O’Captain! My Captain!

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By Andrej Suskavcevic, CAE
President & Chief Executive Officer at Craft & Hobby Association

Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989)

Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989)

Hearing of the passing of Robin Williams brings profound sadness. The world lost one of the greats. An individual who delighted the masses and brought so much joy to peoples lives only to have lost his own to a terrible mental illness. There is much work to be done in the battle for mental wellness and I am proud to be part of an industry that is playing a role in that battle. Art and other forms of creative expression are important tools in helping achieve mental wellness and we are seeing more and more facilities and hospitals incorporating art therapy in their programs.

Our own research at CHA indicates that crafting has helped people relax and feel a sense of accomplishment. Crafting is just one tool in the battle for mental wellness but more needs to be done.

Many today will be looking up Robin Williams on YouTube and watching his movies. I for one tip my hat for his role in Dead Poets Society and share with you a Walt Whitman classic. For you Robin, O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

But O heart! heart! heart!

O the bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here Captain! dear father!

The arm beneath your head!

It is some dream that on the deck,

You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

Exult O shores, and ring O bells!

But I with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

Good Afternoon from Atlanta!

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Welcome to the CHA 2014 Paper Arts Show in Atlanta!

I jumped right into the first session, Spellbinders and Richard Garay. He has a new line of stamps dies and embossing folders called Cele’brations.

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We dove right in making some super cute projects. First we made this adorable card using the pierced square dies. All of the projects we worked on were bagged in kit format so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. What I really appreciate is the way the dies and stamps coordinate and complement one another. The Spellbinders inks really pop too. No “barely there” ink pads; these inks are bold in color and our stamped images looked so clean and crisp on cardstock.

I love The enthusiasm and patience that Mr. Garay exudes. He’s a fabulous teacher and so interactive. The entire staff were there every step of the way, assisting with techniques and helping answer any and every question.

Look at the adorable projects we made!
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I especially love the new Cele’brations Doily Arts embossing folders. Doilies are super popular right now and this folder is gorgeous! A trick I learned is, when inking your embossing folder for letterpress, use the thickest side of the folder. And be sure to get your ink pad into all corners for the best coverage. Good to know!

This was such a great class and I really learned a lot.

Next, I rushed to Graphic 45 where Jeff Filimoehala and the lovely and vintage Joanna carried us to another time and place with the gorgeous “Come Away With” papers and products. The participants in this workshop learned how to make a beautiful shadow box complete with decorative hardware, and a stash of embellishments contained inside. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the process of putting this kit together. Jeff was an excellent instructor, and really livened up the workshop with some giveaways. An added bonus to an already fun gathering.

Here’s Joanna.

wpid-wp-1406660011695.jpegIsn’t this shadow box beautiful? Pictures really don’t do it justice. The colors of this collection are truly stunning.

Next it was on to Sizzix and Stephanie Barnard. This class focused on Framelits, Triplets and Gatefold cards. Stephanie is super bubbly and an excellent teacher, engaging everyone with her style of crafting. My classmates are hanging on her every word and are geared up for a fun, informative workshop. I love when instructors give handy tips and tricks of the trade. Did you know you should fold a flip-it card in the air, not on the table? And, you want the bottom of the card larger than the top, folding it towards you with the flap on top. Those are tips I can use. Now you can too! Stephanie is also giving marketing tips to the store owners here at the workshop too. Knowledge is power people!

sizzix 2Thanks to Kelly Nufer for allowing me to photo her cutting techniques with the Framelits. She really had the hang of it. Look how great these cards turned out.

- Terri Burson

CHA Canada Spins into Action at London, Ontario ArtWaves Show


CHA Canada attended the ArtWaves creative show in London, Ontario August 15-17. This new show was a weekend long event profiling the many talents of North American paint and craft artists. CHA co-hosted a lively patio party for attendees on Thursday, August 15, handing out generous prizes from DCWV and Blue Moon Beads. There were “Spin to Win” events during the day at the CHA Booth featuring over 100 prizes from member companies and make-and-takes from Canadian CHA supplier members.

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Many thanks to Sizzix, Coats and Clark Canada, Northcott, Kroma Crackle, Westcott, Scrapbook and Cards Today, Canadian Scrapbooker and A Needle Pulling Thread for their generous donations.

ArtWaves was part of CHA Canada’s membership recruitment program that targets craft businesses that attend, exhibit or teach at consumer events. This event was one of 6 events CHA will participate in Canada in 2013, including the upcoming Creative Stitches show in Edmonton September 13-14, Salon des Arts Décoratifs in Montreal, October 18-19, and the Fall CreativFestival in Toronto, October 25-28.

~ Paula Jones, Membership Coordinator & Canadian Representative, Craft & Hobby Association

Kept Creations Mails-In Support of CRE8TIME


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Kept Creations, owned by Kim Parkinson in Whitman, MA, recently joined CHA, having only been in business for a few months. Kim heard about the CRE8TIME Movement and the call for support from CHA Members. The message resonated with them on a personal level and they decided they HAD to support in some way!

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On May 4th, they held a FREE Mail-Art CRE8TIME Social Event.  The event was hosted by Mandy Fariello, in order to build awareness of Mail-Art and celebrate creativity with CRE8TIME. Mail art (also known as postal art), is visual art pieces sent by mail. Mail-Art can be anything that you send to friends, relatives or even to others that just want to receive art.

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During the Mail-Art Social, Mandy had CRE8TIME signage posted around the store and large pieces of paper that participants contributed art to.  The Collaborative Art is what you see acclaimed artist, Catherine Matthews-Scanlon, working on.  As a finishing touch, after the social the participants received a piece of the project in the mail.  What a great reminder to CRE8TIME every day!

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Be sure to CRE8TIME on Saturday, June 1st from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, for an encore of Kept Creations FREE DeNami Designs Make-N-Take CRE8TIME Event at the Kept Creations store.

The address is:
15 South Avenue
(Route 27)
Whitman, MA 02382

For more information about this, and much more, Kept Creations art news, check out their website at: www.KeptCreations.com.

A Key To Retail Marketing Success


By Bob Negen, Retail Expert, Author and Speaker, WhizBang! Training

There’s a Chinese proverb that says the weakest link is stronger than the most powerful memory. I know, I know, some of you are thinking, “Well, what in the world does that have to do with marketing?” The simple answer is everything.

A major key to success in all your marketing efforts is to build on past successes. To make sure that everything you did right last year, you’ll do right again this year. There is something you can do that will dramatically increase the probability that every marketing activity you engage in will be more powerful, more profitable, each time you do it.

Create a marketing book. In fact, as soon as you’re done reading this post, start creating a marketing book of your own, or nominate a trusty staff member to get it started for you. My colleague, Aubrey is responsible for maintaining our marketing books at WhizBang! Training. Aubrey prints out every marketing activity that we engage in here at WhizBang! Training and it is noted in this book.

For example, in our marketing book you can see printed documentation of our intensive training sessions, sales, and our public events like the Retail Success Summit, etc. Every email we send out and every Tip of the Week also gets printed and put in the book along with the reports from our email service provider with the open and the click rates. You see, we’re gathering information we need to make smarter business decisions in the future. Building success!

So make sure to put everything that is related to your marking efforts in your marketing book! Every time you get a press release printed in the media, it goes in there. Notes you make about special events and promotions, put them in there! Emails and social media posts you send about your promotions… well, you get it. It all goes in this book. It will be invaluable to you.

This is powerful stuff, folks! If you want to learn more great strategies to grow your business without spending a fortune, be sure to register for my Two Part Marketing Intensive Boot Camp at the CHA Creative Conference. I will be at the Stationery Show presenting Explode Your Sales: Part 1-Maximum Bang For Your Marketing Bucks on Sunday, May 19 from 3:30-5:00 pm. Part 2-Mining Diamonds In Your Own Backyard is on Monday, May 20 from 9-10:30 am.

I will share with you super easy and proven marketing tips and techniques on how to make more money in your store! Each of these programs was created to stand alone. But, of course, you will gain much more value when you attend both. In fact, I am so confident that I will give you a full refund from my own pocket if you don’t walk away with immediately actionable tactics on how to pull in new customers and boost your sales.

Don’t waste another dollar on your marketing efforts… join me at the Boot Camp!

Bob Negen discovered his entrepreneurial spirit at the young age of 23 and opened one of the world’s first kite stores. In 20 years he helped change the public’s perception of the kite from a child’s toy to an “eco-friendly” hobby for families and people of all ages. In those 20 years he grew his company from $17,000 to over $3 million in annual sales. In 1998 the company was named “Retailer of the Year” by the Kite Trade Association. Bob was also instrumental in helping create a nationwide yo-yo boom. At one time his company employed eight full time yo-yo professionals performing in schools, malls, nationally broadcast parades, professional sporting events, and other large entertainment venues. While building the national craze, his company opened “Yo-Yo Universe” kiosks in over a dozen malls, hired and trained over 150 employees using his unique training system, and sold over $2 million worth of yo-yos. All in a little over 6 months! His yo-yo adventure forced Bob to boil down 20 years of hard-earned experience about life as an entrepreneur into a fun, but no-nonsense, only-if-it-works outlook on business. This “make it fun, but get it done” attitude has given Bob an expert edge not only in marketing but also in practical, proven customer service practices, solid common-sense employee management, super efficient operations, and focusing the entrepreneurial spirit.

Get Your Product in Front of Millions of Consumers and an Expanded Buyer Community


CHA’s New Products Preview Program is an exciting new opportunity for manufacturers to premiere their “latest and greatest” in front of hundreds of media, thousands of prospective buyers, and millions of consumers.  President & CEO of the Craft & Hobby Association, Andrej Suskavcevic, took some time out from his knitting project to discuss this valuable new program:

Visit craftandhobby.org/newproducts to find out all you need to know about the New Products Preview Program, and gain exclusive media coverage for your business at this summer’s Create-n-Connect Conference & Trade Show.

CHA President & CEO’s Crafting Journey Continues (Real Men Knit!)


Last month, Andrej Suskavcevic, President and CEO of the Craft & Hobby Association, shared with us how he recently came down with the passion for crafting bug. It has been going around the CHA offices lately. What better way to show you his progress than a video update?

 

Let Andrej know what he should create next! Comment here on our blog or visit us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/craftandhobby and tell us!

Check back next month to see what craft Andrej goes with.

Why YOU Should Be At The CHA Creative Conference – May 18-20, 2013


The Early Registration Deadline for the Creative Conference at the National Stationery Show is May 14th. Register now to take part in any of the several conference programs focused on:

  • The online consumer
  • Best practices on how to maximize your marketing
  • Social media strategies
  • Certification to teach Mixed Media

For program details and to register, CLICK HERE.

What makes one store great and another just a place to buy stuff?


by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender, Kizer & Bender Speaking!, CHA 2013 Retailing Experts

What makes one store great and another just a place to buy stuff? Join us at 1:00 PM EST on April 3, 2013 for The Inside Secrets of Charisma Retailers™” and find out!

Here’s the deal: Today’s customers are busy, and maybe just a little bit bored with the “same old, same old” they find in too many stores. This makes your job tougher because these consumers expect more than ever before.

We’ve come to realize that there are two kinds of retailers today: Commodity Retailers who make no effort to do much more than they are supposed to do: open for business and hope for the best. Commodity retail associates are there just to collect a paycheck. There’s no customer buzz about town and no fizz on the sales floor, merely shelves full of stuff.

And then there are Charisma Retailers™ who thrive on creating a unique in-store experience that customers just can’t get anywhere else. Charisma retail associates share the same values as the store’s owner: they are there to serve and delight customers.

Any retailer, regardless of what they sell, can be a Commodity Retailer or a Charisma Retailer™; it’s a choice that’s yours to make. Charisma Retailers™ thrive on reinvention. They understand how to live in the present while keeping an eye on the future. They know that the special things they do for customers today, will be the expected things of tomorrow, so they are always on the lookout for new ideas.

We hope you’ll join us on April 1 for The Inside Secrets of Charisma Retailers™. We’ll share ideas and inspirations, and we’ll take your questions to help you unleash your inner charisma!

And afterwards, we hope you’ll take time sit down in a quiet room with a notebook and pencil. Let your mind wander, imagining what your store will be like a year from now. Who will be your customers and what will they demand of you?  What aren’t you doing today that you need to in order to meet future challenges? Keep this notebook handy and do this exercise for fifteen minutes each week.

In time, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the ideas begin to flow, multiply and become reality.  Before long, the retail status quo won’t be good enough for you – you’ll have crossed over from commodity retailing into the rare air Charisma Retailers™ breathe every single day.

Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and consultants whose client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business. Companies internationally depend upon them for timely advice on consumers and the changing retail market place.

In 2010 KIZER & BENDER made Meetings & Conventions Magazine’s list of Meeting Planners Favorite Keynote Speakers; they’ve also been named “Two of Retailing’s Most Influential People.” And with good reason: Rich and Georganne are experts on generational diversity, consumer trends, marketing and promotion, and everything retail. They are widely referred to as retail anthropologists because they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today’s consumer. Visit their website for more information: http://www.kizerandbender.com.

The Inside Secrets of Charisma Retailers™

Date: April 3, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM EST – 2:00 PM EST

Click Here to Register

How to Schedule Your Week in Social Media


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by Theresa Cifali, Mixed Media Artist & Craft Designer, CHA Designer Council Member

Someone once said to me, “You can’t manage time. You can only manage yourself.” How profound…and true! As business owners, we often find ourselves talking and thinking about how to manage our time better. Let’s face it though…we are just not going to have more time. However, we can make better use of the time we do have.

When it comes to social media, time is definitely a huge issue. How much time we spend in those platforms can greatly effect other areas of our business. You know you do it! You go into Facebook to just put up one post and before you know it, an hour is gone….just like that.

It’s no different for me. Being a small business, there is a lot to do with few people to do it. So, in my own quest to “manage myself” better, I’ve put certain systems in place. More importantly, I utilize tools to help me better control my social media efforts. Does it take time to work in these tools? Sure, but the benefits are huge! One such benefit is that I can work inside of the tool rather than inside of the social media platform. This prevents me from getting all distracted by pretty, shiny things. Another plus is it forces me to focus and plan what I want to do and say. The combination of these factors free up other times of the day. I love that.

As a creative business owner, I feel very it is important to help other creative businesses…especially when it comes to social media management. Whether you are a manufacturer, a retailer, a professional crafter or a designer, you need to make social media work for you and fit into you marketing plan. It is really important. Not doing it simply because you “don’t have time”, is not a good enough excuse. Believe me, I get it. How many more hats can we all wear?

I’m here to tell you that you have the time! What you need are the tools. I know which tools will work for you…and I can show you how to use them.

On May 20, 2013, I will be presenting a seminar called How to Schedule Your Week in Social Media. This is just one of the many wonderful seminars the Craft and Hobby Association will host during their Creative Conference this spring. The Creative Conference will run in conjunction with The National Stationery Show, which is held at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC.

If you are attending the show, I invite you to join me for this powerful seminar. You will learn how to leverage specific web-based tools for scheduling, organizing, and more. These tools are designed to help YOU manage yourself better. I look forward to seeing you there!

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Theresa Cifali hails from Westchester County, NY and is the sole proprietor of TheresaCifali™ with nearly 20 years of experience working with consumers, manufacturers and retail businesses in the crafting industry.  Theresa is a seasoned designer with her own private studio where she maintains her business, instructs classes and continually experiments with new designs, techniques and class concepts. Theresa is also well versed in social media and emerging digital platforms, actively using these platforms to build genuine, dynamic communities where she can interact with individuals and promote her business.  Theresa consults businesses on best practices in social media and provides management and social strategy services in addition to her already vast repertoire of business services.