KERRIE RYCROFT/ALLMAN – A Brief History
KAL Media/All Craft Media/Craft Magazine Shop/Truffle Magazine.
Note: Kerrie has also been known as Tallulah Ray on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and has edited Simply Sewing and Modern Quilting under the name of Jenn Smith-Clarke. She has LinkedIn accounts in the names of Kerrie Allman and Kerrie A. She is also sometimes known as Kerrie Rycroft – her maiden name.
1. Magknits – 2004, An online knitting magazine which no longer exists.
- A number of designers weren’t aware their designs had been accepted until they saw them published online.
- Many designers were never paid.
- Following criticism, the magazine was abruptly deleted by Kerrie. Some designers had trouble obtaining the latest versions of their own designs.
2. Hipknits – 2005. Suppliers of hand-dyed yarn.
- Ordered yarn wasn’t delivered, though paid for (postal service blamed)
- Emails weren’t answered (constant server problems and “overactive spam filter” blamed)
- Poor quality yarn supplied with loads of knots
- Yarn sold as silk was analysed by an independent laboratory as rayon.
- Yarn Clubs with many dissatisfied customers who either received nothing or not what they had paid for.
- Yarn arrived mouldy, presumably because it hadn’t been properly dried after dyeing and before packing.
3. Yarn Forward Magazine – 2006 – which went on to become KAL Media Ltd in 2008
- Designers not paid.
- Staff having problems getting paid, Staff tax and NI unpaid.
- Rent unpaid. The company moved offices many times and on one occasion, a landlord took the drastic step of changing the locks overnight.
- Printers unpaid.
- Clubs set up by KAL to provide items, usually yarn and patterns, over a specified period of time and paid for in advance, resulted in large numbers of complaints. The items were often delivered extremely late or not at all and were not always as described and advertised.
- Designers complained that their samples were not being returned to them as promised and stipulated in their contracts.
The company went into liquidation in June 2011 owing something in the region of a quarter of a million pounds (including over £120,000 pounds to one printer) . The reason given for the liquidation was that the company acquired a County Court Judgement that it couldn’t pay. Kerrie has been reported by the liquidators to the Insolvency Service for wrongful trading.
4. All Craft Media Limited – 2011. A limited company, wholly owned by Kerrie but with her husband, Wayne, as the sole Director. The company published the following magazines: Yarn Forward (re-named Knit after threats of legal action by a Canadian company who owned the rights to that name in the UK), Inside Crochet, Modern Quilting, Sew Hip (name changed to Simply Sewing), Handmade Living, Simply Beautiful, Handmade Weddings.
- Within a few months the company had acquired four County Court Judgments
- Once again, designers were unpaid. Some designers were told that if they submitted a design to ACM, they would be paid for that design PLUS the unpaid one from KAL Media. A few designers did this and were paid for neither design.
- Very angry knitting club members paid for yarn and patterns never received. There were the usual excuses, when there was any response at all, including the now oft-used excuse of “lost in the post”, “server problems” and “overactive spam filters”.
- ACM sold on patterns to an American magazine, Love of Crochet, without the knowledge of the designers, nor any residual payments to them. In many cases, the designers had not been paid by ACM for the original designs.
- Advertisers were sent invoices for advertising they hadn’t authorised and received aggressive phone calls demanding payment “as the advertisement has been printed”.
- Staff were unpaid. Staff tax and NI again unpaid.
- Printers weren’t paid.
- Designers’ samples not returned as promised and stipulated in their contracts.
- Magazines remain for sale at http://www.freeyudu.com
In May 2012, the company that factored ACM invoices obtained a Court Order to allow them to put the company into Administration, when they realised that ACM wasn’t being honest in its dealings. The latest Administrator’s report shows that the company owed, yet again, about a quarter of a million pounds (in less than one year’s trading) including £33,000 to the factors, £29,000 to staff and £79,000 in unpaid tax, NI and VAT. Printing companies were owed approximately £50,000 in total. The Administrators have reported the management of this company to the Insolvency Service. About 350 items that were supposed to be returned to designers were found by the Administrators. However many samples have never been found and the designers have been left uncompensated for the materials and time that went into producing them.
All ACM magazine titles were sold to Tailor Made Publishing, who kept Knit (now re-named Yarnwise), Handmade Living and Inside Crochet. They sold all other titles to Craft Magazine Shop – Sew Hip (renamed Simply Sewing), Modern Quilting, Handmade Weddings, Handmade Fashions and Simply Beautiful.
5. Craft Magazine Shop – 2012. A sole-tradership supposedly owned by one Derek Barnes who we are reliably informed is a relative who died many years ago. Kerrie denied any connection with this business but has been editing the magazines using the pseudonym of Jenn Smith-Clarke, contacting former staff, advertisers and contributors. CMS employed Kerrie’s mother (Shirley Rycroft) and sister (Jenna Rycroft), as did KAL and ACM. A limited company, Craft Magazines Limited, was formed by Kerrie’s father (Richard Rycroft) and it acquired the ownership of those titles.
- Patterns and articles published without permission. The company has at least one County Court Judgment lodged against it by one contributor.
- One magazine, Simply Sewing, announced in October 2012 that it would be digital only in future and then proceeded to give access to it, free of charge –many people have of course paid for a year’s subscription for a printed copy . No attempt has been made to contact print-only subscribers to explain the situation to them nor to refund their money.
- Advertisements in this magazine, and Modern Quilting, are being placed without the knowledge of the advertisers until they receive a phone call demanding that they pay.
- It would appear that a lot of the copy is lifted straight from the internet, including Wikipedia.
- CMS has been reported to Trading Standards for a number of breaches, including the non-compliance to UK internet sales legislation on their website and the non-supply of magazines paid for. The Craft Magazine website currently has no magazines for sale. The telephone number listed is unobtainable and there is no response to emails.
6. Truffle Magazine – November 2012. Billed as a monthly magazine to be delivered free to homes and businesses in the Bishop Stortford, Stansted and Saffron Walden areas. The first issue was available as a free download but there have been no reported sightings of a printed copy, nor any mention of subsequent issues.
The question of the non-return of knitted/crochet samples is of great concern to the designers as without these items, they are unable to sell the patterns elsewhere without re-knitting them, sometimes a very long and expensive process. One designer had five lace shawls (many hours work) with ACM and was assured by email from Kerrie after ACM went into Administration that she had the shawls and would return them Six months later, and after much pleading, Kerrie has informed the designer that she HASN’T got the shawls.
Other items were given to members of staff, and on one occasion, a pair of socks, knitted for one of the magazines by an outside designer, was presented by Kerrie to another knitter as part of a gift exchange with the implication that Kerrie had knitted the socks herself. On two occasions, knitters were encouraged to knit blanket squares for charity. The squares were sent to Kerrie from all over the world after she volunteered to sew them together and send them to their intended recipients. . Neither the completed blankets nor the knitted squares have been seen since.
Do please Google Kerrie Allman. You will find MANY blogs, website posts and discussions devoted to her business activities.
Posted 13th January 2013 to provide an online history to interested parties who aren’t Ravelry members.
UPDATE 30th January 2013
It has been announced that Modern Quilting will no longer be published, leaving all subscribers out of pocket. The Craft Magazine Limited telephone number is now ‘unavailable’ and emails are not answered.
Printed copies of the first issue of Truffle Magazine were at last sighted, in the middle of January, when their Twitter account posted a photograph of some being delivered to a local tourist office. This issue contained details of events taking place in the area in the run up to Christmas, ie about a month previously.
UPDATE 1st February 2013
In September 2012, Igloo Books published A Guide to Knitting, containing technique instructions and 40 knitting patterns. Inside the book it states: “all projects, content and images supplied by Handmade Living Magazine”.
Handmade Living Magazine was sold by the Administrators of All Craft Media to Tailor Made Publishing, who have confirmed that they did not supply these patterns to Igloo Books.
The patterns do not credit designers but 13 of them are known to have come from the one designer. These have been published without her knowledge or consent, and without payment. Some of these patterns are previously unpublished and should have been passed onto Tailor Made. She is now in the position of not being able to sell them as they have now been in print.
Igloo Books has suspended sales of this book while they investigate the circumstances that led them to buy content from someone not legally entitled to sell it.
There is also a sister book, A Guide to Sewing, which again contains patterns published without the consent of the designers. The sales of that book have also been suspended.
UPDATE 2nd February 2013
Richard Rycroft (Kerrie’s father and the Director of Craft Magazine Ltd) has written to the Modern Quilting subscribers on 1st February 2013 advising them that Craft Magazine Limited ceased trading on 10th December 2012. He is looking for a buyer for this title. There is no mention of the whereabouts of Simply Sewing.
Simply Beautiful, in Twitter, claim to be under new ownership although Richard Rycroft still has their name on the email he sent. Whether CM Limited has sold that title and is using the funds to pay creditors is unknown. He also claims to have contacted all creditors of CM Limited, but I’m aware of two large creditors who knew nothing about this until 1st February.
There is no mention of refunding money to Modern Quilting subscribers.
This now increases the number of failed companies to three:
Kal Media Limited – In Liquidation from June 2011.
All Craft Media Limited – In Administration from May 2012.
Craft Magazine Shop, subsequently Craft Magazine Limited – Ceased trading 10th December 2012.
UPDATED July 2013:
Companies House has dissolved and struck Craft Magazines Limited from the register after their application was successful, despite the company having a number of unpaid debts (staff salaries, a County Court Judgement, office rent etc). The title Simply Beautiful was GIVEN to a member of staff/contractor in lieu of the debt owed to her. It’s not known (and will never now be known) what other debts the company had accrued.
Truffle Magazine, which was never part of any of these companies, would appear to have folded after two issues.
Under the current British legal system, Kerrie Allman has been allowed to close down companies with a lot of debt and start again by using family members to be Directors but in reality running these companies herself. She will probably be given a short-term ban from standing as a Director but it’s not known whether other members of her family have also been reported. As all these publications were sold internationally, the effect of her actions has been felt world-wide.