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Here is a selection of features from Craft Focus magazine.

On point with Mitsubishi Pencil Co, UK

Rob Harradine, Head of Sales and Marketing of Mitsubishi Pencil Co, UK, chats to Craft Focus about the company's environmental responsibilities and the fabulous POSCA writing range!

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Designs from the heart

Lavinia Stamps is an established British company, founded in 2006. Our company is based in Ruthin, an idyllic market town in Denbighshire, north Wales. Tracey Lavinia Dutton, Artist and Designer at Lavinia Stamps talks creativity, fantasy and tells us more about the company's worldwide following...

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Seasonal planning

In retail, if you say peak season, it means Christmas. No other season comes to mind as strong as Christmas. Yes, Christmas is our biggest season but what else is out there? What other seasons could be beneficial to our business? Christmas will always be the top but there is nothing quite like the excitement of discovering a new peak that we can tap into. Opportunity is everywhere, you just need to know how to look for it, and once you've found it, nurturing it to become one of your best-selling seasons. Natasha Necati, Executive Director of Crafty Arts discusses how to make the most out of the seasonal calendar for optimum retail success!

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Quality & tradition

The Frank Edmunds Company is based in Chicago, USA and was incorporated in 1950. The company was founded by Frank Edmunds. Dennis Clegg, President of Frank A. Edmunds Co. joined the company in 1985 after graduating college and working for four years at the National Association of Realtors while attending night school. He talks exclusively to Craft Focus magazine about the company's wide variety of needlework and stitching supplies including frames, hoops, stretcher bars and more...

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The American dream

Checker Distributors was founded in 1948 by Bob Krieger and Jerry Van Walbeck to promptly supply zippers, threads, yarns and ribbon to J.C. Penney, Woolworth and Kresge stores in Northwest Ohio, USA. The company is family owned and just real people helping independent shop owners to be successful. Brad Krieger, the President of Checker Distributors talks to Craft Focus exclusively about their vast craft and quilting offering and their reputation for great customer service - worldwide.

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Evolution of a classic brand

The World of Peter Rabbit brand refresh is being launched ahead of the classic character's 120th birthday campaign in 2022. The progressive brand identity has been rolled out across social channels and digital platforms, and will appear on publishing and licensed product packaging from autumn this year in the UK. The global launch will begin in parallel with the 120th birthday celebrations next year. The World of Peter Rabbit is managed by the Owned Brands Team within Penguin Random House Children's who are responsible for initiating and managing the brand refresh.

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Rex London celebrates turning 40 years old!

August 2021 sees Rex London celebrate its 40th anniversary. With humble beginnings on a market stall in Portobello Road in 1981, the giftware company has since gone on to become a hugely successful, international online retailer and wholesaler, creating Gifts of Random Kindness at affordable prices.

The company began with items that it had simply stumbled upon on their travels around the world. Before long these were on the shelves of high street institutions like Habitat and The Body Shop.

For the next two decades, Rex London continued to discover and deliver these Gifts of Random Kindness, until the company decided it was time not only to choose products it liked but also to design them. From floral patterns to adorable animals, Rex has loved creating colourful and playful prints that stand out and bring joy.

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Modern hoop embroidery

During lockdown, many people had time on their hands, stuck in their homes, looking for things to do. This included the young and old and all genders. One craft that became hugely popular during this time was hand embroidery. Many new to the craft didn't have stitchery or embroidery frames so they found embroidery hoops a cheaper, easy and portable way to stitch their designs. They could take it from their armchair to the sunbed easily. Being new to the craft they were without set ideas on what 'the norm' with embroidery is. This allowed some great new ideas to appear. Richard Wood, Commercial Director of Whitecroft Essentials talks to Craft Focus about these exciting developments.

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Eco-friendly embroidery

With sustainability and social responsibility at the core of her modern embroidery business, Sammy Bishop, Owner & Founder of Paraffle, is proudly flying the flag for Scotland! The company is based in a studio in Edinburgh – it's a building run by an arts charity, full of artists, small businesses and charities – a fantastic environment to be located in. The company started in 2017, as a small Etsy shop, before expanding. Sammy tells us more...

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The paper professionals

Hahnemühle UK was established in 1985 when Hahnemühle – the oldest artist paper manufacturer in Germany – started its global sales and distribution channel. FineArt Paper and Digital FineArt papers from the renowned brand are now available in more than 130 countries. Hahnemühle also has subsidiaries in France, The US, Singapore and China. Nuala Henry, UK marketing manager at Hahnemühle UK, guides us through the history of this impressive artist paper manufacturer.

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The personal touch

Becca Macdonald Studio was born in 2018 out of the basement studio of her home in the world heritage site of Saltaire; which is also known for Salts Mill, a former textile mill now turned art gallery with an extensive collection by David Hockney. Becca Macdonald Studio is a one-woman venture. Although she has now moved out of Saltaire, she continues to create all of her jewellery by hand from the new home studio in west Yorkshire. Becca Macdonald, chats exclusively to Craft Focus about starting her own business and creating personal keepsakes to keep families close at all times.

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How to grow and develop your business

Setting up a new business is no easy feat, it takes planning, time and dedication. Once you have made a bit of a name for yourself, have started to build up some brand awareness and a customer base, as well as a comfortable number of sales every month, it's only a matter of time before you start thinking about the next step. In this article, Sara Davies discusses business strategies that will help grow your confidence and grow your business.

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Cutting edge

Mr Yoshio Okada, the founder of Olfa Corporation, invented the world's first snap-off blade cutter in 1956 as a solution to other knives constantly losing their edge and becoming dull. He came up with the idea of a snap blade from breaking off segments of a chocolate bar and analysing sharp edges of broken glass. He realised that if a single segmented blade could be made to snap at given points, you'd always have a sharp edge to hand.Brian Price, national accounts manager at OLFA UK talks to Craft Focus about their renowned cutting tools, proudly made in Japan. Here's what he had to say...

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Getting into the mindset of a US buyer

Any buyer will know that the process of purchasing holds more than meets the eye. Equally, any salesperson will know that your pitch should be perfectly tailored to your audience. But what about when that audience is from overseas? The cultural differences in US and UK retail buying are more numerous than you might think. So, what can we learn from purchasing across the pond? Retail expert, Tim Bush, shared his expert insights into the mind of a US buyer at Spring Fair @Home. Discover his top tips for taking your brand across the pond.

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Zweigart - innovators in needlework

Bastian Wollmann, sales director at Zweigart, talks to Craft Focus about the company's strive to be the best in needlework suppliers worldwide. Here's what he had to say...Zweigart was founded in 1877 and has more than 40 years of traditions and history in weaving premium needlework fabrics. We believe to be the world's leading brand for high quality needlework fabrics with a one-of-a-kind range. We're based in Sindelfingen, which is in the south part of Germany outside of Stuttgart. The company was founded by Mr. Paul Zweigart and Mr. Julius Sawitzki (Zweigart & Sawitzki GmbH & Co. KG) in 1877 – therefore the brand name Zweigart.

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Collecting & crafting

Bachmann Europe plc was formed in 1989 but has an origination in America back in 1833 when it specialised in manufacturing high-back Spanish combs for the ladies of the southern states. It's mostly known for the manufacture of model railways these days but also distributes a variety of products to create scenery for model layouts, plastic model kits, educational and science craft items, toys and collectables across a number of brands. Bachman Europe is based in Barwell, just outside of Hinckley in Leicestershire. Pauline Hinkley, sales and business development manager tells us more.

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Create a Premo Sculpey® textured vase

Amy Koranek, part of the Sculpey design team, uses Premo Sculpey® clay to make this fantastic textured vase. Here she runs through the steps she took to using some of Sculpey's tools: the Sculpey® Super Slicer and the Sculpey® Style 'n Detail Set. The project is suitable for intermediate crafters and takes around two hours to complete (including baking time!). For This project, you'll also need a clean and dry glass vase - approximately 4in high by 3in in diameter. Then, you're all set to go! What a great spring/summer creation!

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Educated in craft

Rashmi Overthrow, head of sales and marketing talks being the go-to supplier in the education sector, their notable charity work and expanding their ranges over the months ahead. Specialist Crafts is based in Leicester and has been trading for more than 30 years. The company has however traded for over a century. It was originally known as Dryad Handicrafts in the '20s and was owned by Winsor & Newton in the '80s trading as Reeves Dryad until the current owners bought the company, renaming it Specialist Crafts.

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Giving & Living throws open its digital doors to the world

Show organiser Hale Events has announced that the 2021 edition of Giving & Living, which usually takes place in Exeter, will be an online event running from 10th-12th May, 2021. This is when the physical event was due to take place until ongoing lockdown restrictions meant it was no longer viable. The digital event will offer a superb product sourcing opportunity to both local retailers and those from further afield who might not have had the chance to sample the delights of this wonderful regional show in previous years. The British economy is like a coiled spring on tenterhooks waiting to unwind and there is an excellent chance that the South West region – the traditional home base of Giving & Living – is set for a bumper tourist season. The exhibition will feature a large and varied selection of retail-ready suppliers presenting a wide variety of lovely new products, many of which are locally produced in the South West or made by hand in other parts of the UK.

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How to motivate your team

Sara Davies discusses how to create a positive working environment with proactive employees.Every business owner wants to make sure that their employees are motivated. After all, highly engaged staff are more productive and contribute to a positive working environment. When people feel more motivated in their careers, they are more likely to work hard, show commitment, produce better work and take a vested interest in their career development at the company. Learning new skills and progressing into different roles encourages people to stay with the business and ultimately, secures the company's future workforce. As a business leader, we want our employees to enjoy work so that they feel content and want to remain part of the team for years to come. I have found that there are some really simple, easy things that can be implemented to motivate everyone, regardless of their role or position.

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