Cheers to 75 Years: Celebrating Linda Swingle

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

lindaswingleAs an entrepreneur and professional artist, Linda enjoys a professional journey filled with unlimited possibilities while working with the finest clientele and companies spanning the globe. She is the President of Linda Swingle Professional Art Services, and also serves as Editor and Columnist of the CHA Designer Section Trends Report.

How long have you been a CHA Member?

I first became a CHA Member in 2006 and continued with the membership until 2008. Life presented different plans in 2009, but in 2010 I renewed membership. Renewing my membership was the best move I made for multiple reasons. My journey with CHA continues to be an enjoyable one!

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

As a CHA Designer Member, I enjoy close ties with designers, manufacturers, artisans and craft enthusiasts: all whom I consider my circle of creative homies! Volunteering and serving on CHA Committees provide tremendous opportunities for personal growth and development, in addition to benefits gained through business association. Serving as the Lead and Editor of the CHA Designer Section Trends Committee’s Trends Report brings tremendous joy to my creative soul. Combining a passion for art, writing, and a love for people is a remarkable experience, and it all started through volunteering as a contributing reporter back in 2013. Five years ago, I truly had no idea of the possibilities compared to what I now know.

LSPhoto20122Why do you love attending the CHA MEGA Show?

Oh my goodness! I can revert to fun times experienced during childhood while messing around with art and craft supplies – except this time, without being yelled at! Seriously, where else can one have so much fun? Playing with new products during the CHA MEGA Show beats playing at Disneyland any day of the week! I like to refer to the CHA MEGA Show as the “Cathedral of Creativity” . . . the inner sanctum of endless possibilities if you will!

What is your most memorable CHA Show story?

Honestly, singling out a favorite is a bit difficult due to the treasure trove of fond memories collected thanks to CHA. I would say exhibiting for the first time as a new CHA Designer Member in 2011 and participating in the Designer Showcase was an extremely enjoyable experience. The first Show opened doors as well as opened my eyes to the tremendous opportunities ahead! A funny story relating to a particular make-n-take always makes me chuckle. While participating during a quick painting class held on the Show floor, as I sat and applied techniques taught, the owner of the company, a kindly gentleman, leaned over and asked if I had ever enrolled in painting classes prior to that day. Sheepishly, I stated that I had not. He quickly commented how impressed he was by the natural talent possessed. After completing a quick painted rendition of a snow-capped mountain, the man took me aside to encourage me to pursue training as a painter and asked that I stay in touch with him. At that point, it was impossible to hold back a giggle as I handed him my business card with images of murals painted professionally for commercial installations. That day, we both enjoyed a good laugh, and yes, despite the teasing, the kind man and I remain friends!

Join Linda in the seminar, CRAFTING TRENDS: What’s In and Hot For 2016 & Beyond, at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show to have FUN and 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.

Celebrating 75 Years of Creativity with Carol Foldvary-Anderson

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

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I began creating art at a very young age and was recognized early as a creative thinker. My background and first love was drawing and coloring, and later painting. I also enjoy thinking in 3-D and working in wood, metal and beads, and sculpting with paper! I have had the opportunity to have produced several public works of art in my career. I enjoy teaching and creating things of beauty. I find joy in sharing my experience in working with different mediums with my students in the many classes/workshops I offer.

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

I believe we are here to grow, share and make a difference in the world and in other peoples’ lives. Being a CHA Designer Member has been my vehicle for creating, sharing, teaching and producing art that sells. I have grown my business and watched designers move forward with their careers. It is rewarding to see their success and to have peers that support you and your efforts of involvement in the industry.

What is your most memorable CHA Show story?

Years ago, I met a CHA Member manufacturer/distributor who noticed my oil pastel works. It was at that time I realized I had something of value to contribute to education and the arts. Over the next few years, I developed a team of arts and craft product co-sponsors and presented OIL PASTEL SMUDGE to the craft and hobby industry.

I see the application of OIL PASTEL SMUDGE fitting into the emerging trend of mixed media – layering different mediums, and in the use on new and different surfaces.

Carol Foldvary-Anderson - collage 2Why do you love attending the CHA MEGA Show? Last year was the first year my 28 year old daughter was able to attend the Conference. I was ecstatic to finally share the experience with her. Her exact words were, “This place is like a craft store on steroids!”

I remember the very first Show I attended – I was on overload. I was so excited to be in a place that wherever you looked you saw all the products and materials you worked with every day. I was excited to be a part of the industry where I could share my work, ideas and art. That’s why I love attending.

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Join us and Carol Foldvary-Anderson in her workshop, Oil Pastel Smudge, in Anaheim for 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.

Watch Carol’s video on the OIL PASTEL SMUDGE technique:

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Cheers to 75 Years Celebrating 75 Years of Creativity with Jill MacKay

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

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Jill MacKay is an accomplished designer, author and consultant. Her genuine enthusiasm, combined with over 25 years creative work experience makes Jill one of the most skilled, diversified and sought after designers working in the creative industries today. Jill is best known for having been the jewelry designer for the daytime drama: The Guiding Light, and for her past work on Paramount Studio’s, Star Trek: The Next Generation. In addition, Jill is the woman behind Liteseeds LED Stickers, which are stickers that crafters can use to add illumination to paper crafting, scrapbooking, paper computing and many other types of projects. The Jill MacKay brand continues to evolve and charm the jewelry makers and buyers of the industry. MacKay’s jewelry currently sells in over 2,000 stores internationally, on television, and online.

How long have you been a CHA Member?jill4

I have been a CHA member since 1992.

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

The best thing about being a CHA member is the home I have found. I used to design for Hollywood types and it wasn’t at all for me; the people weren’t very down to Earth. When I attended my first CHA Show, everyone was so on my wavelength. The genuine quality of the people struck me in the way that I knew I had found a home, and I have been here ever since! The quality of people in our industry is amazing, and I have made good friends with many along the way with CHA.

Why do you love attending the CHA MEGA Show?

Jill2I love attending CHA Shows because it is so exciting to see all the new products, watch what is evolving, understand how the market changes from year to year, and, of course, spend a little time with all my old friends.

What is your most memorable CHA Show story?

Every year is special because the Show is the only time I get to see some of the people I love from CHA. So, our time together is precious. When the Show was in Las Vegas, every day the Jill3
Show would let out and there was a very long line (what seemed like a mile long as there were never enough taxis). Well, I am not very good at waiting. While approaching the taxi line one evening, I glanced over and saw this young man standing in front of a party bus. I ran over and asked him how many people I would need to rent it, and then I ran back and gathered up that many friends. In a matter of minutes we were off and no more waiting! We hopped on that bus and felt like we had just gotten away jill1with something; we were laughing and had so much fun!  Oh my gosh – I cannot tell you how hard we laughed! We took turns pretending that we knew what that pole in the back was for (wink, wink)! As I recall, that same night some of us from the bus ride had dinner together; we were having so much fun at dinner that perfect strangers came up and asked if they could join our table because they wanted to have as much fun as we were having!! At CHA, we know how to work hard all day, and have fun (on the way to) and over dinner!

Join us and Jill in the workshop, Inspire, Imagine and Create Leather Jewelry with Sizzix, at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show to have FUN and 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

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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.

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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!

Part Two: Expanding Our Creative Toolbox and Our Horizons by Carmen Flores Tanis

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Our Craft Industry Today Fall 2015 issue explored new technologies that CHA members using to add value to their business success. Carmen Flores Tanis sat down with a few more CHA members to learn the innovative approaches they are taking to turn their ideas into tangible products.

The Value of Prototyping
Build It Workspace interior by Carmen Flores Tanis
One of the beauties of print on demand is the ability to test a design before committing to print two, three or 100 items. Did you know this prototyping process is available on other kinds of machines? Catherine Lengsfeld of Build It Workspace uses an electronic die cutter to test designs for wedding favors before having them turned into steel rule dies for her traditional hand-cranked die cutting machine. Electronic plotter and vinyl die cutters, common tools of the trade for sign and banner shops, have shrunk in size and have been adapted to cut fabric and cork, in addition to vinyl and paper materials, and even engrave metal. Lengsfeld explains that while the digital die cutter is not meant for high rate production, it works beautifully for prototyping designs, which can then be mass produced on a different machine.

Lisa Elston, Product Manager at Ellison/Sizzix, is very involved with STEAM education programs and  agrees with the importance of prototyping. (STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, a movement championing the integration of creative skills with scientific thinking in school and business environments.)  Elston explains that this ability to try ideas with electronic die cutters allows students to make mistakes and apply what they learn to subsequent design variations. “Students are able to create ideas faster and with fewer issues and problems.”

Manufacturing at Home
Rob Bostick of  JudiKins uses his laser cutting machine for a different purpose. Up until recently, Bostick would design stencils using the graphics program Illustrator. He would import his design into a Sizzix eclips electronic die cutting machine for testing. Once he was happy with it he would send it to a vendor who would then manufacture the plastic stencils for him in large quantities. That all changed when his vendor upped the prices.

After doing the math, Bostick decided to purchase his own laser cutting machine. In one fell swoop, Bostick changed his workflow and became the manufacturer for  the JudiKins line of plastic stencils. “The biggest problem was running the minimums,” says Bostick. “Doing the manufacturing in-house allows us to create new products on the fly. We can dream of something, design it, make it, test market it and not have to worry about putting a lot of investment into having one stencil made up. We can make just one or 20 to take to a show.”

Bostick says, “When it comes to designs, you really have no clue how they are going to sell until you get out in the marketplace. Now we can make really short runs to test the market. Then we can invest more in the designs that sell. It helps us to create more images faster and to try different designs easily.”

Customization
Laser engraved pumpkin by Catherine Lengsfeld

Designer Tracy Alden is a master of mold making and resin casting. Although these materials are not new, they are resurging in popularity. Alden works with curators to make replicas of pieces for small museums and underprivileged groups that cannot afford to travel and view the original artwork. As a member of the Alumite design team, Alden starts her projects by sculpting an original work out of polymer clay or non-drying artisan clay. From the original, she casts a mold that she can then fill with any number of materials – plaster, clay, resin, paper maché, or even chocolate!

For her jewelry pieces, Alden casts between 20 to 100 pieces for a particular mold and makes each one slightly different through the careful use of inclusions, such as glitter and leaves. “It’s a simple way to customize and make one-of-a-kind pieces,” says Alden. I take personal pride in being able to mold my own creations and in pushing the boundaries of the materials. And there has to be a joy in what you’re doing. Then you’ll feel encouraged to make more and that means more sales and more money.”

Missed “Part One” of this series? Download the digital version of Craft Industry Today Fall 2015 to read learn about more technologies, including print on demand, screen printing and more.

Join the “See You at CHA!” Blog Hop

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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!

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!

Meet Fran Seiford of Stampendous!


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 Fran Seiford, the founder and Chief Artistic Officer of Stampendous!

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You and your consumers are about to develop a passion for Stampendous’ newest stamp and cutting die sets. In Fran’s workshop, Poinsettia Passion, you’ll discover the range of creative project possibilities offered by Stampendous’ new Poinsettia Cling Rubber Stamp Set, template and coordinating Die, and Pop-Up Die Set. Plus, you’ll learn some techniques, like how to shade with color pencils and create 3D layers. You’ll take home two cards, either a Poinsettia pin or ornament, and inspirations for your store!

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am an entrepreneur, business owner and designer. I have designed rubber stamps for over 30 years. Even after all that time, I still get a thrill out of the excitement and creative options each new stamp image brings. A handmade card or craft speaks from the heart – that’s one of the many things my stamps can help people do.

What do you love most about the creative industry?
It’s endless energy. The craft industry is ever evolving and brings new twists on old themes. One time, I met a business consultant at a craft show who was thunderstruck from the moment he walked in; he had never seen anything like it. If you sell cement, you probably know what I mean.

What do you love most about teaching workshops?
It’s rewarding when participants get excited and have fun with the products. The best remarks are “Look what I made;” “I can do it;” “It was so fun;” “It was easier than I thought;” and, “It came out beautiful!” Plus, students always wow me. I have created the stamps with one look in mind and watched someone make the stamps their own with a style I had never even considered.

What value would you place on attending classes offered at live conferences such as the Paper Arts+ Show?
Hands-on classes are the foundation of effective new product sales. The more innovative the products, the more truth there is to this statement. No matter how much work goes into a new product, the catalog or the packaging, it is very troubling when someone looks at the unopened package and says, ”I don’t get it.” So, when there is an opportunity to try a product and learn from the person who designed it, that is an opportunity not to be missed.

What are the top takeaways that attendees will learn by taking your workshop?
Those who attend my workshop will get that must-have product experience. Having tried out Stampendous’ new products, attendees will take home the beautiful samples they made and be able to teach their customers with confidence. My hope is this workshop will be something they can repeat in their stores.

When you’re not teaching, what can we find you doing?
Busy designing, designing, and designing. Also, I make YouTube videos and am in the process of authoring a “how to” craft book.

The Paper Arts+ Show is around the corner and Show registration is open! Register for Fran’s Poinsettia Passion workshop today!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where we will meet Debi Adams, instructor and concept designer at Spellbinders Paper Arts!

Meet Bonnie Krebs and Kate Swanson of Art Impressions Rubber Stamps


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. We’re having double the fun this week as we feature two teachers! Meet Bonnie Krebs and Kate Swanson of Art Impressions Rubber Stamps!

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In their workshop New! Interactive Holiday Stamping, Bonnie and Kate will teach you tips, tricks and techniques using Art Impressions’ latest stamping products. You will complete four dynamic and fun projects, like creating interactive cards with unique stamping patterns! At the end of this two hour session, you will take home creative ideas for Christmas projects your customers will love and FREE product for you to recreate some of these amazing projects for your store!

Tell us a little about yourself.

One of us, Bonnie Krebs, is originally from Salem, Oregon, where she and her husband, Phil, started Art Impressions Rubber Stamps in 1987. Bonnie and Phil have grown their family business through a constantly changing industry and are proudly celebrating the store’s 28th anniversary in July. Bonnie is a self-taught, whimsical artist who loves to create new images. She is the sole designer for Art Impressions and has created over 8,000 designs, from cute characters and animals to watercolor stamping techniques.

The other one of us, Kate Swanson, grew up with a strong love of stamping, paper crafting and party planning. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Communications from George Fox University. After graduation, she happened to visit a friend who was working at Art Impressions. It was perfect timing, as Kate was looking for a job and Art Impressions was hiring. Kate joined the company and quickly brought her personal and professional passions to the team. Four years later, she holds the title of Marketing and Accounts Manager, and works closely with storeowners and industry professionals. Kate has traveled all over the United States to demonstrate at the Craft & Hobby Association’s trade shows as well as other special events and retail shows.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

We love the people! We enjoy spending time and sharing our creations with other store owners, creative customers, industry colleagues and likeminded individuals. We look forward to trade shows (especially CHA’s Paper Arts+) because we get to spend time and catch up with our friends and industry counterparts!

What do you love most about teaching workshops?

We’re always formulating new stamping techniques and interactive card ideas. We love watching those who take our classes light up when we present these new concepts. It is so much fun to see our class attendees interact with the products that took us months to conceptualize!

What value would you place on attending classes offered at live conferences such as the Paper Arts+ Show?

A little instruction goes a long way, especially with our products. At a live Show, we can offer many tips and tricks, which help store owners and can be passed on to customers. This type of experience has great worth because attendees leave with inventive ways to use our stamp collections – ideas that they would not have learned anywhere else!

What are the top takeaways that attendees will learn by taking your workshop?

When we say attendees will LOVE the new releases we have in store, we mean it! We have been working hard to create new products for the holiday season, as well as extensions of some existing lines. Attendees won’t want to miss our fun workshop, where the samples they’ll make will put a smile on any customer’s face!

When you’re not teaching, what can we find you doing?

When we’re not chatting about new ideas or hard at work, we love to travel! Whether we’re on a business trip or hitting vacation spots around Oregon (we both adore the Oregon Coast and Bend, OR!), we like to have a little change in scenery! Spending time with our families is important to both of us as well. Bonnie and Phil welcomed two beautiful granddaughters this past year, who are three months apart. Kate treasures her time with her three year old son, who always keeps her on her toes, and her husband, Tony.

The Paper Arts+ Show is around the corner and Show registration is open! Register for the New! Interactive Holiday Stamping workshop today!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where we will meet Fran Seifor, the founder and Chief Artistic Officer of Stampendous!

10 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss the CHA MEGA Show


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The 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show is taking place January 7-12, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.
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The MEGA Show comes around once a year and is the craft industry’s largest trade show in the US! Global industry manufacturers and buyers attend the Show year after year in order to conduct business, network and discover the industry’s latest trends. It’s your chance to get an entire years’ worth of business done in just six days!

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Here are the Top 10 reasons why you must attend the CHA MEGA Show in January!

  1. The latest craft industry trends and forecasts are presented on the Show floor and in classrooms
  2. Five days of education, including the EXTRA day you wanted on Thursday, January 7
  3. 400+ manufacturers featuring 12,000+ new products
  4. Exciting special events to celebrate the Show’s 75th anniversary
  5. Everything you want to see – specific product and new exhibitor pavilions, and NEW Show floor exhibits showcasing products in action
  6. More hands-on product workshops led by the industry’s favorite designers
  7. Free retail education from industry experts, sponsored by the Independent Retailer Conference (IRC)
  8. New Business Solutions Pavilion with companies to help boost your efficiency and profitability
  9. Valuable networking opportunities with key industry players
  10. The only place you can conduct a year’s worth of business in SIX days

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Save the Date:
Registration opens this September!
Stay in touch for the latest updates:

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CHA TWITTER
SEE YOU AT CHA! PAGE
CHA WEBSITE