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 Creativation Show, please visit www.craftandhobby.org.

Meet the Faculty: Meet Julia Sandvoss

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Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, meet Julia Sandvoss, Director of Education and Social Media at Therm O Web. You’ll create unique projects in Julia’s workshop, Therm O Web Mixed Media and Deco Foil™, using Therm O Web’s new mixed media sheets, which can be inked, stamped, sprayed, printed, foiled and more!

Watch this video to learn more about Julia and this mixed media project at Creativation!

Why Should a Blogger Attend CHA’s Creativation?

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This is a guest post by Carolina Moore, 30MinuteCrafts.com.

As a craft blogger who has attended half a dozen CHA Mega Shows, I can tell you that I look forward to January every year, and attending the CHA trade show. It is a not-to-be-missed annual event for me. This year, CHA has changed the name to “Creativation”, and I’m even more excited. They have made some fantastic changes that are right up my alley! I’d like to share with you the many ways that I benefit from going to CHA. If you’re a blogger, vlogger, or social media influencer, you’ll find that many of these will apply to you!

1. Face Time
Meeting with someone face-to-face immediately takes a business relationship to the next level. Lots can be done with e-mails or conference calls, but being able to sit with someone face-to-face is worth 100 e-mails or 50 conference calls. It allows both parties to see each other as human beings, instead of items on a to-do list.

Before the show, scroll through the website to pick 5-8 companies you’d love to work with. Send them an e-mail asking for 15 minutes of their time before, after, or during the show to discuss ways you can work together. Not all of them will say yes – some of them won’t be sending their marketing team to the show – but you’ll be able to make connections with several.

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Bloggers meet face-to-face with an exhibitor.

2. Seeing New Products
At Creativation, companies will have their newest product lines out. They’re displaying them so that shop owners and other decision makers will see their product, and decide to carry it in their stores. The trade show is for business – stores are deciding which products they will sell in their shops over the next year, and placing orders with the manufacturers. This puts us in a unique position – we see the products before they show up in stores! We can share images on social media to our followers, getting them excited about upcoming products. We can even try out some of these products, and create videos of how they work right on the show floor!

Many manufacturers have staff on hand who will demonstrate the products for you. Simply record video, and ask a few questions – in 5 minutes or less you have new content your audience will love!

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Why not give your next project a nice bubble gum scent?

3. Make-n-Takes
To show off their new lines and new products, many manufacturers offer “Make-n-Takes”. They have all the supplies ready for you to make a craft project. Walking the show floor is hard on your feet – sit in a chair and make a project. If you have a partner with you, they can record video while you make the project – which gives you a quick and easy video tutorial. If you don’t have an extra set of hands, you can take still photos of each step to turn into a written tutorial later. Convention center lights are fine for step-out photos, but be sure to take a photo of your finished project in natural light for a “Pinterest-perfect” image. When you write up your post, add affiliate links to help offset the cost of your trip.

While sitting and making the Make-n-Take, be sure to chat with those around you. The demonstrator will likely be able to give you information about the company, and who you should contact after the show if you want to work with them. Be sure to chat with the other people at the table as well. You might run into a local shop owner who would love to have you teach in their shop, or another blogger you can collaborate with.

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There are plenty of “Make-n-Take” projects for Bloggers to develop content with!

4. Collaboration
Creativation is one of the few times during the year when you’ll get to surround yourself with so many like-minded people. The creative industry is a very collaborative one, so take advantage of this opportunity.

Take photos with other bloggers to post on social media – be sure to tag everyone in the photo, and encourage your followers to follow them. They’ll do the same, and you’ll all grow your following.

Record video together, either on the show floor or on a field trip. I know two vloggers who, at a past CHA Mega Show, went to a local shop together. They both recorded video, and were able to link to each other.

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Three creative bloggers Periscope together.

5. Education
The show is more than what happens on the show floor. Upstairs there are classrooms of experts teaching craft and business classes. Learn more about e-mail marketing or how brands and bloggers work together. Or take a class on a new technique that will up your crafting game. Take some time away from the show floor to learn something.

Each summer, CHA opens applications to teach classes. If you’re an expert on a subject in our industry – offer to teach a class. You’ll be able to help our industry grow, add “CHA speaker” to your crafty resume, and you’ll be attending the show with a speaker badge. Last year I spoke at the show, and had great conversations with manufacturers that started because they saw my badge and asked what I spoke about – having a speaker badge gave me instant credibility.

6. Blogger-only events
Many manufacturers offer events exclusively for bloggers, social media influencers, or media. These events often take place before or after the show floor opens, and give you an exclusive peek at the new products they are unveiling. Brands that offer these exclusive events are looking to work with you. The best way to get on the list is to register for Creativation early – most of them use the list of attendees as a starting point when creating their guest list.

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Exclusive events for bloggers? Now we’re talking…

7. “Free” Stuff
At the show, some companies offer samples of their product. However, because many companies are showing products that won’t be in stores for months, they often only have a few samples for display, because the rest are still in production or being shipped from overseas. Even companies that are showing existing product may not have brought inventory because of the freight costs involved.

However, some companies do have samples they would like to share with you. And others are happy to ship items directly to you after the show. When accepting samples, only accept samples you reasonably believe you’ll be able to share with your followers. Companies aren’t providing samples to fill your supply closet or for you to give to your child’s school. Use the samples to create innovative projects that your followers will love – creating engaging content for your readers, and a relationship with the brand.

8. After-hours CHA
After the show floor closes, you’ll be on your own to grab dinner with friends. This is a great opportunity to catch up with others in your niche – talk about the latest social media trends, come up with ways to collaborate the rest of the year, and share resources. The relationships you make with your peers at the show will be something you can lean on all year.

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A group of bloggers grab some drinks and recap the day.

9. After-after-hours CHA
If you absolutely need your 8 hours of sleep each night, you’ll head to your hotel room. But if you can get by with less shut-eye for a few nights, you might enjoy the witching hours. As bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers, we often work from home alone (or with small children “helping”). While CHA is not a conference, the late hours away from the show floor give you a chance to catch up with your peers in a casual setting. Hanging in the hotel lounge after others have gone to bed, that’s when bloggers plot to take over the world.

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The fun doesn’t end in this community!

If you’re a blogger, vlogger, or other social media influencer who works in the creative or crafting niche, attending Creativation might be the best thing you do for your business all year. And it is as simple as getting a membership with CHA, registering for the event, then making your travel plans. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

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Carolina is a creative blogger, living in sunny San Diego, California, a recent transplant from even sunnier Las Vegas, Nevada. She loves to come up with original craft ideas, as well as re-invent old favorites. Many of her crafts are perfect for adults to create, while others are fun for children. She loves to create with and for her two young boys, as well as for herself, her friends, and her home.

Creativation University: Meet the Faculty Blog Series

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Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers here so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, we are kicking off this blog series by meeting Seth Apter!

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Sign up to take Seth’s fun and technique-heavy workshop, Mixed Media to the Max, and discover the many possibilities that mixed media offers both beginner and seasoned artists and crafters.

Keep reading to learn more about Seth and what you can learn from him at Creativation.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a mixed media artist from New York City with a passion for art, crafts and all things in between. From my own personal experience, I recognize the importance for those without formal training to have an opportunity to learn creative skills. I therefore spend a good deal of my time teaching art workshops in the U.S. and abroad.

I have had the good fortune to publish several mixed media art books and workshop DVDs through F+W Media and to write an ongoing column in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. As a designer, I have product lines with StencilGirl Products, Impression Obsession, Spellbinders and PaperArtsy.

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation.

I am teaching a workshop called Mixed Media to the Max. This class explores approaches to creative layering that are the basis for mixed media art.

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We will be using stamps, stencils, die cuts, paint, ink, gel pens, and more to create the complex layers that will set your art apart. The approach is creating random with abandon so that you can maximize your creativity and minimize that inner critic.

Who and why should someone attend your session?

This workshop is open to all attendees who are interested in learning the techniques that are the hallmarks of mixed media. The class is perfect for both beginners and more seasoned artists. Store owners looking to be able to show their customers varied ways to use mixed media products will leave with a full menu of techniques.

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

I always look forward to attending this event. Being surrounded by the all-stars of the industry gives me the opportunity to connect and network with so many creative professionals at the same time and place. And, as I am a supply junkie, I love to be able to walk the aisles to see the newest products and trends. Plus, I am extra excited to be there this year to see all the changes in store.

What do you love most about your job?

I absolutely love the fact that I am able to be creative every day. No matter how hard I work, there is an element of play too, which I believe is absent in many other professions.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

There is an excitement and energy that is evident throughout the year as new ideas are developed and new products released. And, it is those products that offer many people an opportunity to play, relax, develop their own creativity, and heal.

Treat Yourself to Food & Knowledge


By Saema Khwaja, President, CHA Southern California Chapter

Our Southern California Chapter is proud to host its Second Annual Business Luncheon on August 10 at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Duarte, CA! Be sure to register and meet our amazing panel of successful professionals in finance and investment, advertising and marketing, human resources, philanthropy and more!

Attendees will have the unique opportunity to learn from experts and gain valuable strategies and suggestions to benefit their business. Take advantage of the opportunity to network and create connections in the craft industry, further your business with advice from experts in the field, and learn what others are doing in the industry! This is a great opportunity to have one-to-one time and get answers to all of your business questions.

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We also offer members the opportunity to reserve a showcase table to display products/project samples. It’s a fantastic way to easily promote your company to other chapter members! As part of your showcase, we’d love to feature your business on social media as well!

Click the link for more details about the Business Lunch and to RSVP: http://bit.ly/2aiEcZS. We’d love for you to join us!

Create Your Summer Bucket List With HotelStorm


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


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


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.

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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.
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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.

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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


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.