Friday, 4 May 2012

Beware of this publishing company

I’ve thought long and hard about whether to do this, and how to do it but I’ve decided that this needs to be said and sewists and quilters need to be warned about a certain media company.   A few weeks ago I was sent a link to Ravelry (a fab knitting forum, do check it out) where there were thousands of posts about All Craft Media (previously KAL Media) who publish Sew Hip, Modern Quilting, Knit, Inside Crochet and Handmade Living amongst other magazines.

These posts were from people who had written for ACM’s magazines and not received payment, in some cases after many months of chasing, not had their samples returned and subscribers who were not receiving their issues or receiving them several weeks late.   They were also coming across problems trying to get a response from ACM with e-mails not being replied to, calls not being answered or returned.   To view the posts click on this link, you need to sign up to a free account to view them but it only takes 2 minutes.

Ravelry is a knitting forum so most these posts related to the knitting and crochet magazines so I thought perhaps the sewing magazines weren’t affected.  To be honest with you I was really hoping they weren’t as I have promoted them in the past through my site whilst unaware of what was happening.  Then last week many members of the sewing community were sent an e-mail from Sew Hip’s editor Wendy Gardiner (now ex-editor) saying that she has resigned after not being paid for several months, and that the tech editor for Sew Hip was in the same situation.  She also said that she was aware many of Sew Hip’s contributors were not being paid either and she could not commission more people knowing that.
I then started to hear that people contributing to Modern Quilting were also still waitingfor payment and returns of samples, as well as subscribers wanting to know where issue 2 was (due in April).  There's a new post from one of Modern Quilting's contributers here  I felt morally obligated to alert people to these issues, especially as I had promoted this company in the past, it’s only fair to talk about the bad points as well as the good.   If you would like more information about the problems people have been experiencing with ACM I would refer you to the latter part of this blog post.  They have done such a great summary I won’t repeat it here, pop over and take a look through.  Also there’s lots of useful links over on the Sew Happy Geek blog and a post about a contributor's experience here.

I would hasten to add please don’t let this put you off working with sewing or craft magazines, there are many magazines out there who give great customer service, pay their contributors promptly and return samples to designers.   I write for Sewing World Magazine on a regular basis and they have been a pleasure to deal with, and I’m sure many of you have worked with other publishers without problem. 
Perhaps you could take the time to comment below and let us know about your experiences with ACM and other publishers to help people make an informed decision about who to work with in the future.  Let’s turn this negative into a positive and spread the word about which companies are good to work with and which ones to avoid.  To save everyone having to learn the lesson the hard way.

BREAKING NEWS - since adding this post this morning it has been announced on Ravelry that All Craft Media went into administration today.  There is speculation that another company is already up and running in the name of Handmade Living Magazine Ltd registered to Kerrie's father a week before the administration was announced so there may be an attempt to continue trading under a new name.

UPDATE 21st MAY Please see our new blog post to find out who has bought the magazines.

For anyone who is still owed money,has not had samples back or has a current subscription with ACM the administrator's details are below. 

Alistair Holt-Thomas

FRP Advisory
10 Furnival Street
London
EC4A 1YH

Tel: +44 (0)20 3005 4000
Fax: +44 (0)20 3005 4400
http://www.frpadvisory.com/

30 comments:

House of Pinheiro said...

Thanks for sharing xx

crafts@home said...

Thank you so much for informing us about this, you have done the right thing, I haven't contributed to any of the ones you mentioned (phew) I have successfully contributed, been paid and had my items returned by British Patchwork and Quilting, and by David and Charles, who a bookseller friend later said is a very good company to work for :)
Sue

Bossymamma said...

Thanks for posting this. I hope you don't mind but I have shared it on a sewing forum that I belong to.

Ruth Singer said...

I am glad this has come out publicly at last. I am owed money and unreturned projects from Sew Hip, outstanding for over a year now. I don't expect to get either. I have never had problems with other publishers, just this one.

The Sewing Directory said...

Thank you all for your comments. So sorry to hear you have gone through this too Ruth, I've heard from several of my customers and blogging friends in the last few weeks that they've had problems so I decided it was time to go public and warn others before they get caught too.

@Bossymamma please do share it, I would love for as many people as possible to be aware. The memebers of Ravelry have done a good job of making the knitters aware but many in the sewing industry still don't know.

Florence (Flossie Teacakes) said...

Thank you so much for being brave enough to post about this. At one point Sew Hip owed me a substantial amount of money and despite numerous phonecalls and emails reassuring me that I was about to or had been paid, the money didn't arrive.

However, eventually, on the kind advice of someone who had previously had a lot of contact with Sew Hip, I eventually threatened to sue them. Happily, as the person who'd advised me had predicted, the money was transferred to me within a matter of hours.

I feel hugely sorry for the staff who work on Sew Hip - I think it must be incredibly difficult for them to be made to work with contributors in this way with little power to change things other than by handing in their resignation.

jojoebi said...

I am another ex-sew hip contributor, I had been signed up for more commissions but refused to hand them over until I get paid, I did eventually get paid but I decided at that point to quit whilst I was ahead. I was sad to get Wendy's email and discover that this was such a wide spread problem.

pennydog said...

I am massively disappointed. I've heard they went into liquidation today, but not sure if that was KAL Media (in Kerrie's name) rather than ACM (in Wayne's name)?

I was going to write for them but thankfully didn't but I know people who have and this is unfortunate. I have got two subscriptions though that I've only received one issue for each of though and this could be expensive :(

Laura said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I know it's been really hard for people in the whole craft world to talk about this - no one likes to think that someone in our own community could do things like this.

The latest news on Ravelry is that the company is now in liquidation and all the staff have been made redundant. It's such a sad situation, but only by people talking about it can we make sure it doesn't keep happening!

Thanks for such a balanced post.

Gill said...

Thanks for posting this Fiona! I'm not a designer but I did take out a subscription to Modern Quilting and only received the first issue.

verykerryberry said...

What a sad post to read. I have a pattern in with Modern Quilting, I was not offered payment but editorial space instead and so far all dealings have been fine and without incident and I don't really have anything to lose which is why I went ahead, but it makes me sad about the state of British craft magazines in general. Publishing is such a lure but from experiences elsewhere I have found it is not what many think it will be, I approach any publishing venture with caution.

Beth said...

It appears that ACM went into liquidation this morning.
re:Pennydog, KAL was Kerrie Allman's previous company which went into liquidation last June.

If you are owed money by ACM put in a claim to the liquidators. As soon as the details are known they will be posted on Ravelry.

BaggieAggie said...

"There is speculation that another company is already up and running in the name of Handmade Living Magazine Ltd registered to Kerrie's father so there may be an attempt to continue trading under a new name."

After two failures already, this will be another one to avoid like the plague, then. Thanks for taking time to post - I'm a Rav member, but was completely unaware of this.

Rosie. x

Indigo Blue said...

Hi
I am another contributor who has not been paid. Three projects in total and which a bit of money, well it is to me. It is interesting that the dates I have read in the comments suggests that contributors were being signed up at a time when others were not being paid! I was sorry to get Wendy's email too but it explained why i was being blanked out by the magazine. I hope she is able to find other employment. As for starting up again.....well after two failures I think that they should not be allowed to! I was thinking of threatening to take them to the small claims court/sue them too. i am not a member of Ravelry so how would I find out about the liquidators details. I really loved working with Sew Hip, i contributed in 2010 as well, such a pity for it go like this.
xx

Indigo Blue said...

Hi,
I have just signed up to Ravelry. Been meaning to for ages anyway this sorry episode has prompted me to.
xx

Sarah @ FairyFace Designs said...

Thanks for posting this Fiona. I also was approached by Modern Quilting but have not yet submitted a design and will not do so now.

Ruth Singer said...

I put in a claim to the administrators of KAL Media - Kerrie's previous company to go bust, and as yet, over a year on, I have had nothing and expect to get nothing. Clearly the threat of suing the them is more effective, I wish I had done that instead. I would be very wary of working for a company run by Kerrie Allman again.

Manda said...

I was the first editor of Sew Hip 4 year ago. To cut a long story very short, I had to take them to court to get paid and to get my samples back. No other magazine that I have worked for has acted like this before or since.

The Sewing Directory said...

I am truely sorry to hear so many of you have been affected. I had feeling the people I had spoken to before posting this were only the tip of the iceberg :-(

If you are owed any money, have samples outstanding or unforfilled subscriptions do make sure you let the administrators know. Even if there isn't enough money for everyone to be paid at least it gives a true picture of the company's debts. The administrator's details have been added to the post above.

Anonymous said...

I had been asked to contribute to Handmade Living and was eager to do so until I realised who the publisher was. I am now concerned that this scam artist will move into other, non-textile-or-yarn sections of the crafting world with her ideas, and continue to cheat people who are unaware of the trials and tribulations of the knitting/crochet and, more recently, sewing worlds.
i would urge anyone who is involved in any other sort of craft - card-making or jewellery-making, for example - to provide links to blog posts such as this one on any forums, sites or blogs they post on, visit or own.

Sarah Ashford said...

I have just had my article published in issue 2 of Modern Quilting magazine. And no, I haven't been paid. Yet. I don't like my chances either. I too have just posted about this, to make people aware of what is going on. I hope you don't mind, I have linked to you as well.

Beth said...

Here are the administrator's details:

FRP Advisory
10 Furnival Street
London
EC4A 1YH

Tel: +44 (0)20 3005 4000
Fax: +44 (0)20 3005 4400

If you are owed money by ACM please call the administrator and let them know.
Re: Ruth Singer, I believe that the liquidator of KAL is still to make their final report (I had no idea these things could take so long!)

Tracey said...

I too am owed a project from well over a year ago. I was told an office caretaker has all the projects but is holding them until he gets paid. I would dearly love to get my quilt back as I really liked it. I wonder what went wrong?

Lou said...

Anybody who is owed money or GOODS by All Craft Media should contact the Administrator as soon as possible so that he can get an accurate picture of the state of the company and decide if it is a viable trading option to be sold off.

This includes designer samples and advance subscriptions to magazines or Sock yarn clubs.
Magazines include: Knit (Yarnwise), Inside Crochet, Handmade Living, Sew Hip, Modern Quilting, Simply Beautiful.

When KAL went into Liquidation over £200,000 was owed, less than a year on, All Craft Media appears to be in the same position. The Liquidator's report for KAL must be published before the end of June 2012.

All Craft Media went into Administration on 4 May 2012, a new Company called Handmade Living Magazine was formed on 30 April 2011. This is exactly the same pattern as happened last year when KAL folded, so beware everybody in the crafting world!

VixW said...

Thank you for posting this. I have had articles published previously in Sew Hip and although I did eventually get paid it took ages. I guess I was lucky to get paid at all...

Jo G said...

Thanks for a balanced view. I have written for Sew Hip regularly and once for Modern Quilting, my first foray into craft magazines after a long career in national magazines and newspapers. Having no idea of the history, I found Wendy and Vick (ed and deputy) good to work with and incredibly hardworking. I am upset for the staff, and contributors such as myself – but also for the lovely people I interviewed and photographed and who supplied fabric for projects, who must feel very let down. I am lucky enough to have been paid up to date (according to the company's system of payment one month after publication), though am still owed for the current (June) issue just out, and for five other features outstanding which had already gone to the magazine. I had also made a start on several other commissions I had been given up to the end of the year. I have three projects still at the offices and as they took time and effort and are my 'babies', I'm really hoping I'll get them back. It's a huge shame all round, as the magazines were generally good and provided another outlet for all the incredibly talented sewers, knitters and other crafts and business people in the sector.

Sally said...

A slight correction to this, which was probably a typo. The new company, Handmade Living Magazine, was formed on 30 April 2012 (ie a week ago) NOT 2011.

Thanks for writing about this and spreading the word.

ThatLibraryMiss said...

There's a Ravelry thread at www.ravelry.com/discuss/friends-of-the-group-once-known-as/2116987/1-25 with factual information Allman's past companies, the magazines of the media mogul's empire and the yarn and pattern clubs for which installments were either late or not delivered. It includes details of the administrator. Further information will be added as it becomes known.

Please do join Ravelry: it's about knitting and crochet but you can join just to look around and it's very easy to use. Poking around in the group www.ravelry.com/discuss/friends-of-the-group-once-known-as will give you an idea of the scale of the impact this has had, and if you post you'll find friendly support.

Vivienne at Rainbow Disks said...

Well done Fiona! It's obvious from the comments here that you have said what needed saying. V x

Anonymous said...

Bad news for sewing peeps Kerrie has re bought see hip and modern quilting , handmade living and the 2 wool based mags are under new ownership , the best way to stop this happening again is to cease advertising cease contributing and stop supporting the mags that way Kerrie can't carry on her trail of destruction , thankfully handmade living can continue to be a success without her at the helm . 3rd time unlucky this lady should not be able to continue the staff were all left unpaid and jobless I'm amazed she's been able to restart!

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