What you can expect at the CHA Canadian Chapter’s Designer, Educator & Creative Professional (DECP) Retreat

The CHA Canadian Chapter Designers, Educators, Creative Professionals (DECP) Retreat is an annual three-day business, networking and creativity focused hideaway featuring industry leaders in the creative business. The event takes place May 13-15,2016 at the Kempenfelt Conference Centre, Barrie in Innisfil, ON.

Roberta Profile Sept 2015Recently, we caught up with CHA Member Roberta Birnbaum to tell us about her experiences as a previous DECP Retreat attendee and what you can expect as an attendee this year.

How long have you been a CHA Member?
I joined CHA in October, 2013.

Why did you join CHA?
I thought about joining for a few years simply because I was enamored with the MEGA Show and was really envious of people who were able to attend, but I kept putting it off. I finally joined because I wanted to attend the first Designer, Educator & Creative Professional (DECP) Retreat in November of 2013. I really didn’t know much about the organization at that point.

How have you taken advantage of the benefits that CHA offers?
Once I became a member I poured over the CHA website looking to see how I could best take advantage of my membership. I have watched several webinars and requested industry reports — all free! I continue to check out the (growing) number of on-trend, relevant, and helpful webinars, series, and seminars made available. I just signed up for about seven of them! I also regularly use my Staples discount for printed materials. I was thrilled to attend the CHA PaperArts+ Show in Chicago this past summer and I attended the CHA MEGA Show in Anaheim in January – free admission for CHA members.

You attended the CHA Canadian Chapter’s Designer, Educator & Creative
Professional (DECP) Retreat. How was your experience?

DSCN0661Yes I did, and I haven’t looked back! Attending the retreat truly changed my life. I first heard of the retreat through a Facebook post by my friend Carmi Cimicata. It looked like a lot of fun and a great opportunity to meet other creatives and get a LOT of crafting done in one weekend. I was amazed at the quality of the workshops, the variety offered, and the generosity of sponsors. The food is excellent and plentiful. The diversity of participants and presenters creates a buzz of possibility and is also a great equalizer when it comes to our different skill levels. Over the years we have had the following workshops: painting, sewing, encaustic, Powertex, jewelry, resin, textiles, knitting, and mixed media, to name a few. Everyone has to operate outside their comfort zone at some point so it’s not like we’re all experts in every area, and this leads to a wonderful calming, nurturing, and liberating effect, completely removing one’s fear that they’re ‘ no good at this or that’. It allows you to have fun and not fear ‘failure’.

How do the workshops/seminars offered at the retreat help your business?
sat night workshopsThe seminars are full of important and useful information for everyone. Some topics have been boothmanship, understanding technology, and the importance of SEO for your blog or website. The workshops introduced me to many new products and skills, and most are incorporated into my productivity when I get home. I always leave inspired and full of so many new ideas. For me this is the most important aspect of the weekend; that, and the invaluable connections and networking. I have made some excellent contacts and forged working relationships because of it. The networking component has been very successful for me.

Why should people attend this event? Swag 2
I remember first looking at the title of the retreat and thinking, ” ..but is this me? Am I ‘good enough’ to go? Do I even belong at this?” I have come to learn that the term DECP can include every creative soul. So even if you are a craft store owner, or manufacturer, or a craft teacher who teaches in the community, this could be for you because you are a creative professional. Perhaps you are a distributor, or you have a craft line and are looking for qualified designers to work with your product and build a team; this is the perfect venue to introduce your line (either by presenting a workshop or providing product to try). If you want to experience a craft-filled weekend full of fun, education, great food, networking, lots of chocolate, great swag, and wonderful memories, then come to the DECP Retreat. You will arrive with anticipation and leave full of passion and possibility.

Click here to view the DECP schedule and register.

Go on an Exclusive Tour of the CHA 2013 Winter Show Floor in 3 Minutes

Didn’t make it to the CHA 2013 Winter Show in Anaheim, CA this past January? Here’s your chance to go on an exclusive tour of the Show floor in less than 3 minutes!

Save the Dates for upcoming CHA Shows and Events:

  • Creative Conference CANADA
    April 11, 2013 Calgary, Alberta
  • Creative Conference NYC
    May 19–21, 2013 New York, NY
  • Create-N-Connect
    July 22-25, 2013 Las Vegas Nevada
  • CHA Town Hall Meeting in Utah
    March 20, 2013 Sandy, Utah
  • CHA 2014 Conference & Trade Show
    Friday, Jan. 10 – Tuesday, Jan. 14 Anaheim, CA
  • 2014 Create – n – Connect Conference & Trade Show
    Monday, August 4 – Thursday, August 7 St Louis, MO
  • 2015 Create – n – Connect Conference & Trade Show
    Monday, July 27 – Thursday, July 30 Charlotte, NC

CHA Celebrates Innovation at the 2013 Winter Show

The CHA 2013 Winter Conference & Trade Show drew 3336 buyers and 928 networkers, totaling  4264 attendees; of which 790 were international, joining us from 56 countries including Canada, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Germany.


While the temperature was down, the energy was up. Despite the unusual California weather being as low as some 30 degrees, exhibitors and attendees were all in good spirits yielding positive results. For some, this Show was the most successful it’s been in years.


“We’ve been exhibiting at the Winter Show for the entire life of our company – seven years that is – and 2013 was our best Show ever! Our booth was busy literally the whole time. We’ve always seen the Show as – primarily – a way to build brand awareness and network with distribution partners. But this year we worked with a lot of independent retailers and wrote a lot of orders. We did more international business than ever before, picking up new distributors and retailers in Australia, South America, Europe, and Far East.” Sara Davies – Sales Director, Crafters Companion

“This year’s CHA Show was the best in years for us. Not only was it a great forum to see many of our current customers in one place, but it also presented an opportunity to meet new buyers from the international community.”  Ryan Newell – President, Spinrite LP.


“The CHA Conference & Trade Show is the only event on the planet where we can greet hundreds of customers in three days. We cannot imagine choosing not to be there. The 2013 CHA Winter show was our best show ever; the quantity of customers, the quantity of leads and the sales dollars written were all record numbers. The CHA Winter Show was a great start for a new year!” Bobbie Medema – Marketing Director, Notions Marketing

Another key contributing factor to the positive momentum was the launch of the CRE8TIME industry consumer awareness campaign and the new CRE8TIME.org website.  CRE8TIME is a movement funded by the CHA Foundation, designed to encourage creativity by getting participants to pledge 8 hours per month to doing something creative. CRE8TIME.org serves as the hub of the CRE8TIME social movement. It is a community where “CRE8ERS” share their crafts, pledge their hours, get inspired, stay informed and learn how to reclaim 8 hours a month.


“The positive energy from both exhibitors and attendees is very encouraging and speaks volumes to the vibrancy and momentum building for the industry. We look forward to carrying that excitement forward with all the new programs we are launching in 2013.” Andrej SuskavcevicCAE, President and CEO, Craft & Hobby Association.

Every year CHA gives out awards to select exhibitors for outstanding work in product innovation.  Those receiving awards for their products include: Innovative Product Award – Katy Sue Designs/Flower SoftSilicone Molds (www.katysuedesigns.com); Attendee Choice Award – Spellbinders Paper ArtsImperial Gold (www.spellbinderscreativearts.com); and two Honorable Mention Innovative Product Awards – June TailorT-shirt Transformation Ruler Center (www.junetailor.com) and We R Memory KeepersEnvelope Punch Board (http://www.weronthenet.com).

CHA accepts nominations annually from members throughout the industry with the purpose of identifying individuals and companies making significant contributions to humanity, the industry, and the Association. This year Creative Leisure News’ Mike Hartnett was the recipient of the Meritorious Award of Honor. This is the highest award recognition the Craft & Hobby Association can bestow upon an individual past or present member, and is given for significant contributions made to the Association. The Special Recognition Award went to Mari Eriksson and the staff of Fusion Beads, a retail store in Seattle Washington. This award is presented to a person, group and/or company for their extraordinary contribution in an activity showcasing the craft and hobby industry in a positive way.

In 2014 the CHA Winter Conference & Trade Show will return to Anaheim, California January 10-14 to celebrate the 73rd edition of the Show.

Happy Canada Day!

July 1st is Canada Day

We hope you are enjoying the long weekend both here in Canada and in the US.

Do you know what Canada Day is all about? It is the date of confederation, when Canada united as a single country under the British Empire. Celebrated pretty much the same as July 4th, only we welcomed the British… not kicked them out!  Picnics and fireworks abound, with the red & white flags and Maple leaf flying high. There are celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and parades across the country. Often, border cities in Provinces and the States have joint July 4 and Canada Day celebrations, as the two holidays are so close together. Although Canadians are known for their polite reservation, patriotism runs rampant during Canada Day. It also helps that we finally are guaranteed no more snow!

Check out this crafty patriotic bike, great for any parade! Of course Canadians are polite enough to let you copy the idea with your own stars and stripes…. Happy 4th of July to our southern cousins!




CHA is excited to announce a new regional trade event for the Quilting and Sewing Industry in Canada. The CHA Canada 2011 Fall Trade Exhibition for Quilting and Sewing will take place on October 3, 2011 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Brampton, Ontario.

For more details on this event please go to our Canadian affiliate website at: www.cchacanada.org, or contact our Canadian Representative in Canada, Paula Jones, at pjones@craftandhobby.org or call 519 940 5969 EST.


In a news release issued on March 4, 2011 CHA announced its first-ever, one-day, for-Canadians-by-Canadians, CHA Canada 2011 Spring Trade Exhibition For Paper Arts at the Courtyard by Marriott Brampton Convention Center, Brampton Ontario, Canada.  See the complete release below and contact Paula Jones for attendee or exhibiting information Pjones@craftandhobby.org or (519)940-5969.  



ELMWOOD PARK, NJ (March 4, 2011) In efforts to continue the international advancement of the craft and hobby industry, the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) is pleased to announce first-ever CHA Canada 2011 Spring Trade Exhibition For Paper Arts at the Courtyard by Marriott Brampton Convention Center, Brampton Ontario, Canada.  This one-day Canadian craft industry trade event will focus on paper crafts and is anticipating about 10 leading Canadian paper craft manufacturers and up to 40 retailers attending.  Manufacturers, suppliers, media and designers from across Canada will exhibit.

The Spring Trade Exhibition will highlight demonstrations/presentations from Donna Downey Studios Inc, Wendy Russell, Rosewood Stamps and Susiebee Studios, a brand new Canadian company launching at this event. The event will also provide a sales and buying opportunities. This one day event will give exhibitors the opportunity to address Canadian retailers in a smaller, less formal environment than a typical trade show. It will include table top exhibits, order writing, a mega workshop featuring exhibitors’ and some non attending U.S. companies’ class kits and opportunities for both retailer and manufacturer education and seminars.

This “for Canadians, by Canadians” craft industry trade event has been initiated, funded and will be staffed exclusively by and for Canadian businesses. Canadian companies exhibiting and participating include:  Acme United Ltd Canada, Ecstasy Crafts, Harmonie, Multicrafts & Gifts, MyStamp Box, Rosewood Stamps, Stix2- Kool Tak Canada and SusieBee Studios Inc.

About the Craft & Hobby Association

The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) is an international not-for-profit trade association consisting of thousands of member companies engaged in the design, manufacture, distribution and retail sales of products worldwide including the $29 billion U.S. craft and hobby industry. For more information about CHA’s programs in Canada go to www.cchacanada.org.  For more about CHA, membership, or its award-winning CHA Conferences & Trade Shows visit www.craftandhobby.org.