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Paper Crafting Consumer Year in Review 2015
According to our annual crafting Year in Review Study, satisfaction has shifted from very satisfied to satisfied. When we asked why, they told us several things. Included in those answers was the idea that they did see new products, in fact a lot of new products, but they were so similar they were not really new at all.

Outside of finding out your brand image with consumers and how unique that image is within your industry, you can learn more about what is being offered and what consumers are interested in seeing. Plays Nicely with Paper LLC can help with that.

Is it Really Intuition vs. Research?
I like going to CHA for so many reasons. Least of which is visiting with family and friends that seem like family. But it is so fun to be in the know. There are several opportunities to actually see, touch and play with some of the products before they hit retail and virtual shelves in stores. In addition they are being demonstrated by the creators with new and fun ways to use them. The folks in paper crafting are very in touch with the products that they make. Which is great because they can make amazing products that I personally can't wait to buy and experience myself. However, when I was walking around talking to manufacturers about what I do, many seemed to think that they already knew the information that market research could provide and/or that information would be contrary to their highly honed intuition about their customers and brand.

It got me to thinking... Is intuition at odds with consumer insight and market research?

What Paper Crafting Manufacturers Need to Know About Millennial Crafters
Of course you have heard of the Millennials, Gen Y, aka the new power players in every single business on the face of the earth.   But now what?  There is so much information telling us how much money they have and the influence they will have on our business, but I don't see...

Stamping out Success
Stamping is alive and well and there are things you should know if you create stamp sets that can help you make them even better.  For instance did you know that most folks are looking for as many images as they are sentiments?  Though good sentiments are very important too....

Getting organized takes systems and equipment to accomplish efficiently. Even if your natural tendency to to stack papers up in different, but better, piles, a system will take the guess work out of what is in them.

Most paper crafters juggle multiple types and sizes of paper and several different ink pads and stamps and embellishments in an assortment of containers. Some they will use, donate, or toss but being able to see them all and get to them easily is a huge need. Color coordination is huge. Try to understand what they currently have to determine if opaque is better than transparent. Do they want colored bins or the ability to customize them to the color of their choosing?

Adhering paper to paper and embellishments to paper is the glue that keeps paper crafting together. I know it is an awful pun, but I could not resist. Outside of stamping, it is one of the primary things I do as a crafter myself. And if you craft too you realize that there are so many different needs you have while you are crafting. Sometimes you need a glue to have a very strong hold right now and over the long haul. Sometimes you just want to stick something on that can hold just for a second, then be able to be moved if you find a better place for it. Sometimes your biggest concern could be that it not show through the on the backside of your project or squish out the sides.

As an adhesive manufacturer, what needs should you be satisfying? How well do your products fit those needs? What improvements or new products are needed?

Market Research Intro for Manufacturers new to Market Research
You do not have to be a huge company with a million dollar marketing budget to do market research. You would be surprised what you can actually learn for little to no money.

And yes, regardless of your size you should be doing market research. You may already be on board with the need for market research but outside of talking to your customers, you are not sure what to do. It's understandable.

You sell to things to people right? Market research is all about understanding the people you sell things to and the people you want to sell things to. You want to know those folks.

You are looking to increase your understanding of what they think as well as how they behave. Ultimately, you should aspire to create products and services for your target consumer that meet their needs as well as delight them and that those products and services are linked proprietarily to your business. Now that is a mouth full but it essentially means that you want to give your people what they love and you want them to know they need to get it from you if they want the good stuff.

Spring Clean Up Can Still Mean More Sales for You
External forces including the economy have caused a major shift in how many people buy discretionary items like paper crafting products. In addition, the market has focused primarily on the aging Baby Boomer consumers and has not spent as much time getting to know younger generations of crafters. Even given the above generalities, consumers appetites and clean up/clear out habits will naturally ebb and flow . It is critical that as manufacturers, you do not go about business as usual but rather perform an assessment of business. You can create a plan to thrive in the Spring Clean Up season.

Your Spring Cleaning Marketing Defense plan should incorporate the following things:

It may sound basic but how often have you launched a new product that was not been tested previously with consumers only to find it doesn't work they way you thought it would in house? It may be a minor fix that you correct and consider the problem handled. But did you know when we asked paper crafters what they were most unsatisfied with, most of them mentioned punches, tools, and tape runners that don't work and break. How many consumers will give you another chance to get it right?

This can be avoided with research. At Plays Nicely with Paper LLC, we regularly talk to measurable amounts of paper crafters to better understand what they like and why. You don't have to guess, you don't have to assume, you don't have to wait for potentially biased or partial feedback. Let us show you how easy it can be.

Back from the CHA Megashow
I am back today from the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) Mega show event and I had a wonderful trip.  It is very inspiring discovering what is going to be the next hot thing in the paper crafting world and what I will be oohing and ahhing over the next few months.  And as much as I...

Holiday Crafting
The holiday crafting season is in full swing now.

Crafters are creating their patterns, planning their designs and getting supplies for their gifts , cards and pages. At Plays Nicely with Paper we are interesting in learning more. We want to know where crafters are getting their ideas from, what are their specific needs, who is doing a good job at meeting those needs.

Back from the CHA Paper Crafting show
The show was good and the road trip was great. It was definitely a smaller show compared to the Mega Show in January that CHA puts on. There were about 45 manufacturers/vendors present. I also found out there was mixed media show the weekend before in Utah that some of the vendors attended. I can tell you this, many of the retail owners really appreciated the show being in Atlanta. It gave many people an opportunity to travel from the East coast and other parts of the world. The smaller venue and amount of participants gave everyone a chance to talk and think and hopefully order a lot.

I found a lot of fun stuff you all should be excited about.

Are you with me?
It is coming soon...

that anticipation of rows and rows of exciting new paper crafting products. Retail and online shops are looking for new products and deals to keep their customers interested during the busy summer months and to get a little bit of a head start on winter buying. We are all headed to Atlanta, GA the last week in July to participate in the CHA Paper Crafts Summer show.

It seems like even top marketers know that armed with the knowledge that if 30% of their customers prefer  fill in the blank that this knowledge alone isn't enough to make a big enough impact on their business.  They need data analyst.  They need more qualified people to help...

Something New in Innovation at CHA
If you have ever attended the CHA Megashow (Craft and Hobby Association) then you expect to see what's new, what's hot, something innovative even.   From the over 300 exhibitors, the designer showcase and the workshops, there is an overwhelming amount of stimulus.   CHA...

Another Paper Craft Store Closing
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What a fun and fascinating weekend I had visiting the Archiver’s Annual Scrapfest in the lovely Mall of America. Even though the location is in my own backyard, this was my first year attending. I have not really caught the scrapbooking bug, I am more of card maker myself. However, I thought it only responsible as a paper crafter and as a researcher to check it out.

Hello world!
I hope to be blogging on a regular basis and so I think some introductions are in order. My name is Aliya. I am a sun loving but Minnesota living lady who made her business on asking questions and trying to figure out why. I turned my curiosity into a career in market research. For nearly 15 years I have worked for several consumer packaged foods companies and while I really loved figuring out what made consumers tick regarding their food choices, I wanted to combine my passion with my curiosity.

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