DRG Craft Division Rebrands as Annie's
BERNE, Ind., June 5, 2012—Annie’s is the new name for the craft and nostalgia media division of DRG.
The move unites under the Annie’s name the family of products that have been offered by DRG for many years under a collection of well-known brands, including Annie’s Attic, House of White Birches, The Needlecraft Shop, Clotilde and American School of Needlework.
DRG is part of the third-generation Muselman family business headquartered here. It began in 1925 with the founding of Economy Printing Concern. EP Graphics, as it is known today, is still owned by the Muselman family.
Another DRG division, Strategic Fulfillment Group, provides state-of-the-art fulfillment and database marketing services out of a 140,000-square-foot facility in East Texas.
The 1985 acquisition of House of White Birches, a craft and nostalgia magazine publisher founded in 1947, launched the DRG media division. In the ensuing years, the division grew with new products and acquisitions, including craft companies The Needlecraft Shop in 1994, Annie’s Attic in 1996, and Clotilde and American School of Needlework in 2002.
Annie’s craft products (Annies-Publishing.com) embrace varied creative interests, including crochet, knitting, quilting, sewing, needlework, beading, card making and paper crafts. The company serves these interests with magazines, original and seected outside products featured in its catalogs and websites, and membership clubs.
Choosing the Annie’s name
“Consolidating our craft and nostalgia products under the name ‘Annie’s,’ taken from our strongest brand, sends an important message to our customers about the common promise of quality and originality behind our many products,” said David McKee, CEO for Annie’s and DRG.
“Our products are united, too, under a common theme: Celebrating home, family and the creative spirit,” McKee said.
“We began the search for a single name by asking our customers how they best know us,” Annie’s Executive Vice President Michele Fortune said. “Annie’s Attic was the answer. We shortened this to Annie’s, an abbreviated form already in common use among our customers and staff.”
“Our promise at Annie’s is to deliver exceptional products that enable creativity, nurture memories and uphold positive values,” Fortune said.
“We share the passions of our customers, and we choose and create products with them in mind, selecting the best new offerings from thousands of contributors to give them original and exceptional products. Our expert staff enhances the products with quality writing, clear instruction and beautiful illustration.
“Our goal is to give our customers a positive experience, provide good value and make Annie’s their favorite place to shop.”
Annie’s craft magazines include Quilter’s World, Creative Knitting, Crochet World, Crochet! and CardMaker. The craft clubs include Creative Girls, Young Woodworkers, Creative Woman, Simply Beads, Creative Quilters, CardMaker, Annie’s Hook & Needle, Creative Painter and Annie’s Attic Mysteries.
Annie’s publishes two nostalgia magazines, Good Old Days and Looking Back, as well as the Live It Again book series, and The Good Old Days Store catalog and website.
DRG had its beginnings early last century when Christian Muselman founded Economy Printing Concern in his hometown of Berne in 1925. In the late 1950s, his two sons, Carl and Art, bought the business from their father and continued to expand printing operations.
DRG’s media history began in New England in 1947 with the founding of magazine publisher House of White Birches (HWB) by brothers Ed and Mike Kutlowski of Seabrook, N.H.
In October 1985, the Kutlowskis retired and sold the business to the Muselman brothers, who moved HWB operations from Seabrook to Berne. The company rapidly expanded, undertaking aggressive direct-marketing campaigns to build the subscription side of the business. It also began to develop other areas, including catalogs and clubs.
In March 1994, the Muselmans added to their media base with the purchase of The Needlecraft Shop, which was located in Big Sandy, Texas. The Needlecraft Shop had its own fulfillment division. In 1996, HWB’s fulfillment work was moved there.
In January 1996, the Muselmans purchased needlecraft publisher Annie's Attic, which was founded in 1975 in Big Sandy, Texas, and included clubs, magazines and catalogs. It also had its own fulfillment operations.
In the late 1990s, working closely with the second generation, the third-generation of Muselmans crafted a plan to move from owner-operators to owner-investors. Working on the change were Carl's two sons, John and Tom, and Art's son, Roger, and daughter, Karen.
In 1997, the company successfully merged the fulfillment operations of Annie's Attic and The Needlecraft Shop, forming Strategic Fulfillment Group (SFG) in Big Sandy.
In March 1998, the company consolidated the publishing activities of its Texas and Indiana operations into a single media division. Together with SFG, this completed the formation of DRG.
In April 2002, DRG acquired Clotilde, a sewing notions and quilt catalog, and in July 2002, it acquired American School of Needlework, a wholesale-oriented publisher.
Today, all of the media brands acquired by DRG—House of White Birches, The Needlecraft Shop, Annie's Attic, Clotilde and American School of Needlework—are consolidated under the Annie’s name.