CHA Member Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames Redmond Celebrate a 40+ Year Milestone in Business


Store FrontWe are excited to congratulate long time CHA Members and supporters, Bob and Shirley Ferguson of Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames in Redmond, WA, on reaching their 40th year in business in May 2015! Not only have they been in business for 40+ years, but they have also remained in the same location throughout.

Family

The Ferguson Family

To commemorate this milestone, they launched a 40th anniversary celebration with year long special events and sales and on weekends with free cake and  free make and take projects for both children and adults.
Coloring Books

Originally California natives, Bob and Shirley decided to move to Redmond, WA from Hawaii when they were seeking a lifestyle change as well as new career opportunities. Their store was started in 1975 as a variety store, and has since evolved into an entertainment, activity-driven business dedicated to outstanding customer service and innovation.

Frame ShopTheir team of 75 staff members also includes second generation family members. Their sons, Neil and David Ferguson manage the store. The store employees are remarkable, long-term employees that are passionate and knowledgeable about their departments and the customers they serve.

Paper Crafts

In addition to selling component supplies in crafts, beading, paper art, home décor, framing, fabrics and yarn, they also offer hands-on activities where seasoned crafters can discover and learn how to use new products and novice crafters can channel their inner creativity.

The secret to their success? They cite their creative staff who stay current on trends, understand their target market, travel to trade shows throughout the United States and in Asia and stay active in the craft industry. In today’s economy customers are looking for things to do at home and rediscovering nostalgic pastimes. Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames uses its successful business model to continue filling those needs.

For more information about Redmond’s Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames, call (425) 883-2050 or visit www.craftsandframes.com.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: Affiliate Marketing


So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to Sarah Crosby’s and Zoe Pedziwiatr’s seminar, How to Earn More and Establish Strong Relationships with Brands You Love Through Affiliate Marketing. Sarah and Zoe give expert tips and three strategies to increase your income through affiliate marketing.
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Most bloggers start blogging because they’re passionate about something and they want to share it with the world. Whether it’s photography, cooking, home renovation, fine art, or DIY and crafts, most new bloggers are surprised when they find out that people out there are actually reading what they have to say and even more surprised when they realize that they can make a living from saying it.

You might find yourself organically referencing and linking to products or services you use in your content (i.e. your camera and lenses, your favorite fabric scissors, the spiralizer you used to make that beautiful zucchini dish you made). Your readers are inspired by you—they want to make what you’ve made. They want the products that you recommend. You’re an influencer and you have an audience, which places you in the perfect position to partner with the brands you love through affiliate marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate, at its core, is about a relationship between three parties:
1. Advertiser (brand with an online store)
2. Publisher (blogger/you)
3. Consumers (your blog’s audience)

The brand partners up with a blogger to put tracking links (i.e. product links, banners, etc.) on its site in hopes that its audience will click through to the site and make a purchase or sign up for a service. If one of your readers clicks through a link on your site, the affiliate link provides the tracking technology to be able to track clicks and sales. If your reader makes a purchase, you will earn a commission on that sale. Although commissions tend to be small, if your blog gets a decent amount of traffic and the product or service resonates with your audience, they can add up fast!

One of the most glorious things about affiliate marketing is the potential to earn passive income from long-term traffic. If you have affiliate links in blog posts that consistently receive traffic from search and Pinterest, then there’s a big chance that you could be earning money from these posts for a long time without a ton of maintenance. All it takes is some work up front.

Three Strategies to Increase Your Affiliate Income
1. Update old content with affiliate links. Take a look at your Google Analytics to find your high and medium traffic blog posts. Replace the normal URLs in those posts with affiliate links or figure out how to weave some in.
2. Add links to organic posts. These are the fun posts you plan on writing anyway. Are you referencing products? Put links in there. You never know which posts will blow up.
3. Write awesome affiliate posts. An affiliate post is a strategic, informative, product-centric blog post that strives to push your readers to make a purchase.

Start by solving a problem. What products or services are big right now? What do people want to know more about? What do YOU want to know more about? Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and think about what information pushes you to actually pull the trigger on a purchase. Write the post that you would want to read.

Affiliate Post Examples:
• Product reviews and comparisons
• Resource lists: “Where to Find X”
• Expert Info: “Best Things to Do in X”

Expert Tips
Make it personal. Figure out how to relate all this product information to your life to tell a story and make it feel organic and relatable.
Do the research. Provide all relevant information to your readers. When linking out to products, include details in your content like brand names, alternate retailers, prices, sizes, colors, material, etc.
Time it right. Consider seasonality and publish your post before expected product demand.
Use strong SEO/pinnable images. Search and Pinterest are how new readers will find you and your content. New readers equals more clicks and sales!
Spread the word! Share your affiliate post on social, add it to your blog sidebar, reference and link out to it in future posts. Keep promoting this post. Make sure to update the post with new links when relevant.

Looking to get started with affiliate marketing? Sign up as a publisher with CJ Affiliate and apply to be a part of our blogger friendly Content Certified Program. We provide everything you need—leading brands, great publisher support, resources and more!
Zoe Pedziwiatr, Content Development Manager, CJ Affiliate by Conversant

AffiliateCJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is a leading global affiliate marketing network, specializing in pay-for-performance programs to drive results. Our network helps to create connections amid millions of online consumers daily by facilitating equitable, lucrative relationships between advertisers and publishers. Many of the world’s most recognized and specialized brands run their affiliate programs on CJ’s platform.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: How to Host a Local Craft Event


So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve 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 Rina Gonzales’ seminar, How to Host a Local Craft Event. Rina gives five tips for organizing and preparing for a successful event that any business can follow.

DSC_6563-2How to Host a Local Craft Event
By Rina Gonzales

Hello!

I am so glad to share some tips on “How to Host a Local Craft Event”. As you may know, I created an event called “Crafty Happy Hour” where crafters of all levels and ages come together and create greetings cards. No experience is required, and all supplies are provided.

Here are some tips for planning a fun event in your area:

  1. Pick a venue, event date and theme for your craft project.
  1. Create a fun graphic to promote your event. Now, you can get the word out to your community!
  1. Market your event with social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other media you like; draft a press release, send it to your local newspapers and invite them to send someone to your event; send out your own personal invitations through text message, phone calls and Facebook messaging. You can draft a message that can be used on all social media efforts and for your personal contacts you invite.
  1. Pack your crafts! Plan what you need to pack for your event and also keep your venue informed of what you will need as far as space, tables and any special requests, like what type of music you prefer.
  1. Host your event. Be sure to arrive early to set up, and have helpers for your event that can help navigate issues, like how to use craft supplies/tools.

Good luck!

Rina Gonzales is the owner of Mothership Scrapbook Gal and created “Crafty Happy Hour” in 2013. Her craft business is based in Riverside, California, with a mission to help people craft their special and everyday moments through craft events, DIY card kits and custom orders. Follow her on the Mothership Scrapbook Gal page on Facebook and @mothershipscrapbookgal on Instagram to see what exciting events and workshops she is hosting in her community.

 

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: Evernote: Your Brain on Steroids


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.

Have you started using Evernote yet?
CHAMEGAShow_evernote
This week we’re doing a throwback to this seminar: Evernote: Your Brain on Steroids, taught by Charlene Anderson. Charlene told her seminar attendees everything there is to know about Evernote, including how to use it to make your work and personal lives more efficient.

Click here to download her seminar recap, or read her recap below.

Evernote: Your Brain on Steroids
By Charlene Anderson

In the age of information overload, there are thousands of software programs, books, tools, and courses that claim to help you organize your work and your life. Standing heads and shoulders above all of these solutions is Evernote, what I like to call “my brain on steroids.”

What is Evernote? It’s a cross-platform tool to help you manage your life. Evernote is a website; it’s an application for your desktop computer and an app for your smartphone and tablet. All of these pieces of Evernote work together seamlessly to keep all your information at your fingertips. Using Evernote means you don’t have to remember those thousands of details that are part of our lives. If it is in Evernote, you can access it from any of your devices.

What can Evernote do?
What can you do with Evernote? And more importantly, why should you do it?

Evernote captures information in a variety of ways. You can drop a PDF or other file (including movies) into Evernote. You can snap a picture of a sketch or project idea right in Evernote. You can take notes right in Evernote, or import documents, like Word files or Excel spreadsheets that others have sent you. Using the Web Clipper, two mouse clicks will bring any web page into Evernote, graphics and formatting intact.

Evernote can be your digital file cabinet, note-taking tool, project management system, craft pattern-keeper, daily journal and more.

What does it cost?
There are four pricing tiers for Evernote.

  • Free
  • Basic: $24.99 per year
  • Premium: $45 per year
  • Business: $120 per user per year

A free Evernote account is how most users start, but to truly unlock the power of Evernote you’ll need one of the paid levels. I recommend the serious Evernote user have a Premium account. At 12 cents a day, it is an incredible bargain.

How do I get started?
If I’ve convinced you to give Evernote a try, you are probably wondering how you get started. It’s easy! Go to www.evernote.com and sign up for your free account. Next, download the application for your computer and the Evernote app for all of your mobile devices. I also recommend that you install the Web Clipper into each of the web browsers on your computer. Remember, you can upgrade to a premium Evernote account at any time, but starting with the free version will allow you give Evernote a good test run.

What kinds of things do people keep in Evernote?
Evernote’s ability to manage a huge variety of information is what makes it a brain on steroids. You don’t have to remember things if they are stored in Evernote.

Since I use Evernote in my business and personal lives, I use it to store a wide variety of information, including:

• Wholesale catalogs and price lists
• Pending orders and receipts
• Product sourcing ideas, including photos
• Color palette ideas
• Instruction manuals and how-to guides
• Copies of business documents (tax licenses, etc.)
• Postage and shipping charts
• Photos of eyeglass and medication prescriptions
• Locker combinations
• Knitting patterns
• Craft project instructions
• Home decorating ideas and gardening plans
• Recipes and take out menus
• Car service history
• Meeting notes and agendas
• Client notes and progress reports
• Travel plans
• Gym class schedules
• Motivational quotes
• Bucket list

How can I share my content?

Evernote makes it easy to share notes with others. There are several ways to share:

You can copy and paste a public link (URL) to a note and share it via email or text. Every note in Evernote comes with a unique URL you can copy and paste to any application.

You can use Evernote’s Work Chat to send messages, notes, or notebooks to anyone, whether the recipients use Evernote or not. When you share in a chat with others you can easily exchange ideas and solicit feedback about what you’ve shared.

You can also email a note to someone, and you can even share an entire presentation right in Evernote. When you’re in a group setting or at a meeting, you can use presentation mode to share a full-screen version of your notes on your desktop or laptop computer, or secondary monitor.

How can I be more productive with Evernote?
As with many things in life, the more you use Evernote the more ways you will find to use it in your daily life. I have a few tips to help you quickly integrate Evernote into your work and personal life.

• Commit to using Evernote; then it will become a habit.
• Use Evernote on all of your devices.
• When in doubt, put it in Evernote.
• Set up notebooks that make sense to you.
• Use tags to aid in search.
• Periodically archive or trash items you don’t need.
• Regularly check the Evernote website for updates, blog posts, add-ons, tutorials and more.

Where can I learn more?
Not surprisingly, the Evernote website is a wealth of information about using Evernote. On the site, you’ll find videos, hints, suggestions and real world case studies. Also, be sure you check Amazon for free (and paid) Kindle books about Evernote. My favorite Evernote book is Master Evernote by S. J. Scott.

Also, there are numerous blogs and podcasts about Evernote. Just do a Google search on “Evernote” and you’ll find pages and pages of results.

I really hope you’ll give Evernote a try. It can help relieve you of information overload, and make your work and personal life more organized and efficient.

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

emailmarketing_CHA

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

Time to Start Being the Change

Featured


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: Challenging Your Crafting


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.

“Isabella is seven years old and enjoys crafting on a daily basis. She learns how to make various things using Youtube Rainbow Loom tutorials. Most recently, she took on creating a Star Wars C-3PO character using Rainbow Loom elastics.

Isabella1

This year for National Craft Month Isabella is going to spend her crafting time challenging herself to see what else she can create using her Rainbow Loom.”

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Listen to Isabella share with us how she is celebrating!

That concludes our 31 Days of Crafting series for National Craft Month!

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!

Scotty-rides-again

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!

31 Days of Crafting: Aunt Maureen’s Art Club


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.

Nothing gives Maureen Walsh, CHA’s Vice President of Membership and Marketing, more joy than spending time creating with her nephews and nieces. Read about the “side business” she runs after work and on the weekend, where she gets paid in paint, smiles and sugar crafts.

“I’ve always been the ‘artsy’ one in the family and enjoy sharing my talents with the next generation. I started sharing my love of all things creative many years ago with my first two nephews, Jack and Alec, who are now college age and fabulous people! I’ve continued to invite my nieces and nephews to join me for creative projects and lessons.

Maureen1

My siblings are quite happy to send the children to Aunt Maureen’s Art Club, where they learn painting and drawing techniques, or often choose a new and interesting creative process to explore. We will be gathering this March for an official meeting and mosaic project!

Last Spring we made our Club official, painted a sign, elected my nephew Tyler as president, and got down to some serious acrylic painting. Another meeting involved shamrocks, glitter, glue, clay and 3D St. Patrick’s Day cards for Grandpa and Grandma!

Since that time, I’ve watched my niece Katie and nephew Tyler blossom into talented young artists. Tyler has his own sketch pad and draws regularly; Katie has won an award for her work. A bit like Cezanne in technique, certainly the most passionate about creativity, Tyler told me he likes that you can ‘design anything you think of and make it into something beautiful.’ His words, not mine.

And recently, my nephew Liam drew an amazing sailboat for his Grandma as a gift. While my nephew Dylan is more into sports than artwork, he too has been part of our Club and shows his stellar intellect and talents in everything he does, especially when he convinces me his time would be better spent watching hockey and calling the play-by-play! He’s a better artist than he realizes!

Generally, Art Club is a sleepover event and involves some sugar craft when we’re done with our projects, which generally ends with sprinkles, icing and frostings smeared on faces and fingers and walls and gigantic smiles on all the Art Club members.

This family creative adventure has become so important to all of us and is as much about sharing love as it is about sharing our imaginations and creative energy. I have seen my very special group grow in confidence, self-esteem and pride as we come together to make stuff! This year we will welcome two new members, Ainsleigh and Brendan, who are just old enough to put on their smocks and get busy. Ainsleigh already loves purple crayons, especially on the wall. And we have another little one ready to join us next year, Gracie ‘Van Gogh’. Her first art project from day care is already framed and hanging in my living room.”

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.