About Association For Creative Industries

The Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) 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 AFCI, the value of membership, or its Creativation Show, please visit www.afci.global

Mixed Media Event 2017 Exhibitor: Prima Marketing Inc.

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Meet the exhibitors that will be at the Mixed Media Event 2017 in this blog interview mini-series!

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What can attendees expect/look forward to at your booth?

“Expect innovation, education and a myriad of fresh products to spark your creativity. Our booth is always a reflection of our unique look and style and we always welcome everyone to come and see our newest products and designs.”

What are you most excited for with AFCI hosting the mixed media event this year?

“We are excited at the opportunity of showing attendees our latest mixed media products and educating our customers on the latest techniques and trends.”

Do you have any product teasers or sneak-peeks?

“Yes! We will have our sneak peeks of our latest releases on our blog in the upcoming months: www.prima.typepad.com.”

How will retailers in the creative industry benefit from this event?

“We think it’s a great opportunity to experience mixed media products through the vision of each vendor. We believe that our innovative products and designs make us a leader in mixed media and this even facilitates the education and creativity for our customers.”

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Mixed Media Event 2017 Exhibitor: Lawn Fawn

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Meet the exhibitors that will be at the Mixed Media Event 2017 in this blog interview mini-series!

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Tell us a little bit about your company.

Lawn Fawn is a small company from Southern California that specializes in crafting products (clear stamps, dies, paper & more) that are fun and lively. Lawn Fawn was started in 2010 when Kelly Marie combined forces with her husband Mike and friend Erica with a mission in mind – to bring smiles into the lives of crafters!!”

What can attendees expect/look forward to at your booth?

“Attendees can expect a fun booth with all day make and takes! We love being able to connect and have fun with amazing store owners!”

Do you have any product teasers or sneak-peeks?

“Although we don’t have sneak peeks yet, you can expect super cute products that will make you and your customers smile!”

How will retailers in the creative industry benefit from this event?

“Retailers will benefit from this event because they will be the first to see new products. They will get to try it in our classes and make and takes which is always fun! We love being able to connect in person!”

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The Power of Pinning

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This is a guest post by Patti Biro.

Creativation Flashback

At the Phoenix event I was able to share some insights regarding how to use Pinterest to promote your creative business. Pinning for business is a little different than pinning for pleasure. It requires a strategic plan and some best practices.  To recap some of the tips I shared in my workshops read on!

Shelf Life
Unlike other social media platforms a single pin has true staying power. While an estimated 40% of clicks on your pin happen in the first day you will continue to generate clicks and repins for 30 days and longer. This extends the value of each and every pin that you create to reach a larger audience. Taking the time to create a great pin with staying power will maximize the shelf life.

Best Time to Pin
You will generate the most likes, clicks and repins if you schedule your postings in the evening hours. That is when Pinterest is most active. Target your pins for Saturday mornings or Fridays after 3:00 to capture the most traffic. Work days and work hours are not the time to pin. Use those times for other social media and outreach activities.

Be Original
We know you are creative-so be original too! 80% of the content on Pinterest is repins from other boards and pinners. If you create original content you can highlight your product or business to the best advantage. Be a bit out of the box and share ideas on how to use your product, offer a sneak peek behind the scenes as you create your products or something about your creative process.

The Big Picture
Pinterest boards and individual pins can be used to sell not only products but also services and events. Create boards that highlight your products but also keep your audience engaged with other content. Are you going to be at an art fair, outdoor market or pop up event? Use Pinterest before, during and after to generate interest and attendance and to share the fun of the event.

Grow Your Followers
It is just good manners to follow everyone who follows you! You can also grow your followers by searching out larger groups of likeminded pinners (some groups have several thousand followers). You can find a list of different pin groups and their size at http://pingroupie.com/. You should also follow your vendors and suppliers to grow your reach.

Descriptions
Keep your descriptions short.  Between 200-300 words is the recommended length. This is the place to be informative-not funny or cute. Add hash tags with caution. The only place you can use hashtags is in the pin description and they work a bit different on Pinterest.  A best practice is to keep hashtags to a minimum using no more than three.   Always link back to your website.

Use the description to add advice, give basic instructions or how to-s. This kind of description will get you more notice. If you are repining content add you thoughts and show your creative side! For example if you just found a Pin of a fantastic setting that inspired you share what is special about it to you and how you plan to apply it to your creative work.

Don’t Forget to Clean
Remove older pins especially pictures of events long passed or product you no longer sell or create. Take it one board at a time and clean house! If there is something you want to save just for your own use create a Secret Board that only you can see.

Now you are on your way to Winning with Pinning!

Have a look at some of our other seminar throwbacks from Creativation University 2017.

There’s so much more to crafting than just…. well, crafting.


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Create Something that Speaks to You

Hello AFCI Community!

Anna_500x500I’m so excited about this opportunity to share my Made Soulful blog and personal story with you! Let me introduce myself 😊 My name is Anna Teal and I’m a southern native who finds joy in anything creative. My crafting obsession started when I was young. From mixing and matching color palettes, to sketching a high fashion wardrobe, to attending craft fairs with my mother, I knew creativity would be a major part of my life. As an adult, my journey brought me to a career in crafts. I now work with many big names in the craft industry, such as Plaid, Martha Stewart, and Waverly. When I’m not producing and managing content at Plaid, which is my full-time gig, I enjoy thinking of new ways to inspire readers through organic, real life crafting solutions and advice. Whether it’s up-cycling furniture or creating unique home decor pieces to share with my readers, I feel truly blessed to do what I love every day.

Speaking of the everyday, my Made Soulful blog developed out of my desire to inspire and teach others that they don’t have to settle for empty, run-of-the-mill home decor. Too often, I found myself in stores, like Home Goods, Ross, World Market, and various other retail stores, where I saw pieces I liked, but I didn’t love or I found myself thinking, “Wow, I can totally make that for less.” I’m a huge advocate of curating meaningful items to fill your home. These items should inspire you daily and speak to your soul (Hence, my blog name, Made Soulful). For example, I just finished up a sign for my kitchen, which you can see below, that says, “Happiness is Cherry Pie.” This type of thing is typically difficult to find in stores and this phrase carries special meaning to me.

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In addition to being a craft DIYer, I’m also a pie maker. I got into making pies after my grandmother passed a few years ago. I have so many fond memories of her and I making pies together. So, I thought I would carry on the pie making legacy. It’s been a great experience for me and my family to remember those we love and to create new memories together.

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Cherry pies hold a special place in my heart because it’s my husband’s and father’s favorite dessert. It’s the best feeling in the world to see the pure joy on their faces when I present them with a homemade cherry pie! So, I created a sign to adorn my kitchen to evoke this happy emotion every time I look at it. This example is the core of what I believe when it comes to DIY experiences. Surround yourself with things that represent who you are, what you love, and have fun in the process 😊

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my Made Soulful journey! I’m so thrilled to be a part of the AFCI community! I’m looking forward to building new relationships, making new friends, and growing my business in the craft and hobby industry.

If you’d like to learn more about how to create something that speaks to you, please follow me on my blog: www.madesoulful.com and any of my social channels listed below!

I: www.instagram.com/madesoulful
F: www.facebook.com/madesoulful
T: www.twitter.com/madesoulful

Learn more about membership with AFCI here.

31 Days of Crafting: Creating Tradition


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

This is a guest post from AFCI Staff, Keri Cunningham.

Every month is craft month in our house!  Crafting with my three year old daughter, Mae, is one of my favorite things to do.   We started crafting as soon as she could sit up straight in her highchair.  I’ve always had an interest in creative activities and was excited to be able to pass that along to my daughter.

She has quickly grown into a spunky toddler full of curiosity which still makes crafting a perfect activity.   Currently she loves to paint and make things out of Play-doh.

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We will be celebrating National Craft Month by using the craft kits she received for her birthday. We are also excited to try some DIY slime making.  Wish us luck!

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Keri coloring with Mae when she was a baby!

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Neighborly Inspiration


March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

This is a guest post from AFCI Staff, Alison Muldoon.

Well…it’s that crafting time of year again…and time again for me to check in with the crafting Kolveks of Ridgewood!

I wondered what my neighbors were up to in 2017. I made a quick phone call and was greeted by my neighbor at her door. Leslie had that crafting twinkle in her eye… I realized immediately   she was in the middle of another epic crafting project and I couldn’t wait for the big reveal!

With much anticipation, we walked downstairs to her crafting studio…aka…the “craft haven”, and there they were…fairy houses made out of bark and other recycled ecologic materials. Leslie had created these adorable crafted condos using $1 bird houses, recycled bark, moss, pine cones and a glue gun. The structures’ destinies are kid inspired planters, along with live plants such as lemon cypress, maiden hair ferns, pink polka dot plants, and maybe even a fondant crafted garden gnome or two! The finished product is a most unique and whimsical Fairy Garden! This is a craft idea that is truly worthy of recognition!

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Leslie is a member of the Woman Gardeners of Ridgewood, a dedicated nature lovers group that sponsors a children’s craft program in Ridgewood, NJ called Green Kids. This program is offered by the town’s community education and introduces children to the topics of science, ecology and nature through guided craft projects each year. Green Kids touches the lives of children in many ways, one of which is to introduce the beauty and wonder of nature through these original and one of a kind crafting projects.

And it’s my neighbor who is the very heart and soul of this program. Leslie conceptualizes these projects by channeling her inner crafter. With unmatched enthusiasm and passion, she shares her talent and love of crafting year round with so many in the community.

I truly believe Ridgewood NJ is one lucky community…and, Leslie Kolvek…you are my crafting inspiration!

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Tech-Crafting at AFCI!

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March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

We were fortunate enough to have AFCI Professional Maker/DIYer Member, Natasha Dzurny of TechnoChic, come by today and craft with us for #NationalCraftMonth!

We made flashing bow ties and flowers using her tech-craft kits.

Have a look at some of the pictures taken today!

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Scrapbooking for a Cause

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March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

March is a busy month for AFCI Affiliate Member, Crops of Luv. Crops of Luv is a nonprofit organization that makes scrapbooks for families with critically ill children.

They are hosting one of the largest crops they’ve had during the year where they will complete over 20 scrapbook albums for families who have critically ill children that have been granted a wish.

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As one can imagine, it is a huge undertaking! It requires tons of hours of prep time in order to get all of the album’s and embellishments ready for transport to their event venue in Tucson from their studio in Phoenix.

It is a great event with an amazing scrapbooking group called the Pantano Christian Scrapbook Chicks – a group of over 120 scrapbookers that get together monthly. Once a year they host a crop in Crops of Luv’s honor.

Crops of Luv has been able to not only make scrapbooks but raised over $2,500 each time they had one of these crops. This is their sixth year having this event.

Jody McNeilis, Cofounder of Crops of Luv, states “We are very grateful for the opportunity we have to not only complete our albums for these deserving families but to raise much-needed funds to continue our mission.”

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Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: “It Runs In the Family”

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This is a guest post by AFCI Staff Member, Kristen Farrell.

Most of you have probably heard and/or used the idiom, “It runs in the family.”

My great aunt, Kathleen Sullivan was a fine artist. Art was not her full-time job; yet, she painted whenever she had the time and inspiration, and even sold some of her pieces. Two generations have come and grown, and I’m sorry to say her talents have not been inherited. However, she instilled an appreciation for art in my family that will never be lost.

Almost one year ago to the day, my husband and I closed on our first home. About two weeks ago, we finally got around to hanging pictures and several of my great aunt’s paintings (or as my husband would say, “we finally gave in to putting holes in the walls”).

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For National Craft Month, I’m celebrating my aunt’s artwork. I’m proud to share her creativity and have it serve as a daily reminder for me to make time to do what I love.screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-6-42-27-pm

I’m also hopeful for another family artist. Over the past few years, many of my cousins have had children. Who know, maybe there will be another artist among us sooner than we think.

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Instagram Photo a Day Contest

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March is National Craft Month! All month long we’ll be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

To celebrate today, we invite everyone to join Therm O Web’s Instagram NCM Photo a Day Contest.

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Each day, post a picture and tag #thermoweb with your photo that goes with that day’s challenge theme. They’ll be watching for your responses and, in turn, they have some absolutely amazing prizes to give out to you for participating! They have fabrics from Moda, papers from Photo Play Paper, books by Erin Schlosser and Amy Friend, kits from Maya Road, Art Impressions Stamps, Blend Fabrics, Deco Foil products, HeatnBond and much, much more. But here’s the thing . . . you won’t know what day they’re giving those prizes out. So the best way to win . . . is to participate and share as much as you can throughout the month!

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the AFCI Blog and all of AFCI’s social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing aarmeni@afci.global or using the hashtags #WeAreAFCI, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.