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.

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.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback: Pop Up Retailing


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


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: Inventory Management 101 and Rejuvenating Your Inventory Mix


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.

Are you turning over your inventory every 90 days?

This week we’re doing a throwback to Lee Kellogg’s seminars: Inventory Management 101 and Rejuvenating Your Inventory Mix.

Watch this video for a recap of what Lee says are the top three ways you should be managing your store’s inventory.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback: Tips for Better Email 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.

Have you implemented what you learned to better your business yet?

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: Capture Their Attention and Leave ’em Wanting More – Tips for Better Email Marketing, taught by Lisa Fulmer and Carolina Moore.

Read their seminar recap below and watch this quick slideshow to remember the key points discussed.

Seminar Recap
By Lisa Fulmer and Carolina Moore

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You may have heard that email marketing is, at worst, dead…or at best, old-school. But email is still very much alive and still totally cool, even in this age of social media, texting and instant messaging.

Email marketing is an integral part of your overall sales and marketing efforts. Email helps you capture quality fans and followers who are more likely to become paying customers. By creating customer-centric emails that support your brand, you can build more loyalty.

Successful email campaigns are like a favorite TV show. If you produce great “can’t miss” stories with characters they love, your customers will want to watch every episode, then tell their friends…and they can’t wait for the next one!

Here is a quick slideshow on the topic that we gave in a seminar at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show. If you missed it, here are some of the key points we discussed:

  • Email is vital for bringing customers through each stage of the marketing funnel and it augments your customer service.
  • You can attract new customers, deliver exceptional value and generate repeat business with email campaigns.
  • Email allows you to provide exclusive, subscriber-only content that helps you build stronger relationships and makes your customers feel special.
  • You can craft more commercial messaging with email than you can with social media to build revenue – just make sure you comply with CAN-SPAM laws!
  • Email marketing is highly measurable with many automation features, plus you can test and target by demographics and interests.
  • Many email services are free at first, then fees kick in as your subscriber list and/or email frequency grows. Most can be fully integrated with your customer database and social media platforms.
  • There are many tactics for making your emails more engaging and effective – an easy way to start is by taking note of the mass emails you receive from the lists you subscribe to. What do you like or not like about them, what impression does the email give you, how compelled are you by the message and visuals?
  • Content is king – whether you’re sharing inspiration, special offers, company news or funny trivia. Give them great reasons to look forward to your emails.

Let us know if you have questions or need help with your email marketing!

Lisa Fulmer

Carolina Moore

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series


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.

Have you implemented what you learned to better your business yet?

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 Kizer & Bender Speaking’s seminar: Feed Your Brain: Engage Customers and Take Your Sales to Insane New Levels. Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender taught you all the things you have to do to be connected to your customers online – listen, interact, react and sell.

Watch this video for a quick recap of key online marketing techniques for your day-to-day business activities.

Time to Start Being the Change


By Laura Kelly-Walters

My creative life is a never ending journey and one that causes great joy for me and many others.  I started on this path when I was first pregnant and that baby is now TWENTY.  After 20 years of doing the same things (all things that I love like doodling, painting and making), I decided it was time to keep doing these things but also make a big change.

I love licensing my art and am proud of my relationships and partnerships in the craft industry, including with Sizzix, AdornIt, Tombow, Sculpey and Kunin Group.  With so much growth, I decided that it was time to start sharing my designs in a bigger way and to change the way I thought about social marketing myself and my works.  I have been doing everything on my own for 20 years.  I decided that I was ready to change and be the leader of a team, a design team that is all about me and my mission.  I wanted to create a team that would support these manufacturers through the sharing of my doodles and designs because when it all comes down to it, we are in this together.

I put an application out there and was floored at the crazy huge number of responses.  More than the shock and excitement, I was empowered and honored.  I thought this change would be challenging, but truth is, it has been a blast.  I struggled to choose who to put on the team and wish I could have chosen them all.  It is like I created a big creative party with a team of amazing and talented colleagues who not only support me 100% but also each other.  We are a winning team filled with love, passion and creativity.

I am convinced that my journey starts with me. If I want change, I get to cause it. I guess that is why I love Gandhi’s quote so much…”BE the change you wish to see in the world.”  I accessed my courage and caused change for me and the members of my team.  I am now BEING change and it is awesome sauce.

Meet the inaugural Laura Kelly Design Team and learn how they will be sharing different ways to make Laura Kelly products, designs and doodles part of your life.

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Laura Kelly-Walters
Licensed Doodle Artist/Designer/Project Maker/Mom/Tombow Senior Ambassador
www.laurakellydesigns.com

 

31 Days of Crafting: A Unique Craft Coming Soon to Ridgewood, New Jersey


March is National Craft Month! All month long we will 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.

CHA staff member, Alison Muldoon, found her creative inspiration when she least expected it:

“I wish I had the crafting spirit and talent of my neighbors, Leslie and Stephen Kolvek! One recent Saturday, Stephen showed up on our door step and asked if we had any extra wire hangers; my mind was immediately racing. What for? A closet project? A problematic clog? What could the Kolvek’s be up to now?

I made it my business to visit them later that afternoon to discover the most heartfelt and inspirational crafting project just beyond my own front door.

Leslie Kolvek serves on the Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands and is helping to organize the third annual Daffodil Festival in Ridgewood, to be held on April 17. This festival celebrates so much within the community. It’s an arts festival and spring celebration all rolled into one event. And the planting initiative of daffodils around the Village of Ridgewood is just one small part of this special day.

And it is here where my moment of craft awe and inspiration happened…

My neighbor and her husband are creating giant daffodils by repurposing wire dry cleaning hangers and covering them with crepe paper. After searching the Internet for a picture and crafting inspiration, Leslie created her own larger than life wire framed daffodil.

Below are pictures of the frame in process, and of course the finished product! These daffodils on my suggestion could even be a fundraising vehicle of sorts. They are so photo worthy, what parent wouldn’t think twice to pay to have their munchkin peeking out from that crepe paper craftiness?

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Leslie and Stephen are crafters who immerse themselves 100% into their crafting moment. They give their projects their all, absolutely love crafting, and in this case are giving back ten-fold to the community!

The Kolvek’s are my crafting inspiration. I hope to one day watch my crafting ideas flower like theirs!”

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

Keep us informed of your events that encourage creativity all year long. Tell us your story by emailing marketing@craftandhobby.org or using the hashtags #WeAreCHA and #CRE8TIME on social media.

31 Days of Crafting: Prepping for the Paper Trail


March is National Craft Month! All month long we will 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 National Craft Month, CHA Designer Eileen Hull is getting Scotty and Big Daddy ready for Paper Trail 9!

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In 2013, Eileen bought a vintage trailer and outfitted it as a mobile studio. Since then she has been touring the country in Scotty and teaching classes in independent stores, art galleries and at events, retreats and trade shows. You may have spotted the pair on the Show floor at the CHA MEGA Show in January doing #Cre8time make and takes! The projects were designed and taught by many well-known CHA Designers using products generously donated by the Paper Trail sponsors: SizzixCrescent CardboardThermOWebCrafter’s HomeGraphic 45ClearsnapSakuraBeacon AdhesivesLittle BDecoArt, and M-D Hobby and Craft.

One of the highlights of the Paper Trail 9 is the Quartermain House Creative Retreat. CHA Designer members Lorine Mason, Cheryl Boglioli, Marie Browning and Laura Kelly are headed north to Fredericton, Canada for an art retreat at fellow designer friend Debra Quartermain’s B & B. The cost of $350 includes a Friday night reception, two full days of workshops (all supplies included), and lunch both on Saturday and Sunday. All are invited to attend!

Read more about Eileen’s journey on her blog.

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

Keep us informed of your events that encourage creativity all year long. Tell us your story by emailing marketing@craftandhobby.org or using the hashtags #WeAreCHA and #CRE8TIME on social media and we will share it!