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.

2016 CHA MEGA Show Recap Told By Our Attendees


It’s hard to believe that the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show was already over a month ago! Thousands of you, CHA members, creative product buyers, distributors, bloggers, designers and creative professionals joined us at the Anaheim Convention Center to take advantage of live, high-quality education workshops and seminars, and to see 12,000 new products from 370 exhibitors, representing 67 countries.

We could go on and on about how amazing the Show was, but we decided it would be more fun to share your experiences. Here are some of the videos, pictures and recaps we’ve seen online!

Hot Trends
Blitsy Crafts sought out the hottest trends for 2016. Watch this video to see the top five hot trends that the Blitsy team discovered on the Show floor.

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New, New, New
Watch these new product demo videos from PaperCrafter’s Corner, including a demo of the 2016 Hot Product Award winner for the Bead & Jewelry category, the Bangle Bracelet Weaver Tool by Beadalon.

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The People
Without the creative people in our industry, there wouldn’t be a Show! Here’s a great visual blog recap by Nancy Nally of Scrapbook Update, who visited some of her favorite people on the Show floor.

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Best Booth Displays
Jenny Barnett Rohrs of Craft Test Dummies paid a visit to the booth of the 2016 Critics’ Choice Booth Award winner, Lion Brand Yarn. Watch her interview with London Kaye, the artist behind the crocheted display! Jenny also got a personal tour of Plaid’s booth, which won the 75th Anniversary Booth Award in spirit of the Show’s 75th year.

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More Pictures!
Check out our official Show photo album on Facebook to relive the Show from start to finish.

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Top Tweets

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Want more details? Read our press release for a full recap of this year’s Show.

Visit chamegashow.org for the latest announcements about exhibiting at or attending our 2017 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show, January 19-23* at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, AZ.

*Education starts January 19, 2017. The Trade Show starts January 21, 2017.

The Projects are Done…Get Ready to “Hop” on Monday!


It’s almost time for the CHA Paper Arts+ Show Blog Hop! The Blog Hop features exhibitors’ products created into projects by CHA Designer Section Members!

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Follow along right here on the CHA Blog from May 18 – 22 to see which products the Designers used and the creations they came up with. PLUS, you’ll learn how to make the projects yourself!

Win Prizes!
There will be a “password” at the end of each designer blog post. Make sure you keep track of the password each day. At the end of the hop you’ll need to use the “passwords” to form a phrase.

The first two people to tweet us @Craftandhobby the correct phrase will win:

  • 1st Prize: $500 toward travel to the Paper Arts+ Show
  • 2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Be sure to follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in all of the Paper Arts+ Show fun!

Here’s the full schedule for the week:

Monday

CHA Designer: Michele Emerson Roberts
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Graphic 45

CHA Designer: Keri Sallee
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Art Impressions

Tuesday

CHA Designer: Carmen Flores Tanis
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Pink and Main

CHA Designer:  Susan M. Brown
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Little B LLC

CHA Designer: Rita Barakat
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Bo Bunny

Wednesday

CHA Designer: Debra Quartermain
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Ellison

CHA Designer:  Beth Watson
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor:  M-D Building Products

CHA Designer:  Carol Heppner
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor:  Hot of the Press

Thursday

CHA Designer: Candice Windham
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Dare2BArtzy

CHA Designer: Marjolaine Walker
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Linnie Blooms LLC

Friday

CHA Designer: Lisa Fulmer
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Kaisercraft

CHA Designer: Kristi Parker
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Stampendous

CHA Designer: Madeline Faiella
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: The Ribbon Print Company

CHA Designer: Linda Swingle
Paper Arts+ Exhibitor: Thermoweb

Tune in next week for the fun starting on Monday May 18!

Introducing CHA’s New Blogger Membership


By Andrej Suskavcevic

Last week we introduced a new category of membership for bloggers. This was a result of months of consultation with our Social Media Section leadership, the CHA Board appointed Membership Committee and the Board itself. Feedback thus far has been very positive and I wanted to take this opportunity to explain some of the thinking that went on that got us here.

CHA has a wide-ranging membership, not only by the type of business (supplier, retailer, etc.), but also the kind of business (beading, quilt, paint, etc.).  Though, for many our key value proposition is the MEGA Show, much of the work we do is supporting the various communities that constitute our membership. As the industry evolves we need to evolve with it. Over the last couple of years we have seen the growth of blogging within the craft industry. Many current CHA members utilize bloggers to promote their products or stores. Given that blogging has become part of the social fabric of the craft industry we felt it was time to highlight this community with its own membership category. Through this effort we look to help build the connections with other CHA members for mutual business success.

The criteria for membership were established to attract established bloggers that do this as a business versus individuals who are blogging to support their love for crafting.  It’s a challenge as to where to draw the line of being inclusive versus exclusive. Our current criteria seek to find that balance. See the criteria here. We particularly had this in mind when it came to access to the MEGA Show floor. We are looking for bloggers to be multipliers and influencers for the industry and not go to the Show for free stuff. We are additionally developing Show guidelines to help blogger members better understand the do’s and don’ts of networking and business development at the Show.

As we bring blogger members onboard we will be taking in all of the feedback we receive along the way, and if we see a need for a change to the criteria we will bring that to the Membership Committee for consideration.

I tip my hat to all of our members in the “CHA 2015 – See you in Anaheim” Facebook group for all of your feedback and thoughts. I read all of the comments and as you see above we are incorporating your ideas to make this a better, welcoming experience for everyone involved. Keep the feedback coming. It’s what makes CHA better.

Cheers,
Andrej

CHA Social Media Section News


The CHA Social Media section is rounding up news to share each month here on the blog about upcoming craft designer blog tours, craft product promotional campaigns and other exciting collaborations. Click the links to learn more and share some of this news via your own social media channels to inspire your fans and followers to create!

All CHA members who work in a social media capacity are welcome to join the section’s Facebook group to stay informed of social media news and best practices, ask questions about new apps and platform updates, and collaborate with other CHA members.

Tulip For Your Home – Blogger Campaign
September 1 – 12, 2014
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Working with Blueprint Social and iLoveToCreate, 20 top craft bloggers are shopping in their local Jo-Ann, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or online to find Tulip For Your Home Décor products – including stencils, paints, and other home décor items. The bloggers will use what they bought to create a 3-piece vignette for a room in their home!


Plaid’s Martha Stewart Vintage Décor Paint and Chalkboard Paint – Blogger Campaign
September 1 – 12, 2014
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In a partnership between Plaid and Blueprint Social, 20 top home décor bloggers are creating tutorials featuring Plaid’s Martha Stewart Vintage Décor Paint and Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint.

Glue Dots & Friends – Craft Stash Giveaway
September 1 – 30
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Over the years, we’ve had the honor and privilege of working with some top-notch companies! We’ve brought them all together for one awesome Glue Dots & Friends Giveaway!

Paper Trail Teaching Tour
September 3 – October 25
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Follow licensed artist Eileen Hull as she travels and teaches her way across the US and back in her vintage camper, Scotty. See her visits to celebrity crafters’ studios and craft stores, watch video demos and witness whatever else happens along the way! Updates will be on her blog and social media.

KLIK Collaboration with Resin Crafts Blog and Metal Complex
September 8 – 30
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Over 50 crafters and jewelry-makers are sharing their designs using KLIK components.

Quilts for Kids Sew-in
September 20  (10:00am – 1:00pm)
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Spoonflower HQ and Fairfield Processing are so excited to announce a sew-in to support Quilts for Kids! If you can’t make our sew-in, you can still help by visiting the Quilts for Kids website to volunteer at your local chapter, make a donation or request a kit to complete at home.

Craft Your Stash
Book Tour & Blog Hop
September 27 – October 5
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Over 30 of your favorite craft industry designers are having fun with Lisa Fulmer’s new book, Craft Your Stash (Fox Chapel Publishing). Enter to win your own signed copy plus a big box of craft books and supplies to add to your stash!