MEET THE SPEAKER: DEBRA VALENCIA

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CHA’s NEW eCourses are a series of one-hour sessions where you will have the option of learning live, or at your own pace through recorded sessions. They are an easy and efficient way to expand your business knowledge throughout the year!

The upcoming eCourse, Licensing Your Art & Earning Royalties, will be taught by licensed designer Debra Valencia.

debra-valencia-picDebra Valencia is a surface designer, textile artist, graphic designer, product inventor and business entrepreneur. She has worked in the design field as a creative director for several award-winning firms, having worked on multi-disciplinary projects worldwide. Debra lectures nationwide at major colleges, universities and creative professional organizations, and teaches seminars on the art licensing business. In addition, she has 14 years of experience teaching both studio and business courses at art colleges.

Debra’s surface designs are currently licensed with 32 manufacturers and produced on 1,000+ products in stationery, textiles, home décor, gift, beauty and fashion accessories. Debra’s expertise in branding, consumer trends and product design makes her a key resource in providing strategic direction for product line development to manufacturers.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been an artist and a crafter since my childhood. I studied graphic design in college and have been working in the creative field ever since. I took an interest in greeting card design and textile design. In 2008, I switched gears to focus on licensing my designs.

What are the top takeaways that students will learn by taking your class?
1. How to market yourself as a licensed artist.
2. How to make submissions directly to manufacturers without a trade show or agent.

What’s the biggest challenge that artists/designers/graphic designers face when starting an art licensing business?
The revenue stream is extremely long. You have to be willing to do the work now and not get paid for 12 to 18 months as deals are secured and products are brought to market.

Each week you’ll be covering a different step on how artists can take their businesses to the next level. What new skills can participants expect to walk away with by the end of the course?
Students will learn how to prepare a portfolio properly, which is crucial for success in licensing. They’ll learn the importance of building art in collections and showing product mockups, as well as how to research manufacturers and find licensing opportunities.


Licensing Your Art & Earning Royalties begins April 30, 2015 and runs through May 15, 2015. Courses will take place every Thursday from 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST. Can’t make it to the live sessions on Thursdays? No worries! We are recording the courses so you can access them at your convenience!

During this three week eCourse Debra will take you step-by-step through the following:

Week 1:
What Is Art Licensing?
Overview of Opportunities
How to Get Started

Week 2:
Understanding the Business Side
Marketing
Making Submissions

Week 3:
Agents vs. Self-Representation
Working with Manufacturers
Resources and Strategic Plan

Register today!

Independent Craft Retailers Reveal Long-Held Secrets

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By Laurel Lee Pollard, White Collar Crafter

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In 2014, the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Paper Arts Section (PAS) Steering Committee was asked to outline educational opportunities that would be appropriate for attendees of the newly-launched Paper Arts+ Show. Responding to industry demand, the 2014 inaugural event was generously hosted “to-the-trade” by CHA.

It was agreed that, in order to respond to the educational needs of the independent “indie” craft and hobby retailer, the PAS Steering Committee would need to pinpoint specific challenges that the indie retailer faces on an annual basis. To that end, the PAS Steering Committee, comprised of the following industry insiders, created the CHA Benchmark Survey:

The PAS Steering Committee took this opportunity and came up with the following goals:

  • To establish a benchmark standard of comparison between similar craft businesses.
  • To highlight business factors and practices that make an independent craft retailer successful.
  • To share these standards and assist CHA in creating or highlighting existing educational/business opportunities to help businesses replicate this success.
  • To share data with suppliers who can use the information to adapt their products and services to increase independent craft business success.

With the PAS Steering Committee’s long-standing influence within the craft industry, and with the backing of CHA, the Committee was able to glean remarkable results. Well over 350 indie retailers from across the broad spectrum of the craft industry, both CHA and non-CHA members, responded openly to the survey.

As a former indie retailer for well over a decade, I can attest that the type of information available in this survey is normally only shared by the indie retailer with its closest confidant. This CHA Benchmark Survey is a remarkable opportunity for indie craft retailers to gauge their success against others in the industry.

If you are looking to take advantage of this timely behind-the-curtain information, including the key findings of the top 15% of independent craft retailers, I encourage you to experience the archived CHA 2014 Benchmark Survey Webinar hosted by Denzil Quick and Katie Kohlmann. This information and expert craft industry commentary can be found nowhere else.

** Let’s keep this valuable conversation going. I encourage you to share your thoughts of the results in the comments below.**

Craft on!

Laurel Lee Pollard
White Collar Crafter
WhiteCollarCrafter.com
Social: @WCCrafter
LinkedIn

MEET THE SPEAKER: MIKE PERIU

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CHA’s NEW eCourses are a series of one-hour sessions where you will have the option of learning live, or at your own pace through recorded sessions. They are an easy and efficient way to expand your business knowledge throughout the year!

Our first eCourse, The 5 Step Path to Getting Your Business Loan Funded, will be taught by small business expert Mike Periu.

mike-periu-experto-financieroMike has degrees in Finance and International Business from Georgetown University and is a seasoned executive with over 15 years of experience in small business finance. He is the founder of Proximo, LLC., a leading provider of small business financial education and training services. Mike is also a leading national voice for individual empowerment through financial education and entrepreneurship, having been interviewed over 500 times by national and international media. His appearences include NBC, Univision, CNN en español, Telemundo, HITN, TVE, RTE, SBS, MegaTV and others. Mike also publishes a small business finance blog available here.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from New Jersey, but live in sunny Miami now. I have been a business owner for over 15 years and also invest in and advise other small businesses across the country. I studied finance and started my career in the corporate world, but quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. I wanted to use my talents to help families, entrepreneurs and small business owners make better financial decisions. That’s what I’ve been doing for years and that’s what I plan to do for a very long time.

What are the top five takeaways that students will learn by taking your class?
1. Attractive alternatives exist for borrowing money designed for small businesses.
2. How to select the right lender for your particular circumstances.
3. How to prepare your loan request.
4. How to negotiate to get the best terms possible.
5. How to calculate how much money you’ll really need.

What’s the biggest challenge owners face when applying for a small business loan?
The biggest challenge is being small! Traditional lenders are not interested in lending money to small businesses at a low interest rate. They are in the “wholesale money” business; they like to loan millions of dollars at a time. When they have to sell “retail money” – anything under one million dollars – they either decline or charge very high interest rates. My course will teach small business owners how to deal with wholesalers and how to tap new alternative options that are specifically designed for them.

Each week you’ll be covering a different step on how businesses can borrow money effectively. How is this style of learning effective?
Most craft and hobby business owners are busy working on the day-to-day responsibilities of their stores. They usually don’t have much free time, so it isn’t realistic for someone to take two days to attend an intensive training seminar. A couple of hours of lessons and assignments each week is a realistic commitment. Also, by spreading it out over time, students will have the opportunity to absorb all of the information that I’m going to share.

You mention the tide is turning and that money is now available. What do you attribute that to and how can retailers cash-in?
It’s only recently that new technology has allowed the creation of alternative small business lenders that offer reasonable interest rates. In the past, the only options were traditional loan products or very high-interest merchant loans. Today, small business owners are empowered through greater choice. They can cash-in by literally cashing-in! Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to raise money for a business. Interest rates will start going up soon, which will make financing more expensive. The sooner one can lock in a loan, the better the chances that it will be at a lower interest rate.


The 5 Step Path to Getting Your Business Loan Funded begins April 14, 2015 and runs through May 12, 2015.

During this five week eCourse, Mike will take you step-by-step through the following:

Week 1: Figuring Out Your Financial Need vs. How Much You Should Ask For
Week 2: Gathering Your Paperwork
Week 3: Finding the Right Lender
Week 4: Reviewing Your Loan Options
Week 5: Negotiate and Close Like a Pro

This course consists of a one-hour lecture and 30 minutes of discussion. Participants who successfully complete the course will be given access to a complimentary application review.

Register Today!

“Meet the Exhibitors” Blog Series: Art Impressions

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MeetTheExhibitors2Art Impressions is the next exhibitor in our “Meet the Exhibitors” series. Art Impressions is a family-owned business, which opened in 1987. Since starting out primarily selling educational stamps, the company has grown significantly over the past 28 years. Today, Art Impressions is well known in the craft industry for its comical characters, whimsical designs and interactive stamping techniques. What makes the company stand out is its incredible diversity of images, each one created by the company’s sole designer and co-owner, Bonnie Krebs. All of Art Impressions’ products are made in the USA.

Art Impressions LogoWhat products are you most excited about featuring at the Paper Arts+ Show?
We will feature some of our brand new Watercolor releases as well as some new interactive stamping ideas! You won’t want to miss seeing our new Spinners and holiday images.

Why should people stop at your booth?
We love attending CHA shows and spending time with our customers. Whether you order from us or a distributor, we always want to support our stores in any way we can. Stop by for some free stamps, promotional products for your store, demos and make-n-takes!

Why should buyers come to Paper Arts+?
We attended Paper Arts+ in 2014 and loved the experience. Spending quality time with our storeowners is truly invaluable. Events and food breaks were contained to the Show floor, which gave us extra time to mingle. We can’t wait until July to do it all over again!

Beyond your products, how can you bring additional value to the buyer?
Many of our current storeowners know that we love to do whatever it takes to help our independent retailers. At our booth, we love to show off new product and give you the tools to better promote it. Also, you’ll have the opportunity to grab some freebies and promotional products, as well as literature and packets for upcoming wholesale promotions, including our semi-annual Catalog Party. In addition, we will include card samples, posters and window clings when requested with wholesale orders!

You can visit Art Impressions at the Paper Arts+ Show in booth #202. Registration opens on June 3, 2015. For more information, visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts.

CHA Hall of Fame 2016 Class Nominations


Do you know someone who has made a significant contribution to the craft industry?

Nominate them for the CHA 2016 Hall of Fame!

Members of the CHA Hall of Fame are industry veterans and pioneers who have made extraordinary contributions leading to the growth and success of the Association and the creative arts industry. The inductees are chosen annually by the CHA Hall of Fame Committee, which is comprised of CHA Board Members and member volunteers.

Download the CHA Hall of Fame Nomination Form Today!

Fax or email completed forms to Tracy Soto at (201) 835-1260 or tsoto@craftandhobby.org no later than May 31, 2015.

“Meet the Exhibitors” Blog Series: Meet Stampendous

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MeetTheExhibitors2CHA is returning to the Chicago area for the Paper Arts+ Show, July 21-23, 2015 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center. Once again, the Show will host exhibits featuring the industry’s leading manufacturers. We will highlight this year’s exhibiting companies in a blog series called, “Meet the Exhibitors”.

Over the next several weeks, we will introduce you to some of our Paper Arts+ Show exhibitors so you can learn more about the companies, products and what you can expect to see at the Show.

The first exhibitor in our series is Stampendous.

Stampendous has been in business for over three decades under the sole ownership of Fran Seiford, CEO & Chief Artistic Stampendous_Logo_450X350Officer. Fran’s first investment in the craft industry was a $25 order of custom rubber stamps made from her own illustrations. Soon her investment developed into a wide range of craft tools and products to help others in their creative expression.

Today, Stampendous is the manufacturer of products including Fran•táge Embossing Enamels, Essential Elements, Wood Mounted Rubber Stamps, Perfectly Clear™ Stamps, Cling Rubber™ Stamps, Class A’Peel™ Stickers, Stack Art, Creative Palette, Glitzy Glitter, PEARLustre™ Embossing Powder, Fuzzy Fun Flock™, and Stuftainers™, 86 percent of which are manufactured in its facility in Anaheim, CA. In January 2015, Stampendous purchased Dreamweaver Stencils, a line of stainless steel stencils along with Embossing Paste and Tools. Stampendous’ licenses include House-Mouse®, Nathalie Kalbach and Andy Skinner.

What products are you most excited about featuring at the Paper Arts+ Show? 
A new line of Halloween, Fall, Christmas and Winter Stamps, Dies and Stencils, with traditional, whimsical, inspirational and nostalgic designs. We’re also excited about our new Holiday House-Mouse® designs and Board of the Month programs and surprises!

Why should people stop at your booth?
We will feature amazing models by our talented design team to inspire how to use all of the new products. Attendees will learn new techniques as we demo in two areas using our new designs in Stamps, Dies and Stencils.

Why should buyers come to Paper Arts+?
Fourth quarter sales are the most important time for any retail store. Buyers must entice consumers to make their store their holiday shopping destination. Buyers should not miss the opportunity to see the very latest in what creative new products are being introduced at Paper Arts+ to lure shoppers into their stores.

Beyond your products, how can you bring additional value to the buyer?
Stampendous is teaching a workshop and providing two demos every day, all day, in our booth. Also, we also cross merchandise our product with other manufacturers’ products that will be exhibiting. Our stamp line and accessories are not just for paper crafting, but enjoyed for jewelry making, painting on canvas, wood and fabric, clay designs and all types of mixed media.

You can visit Stampendous at the Paper Arts+ Show in booth #113. Registration opens on June 3, 2015. For more information, visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts.

CHA Foundation Partners With Michaels Stores and the Rit Studio to Host Kids Crafting Day at Bradley Hospital

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In an effort to promote creativity and enrich children’s lives through creative expression, CRE8TIME, a consumer initiative created by the Craft & Hobby Association Foundation, has partnered with leading arts and crafts specialty retailer Michaels and The Rit Studio to host a “Kids Crafting Day” on April 2, 2015, from 9 a.m.– 4 p.m. EDT at the Bradley  Hospital in East Providence, Rhode Island.

During the Kids Crafting Day event, children attending Bradley Hospital’s various inpatient and partial programs will participate in a day filled with creative projects. These mixed media crafting activities will be made possible with products supplied by Michaels and The Rit Studio. Craft specialists from The Rit Studio as well as staff from the CHA and Andrea Atwater, representing Craft Attitude, will lead the craft projects.

Bradley Hospital is licensed by the Department of Children, Youth and Families, and provides a range of family-focused, high-quality mental health care to infants, children, adolescents and young adults with emotional disorders and/or developmental disabilities.

Live updates from the event will be posted on the CRE8TIME Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

For media inquiries contact Annie Scully at azscully@gmail.com or call 201 835 1200.

To find out more about how you can host a CRE8TIME event contact Cmartell@craftandhobby.org.

Last Chance To Enter The National Craft Month Selfie Contest!

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In celebration of National Craft Month, we are having a “selfie” contest to promote creativity and craft retail stores. March is coming to an end and there’s only 5 days left to win!

Follow these easy steps to enter:

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Join Now, Upload & Win!

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Thoughts of a day job survivor

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By Durga Walker

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A day job is not a chosen profession or career. A day job is something you do to earn money because you can’t survive doing what you really want to do. There’s nothing inherently evil about day jobs, although we do tend to blame them for everything. But the truth is that they can be enormous pains in the behind and enormously depressing, if we let them.

— From the introduction to The Day Job Survival Kit

Day jobs come in all shapes and sizes. Creative people have been grappling with them for centuries. Whether you’re building a business or working for it, even in an industry you love, like this one, earning income away from your art is a day job. And day jobs make us cranky.

But there’s another side to this. As a creative person, you bring a lot to the table. Your artistry has taught you the skill of vivid visualization. It’s taught you to act fearlessly on a wild idea, and to live with great uncertainty while you wait for the outcome.

This is a very short list of what lifestyle teachers call success skills, and people pay a lot of money to learn them. Yet they are the very skills that artists and craftspeople use every day to make art and build creative businesses. For folks already active in the artistic world, these principles are low-hanging fruit.

I’m a case in point. Artist, writer, crafter, day-jobber—you name it, I’ve struggled through it. When I started studying the so-called success principles, I recognized them as the tools I’d been using for years to weave, paint, write, and generally make beautiful things.

I wrote The Day Job Survival Kit to explore these very helpful ideas, but specifically for creative people. Beyond looking at the creative process and goal setting, I’m also curious about what’s at the core of discipline, how we act with intention to bring things about, how we can create time to create, and how we can use our day jobs as fodder for our artistic mills. I also look at the great bugaboos of not enough space or time, and I even give a passing glance to the dreaded Money Monster.

The ideas in this book are not new, and they’re not original to me, which is why I can tell you how wonderfully effective they are. I wrote this book in this way because I believe that creative people already have the skills to create better lives. We just need to look at it in the right way.

While I can’t promise you the moon and the stars, I can promise that if you unlock the potential of the creative process you’re already using and apply it to the rest of your life, everything will change.

The Day Job Survival Kitpublished by Archangel Ink, is launching on Amazon on March 25th, in Kindle and paperback.

durgaDurga Walker is living proof that day jobs need not stand in the way of creative dreams. She currently lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a reporter on a small-town newspaper. By night and weekend, she writes, paints, and builds a creative freelance and craft business. Durga has an M.A. in communication arts and training in creativity coaching.

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.