An invitation from Joe Rotella to the Creative Retailer Retreat

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Joe Rotella of Delphia Consulting and the Craft and Hobby Association web expert, invites members of the Creative Retail industry to the Creative Retailer Retreat in Pittsburgh PA April 28th through 30th.

Joe talks about the sessions and offerings of the Creative Retailer Retreat.

The Creative Retailer Retreats are focused entirely on helping the Creative Retailer in day-to-day business needs. The Retreat experience includes highly interactive sessions covering social media, marketing, store/website layout, and much more. And of course a retreat is not complete without hands-on workshops and networking events. In just two and a half days: Learn, Craft and Connect for the future of your creative business!

To register, visit: http://www.craftandhobby.org/crr.

Joe Rotella is CMO of Delphia Consulting and the Web Expert for the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA).

Delphia Consulting is an affiliate of CHA and the publisher of CraftSuite – the eCommerce/blog/website solution for the craft and hobby industry.

5 Tips for Exhibiting Success: Turn Product Demos into Sales

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Exhibiting at CHA Conference & Trade Shows allows you to showcase your products in person for your customers. But how do you turn those product demonstrations and make-and-take projects into orders on the Show floor? Veteran exhibitors Advantus and iLoveToCreate share some tips for success.

1. Do a project over a demo. “Projects are typically more impactful than a demonstration, because creative people need to feel the product and make a personal connection with it,” says Alyson Dias of iLoveToCreate. The more impactful the experience, the more likely the customer will be to make a purchase. Choosing projects over demos also allows for more face time between the demonstrator and the customer, time that “fosters relationships and builds brand loyalty,” notes Dias.

2. Let the product speak for itself. By nature, craft and hobby customers are visual and/or hands-on learners, so seeing products in action will do more to convince them to buy than a hard sales pitch. “Customers don’t need to be told how wonderful a product is—they want to create and determine that themselves,” says Rana Coggins of Advantus. The more they determine how wonderful your products are first-hand, the more likely they are to buy.

3. Keep it simple. “Keep your projects simple and timed under 10 minutes,” Coggins warns. This allows you to make an impact in a short amount of time where a customer can walk away feeling inspired—and more likely to make a purchase.  “We love seeing the ‘a-ha moment’ when someone creates a project that was quick and simple but looks amazing!”

4. Make it fun. If customers enjoy making a project at your booth, they will be more likely to not only make a purchase but become loyal customers. “Have all the necessary tools and supplies kitted so they can be easily distributed,” suggests Coggins. And make sure the person in charge is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the products, so he or she can be informative while making the experience fun.

5. Let everyone join the fun. It may be tempting to only make your project open to buyers, but remember to include bloggers, designers, and members of the media as well. “Their positive experience with products will translate into inspiration and education via magazines, websites, blogs and social media—which then inspires consumers to purchase at retail,” reminds Dias.

Using projects and demonstrations will help you have even more success at the CHA Conference & Trade Show. Sign up to exhibit at the 2014 MEGA SHOW today!

Walnut Hollow: Success Secrets of CHA Show Exhibiting

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Walnut Hollow has been a leader in the craft industry for 41 years and a member of the Craft & Hobby Association since its inception. This inspiring company supplies fine wood surfaces, tools and accessories for hobbyists and crafters, and exhibiting at Craft & Hobby Association Conferences and Trade Shows has yielded them successful results for many years. Why do they have such successful results? Here are two secrets.

Success tip #1: Make personal connections.

Exhibiting at CHA shows gives you the opportunity to make personal connections with buyers, distributors, and other industry professionals. Face-to-face connections allow for optimal business and networking opportunities.

Walnut Hollow uses their exhibiting connections not just to make personal connections with buyers but to create partnership opportunities with other manufacturers for cross promotion. “Over the years we have built successful relationships with a variety of manufacturers to cross promote our products together,” says Christine Wallace, Marketing Communications Director for Walnut Hollow. “Buyers understand that their customers will not shop their stores for only our tools and wood products, but include other products in their projects.” Cross promoting with other manufacturers allows for extra exposure, as Walnut Hollow’s products can be showcased in partner booths as well as their own, so these personal connections really pay off!

Success tip #2: Showcase your strengths.

Exhibiting at CHA shows allows you to showcase your products in person directly to buyers, instantly inspiring them and answering any possible questions in the moment.

Walnut Hollow suggests you spend ample time considering various ways to showcase your products, narrowing down your ideas to what makes the best impression on the buyer. In order to sell their new and innovative products to CHA show attendees, Walnut Hollow makes sure knowledgeable staff members are on hand to demonstrate them and answer questions. “Sometimes interaction between those selling or demonstrating products and a buyer influences the buyer to help him or her understand why their customers would want to purchase Walnut Hollow products from their stores,” says Wallace.

Join Walnut Hollow and hundreds of others at the CHA 2014 Show. Make valuable business connections and showcase your products – exhibit today!

The 2014 CHA Hot 20

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Be among the first to get your hands on the BEST NEW
PRODUCTS at the 2014 CHA Mega Show!

We’re talking Creativity . Originality . Ingenuity . INNOVATION! And the CHA 2014 MEGA Show is the ONLY place you can see all of the newest and most innovative products to hit the marketplace – and all in one place! You won’t want to miss the NEW Product Preview VIP Event (open only to Buyers and Media), on Friday, January 10, 2014.

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Let’s talk CHA Hot 20!

What’s the CHA Hot 20? Just the hottest new items of 2014, hand-selected by an esteemed panel of industry experts, from this year’s new product submissions. Attend the New Product Preview VIP Event and you’ll be among the first to get up close and personal with a select number of never released, newsworthy products, and the companies that created them. You’ll also have an opportunity to speak with the innovators and trendsetters who are shaping the craft industry.

CHA is dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to help you grow your business! Don’t miss the New Product Preview VIP Event. Space is limited. Be sure to get your tickets when Education Program Registration opens on November 5. .

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P.S. Exhibitors: We want your new items! If you would like to participate in the 2014 New Products Program, please click here to enter product/product line(s) that will launching to consumers in 2014. Please note that any product available for sale in 2013 will not be considered for display or for the Hot 20). In order to be considered, entries must be received by November 29, 2013.

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.

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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!

Don’t Just Offer an Event – Make it a CRE8TIME Event!

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Michele Freitag, our local Horizons Teacher, invited me, Laurel Pollard, to join Village Elementary School as they celebrated Enrichment Day last week.

As both the owner of New England Paper Crafts, a widely respected regional promoter of paper crafts, and Team Leader of “Inspire! New England Paper Crafts” CRE8TIME team, I happily took advantage of the opportunity to share a number of delightful paper crafting products with some of our littlest friends.

As you know, no event is ever “small.”  No matter what the volume of attendees are going to be served, any event is going to require distinct investment, many of which I’m sure you’re all too familiar with.  Here are only a few to consider:

  • Project design
  • Sourcing and buying supplies
  • Kitting the project
  • Coordinating volunteers/staff
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Producing the event

Following the offer of this level of contribution, the question immediately becomes: “What CRE8TIME marketing tools are available that make it possible to capitalize on this investment?  What will broaden New England Paper Crafts’ reach beyond the event itself?”

In order to maximize our investment in time, money and energy I expect to put into organizing this event, I quickly found advantage by cross-branding our event with CRE8TIME.  The non-profit organization offered multiple promotional tools I could easily take advantage of for FREE:

The CRE8TIME brand immediately lends credibility to our team’s initiatives:

  • More appearances become available to us, resulting in added visibility and promotional options from this expanded network.
  • Industry suppliers are more likely to support, and, it turn, promote our efforts.
  • Media outlets take a closer look at our press releases and are more likely to cover our story.
  1. The CRE8TIME facebook fan page wall is “open,” giving us the opportunity to direct our message to upwards of 5,500 CRE8TIME enthusiasts.
  2. The pre-made CRE8TIME marketing materials, including fliers and bag stuffers, can quickly be customized for each event. This allows our marketing to reach well beyond the frame of any event – both visually through event photos posted after the event, as well as hard copies handed to each event attendee. They are immediately downloadable under the “file” tab on the CRE8TIME Facebook Group for Businesses.
  3. The online CRE8TIONS Gallery is available for posting photos of our projects, allowing for a list of supplies and step-by-step instructions.  Embedded with this process is the ability to add hyperlinks to source pages at will.  Once we have opted-in our CRE8TION as “viewable,” it then becomes picture-perfect content to take advantage of the social network sharing options available in the CRE8TIME Gallery, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

So, armed with card kits and two enthusiastic volunteers, Kate Pfirman and Joan Toomey, we hosted eleven bright-eyed kindergarteners for CRE8TIME at Village Elementary School’s Enrichment Day.  These active children came ready to dig in to the project and they loved the opportunity to cut out their own Sizzix Flip-Its cards!

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At the end of the session there was no stopping our new friends from jumping in for “free cut,” where they were able to pick from a stack of designer paper and use any of the steel-ruled dies available in order to make their choice of die-cuts to carry home with them to personalize other projects.  “Hello Kitty” remains a huge hit with the little ladies!!

We not only reached the eleven kindergarteners at the CRE8TIME make-n-take, we reached their families with the bag stuffers we created.  We connected with our local community through links posted in the Parent Group Facebook page (to which the school is affiliated) as well as a release with event details and photos to the local press.

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In addition, New England Paper Crafts tweeted, facebooked, pinned and CRE8TIME galleried all this terrific content – not only on our sites, but cross promoting via social media with industry suppliers (thanks AGAIN, Little Yellow Bicycle!) and CRE8TIME.

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With the promotional opportunities already structured within the CRE8TIME organization (**and fully supported by the responsive staff at CRE8TIME!), we were able to promptly turn an intimate event like ours at a local kindergarten class into an opportunity to broaden our reach to thousands of people!

Without a doubt, the “Inspire! New England Paper Crafts” CRE8TIME event for the eleven kindergarteners at Village Elementary School was a monumental success.  With a little extra effort and no additional fee, by partnering with CRE8TIME and combining our marketing power, New England Paper Crafts was able to increase our visibility exponentially. 

If your organization is preparing an event, why don’t you take advantage of these tools and make your next event a successful CRE8TIME event, too?

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Happy Day,
~ Laurel Lee Pollard
New England Paper Crafts
“The 411 on paper crafts in New England”
Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | 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

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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!