as we get the go-ahead from the CPSC.

Amy K. & the Art Alternatives team

Industry News

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Retail SalesIn a posting entitled “Retailers Brace For Dreary Back-To-School Season“, Marketing Daily website reports a new survey conducted by  America’s Research Group and UBS Global Equity Research reports that 34.4% of parents are planning to spend less this year. And the reasons are hardly surprising: 41.8% of those planning to spend less say it’s because they have less money, 40.5% say it’s due to higher debt, and 8.2% say because they’re worried about job loss. The survey predicts a depressing sales drop compared to last year of between 8.5% and 12%. Presumably, 65.6% of parents plan on spending the same amount or more. To read the entire posting visit Marketing Daily

0barrywd40John S. Barry, the man who was largely responsible for turning WD-40 into a product that at least one survey says is present in 80% of American homes, died earlier in July  in San Diego. He was 84. The company’s Web site contains an official list of 2,000-plus uses for the product “from gum, sticker and crayon removal, to cleaning grease and corrosion protection,” many of which were discovered by consumers. And an FAQ section addresses such myths and legends as “WD-40 cures arthritis,” which it says appears in tabloid headlines regularly. “No way,” it dutifully reports. But, inexplicably, there’s no mention of Barry.

namtalogoRachel Gray reports that the NAMTA Foundation received $2300 from a NAMTA Survey Incentive.  The recent Art Materials survey conducted by NAMTA will be released soon and promises to provide valuable information to the NAMTA members, but it has helped the art community by giving the NAMTA Foundation a $2300 donation. For each of the  700 completed surveys submitted online by manufacturers, retailers and consumers, a $3 donation was made to the NAMTA Foundation.


Congratulations to Susan & Larry Millstead of Arizona Art who have just successfully moved their flagship Phoenix store to 4025 North 16th Street.

becky jones joannsCreative Leisure News reports that Becky Jones, VP/General Merchandise Manager – Crafts, for Jo-Ann, is leaving the end of the month for a position at  Hibbett’s, a sporting goods chain. She has also resigned from the Craft & Hobby Association’s Board of Directors. We have always enjoyed working with Becky, and her departure is a great loss for our industry.

John Saltsman has left Sam Flax in Atlanta to pursue new opportunities. Taking his place as general manager will be 3rd generation Flax, Lionel Flax, an experienced 3rd generation descendant of the founders.

flaxkidsfest_july2009-040Kids Gone Wild at Flax Kidsfest!– Hundreds of kids and their parents descended upon Flax Art & Design in San Francisco this past Saturday, July 25th, for their annual Kidsfest event.  14 different activity tables were set up throughout the store with different arts & crafts activities such as designer pet rocks with Sakura, Flipbooks with General Pencil, cardmaking, “stained glass” window making, sidewalk drawing with Crayola sidewalk chalk, and ATC cards with STABILO and Strathmore.  The event is a HUGE hit for Flax, not only generating sales for the store, but also scoring big on the customer PR radar!  Store manager Ron Ansley and his staff certainly did a wonderful job pulling it off, making a lot of kids and their parents happy in the process.

Check out pictures from the event here! ArtFest Photo Gallery

mankowsky-photoLong time Elmer’s veteran Mike Mankowsky reports that he plans to take a somewhat early retirement, effective September 4th of this year.  In a personal note, Mike told us that “I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to spend over 32 years in such a rewarding industry and with such an exceptional company as Hunt/Elmer’s.  I send my sincere thanks and appreciation to all the wonderful customers, colleagues, and industry friends that I have had the privilege to know and to work with.   There are plans for me to stay connected to Elmer’s in an advisory role, working trade shows, special projects, etc., so hopefully I will see many of you at upcoming events.  I can be reached at or 847-778-8597.” Taking over Mike’s sales responsibilities  is Alan Braun, an experienced Regional Business Manager. We hope to see a great deal of Mike in the future.

meiningerHenry Meininger reports that he will be opening a new store location in Boulder, CO in the storefront operated for years under the name Art Hardware. Working at warp speed, he hopes to be ready for student business and a  soft opening by the beginning of the fall semester in late August. Henry’s son, Judd will be the store’s manager. Go 5th generation Meiningers!

playingwithwetpaintWet Paint, St Paul, MN reports that there is a great article on Beth Bergman’s 25th anniversary of owning th store in the current ART MATERIALS RETAILER magazine. The online version can be found at the attached link! Wet Paint

Redbook magazine is running a piece that features Montana Gold spray paint for home décor application in its August Issue that hit the stands last week. The total circulation of Redbook is 2 million copies each month to today’s young, married woman(average age: 44). Congratulations to Pat Jennings of Central Art Supply Company in St. Petersburg, FL for making this market expanding connection.


On the lighter side, here is our very own cartoonist Lance Blayney’s take on Spring in Elgin, IL

brushes by lance blayney

New Product News From Elmer’s

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Here is the latest news regarding a comprehensive range of new products from Elmer’s.

conte-new-18-ct-crayon-setNEW FROM CONTÉ
Want to create some additional retail selling space?  Conté introduces a new space efficient display designed to merchandise an excellent assortment of Conté Crayon sets. The sturdy wire rack displays the sets vertically in a “waterfall” arrangement to best maximize shelf space and it creates a much easier shopping experience, allowing customers to clearly see the sets. The display was created to showcase Conté Crayon Sets with 12, 24, and 48 crayons, in both traditional earth tones and the complete range of colored crayons. The rack is available without a charge with the purchase of an assortment of sets.

Conté 18-Color Crayon Boxed Set: The packaging of this popular set has been updated, and it is now available in a great new shipper display that comes with 12 sets.  Best of all, this set represents a phenomenal consumer value, as it is priced at the same suggested list as a 12 ct. set.

Introducing Elmer’s new Extra Strong Spray Adhesive, which is designed with an innovative wide pad nozzle for no-mess application and a vertical spray pattern, providing consistent coverage with no clumping. The adhesive dries clear, not yellow, and does not attack Styrofoam. The product features an ergonomic easy-to-grip rounded can with contemporary graphics and a premium image.

Introducing both Mixed Berry and Turquoise. These new Painters colors are hot accent trends for home décor and a broad variety of craft projects.


foam-board-displayNEW FOAMBOARD COLOR
Elmer’s Pink Foam Board is the newest addition to the popular range of  20”x30” colored foamboard. Now is the perfect time to evaluate your current offering of these popular sellers and spice up your assortment. Aside from pink and the basic colors, check out other unique options, such as greystone, sandstone, gold, silver, tan, and sky blue. Also, Elmer’s metal foamboard display rack is a phenomenal way to  merchandise the line. It’s a silent sales person for your foamboard products and only takes up a 20”x30” footprint.  It’s available at no charge when you purchase as assortment of 18 different 20”x30” foamboard sku’s in case quantities.

Elmer’s will be taking a grassroots approach to connect with crafters using the synergies of the Elmer’s CraftBond adhesives, Painters paint markers, and X-ACTO tools. Included in these initiatives will be the establishment of a Craft Advisory Board, a Craft Council, and partnerships with key craft influentials and magazine editors. Elmer’s will also be assuming sponsorship of Scrapbook Memories, with 2009 airings of 13 project related episodes and Craftastic Home, a craft project design book by well known designer and author Mark Montano, which is being released this summer. Elmer’s was also a Corporate sponsor of Paper Craft’s Third Annual Card Making Day, which  celebrates the creativity of handmade cards and the personal connection created through making cards. This event connects with 250,000 readers and the Elmer’s sponsored projects are listed on-line.


ColArt BTS: Scoring for the Best Deals

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

ColArt offers so many new products for BTS that it’s easy to overlook the traditional ranges, or those that may have been re-launched with a new look and improved features like:

Derwent’s Water Color Pencils:
·         Improved softer formulation that transfers color quicker & feels less waxy
·         Stronger, more soluble washes
·         Improved lightfastness
·         Environmentally friendly water-based coating to eliminate solvent based paints & lacquers
·         Smoke blue satin touch finish color dip end with distinctive silver stripe & silver imprint
·         Unchanged codes, colors  or names
·         Water color collections now contain Inktense
·         Available in assortments, tin sets, and open stock


And, don’t forget that all Derwent Pencil Tins are being offered at +20%!


Reeves best-selling Introduction to Art sets are now available in 8 sets of 10 or 20 Larger 22ml Tubes! (All +10% on BTS)


CAP Dealers! You still have time to stock up on all these essential BTS color ranges: (All +10%)
·         All W&N Artist Oils (37ml & 200ml)
·         All W&N Artisan Water Mixable Oils (37ml & 200ml)
·         All Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Color (2oz tubes, 4.65oz tubes, & 32oz jars)


Please see your MacPherson’s Rep for these and the other ColArt BTS promotional savings!

Art (Snake) Dog of the Month

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Many of you may know about Artisan of Santa Fe’s mascot Delilah. For those of you who don’t, she’s a python who has grown to almost 17 feet and 230 pounds! Here is a video of Artisan’s Ron Whitmore helping as she sheds her skin:

A bit of trivia: In 2003, Delilah was voted Favorite Store Pet by NAMTA, and the store was given a special plaque for the occasion.

Inside MacPherson’s: Atlanta Buyer Bryan Ferguson, Up Close & Personal

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

We love to share the stories of the people who make up our amazing team.

Today our featured person is Bryan Ferguson, Buyer, Atlanta

dsc02505Bryan is from the small town of Bethlehem, Georgia, where watching the cows break through their fences is the most exciting thing that happens. Aspiring to be a creative writer, Bryan settled for creating extraordinary french fries and burgers at the fine dining palace called Burger King for his first job. Bryan started at MacPherson’s 16 years ago. With 13 years in the warehouse, picking, packing, receiving, shipping, and every other thing you can think of, he was truly a warehouse “jack of all trades.” Always looking for a new challenge, with his extensive knowledge of our warehouse and items, Bryan joined the purchasing department when the opportunity arose 3 years ago.

What does he like most about the job? Bryan loves his co-workers and their wonderfully diverse personalities.  He has been married for 3 years to his wife Wendy, and has two stepkids, Mallory (22) and Jacob (19). In those 3 years, the kids have gone on their own, making Bryan and Wendy “empty nesters”.  Well, not really empty by any means, as their 2 dogs (Crash and Bobo) and 4 cats ( Chleopetra [not Cleopatra, yet the resemblance is uncanny], Alfie, Luna, and Levi) make for an eventful evening.

On his off days, Bryan hangs out with his other family, the kids from his church and teaches High School Sunday School. You’re a busy man, Bryan! If he could impart any words of wisdom to his fellow citizens of the world, here’s what he suggests, “Pray for, forgive and love your enemies and those who hurt you. This is one of the hardest things to do, but can be one of the most rewarding.” Well said, Bryan, well said.

Industry News

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Joe Scala reports that he has left CraftyDab. Companies looking for a dynamic sales executive with tons of art, craft and education supply industry experience can contact him at

dscn0721Roger Hu, CEO & President of China’s Conda Group, has recently left the company.

American Art Clay Company’s manager of Key Accounts, Chris Vance, has left the company to pursue other opportunities.

pic00847Clarke Congdon, our fearless Crayola rep, sent us a Wall Street Journal article recently that indicates June was another challenging month for retailers. We are all continually bombarded this type of negative information and it’s important to remember that the economy is not all doom and gloom. In fact, Crayola had its biggest June (POS) in the company’s history! Crayola’s 4-week trends were +12% ,showing that consumers are willing to part with their cash for high quality brands that offer high play value for kids. Clarke also notes that Crayola is a brand you can trust and lean on to jump-start lagging sales.

Moleskine Makes it to the Interesting Thing of the Day Blog!

Friday, July 17th, 2009

218OK, we had never heard of the Interesting Thing of the Day blog before either, but one of our steadfast reporters (MacPherson’s sales rep Paul Mulcahy) sent in a link featuring Moleskine. Talk about perfect timing! Why you ask? Because we’ve just rounded out our Moleskine selection to just about the complete line. Learn some new stuff about Moleskine at the Interesting Thing of the Day Blog and know that you have a simple, complete and stress free pipeline to these high demand products from MacPherson’s.


Itoya PMA YouTube Interview

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Paul Worthington of the 6Sight Report interviewed ITOYA‘s President Jin Takemura at the Photo Marketing Association’s PMA09 trade show, which took place in Las Vegas, NV on March 1-5, 2009. Hear Jin describe Itoya’s approach to digital media storage and presentation. Very exiting and innovative! Oh, and almost forgot to mention that MacPherson’s is carrying all the products in support of the program.

For more information, please visit

Check it out here:

Check Out this New Gamblin Artists Colors Retailer’s Promotion!

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

cold-wax-2oz-product-shot_for-webTo help retail partners drive foot traffic and sales during Fall BTS, Gamblin is pleased to announce a new Buy-Get Promotion.

This program is based on Gamblin’s successful Torrit Grey Program.  Participating retailers will receive Gamblin Cold Wax Medium in 2 oz. sizes to offer as a Buy-Get item to painters that spend $30 or more on Gamblin products during August and September.

cold-wax-medium-action-shot_for-webHere’s how it works:  From July 1 until August 30, 2009, Gamblin will ship Cold Wax Medium Kits to retailers who choose to participate.  This Kit contains everything you will need to run a successful promotion in your store during the Fall promotional period: August 1 thru September 30, 2009.  The Kits will ship free of charge, direct from Gamblin.

Gamblin encourages retail partners to promote the Buy-Get offer in-store and via web/email communications.  To support that, Gamblin has developed in-store signage and placed copy and images for the promotion on its retailer portal at

To get with the program, please contact your MacPherson’s Sales Rep or Cathy or Emily to request your FREE Cold Wax Medium Kit.  You can reach Gamblin via email at or

Each kit includes:
• 25 Cold Wax Medium 2oz
• 25 Guide to Mediums
• Rack Signage advertising the promotion
• Staff training information sheets on Cold Wax Medium
• Promotional copy and images are available on their retailer webpage at

Cold Wax Medium is a simple mixture of pure beeswax, Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits, and a small amount of alkyd resin.
Painting Medium

As a painting medium, Cold Wax Medium can be used to make oil colors thicker and more matte.

Matting Agent
Cold Wax Mediums can be used to lower the gloss level of Galkyd painting mediums.

Wax Varnish
Straight Cold Wax Medium can be applied to a dry painting as a removable, matte varnish.

Strathmore Artist Papers Launches Green-Themed Art Competition

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
sap_contest_web_ad1Strathmore Artist Papers has announced its new illustration competition entitled, “How Do You See Green?” Strathmore is asking artists to submit original artwork representing their unique vision of green or the environment. Winning art will be featured on special editions of Strathmore Premium Recycled Sketch and Drawing Pads.
Strathmore has a longstanding tradition of environmental stewardship. We offer a broad range of products, many of which are made with recycled fibers. Strathmore also has a paper line that is made with 100% certified renewable energy,” says Don Bozek, Marketing Director at Strathmore Artist Papers. “We know from our consumer research and customer comments that artists on the whole are concerned about the environment.  It made sense to include an element of green in our new competition.”
The illustration competition is free and open to students, art hobbyists and professional artists. The artwork submission can include any dry media created on Strathmore paper. Entries will be accepted August 1 through November 30, 2009.
Twenty semi-finalists will be selected by an independent panel of art professionals. Once selected, the semi-finalists’ art will be published on Strathmore’s website and everyone will be invited to vote online to select the winning artists. Voting will begin January 1 and continue through January 31, 2010 Four winners will be selected by popular vote including two winners in the student category and two winners in the art hobbyist/professional category. In addition to winners’ art being featured on special edition Strathmore Premium Recycled Pads, student winners will have $1,000 scholarships awarded to their school’s art department.
Retailers can order promotional material for the “How Do You See Green?” contest via Strathmore Artist Papers website:

No Time Like Now to Launch Golden Open Acrylics!

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
If you haven’t entered into the innovative world of OPEN Acrylics yet, or you are ready to expand, now is the time! OPEN Assortments are on promotion for Fall Back-to-School at a fabulous discount of 60/10.
As an added bonus, purchasing an OPEN Assortment through the MacPherson’s Fall Back-to-School promotion automatically qualifies a retailer to partake in the GOLDEN OPEN Holiday promotion.
The OPEN Holiday promotion will be open to all retailers who have purchased a GOLDEN OPEN Assortment between July 2008 and September 30, 2009. More details on the OPEN Holiday promotion will be forthcoming, but don’t miss out on this opportunity to stock this unique and popular product at a great price!




2 oz. OPEN Acrylic 40-color Facing Assortment Display




4 oz. OPEN Acrylic Mediums & Sets Assortment Display




4 oz. OPEN Acrylic 40-color Facing Assortment




8 oz. OPEN Acrylic 40-color Facing Assortment




OPEN Acrylic Mediums & Sets Assortment




OPEN Acrylic Large End-Cap Assortment




OPEN Acrylic Medium Stocking Order




OPEN Acrylic Small End-Cap Assortment




OPEN Acrylic Small Stocking Order




OPEN Acrylics is a line of colors with truly unique features and properties that are designed to work with GOLDEN’s existing products to expand the range of techniques for artists to explore. Artists will immediately notice the uniquely relaxed working characteristics and remarkable ability to remain wet on the palette. Delivering on the promise of remaining wet longer, OPEN Acrylics offer tremendous versatility, allowing them to be used for techniques where traditional acrylics are normally challenging to use, such as portraiture, plein air painting, monoprinting, and screenprinting.
OPEN’s unique performance features are built into the product. However, if the artist wants to modify thickness, sheen or speed up the drying time, OPEN Acrylics can be used in conjunction with other GOLDEN acrylic colors and mediums to achieve the desired result.

The OPEN Acrylics line consists of 40 colors available in 2 oz. tubes, 4 oz. jars, and 8 oz. jars. They are supported by 2 mediums and 1 additive; OPEN Acrylic Gel (Gloss), OPEN Acrylic Medium (Gloss), and OPEN Thinner. In addition, there are two Introductory Sets and one Principal Set available.


FREE Titanium White!
Participate in the
GOLDEN Back-to-School “White Hot” Promotion and get free promotional 5 oz. tubes of GOLDEN Titanium White (GD00P1380-3) as a purchase incentive for your customers. Available for a limited time only. Rack-top magnets are available for customer awareness of the promotion (GD00P1380-S).

If you have any questions about any of the above information, please contact your MacPherson‘s Sales Representative.

Sanford Prismacolor News & More!

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

· The Prismacolor consumer rebate materials have been sent to your MacPherson’s representative, in limited quantities. The rebate form itself is available as a pdf download at and can be printed directly from that site. This is a great selling tool that is tailor made for incremental selling. Your customer will receive a $10 rebate for a purchase of $50 or more of ANY Prismacolor branded product. The rebate is available on purchases made between July 1, 2009 and October 15, 2009.

· Don’t forget about the Prismacolor Merchandising contest. Sanford is awarding prizes of $1,000 for 1st place, $750 for 2nd place and $500 for 3rd place. The whole purpose of the contest is to get Independent Dealers to make secondary placement a regular part of the seasonal selling strategy. Any secondary placement should also include the Prismacolor Consumer Rebate materials.

· Sanford has had several inquiries recently concerning the re-identification of the Fine Line, Brush and Chisel tip Markers as Illustration Markers. Sanford is NOT discontinuing any of those items; this is simply a name change and refocus.

· Your MacPherson’s rep will soon have details on a new display change for Prismacolor’s Illustration Marker line. The new display which launches in September will contain the Fine Line, Brush and Chisel Tip Markers. Currently there is one display for Fine Line and one that houses both the Brush Tip and Chisel tip Markers. For those dealers who now have both displays in the store, Sanford will offer a conversion kit that will allow you to convert your Fine line Display to a full line Illustration Marker Display. The conversion kit becomes available in September of this year and will consist of the following:

o Merchandise kit (header, footer, rack strips) in new graphics
3 empty rows to add to the top of an existing Fine Line or Brush Chisel display

· The Prismacolor Illustration Marker web-based national advertising campaign kicked off on July 15th and runs through October 1st. Check it out on YouTube, Google and art websites. This effort is specifically targeted at college and design students to heighten awareness of Fine Line, Brush and Chisel Tip Markers now known as Prismacolor Illustration Marker Products.

Partnering Ideas for Retailers & Art Educators

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

j2592x1944-11111_2_2Cheryl Trowbridge writes a terrific blog aimed at helping elementary school educators who teach or use art in their curricula. The blog has amazing ideas that can help art supply retailers connect with schools to expand their role as more that just a source of supplies. Perhaps in part because she is married to Roy Trowbridge, the head of Palace Art & Office, she seems to have a knack for coming up with ways to showcase this idea of partnership between creative supply stores and teachers.

Check out Cheryl’s blog: Teach Kids Art

To give you a flavor for her unique perspective, here is an excerpt from a recent posting that described a Model Magic demo and why this Crayola product is such a versatile medium for teaching and demos:

“So, here’s what I like about Model Magic….

1. It air dries overnight, so you don’t need to fire it or bake it.
2. It comes in several colors plus white and black, and you can mix your own “custom” colors by kneading colors together. (If you stop kneading before the colors are fully mixed, you get a beautiful “marbled” effect.) If you work with the white, you can also paint your finished pieces with watercolor, tempera or acrylic paint, or color them with markers.
3. It’s not messy, it doesn’t stain your hands and it’s non-toxic. Super easy to clean up!
4. You can stamp it or press textures into it (note the “shells” above which were made by pressing Model Magic onto a real shell to pick up its shape and texture.)
5. You can roll it out into a very thin slab using a Crayola marker as a rolling pin. (The smooth, round marker barrel is perfect for this.)
6. To join separate pieces, all you do is stick them together! (Unlike clay, which requires scoring and slip and then still sometimes pops apart!)

Industry News

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

img_7524More personnel changes at Elmer’s; in a big reorganization, longtime sales team members Liz Hackney (Northern California) and Jim Samoska (Midwest) will be leaving the company. Mike Mankowsky, Key Account Manager for Arts & Crafts will take early retirement beginning in September 2009. He has agreed to consult for a year as a “channel Ambassador”. Best wishes to all of these sales professionals for years of great service to our industry.

Our new Elgin, IL DC is up and running. Congratulations to MacPherson’s amazing managers Marco Auriene, Joneil Hilton, Ryan Ong, Jim Semitekol, Pedro Arana, Brandy Cline, Dave Bloomquist and their many hardworking and dedicated team members for accomplishing this gigantic task!

charretteIt’s official; the venerable retail art supply institution that was Charrette’s (corporate owner Pitman’s) in Woburn, MA closed its doors July 1st, 2009.

rileystreet2009-018Demo Days Success! 98 degree temperature didn’t keep hundreds of consumers from attending the 41st Anniversary Sale and 12th annual Demo Day event at Rileystreet Art Supplies in Santa Rosa, CA, held on the last Saturday of June! In a sea of white tents housing over 30 art supply vendors, our red STABILO tent caught the eyes and interests of many of the attendees. Artists of all levels created artist trading cards that we have collected to help fill up the new sample album. Favorite products of the day were the Point 88 fineliner and the Woody 3 in 1 pencils. Check out the pictures from the event: Rileystreet Demo Days

Former Midwest Products (Balsa) sales manager Ken Philips has joined craft supplier Walnut Hollow as Director of Sales. Reporting to Ken will be sales, inventory management and customer service functions. Ken will report directly to the President, Sandy Bartelt.

Stuart AitkenStuart Aitken, chief marketing officer at Michaels, has announced his decision to leave the company effective July 10th, 2009.  Until a replacement is found John Rowe, General Manager – Strategic Marketing, will oversee the Adverting team and will report to the CEO, John Menzer.  Walt Asbury, VP – Special Projects, Paul Schleef, Sr. Director – Store Planning, and Paul Placzek, Sr. Director – Merchandise Planning & Presentation, will report to Shelley Broader.  Manoj Chopra and the Pricing & Promotions team will report to Philo Pappas.

A Heartwarming and True Art Supply Story

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

sp2col_wideHere is a real-life, Frank Capra-esque  story published in the Monterey County Weekly about the owner of our wonderful customer Searle/Art Max in Monterey, CA.

John Wiseman Saved Businesses, Helped Old Friends.

By Walter Ryce

Longtime high-tech businessman John Wiseman, along with his wife Vicki, moved from the bitter winters of Michigan and went into the art framing business in Monterey with partner Ronnie Barnes in 1991. They started with Max Wholesalers.

“We dipped into the last of our savings, bought a bunch of inventory, and opened a small warehouse in Forest Avenue,” John says. “It went well.”

So well that Wiseman took over the expanding businesses (two picture framing stores, two art supply stores and a wholesale warehouse) in 1996, swelled the employee ranks to 24, and cultivated a customer base in excess of 2,000.

“We couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Wiseman says. Over the years, he created a “fun” and respectful workplace; sponsored the Youth Arts Collective; built strong relationships with his vendors; and serviced a roster of top local artists and galleries. “I’m not an artist; I’m a business man. But these [stores] were my babies.”

But after 16 years, the couple decided to take an offer from a Monterey businessman to sell.

“The only thing I told [the new owner] was: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’”

The new owner didn’t heed that advice.

Wiseman said though the new owner didn’t know the business, he replaced long-time employees with cheaper, less-skilled workers, lapsed on vendor accounts and refused counsel from bookkeeper Vicki Wiseman. And he barred John from the business.

“I never set foot in [the stores] after that,” says Wiseman.

Sandy Lewis, a 16-year employee and art framing vet, says the new owners treated her like “dirt.”

“It was heartbreaking, to see all we had built just…” she recalls. “The atmosphere was really negative. But there weren’t a lot [of jobs] out there, so I felt stuck.”

Employees called Wiseman: “‘What do we do, boss?’” he recounts. “Most of them had been with us from the beginning. They have kids and [spouses] and mortgages. How could we just walk away from those people?”

After 14 months, and in the midst of the economy’s tumble, the new owner informed Wiseman, who held his note on the business, that he couldn’t pay and was shuttering the stores, and laying off all the employees. After he got over being incensed, the drastic news presented Wiseman with an opportunity.

Last December, he worked out a deal to take ownership of the stores again. Inventory had been depleted, unpaid vendors had cut them off, revenue was halved, even the utilities had gone unpaid. He hired back all his former employees and, after years of building up the business, together they started to rebuild.

“It’s been wonderful working with [the Wisemans] again,” says Lewis. “When John asked if I wanted to come back to work, I said, ‘For you? Hell, yeah.’”

With the help of trusting art suppliers like MacPherson’s, a loan by Rural Development, his “extraordinary” employees and his own reputation, they’ve been able to right the ship. It’s a challenge, still. “We get kicked in the teeth every day,” says Wiseman, who sighs when talking about the future and the economy. “But we’re a closer knit group than ever before.”

That kind of relationship with people sounds like promising firmament.

Fore the entire text of the article click here: Local Heroes

Artists Ask, and Sakura provides the new Multi-Cultural Cray-Pas® Expressionist® set!

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
Sakura’s new 12-piece selection of smooth Expressionist oil pastels are blendable, producing natural skin tones for portrait renderings. The Multi-Cultural Cray-Pas Expressionist set attributes:
·      Convenient collection of 10mm diameter x 71mm length round sticks
·      Formulated with extra fine quality pigments, wax and oil
·      Gives artists the ability to build texture & blend very smooth color
·      The standard from which all other oil pastels are measured
59900-expressionist-extender-100-dpiAlso new is the Cray-Pas Expressionist Extender, a unique oil pastel medium that:
·      Reveals a color’s hue range
·      Extends a color
·      Combines with blending techniques to produce authentic complexions
Order Codes:
Multi-Cultural Cray-Pas Expressionist set, order code: SKXLP12-SA  MSRP $7.50.
Cray-Pas Expressionist Extender 2-pk, order code: SK59900 MSRP $1.59
In Stock now!