About Craft & Hobby Association

The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) is an international not-for-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.

West Coast Port Workers Reach Deal Deal After Labor Dispute

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Dockworkers at West Coast ports have reached a tentative contract agreement to end their labor dispute, a spokesman for the Pacific Maritime Association said Friday.
The five-year contract still has to be approved by the dockworkers union members.
The dispute had centered around contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping companies and port operators, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents West Coast dockworkers.

The two parties began talks in May but were unable to reach an agreement and had been operating without a contract since July. Operations have been affected at 29 ports.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez was in San Francisco to help mediate the dispute.
The Port of Oakland said on its website that it could take six to eight weeks for the situation at its facility to return to normal.

“Ships, containers and chassis are all out of balance. They’re not where they need to be to support cargo movement. Repositioning of these assets will take some time,” the port said on its Maritime Operational Status page.

Rit Dye Incorporates #CRE8TIME into Their Marketing Efforts

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Recently, at the Craft & Hobby Association 2015 Conference & Trade Show (CHA MEGA Show), The Rit Studio sponsored the CRE8TIME booth where they featured a host of make-n-takes using jewelry and dye as well as provided project sheets for attendees to take away, encouraging them to CRE8TIME every day. Celebrity guest, David Cruz, Finding Cupid and The Millionaire Matchmaker, kept the steady stream of traffic busy in the booth doing make-n-takes during the first two days of the Show.

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The Rit Studio has created an awesome monthly project page on their website dedicated to #CRE8TIME. All you need is one hour a month to complete each of the projects. Do them on your own or with your kids, or you can even organize a “to-dye-for party” with your friends. These projects also work well for workshops, school projects, and community events. To view the Rit CRE8TIME page, visit: https://www.ritstudio.com/cre8time.

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Rit have also created a downloadable CRE8TIME workbook to help you to keep track of your monthly creativity!

There are many ways to incorporate CRE8TIME into your business. From using the hashtag #CRE8TIME on all of your social media posts to getting involved and promoting CRE8TIME in a way that makes sense to your business model, the possibilities are endless. Find out more about how you can get involved today. Contact the CRE8TIME team at cre8time@craftandhobby.org.

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CHA 2015 MEGA Show MEGA Show Brings Industry Together To Showcase Hot New Products

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The CHA MEGA Conference and Tradeshow, the largest event for the craft and hobby industry, concluded a successful 74th annual event, January 9-13, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.  The CHA MEGA Show, produced by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), brings together the entire industry for five days of education, networking and product innovation.

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Exhibitors began setting-up on January 8th and they quickly brought their booths to life, as they, along with Show staff and the decorators, worked quickly to get the Show floor ready for opening on Saturday morning.

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The CHA 2015 MEGA Show drew thousands of buyers from 56 countries to see the newest products coming to market. Good Housekeeping TV, MSNBC, Better Homes and Gardens and a host of other global media outlets were present to get a glimpse of tomorrow’s craft trends, interview small business entrepreneurs, and report on innovation, new products and industry awards of excellence.
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As a hub for learning, the CHA MEGA Show Conference offered more than 100 programs including Business Seminars and Workshops, Demo-nars®, Feed Your Brain seminars, Hands-On Labs and Artisan Workshops. Seminars with a focus on technology and social media were popular among attendees.

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Rachel Shechtman, owner of STORY in NYC, delivered an inspiring Keynote Address on “Rewriting Retail: From Making Sales to Creating an Experience.”   She gave attendees plenty of good ideas on how to re-think their retail space and make it a multi-sensory experience for customers.

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Show opening day on Saturday morning saw the registration area packed with attendees lining up and exhibitors making last minute touches to their booths. The Show floor featured an array of education and interactive activities including an Independent Retailer Conference, product workshops, a Makerspace with live demonstrations a Designer Showcase featuring the hottest craft designers, celebrity appearances, and fashion shows.

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New additions to the Show floor also included an Art & Paint Pavilion, sponsored by the Society of Decorative Painters, that featured the latest art materials and paint suppliers, live hands-on painting demonstrations and a curated art gallery showcasing artists’ best hand-made decorative paintings from all over the world.

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The Hot Product Showcases were a top destination area for Show attendees and featured 24 nominees in eight categories.  The winners of the Hot Product Awards, selected by a jury of expert media and celebrity judges, were announced at the CHA 2nd Annual Foundation Gala on Sunday, January 11, 2015. Click here to view the 2015 Hot Product Winners by category.

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The Show had its own Maker Space area, combining tech influenced DIY and inspiring presentations by craft industry innovators, Sarah Hodsdon and Jill Mackay.

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The Independent Retailer Conference — dedicated entirely to the unique lifestyle and responsibilities of retail small business owners—was an incredibly popular new Show floor feature that included 15 minute power seminar sessions presented by top small business experts.

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More than 400 people attended the CHA Foundation Gala, a charity event to benefit the CRE8TIME Movement, the CHA Foundation’s consumer outreach program that is designed to inspire creativity in everyone.

In addition to the CHA Hot Product Awards other presentations at the Gala included the launch of a grant program with the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF) to support art education in public schools, Industry Awards for Exhibiting with Excellence and the 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Click here to view all awards recipients.

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In 2016, the CHA MEGA Show will celebrate its 75th anniversary edition, January 8-13, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.  For more information visit www.craftandhobby.org.

Click here to view the MEGA Show Facebook photo album.

Industry Celebration and Giving Back Were the Prominent Themes of the 2nd Annual CHA Foundation Gala

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Wow, what a night! The 2nd Annual CHA Foundation Gala & Silent Auction, sponsored by Michaels, lived up to its billing of dinner, dancing and inspiration. The themes of the evening were celebrating the industry and giving back, and we accomplished both in a BIG way this year!

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Everyone was greeted by a glass of champagne and walked down the “blue carpet” as they entered a “Hollywood awards ceremony” just for our industry!

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The first hour was spent at the cocktail reception and silent auction, the proceeds of which benefitted CRE8TIME and The Kids in Need Foundation.

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We had two amazing hosts in Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender of KIZER & BENDER – who should be, if they aren’t already, auditioning for the hosting gig at the Golden Globes next year!

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The program kicked-off with the celebration of the CHA 2015 Industry Award Winners.

The CHA 2015 Industry Award Winners went to:

  • Meritorious Award: Herb Lantinga, Notions Marketing

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  • Industry Achievement Award: LaDorna & Robert Eichenberg, Ellison

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  • Special Recognition Award: Joann Pearson, Michaels

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For more about the winners and the Industry Awards, read the press release here.

The program continued with the Exhibiting with Excellence awards, which went to those exhibitors who were judged on overall visual booth appeal; clarity of product being sold; access to make-n-takes; engaging booth flow; as well as enthusiasm and friendliness of Booth staff.

The winners of the CHA 2015 MEGA Show Exhibiting with Excellence Awards were:

  • Island & Peninsula Group – Spinrite

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  • Linear Booth - ClearBags

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  • New Exhibitor – Little B

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  • Critic’s Choice – Spellbinders PaperArts

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CHA’s President & CEO, Andrej Suskavcevic, provided an update on the CHA Foundation’s goals for the future, including partnering with other like-minded organizations to continue to drive the momentum of raising awareness for the need to devote more time for creative expression. In addition to the CRE8TIME movement, proceeds from the silent auction and raffle went to support the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF).

Gala17Every year for the past 12 years, CHA has partnered with KINF to harvest product from exhibitors of CHA Trade Shows, which has resulted in the collection and distribution of $1,591,019.75 worth of donated supplies to teachers and their students at the neediest of schools. The funds from the Gala that will be donated to KINF will be used to fund two grants that will help build art programs at a school in the CHA office’s home state of NJ. Dave Smith, the Executive Director, accepted the check on-behalf of KINF.

Gala18After dinner, it was time to award the 2015 Hot Products! 112 products were submitted this year – a record number! A celebrity and media judging panel selected the award winners based on what makes the product unique; how it will improve the crafter’s overall experience; and the interest it generates in crafting for non-crafters.

For the full list of the 2015 CHA Hot Product Winners click here.

The program concluded with the induction ceremony of the 2015 CHA Hall of Fame. This year’s class included:

  • John & Edna Clapper

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  • Jane Anne Davis

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  • Andrea Grossman

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  • Howard Hoffman

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  • Vince Naccarato

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  • William “Bill” Neu

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  • John E. “Jack” Parker

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  • Tom Yaley, Sr.

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What can we say besides, “What an evening!” Congratulations to all of the nominees, winners and the Hall of Fame class of 2015. We can’t wait to celebrate again next year!

This Thursday “Hangout” with Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

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Sharpen your social media skills as you

“Hangout” with Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

The Media Committee of the CHA Designer Section invites you to a very special Google Hangout, this Thursday, January 22 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM ET with guests Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

Join hosts Nancy Keslin, Marjolaine Walker and Carol Heppner as they discuss the new book “The Art of Social Media – Power Tips for Power Users” with authors Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

Whether you are a designer or other member of the craft industry, social media is an important factor for determining your success or failure. Guy and Peg are top social media professionals. Their new book provides clear and expert advice in using the different social media platforms.

Guy Kawasaki is a former chief evangelist for Apple and presently holds that job title at Canva. Guy is one of the pioneers of business social-media. He is author of over a dozen books and empowers companies with his writing, speaking engagements and advice.

Peg Fitzpatrick is a social media strategist who works with Guy. She is also the director of digital marketing for Kreussler Inc. Peg is editor-in-chief of “12 Most” which is a dynamic community of influential, globally-renowned writers & business experts publishing amazing content. She is also founder of the popular Twitter chat #MyBookClub which featured the brightest authors on social media.

Join us for an hour of great conversation this Thursday as we “Hangout” with Guy and Peg. http://tiny.cc/HangoutwithUs

2015 Hot Product Award Winners Announced

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A record number of new products were submitted this year, and the celebrity and media judges selected the award winners based on what makes the product unique; how it will improve the crafter’s overall experience; and the interest it generates in crafting for non-crafters. The panel of expert media and celebrity judges, included Julie Bonnar, editor, Craft Focus; Sarah Crosland, Editor, Crafts Beautiful Magazine; David Cruz,of Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker and founder & creative director of Finding Cupid; Nancy Nally, Owner, Nally Studios LLC; Erin Phraner, Editor, Good Housekeeping TV; and Jen Tryon, Owner, Tryon a Homemade Life.

The 2015 CHA Hot Product Winners are:

BEAD & JEWELRY

Beadalon_ArtisticWireArtistic Wire™ 3D Bracelet Jig by Beadalon, allows the design of perfectly round, continuous, all-in-one bangles, cuff bracelets, and curved components in 3D using wire, stones, and beads. www.beadalon.com.

 

 

CAKE & FOOD DECORATING

Alumilite_AmazingRemeltAmazing Remelt by Alumilite, is an FDA compliant, completely reusable, flexible mold making material. www.moldputty.com

 

 

 

FABRIC & NEEDLE CRAFTS

FabricEditions_FabricElementsFABRIC ELEMENTS by Fabric Editions, Inc., features artist Rebekah Meier’s pre-cut line of fabrics for mixed media collages. www.fabricedtions.com.

 

 

FLORAL CRAFTS

PrintLittle B Petal Packs by Little B LLC, are a revolutionary new way to create fast, easy and beautiful paper flowers. www.littlebllc.com

 

 

 

GENERAL CRAFTS

Hazel&Ruby_DIYDecorTapeDIY Décor Tape by Hazel & Ruby, is washi tape produced in 4”, 8”, 12” & 24” rolls including solids, designed patterns, and interactive that allows consumers to add their own content.  www.hazelandruby.com.

 

 

KIDS CRAFTS

FoxChapel_TrendBooksTrend Books for Kids by Fox Chapel Publishing, are fun books that turn kids on to crafts and introduces them to a creative hobby that will last a lifetime.  www.foxchapelpublishing.com.

 

 

 

PAINT & ART

Lumi_PhotoPrintingKitLumi Photo Printing Kit by Lumi, is a new alternative to screen-printing, using the power of the sun to print customized t-shirts and textiles. www.lumi.co.

 

 

 

PAPER CRAFTS

SizzixInksheetsSizzix Inksheets by Sizzix/Ellison allows crafters to easily simulate the popular metallic foil and chalkboard trends and impress permanent, stylish colors onto cardstock, craft foil, leather, magnet sheets, wood paper and more. www.sizzix.com.

 

The winners were announced at the CHA Foundation Gala on January 11, 2015 during the CHA MEGA Show in Anaheim, CA, the world’s largest creative arts marketplace.  The annual event brings together the entire crafts and creative industry for five days, with small and large retailers, independent chains, and vendors from across the world.

 

2nd CHA Foundation Gala to benefit CRE8TIME & Kids In Need Foundation

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The Craft & Hobby Association Foundation is holding its 2nd Annual Gala celebration on Sunday evening, January 11, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Last year’s Gala was a huge success and with your help, we plan on continuing the tradition.

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This year, the CHA Foundation is happy to announce that proceeds from the Gala will go towards the Kids In Need Foundation (KINF) in order to fund two $1,000 art education grants to benefit school children. KINF has been a partner of CHA’s for more than a decade and coordinates our Annual Show Harvest. To date, our industry has contributed more than $1.5 million in supplies for elementary, junior high and high school art programs from donated products following the annual MEGA Show.
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You’ll have an amazing experience from the moment you arrive on the “blue carpet”.   The night will include an open bar, three-course meal, live band and a silent auction and raffle to benefit the CRE8TIME Movement and the Kids In Need Foundation.

In addition, you’ll participate in the craft industry’s version of the Oscars! A program hosted by the hilarious duo of KIZER & BENDER that includes the prestigious CHA Industry and Hot Products Awards Ceremony, and concludes with the CHA Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Don’t forget your dancing shoes!  We’ll see you there.

379760_811886878826675_167912115_nThe CHA Foundation is a 501 c (3) charity that fosters creativity and supports the craft and creative arts industry. CRE8TIME is the Foundation’s consumer outreach initiative dedicated to encouraging consumers to take time for themselves to do the creative things they love.

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Join us to celebrate the industry!

Reserve your seats today!

We are in the process of seeking donations of unique items for the silent auction, starting at a minimum value of $100 USD.  By donating an item, you’ll be making a tax-deductible contribution to support the CHA Foundation mission.

As a donor, you will benefit from exposure of your company’s brand to those who attend the event and in emails sent to promote the event. Donors will be listed in the Gala Event program. The items you donate will be on display with your brand name throughout the evening.

To send your pledge, or for more information, please give me a call at (201) 835 1207, or email cmartell@craftandhobby.org.

 

Independent Retailer Conference Excited to “Take the Stage” at the Upcoming MEGA Show

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By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle

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S115 - N.LeinbachAs a small business owner, there’s always a struggle to balance everything that needs to be done. From sourcing and managing inventory to merchandising shelves and creating strong store displays to creating an online presence that adds value – and sales – to your overall business objectives, the list seems nearly endless. As a result, too often many of these challenges and responsibilities are overlooked. It’s with this in mind that the Independent Retailer Conference first came to life in 2011 – aiming to help merchants achieve their store goals through education, engagement and hands on opportunities from some of the leading industry experts in retail today.

“I’m a big believer in creating experiences for business owners that can help them add value to their businesses while learning along the way. This – along with the industry leadership specific to independent retailers that my partner Nicole Reyhle brought to the table – has really helped create the foundation of the Independent Retailer Conference. We wanted to create something that got retailers excited, motivated and energetic about learning, while also creating an experience that they enjoyed,” explains Independent Retailer Conference’s Kerry Bannigan, who along with Retail Minded’s Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, are the Co-Founders of the Independent Retailer Conference.

S117The Independent Retailer Conference has previously held their events in Chicago and New York City since 2011, as well as took place two times in 2014 on the show floors of ASDMarketWeek in Las Vegas.  By hosting pop up conferences on site at trade shows like ASDMarketWeek and now the Craft & Hobby Association’s 2015 Conference & Trade Show (CHA MEGA Show), the Independent Retailer Conference is reaching more retailers than ever while also capturing them at valuable trade shows that serve as not to miss events for their businesses.
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“Connecting with retailers onsite at a trade show like the CHA MEGA Show allows us to extend education to retailers during their buying trips, and ultimately delivering a comprehensive experience of buying for their stores while also gaining trusted, educational insight to help them operate their businesses. And since retailers are short on spare time as it is, this combination has proven to be very successful for them,” Independent Retailer Conference Co-Founder Bannigan states.

Commitment to Retailers

While delivering education is a top priority of the Independent Retailer Conference, how the information is delivered is just as important. Bringing together industry leading experts and retail thought-leaders, the Independent Retailer Conference delivers both flash sessions that last about 15 minutes each and one hour breakout sessions for more in-depth education opportunities. The real lure, however, are the select retail experts that join the Independent Retailer Conference for the duration of the event and welcome show attendees to engage, learn and connect with them to further support their businesses. For the upcoming CHA MEGA Show, this will include representatives from email and online marketing software company SnapRetail, Cathy Wagner of RETAILMavens, David Nawrocki of product photography company Retail Studio Effect, David Mehlham of MadeClose.com and serving as conference emcees will be well known craft and hobby retail thought leaders Kizer & Bender.

“SnapRetail is excited to support the CHA MEGA Show attendees through the Independent Retailer Conference because, like us, the Independent Retailer Conference is dedicated to the unique lifestyle and responsibilities of retail small business owners”, said Christian Kratsas, SnapRetail Content Marketing Manager. “By attending one of our seminars and speaking with our Retail Marketing Specialists, attendees can expect to learn how to grow traffic and sales through email marketing, social media and website management.”

Joining Kratsas and the entire SnapRetail team in their enthusiasm to support the attendees of the CHA MEGA Show and Independent Retailer Conference are Kizer & Bender, familiar voices to the CHA community.

“We couldn’t think of a better show to welcome the Independent Retailer Conference. Attendees of the CHA MEGA SHOW are constantly seeking intelligent support for their stores and the Independent Retailer Conference delivers just that. We’re thrilled to support them in their efforts in helping CHA MEGA Show attendees have a blast while learning important strategies they can use to grow their businesses,” states Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer.

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With retail veterans like Kizer & Bender lending their expertise and industry leaders like SnapRetail on hand to share valuable market information to attendees about all things online marketing, attendees of the Independent Retailer Conference are in for a real treat. They can also get excited about meeting newcomer David Mehlham of MadeClose.com to the Independent Retailer Conference, who will share a unique perspective on the value of powering small businesses and craftspeople.

“MadeClose is all about small, independent business and we can’t think of a better place to meet like-minded people than the Independent Retailer Conference at the CHA MEGA Show! Our presentation and time spent talking to attendees will focus mostly on the power local businesses and craftspeople have in the overall economy and the benefits of learning about where and how our goods are made and making informed purchases,” Mehlham explains.

With a lot to learn among a variety of experts and industry leaders, attendees can confidently plan their schedules with trust that they will takeaway a ton by participating in the Independent Retailer Conference experience. And since the conference itself will be on the show floors of the CHA MEGA Show, time is on their side.

“Being among the vendors of the CHA MEGA Show is a huge advantage for attendees, allowing them to pop in and out based on their buying schedule,” explains Bannigan.

What to Expect

With a fantastic schedule of presentations taking place Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the CHA MEGA Show, attendees can expect to engage, learn and connect during the Independent Retailer Conference with like-minded merchants, industry leaders and savvy service providers specific to independent retailers. All attendees are encouraged to sit back, relax and take advantage of the non-stop education provided during the Independent Retailer Conference, as well as connect with the retail experts who will have tables for one-on-one attendee-expert support.
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“Sitting down and engaging with our experts in conversations is something we encourage attendees to do. It’s this concept that has made the Independent Retailer Conference so successful for retailers, allowing them to gain personalized support for their stores. We want the attendees of the CHA MEGA Show to take advantage of this, and encourage them to ask questions and learn as much as they can,” Bannigan explains.

Additionally, attendees can expect interactive experiences from our pop up stage that leaves them better educated and more inspired – with takeaway tools to bring back to their stores. For a full schedule of what to expect at the Independent Retailer Conference at the CHA MEGA Show, CLICK HERE or visit IndieRetailerConference.com.

 

Things to do before the CHA MEGA Show

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By Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender

shutterstock_232080430In our last post we talked about how to prepare business-wise for your upcoming trip to Anaheim for the CHA 2015 MEGA Show. This time we’re talking about you. Here’s your “Getting Ready for Anaheim List of Things to Do”:

  • Make your hotel reservations early – you want to take advantage of any discounted rates available. Choose a hotel that’s close to the convention center. Why not make your travel time there and back as short as possible?

And by the way, Travel Planners, Inc. is the ONLY housing company that can guarantee your reservation. Beware of other “housing” companies soliciting hotel room reservations. CHA advises you to NOT book through these other companies and to contact them if someone approaches you. Please email tmercardo@craftandhobby.org if you are solicited by someone other than Travel Planners, Inc.

  • Book your air travel to Anaheim ASAP. You have a few choices of airports so shop around for the best deal. John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA) is the closest, but Los Angeles (LAX) sometimes has lower fares. If you fly into LAX, however, you have to factor in the cost to get to Anaheim.

You can get help on all things CHA travel here: https://www.craftandhobby.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=cha&WebKey=9c8cd328-26f8-4ba5-b09b-7f18b5e75683

  •  Book ground transportation from the airport to your hotel. If you fly into John Wayne, grab a cab. Depending on traffic, cab fare from LAX can run more than $100 each way, so be sure and check out the CHA deal on the Super Shuttle. Click here for more info: http://groups.supershuttle.com/cha2013winterconferencetradeshow.html
  • CHA member Jenny Barnett Rohrs of Craft Test Dummies has a great idea for that extra suitcase you know you’ll need to haul home all the cool things you pick up at the Show. She calls it Turducken Packing: Simply nest a slightly smaller suitcase inside a larger suitcase and voila! An extra suitcase when you need it.
  • Bring lots of business cards! If you need to order new cards check out Moo.com. You’ll find cool templates with nice finishes, great prices, and fast service.
  • Stilettos are a must for women on the Show floor; the higher the better. KIDDING! You are going to put on some serious miles each day, so make sure your shoes are extra comfy. Crocs, clogs, sneakers, whatever. Just make sure they’re all-day kind of comfortable.
  • You’ll find exhibitors wearing everything from business suites to team logo shirts to elaborate costumes. You, however, just need to make sure that your attire is professional and comfortable enough to move around in – consider the classes and workshops you will attend each day. There are no rules! We look forward each year to the Show floor fashion show – CHA members in all sorts of creative clothing and accessories they made themselves. Don’t be surprised if Georganne offers to buy your necklace…
  •  Show off your name badge! Don’t hide it, put it up front and center so vendors and all of your new friends can easily read your name. Another fun thing about CHA is the creative things attendees do to their name badges. They may start out looking like everyone else’s but by the end of the Show they’re a work of art.
  • Convention centers and meeting rooms are notoriously cold. If you don’t want to end up wearing the table cloth, bring a sweater.
  • CHA is one of the few trade shows that allows attendees to bring rolling bags on the Show floor. (Yay CHA!) Trust us; you want a rolling bag for all the catalogs and samples you will pick up as you peruse the floor. Shoulder bags, and even back packs, can be too much when you have to carry them all day long.
  • Bring your camera and batteries and an extra cellphone charger and… How about a water bottle you can refill, and maybe some snacks. You knew we’d get to food… What’s our event motto? FOOD IS GOOD!

We could fill pages with our favorite travel tips, but we want to hear yours. What are the absolutely indispensable things you need for a successful CHA Show? Share them in the comments!

About Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender

K&BRich Kizer & Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and       consultants whose client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business. They are the go-to team retailers choose first when they need to make a change in-store and online.

KIZER & BENDER made Meetings & Conventions Magazine’s list of Meeting            Planners Favorite Keynote Speakers; they’ve also been named “Two of Retailing’s Most Influential People.” And with good reason: Rich and Georganne are experts on generational diversity, consumer trends, marketing and promotion, and everything retail. They are widely referred to as consumer anthropologists because they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today’s consumer.

KIZER & BENDER are well known for their unique and intensive consumer research. Any speaker can talk about customers, but Georganne and Rich actually become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine. And maybe even a few that you can’t! The result of their research is literally straight from the customers’ mouth: solid ground level intelligence you can use to better serve your own customers.

KIZER & BENDER’s observations are widely featured in the medias, including the ABC News special report “How Stores Hook You.” Their books Jingle Bells, Christmas Sells! and Champagne Strategies on a Beer Budget! have helped thousands of retailers improve their bottom line, and their bylined column, Georganne & Rich on the Road was twice honored with The American Society of Business Publications Editors Award of Excellence (ASBPE)

KIZER & BENDER will be presenting the following seminars at the MEGA Show:

S106 - Feed Your Brain: Inside Secrets to Online Marketing click here to register.
S123 - Designing Your Creative Brand Image! click here to register.

Planning for the MEGA Show

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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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