The CHA Canadian Chapter Designers, Educators, Creative Professionals (DECP) Retreat is an annual three-day business, networking and creativity focused hideaway featuring industry leaders in the creative business. The event takes place May 13-15,2016 at the Kempenfelt Conference Centre, Barrie in Innisfil, ON.
Recently, we caught up with CHA Member Roberta Birnbaum to tell us about her experiences as a previous DECP Retreat attendee and what you can expect as an attendee this year.
How long have you been a CHA Member?
I joined CHA in October, 2013.
Why did you join CHA?
I thought about joining for a few years simply because I was enamored with the MEGA Show and was really envious of people who were able to attend, but I kept putting it off. I finally joined because I wanted to attend the first Designer, Educator & Creative Professional (DECP) Retreat in November of 2013. I really didn’t know much about the organization at that point.
How have you taken advantage of the benefits that CHA offers?
Once I became a member I poured over the CHA website looking to see how I could best take advantage of my membership. I have watched several webinars and requested industry reports — all free! I continue to check out the (growing) number of on-trend, relevant, and helpful webinars, series, and seminars made available. I just signed up for about seven of them! I also regularly use my Staples discount for printed materials. I was thrilled to attend the CHA PaperArts+ Show in Chicago this past summer and I attended the CHA MEGA Show in Anaheim in January – free admission for CHA members.
You attended the CHA Canadian Chapter’s Designer, Educator & Creative
Professional (DECP) Retreat. How was your experience?
Yes I did, and I haven’t looked back! Attending the retreat truly changed my life. I first heard of the retreat through a Facebook post by my friend Carmi Cimicata. It looked like a lot of fun and a great opportunity to meet other creatives and get a LOT of crafting done in one weekend. I was amazed at the quality of the workshops, the variety offered, and the generosity of sponsors. The food is excellent and plentiful. The diversity of participants and presenters creates a buzz of possibility and is also a great equalizer when it comes to our different skill levels. Over the years we have had the following workshops: painting, sewing, encaustic, Powertex, jewelry, resin, textiles, knitting, and mixed media, to name a few. Everyone has to operate outside their comfort zone at some point so it’s not like we’re all experts in every area, and this leads to a wonderful calming, nurturing, and liberating effect, completely removing one’s fear that they’re ‘ no good at this or that’. It allows you to have fun and not fear ‘failure’.
How do the workshops/seminars offered at the retreat help your business?
The seminars are full of important and useful information for everyone. Some topics have been boothmanship, understanding technology, and the importance of SEO for your blog or website. The workshops introduced me to many new products and skills, and most are incorporated into my productivity when I get home. I always leave inspired and full of so many new ideas. For me this is the most important aspect of the weekend; that, and the invaluable connections and networking. I have made some excellent contacts and forged working relationships because of it. The networking component has been very successful for me.
Why should people attend this event?
I remember first looking at the title of the retreat and thinking, ” ..but is this me? Am I ‘good enough’ to go? Do I even belong at this?” I have come to learn that the term DECP can include every creative soul. So even if you are a craft store owner, or manufacturer, or a craft teacher who teaches in the community, this could be for you because you are a creative professional. Perhaps you are a distributor, or you have a craft line and are looking for qualified designers to work with your product and build a team; this is the perfect venue to introduce your line (either by presenting a workshop or providing product to try). If you want to experience a craft-filled weekend full of fun, education, great food, networking, lots of chocolate, great swag, and wonderful memories, then come to the DECP Retreat. You will arrive with anticipation and leave full of passion and possibility.