An Update From the CHA Social Media Section

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The Steering Committee for the new Social Media Section was formed this fall with the initial task of creating the Sections’ Vision and Mission Statement. Below is the completed Statement, which we’re incredibly proud of and excited to share with you!

Our Vision
We support an interactive community where all CHA members are encouraged to explore and employ social media platforms and strategies in order to more meaningfully engage with each other, with our customers, and with fans and followers. In doing so, we are working together to enhance and expand all of our businesses, as well as the craft industry at large.

Our Mission:
Resource
We will establish a network of Social Media professionals who can consult with CHA members (companies and individuals) and show them how to successfully incorporate social media outreach into their overall marketing plans.

Education
We will work with CHA to provide relevant educational tools and programs for CHA members, as well as opportunities to share best practices, in an effort to keep everyone informed about the ever-changing social media landscape.

Awareness
We will champion the social media marketing campaigns developed by CHA and its chapters and sections, in order to nurture the CHA brand, advocate membership, and continuously promote the benefits of crafting to all of our audiences.

Collaboration
We will work to build partnerships between members and help them develop new ways to jointly use social media to build their brands and engage with their customers.

Heart
We will bring passion, joy and creativity to our work. We will commit to continuously sharpening our skills, broadening our collective range of expertise, and building our integrity within CHA so that our section continues to grow and sustain itself for as long as social media remains a viable business tool for our industry.

Steering Committee Members:
Amy Bowerman Stucki, Carmi Cimicata, Lisa Fulmer, Eileen Hull, Vicki O’Dell, Taylor Usry, Kristi Parker Van Doren, Laura Weed
Our CHA Contact:  Paula Jones

Next Projects:
We are currently working on our Membership Criteria document and sub-committee definitions.  We will post those on the CHA website when they are complete.

Have you signed up for our meeting in January?
Social Media Section Meeting at the 2014 CHA Mega Show
Monday, January 13, 2014
E406 – Event
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Please do not hesitate to email me if you would like more information.

~ Carmi Cimicata
Social Media Section Interim Leader
carmimail@aol.com

Get to Know the Sewing Section of CHA

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As a consumer educator for more than 20 years, I’m incredibly passionate about sewing—and incredibly excited about the new possibilities to grow the sewing segment of the crafting industry through the new Craft Hobby Association (CHA) sewing section. As a group of manufacturers, retailers, and designers working together, we’re looking forward to strengthening the sewing industry, improving the business climate, and developing programs to entice consumers to continue their creative sewing pursuits.

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There’s a lot to look forward to with this new section. Our immediate goals are to establish a steering committee who will determine our goals and the activities to meet those goals, and then communicate these goals and plans to the members.

I’m looking forward to working with vendors and retailers who have a common goal. As we learn more about one another and develop relationships working on this shared pursuit, we’ll recognize how we can help each other because of it. The idea of providing a cohesive consumer program is very appealing. It will be good to have a concerted, industry-wide effort to help everyone: consumers, retailers, distributors, and manufacturers, and therefore the industry.

To attend this meeting you must sign up to attend as part of the for the Create-n-Connect Conference & Trade Show registration.

E302: Sewing Section Meeting
(Wednesday, July 24, 2013 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM)

~ Roseann Meehan Kermes, Rosebud’s Cottage

New CHA Bead Section is a Gem

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After planning and laying the groundwork for more than a year, the new bead section of the Craft Hobby Association (CHA) is officially launching! Recently named the CHA North America Bead Association, this gem of a section brings bead store owners, designers, and suppliers together to offer one another support and strengthen their corner of the crafting industry.

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The leadership team of this new section is made up of strong co-directors, including

I’m serving as the director and Julianna Hudgins is the secretary.

Together, our main goal is to help strengthen the bead industry, which is suffering from a 25% closure of brick-and-mortar stores over the past few years. On the surface that trend may seem to affect only bead store owners, but it affects everyone down to the consumer. Being involved in this section of CHA will allow us to see outside the four walls of our own businesses. Whether we gather at CHA conferences and trade shows, the Tucson Gem & Mineral show or the Bead & Button show, each meeting brings about an excitement of new ideas and the opportunity to talk with people who do what we do every day, helping to improve the beading industry.

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Additional benefits in the works for members of this section are private forums, networking events, business seminars, webinars, vendor connections, and more. But the key to meeting the section’s main goal is going to be a word I like to call “coopetition”, which means the members coming together cooperatively to enable us to be competitive for our individual businesses. We will strive to be cooperative as a section in sharing success tips and strategies so we can individually strive to the best in the way we operate, in our product selection and customer service, and in the shopping experience we provide our customers.

Being a section of CHA allows us to learn from the amazing ideas of the entire crafting industry (which has lots of crossover) while being able to focus on the needs of our industry specifically. The sections are in control of the mission and agendas set by their members. And, like every part of CHA, it brings people together to strengthen their businesses while simultaneously strengthening the industry.

– Scott Remmers, Brea Bead Works

Become a Member Today and Enjoy all the Benefits CHA Offers!
Special offer to new members, sign up now and gain access to the Create-n-Connect Trade Show floor for FREE! That’s a $200 Value!
Click Here to Join Today!

CHA Experts and Resources Program: Pro Advice You Can Use

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Being a member of the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) has helped Imagine Crafts/Tsukineko conduct business and network with our fellow craft industry professionals over the years. But we recently had the chance to utilize a newer benefit to CHA membership—contacting one of the CHA Experts and Resources—that gave us valuable information to save us a lot of time.

 CHA Experts and Resources

Business regulation changes can be a bit difficult to sift through, especially when trying to separate fact from fiction. I contacted CHA 2013 Regulatory Resource, Paul Milne, to get the low-down on the requirements for annual testing of products. He answered me quickly, giving me valuable advice and letting me know how other vendors have responded to specific regulation changes as well. His helpful advice steered our business towards correct compliance to recent regulation changes that may have taken us a lot longer to discover on our own. And since time is money when you’re in business, he saved us money as well.

If you’re like me, your job requires you to know a little across a lot of areas. But when you need a deeper knowledge in a particular area or a different perspective, the CHA Experts and Resources program gives you just what you need. You’ll find objective, third-party expert available for information that directly affects your business. It’s like a reference library, but of people instead of books. And the variety of professionals covers a broad spectrum of business know-how to benefit every aspect of your business. I encourage you to try it today!

–Debi Naanes, Imagine Crafts/Tsukineko

Become a Member Today and Enjoy all the Benefits CHA Offers!
Special offer to new members, sign up now and gain access to the Create-n-Connect Trade Show floor for FREE! That’s a $200 Value!
Click Here to Join Today!

Crafting Communities: CHA’s NEW Social Media Section To Meet At Create-n-Connect

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In order to manage the numerous social media streams available (and necessary) a new job has been created at many CHA companies, often titled: Social Media Manager.  These jobs and indeed careers did not exist a few years ago. 

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Based on the need to teach and explain how products work, the craft industry became a social media early adopter.  Designers and crafty entrepreneurs began to channel their artistic skills in new ways to effectively represent a company or product to the world-at-large. Utilizing online presentations, tutorials, tweets, YouTube videos and Facebook postings they made their presence felt.

I found that most of the work I now do is ultimately used online in some way. The majority of my studio work is to ensure that I create interesting and informative content for an online viewing/reading audience on behalf of the crafty CHA companies for whom I am engaged.

I have been looking for a way to connect and work with other people with similar social media responsibilities.  I approached Andrej Suskavcevic, CHA’s President & CEO, and Sue Turchick, Vice President, Membership to see if CHA might offer a networking opportunity within the CHA family of recognized “Sections.”  Happily, they responded immediately and have supported this idea by organizing space and a block of time for an inaugural meeting of the proposed Social Media Section.  This meeting will occur on Tuesday July 23, 2013 – 5:30-7:00pm as part of the summer Create-n-Connect Conference and Trade Show in Las Vegas.
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This meeting is geared to those whose job responsibilities range from Social Media Manager to Blog Design Team Manager.  We are looking for individuals who are content creators for CHA member companies and work daily to promote craft in one or all of the social media channels.

I believe that we could learn a great deal from each other.  I also believe that we might work together on some bigger joint initiatives in the future.  Please consider attending this event.  If you have a social media manager please consider sending them to this meeting!  If your social media person is not or has not attended CHA in the past, consider sending them to the January 2014 meeting.  I am certain we will have even more to discuss, learn and develop as social media continues to change the way companies sell, market and build brand loyalty.

To attend this meeting you must sign up to attend as part of the for the Create-n-Connect Conference & Trade Show registration.

E202: Social Media Section Meeting
(Tuesday, July 23, 2013 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM)

~ Carmi Cimicata, Social Media Designer

If needed:
I am the social media designer for
Resin Crafts Blog
John Bead Blog
John Bead Outlet Blog
Dazzle-it Blog
Metal Complex Blog

CHA Membership Benefits: Support from Local Chapter Participation

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As members of the Craft Hobby Association (CHA) for more than 30 years, H.A. Kidd and Co. has benefitted in many ways, including the opportunity to see new products and conveniently meet with associates and partners around the world at CHA conferences and trade shows. As members of the Canadian Chapter, we benefit from being part of a local, focused group in several ways.

Local industry insights. The industry news and information that comes from CHA is incredibly helpful, and we’re able to discuss and digest this news in our local chapter to specifically understand how it applies to and affects us as Canadian business owners. The insights gained during these discussions helps our business remain strong.

Business support from local members. Because member meetings always include different strategies to support your business, we walk away from each meeting with inspiration and easy-to-implement tips to keep our company successful.

A source of local resources. Connecting and working together with other Canadian business owners in the crafting industry gives us additional business resources that are invaluable. Being a part of a local group gives us a feeling that we’re a part of an organization that not only keeps its finger on the global industry pulse but that recognizes our unique local needs as well.

I encourage you to participate in your local CHA section or chapter to gain these benefits to grow your business.

–Doug Earle, H.A. Kidd and Co.

Become a Member Today and Enjoy all the Benefits CHA Offers!
Special offer to new members, sign up now and gain access to the Create-n-Connect Trade Show floor for FREE! That’s a $200 Value!
Click Here to Join Today!

Education & Inspiration: Perks of CHA Membership


One of the biggest benefits to membership in the Craft Hobby Association (CHA) is the amazing educational opportunities at each conference and trade show. As an independent retailer, I find the seminars, panel discussions, workshops and classes invaluable to my business, and I enjoy several perks from them.

Perk #1: Instruction from the pros. Respected industry professionals teach the education programs presented at each CHA conference and trade show, so you can be sure you’re learning from accomplished colleagues. Whether it’s successful craft business owners or creative crafting powerhouses, all workshop or class leaders are knowledgeable resources for the topic they teach. Learning directly from a product’s designer is one of my favorite education perks because the enthusiasm a designer has for the product gives me a creative boost, and I’m able to pass that enthusiasm onto my customers.

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Perk #2: Programs on the latest topics and products in the crafting industry.  At a CHA trade show, you can take classes to help you market your business better, know the latest craft industry trends, create inspiring classes for your customers, and more. I pride myself on having an educated staff that can demonstrate how to use products and let the customers try them as well, so many of the classes we take surround learning the latest products. The teachers provide generous class kits filled with product, so we’re able to demo and create more samples without opening stock.

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Perk #3: Ready-to-use ideas for your business. From social media promotional tips to business management strategies to creative display ideas, I return from each CHA trade show and conference inspired with tons of ideas that I can start using right away for my business. Coming back to the store with finished samples using the newest products allows me to display and translate those samples into immediate classes, which means additional revenue right away.

Perk #4: Fantastic networking opportunities while you learn. Attending classes and business seminars allows you to network with fellow store owners, product developers and designers to gain further connections valuable to your business. I have met many knowledgeable and friendly CHA members just by sitting down at a session. The information and tips shared by fellow attendees have led me to purchase from a wide variety of vendors and have given me the confidence to try new things in my store.

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The educational opportunities at the CHA trade show and conference are amazing. As soon as each show’s educational programs are posted, I begin planning to attend as many classes and seminars as possible. I invite you to do the same.

I can’t wait for the Create-n-Connect Conference & Trade Show in July!

– Tracie Larson, Owner, Papercraft Clubhouse

 

Become a Member Today and Enjoy all the Benefits CHA Offers!
Special offer to new members, sign up now and gain access to the Create-n-Connect Trade Show floor for FREE! That’s a $200 Value!
Click Here to Join Today!

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.

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.