About Craft & Hobby Association

The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) is an international non--profit trade association consisting of thousands of member companies engaged in the design, manufacture, distribution and retail sales of craft products worldwide. For more about CHA, the value of membership, or its award-winning Conferences & Trade Shows, please visit www.craftandhobby.org.

Create Your Summer Bucket List With HotelStorm

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Twenty-three days into everyone’s favorite season and we know what you’re thinking – time for a well-deserved vacation!

As the days are longer, the temperatures are warmer, and our attention spans are shorter, summer travel is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Whether you’re dreaming of soaking up sun on a beachfront resort, or taking an adventure-filled excursion to explore a city’s hidden treasures – you’re in luck! CHA has partnered with HotelStorm to provide exclusive members-only hotel discounts to make booking a summer getaway a lot more affordable. Simply head over to HotelStorm and unlock worldwide hotel deals of up to 55% off other online travel agencies with the CHA member password. Find the password online on the Member Benefits page when you’re logged in to your CHA account. Questions on how to access this benefit? Call the CHA Membership Department at 201-835-1213.

Want to take advantage of the savings, but not sure where to go? Here are HotelStorm’s top three destinations where CHA members should add to their 2016 summer travel bucket list!

1. San Francisco, California

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Haven’t visited the Golden Gate Bridge? Make it happen this summer! San Francisco boasts a lively, diverse culture, many iconic landmarks and some of the most unique real estate in California. Some must-dos include visiting the infamous federal prison on Alcatraz Island; walking through the waterfront, tourist hotspot Fisherman’s Wharf; spending a relaxing afternoon at Golden Gate Park; and hiking at Twin Peaks. Book your next Cali getaway with HotelStorm here!

2. Austin, Texas

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Known as one of the most creative and art-centered cities in the country, Austin is definitely having its moment. If you’re looking for some motivation to get your creative juices flowing, this town should be the next stop on your summer bucket list. Some places to visit include Blanton Museum of Art, iconic 6th Street – the “Live Music Capitol of the World” – and Umlaut Sculpture Garden and Museum. Feeling inspired? Book a room in sunny Austin for your artistic getaway here!

3. Chicago, Illinois

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Voted as one of the top destinations for summer travel in the country, Chicago is a popular spot for people looking to explore everything the ‘Windy City’ has to offer without facing the harsh cold. Some must-dos include catching fireworks at Navy Pier; shopping on the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue; attending a neighborhood summer festival; and visiting the popular Art Institute of Chicago. Make sure to book your next visit to Chicago in the summer here!

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: SEO & Blogging

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As we head into the summer, we’re doing one, final throwback to the education you received at the 2016 CHA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim in January.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week, our final throwback is Ann Butler’s and Theresa Cifali’s seminar: SEO & Blogging – What the Heck is Google Looking For? Watch their recap video here and get a refresh on seven of the key indicators that influence your business’s post rank in Google’s algorithm.

CHA Member Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames Redmond Celebrate a 40+ Year Milestone in Business

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Store FrontWe are excited to congratulate long time CHA Members and supporters, Bob and Shirley Ferguson of Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames in Redmond, WA, on reaching their 40th year in business in May 2015! Not only have they been in business for 40+ years, but they have also remained in the same location throughout.

Family

The Ferguson Family

To commemorate this milestone, they launched a 40th anniversary celebration with year long special events and sales and on weekends with free cake and  free make and take projects for both children and adults.
Coloring Books

Originally California natives, Bob and Shirley decided to move to Redmond, WA from Hawaii when they were seeking a lifestyle change as well as new career opportunities. Their store was started in 1975 as a variety store, and has since evolved into an entertainment, activity-driven business dedicated to outstanding customer service and innovation.

Frame ShopTheir team of 75 staff members also includes second generation family members. Their sons, Neil and David Ferguson manage the store. The store employees are remarkable, long-term employees that are passionate and knowledgeable about their departments and the customers they serve.

Paper Crafts

In addition to selling component supplies in crafts, beading, paper art, home décor, framing, fabrics and yarn, they also offer hands-on activities where seasoned crafters can discover and learn how to use new products and novice crafters can channel their inner creativity.

The secret to their success? They cite their creative staff who stay current on trends, understand their target market, travel to trade shows throughout the United States and in Asia and stay active in the craft industry. In today’s economy customers are looking for things to do at home and rediscovering nostalgic pastimes. Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames uses its successful business model to continue filling those needs.

For more information about Redmond’s Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames, call (425) 883-2050 or visit www.craftsandframes.com.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: Affiliate Marketing

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So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to Sarah Crosby’s and Zoe Pedziwiatr’s seminar, How to Earn More and Establish Strong Relationships with Brands You Love Through Affiliate Marketing. Sarah and Zoe give expert tips and three strategies to increase your income through affiliate marketing.
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Most bloggers start blogging because they’re passionate about something and they want to share it with the world. Whether it’s photography, cooking, home renovation, fine art, or DIY and crafts, most new bloggers are surprised when they find out that people out there are actually reading what they have to say and even more surprised when they realize that they can make a living from saying it.

You might find yourself organically referencing and linking to products or services you use in your content (i.e. your camera and lenses, your favorite fabric scissors, the spiralizer you used to make that beautiful zucchini dish you made). Your readers are inspired by you—they want to make what you’ve made. They want the products that you recommend. You’re an influencer and you have an audience, which places you in the perfect position to partner with the brands you love through affiliate marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate, at its core, is about a relationship between three parties:
1. Advertiser (brand with an online store)
2. Publisher (blogger/you)
3. Consumers (your blog’s audience)

The brand partners up with a blogger to put tracking links (i.e. product links, banners, etc.) on its site in hopes that its audience will click through to the site and make a purchase or sign up for a service. If one of your readers clicks through a link on your site, the affiliate link provides the tracking technology to be able to track clicks and sales. If your reader makes a purchase, you will earn a commission on that sale. Although commissions tend to be small, if your blog gets a decent amount of traffic and the product or service resonates with your audience, they can add up fast!

One of the most glorious things about affiliate marketing is the potential to earn passive income from long-term traffic. If you have affiliate links in blog posts that consistently receive traffic from search and Pinterest, then there’s a big chance that you could be earning money from these posts for a long time without a ton of maintenance. All it takes is some work up front.

Three Strategies to Increase Your Affiliate Income
1. Update old content with affiliate links. Take a look at your Google Analytics to find your high and medium traffic blog posts. Replace the normal URLs in those posts with affiliate links or figure out how to weave some in.
2. Add links to organic posts. These are the fun posts you plan on writing anyway. Are you referencing products? Put links in there. You never know which posts will blow up.
3. Write awesome affiliate posts. An affiliate post is a strategic, informative, product-centric blog post that strives to push your readers to make a purchase.

Start by solving a problem. What products or services are big right now? What do people want to know more about? What do YOU want to know more about? Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and think about what information pushes you to actually pull the trigger on a purchase. Write the post that you would want to read.

Affiliate Post Examples:
• Product reviews and comparisons
• Resource lists: “Where to Find X”
• Expert Info: “Best Things to Do in X”

Expert Tips
Make it personal. Figure out how to relate all this product information to your life to tell a story and make it feel organic and relatable.
Do the research. Provide all relevant information to your readers. When linking out to products, include details in your content like brand names, alternate retailers, prices, sizes, colors, material, etc.
Time it right. Consider seasonality and publish your post before expected product demand.
Use strong SEO/pinnable images. Search and Pinterest are how new readers will find you and your content. New readers equals more clicks and sales!
Spread the word! Share your affiliate post on social, add it to your blog sidebar, reference and link out to it in future posts. Keep promoting this post. Make sure to update the post with new links when relevant.

Looking to get started with affiliate marketing? Sign up as a publisher with CJ Affiliate and apply to be a part of our blogger friendly Content Certified Program. We provide everything you need—leading brands, great publisher support, resources and more!
Zoe Pedziwiatr, Content Development Manager, CJ Affiliate by Conversant

AffiliateCJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is a leading global affiliate marketing network, specializing in pay-for-performance programs to drive results. Our network helps to create connections amid millions of online consumers daily by facilitating equitable, lucrative relationships between advertisers and publishers. Many of the world’s most recognized and specialized brands run their affiliate programs on CJ’s platform.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: How to Host a Local Craft Event

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So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve be featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to Rina Gonzales’ seminar, How to Host a Local Craft Event. Rina gives five tips for organizing and preparing for a successful event that any business can follow.

DSC_6563-2How to Host a Local Craft Event
By Rina Gonzales

Hello!

I am so glad to share some tips on “How to Host a Local Craft Event”. As you may know, I created an event called “Crafty Happy Hour” where crafters of all levels and ages come together and create greetings cards. No experience is required, and all supplies are provided.

Here are some tips for planning a fun event in your area:

  1. Pick a venue, event date and theme for your craft project.
  1. Create a fun graphic to promote your event. Now, you can get the word out to your community!
  1. Market your event with social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other media you like; draft a press release, send it to your local newspapers and invite them to send someone to your event; send out your own personal invitations through text message, phone calls and Facebook messaging. You can draft a message that can be used on all social media efforts and for your personal contacts you invite.
  1. Pack your crafts! Plan what you need to pack for your event and also keep your venue informed of what you will need as far as space, tables and any special requests, like what type of music you prefer.
  1. Host your event. Be sure to arrive early to set up, and have helpers for your event that can help navigate issues, like how to use craft supplies/tools.

Good luck!

Rina Gonzales is the owner of Mothership Scrapbook Gal and created “Crafty Happy Hour” in 2013. Her craft business is based in Riverside, California, with a mission to help people craft their special and everyday moments through craft events, DIY card kits and custom orders. Follow her on the Mothership Scrapbook Gal page on Facebook and @mothershipscrapbookgal on Instagram to see what exciting events and workshops she is hosting in her community.

 

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: Fundamentals of Selling Online

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So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to another one of Amberly Dressler’s seminars. This time we’re reviewing, The Fundamentals of Selling Online.

If your business is not selling online, you’re missing out on valuable revenue opportunities with more than 75% of Americans.

Watch Amberly recap her seminar.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback: Pop Up Retailing

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So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA Conference & Trade Show earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to this seminar: Start, Grow or Expand Your Business with a Pop Up Shop, taught by Patti Biro.

Read her recap below.

Start, Grow or Expand Your Business with a Pop Up Shop
By Patti Biro

Cart, kiosk, trunk show, MRU (mobile retail unit) and yes even a tent can all be vehicles for creating a pop up presence for your business. So where will you go with your pop up store? At the 2016 CHA Show discussions about this new type of retail option were buzzing – and for many good reasons!

Just to recap some of the key ideas shared in my presentation and provide some pop up inspiration for you, let’s cover some pointers.

trunkshow2#1: You can start small – really small – with little risk, but a huge potential for exposure and profit. One of the easiest ways to get started is by having a pop up trunk show in a store that fits your product line and brand. Yes, this can be as small as a single display area or even an actual trunk. Think of stores right in your local area that would be a great place to showcase your work. Many stores will be receptive to your plan. Even better is being on-site to actually demonstrate or discuss your work.

greentray1#2: Create a collection. For a pop up event you can’t possibly take your entire inventory. Select items that fit your venue. For a farmer’s market or outdoor event, select those items that have an outdoor, country or natural flair to them. Your product selection should be tweaked to fit the customers who are going to be there. You’d select different price points and products for a jazz event at a museum than at a craft fair.
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#3: Prop it up! Basically you want to create a retail display of your work. A few key props can set the stage, invite conversations and help to showcase your inventory. Remember the rule here – 80% product to 20% props and you will be on your way!

 

trunkshow3#4: Build some buzz about your pop up event. Use every social media tool you have. You can also create in store promotions and shelf talkers. Nothing is better than a creative invitation as part of your promotional plan.

 

ElviswithPattiatBoerneMarketDays#5: Have some fun! You’ll be making connections as well as sales, and this can lead to other invitations and events. Make the time to visit and chat with other vendors during the event. They are a great resource for information on the pop up retail scene and how to expand your market.

Best wishes for a successful pop up season!

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: Improving Your Social Media Strategy

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So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to Amberly Dressler’s seminar: Improving Your Social Media Strategy.

Watch Amberly recap her seminar to learn how to improve your ROI on utilizing social media.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series

Featured


So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to Tony Passey’s seminar: Digital Marketing Strategy for 2016.

At the 75th Anniversary Craft & Hobby Association MEGA Conference & Trade Show, Tony Passey, Professor of Digital Marketing and CEO of Firetoss, spoke about changes and updates you need to make to your digital marketing strategy for 2016. The slides from his presentation can be found here.

Take a few minutes and watch while Tony recaps some of what he spoke about at the Conference. The content you produce is vital to your digital marketing, and here are some guidelines for how you can be more effective in your distribution and promotion of content. Also, Tony talks about mobile optimization for search results and how it is affecting your website.

If you would like to take a little deeper dive into these subjects, watch the bonus videos that Tony provided below.  Additionally, you can reach out directly to Tony Passey on Twitter, @tonypassey, if you have any questions about the topics presented here.

Bonus Videos: