10 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss the CHA MEGA Show


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The 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show is taking place January 7-12, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.

The MEGA Show comes around once a year and is the craft industry’s largest trade show in the US! Global industry manufacturers and buyers attend the Show year after year in order to conduct business, network and discover the industry’s latest trends. It’s your chance to get an entire years’ worth of business done in just six days!



Here are the Top 10 reasons why you must attend the CHA MEGA Show in January!

  1. The latest craft industry trends and forecasts are presented on the Show floor and in classrooms
  2. Five days of education, including the EXTRA day you wanted on Thursday, January 7
  3. 400+ manufacturers featuring 12,000+ new products
  4. Exciting special events to celebrate the Show’s 75th anniversary
  5. Everything you want to see – specific product and new exhibitor pavilions, and NEW Show floor exhibits showcasing products in action
  6. More hands-on product workshops led by the industry’s favorite designers
  7. Free retail education from industry experts, sponsored by the Independent Retailer Conference (IRC)
  8. New Business Solutions Pavilion with companies to help boost your efficiency and profitability
  9. Valuable networking opportunities with key industry players
  10. The only place you can conduct a year’s worth of business in SIX days


Save the Date:
Registration opens this September!
Stay in touch for the latest updates:


CHA Paper Arts+ Jumpstart Event: Specialize or Diversify: How to Manage Your Store Inventory


By Lee Kellogg


Do you strictly sell craft merchandise or have you ventured to sell other types of goods? You may find that you need to shake up your inventory mix to keep your customers interested and shopping frequently.

I own a rubber stamp store in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My store is in the downtown area – a prime place for tourist traffic. I get a ton of walk-in and out foot traffic. Last summer, I noticed a lot of that walk-in traffic wasn’t looking at the majority of my inventory. Customers were looking for gift items, pet products and everything else that I didn’t have available in my store. I was tired of losing those sales, so I focused on diversifying my inventory.

As my business rolls into the 2015 summer season, busy tourist traffic time, I am happy to say that I am batting about 75% sales on my new product lines. In fact, my store sold out of some of the newer items before Memorial Day! I had to re-order to keep inventory up and customers happy! It’s a great problem to have.

My fellow retail craft experts, Roseann Kermes and Tim Collins, and I, Lee Kellogg, can help you figure out whether you should specialize or diversity your inventory. Register for our two jumpstart sessions on this topic at the Paper Arts + Show in July; the sessions will be held on Wednesday, July 22 and Thursday, July 23 from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m..

For now, I’ll leave you with a hint for successful inventory growth and diversification: listen to your customers. Are they asking for products you don’t have in stock – things you have never heard of? Don’t rush out and get everything that your customers are suggesting; that is not a great way to start diversifying. Do your research, learn about what they want, and then take baby steps with what makes sense for your store.

Okay, here’s another hint: shop your competitors and neighbors. Is there a void in your neighborhood that you can fill? Do you see a gap in what your competitors are stocking? Have you seen something really fun in a store, in another state, that is selling?

Consider these hints and bring your questions about inventory diversification and customer growth to the Paper Arts+ Show. Roseanne and I are craft retailers, and Tim works closely with many craft retailers as a representative.

The Paper Arts+ Show is a great venue to meet your fellow retailers, talk about what is going on in your store, and pick the brain of everyone you meet. This Show is an excellent opportunity for you to network without feeling pressured. Plus, you never know when inspiration will strike!

Wednesday, July 22
Specialize or Diversify: How to Manage Your Store Inventory
Register Today or visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts for more information.

CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop – Day 5


Welcome to Day 5 and the final day of the CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop!

We hope you have enjoyed following along and seeing all of the great projects designed by our talented CHA Designer Members as well as all of the great products from our Paper Arts+ Show exhibitors!

How to win:
There are “passwords” at the end of each designer blog post that was published this week. Make sure you have noted all of the “passwords.” Once you have read today’s posts, you’ll need to use the “passwords” to form a phrase.

The first two people to tweet us @Craftandhobby the correct phrase will win:

  • 1st Prize: $500 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show (trade only)
  • 2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in all of the Paper Arts+ Show fun! Also, don’t forget to register for the  Paper Arts+ Show! Registration is NOW OPEN!

Here are your stops for Day 5:

First stop:
CLICK HERE to see how CHA Designer Lisa Fulmer transformed exhibitor KaiserCrafts product into gorgeous holiday decor!

Second stop:
CHA Designer Kristi Parker used product from exhibitor Stampendous to create a beautifully creative project. CLICK HERE to see it and give it your stamp of approval!

Third stop:
CLICK HERE to see the fabulous projects that Madeline Faiella came up with using product from The Ribbon Print Company.

Fourth stop:
To see what Crafty Creation Linda Swingle came up with using product from Therm-O-Web, CLICK HERE.

Thank you to all the CHA Designers who participated in the Blog Hop!

Beth Watson
Candice Windham
Carmen Flores Tanis
Carol Heppner
Debra Quartermain
Keri Sallee
Kristi Parker
Linda Swingle
Lisa Fulmer
Madeline Faiella
Marjolaine Walker
Michele Emerson Roberts
Rita Barakat
Susan M Brown

And thank you to all the CHA Paper Arts+ Exhibitors for participating too!

Art Impressions
BoBunny Press Inc
Dare 2B Artzy
Graphic 45 LLC
Hot Off The Press
Kaisercraft Pty Ltd
Linnie Blooms LLC
Little B, LLC
M-D Building Products
Pink and Main
The Ribbon Print Company
Stampendous! Inc
Therm O Web Adhesives & Interfacings





CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop Project by Madeline Faiella


The Ribbon Print Company™ is a gem for anyone who wants to make life easier and in the most professional way.  Print anything you want on ribbon.  Don’t know what you need (it happens) the staff at The Ribbon Print Company™ is there to assist.  They don’t just sell ribbon, they are also designers and “cool thinkers”…I loved my experience with them and the product.

The quality of the ribbon is outstanding allowing you to do pretty much anything you want to do with it.  Take a saying, name, event, drawing, logo  and send them off to The Ribbon Print Company™ and they will print just about whatever you need for your wedding, corporate event, kids or grownup parties and more.

Make fabulous bows and your message is already there!  Nothing more to do.  Merry Christmas from the Smith Family and that’s all you need.  The ribbon comes in 20 brilliant colors and different widths to make your project perfect.  There are over 20 foil colors to choose from for printing your very special message.

Retailers, ribbon and foils are made to work with the TRPC Ribbon Printer (there are a few models) and a MUST HAVE in your store.

Now you can have your own key ring for when you meet the girls for coffee.  This project is easy peazy.  Using beautifully printed ribbon from The Ribbon Print Company™ your project is practically done by itself.


Let’s Coffee Klatch Key Ring

*16 inches of The Ribbon Print Company™ printed ribbon at 1.5” wide (Length is your choice. You will be folding it in half lengthwise.  This project is 15” of ribbon folded in half to create 7.5” tails).
*10mm beads
*seed beads (any size you like)
*needle to sew beads (be sure it fits through the beads)
*matching thread
*one key ring
*Fiskars® scissors

NOTE: Colors are your choice.  There are so many!  This project:

  1. Simply pull the ribbon through the key ring at the half point.
  2. Stitch a running stitch just below the key ring
  3. Stitch the beads directly over the running stitch
  4. Cut the bottom of the ribbon in a “V” (optional)

Now enjoy the coffee and your friends!!!  These make great gifts!

Charles & Melissa – please sign the guestbook Bookmark


* 21 of The Ribbon Print Company™ ribbon at 1.5” wide with the name of the bride and groom. (Length is your choice. You will be using two identical pieces of printed ribbon. This project is for a 10.5” bookmark so I used just over 21” of ribbon)
*The Ribbon Print Company™ ribbon at ½” wide that reads, “please sign the guestbook”. This ribbon will hang nicely down both sides of the book mark with a bow at the top.  I used 26” to create the bow and the tails.
*Scotch® Double Sided Tape. ½”
*Lace. Any flat lace the shows just over the edges of the 1.5” ribbon.  Refer to photo.
*Pearls. Any size you like.  I used coin pearls, fresh water pearls and synthetic black pearls (10mm).
*Fiskars® scissors.

  1. Cut ribbon with “names” on it in half.
  2. Place double sided tape on the long end of one piece of 1.5” ribbon with “names” on it and lay it down onto the lace. Refer to photo-edge of lace should stick out beyond edged.
  3. Repeat #2 for the other side of the 1.5”ribbon.
  4. Turn the finished taped piece over and repeat #2 and #3.
  5. Make a bow with the ½” ribbon and tape to top of one side of the bookmark. This is the FRONT of your bookmark.
  6. Use a scrap piece of ½” ribbon to cover bottom of bookmark. NOTE: This is optional.
  7. Tape 2 tails of ½” ribbon on either side of the center of the bow and allow them to hang outward from the center.
  8. Add beads/pearls to bottom of bookmark and ribbon as desired.

You might like to use matching or coordinating ribbon on stemware, centerpieces and anywhere you would like to communicate something to your guests. Here’s to the happy couple!!!

Win $500!

Follow the CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop all week on the CHA Blog for updates on new designer blog posts and projects. Each post will have a “password”, collect all of the passwords.

The first two people to tweet CHA @Craftandhobby the correct phrase will win:
1st Prize: $500 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show (trade only)
2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card
Here is your “password”:  the

Paper Arts+ “Meet the Teacher” Blog Post Series



The Paper Arts+ Show is around the corner and Show registration is now open!

Over the next several weeks, we will take the time to get to know some of our Paper Arts+ Workshop teachers through this “Meet the Teacher” blog post series. Throughout the series, you will learn about their art and inspiration, the value in attending their workshops, and what you can expect to learn.

We hope the interviews inspire you to sign up and attend the Paper Arts+ Show!  Click here to view the Paper Arts+ Show Preview Guide.

jeritannerOur first featured teacher is Jeri Tanner from BoBunny.

By combining BoBunny’s newest mixed media products and the festive and fabulous design of its new collection, this workshop will help you to create a memory and record it as well!

Tell us a little about yourself.

After traveling the globe for many years with my husband and children, we returned to the United States to be closer to our families.  Once we were settled, I went in search of a new adventure and accepted a job with BoBunny Press.  My rusty business degree was put back to use. I discovered that scrapbook pages had evolved from photos cut with decorative scissors on acid free 8 ½ x 11 paper decorated with stickers into amazing works of art!

What do you love most about the creative industry?

I love the constant influx of new products, ideas, techniques and applications in the creative industry. Another bonus is getting acquainted with all of the talented people who participate in this industry- from those who design products to finished projects.

What do you love most about teaching workshops?

Teaching workshops gives me an opportunity to watch crafters be amazed at what they can do and to see how they personalize the project with their own creative style.

What value would you place on attending classes offered at live conferences such as the Paper Arts+ Show?

Nobody knows BoBunny like BoBunny!  Whenever you get a chance to take classes from the manufacturer of your favorite products, TAKE IT!  You will create with the newest designs, explore the latest trends, practice new techniques and learn about products you didn’t know we had!

What are the top takeaways that attendees will learn by taking your workshop?

At the Paper Arts+ Show in July, my class will focus on using BoBunny’s “oh soo” fun mixed media, stickable stencils, foil rub ons and more!  Plan to complete displayable projects that sell the products and to obtain skills to teach your customers!

When you’re not teaching, what can we find you doing?

When I am not teaching classes, I am forever trying to get my family scrapbooks caught up! Sound familiar?  I also enjoy golfing, hosting parties, and travel (thus the never ending need to scrapbook!).

Register for the BoBunny Celebration! Workshop today!


Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where we will feature
Stephanie Barnard from Sizzix!


CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop – Day 4



Welcome to Day 4 of the CHA Paper Arts+ Show Blog Hop! The ‘hop has been going great and the participation has been awesome!

We’re in the home stretch and we still have GREAT projects created from exhibitors’ products by CHA Designer Section members for you to see!

How to win:
There will be a “password” at the end of each designer blog post. Make sure you keep track of all of the “passwords.” At the end of the hop on Friday, May 22, you’ll need to use the “passwords” to form a phrase.

The first two people to tweet us @Craftandhobby with the correct phrase will win:

  • 1st Prize: $500 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show (trade only)
  • 2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in all of the Paper Arts+ Show fun! Also, don’t forget to register for the  Paper Arts+ Show! Registration is NOW OPEN!

Here are your Blog Hop stops for Day 4:

First stop:
CLICK HERE if you dare to see CHA Designer Candice Windham’s inspirational project using product from exhibitor Dare2BArtzy.

Second Stop:
CHA Designer, Marjolaine Walker, put together a great project using product from
Linnie Blooms. CLICK HERE to see pictures of the project and the steps she took to create it!

Tomorrow is the final day of the blog hop! Don’t miss out on the final passwords to complete the phrase! Click here to view the schedule.

CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop – Day 3



Welcome to Day 3 of the CHA Paper Arts+ Show Blog Hop! We’re halfway there and we hope you have enjoyed following along so far!

All week we are featuring exhibitors’ products created into projects by CHA Designer Section members! Follow along to see which products the Designers used and the creations that they came up with; plus you’ll have a chance to win great prizes!

How to win:
There will be a “password” at the end of each designer blog post. Make sure you keep track of all of the “passwords.” At the end of the hop you’ll need to use the “passwords” to form a phrase.

The first two people to tweet us @Craftandhobby the correct phrase will win:

  • 1st Prize: $500 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show (trade only)
  • 2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in all of the Paper Arts+ Show fun! Also, don’t forget to register for the  Paper Arts+ Show! Registration is NOW OPEN!

Here are your stops for Day 3:

First Stop:
CLICK HERE to see the whimsical project that Debra Quartermain came up with using product from Paper Arts+ exhibitor Sizzix/Ellison.

Second Stop:
What decorative display did Beth Watson come up with using product and tools from
MD-Hobby and Craft? CLICK HERE to find out!

Third Stop:
CLICK HERE to find out what vintage summer fun Carol Heppner came up with using product from Hot Off the Press Inc. 

Be sure to join us for more fun tomorrow. For the full schedule, click here.

CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop – Day 2



Welcome to Day 2 of the CHA Paper Arts+ Show Blog Hop!

All week we’ll be featuring exhibitors’ products created into projects by CHA Designer Section Members! Follow along to see which products the Designers used and the creations they came up with.

Don’t forget that there will be a “password” at the end of each designer blog post. Make sure you keep track of all of the “passwords.” At the end of the hop you’ll need to use the “passwords” to form a phrase.

The first two people to tweet us @Craftandhobby the correct phrase will win:

  • 1st Prize: $500 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show (trade only)
  • 2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Be sure to follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in all of the Paper Arts+ Show fun! Also, don’t forget to register for the  Paper Arts+ Show! Registration opens tomorrow, May 20 at 10:00 a.m.

Here are your stops for Day 2:

First Stop:
CLICK HERE to read how CHA Designer Carmen Flores Tanis used product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Pink and Main.

Second Stop:
How did CHA Designer Susan M. Brown use product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Little B LLC? CLICK HERE to find out!

Third Stop:
CHA Designer, Rita Barakat put together a great project using product from Bo Bunny. CLICK HERE to read about the project and how she created it.

Be sure to join us for more fun tomorrow. For the full schedule, click here.

CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop – Day 1



We “hop” you got plenty of rest over the weekend because it’s time to win some prizes!

That’s right; nobody has a “case of the Mondays” this week because today we’re kicking off the CHA Paper Arts+ Show Blog Hop.

All week we’ll be featuring exhibitors’ products created into projects by CHA Designer Section Members! Follow along to see which products the Designers used and the creations they came up with.

There will be a “password” at the end of each designer blog post. Make sure you keep track of all of the “passwords.” At the end of the hop you’ll need to use the “passwords” to form a phrase.

The first two people to tweet us @Craftandhobby the correct phrase will win:

  • 1st Prize: $500 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show (trade only)
  • 2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Be sure to follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in all of the Paper Arts+ Show fun! Also, don’t forget to register for the  Paper Arts+ Show! Registration opens this Wednesday, May 20.

Now that we’ve gotten the formalities out of the way, let’s get started!

First Stop:
CLICK HERE to read how CHA Designer Michele Emerson Roberts used product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Graphic 45.

Second Stop:
How did CHA Designer Keri Sallee use product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Art Impressions? CLICK HERE to find out!

The fun continue tomorrow with:

CHA Designer: Carmen Flores Tanis 
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Pink and Main

CHA Designer:  Susan M. Brown
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Little B LLC

CHA Designer: Rita Barakat 
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Bo Bunny

For the full schedule, click here.

The Projects are Done…Get Ready to “Hop” on Monday!


It’s almost time for the CHA Paper Arts+ Show Blog Hop! The Blog Hop features exhibitors’ products created into projects by CHA Designer Section Members!


Follow along right here on the CHA Blog from May 18 – 22 to see which products the Designers used and the creations they came up with. PLUS, you’ll learn how to make the projects yourself!

Win Prizes!
There will be a “password” at the end of each designer blog post. Make sure you keep track of the password each day. At the end of the hop you’ll need to use the “passwords” to form a phrase.

The first two people to tweet us @Craftandhobby the correct phrase will win:

  • 1st Prize: $500 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show
  • 2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Be sure to follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in all of the Paper Arts+ Show fun!

Here’s the full schedule for the week:


CHA Designer: Michele Emerson Roberts
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Graphic 45

CHA Designer: Keri Sallee
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Art Impressions


CHA Designer: Carmen Flores Tanis
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Pink and Main

CHA Designer:  Susan M. Brown
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Little B LLC

CHA Designer: Rita Barakat
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Bo Bunny


CHA Designer: Debra Quartermain
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Ellison

CHA Designer:  Beth Watson
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor:  M-D Building Products

CHA Designer:  Carol Heppner
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor:  Hot of the Press


CHA Designer: Candice Windham
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Dare2BArtzy

CHA Designer: Marjolaine Walker
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Linnie Blooms LLC


CHA Designer: Lisa Fulmer
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Kaisercraft

CHA Designer: Kristi Parker
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Stampendous

CHA Designer: Madeline Faiella
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: The Ribbon Print Company

CHA Designer: Linda Swingle
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Thermoweb

Tune in next week for the fun starting on Monday May 18!

10 Benefits of Being a CHA Designer Member


Being a creative entrepreneur or running your own design company can be a lonely job. It can also be very tiring and at times overwhelming. Sure, it has many advantages, but wouldn’t it be better if you could find a like-minded community to help you through the downs and the valleys, and warn you of the potholes in your journey?

I felt that way time and again. I wished there was a place where I could talk to like-minded folks, share ideas and ask for advice.

When I joined the CHA Designer Section, I was a little overwhelmed at first. It took me cha designer logosome time to find my way around and make good connections and friends – friends who were creative and understood what I meant without me having to elaborate much. You could say I finally found my tribe!

When first joining CHA as a designer, one wonders if it’s possible to create any lasting connections or derive any benefit from the membership. This is the reason why I put together this article for you. If you’re wondering if a CHA designer membership is for you, read on! Some amazing designers took the time to share their experiences with me. I present to you 10 benefits of being a CHA designer member:

1. The biggest benefit of being a designer member is probably that we get to go to the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show every year for free! The CHA MEGA Show is full of opportunities to network and make new friends and connections. It’s also a great way to do trend spotting and see where the industry and products are headed. The eye candy is, of course, a huge pull for us creatives and let me assure you there is a LOT of stuff to see and take in!

There are also a lot of make and takes and product displays. This is a great place for designers to see what is new to market and keep pace with evolving trends in the industry.

Jennifer Priest from Hydrangea Hippo says, “It is because of the networking I have done in these past four years as a CHA Designer Section member that I have the jobs and opportunities that I have today. It truly is about the people you know. Going to the CHA MEGA Show as your own company helps you meet the people who will aid your growth and helps make you memorable when jobs come available.”

Candice Windham adds, “Being able to attend the CHA MEGA Show and meet directly with the people I want to work with (is a major benefit). Communicating with someone through email or over the phone can’t compare to one-on-one, face-to-face communications.”

2. Having an official designer badge helps establish credibility. Many manufacturers prefer to work with designer members. Patt Bell agrees, stating, “Being a CHA Designer Section member adds credibility to your qualifications. It says that you are serious about what you do, and that you are staying on top of industry trends and practices. Membership provides access to contacts in the business.”

3. CHA offers a wide array of educational resources and materials to help designers do more with and for their businesses. Many webinars, eCourses and videos are made available to designer members. They cover using a range of tools from traditional marketing to social media, working with manufacturers and more!

4. Designer Section members have the opportunity to exhibit in the Designers in Action™ area at the CHA MEGA Show at discounted rates. This is an amazing opportunity to showcase your talent and have it visible for the crafting world to see. Manufacturers send representatives to view these showcases and arrange a meet and greet with the designers. A lot of connections and opportunities are born from this interaction. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of exhibiting in the Designers in Action™ earlier this year. I met and made friends with many designers by taking part in this activity. It also gave me confidence and a lot of feedback about my work!


5. Being a CHA Designer Section member gives you a voice. You can volunteer for different committees and actually contribute to the Section and to CHA. This is an amazing opportunity to learn how the industry works and to make lasting friendships. As Seth Apter puts it, They offer the option to volunteer for a committee, allowing each member to have an active role in the development of the organization, as well as a chance to learn the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of the craft industry in depth.”

6. The sense of community is one of the best things about being a CHA Designer Section member. As Lisa Fulmer says, “The social benefit is these people get me.” Rita Barakat loves this aspect of being a designer member as well! “Being able to come together as a group of like-minded individuals, supporting each other, sharing knowledge and having cheerleaders on your side are always good things!” Beth Watson also agrees, stating, One of the benefits is being part of a group of industry professionals that understands, supports and values what you do as a designer, which is an important part of my growth and success in the craft industry.”

7. Guidance is another big advantage of being a CHA designer member. As Marjolaine Walker puts it, “There is so much love and support from many of the established designers. They want us to succeed and are always there to help.” It is really beneficial to be able to share ideas with more experienced designers. They are so generous with giving advice and making introductions! You shouldn’t be afraid to ask because these are probably some of the most helpful men and women on the planet!

8. Being a member gives you access to the CHA Designers only newsletter, which has huge benefits. The newsletter, which is for Designer Section members only, provides information about the various Section activities in which members can participate.  Eileen Hull shares, “When opportunities come along to showcase my business, I am able to respond quickly and take advantage of them because I always read my CHA emails and know what is happening.”

9. The CHA Designer Directory is another amazing tool that is available to designer members as a benefit of membership. The Designer Directory is a listing of all CHA designers and is made available to manufacturers when they are looking to give out jobs. Carol Heppner, the current chair of the Designer Section, says, “The Designer Directory Committee works long hours to publish the Designer Directory. Designer Section members can submit a five by eight-inch listing for the Directory. The Directory is available on the CHA website as a free download.”

10. Long lasting and true friendships are formed between designer members and, as Michele, one of the founding members of the Designer Section puts it, The friendships that I have developed with other designers and industry companies are priceless!” You will find many partnerships and new ideas being born through friendly collaboration.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless and the opportunities are vast. You just have to take the first step. Sign up to become a member and you’ll have help along the rest of your journey. Like me, you’ll feel like you have finally found your tribe!

maheMahe Zehra Husain is a mathematician by training and an artist by nature! She loves to write arts and crafts e-books and has several listed on Amazon.com.

She is most often found playing in her craft studio and making a mess with paints of all sorts! Her passion is to share her love of creating and banishing the myth that people are born creative. We all have two sides to our brain and she believes everyone has a creative fire!

You can find her at www.alteredupcycling.com and www.thecreativeartacademy.com  – coming soon!

CHA Southern California Chapter News: A Recap of Imaginology 2015


by Carmen Flores Tanis

Cre8time-4x3-72dpi CFT
Imagine a Maker Faire aimed for a young crowd, but with more art, a petting zoo full of friendly animals and jars full of creepy crawlies. Add a play area full of cardboard boxes just begging to be transformed into kid-friendly fortresses, and you’ve got the OC Fair Imaginology.

Crafting-Hands-4x2-72dpi-CFTThe three-day fair was recently held Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26 at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. The CHA Southern California Chapter is delighted to report that our participation was a great success.

When planning for the event, the Chapter Board decided to spotlight the various CHA member sections by featuring a different sponsor on each of the three days.

First, on Field Trip Day Friday, Ellison/Sizzix shared a fun die-cut “Gear Goggles” project with over 250 students of all ages. Saema Khwaja, Education Manager for Ellison/Sizzix, worked very hard to come up with a project that would fit both the Steampunk motif and STEAM focus of the fair (STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, a movement championing the integration of creative skills with scientific thinking in school and business environments). Khwaja’s gear embellished goggles were the perfect craft! Thanks to Brea Beadworks, the kids also had fun beads to add to their creations.

Child modeling his gear goggles

Young Students embellishing Gear Goggles with Colorful Gems

While the students crafted, teachers and adult volunteers were busy die-cutting gears, flowers, hearts, stars and apples from pop-up sponge, magnet sheets, foam, adhesive felt metallic paper and wood. The projects were a great way to teach the students various practical applications of die-cutting! Two lucky schools received Ellison’s award-winning AllStar SuperStar Machines as part of a giveaway.

Older Girls Die Cutting Compressed Sponge

Over 1,600 students, parents and teacher volunteers were in attendance on Friday. Khwaja and Galina Stahmer, Event Coordinator for Ellison/Sizzix, were incredibly busy with non-stop crafting from start to finish and said they are looking forward to participating again next year!

Next up, the Curacao’s Kids Creative Hub took place on Saturday. The Curacao Street Team volunteers shared a cute way to encourage kids to drink lots of water while instilling a recycling mentality in them. Each child was given a small bottle of water, which he/she could drink on the spot or save to drink later. The bottles, whether empty or full, were each wrapped in yarn and topped with a little foam ball. The kids added yarn hair and tiny faces to create simple dolls, which can be kept and treasured once the bottles are emptied. Ruth Corrales-Garcia, PR & Community Affairs for Curacao, reports that over 200 kids had fun crafting that day.

oc fair evt (24)

To wrap up the weekend, on Sunday, Carmen Flores Tanis, CHA Designer, and her two fellow volunteers, Bruce Tanis and Dolores Colin, shared “Spinning Gear and Flower Brooches” with almost 300 children. Carmen mentioned, “We were slammed with kids as soon as the doors opened at 10AM. After two hours of crafting as fast as we could, we had to shut the line down just to catch our breath for a few minutes! It was intense, but I can’t wait until next year to do it all over again!”

little-crafters-4x3-72dpi CFT

Imaginology has a 30 year history of showcasing and celebrating the many educational opportunities in Orange County – from 4H Clubs and miniature train groups to ethnic dance schools and reading groups. Formerly known as Youth Expo, the fair re-imagined and rebranded itself two years ago to include the scholastic focus of STEAM and more of the popular maker movements, which encompass the elements of electronics and robotics. This has led to an explosive growth with a reported 30,000 visitors in attendance over the three days of the 2015 fair.

The Chapter Board would like to thank all of the volunteers and sponsors who made this event such a success! We were able to share the joy of crafting with close to 800 children plus the many adults who visited our booth. We repeatedly overheard the phrases, “I never thought of that,” and “I have one of those, but never knew what to do with it!” Events such as this one are wonderful opportunities to give back to the community, inspire creativity, promote the talents and products of our Chapter members, educate consumers about our products and meet our customers first hand.

The CHA Southern California Chapter will definitely be participating in Imaginology next year! We love the idea of having different members featured each day.

Here’s how to contact us:

Sponsor Opportunities: Ruth Garcia – President – ruthg@icuracao.com
Product Donations: Saema Khwaja – Vice President – skhwaja@ellison.com
Volunteering: Carmen Flores Tanis – Secretary – tanisflores1825@mac.com
Fundraising: Julianna Hudgins – Treasurer – julianna@juliannahudgins.com

Join the fun and get a sneak peek at what you can expect to see at the Paper Arts+ Show!



We’ve paired our Paper Arts+ exhibitors with members of the CHA Designer Section for a fun Blog Hop taking place May 18-22.

Designer Section members are hard at work right now creating amazing projects using our exhibitors’ products. Beginning Monday, May 18, we’ll share the designers’ dedicated blog posts where they’ll show you which products they used, how they created their projects and pictures of their finished creations.

Follow along each day for your chance to win prizes. The bottom of each blog post will contain one word from a phrase. At the end of the Blog Hop, tweet the completed phrase to us at @CraftandHobby and include the show hashtag #CHAShow.

The first two people to tweet us the correct phrase will win the following:
1st Prize: $250 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show
2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Be sure to follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in the Paper Arts+ Show fun!

Thank you to the participating CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop exhibitors and designers


Visit the CHA Blog starting May 18 to join the fun and for a chance to win prizes!

Top 5 Reasons to Sponsor a Workshop or Seminar at the CHA 2016 MEGA Conference & Trade Show!



Interested in speaking or hosting a workshop at the CHA 2016 MEGA Conference & Trade Show? Applications are now open! This is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with buyers.

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider signing up:

1. Get your products in the hands of serious buyers off the Show floor
SAMSUNG CSC 2. Raise brand awareness
3. Increase booth traffic through product knowledge
4. Build credibility in the creative industry
5. Get buyers’ undivided attentionSAMSUNG CSC

Seminar/Demo-nar applications are due by August 14, 2015. The deadline to be included in the Show Preview Guide is June 1, 2015.

Due to size limits, filling out an application does not guarantee acceptance. Please make sure to complete the application in full, including your complete bio, references, and both a long and a short description of your subject for marketing purposes.

Fill out the online application today.

“Meet the Exhibitors” Blog Series: M-D Hobby & Craft


MeetTheExhibitors2The next exhibitor in our “Meet the Exhibitors” series is M-D Hobby & Craft, a recently created line of M-D Building Products. The M-D name is over 90 years old and has its roots in Oklahoma, where it started out of necessity during a dust storm. L.A. Macklanburg built his first form of weatherstrip in order to keep the dust from coming under his front door. He then built a brass-folding hand-crank weatherstrip machine and took his product to the Oklahoma State Fair. Together with H.M. Duncan, his lead salesman, L.A. incorporated Macklanburg-Duncan in July 1920.

MD-HOBBY-CRAFT-LOGOOver the next several decades, the company grew and became popular in the DIY community. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s have stocked M-D products since their inception. Macklanburg-Duncan, later renamed M-D, made a commitment early on to manufacture in the USA. It owns two domestic facilities: one in Oklahoma City, OK and the other in Gainesville, GA.

M-D has become well known for its variety of products, including weatherization, flooring tools, flooring accessories, digital levels and – now with its new line business – craft supplies.

What products are you most excited about featuring at the Paper Arts+ Show?
We are excited to begin distributing the Liquid Nails Brand into the Hobby & Craft Channel.

Why should people stop at your booth?
To check out all of our new products, of course!

Why should buyers come to Paper Arts+?
The Show is a great way for buyers to get a more personal buying experience with multiple vendors. It’s also a great opportunity for them to see new products before the big reveal at the CHA MEGA Show in January.

Beyond your products, how can you bring additional value to the buyer?
M-D Hobby & Craft has its own in-house design team, so we’re able to send buyers custom-made marketing materials for their store!

You can visit M-D Hobby & Craft at the Paper Arts+ Show in booth #401. Registration opens on June 3, 2015. For more information, visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts.



Online Education Logo

CHA’s NEW eCourses are a series of one-hour sessions where you will have the option of learning live, or at your own pace through recorded sessions. They are an easy and efficient way to expand your business knowledge throughout the year!

The upcoming eCourse, Licensing Your Art & Earning Royalties, will be taught by licensed designer Debra Valencia.

debra-valencia-picDebra Valencia is a surface designer, textile artist, graphic designer, product inventor and business entrepreneur. She has worked in the design field as a creative director for several award-winning firms, having worked on multi-disciplinary projects worldwide. Debra lectures nationwide at major colleges, universities and creative professional organizations, and teaches seminars on the art licensing business. In addition, she has 14 years of experience teaching both studio and business courses at art colleges.

Debra’s surface designs are currently licensed with 32 manufacturers and produced on 1,000+ products in stationery, textiles, home décor, gift, beauty and fashion accessories. Debra’s expertise in branding, consumer trends and product design makes her a key resource in providing strategic direction for product line development to manufacturers.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been an artist and a crafter since my childhood. I studied graphic design in college and have been working in the creative field ever since. I took an interest in greeting card design and textile design. In 2008, I switched gears to focus on licensing my designs.

What are the top takeaways that students will learn by taking your class?
1. How to market yourself as a licensed artist.
2. How to make submissions directly to manufacturers without a trade show or agent.

What’s the biggest challenge that artists/designers/graphic designers face when starting an art licensing business?
The revenue stream is extremely long. You have to be willing to do the work now and not get paid for 12 to 18 months as deals are secured and products are brought to market.

Each week you’ll be covering a different step on how artists can take their businesses to the next level. What new skills can participants expect to walk away with by the end of the course?
Students will learn how to prepare a portfolio properly, which is crucial for success in licensing. They’ll learn the importance of building art in collections and showing product mockups, as well as how to research manufacturers and find licensing opportunities.

Licensing Your Art & Earning Royalties begins April 30, 2015 and runs through May 15, 2015. Courses will take place every Thursday from 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST. Can’t make it to the live sessions on Thursdays? No worries! We are recording the courses so you can access them at your convenience!

During this three week eCourse Debra will take you step-by-step through the following:

Week 1:
What Is Art Licensing?
Overview of Opportunities
How to Get Started

Week 2:
Understanding the Business Side
Making Submissions

Week 3:
Agents vs. Self-Representation
Working with Manufacturers
Resources and Strategic Plan

Register today!

Independent Craft Retailers Reveal Long-Held Secrets


By Laurel Lee Pollard, White Collar Crafter


In 2014, the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Paper Arts Section (PAS) Steering Committee was asked to outline educational opportunities that would be appropriate for attendees of the newly-launched Paper Arts+ Show. Responding to industry demand, the 2014 inaugural event was generously hosted “to-the-trade” by CHA.

It was agreed that, in order to respond to the educational needs of the independent “indie” craft and hobby retailer, the PAS Steering Committee would need to pinpoint specific challenges that the indie retailer faces on an annual basis. To that end, the PAS Steering Committee, comprised of the following industry insiders, created the CHA Benchmark Survey:

The PAS Steering Committee took this opportunity and came up with the following goals:

  • To establish a benchmark standard of comparison between similar craft businesses.
  • To highlight business factors and practices that make an independent craft retailer successful.
  • To share these standards and assist CHA in creating or highlighting existing educational/business opportunities to help businesses replicate this success.
  • To share data with suppliers who can use the information to adapt their products and services to increase independent craft business success.

With the PAS Steering Committee’s long-standing influence within the craft industry, and with the backing of CHA, the Committee was able to glean remarkable results. Well over 350 indie retailers from across the broad spectrum of the craft industry, both CHA and non-CHA members, responded openly to the survey.

As a former indie retailer for well over a decade, I can attest that the type of information available in this survey is normally only shared by the indie retailer with its closest confidant. This CHA Benchmark Survey is a remarkable opportunity for indie craft retailers to gauge their success against others in the industry.

If you are looking to take advantage of this timely behind-the-curtain information, including the key findings of the top 15% of independent craft retailers, I encourage you to experience the archived CHA 2014 Benchmark Survey Webinar hosted by Denzil Quick and Katie Kohlmann. This information and expert craft industry commentary can be found nowhere else.

** Let’s keep this valuable conversation going. I encourage you to share your thoughts of the results in the comments below.**

Craft on!

Laurel Lee Pollard
White Collar Crafter
Social: @WCCrafter

The CHA Foundation Hosted a Kids Crafting Day at Bradley Hospital



On April 2, 2015, the Craft & Hobby Association Foundation partnered with The Rit Studio, Craft Attitude and Michaels Stores to host a “Kids Crafting Day” at Bradley Hospital in East Providence, Rhode Island. Together, we celebrated National Craft Month and promoted the many benefits art can offer those with mental health conditions.


Bradley Hospital, licensed by the Department of Children, Youth and Families, provides a range of family-focused, high-quality mental health care to infants, children, adolescents and young adults with emotional disorders and/or developmental disabilities.


During the Kids Craft Day, children attending Bradley Hospital’s various inpatient and partial programs participated in a day filled with creative projects to celebrate the notion of CRE8TIME – a movement which raises awareness for the need to devote more time for creative expression, and provide a forum for individuals to share their experiences with the creative community at large. The project of choice was painting laser cut frames from Michaels using Rit Dye and embellishing with crayon drawings, shapes cut out from scrapbooking paper and stickers. Each child drew pictures that they were able to display in the frames.


All of the projects were led by CHA Staff and craft specialists from The Rit Studio, including Rebecca Fretty, Jasmin Chang and Ruth Gallogly; and Andrea Atwater, representing Craft Attitude.

The children had a wonderful day learning about #CRE8TIME, celebrating creativity and creating their own masterpieces! More pictures of the event can be seen on the CRE8TIME Facebook page.

If you are interested in hosting or sponsoring an event, please contact cmartell@craftandhobby.org.




CHA’s NEW eCourses are a series of one-hour sessions where you will have the option of learning live, or at your own pace through recorded sessions. They are an easy and efficient way to expand your business knowledge throughout the year!

Our first eCourse, The 5 Step Path to Getting Your Business Loan Funded, will be taught by small business expert Mike Periu.

mike-periu-experto-financieroMike has degrees in Finance and International Business from Georgetown University and is a seasoned executive with over 15 years of experience in small business finance. He is the founder of Proximo, LLC., a leading provider of small business financial education and training services. Mike is also a leading national voice for individual empowerment through financial education and entrepreneurship, having been interviewed over 500 times by national and international media. His appearences include NBC, Univision, CNN en español, Telemundo, HITN, TVE, RTE, SBS, MegaTV and others. Mike also publishes a small business finance blog available here.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from New Jersey, but live in sunny Miami now. I have been a business owner for over 15 years and also invest in and advise other small businesses across the country. I studied finance and started my career in the corporate world, but quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. I wanted to use my talents to help families, entrepreneurs and small business owners make better financial decisions. That’s what I’ve been doing for years and that’s what I plan to do for a very long time.

What are the top five takeaways that students will learn by taking your class?
1. Attractive alternatives exist for borrowing money designed for small businesses.
2. How to select the right lender for your particular circumstances.
3. How to prepare your loan request.
4. How to negotiate to get the best terms possible.
5. How to calculate how much money you’ll really need.

What’s the biggest challenge owners face when applying for a small business loan?
The biggest challenge is being small! Traditional lenders are not interested in lending money to small businesses at a low interest rate. They are in the “wholesale money” business; they like to loan millions of dollars at a time. When they have to sell “retail money” – anything under one million dollars – they either decline or charge very high interest rates. My course will teach small business owners how to deal with wholesalers and how to tap new alternative options that are specifically designed for them.

Each week you’ll be covering a different step on how businesses can borrow money effectively. How is this style of learning effective?
Most craft and hobby business owners are busy working on the day-to-day responsibilities of their stores. They usually don’t have much free time, so it isn’t realistic for someone to take two days to attend an intensive training seminar. A couple of hours of lessons and assignments each week is a realistic commitment. Also, by spreading it out over time, students will have the opportunity to absorb all of the information that I’m going to share.

You mention the tide is turning and that money is now available. What do you attribute that to and how can retailers cash-in?
It’s only recently that new technology has allowed the creation of alternative small business lenders that offer reasonable interest rates. In the past, the only options were traditional loan products or very high-interest merchant loans. Today, small business owners are empowered through greater choice. They can cash-in by literally cashing-in! Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to raise money for a business. Interest rates will start going up soon, which will make financing more expensive. The sooner one can lock in a loan, the better the chances that it will be at a lower interest rate.

The 5 Step Path to Getting Your Business Loan Funded begins April 14, 2015 and runs through May 12, 2015.

During this five week eCourse, Mike will take you step-by-step through the following:

Week 1: Figuring Out Your Financial Need vs. How Much You Should Ask For
Week 2: Gathering Your Paperwork
Week 3: Finding the Right Lender
Week 4: Reviewing Your Loan Options
Week 5: Negotiate and Close Like a Pro

This course consists of a one-hour lecture and 30 minutes of discussion. Participants who successfully complete the course will be given access to a complimentary application review.

Register Today!

“Meet the Exhibitors” Blog Series: Art Impressions


MeetTheExhibitors2Art Impressions is the next exhibitor in our “Meet the Exhibitors” series. Art Impressions is a family-owned business, which opened in 1987. Since starting out primarily selling educational stamps, the company has grown significantly over the past 28 years. Today, Art Impressions is well known in the craft industry for its comical characters, whimsical designs and interactive stamping techniques. What makes the company stand out is its incredible diversity of images, each one created by the company’s sole designer and co-owner, Bonnie Krebs. All of Art Impressions’ products are made in the USA.

Art Impressions LogoWhat products are you most excited about featuring at the Paper Arts+ Show?
We will feature some of our brand new Watercolor releases as well as some new interactive stamping ideas! You won’t want to miss seeing our new Spinners and holiday images.

Why should people stop at your booth?
We love attending CHA shows and spending time with our customers. Whether you order from us or a distributor, we always want to support our stores in any way we can. Stop by for some free stamps, promotional products for your store, demos and make-n-takes!

Why should buyers come to Paper Arts+?
We attended Paper Arts+ in 2014 and loved the experience. Spending quality time with our storeowners is truly invaluable. Events and food breaks were contained to the Show floor, which gave us extra time to mingle. We can’t wait until July to do it all over again!

Beyond your products, how can you bring additional value to the buyer?
Many of our current storeowners know that we love to do whatever it takes to help our independent retailers. At our booth, we love to show off new product and give you the tools to better promote it. Also, you’ll have the opportunity to grab some freebies and promotional products, as well as literature and packets for upcoming wholesale promotions, including our semi-annual Catalog Party. In addition, we will include card samples, posters and window clings when requested with wholesale orders!

You can visit Art Impressions at the Paper Arts+ Show in booth #301. Registration opens on June 3, 2015. For more information, visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts.

Online Education at Your Fingertips



The Craft & Hobby Association has a new focus on its education offerings this year. That focus is on your success, by whatever means necessary. We’re going to be providing you with different formats to easily access the can’t-miss education you’ve come to expect from CHA, without ever having to leave the comfort of your home or even your business. All you need is a computer and internet connection.

Here’s what’s available today

Deep-dive online courses that are set up in a series of one-hour sessions where you will have the option of learning live, or at your own pace, through recorded sessions. eCourses are an easy and efficient way to expand your business knowledge throughout the year. Programs include the following:

Recorded Seminars
Did you miss any seminars at the CHA 2015 MEGA Show? Here’s your chance to catch up!

Webinars 24/7
Education at your fingertips! Join our 60-minute educational power-hour webinars conveniently scheduled, recorded, and archived for your access anywhere, anytime of the year.

Thought Leaders
Each quarter, interviews will be conducted with top business leaders from within and outside of the craft industry. These thought leaders will answer your questions in addition to providing advice and insights through a web-streamed interview. Here’s the schedule:


Coming soon in 2015

Online Workshops
An exciting new opportunity to learn projects and skills at your convenience, CHA’s online workshops are video craft classes filled with creative inspiration and art instruction. You’ll learn a variety of techniques that you’ll be able to implement immediately in your store or business.

If you are a designer or supplier member of CHA and you are interested in presenting an online workshop, or are an instructor interested in teaching an eCourse, please contact education@craftandhobby.org.

CHA remains committed to providing our members valuable education to keep your businesses ahead of the competition. For more information visit www.craftandhobby.org.

“Meet the Exhibitors” Blog Series: Meet Stampendous


MeetTheExhibitors2CHA is returning to the Chicago area for the Paper Arts+ Show, July 21-23, 2015 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center. Once again, the Show will host exhibits featuring the industry’s leading manufacturers. We will highlight this year’s exhibiting companies in a blog series called, “Meet the Exhibitors”.

Over the next several weeks, we will introduce you to some of our Paper Arts+ Show exhibitors so you can learn more about the companies, products and what you can expect to see at the Show.

The first exhibitor in our series is Stampendous.

Stampendous has been in business for over three decades under the sole ownership of Fran Seiford, CEO & Chief Artistic Stampendous_Logo_450X350Officer. Fran’s first investment in the craft industry was a $25 order of custom rubber stamps made from her own illustrations. Soon her investment developed into a wide range of craft tools and products to help others in their creative expression.

Today, Stampendous is the manufacturer of products including Fran•táge Embossing Enamels, Essential Elements, Wood Mounted Rubber Stamps, Perfectly Clear™ Stamps, Cling Rubber™ Stamps, Class A’Peel™ Stickers, Stack Art, Creative Palette, Glitzy Glitter, PEARLustre™ Embossing Powder, Fuzzy Fun Flock™, and Stuftainers™, 86 percent of which are manufactured in its facility in Anaheim, CA. In January 2015, Stampendous purchased Dreamweaver Stencils, a line of stainless steel stencils along with Embossing Paste and Tools. Stampendous’ licenses include House-Mouse®, Nathalie Kalbach and Andy Skinner.

What products are you most excited about featuring at the Paper Arts+ Show? 
A new line of Halloween, Fall, Christmas and Winter Stamps, Dies and Stencils, with traditional, whimsical, inspirational and nostalgic designs. We’re also excited about our new Holiday House-Mouse® designs and Board of the Month programs and surprises!

Why should people stop at your booth?
We will feature amazing models by our talented design team to inspire how to use all of the new products. Attendees will learn new techniques as we demo in two areas using our new designs in Stamps, Dies and Stencils.

Why should buyers come to Paper Arts+?
Fourth quarter sales are the most important time for any retail store. Buyers must entice consumers to make their store their holiday shopping destination. Buyers should not miss the opportunity to see the very latest in what creative new products are being introduced at Paper Arts+ to lure shoppers into their stores.

Beyond your products, how can you bring additional value to the buyer?
Stampendous is teaching a workshop and providing two demos every day, all day, in our booth. Also, we also cross merchandise our product with other manufacturers’ products that will be exhibiting. Our stamp line and accessories are not just for paper crafting, but enjoyed for jewelry making, painting on canvas, wood and fabric, clay designs and all types of mixed media.

You can visit Stampendous at the Paper Arts+ Show in booth #402. Registration opens on June 3, 2015. For more information, visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts.

CHA Foundation Partners With Michaels Stores and the Rit Studio to Host Kids Crafting Day at Bradley Hospital


CraftDay poster

In an effort to promote creativity and enrich children’s lives through creative expression, CRE8TIME, a consumer initiative created by the Craft & Hobby Association Foundation, has partnered with leading arts and crafts specialty retailer Michaels and The Rit Studio to host a “Kids Crafting Day” on April 2, 2015, from 9 a.m.– 4 p.m. EDT at the Bradley  Hospital in East Providence, Rhode Island.

During the Kids Crafting Day event, children attending Bradley Hospital’s various inpatient and partial programs will participate in a day filled with creative projects. These mixed media crafting activities will be made possible with products supplied by Michaels and The Rit Studio. Craft specialists from The Rit Studio as well as staff from the CHA and Andrea Atwater, representing Craft Attitude, will lead the craft projects.

Bradley Hospital is licensed by the Department of Children, Youth and Families, and provides a range of family-focused, high-quality mental health care to infants, children, adolescents and young adults with emotional disorders and/or developmental disabilities.

Live updates from the event will be posted on the CRE8TIME Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

For media inquiries contact Annie Scully at azscully@gmail.com or call 201 835 1200.

To find out more about how you can host a CRE8TIME event contact Cmartell@craftandhobby.org.

Last Chance To Enter The National Craft Month Selfie Contest!



In celebration of National Craft Month, we are having a “selfie” contest to promote creativity and craft retail stores. March is coming to an end and there’s only 5 days left to win!

Follow these easy steps to enter:



Join Now, Upload & Win!


Thoughts of a day job survivor


By Durga Walker


A day job is not a chosen profession or career. A day job is something you do to earn money because you can’t survive doing what you really want to do. There’s nothing inherently evil about day jobs, although we do tend to blame them for everything. But the truth is that they can be enormous pains in the behind and enormously depressing, if we let them.

— From the introduction to The Day Job Survival Kit

Day jobs come in all shapes and sizes. Creative people have been grappling with them for centuries. Whether you’re building a business or working for it, even in an industry you love, like this one, earning income away from your art is a day job. And day jobs make us cranky.

But there’s another side to this. As a creative person, you bring a lot to the table. Your artistry has taught you the skill of vivid visualization. It’s taught you to act fearlessly on a wild idea, and to live with great uncertainty while you wait for the outcome.

This is a very short list of what lifestyle teachers call success skills, and people pay a lot of money to learn them. Yet they are the very skills that artists and craftspeople use every day to make art and build creative businesses. For folks already active in the artistic world, these principles are low-hanging fruit.

I’m a case in point. Artist, writer, crafter, day-jobber—you name it, I’ve struggled through it. When I started studying the so-called success principles, I recognized them as the tools I’d been using for years to weave, paint, write, and generally make beautiful things.

I wrote The Day Job Survival Kit to explore these very helpful ideas, but specifically for creative people. Beyond looking at the creative process and goal setting, I’m also curious about what’s at the core of discipline, how we act with intention to bring things about, how we can create time to create, and how we can use our day jobs as fodder for our artistic mills. I also look at the great bugaboos of not enough space or time, and I even give a passing glance to the dreaded Money Monster.

The ideas in this book are not new, and they’re not original to me, which is why I can tell you how wonderfully effective they are. I wrote this book in this way because I believe that creative people already have the skills to create better lives. We just need to look at it in the right way.

While I can’t promise you the moon and the stars, I can promise that if you unlock the potential of the creative process you’re already using and apply it to the rest of your life, everything will change.

The Day Job Survival Kitpublished by Archangel Ink, is launching on Amazon on March 25th, in Kindle and paperback.

durgaDurga Walker is living proof that day jobs need not stand in the way of creative dreams. She currently lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a reporter on a small-town newspaper. By night and weekend, she writes, paints, and builds a creative freelance and craft business. Durga has an M.A. in communication arts and training in creativity coaching.

Arts and Crafts Grant Opportunity For New Jersey Teachers


KidsinNeedBanner-600pixelswThe Kids In Need Foundation is offering grants sponsored by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Foundation for arts and crafts classroom projects. Applications are available through March 31, 2015.


To fund classroom projects to be conducted during the 2015-2016 school year that use arts and crafts materials in the activities of the projects.


All certified preK-12 teachers working in New Jersey public schools.

Application Deadline:

Midnight, March 31, 2015.

Grant Amounts:

$100 – $350

How to Apply:

  1. Apply online
  2. After completing the application, click on the Submit button.


West Coast Port Workers Reach Deal Deal After Labor Dispute


Shared via CNN


Dockworkers at West Coast ports have reached a tentative contract agreement to end their labor dispute, a spokesman for the Pacific Maritime Association said Friday.
The five-year contract still has to be approved by the dockworkers union members.
The dispute had centered around contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping companies and port operators, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents West Coast dockworkers.

The two parties began talks in May but were unable to reach an agreement and had been operating without a contract since July. Operations have been affected at 29 ports.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez was in San Francisco to help mediate the dispute.
The Port of Oakland said on its website that it could take six to eight weeks for the situation at its facility to return to normal.

“Ships, containers and chassis are all out of balance. They’re not where they need to be to support cargo movement. Repositioning of these assets will take some time,” the port said on its Maritime Operational Status page.

Rit Dye Incorporates #CRE8TIME into Their Marketing Efforts


Recently, at the Craft & Hobby Association 2015 Conference & Trade Show (CHA MEGA Show), The Rit Studio sponsored the CRE8TIME booth where they featured a host of make-n-takes using jewelry and dye as well as provided project sheets for attendees to take away, encouraging them to CRE8TIME every day. Celebrity guest, David Cruz, Finding Cupid and The Millionaire Matchmaker, kept the steady stream of traffic busy in the booth doing make-n-takes during the first two days of the Show.



The Rit Studio has created an awesome monthly project page on their website dedicated to #CRE8TIME. All you need is one hour a month to complete each of the projects. Do them on your own or with your kids, or you can even organize a “to-dye-for party” with your friends. These projects also work well for workshops, school projects, and community events. To view the Rit CRE8TIME page, visit: https://www.ritstudio.com/cre8time.


Rit have also created a downloadable CRE8TIME workbook to help you to keep track of your monthly creativity!

There are many ways to incorporate CRE8TIME into your business. From using the hashtag #CRE8TIME on all of your social media posts to getting involved and promoting CRE8TIME in a way that makes sense to your business model, the possibilities are endless. Find out more about how you can get involved today. Contact the CRE8TIME team at cre8time@craftandhobby.org.


CHA 2015 MEGA Show Brings Industry Together To Showcase Hot New Products


The CHA MEGA Conference and Tradeshow, the largest event for the craft and hobby industry, concluded a successful 74th annual event, January 9-13, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.  The CHA MEGA Show, produced by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), brings together the entire industry for five days of education, networking and product innovation.


Exhibitors began setting-up on January 8th and they quickly brought their booths to life, as they, along with Show staff and the decorators, worked quickly to get the Show floor ready for opening on Saturday morning.



The CHA 2015 MEGA Show drew thousands of buyers from 56 countries to see the newest products coming to market. Good Housekeeping TV, MSNBC, Better Homes and Gardens and a host of other global media outlets were present to get a glimpse of tomorrow’s craft trends, interview small business entrepreneurs, and report on innovation, new products and industry awards of excellence.

As a hub for learning, the CHA MEGA Show Conference offered more than 100 programs including Business Seminars and Workshops, Demo-nars®, Feed Your Brain seminars, Hands-On Labs and Artisan Workshops. Seminars with a focus on technology and social media were popular among attendees.




Rachel Shechtman, owner of STORY in NYC, delivered an inspiring Keynote Address on “Rewriting Retail: From Making Sales to Creating an Experience.”   She gave attendees plenty of good ideas on how to re-think their retail space and make it a multi-sensory experience for customers.


Show opening day on Saturday morning saw the registration area packed with attendees lining up and exhibitors making last minute touches to their booths. The Show floor featured an array of education and interactive activities including an Independent Retailer Conference, product workshops, a Makerspace with live demonstrations a Designer Showcase featuring the hottest craft designers, celebrity appearances, and fashion shows.





New additions to the Show floor also included an Art & Paint Pavilion, sponsored by the Society of Decorative Painters, that featured the latest art materials and paint suppliers, live hands-on painting demonstrations and a curated art gallery showcasing artists’ best hand-made decorative paintings from all over the world.

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The Hot Product Showcases were a top destination area for Show attendees and featured 24 nominees in eight categories.  The winners of the Hot Product Awards, selected by a jury of expert media and celebrity judges, were announced at the CHA 2nd Annual Foundation Gala on Sunday, January 11, 2015. Click here to view the 2015 Hot Product Winners by category.


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The Show had its own Maker Space area, combining tech influenced DIY and inspiring presentations by craft industry innovators, Sarah Hodsdon and Jill Mackay.


The Independent Retailer Conference — dedicated entirely to the unique lifestyle and responsibilities of retail small business owners—was an incredibly popular new Show floor feature that included 15 minute power seminar sessions presented by top small business experts.

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More than 400 people attended the CHA Foundation Gala, a charity event to benefit the CRE8TIME Movement, the CHA Foundation’s consumer outreach program that is designed to inspire creativity in everyone.

In addition to the CHA Hot Product Awards other presentations at the Gala included the launch of a grant program with the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF) to support art education in public schools, Industry Awards for Exhibiting with Excellence and the 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Click here to view all awards recipients.

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In 2016, the CHA MEGA Show will celebrate its 75th anniversary edition, January 8-13, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.  For more information visit www.craftandhobby.org.

Click here to view the MEGA Show Facebook photo album.

Industry Celebration and Giving Back Were the Prominent Themes of the 2nd Annual CHA Foundation Gala


Wow, what a night! The 2nd Annual CHA Foundation Gala & Silent Auction, sponsored by Michaels, lived up to its billing of dinner, dancing and inspiration. The themes of the evening were celebrating the industry and giving back, and we accomplished both in a BIG way this year!


Everyone was greeted by a glass of champagne and walked down the “blue carpet” as they entered a “Hollywood awards ceremony” just for our industry!


The first hour was spent at the cocktail reception and silent auction, the proceeds of which benefitted CRE8TIME and The Kids in Need Foundation.

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We had two amazing hosts in Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender of KIZER & BENDER – who should be, if they aren’t already, auditioning for the hosting gig at the Golden Globes next year!


The program kicked-off with the celebration of the CHA 2015 Industry Award Winners.

The CHA 2015 Industry Award Winners went to:

  • Meritorious Award: Herb Lantinga, Notions Marketing



  • Industry Achievement Award: LaDorna & Robert Eichenberg, Ellison


  • Special Recognition Award: Joann Pearson, Michaels


For more about the winners and the Industry Awards, read the press release here.

The program continued with the Exhibiting with Excellence awards, which went to those exhibitors who were judged on overall visual booth appeal; clarity of product being sold; access to make-n-takes; engaging booth flow; as well as enthusiasm and friendliness of Booth staff.

The winners of the CHA 2015 MEGA Show Exhibiting with Excellence Awards were:

  • Island & Peninsula Group – Spinrite


  • Linear Booth – ClearBags


  • New Exhibitor – Little B


  • Critic’s Choice – Spellbinders PaperArts


CHA’s President & CEO, Andrej Suskavcevic, provided an update on the CHA Foundation’s goals for the future, including partnering with other like-minded organizations to continue to drive the momentum of raising awareness for the need to devote more time for creative expression. In addition to the CRE8TIME movement, proceeds from the silent auction and raffle went to support the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF).

Gala17Every year for the past 12 years, CHA has partnered with KINF to harvest product from exhibitors of CHA Trade Shows, which has resulted in the collection and distribution of $1,591,019.75 worth of donated supplies to teachers and their students at the neediest of schools. The funds from the Gala that will be donated to KINF will be used to fund two grants that will help build art programs at a school in the CHA office’s home state of NJ. Dave Smith, the Executive Director, accepted the check on-behalf of KINF.

Gala18After dinner, it was time to award the 2015 Hot Products! 112 products were submitted this year – a record number! A celebrity and media judging panel selected the award winners based on what makes the product unique; how it will improve the crafter’s overall experience; and the interest it generates in crafting for non-crafters.

For the full list of the 2015 CHA Hot Product Winners click here.

The program concluded with the induction ceremony of the 2015 CHA Hall of Fame. This year’s class included:

  • John & Edna Clapper


  • Jane Anne Davis


  • Andrea Grossman


  • Howard Hoffman


  • Vince Naccarato


  • William “Bill” Neu


  • John E. “Jack” Parker


  • Tom Yaley, Sr.


What can we say besides, “What an evening!” Congratulations to all of the nominees, winners and the Hall of Fame class of 2015. We can’t wait to celebrate again next year!

This Thursday “Hangout” with Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick


CHA DS Media Committee Hangout square 300 by Carol Heppner

Sharpen your social media skills as you

“Hangout” with Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

The Media Committee of the CHA Designer Section invites you to a very special Google Hangout, this Thursday, January 22 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM ET with guests Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

Join hosts Nancy Keslin, Marjolaine Walker and Carol Heppner as they discuss the new book “The Art of Social Media – Power Tips for Power Users” with authors Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

Whether you are a designer or other member of the craft industry, social media is an important factor for determining your success or failure. Guy and Peg are top social media professionals. Their new book provides clear and expert advice in using the different social media platforms.

Guy Kawasaki is a former chief evangelist for Apple and presently holds that job title at Canva. Guy is one of the pioneers of business social-media. He is author of over a dozen books and empowers companies with his writing, speaking engagements and advice.

Peg Fitzpatrick is a social media strategist who works with Guy. She is also the director of digital marketing for Kreussler Inc. Peg is editor-in-chief of “12 Most” which is a dynamic community of influential, globally-renowned writers & business experts publishing amazing content. She is also founder of the popular Twitter chat #MyBookClub which featured the brightest authors on social media.

Join us for an hour of great conversation this Thursday as we “Hangout” with Guy and Peg. http://tiny.cc/HangoutwithUs

2015 Hot Product Award Winners Announced



A record number of new products were submitted this year, and the celebrity and media judges selected the award winners based on what makes the product unique; how it will improve the crafter’s overall experience; and the interest it generates in crafting for non-crafters. The panel of expert media and celebrity judges, included Julie Bonnar, editor, Craft Focus; Sarah Crosland, Editor, Crafts Beautiful Magazine; David Cruz,of Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker and founder & creative director of Finding Cupid; Nancy Nally, Owner, Nally Studios LLC; Erin Phraner, Editor, Good Housekeeping TV; and Jen Tryon, Owner, Tryon a Homemade Life.

The 2015 CHA Hot Product Winners are:


Beadalon_ArtisticWireArtistic Wire™ 3D Bracelet Jig by Beadalon, allows the design of perfectly round, continuous, all-in-one bangles, cuff bracelets, and curved components in 3D using wire, stones, and beads. www.beadalon.com.




Alumilite_AmazingRemeltAmazing Remelt by Alumilite, is an FDA compliant, completely reusable, flexible mold making material. www.moldputty.com





FabricEditions_FabricElementsFABRIC ELEMENTS by Fabric Editions, Inc., features artist Rebekah Meier’s pre-cut line of fabrics for mixed media collages. www.fabricedtions.com.




PrintLittle B Petal Packs by Little B LLC, are a revolutionary new way to create fast, easy and beautiful paper flowers. www.littlebllc.com





Hazel&Ruby_DIYDecorTapeDIY Décor Tape by Hazel & Ruby, is washi tape produced in 4”, 8”, 12” & 24” rolls including solids, designed patterns, and interactive that allows consumers to add their own content.  www.hazelandruby.com.




FoxChapel_TrendBooksTrend Books for Kids by Fox Chapel Publishing, are fun books that turn kids on to crafts and introduces them to a creative hobby that will last a lifetime.  www.foxchapelpublishing.com.





Lumi_PhotoPrintingKitLumi Photo Printing Kit by Lumi, is a new alternative to screen-printing, using the power of the sun to print customized t-shirts and textiles. www.lumi.co.





SizzixInksheetsSizzix Inksheets by Sizzix/Ellison allows crafters to easily simulate the popular metallic foil and chalkboard trends and impress permanent, stylish colors onto cardstock, craft foil, leather, magnet sheets, wood paper and more. www.sizzix.com.


The winners were announced at the CHA Foundation Gala on January 11, 2015 during the CHA MEGA Show in Anaheim, CA, the world’s largest creative arts marketplace.  The annual event brings together the entire crafts and creative industry for five days, with small and large retailers, independent chains, and vendors from across the world.


2nd CHA Foundation Gala to benefit CRE8TIME & Kids In Need Foundation


The Craft & Hobby Association Foundation is holding its 2nd Annual Gala celebration on Sunday evening, January 11, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Last year’s Gala was a huge success and with your help, we plan on continuing the tradition.


This year, the CHA Foundation is happy to announce that proceeds from the Gala will go towards the Kids In Need Foundation (KINF) in order to fund two $1,000 art education grants to benefit school children. KINF has been a partner of CHA’s for more than a decade and coordinates our Annual Show Harvest. To date, our industry has contributed more than $1.5 million in supplies for elementary, junior high and high school art programs from donated products following the annual MEGA Show.

You’ll have an amazing experience from the moment you arrive on the “blue carpet”.   The night will include an open bar, three-course meal, live band and a silent auction and raffle to benefit the CRE8TIME Movement and the Kids In Need Foundation.

In addition, you’ll participate in the craft industry’s version of the Oscars! A program hosted by the hilarious duo of KIZER & BENDER that includes the prestigious CHA Industry and Hot Products Awards Ceremony, and concludes with the CHA Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Don’t forget your dancing shoes!  We’ll see you there.

379760_811886878826675_167912115_nThe CHA Foundation is a 501 c (3) charity that fosters creativity and supports the craft and creative arts industry. CRE8TIME is the Foundation’s consumer outreach initiative dedicated to encouraging consumers to take time for themselves to do the creative things they love.


Join us to celebrate the industry!

Reserve your seats today!

We are in the process of seeking donations of unique items for the silent auction, starting at a minimum value of $100 USD.  By donating an item, you’ll be making a tax-deductible contribution to support the CHA Foundation mission.

As a donor, you will benefit from exposure of your company’s brand to those who attend the event and in emails sent to promote the event. Donors will be listed in the Gala Event program. The items you donate will be on display with your brand name throughout the evening.

To send your pledge, or for more information, please give me a call at (201) 835 1207, or email cmartell@craftandhobby.org.


Independent Retailer Conference Excited to “Take the Stage” at the Upcoming MEGA Show


By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle



S115 - N.LeinbachAs a small business owner, there’s always a struggle to balance everything that needs to be done. From sourcing and managing inventory to merchandising shelves and creating strong store displays to creating an online presence that adds value – and sales – to your overall business objectives, the list seems nearly endless. As a result, too often many of these challenges and responsibilities are overlooked. It’s with this in mind that the Independent Retailer Conference first came to life in 2011 – aiming to help merchants achieve their store goals through education, engagement and hands on opportunities from some of the leading industry experts in retail today.

“I’m a big believer in creating experiences for business owners that can help them add value to their businesses while learning along the way. This – along with the industry leadership specific to independent retailers that my partner Nicole Reyhle brought to the table – has really helped create the foundation of the Independent Retailer Conference. We wanted to create something that got retailers excited, motivated and energetic about learning, while also creating an experience that they enjoyed,” explains Independent Retailer Conference’s Kerry Bannigan, who along with Retail Minded’s Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, are the Co-Founders of the Independent Retailer Conference.

S117The Independent Retailer Conference has previously held their events in Chicago and New York City since 2011, as well as took place two times in 2014 on the show floors of ASDMarketWeek in Las Vegas.  By hosting pop up conferences on site at trade shows like ASDMarketWeek and now the Craft & Hobby Association’s 2015 Conference & Trade Show (CHA MEGA Show), the Independent Retailer Conference is reaching more retailers than ever while also capturing them at valuable trade shows that serve as not to miss events for their businesses.

“Connecting with retailers onsite at a trade show like the CHA MEGA Show allows us to extend education to retailers during their buying trips, and ultimately delivering a comprehensive experience of buying for their stores while also gaining trusted, educational insight to help them operate their businesses. And since retailers are short on spare time as it is, this combination has proven to be very successful for them,” Independent Retailer Conference Co-Founder Bannigan states.

Commitment to Retailers

While delivering education is a top priority of the Independent Retailer Conference, how the information is delivered is just as important. Bringing together industry leading experts and retail thought-leaders, the Independent Retailer Conference delivers both flash sessions that last about 15 minutes each and one hour breakout sessions for more in-depth education opportunities. The real lure, however, are the select retail experts that join the Independent Retailer Conference for the duration of the event and welcome show attendees to engage, learn and connect with them to further support their businesses. For the upcoming CHA MEGA Show, this will include representatives from email and online marketing software company SnapRetail, Cathy Wagner of RETAILMavens, David Nawrocki of product photography company Retail Studio Effect, David Mehlham of MadeClose.com and serving as conference emcees will be well known craft and hobby retail thought leaders Kizer & Bender.

“SnapRetail is excited to support the CHA MEGA Show attendees through the Independent Retailer Conference because, like us, the Independent Retailer Conference is dedicated to the unique lifestyle and responsibilities of retail small business owners”, said Christian Kratsas, SnapRetail Content Marketing Manager. “By attending one of our seminars and speaking with our Retail Marketing Specialists, attendees can expect to learn how to grow traffic and sales through email marketing, social media and website management.”

Joining Kratsas and the entire SnapRetail team in their enthusiasm to support the attendees of the CHA MEGA Show and Independent Retailer Conference are Kizer & Bender, familiar voices to the CHA community.

“We couldn’t think of a better show to welcome the Independent Retailer Conference. Attendees of the CHA MEGA SHOW are constantly seeking intelligent support for their stores and the Independent Retailer Conference delivers just that. We’re thrilled to support them in their efforts in helping CHA MEGA Show attendees have a blast while learning important strategies they can use to grow their businesses,” states Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer.


With retail veterans like Kizer & Bender lending their expertise and industry leaders like SnapRetail on hand to share valuable market information to attendees about all things online marketing, attendees of the Independent Retailer Conference are in for a real treat. They can also get excited about meeting newcomer David Mehlham of MadeClose.com to the Independent Retailer Conference, who will share a unique perspective on the value of powering small businesses and craftspeople.

“MadeClose is all about small, independent business and we can’t think of a better place to meet like-minded people than the Independent Retailer Conference at the CHA MEGA Show! Our presentation and time spent talking to attendees will focus mostly on the power local businesses and craftspeople have in the overall economy and the benefits of learning about where and how our goods are made and making informed purchases,” Mehlham explains.

With a lot to learn among a variety of experts and industry leaders, attendees can confidently plan their schedules with trust that they will takeaway a ton by participating in the Independent Retailer Conference experience. And since the conference itself will be on the show floors of the CHA MEGA Show, time is on their side.

“Being among the vendors of the CHA MEGA Show is a huge advantage for attendees, allowing them to pop in and out based on their buying schedule,” explains Bannigan.

What to Expect

With a fantastic schedule of presentations taking place Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the CHA MEGA Show, attendees can expect to engage, learn and connect during the Independent Retailer Conference with like-minded merchants, industry leaders and savvy service providers specific to independent retailers. All attendees are encouraged to sit back, relax and take advantage of the non-stop education provided during the Independent Retailer Conference, as well as connect with the retail experts who will have tables for one-on-one attendee-expert support.

“Sitting down and engaging with our experts in conversations is something we encourage attendees to do. It’s this concept that has made the Independent Retailer Conference so successful for retailers, allowing them to gain personalized support for their stores. We want the attendees of the CHA MEGA Show to take advantage of this, and encourage them to ask questions and learn as much as they can,” Bannigan explains.

Additionally, attendees can expect interactive experiences from our pop up stage that leaves them better educated and more inspired – with takeaway tools to bring back to their stores. For a full schedule of what to expect at the Independent Retailer Conference at the CHA MEGA Show, CLICK HERE or visit IndieRetailerConference.com.


Things to do before the CHA MEGA Show


By Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender

shutterstock_232080430In our last post we talked about how to prepare business-wise for your upcoming trip to Anaheim for the CHA 2015 MEGA Show. This time we’re talking about you. Here’s your “Getting Ready for Anaheim List of Things to Do”:

  • Make your hotel reservations early – you want to take advantage of any discounted rates available. Choose a hotel that’s close to the convention center. Why not make your travel time there and back as short as possible?

And by the way, Travel Planners, Inc. is the ONLY housing company that can guarantee your reservation. Beware of other “housing” companies soliciting hotel room reservations. CHA advises you to NOT book through these other companies and to contact them if someone approaches you. Please email tmercardo@craftandhobby.org if you are solicited by someone other than Travel Planners, Inc.

  • Book your air travel to Anaheim ASAP. You have a few choices of airports so shop around for the best deal. John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA) is the closest, but Los Angeles (LAX) sometimes has lower fares. If you fly into LAX, however, you have to factor in the cost to get to Anaheim.

You can get help on all things CHA travel here: https://www.craftandhobby.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=cha&WebKey=9c8cd328-26f8-4ba5-b09b-7f18b5e75683

  •  Book ground transportation from the airport to your hotel. If you fly into John Wayne, grab a cab. Depending on traffic, cab fare from LAX can run more than $100 each way, so be sure and check out the CHA deal on the Super Shuttle. Click here for more info: http://groups.supershuttle.com/cha2013winterconferencetradeshow.html
  • CHA member Jenny Barnett Rohrs of Craft Test Dummies has a great idea for that extra suitcase you know you’ll need to haul home all the cool things you pick up at the Show. She calls it Turducken Packing: Simply nest a slightly smaller suitcase inside a larger suitcase and voila! An extra suitcase when you need it.
  • Bring lots of business cards! If you need to order new cards check out Moo.com. You’ll find cool templates with nice finishes, great prices, and fast service.
  • Stilettos are a must for women on the Show floor; the higher the better. KIDDING! You are going to put on some serious miles each day, so make sure your shoes are extra comfy. Crocs, clogs, sneakers, whatever. Just make sure they’re all-day kind of comfortable.
  • You’ll find exhibitors wearing everything from business suites to team logo shirts to elaborate costumes. You, however, just need to make sure that your attire is professional and comfortable enough to move around in – consider the classes and workshops you will attend each day. There are no rules! We look forward each year to the Show floor fashion show – CHA members in all sorts of creative clothing and accessories they made themselves. Don’t be surprised if Georganne offers to buy your necklace…
  •  Show off your name badge! Don’t hide it, put it up front and center so vendors and all of your new friends can easily read your name. Another fun thing about CHA is the creative things attendees do to their name badges. They may start out looking like everyone else’s but by the end of the Show they’re a work of art.
  • Convention centers and meeting rooms are notoriously cold. If you don’t want to end up wearing the table cloth, bring a sweater.
  • CHA is one of the few trade shows that allows attendees to bring rolling bags on the Show floor. (Yay CHA!) Trust us; you want a rolling bag for all the catalogs and samples you will pick up as you peruse the floor. Shoulder bags, and even back packs, can be too much when you have to carry them all day long.
  • Bring your camera and batteries and an extra cellphone charger and… How about a water bottle you can refill, and maybe some snacks. You knew we’d get to food… What’s our event motto? FOOD IS GOOD!

We could fill pages with our favorite travel tips, but we want to hear yours. What are the absolutely indispensable things you need for a successful CHA Show? Share them in the comments!

About Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender

K&BRich Kizer & Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and       consultants whose client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business. They are the go-to team retailers choose first when they need to make a change in-store and online.

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 consumer anthropologists because they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today’s consumer.

KIZER & BENDER are well known for their unique and intensive consumer research. Any speaker can talk about customers, but Georganne and Rich actually become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine. And maybe even a few that you can’t! The result of their research is literally straight from the customers’ mouth: solid ground level intelligence you can use to better serve your own customers.

KIZER & BENDER’s observations are widely featured in the medias, including the ABC News special report “How Stores Hook You.” Their books Jingle Bells, Christmas Sells! and Champagne Strategies on a Beer Budget! have helped thousands of retailers improve their bottom line, and their bylined column, Georganne & Rich on the Road was twice honored with The American Society of Business Publications Editors Award of Excellence (ASBPE)

KIZER & BENDER will be presenting the following seminars at the MEGA Show:

S106 – Feed Your Brain: Inside Secrets to Online Marketing click here to register.
S123 – Designing Your Creative Brand Image! click here to register.

Planning for the MEGA Show


CHA Designer Members are the connecting piece between manufacturers and craft enthusiasts, providing professional services that market, educate and inspire consumers.

Designer members will be wearing many hats while working at the CHA 2015 MEGA Show, they will be demonstrating, teaching retailers tips on how to use new products and hosting workshops on a variety of business skills. We canvassed the CHA Designer members on their top tips for planning to help you make the best out of your investment during the CHA MEGA Show.  For them it is all about planning, participating, and practicing.

1) Planning – it is a big investment to get to the Show, but in terms of meeting everyone from all over in one place over a few days time – it is the place to be.  So how do you make the best of every opportunity?

  • First think about your goals: What do you want to learn? Who do you want to meet? What is important for you to see and experience?
  • Check the CHA and manufacturer blogs for announcements and workshops.
  • Get a copy of the map of the Show floor and the local convention center area.
  • Start building a schedule around the workshops or seminars.
  • Plan your route around the floor to prevent running back and forth and to avoid running late for appointments.
  • When booking appointments remember that the focus on the first two days for many exhibitors is on retail sales.  Schedule appointments later in the week when exhibitors have the time to spend with you.
  • Plan breaks in your schedule, plan some social events, meet people for lunch, coffee or dinner.
  • Remember to pack the cute shoes for meetings and social events in your bag and bring comfy shoes for dashing about.
  • Travel light by finding the right combination of electronic media and printed copies of samples, business cards and other tools. Bring healthy snacks to eat on the run when your schedule goes astray.

2) Participate – ok, so now that you have a plan of what you really must do, there is so much available at the Show, don’t forget to make the best of it!  Try something new and meet someone new.

  • Workshops are a great value, if there are products you are curious about and want to learn how to use, register for a workshop.
  • The CHA Designer Roundtable and other seminars provide a safe place to learn new skills in the language of small business and crafters. You can refresh your perspective on marketing and electronic social media, photography and much more. A good example is Strategic Planning for Solopreneurs.
  • In the Designers in Action section on the Show floor you will find make & takes and opportunities for designers. Designers are an important resource for the crafting industry, they travel to demonstrate products, teach workshops and provide support as a virtual assistant in tailored social marketing to support retailer or manufacturer.
  • Make sure your schedule allows time for you to wander where you don’t normally go, stop and have a look at product lines that you don’t normally work with and seek out new exhibitors. You never know what you will discover.

3) Practice – post Show, it is easy to feel exhausted by all the new experiences and products, but you need to start exercising all your new tools to make use of them.

  • On the way home collate your contacts and business cards, note what was special or what you want to follow up on.
  • Reconnect with people you met using Facebook, blog and other mediums with a quick message of nice to meet you and lets catch up later.
  • Note in your calendar a reminder of the things you have learned and when to practice them.
  • Connect with designers travelling to your regional area over the next few months to plan a workshop or demonstration date.

The Show might be held once a year but there are more than enough new faces, new products and new ideas to last you all year long.

Be sure to stop by the Designers in Action area on the main Show floor to see their work and learn how you can work with Designers.  Mark it on your map!

The CHA Designer Section members provide professional services in a range of marketing fields, social media, developing tutorials and editorials that support delivering product knowledge and inspiration to create. ‘Creativity is our Business™’ is the tagline of the CHA Designer Section,  to connect with CHA Designer Section Committee Members click here.

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Things to Do BEFORE the CHA 2015 MEGA Show!


By Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender
IMG_3591The CHA 2015 MEGA Show is right around the corner… Are you ready to go? You’ve booked your travel and hotel – have you done your homework? Each year we ask successful retailers to share what they do to make the MEGA Show trip profitable; here are some things to think about before you head for the airport:

  • Take a close look at your product sales histories. Which merchandise is selling, and which product is just lying around gathering dust? Make a list of the product and/or merchandise categories you need to buy to fill in or round out your assortment.
  • Examine your current and committed inventories. You will also want to set a budget. It’s dangerous to go to the Show without a budget – you could easily buy much more than you intended to buy. If you haven’t done this before and need a little help, give us a call.
  • Before you step foot on the floor, set a strategic plan on how to shop it. To do this, go to the Show floor map on craftandhobby.org/chashow and make a list of all the vendors you want to see. List them by booth number so you can work your way through the Show aisle by aisle.

A retailer in one of our seminars said, “My friend is in a workshop, and she’s getting $300 worth of free stuff. What am I getting in this class?” Our response, “How much is your business worth?” was met with a blank stare. We said, “Your business is only worth as much as you are willing to put into it. Your friend will learn a new technique – very important in a store that relies on creativity because customers count on you for new ideas, products and applications – but business seminars teach you the strengths and strategies every retailer must possess to take their store to the next level of success.”


Arrive early on your first day at the Show so you can get a good idea of how the floor is laid out, and take time to walk the entire floor. Take detailed notes as you quickly scan each booth. Note which products and vendors catch your eye – you’ll want to make plans to come back and visit these booths later.

Remember, opening day will be busy. Most people generally begin shopping at the front of the Show. Instead of following the herd, head for the back of the Show and work in the opposite direction of the crowd. You’ll find open aisles and hassle-free shopping.

  • Plan to visit these places on the Show floor:

NEW PRODUCTS SHOWCASE: The New Products Showcase is the only place where you can see all of the newest and most innovative products at one time. Make this your first stop on the Show floor.

HOT PRODUCT VIP MEDIA AND RETAILER EVENT: Retailers and members of the press are invited to this event to preview the hot new products of 2015. You’ll get to meet and speak with the innovators and trend-setters who are shaping the craft industry.

DESIGNERS IN ACTION: The Designers in Action area is a three-dimensional portfolio of the CHA Designer Members’ creative designs and services. You’ll get great ideas, watch live demos, join in the make & takes, book signings and more. And you’ll discover how the Designer Section Members can help you build YOUR business.

INDEPENDENT RETAILER CONFERENCE: You know all those cool store operations vendors you’d like to meet with that usually aren’t found at the CHA MEGA Show? Good news! This year they’ll be here. The Independent Retailer Conference (IRC) is dedicated to helping CHA’s indie store owners improve their business. You’ll have a chance to hear and spend time with retail industry experts who can help you grow your business and explode your sales.

  1. Go through the Show Preview Guide and sign-up for events

The MEGA Show has so much to offer! Some of the events you need to sign-up for in advance in order to save your spot. Make plans now to attend workshops and classes on Education Day, the Keynote presentation, Block Party, Independent Retailer Conference; Annual Business Meeting, International Reception, Hot Product VIP Media Event – there’s too much to list! Download the 2015 CHA MEGA Show Preview Guide and get started now!

About Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender

K&BRich Kizer & Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and       consultants whose client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business. They are the go-to team retailers choose first when they need to make a change in-store and online.

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 consumer anthropologists because they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today’s consumer.

KIZER & BENDER are well known for their unique and intensive consumer research. Any speaker can talk about customers, but Georganne and Rich actually become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine. And maybe even a few that you can’t! The result of their research is literally straight from the customers’ mouth: solid ground level intelligence you can use to better serve your own customers.

KIZER & BENDER’s observations are widely featured in the medias, including the ABC News special report “How Stores Hook You.” Their books Jingle Bells, Christmas Sells! and Champagne Strategies on a Beer Budget! have helped thousands of retailers improve their bottom line, and their bylined column, Georganne & Rich on the Road was twice honored with The American Society of Business Publications Editors Award of Excellence (ASBPE)

KIZER & BENDER will be presenting the following seminars at the MEGA Show:

S106 – Feed Your Brain: Inside Secrets to Online Marketing click here to register.
S123 – Designing Your Creative Brand Image! click here to register.


CHA Social Media Section Wants To Help Members’ Marketing Campaigns


Our Social Media Section wants to help CHA members get the word out on their latest marketing campaigns. If you’re running a special event, contest, giveaway or blog hop, let us know and we can feature it here on the blog. You and/or your social media representative are welcome to join the section’s Facebook group to connect and collaborate with other CHA members who understand the collective impact social media has on our industry.

Let your fans and followers know about these exciting crafty campaigns coming up!

Handmade Holidays 2014 Hop Logo

4th Annual Handmade Holidays Blog Hop
Took place November 7-9, 2014

Over 100 handmade gift ideas from your favorite designers and manufacturers were featured as well as daily prize giveaways on the ClearSnap blog. Click here to see last year’s hop!


Ugly Holiday Sweater Challenge
November 10-21, 2014

20 top craft bloggers have been challenged to use Tulip® Glitter products from iLoveToCreate to bedeck a sweater into the Ultimate Ugly Holiday Sweater.


A Very Duck Holiday

November 17-22, 2014

Hang out online with 10 bloggers to craft with Duck Tape – follow along on the Crafty Hangouts blog or via #ducktapehoa on Google+. There will be great holiday craft videos featured, too.


Heartland Alliance Handmade Ornament Drive

November 2014

AllFreeHolidayCrafts.com is collecting handmade ornaments to donate to the Heartland Alliance throughout the month of November. Prime Publishing will also be donating $1.00 for each ornament collected (up to $1000). Send in an ornament and you’ll be entered to win a great prize!


You’ve got to be in it to win it.


By Andrej Suskavcevic

One of the main aspects of the CHA MEGA show activity is celebrating innovation. Every year we have the New Products Showcase, which highlights industry innovation. All you innovators out there, you don’t want to miss submitting your products in this year’s showcase because this coming January we will be adding a celebratory twist to it. As an extension of the showcase we will be hosting the Hot Product Awards. When you submit your product for the showcase you will have to identify it within eight traditional craft categories. You can enter one product into multiple categories and you automatically become eligible for the Hot Product Award. A jury of notable craft celebrities, journalist, bloggers and personalities will select the top three nominees for each category.  Winners will be announced during the Foundation Gala at the MEGA show on Sunday night. All nominees will receive two complementary tickets to the Gala.


As part of the continued promotion of industry innovation the winning products will become part of a “roadshow” as CHA showcases the Hot Products at other industry events throughout 2015 (Creativeworld, NAMTA, etc.)

Each year, we celebrate the industry at our Foundation Gala. It’s an opportunity to help CHA and its Foundation further the awareness of and participation in the creative arts industry. In addition to the Hot Product awards, we will recognize individuals and companies for their service to the industry and induct new members into the CHA Hall of Fame. See our press release for this year’s CHA award honorees here. It will be a night to remember with a reception and dinner, awards ceremonies and a band that will knock your socks off. Our silent auction and raffle will have some amazing prizes and you’ll want to enter. All proceeds benefit the CHA Foundation that raises awareness and participation in amazing industry of ours.


Personally, the Academy Awards can’t hold a candle to the type of party we will be throwing. Just sayin’…

To submit products for the awards program link here.

To reserve your seat or to purchase a table for the Gala link here.

To submit items for the silent auction or raffle contact Cathy Martell at cmartell@craftandhobby.org.


Bloggers, Join CHA by November 17th & You’ll Be Entered to Win a CHA 2015 MEGA Show Travel Package!


cha blogger
All eligible bloggers that join CHA by November 17th will receive an invitation to attend the acclaimed Hot Product VIP Media & Retailer Event at the upcoming CHA 2015 Conference & Trade Show (CHA MEGA Show), and will be entered in a drawing to win a CHA 2015 MEGA Show travel package including a 2-night stay for two at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel. Confirmed CHA Blogger Members will receive an application to be included on the Prime Publishing/FaveCrafts party list at the CHA MEGA Show.
The CHA 2015 MEGA Show Travel Package includes:

  • Two (2) night stay for two (2) at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel
  • Breakfast for two (2) for two (2) mornings
  • $50 gift card to The Catch restaurant
  • Two (2) Disneyland Resort Park Hopper tickets

When you join CHA as a blogger member, which is classified under the Industry Professional category, you’re able to enjoy all of the CHA membership benefit offerings.

Of particular interest to the blogging community, your CHA membership includes:

  • Free admission to the CHA 2015 MEGA Show
  • Membership in CHA’s Social Media creative community
  • Subscription toCraft Industry Today  magazine
  • Discounts on education programs and services to grow your business

CHA’s President and CEO, Andrej Suskavcevic, recently wrote a blog post outlining the reasons why CHA created the new membership just for the blogging community. To read this blog post, click here.

For more information please visit www.craftandhobby.org. To join now, click here.

Introducing CHA’s New Blogger Membership


By Andrej Suskavcevic

Last week we introduced a new category of membership for bloggers. This was a result of months of consultation with our Social Media Section leadership, the CHA Board appointed Membership Committee and the Board itself. Feedback thus far has been very positive and I wanted to take this opportunity to explain some of the thinking that went on that got us here.

CHA has a wide-ranging membership, not only by the type of business (supplier, retailer, etc.), but also the kind of business (beading, quilt, paint, etc.).  Though, for many our key value proposition is the MEGA Show, much of the work we do is supporting the various communities that constitute our membership. As the industry evolves we need to evolve with it. Over the last couple of years we have seen the growth of blogging within the craft industry. Many current CHA members utilize bloggers to promote their products or stores. Given that blogging has become part of the social fabric of the craft industry we felt it was time to highlight this community with its own membership category. Through this effort we look to help build the connections with other CHA members for mutual business success.

The criteria for membership were established to attract established bloggers that do this as a business versus individuals who are blogging to support their love for crafting.  It’s a challenge as to where to draw the line of being inclusive versus exclusive. Our current criteria seek to find that balance. See the criteria here. We particularly had this in mind when it came to access to the MEGA Show floor. We are looking for bloggers to be multipliers and influencers for the industry and not go to the Show for free stuff. We are additionally developing Show guidelines to help blogger members better understand the do’s and don’ts of networking and business development at the Show.

As we bring blogger members onboard we will be taking in all of the feedback we receive along the way, and if we see a need for a change to the criteria we will bring that to the Membership Committee for consideration.

I tip my hat to all of our members in the “CHA 2015 – See you in Anaheim” Facebook group for all of your feedback and thoughts. I read all of the comments and as you see above we are incorporating your ideas to make this a better, welcoming experience for everyone involved. Keep the feedback coming. It’s what makes CHA better.


A Look at CHA Designer Section Authors


‘Creativity is our Business™’ is the tagline of the CHA Designer Section.  CHA Designer Members are the connecting piece between manufacturers and craft enthusiasts, providing professional services that markets, educates and inspires consumers.  As business owners, CHA Designer Members are experts in their own craft mediums and experienced professionals in all aspects of marketing.  CHA Designers are skilled in promoting new products, designs and some in creating new products and bringing those new products to market.

One of the important skills Designers bring to CHA and the crafting market is teaching, as demonstrated in the number of books they have authored.  We asked Jo Packham, of Where Women Create and Where Women Cook, to share with us some of her experiences as an author and publisher:

“I have been writing and packaging books for more than 30 years, with over 1,000 titles in my library.  Publishing and becoming published are very different today than they have been in the past and both are changing more rapidly, all due to the speed of technology. Today’s “Wanna-Be” author must be cognizant of the changes and able to adapt to what the publishers’ need.

ijustlike_cover_suzy&lilla_5-3First, you must find a way to submit to a publisher because many publishers no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts. Today, the best way to be noticed by a publisher and asked or accepted to write a book is to have a current well written blog. It will very quickly, inexpensively, and easily tell a publisher exactly what kind of work you do, what kind of writer you are, exhibit your attention to detail and solidify your level of professionalism.

Publishers no longer have big marketing budgets nor time to build an author’s reputation. Today, it is more important to a publisher that you can help with the successful marketing and sales of a book. A well known Blog/Blogger can do that. An established personality in any field can sell a respectable number of a fairly good books but a totally unknown author can usually only sell a few of even a really great book.

The most popular general category right now in publishing is food. Customers, young or old, are consumed with healthy eating. New, small entrepreneurs and storeowners are not just making or selling handmade cards or scrapbook supplies, hand-knitted sweaters or yarns, they are making and marketing organic home grown jellies, salsas, cup cakes, salts, spices, as well as herbal bath products and perfumes.

The food market is enormous, established, and “hungry” if you will, for new products, new ideas, and new areas for growth. They are not DIYers but we can teach them the “simple side” of what we do to package their goods creatively, market their products inexpensively, and grow in an additional successful direction.”

Many CHA Designer Section members are published authors.

Myléne Hillam from Australia has a similar story to tell:

“Creative people are tactile people and whilst many crafters are embracing digital technology to inspire them, there is still nothing like being able to thumb through the StylishLeatherpages of a book. As the author of two jewelry-making titles (“Stylish Leather Jewelry” and “Findings Made Fabulous”), my experience with my publisher has been extremely positive – having an editor who understands my vision for the book makes the editing process run smoothly and the end result is a polished book with beautiful photography and styling. My best advice for getting a publisher interested in publishing your book concept is to have a unique idea or a fresh take on an older idea. It also pays to be just ahead of the trends because of the time it takes to get your original concept to a finished book.”   

Mandy Collins agrees:

“Digital media has provided an option for more of us to ‘own more books’.  As a crafter, I like the tactile feel of reading a book, there is something special about tumixedmediamandyrning a page.

Collaborative books provided my first taste of publishing and are still a favorite.  Blending a variety of creative styles widens the view for readers and shows there is something for everyone’s taste.

Try before you buy is an old marketing tool that over the last few years has become more important.  This year I have teamed up with Catherine Matthews Scanlon to co-author a collection of free e-books to let people try our tutorial and creative styles.”

Cindy Shepard echoed that message:

“While I tend to refer to myself as a ‘self-taught’ artist, most of the credit goes to those artists before me who so willingly shared their love of art and their devotion to craft through the books I have enjoyed over the years.bottleart

I am an avid art book collector and still have “how-to” books from the 1970’s. It’s amazing how relevant some of them still are today. It has been fun to watch the progression of art and craft books over the last 40 years. They have evolved from basic “how-to” books to introducing new art movements and fabulous new products, plus lots of encouragement to help you lead a creative life.

When I author a book my main goal is to have a conversation with the reader, to help them explore the possibilities within them and expand and enhance their own personal style.”

As author and co-author of over 20 hard and soft cover books, Designer Member Tiffany Windsor is familiar with the publishing arena. Her newest title Creative Scarves is releasing in November. She completely agrees with the importance of the visibility of today’s creative blogger.

“I was contacted via email by a creativescarvespublisher who had a specific book topic in mind and found Cool2Craft through social media. We set up a phone call and talked for about an hour and decided it would be a good match to move forward. When we first started the conversation, she did not know my deep ties in the craft industry, so for me, it was a perfect example of how important social media is in building your brand. I didn’t have to go out and pitch a book concept, my brand speaks for itself and when this publisher was looking for an author for a specific title, they reached out to me. Definitely the easiest book deal I have ever made!”

cha designer logoThe CHA Designer Members are a communications link between manufacturers and craft enthusiasts, professional crafters and artists, and creative DIYers.  The CHA Designer Section members provide professional services in a range of marketing fields, social media, developing tutorials and editorials that support delivering product knowledge and inspiration to create.   To connect with CHA Designer Section Committee Members click here. 

Canadian Designers Meet To Share Ideas and Projects


By Paula Jones


In Ontario, Canada there are a core group of designers that get together regularly for a quarterly meeting. They usually meet at a Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) supplier or retailer member’s location to share business knowledge, catch up on each others activities and learn some new techniques doing a few small projects.

On October 1, 2014 they met at the Sewing Café in Georgetown, where they spent the day learning about Chinese Knots and created exceptional leather and bead projects sponsored by John Bead. They also received great goodies from Westcott.

sewingcafe 2

K & Company paper designer, Kelly Panacci, joined the group for the first time and she brought along samples of her new fabric line with Riley Blake.

The group is planning their third annual retreat in Barrie, Ontario at the end of May.

Many thanks to Linda and Anna of the Sewing Café for hosting the meeting.


Do you have a core group of designers in your area? Why not plan a get together and invite some prospective designer members to participate in your meeting? This is a great way to introduce non-members to CHA and show them the valuable benefits of our creative communities. Contact Paula Jones at pjones@craftandhobby.org for more information.

New CHA Member’s Business Provides an Answer to Stash Busting


By Paula Jones


Craft Happy, an independent craft store run by sisters Megan Wellsbury and Alyssa Elstone, is located in the town of Orangeville in Ontario, Canada. The store has a unique business model specializing in reselling previously loved craft supplies, as well as tools and materials for the purpose of creating upcycled crafts.

paula 2Patrons bring in their unused or no longer wanted craft supplies/ materials and Craft Happy purchases them for a store credit. The store is like a Pandora’s Box full of amazing finds including buckets of scrabble pieces, genuine ephemera, old license plates, mason jars, fabric, threads, fibers, knick-knacks and almost anything you can think of for your next upcycled or mixed media project.


A majority of their inventory comes from donations, drop offs, garage sale finds and estate sales.  They also sell new products. Their inventory is constantly changing, which is great for the crafters who are always looking for “what’s new” as well as those looking for the final missing piece for their projects.

Craft Happy posts their new inventory regularly on their Facebook page.  Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/crafthappyorangeville.


Darice: Sixty Years of Crafting History and Still Going Strong!


By Paula Jones

darice 1This summer I received an invitation to visit the Darice facilities in Strongsville, Ohio. I knew that Darice was a large craft company with gazillions of craft products, but I had no idea of what to expect. Darice is a privately held, family run business and the family feel is immediately evident when you enter the facility. I visited the day after the company celebrated its sixtieth anniversary. There was a huge outdoor tent where they hosted a company wide picnic still on the lawn when I arrived. From the moment you stepped into the facility, whether it was being greeted by the friendly receptionist to the genuinely enthusiastic staff, the atmosphere was welcoming and a hive buzzing of creativity.
darice 2The fourteen thousand square foot show room was amazing! It is larger than most craft stores, complete with sample project ideas and “Trend Caps” so that visitors and retail buyers can be inspired and informed of their latest products and ideas. Local stores who purchase from the show room are given a scanner to scan the items they want and the information is sent directly to the warehouse for pick up or shipping to their store.

darice 3I was particularly impressed with the new “LockerLooks” product display which Darice predicts will be a big hit for the back to school season. It included glitter paper wall liners, fuzzy soft mini mats, a battery operated chandelier to hang at the top of the locker, and magnetic containers that held all of the accessories you could possibly imagine.

darice 5From the show room I was escorted through a maze of office suites and introduced to various departments.  Along all of the walls were motivational and inspirational posters. It was clear from speaking with the employees, many of whom had been with the company for decades, that the company practices what they preach.

darice 6The 500,000 square foot warehouse was overwhelming! The pick, pack and ship process was explained to me, and I was shown three levels of conveyor belts that feed various packing stations which are fully automated and help achieve over a 98% fill rate on each order.  There is a constant loading of huge transport trucks at docking stations and delivery of shipping containers from overseas sourcing. The automated system can track contents of shipping boxes, refill packing stations, identify customers preferred shipping methods and get it out of the building for the most part within less than 24 hours. Overseas shipments have special attention to detail to ensure everything is as perfect as possible and minimize the hassles of errors with tariff codes and import duties.

darice 8Darice also distributes for many companies, owns several previously independent companies and also has its own brand of products. The company ships to retail customers all over the world and gives back to their local community, which was evident from the various philanthropic endeavors in the town, including the local community complex.

darice 9After the warehouse I was given a tour through the rest of the office.  They have an entire department dedicated to marketing and social media, a “Darice University”, to upgrade employee training. Then it was on to my favorite area, research and development. The R&D department was like going to craft heaven. 3D printers, huge laser cutting machines, piles and piles of supplies to play with and ideas hanging from ceilings and walls.

darice 10I particularly loved the plastic tie and the necklace display chandeliers. The design staff could not wait to show me what they were working on and demonstrated how their tools worked and even cut out some samples for me. I was in designer heaven!  I also met the trade show booth designer who creates all of the cool ideas that they show in their CHA booths.

darice 11Next up was the play room where I met a gentleman whose job is to play with the products and come up with sample ideas to help promote them.  He was playing with a plastic fork, paint and a paper plate and created the picture to the left. The walls were floor to ceiling full of every imaginable craft product, I wanted to stay and play, fancy being paid to do that work, sign me up!

darice 12Next to R&D was the photo studio where the projects and products are photographed. Darice designs their own packaging and creates its own images. On the way back to the show room we passed by the wellness wall, which contains literature and information on employee health and benefits. Darice takes care of and values their employees.

The next day I was introduced to buyers from various craft segments that walked me through the show room again to show me the latest trends and hot products as well as upcoming projects. The bead and jewelry buyers explained the close links to fashion and how they spend significant time and energy following trends and pantone colors to predict and produce products ready for the next season release. The children’s craft buyer showed me how their own branded products integrate with other craft lines and how products are developed at different price points for various markets.

darice 13
The Director of Programing Planning and Sourcing showed me some of the products Darice had developed, how they contine to evolve and the process that Darice goes through to get products to market. For example, a children’s hand puppet program was developed at a low cost price point and included a door frame puppet stage. This program is now being upgraded with better packaging, QR Codes for more ideas to use in the open stock kits and even its own app, where kids can pick a puppet they have made and make a video on an iPhone about the character. The Director also shared a new secret project she is working on, and allowed me to share my ideas on how this product, currently thought of as a “grandma” craft, could be updated for children of the twenty first century.  I came away inspired and anxious to see how this project will develop.

Darice is an exceptional company. They imagine, innovate, source, create, test, safety approve, package, publish, market, educate through social media, display, sell through retailers, pick, pack, ship and provide support both to their retail and end user customers. After 60 years they are constantly evolving with the market, giving back to their community and caring for their employees, truly impressive. To learn more about Darice and their products go to www.darice.com.

Hire CHA Designers for New Product Development and More!


The Craft & Hobby Association’s (CHA) Designer Section is a particularly busy group. Their tag line is “creativity is our business™” and it shows. CHA Designer Members are experts in their own craft mediums and experienced professionals in all aspects of marketing. The CHA Designer Section has created a directory that provides information about the Designer Section to help the industry search for professional creative services offered by our Designer Section Members. The directory includes graphic listings from over 70 current CHA designers that profile their work, and index of over 250 designers listed by company and geographical location which will assist manufacturers, suppliers and industry professionals seeking qualified designers to create, educate and promote their products.

Among other things, CHA Designers help promote new products, design or create new products and bring new products to market. The following Designers have found recent success developing products for industry manufactures.

Eileen Hull

01 ColorBlends Collection of colors

Last January at the CHA MEGA Show in Anaheim, a new product called ColorBox Blends™ was released which CHA Designer, Eileen Hull launched with Clearsnap. Prior to Christmas, Eileen was purchasing stocking stuffers for her kids when she noticed shoe polishers 3/$1. She purchased the shoe polishers for her kids in the military and couldn’t help but notice their unique design – they had a barrel and sponge attached at the other end to apply the polish with. She instantly knew it would make a great ink applicator!

She wrote a proposal and presented it to Clearsnap at the CHA 2013 MEGA Show. After some research and discussion, a contract was signed and at CHA in January, 2014, ColorBox Blends™ were launched!

ColorBox Blends are the ink pad, applicator and reinker all in one! The easy to use ColorBox Blends™ are available in ten unique colors of Crafter’s Ink and can be used on multiple surfaces including fabric, wood, paper, and matboard. They are permanent when heatset and are great for distressing edges, inking stencils, building backgrounds, using with embossing folders for a letterpress effect and using with stamps. Best of all there is no messing with an applicator or ink pad lid, the applicator is all you need keeping your hands clean!

Check out a sample project here and visit Eileen’s blog for more ideas on how to use this versatile new product.

Nathalie Kalbach

Recently, CHA Designer Member, Nathalie Kalbach launced a new line of stamps for Stampendous!® designed to create the look of textural backgrounds on a flat surface. Nathalie has always loved to use stamps in her Mixed Media and Scrapbooking projects in untraditional ways to create texture and layers.  Early on she dreamed of a line of stamps that could do exactly that but not take away from the focal point of her projects.

004 Wired Stamp Set Nat K

003 Grunge Stamp Set Nat K








Unfortunately the first company that Nathalie worked with went out of business and her designs never made it to market. Lucky enough, she discovered Stampendous!® and developed a good business relationship with them.  After some discussions about stamp designs and a number of business meetings, a contract was signed. Nathalie’s first three n*Studio Stamps for Stampendous!® were launched during the CHA 2014 MEGA Show.

The Cling Rubber Stamp sets include three stamps and a reusable stencil template. You can use them with ink and acrylic paint, they are very durable and perfect to use in art journals, cards, on scrapbooking layouts, for print making, on canvases or with any Mixed Media project. You can find some samples linked here or visit Nathalie’s blog for more inspiration.

Download the CHA Designer Section Directory today and use it as a resource all year long.

 cha designer logo

Gift Suite Success at the 66th Emmy Awards


Estelle Harris, “Seinfeld”

CHA members Spinrite, Clover Needlecraft, Sizzix and Plaid, participated in an off-site gifting suite hosted by the Borgine Group at the 66th Emmy Awards held in Los Angeles, California on August 23, 2014.

Stars from hit shows like Breaking Bad, Seinfield, True Blood, Glee and Happy Days took the time to create make-n-takes using the amazing products from the participating companies.

Gregg Daniel

Gregg Daniel, “True Blood”

I was so happy to have the celebrities take the time to sit and craft with us!” said Laura Hollar, Sizzix Community Manager. “They were all very kind and gracious with us and seemed to be really excited about Sizzix, too!”.

David DeLuise

David DeLuise, “Wizards of Waverly Place”

The sponsors captured photos and autographs of the celebrities using their products that they were able to post immediately on social media, and will later use to enhance their marketing efforts.

Marshall Williams

Marshall Williams, “How to Build a Better Boy”

“Spinrite L.P. is very excited to have participated in the 66th Emmy Awards Gifting Suite hosted by the Borgnine Group. It was a great opportunity to share our brands Paton’s and Bernat, with past, present, and future Emmy nominees, as well as our customers on social media!” Said Christa Baker, Brand Manager, Spinrite LP.

To view more photos taken at the gift suites, click here to view the CHA Facebook Page photo album. Search the #CHASwag and #CRE8TIME hashtags to view social media posts from the event.

If you are interested in participating in future Gift Suite events, contact Nidia Negron at nnegron@craftandhobby.org or 201-835-1204.

CHA Social Media Section News


The CHA Social Media section is rounding up news to share each month here on the blog about upcoming craft designer blog tours, craft product promotional campaigns and other exciting collaborations. Click the links to learn more and share some of this news via your own social media channels to inspire your fans and followers to create!

All CHA members who work in a social media capacity are welcome to join the section’s Facebook group to stay informed of social media news and best practices, ask questions about new apps and platform updates, and collaborate with other CHA members.

Tulip For Your Home – Blogger Campaign
September 1 – 12, 2014

Working with Blueprint Social and iLoveToCreate, 20 top craft bloggers are shopping in their local Jo-Ann, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or online to find Tulip For Your Home Décor products – including stencils, paints, and other home décor items. The bloggers will use what they bought to create a 3-piece vignette for a room in their home!

Plaid’s Martha Stewart Vintage Décor Paint and Chalkboard Paint – Blogger Campaign
September 1 – 12, 2014

In a partnership between Plaid and Blueprint Social, 20 top home décor bloggers are creating tutorials featuring Plaid’s Martha Stewart Vintage Décor Paint and Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint.

Glue Dots & Friends – Craft Stash Giveaway
September 1 – 30

Over the years, we’ve had the honor and privilege of working with some top-notch companies! We’ve brought them all together for one awesome Glue Dots & Friends Giveaway!

Paper Trail Teaching Tour
September 3 – October 25

Follow licensed artist Eileen Hull as she travels and teaches her way across the US and back in her vintage camper, Scotty. See her visits to celebrity crafters’ studios and craft stores, watch video demos and witness whatever else happens along the way! Updates will be on her blog and social media.

KLIK Collaboration with Resin Crafts Blog and Metal Complex
September 8 – 30

Over 50 crafters and jewelry-makers are sharing their designs using KLIK components.

Quilts for Kids Sew-in
September 20  (10:00am – 1:00pm)

Spoonflower HQ and Fairfield Processing are so excited to announce a sew-in to support Quilts for Kids! If you can’t make our sew-in, you can still help by visiting the Quilts for Kids website to volunteer at your local chapter, make a donation or request a kit to complete at home.

Craft Your Stash
Book Tour & Blog Hop
September 27 – October 5
craft your stash lisa fulmer

Over 30 of your favorite craft industry designers are having fun with Lisa Fulmer’s new book, Craft Your Stash (Fox Chapel Publishing). Enter to win your own signed copy plus a big box of craft books and supplies to add to your stash!

Encouraging Kids to CRE8TIME



elidraws logo                                    cre8time

Eli Draws are a family and a team supporting their young son Eli’s passion for being creative and transforming it into a brand where other parents and kids can participate in the exploration, learning and collaboration.

Eli Draws has partnered with CRE8TIME to help spread the word about the importance of creativity and engaging the younger generation to take time out to do the things they love.

In this blog post, Eli’s mother, Amanda, discusses the impact of creativity in our early lives – when creating was a priority, and gives ideas on how to engage and encourage children to #CRE8TIME for creativity.

Encouraging Kids to CRE8TIME

By Amanda Whitford Grundy
Eli Draws Education

This summer, we had the pleasure of having our 11 year old nephew and 6 year old niece from North Carolina stay with our family in New York City. We had lots of fun all over the city: exploring Governor’s Island, taking trips to the Bronx Zoo, going to the beach and having numerous playground adventures.


Although we had some great trips, one of my favorite moments was when we were at home one morning. The four kids (my nephew and niece along with my 6 year old and my 15 month old) were getting a little stir crazy in our New York apartment. I knew we had a birthday party to go to that night for a friend of mine, another mom who the kids all knew and loved from our summer zoo trips. I suggested the kids make her birthday cards and they jumped at the idea.



I got out stencils, crayons, markers, construction paper and the kids went to work. They were so thrilled to be making birthday cards for a friend and they put their heart, soul, and imaginations into their homemade card creations. Watching the kids made me remember my own childhood and how important making a birthday card for a friend can be. I posted on Facebook that I wished I could return to that time when creating something homemade for someone was my first priority.

When we think about encouraging our younger generation to be creative, we have to acknowledge that kids already elidraws_cre8time3possess the impulse to create, they just need adults to help with a few things.

1. An idea: Help kids to focus their imagination with an activity.
Some examples:
Make a birthday card
Put on a play
Make sock puppets

2. Time and space to be creative

Just like adults, kids have to carve out time for creativity from all the activities that vie for their attention, even if that activity might be annoying their little sister. Kids also need to know where it’s ok to work on their creative projects and where their projects can be kept safely and valued by others.


3. Tools to help their imagination come to lifeelidraws_cre8time5
Some examples:
Construction paper
Crayons, markers, colored pencils, pens
Simple costumes and props


4. Permission to make a mess and make a mistake:
Create a space where it’s ok for kids to get messy. We live in a New York City apartment, aka, a small space. We use inexpensive, plastic table cloths leftover from birthday parties to cover the dining table so the kids can use markers and glue worry free. And when kids make a mistake, an invaluable part of the creative process is teaching them how to turn that mistake into part of their project or that it’s ok to start over and try again.

Creating time to do things we love, and encourage our creativity. is not always the easiest thing to do even though it brings us joy. The same is true for the younger generation. It is much easier for them to sit in front of an electronic device and play a video game or watch a movie.  There is a time and a place for that, but teaching kids how to CRE8TIME for projects like making a friend a birthday card not only brings joy to the creator, but also brings joy to others.

Artwaves Attendees Create Banners of Hope for Childrens Cancer


By Paula Jones

There was quite a buzz coming from the Brother Sewing machine at the recent Artwaves Conference, which took place at Fanshaw College in London, Ontario, August 8 – 9, 2014. Attendees at the conference, along with many staff and children from ChildCan, attended the Canada Sews booth to make Banners of Hope to be donated to their charity, to help lift the spirits of children and families undergoing Cancer treatment at the local London hospital. 25 banners were created throughout the day, while stories of survivors and current patients were shared with Canada Sews staff.
Artwaves BOHIt was a heart warming event as well as a skill enhancing opportunity for many children and young adults, who learned to use a basic sewing machine and some simple hand sewing skills to add buttons and other trim elements onto the banners. The kids loved using the machine and were surprised at how easy it was to use, they even played with the various funky stitch elements. The local radio station was broadcasting from the event and featured a few segments about the banner project.

ARTWAVES pAULAThe most heart warming moment came when Stephanie, a three time brain tumor survivor, sat patiently concentrating on sewing on buttons for her dog themed banner, the quote that was most appropriate for her was, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog!”

Many thanks go to the CHA member sponsors who made this event possible:
Brother Canada, Northcott, Redheart, Darice, Westcott and HA Kidd vendors, we would not have been able to do it without you.

You can find more details about Banners of Hope at www.craftandhobby.org/canada or

artwaves banners

CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop Project by Linda Swingle

I am very excited to have been given the opportunity to participate in the CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop. The company whose product I was assigned to work with was Them -O-Web.

The project that I created was “Paper Poppies” (4 ¼” wide x 9 ¾” long). These were created on hand-made paper incorporating the following products supplied by

• Deco Foils
• Transfer Adhesive

Additional materials included:
Repurposed Paper
Artist Acrylics
Artist Watercolors
Permanent Black Marker
Natural Fibers
Eucalyptus Branches

Here’s how they came out:


WIN $500!

Follow the CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop all week on the CHA Blog for updates on new designer blog posts and projects. Each post will have a “password”, collect all of the “passwords” and at the end of the Hop the first person to assemble the “passwords” into the “secret phrase” wins $500. Second place will receive a $25 gift card.

Here is your “password”: Arts +

Don’t forget, registration is now open for the CHA Paper Arts+ Show in Chicagoland where you’ll see, touch and learn about product, like the products that were donated for this Blog Hop by Therm-O-Web. Paper Arts+ is A CRAFT FUSION experience with exhibits offering everything from paper to jewelry to mixed media materials. The industry will be there looking for fourth quarter trends and new product SKUs. Members attend for FREE! For more information and to register, visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts.