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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