What’s the big deal about the Hot Product Showcase?


Dreaming up the next big product is no walk in the park. And once you do, your job only gets harder. You need to get buy-in, manufacture it and then bring it to market only to hope it flies off shelves. You don’t need us to tell you it’s a lot of work. However, you should listen to us when we tell you about a program that can help take your craft product to the next level.

hotprodsThe Hot Product Showcase at the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show recognizes outstanding innovation, design and function in consumer craft products. In addition to getting eyed by thousands of buyers, these products are judged by a panel of media, celebrity and industry judges for a chance to earn the prestigious title of the Hot Product Award winner. The panel critiques products submitted in each of eight categories (Bead & Jewelry, Cake & Food Decorating, Fabric & Needle Craft, Floral Craft, General Craft, Kids Craft, Paint & Art, and Paper Craft), and ultimately the Hot Product Award winners.

So, how does being a Hot Product Award winner make your product hot?
Here’s what Lindsay Moore, VP of Sales at Hazel & Ruby, knows. Last year, DIY Décor Tape by Hazel & Ruby won the 2015 Hot Product Award for General Crafts, one of the most competitive product categories.

Kudos to the CHA staff for putting on such a great event. It was all first class. Having not participated in the past, we didn’t realize how important this was to our company and our industry. 

 Immediately after we were announced as a winner, our peers were so gracious about congratulating or complementing us on our achievement. Everyone was very kind and supportive. Competing manufacturers and retailers alike, took the time to stop and visit. We love this industry because of the people in it. Whether it’s the retailers, other manufacturers, the CHA staff, or sales reps. We are all rooting for each other and this is something we experienced firsthand. Make no mistake, we cheered for every manufacturer nominated as a finalist. We are some of their biggest fans. It takes a village to raise and keep a vibrant craft industry.

 Being a relatively new brand, trying to capitalize on a new growing trend, this event was something that helped give us credibility and validation for the vision of our company. Being a finalist opened doors that we believe would have taken nothing short of a miracle to happen on our own. We met wonderful, new retailers that we attribute directly to participating in this event.

 This event is needed for new companies and companies that have been around for a while to help grow the industry. I would encourage anyone and everyone in this industry to experience it. It’s a no risk, high-high reward situation.”

Submit your new craft product or prototype to the 2016 Hot Product Showcase by November 2 for a chance to be the next “DIY Décor Tape”.  Stay tuned next week for more success stories from our Hot Product Award winners. 


Cheers to 75 Years Celebrating 75 Years of Creativity with ICE Resin®


To celebrate 75 years of creativity at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show, we are sharing our members’ stories of how they made their mark in the history of our industry.

MYNAMEISMaster silversmith and mixed media artist Susan Lenart Kazmer developed a jeweler’s grade resin for the use in art jewelry in 2006. She brought it to market in 2007 and sold out of her new signature product in less than an hour. Today, artists and professional jewelers from all over the world use ICE Resin® to create their unique art pieces because of its crystal clear and glasslike finish.

How long have you been a CHA Member?

My company, Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin®, has been a member of CHA since 2010.

SLKnewbiopicWhat’s the best thing about being a CHA Member?

It’s been very eye opening for me to see the big business of crafts and the opportunity to work with so many different levels of people in one place. Through CHA, I’ve been able to work with designers, sales reps, buyers, independent store owners, industry consultants, CEOs and presidents of other companies, as well as various CHA staff members. Exhibiting and teaching at the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show has definitely helped grow my company into a much larger organization. The networking and authentic connections I’ve made from the annual Shows has contributed to my company’s success.

Why do you love attending the CHA MEGA Show?

I’ve had the opportunity to teach my products, demo my products and connect with people both in the United States and internationally, year after year. This has helped me grow a truly global business. I look forward every year to personally reconnecting with the people who are moving and shaking, and getting products manufactured and sold in the industry. I’m really excited about this new opportunity of working hand-in-hand with Ranger Industries to debut my new product line of really exciting pieces, parts and elements that work with ICE Resin®. I think the artists and makers are going to love the new ideas and looks they are going to be able to do with ICE Resin®.

What is your most memorable CHA Show story?

One of the most rewarding parts of the CHA MEGA Show is, with the addition of the artisan workshops, I’ve been able to bring my studio style of teaching that I’ve done nationally and internationally for the past 15 years into the craft industry workshop format. It’s been so impressive for me to see my students grow in their ICE Resin® work year after year. They wear their jewelry to the Show, they bring it to my classes and they show up at our booth excited to share their passion for our products. I love it.

One of the other memorable parts of the Show every year is that I always get to connect in person with many members of my design team. We always go to Buco di Beppo for a team building dinner where we just relax, have fun, and enjoy each other’s company. It’s a tradition to wear fake mustaches when we walk into the restaurant and to share them with our waiters. One year, we even had a little extra fun going ‘stash crazy’ in the Pope room. We returned the next year only to have the same waiter still sporting his mustache on his leather order-taking book, so it must have been memorable for him too. It’s nice to unwind after long and busy days of doing business on the Show floor.

Join us, Susan, ICE Resin® and Ranger Industries in the workshop, Transparent Text with Susan Lenart Kazmer, at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show to celebrate the latest craft industry products and innovations.

Register today!

 Share your “Cheers to 75 Years” story and we’ll feature it on the CHA Blog leading up to the 2016 CHA MEGA Show! Email marketing@craftandhobby.org, or share it on Twitter using the hashtag, #WeAreCHA.

“Meet the Instructor” Blog Series: Meet Julie Fei-Fan Balzer


Registration for the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to some of our Workshop instructors so you can hear about their live classes and what you can expect to learn from them.

julie fei fan

This week, we are kicking off the “Meet the Instructor” blog series by meeting Julie Fei-Fan Balzer! Julie has attended the CHA MEGA Show as a buyer, sales person, demo artist, designer and exhibitor. This year, she’ll be attending as your instructor for Beautiful Boxes, sponsored by Brother International Corporation.  In this Workshop, you will explore the ScanNCut 2, the world’s only electronic cutter with a built-in scanner, and learn to make mixed media boxes that will look great on display at your store.

Watch this video to get more information about this Workshop, plus Julie’s seasoned advice for attending the CHA MEGA Show!

CHA: “Not just an expense, but an investment well made”


Not just an expense, but an investment well made, as we continuously see the value when we meet new potential national and international customers at the Show.
– Sonia Viteri, Tombow

The 2016 CHA MEGA Show is a big expense if you’re not a member of the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA). Whether you’re exhibiting or not, Non-Members pay more to be at the largest craft industry event in North America.
IMG_3476The CHA MEGA Show is the only trade event of its kind in North America, bringing together the global creative and craft industries to conduct business. Buyers from these categories, who represent over 35,000 storefronts and 55 countries, will be at our Show in January.

  • Art materials
  • Business services
  • Containers & storage
  • Digital craft
  • Furniture & lighting
  • Home décor, DIY & framing
  • Holiday & seasonal
  • Instructional channels
  • Jewelry & bead
  • Kids crafts & kits
  • Leather & metal crafts
  • Models, hobbies, collectibles
  • Needlecrafts, sewing & textiles
  • Paper crafts
  • Woodworking & more!

Join CHA and receive a better return on your investment. You’ll save 40% on booth and badge prices! When you exhibit, you will receive a 10’X10’ booth where you can demonstrate and sell your new products to our buyers, plus four badges to walk the Show floor.

In addition to incredible savings, CHA membership will give you access to:

  • Webinars for no additional cost to your dues, which are available 24/7 and designed to enhance your business skills
  • Craft Industry Today magazine and industry news in monthly newsletters
  • Research on trends and the state of the industry
  • Discounts on education and business products and services
  • Listings in online directories
  • Product specific communities

Make the investment and start saving – JOIN TODAY!

Ways to save: Make the 2016 CHA MEGA Show your most efficient business trip ever



Everyone’s getting pumped for the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show. With registration only a month away (September 16!), you may be thinking, how can I afford the trip? CHA wants this to be your most efficient business trip ever. Use these tips to start saving now.

Before the Show

Register Early

Register by Monday, December 21 and it won’t cost you a penny to get on the Show floor. CHA buyer and industry professional members who register early attend for no additional cost to their membership dues; CHA buyer and industry professional members who register after Monday, December 21 pay $25 to attend.

Book Ahead

Reserve your hotel room through onPeak, CHA’s official housing partner, by October 31, 2015 to take advantage of the early bird promotion rates at CHA’s hotel partners, which are as low as $90 per night! Start monitoring flights now using websites like Kayak and Trivago so you can find the best rate on the best airline and book on the cheapest day of the week.

Save Your Money

Set aside money every day until the MEGA Show. If you set aside $5 a day, you will save enough money for a six-night stay at several of CHA’s hotel partners.

Find a Roommate

Cut the cost of your hotel room in half when you share a room with your business colleague, friend or another Show attendee. Don’t know anyone? Join the See You at CHA Facebook group and meet one of your peers who is in the same situation.


Evaluate how much money you will spend on daily expenses, such as food, and education seminars and workshops. Some of our events include food and drinks, which means fewer meals you will have to pay for out of pocket.

At the Show

Shop the Grocery Store

You don’t have to eat out every night. There are several grocery stores in the area, like Krogers, where you can purchase meals for less than the cost of restaurants.

Free Transportation

All of CHA’s hotel partners offer a complimentary shuttle service or are within walking distance of the Anaheim Convention Center. A couple of hotels offer complimentary parking too.

Rental Car Discounts

Discounts for car rentals and shuttle service to and from the airport will be listed on the CHA MEGA Show website soon. Take these vehicles when your destination is further than walking distance – they’re cheaper than a cab ride!

Show Your Badge

Local restaurants and venues will give you a discount when you flash your CHA MEGA Show badge! A list of participating businesses will be shared online closer to the event. These discounts are in addition to the low cost dinner options you can explore in Anaheim (ask the hotel staff about their favorite places!).

Network, Network, Network!

Make your trip worth your while. The more people you meet and events you attend, the more business opportunities you will have to maximize the return on your investment.

After the Show

Follow Up

Stay in touch with the people you meet at the Show so your newly formed relationships don’t dissipate.

Plan for 2017

The next CHA MEGA Show is in January 2017. Start thinking about it after your 2016 adventure in Anaheim to give yourself even more time to budget, plan and save.

Crafters’ Home Showcase at the Paper Arts+ Show


By Missy & Trisha, Crafters’ Home
Missy Brozek – Vice President & Creative Director
Trisha Studer – Member Relations Coordinator

We’re excited to be here on the CHA Blog today to tell you a little more about our upcoming Crafters’ Home Showcase event, July 19 – 20, preceding the CHA Paper Arts+ Show. Crafters’ Home is a dynamic group of independent brick-and-mortar paper crafting retailers and vendors dedicated to helping the independent retail channel grow and continue to stay strong. Here at Crafters’ Home, we are committed to fostering connections between retailers and vendors through retail advice, exclusive discounts, promotions, education, discussion groups, book clubs, and of course, our Crafters’ Home Showcase events!

Crafters' Home Showcase - Image One

A huge thanks to CHA for inviting us to be the title sponsor for this summer’s Paper Arts+ Show and for its efforts to organize a valuable Show – giving retailers and exhibitors much needed face-time as they prepare for their fourth quarter and holiday season buying.

The Crafters’ Home Showcase is a two-day education and buying event exclusively for our member retailers and partner vendors. We have a bursting schedule for this summer’s Showcase and are excited to be able to offer an excellent variety of hands-on education, retail education seminars and new product presentations. We’ll wrap up our two-day event with the Sample Showcase – which, for the first time ever, is open to ALL CHA brick-and-mortar independent retailers. Keep reading for more details about how you can join us!

Crafters' Home Showcase - Image Two

Our member retailers are going to be spoiled with our line up of activities and events! With workshops from vendors like Graphic 45, Art Impressions, Sizzix, Heartfelt Creations, Lawn Fawn and Linnie Blooms, as well as a couple of our incredibly talented and thriving retailers, we have no doubt this is going to be a win-win for our vendors and retailers! We’ve invited Cathy Donovan Wagner from Retail Mavens, Katie Kohlmann from Ellie K Designs, and David Nawrocki from Retail Studio Effect to lead our retail education seminars and share their expertise. Vendors joining us to present their newest products and services include Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft, Reminisce, Sizzix, Tonic Studios, Bella Blvd, Simple Stories, Echo Park, Kaisercraft, Retail Mavens and Retail Studio Effect – we’re so excited to see what they have in store for us! A few vendors who aren’t able to join us will be participating in our Product Spotlight by sending their catalogs, order forms and samples to our event for attendees; thanks to Authentique Papers, SRM Stickers, Pink and Main and Paper House Productions (we have a feeling this list might continue to grow) – we appreciate them joining us from afar!

We’ll wrap up our two-day event with the Sample Showcase – Monday, July 20 from 6:00 p.m.- 9:30 p.m.. We are inviting all CHA brick-and-mortar independent retailers to our Sample Showcase event (6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. is exclusive to Crafters’ Home retailers – non-Crafters’ Home retailers are invited to stop in between 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.)! We encourage you to take this opportunity to learn more about Crafters’ Home and our dynamic group of retailers and vendors. Take time to visit with our vendors – Sizzix, Retail Studio Effect, Retail Mavens, Ellie K Designs, Lawn Fawn, Reminisce, Echo Park, Simple Stories, Linnie Blooms, Art Impressions, Dare 2B Artzy, Deflecto, Tonic, Faber Castell Design Memory Craft, and Scrapbook Adhesives; stop by for make-n-takes and demos; and, chat and network with our retailers about their experience as a Crafters’ Home retailer. We’ll have treats and refreshments, and hope you’ll join us for a fun, exciting Showcase finale before the Paper Arts+ Show floor opens!

Registration is required – $25 for CHA Members (brick-and-mortar independent retailers only).

To learn more about becoming a Crafters’ Home retailer or partner vendor, please visit www.craftershome.com, email info@craftershome.com or stop by our booth on the Paper Arts+ Show floor!

Join the “See You at CHA!” Blog Hop



You are invited to participate in the See You at CHA! Blog Hop to celebrate coming together at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show!

Hosted by the Social Committee of the CHA Designer Section, this big behemoth of a blog hop will be a tremendous opportunity for all CHA members to reach loads of colleagues and customers as we share our plans and promotions for the Show.

The link to an online registration form is at the end of this post – sign up early and plan ahead to generate lots of excitement for your week at the MEGA Show in January!

Hop dates: December 7-11, 2015
You will pick a date within this week to post on your blog. The master hop schedule with links will be posted on the CHA blog in November. Right-click and save the banner graphic above to use as a blog hop badge.

Participants: CHA members and craft media sites who/that plan to attend and/or exhibit at the MEGA Show (all membership categories).

Hop theme: The 2016 MEGA Show and CHA’s 75th Anniversary
Your blog post can be about any of these topics:

• New product sneak peek(s)
• Demo, class, seminar and/or make-n-take schedules
• Show specials and/or related offers
• Project inspiration and/or tutorials
• Memories of past Shows and/or craft industry anecdotes
• What you’re excited about seeing or doing at the 2016 Show
• Tips for getting the most out of the Show
• Behind the scenes Show and/or travel prep

IMPORTANT – Joint $$$ giveaway!
No blog hop is complete without a chance for people to win something fabulous!

Each blog hop participant will be required to contribute a minimum of $5 to the prize pot. We’ll be using Tilt.com to securely collect funds online from participants. The final sum of funds in the prize pot will be used to purchase a VISA gift card for the winner.

The more money in the pot, the bigger the prize value and the more traffic and excitement it will generate for everyone! You’ll receive a code for a Rafflecopter prize drawing widget to put in your post. The entry options will be limited to just three: a blog comment, a tweet or a pin. All blog hop participants (CHA employees excluded), their staff, and their customers, fans and followers are eligible to win – both domestic and international.

Click here to sign up today – the deadline to join is September 30. 2015.

Feel free to post any comments or questions you might have about the hop in the See You at CHA Facebook group. You can also email the blog hop organizer with questions: Lisa Fulmer – lisa@lisafulmer.com.

About the Social Committee of the CHA Designer Section:
We moderate a Facebook group called See You at CHA, where attendees and exhibitors can connect, socialize and network prior, during and/or after any CHA Show. CHA members in all membership categories are welcome to join, as well as craft media reps. The Social Committee is here to help you navigate the Show, share experiences, meet new people and learn about fun things to do at the Show. You can even use the group to find a hotel roommate, airport shuttle pal, or dinner companions – we want to do whatever we can to help you have a great experience at CHA!

Meet Debi Adams of Spellbinders Paper Arts!


We are getting to know some of our Paper Arts+ workshop teachers in this “Meet the Teachers” blog post series. Through the series, you will learn about their art and inspiration, the value in attending their workshops, and what you can expect to learn. This week we meet Debi Adams, instructor and concept designer at Spellbinders Paper Arts!

debi adamsIn Shaping a Beautiful Life with Platinum, Debi will teach you all of the amazing things you can do with the new Platinum machine by Spellbinders. Featuring Versacut technology, the Platinum machine has an 8 1/2″ cutting platform, and is stronger and requires fewer turns than other machines on the market. Cut up to eight layers of fabric at a time while being able to cut over 40 different substrates with Spellbinders’ new Contour steel rule dies!

Tell us a little about yourself.
My degree is in education, but my passion is art. I’ve been involved in the art industry for more than 30 years. In that time, I’ve worn a ton of hats: paper crafter, sewer, floral arranger, party planner and decorator, wall mural painter, cookie decorator, jewelry maker, set and prop stager and most recently, photographer. I feel blessed to have been interviewed in a myriad of magazines, including Somerset Studios, and Apronology and Scrapbooks, and to have worked with licensed designers like Tim Holtz, Brenda Walton, Jo Packham and Lori Whitlock.

What do you love most about the creative industry?
I love our industry because it provides countless tools, techniques and supplies for creative folks to create or “think” outside the box.

What do you love most about teaching workshops?
I never get tired of seeing the “light bulb” go on. Often times I hear someone say, “I never thought I could do that.” That always makes my day!

What value would you place on attending classes offered at live conferences such as the Paper Arts+ Show?
Attending Paper Arts+ workshops is so valuable. You get to be the first to see and experience the latest trends in crafting and invaluable tools for your store.

What are the top takeaways that attendees will learn by taking your workshop?
My workshop will equip you to sell Spellbinders’ dies and machines to your customers. You’ll take home essential knowledge, capabilities and applications of all the products you’ll use to apply in your store and/or classroom.

When you’re not teaching, what can we find you doing?
I love scavenging for treasures at estate and garage sales, as well as in stores like Goodwill. I use these items as art materials or upcycle/recycle them as home décor for my new home in Arizona. Also, every chance I get, I love getting together and hanging out with my four adult daughters.

The Paper Arts+ Show is around the corner and Show registration is open! Register for Shaping a Beautiful Life with Platinum today! Online registration closes on Tuesday, July 14!

Learn more about Debi on the Spellbinders Paper Arts blog and her personal blog.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where we will meet Eileen Hull, designer for Sizzix/Ellison!

CHA MEGA Show Priority Points: The Deadline You Need to Make for Better Business Opportunities in 2016


IMG_3484Use the Priority Points you’ve earned and reserve the best exhibit space possible at the
2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show
! The deadline to use your Priority Points is Tuesday, June 30 – that’s JUST one week away!

What is Priority Points?
It’s an exhibitor incentive program. Your company earns Priority Points each year it exhibits at the CHA MEGA Show. The more Priority Points you have, the greater your chances are for getting PRIME real estate on the Show floor!

How does it work?
CHA Member Exhibitors earn six (6) points for each CHA MEGA Show in which they exhibit and one (1) point for each 100 square feet (10’ x 10’) contracted. Non-Member Exhibitors earn three (3) points for each CHA MEGA Show in which they exhibit and one (1) point for each 100 square feet (10’ x 10’) contracted. Priority Points can also be earned through Sponsorship at the CHA MEGA Show. CHA Members earn one (1) point for every $1,000 of Sponsorship. Points are cumulative and build each year. However, if your company is not a CHA Member, you can’t use your points until your company becomes one.

Questions? Nadine Schwartz, our Director of Sales, can answer them! Contact her via 201-835-1203 or nschwartz@craftandhobby.org.

Remember to submit your completed contract to Nadine with payment by Tuesday, June 30! Don’t miss your chance to get the space you want!

Top 10 Reasons to Exhibit at the CHA MEGA Show



The 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show is taking place January 7-12, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. As an exhibitor, this is your opportunity to exhibit at the oldest and largest craft industry trade show in the U.S. and get your product in front of thousands of buyers!


Incase that’s not enough of a reason to convince you, here are 10 more reasons to exhibit at the CHA MEGA Show:

  1. Generate new sales leads with thousands of big box and independent retail buyers who are ready to place orders
  2. Join 400+ exhibiting companies that are showcasing more than 9,000 SKUs
  3. Get exposure – Promote your brand and products to more than 150 global media outlets
  4. Leverage face-to-face networking opportunities
  5. Up-to-the minute exposure to all of the latest product trends and forecasts you need
  6. Expand internationally by reaching valuable buyers and media from more than 55 countries
  7. Develop new partnerships and expand your professional contacts
  8. Launch new products
  9. Increase brand awareness
  10. The only place you can conduct a year’s worth of business in four days


Valuable buyers from more than 35,000 stores want to place orders with you!

Sign up to exhibit today!

Exhibiting Questions?IMG_4301

For U.S. inquiries, click here or contact Nadine Schwartz via nschwartz@craftandhobby.org or 201-835-1203.

For international inquiries, click here or contact Andrew Morton via amorton@craftandhobby.org or +44 1425 271964.