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.

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!



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


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


CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop – Day 5


Welcome to Day 5 and the final day of the CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop!

We hope you have enjoyed following along and seeing all of the great projects designed by our talented CHA Designer Members as well as all of the great products from our Paper Arts+ Show exhibitors!

How to win:
There are “passwords” at the end of each designer blog post that was published this week. Make sure you have noted all of the “passwords.” Once you have read today’s posts, 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 (trade only)
  • 2nd Prize: $25 AMEX gift card

Follow the #CHAShow hashtag on social media to share in all of the Paper Arts+ Show fun! Also, don’t forget to register for the  Paper Arts+ Show! Registration is NOW OPEN!

Here are your stops for Day 5:

First stop:
CLICK HERE to see how CHA Designer Lisa Fulmer transformed exhibitor KaiserCrafts product into gorgeous holiday decor!

Second stop:
CHA Designer Kristi Parker used product from exhibitor Stampendous to create a beautifully creative project. CLICK HERE to see it and give it your stamp of approval!

Third stop:
CLICK HERE to see the fabulous projects that Madeline Faiella came up with using product from The Ribbon Print Company.

Fourth stop:
To see what Crafty Creation Linda Swingle came up with using product from Therm-O-Web, CLICK HERE.

Thank you to all the CHA Designers who participated in the Blog Hop!

Beth Watson
Candice Windham
Carmen Flores Tanis
Carol Heppner
Debra Quartermain
Keri Sallee
Kristi Parker
Linda Swingle
Lisa Fulmer
Madeline Faiella
Marjolaine Walker
Michele Emerson Roberts
Rita Barakat
Susan M Brown

And thank you to all the CHA Paper Arts+ Exhibitors for participating too!

Art Impressions
BoBunny Press Inc
Dare 2B Artzy
Graphic 45 LLC
Hot Off The Press
Kaisercraft Pty Ltd
Linnie Blooms LLC
Little B, LLC
M-D Building Products
Pink and Main
The Ribbon Print Company
Stampendous! Inc
Therm O Web Adhesives & Interfacings





Paper Arts+ “Meet the Teacher” Blog Post Series



The Paper Arts+ Show is around the corner and Show registration is now open!

Over the next several weeks, we will take the time to get to know some of our Paper Arts+ Workshop teachers through this “Meet the Teacher” blog post series. Throughout the series, you will learn about their art and inspiration, the value in attending their workshops, and what you can expect to learn.

We hope the interviews inspire you to sign up and attend the Paper Arts+ Show!  Click here to view the Paper Arts+ Show Preview Guide.

jeritannerOur first featured teacher is Jeri Tanner from BoBunny.

By combining BoBunny’s newest mixed media products and the festive and fabulous design of its new collection, this workshop will help you to create a memory and record it as well!

Tell us a little about yourself.

After traveling the globe for many years with my husband and children, we returned to the United States to be closer to our families.  Once we were settled, I went in search of a new adventure and accepted a job with BoBunny Press.  My rusty business degree was put back to use. I discovered that scrapbook pages had evolved from photos cut with decorative scissors on acid free 8 ½ x 11 paper decorated with stickers into amazing works of art!

What do you love most about the creative industry?

I love the constant influx of new products, ideas, techniques and applications in the creative industry. Another bonus is getting acquainted with all of the talented people who participate in this industry- from those who design products to finished projects.

What do you love most about teaching workshops?

Teaching workshops gives me an opportunity to watch crafters be amazed at what they can do and to see how they personalize the project with their own creative style.

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

Nobody knows BoBunny like BoBunny!  Whenever you get a chance to take classes from the manufacturer of your favorite products, TAKE IT!  You will create with the newest designs, explore the latest trends, practice new techniques and learn about products you didn’t know we had!

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

At the Paper Arts+ Show in July, my class will focus on using BoBunny’s “oh soo” fun mixed media, stickable stencils, foil rub ons and more!  Plan to complete displayable projects that sell the products and to obtain skills to teach your customers!

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

When I am not teaching classes, I am forever trying to get my family scrapbooks caught up! Sound familiar?  I also enjoy golfing, hosting parties, and travel (thus the never ending need to scrapbook!).

Register for the BoBunny Celebration! Workshop today!


Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where we will feature
Stephanie Barnard from Sizzix!


CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop – Day 2



Welcome to Day 2 of the CHA Paper Arts+ Show Blog Hop!

All week we’ll be featuring exhibitors’ products created into projects by CHA Designer Section Members! Follow along to see which products the Designers used and the creations they came up with.

Don’t forget that there will be a “password” at the end of each designer blog post. Make sure you keep track of all of the “passwords.” 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 (trade only)
  • 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! Also, don’t forget to register for the  Paper Arts+ Show! Registration opens tomorrow, May 20 at 10:00 a.m.

Here are your stops for Day 2:

First Stop:
CLICK HERE to read how CHA Designer Carmen Flores Tanis used product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Pink and Main.

Second Stop:
How did CHA Designer Susan M. Brown use product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Little B LLC? CLICK HERE to find out!

Third Stop:
CHA Designer, Rita Barakat put together a great project using product from Bo Bunny. CLICK HERE to read about the project and how she created it.

Be sure to join us for more fun tomorrow. For the full schedule, click here.

CHA Paper Arts+ Blog Hop – Day 1



We “hop” you got plenty of rest over the weekend because it’s time to win some prizes!

That’s right; nobody has a “case of the Mondays” this week because today we’re kicking off the CHA Paper Arts+ Show Blog Hop.

All week we’ll be featuring exhibitors’ products created into projects by CHA Designer Section Members! Follow along to see which products the Designers used and the creations they came up with.

There will be a “password” at the end of each designer blog post. Make sure you keep track of all of the “passwords.” 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 (trade only)
  • 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! Also, don’t forget to register for the  Paper Arts+ Show! Registration opens this Wednesday, May 20.

Now that we’ve gotten the formalities out of the way, let’s get started!

First Stop:
CLICK HERE to read how CHA Designer Michele Emerson Roberts used product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Graphic 45.

Second Stop:
How did CHA Designer Keri Sallee use product from Paper Arts+ Exhibitor Art Impressions? CLICK HERE to find out!

The fun continue tomorrow with:

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

For the full schedule, click here.

10 Benefits of Being a CHA Designer Member


Being a creative entrepreneur or running your own design company can be a lonely job. It can also be very tiring and at times overwhelming. Sure, it has many advantages, but wouldn’t it be better if you could find a like-minded community to help you through the downs and the valleys, and warn you of the potholes in your journey?

I felt that way time and again. I wished there was a place where I could talk to like-minded folks, share ideas and ask for advice.

When I joined the CHA Designer Section, I was a little overwhelmed at first. It took me cha designer logosome time to find my way around and make good connections and friends – friends who were creative and understood what I meant without me having to elaborate much. You could say I finally found my tribe!

When first joining CHA as a designer, one wonders if it’s possible to create any lasting connections or derive any benefit from the membership. This is the reason why I put together this article for you. If you’re wondering if a CHA designer membership is for you, read on! Some amazing designers took the time to share their experiences with me. I present to you 10 benefits of being a CHA designer member:

1. The biggest benefit of being a designer member is probably that we get to go to the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show every year for free! The CHA MEGA Show is full of opportunities to network and make new friends and connections. It’s also a great way to do trend spotting and see where the industry and products are headed. The eye candy is, of course, a huge pull for us creatives and let me assure you there is a LOT of stuff to see and take in!

There are also a lot of make and takes and product displays. This is a great place for designers to see what is new to market and keep pace with evolving trends in the industry.

Jennifer Priest from Hydrangea Hippo says, “It is because of the networking I have done in these past four years as a CHA Designer Section member that I have the jobs and opportunities that I have today. It truly is about the people you know. Going to the CHA MEGA Show as your own company helps you meet the people who will aid your growth and helps make you memorable when jobs come available.”

Candice Windham adds, “Being able to attend the CHA MEGA Show and meet directly with the people I want to work with (is a major benefit). Communicating with someone through email or over the phone can’t compare to one-on-one, face-to-face communications.”

2. Having an official designer badge helps establish credibility. Many manufacturers prefer to work with designer members. Patt Bell agrees, stating, “Being a CHA Designer Section member adds credibility to your qualifications. It says that you are serious about what you do, and that you are staying on top of industry trends and practices. Membership provides access to contacts in the business.”

3. CHA offers a wide array of educational resources and materials to help designers do more with and for their businesses. Many webinars, eCourses and videos are made available to designer members. They cover using a range of tools from traditional marketing to social media, working with manufacturers and more!

4. Designer Section members have the opportunity to exhibit in the Designers in Action™ area at the CHA MEGA Show at discounted rates. This is an amazing opportunity to showcase your talent and have it visible for the crafting world to see. Manufacturers send representatives to view these showcases and arrange a meet and greet with the designers. A lot of connections and opportunities are born from this interaction. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of exhibiting in the Designers in Action™ earlier this year. I met and made friends with many designers by taking part in this activity. It also gave me confidence and a lot of feedback about my work!


5. Being a CHA Designer Section member gives you a voice. You can volunteer for different committees and actually contribute to the Section and to CHA. This is an amazing opportunity to learn how the industry works and to make lasting friendships. As Seth Apter puts it, They offer the option to volunteer for a committee, allowing each member to have an active role in the development of the organization, as well as a chance to learn the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of the craft industry in depth.”

6. The sense of community is one of the best things about being a CHA Designer Section member. As Lisa Fulmer says, “The social benefit is these people get me.” Rita Barakat loves this aspect of being a designer member as well! “Being able to come together as a group of like-minded individuals, supporting each other, sharing knowledge and having cheerleaders on your side are always good things!” Beth Watson also agrees, stating, One of the benefits is being part of a group of industry professionals that understands, supports and values what you do as a designer, which is an important part of my growth and success in the craft industry.”

7. Guidance is another big advantage of being a CHA designer member. As Marjolaine Walker puts it, “There is so much love and support from many of the established designers. They want us to succeed and are always there to help.” It is really beneficial to be able to share ideas with more experienced designers. They are so generous with giving advice and making introductions! You shouldn’t be afraid to ask because these are probably some of the most helpful men and women on the planet!

8. Being a member gives you access to the CHA Designers only newsletter, which has huge benefits. The newsletter, which is for Designer Section members only, provides information about the various Section activities in which members can participate.  Eileen Hull shares, “When opportunities come along to showcase my business, I am able to respond quickly and take advantage of them because I always read my CHA emails and know what is happening.”

9. The CHA Designer Directory is another amazing tool that is available to designer members as a benefit of membership. The Designer Directory is a listing of all CHA designers and is made available to manufacturers when they are looking to give out jobs. Carol Heppner, the current chair of the Designer Section, says, “The Designer Directory Committee works long hours to publish the Designer Directory. Designer Section members can submit a five by eight-inch listing for the Directory. The Directory is available on the CHA website as a free download.”

10. Long lasting and true friendships are formed between designer members and, as Michele, one of the founding members of the Designer Section puts it, The friendships that I have developed with other designers and industry companies are priceless!” You will find many partnerships and new ideas being born through friendly collaboration.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless and the opportunities are vast. You just have to take the first step. Sign up to become a member and you’ll have help along the rest of your journey. Like me, you’ll feel like you have finally found your tribe!

maheMahe Zehra Husain is a mathematician by training and an artist by nature! She loves to write arts and crafts e-books and has several listed on Amazon.com.

She is most often found playing in her craft studio and making a mess with paints of all sorts! Her passion is to share her love of creating and banishing the myth that people are born creative. We all have two sides to our brain and she believes everyone has a creative fire!

You can find her at www.alteredupcycling.com and www.thecreativeartacademy.com  – coming soon!

“Meet the Exhibitors” Blog Series: M-D Hobby & Craft


MeetTheExhibitors2The next exhibitor in our “Meet the Exhibitors” series is M-D Hobby & Craft, a recently created line of M-D Building Products. The M-D name is over 90 years old and has its roots in Oklahoma, where it started out of necessity during a dust storm. L.A. Macklanburg built his first form of weatherstrip in order to keep the dust from coming under his front door. He then built a brass-folding hand-crank weatherstrip machine and took his product to the Oklahoma State Fair. Together with H.M. Duncan, his lead salesman, L.A. incorporated Macklanburg-Duncan in July 1920.

MD-HOBBY-CRAFT-LOGOOver the next several decades, the company grew and became popular in the DIY community. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s have stocked M-D products since their inception. Macklanburg-Duncan, later renamed M-D, made a commitment early on to manufacture in the USA. It owns two domestic facilities: one in Oklahoma City, OK and the other in Gainesville, GA.

M-D has become well known for its variety of products, including weatherization, flooring tools, flooring accessories, digital levels and – now with its new line business – craft supplies.

What products are you most excited about featuring at the Paper Arts+ Show?
We are excited to begin distributing the Liquid Nails Brand into the Hobby & Craft Channel.

Why should people stop at your booth?
To check out all of our new products, of course!

Why should buyers come to Paper Arts+?
The Show is a great way for buyers to get a more personal buying experience with multiple vendors. It’s also a great opportunity for them to see new products before the big reveal at the CHA MEGA Show in January.

Beyond your products, how can you bring additional value to the buyer?
M-D Hobby & Craft has its own in-house design team, so we’re able to send buyers custom-made marketing materials for their store!

You can visit M-D Hobby & Craft at the Paper Arts+ Show in booth #401. Registration opens on June 3, 2015. For more information, visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts.

Independent Craft Retailers Reveal Long-Held Secrets


By Laurel Lee Pollard, White Collar Crafter


In 2014, the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Paper Arts Section (PAS) Steering Committee was asked to outline educational opportunities that would be appropriate for attendees of the newly-launched Paper Arts+ Show. Responding to industry demand, the 2014 inaugural event was generously hosted “to-the-trade” by CHA.

It was agreed that, in order to respond to the educational needs of the independent “indie” craft and hobby retailer, the PAS Steering Committee would need to pinpoint specific challenges that the indie retailer faces on an annual basis. To that end, the PAS Steering Committee, comprised of the following industry insiders, created the CHA Benchmark Survey:

The PAS Steering Committee took this opportunity and came up with the following goals:

  • To establish a benchmark standard of comparison between similar craft businesses.
  • To highlight business factors and practices that make an independent craft retailer successful.
  • To share these standards and assist CHA in creating or highlighting existing educational/business opportunities to help businesses replicate this success.
  • To share data with suppliers who can use the information to adapt their products and services to increase independent craft business success.

With the PAS Steering Committee’s long-standing influence within the craft industry, and with the backing of CHA, the Committee was able to glean remarkable results. Well over 350 indie retailers from across the broad spectrum of the craft industry, both CHA and non-CHA members, responded openly to the survey.

As a former indie retailer for well over a decade, I can attest that the type of information available in this survey is normally only shared by the indie retailer with its closest confidant. This CHA Benchmark Survey is a remarkable opportunity for indie craft retailers to gauge their success against others in the industry.

If you are looking to take advantage of this timely behind-the-curtain information, including the key findings of the top 15% of independent craft retailers, I encourage you to experience the archived CHA 2014 Benchmark Survey Webinar hosted by Denzil Quick and Katie Kohlmann. This information and expert craft industry commentary can be found nowhere else.

** Let’s keep this valuable conversation going. I encourage you to share your thoughts of the results in the comments below.**

Craft on!

Laurel Lee Pollard
White Collar Crafter
Social: @WCCrafter




CHA’s NEW eCourses are a series of one-hour sessions where you will have the option of learning live, or at your own pace through recorded sessions. They are an easy and efficient way to expand your business knowledge throughout the year!

Our first eCourse, The 5 Step Path to Getting Your Business Loan Funded, will be taught by small business expert Mike Periu.

mike-periu-experto-financieroMike has degrees in Finance and International Business from Georgetown University and is a seasoned executive with over 15 years of experience in small business finance. He is the founder of Proximo, LLC., a leading provider of small business financial education and training services. Mike is also a leading national voice for individual empowerment through financial education and entrepreneurship, having been interviewed over 500 times by national and international media. His appearences include NBC, Univision, CNN en español, Telemundo, HITN, TVE, RTE, SBS, MegaTV and others. Mike also publishes a small business finance blog available here.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from New Jersey, but live in sunny Miami now. I have been a business owner for over 15 years and also invest in and advise other small businesses across the country. I studied finance and started my career in the corporate world, but quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. I wanted to use my talents to help families, entrepreneurs and small business owners make better financial decisions. That’s what I’ve been doing for years and that’s what I plan to do for a very long time.

What are the top five takeaways that students will learn by taking your class?
1. Attractive alternatives exist for borrowing money designed for small businesses.
2. How to select the right lender for your particular circumstances.
3. How to prepare your loan request.
4. How to negotiate to get the best terms possible.
5. How to calculate how much money you’ll really need.

What’s the biggest challenge owners face when applying for a small business loan?
The biggest challenge is being small! Traditional lenders are not interested in lending money to small businesses at a low interest rate. They are in the “wholesale money” business; they like to loan millions of dollars at a time. When they have to sell “retail money” – anything under one million dollars – they either decline or charge very high interest rates. My course will teach small business owners how to deal with wholesalers and how to tap new alternative options that are specifically designed for them.

Each week you’ll be covering a different step on how businesses can borrow money effectively. How is this style of learning effective?
Most craft and hobby business owners are busy working on the day-to-day responsibilities of their stores. They usually don’t have much free time, so it isn’t realistic for someone to take two days to attend an intensive training seminar. A couple of hours of lessons and assignments each week is a realistic commitment. Also, by spreading it out over time, students will have the opportunity to absorb all of the information that I’m going to share.

You mention the tide is turning and that money is now available. What do you attribute that to and how can retailers cash-in?
It’s only recently that new technology has allowed the creation of alternative small business lenders that offer reasonable interest rates. In the past, the only options were traditional loan products or very high-interest merchant loans. Today, small business owners are empowered through greater choice. They can cash-in by literally cashing-in! Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to raise money for a business. Interest rates will start going up soon, which will make financing more expensive. The sooner one can lock in a loan, the better the chances that it will be at a lower interest rate.

The 5 Step Path to Getting Your Business Loan Funded begins April 14, 2015 and runs through May 12, 2015.

During this five week eCourse, Mike will take you step-by-step through the following:

Week 1: Figuring Out Your Financial Need vs. How Much You Should Ask For
Week 2: Gathering Your Paperwork
Week 3: Finding the Right Lender
Week 4: Reviewing Your Loan Options
Week 5: Negotiate and Close Like a Pro

This course consists of a one-hour lecture and 30 minutes of discussion. Participants who successfully complete the course will be given access to a complimentary application review.

Register Today!

“Meet the Exhibitors” Blog Series: Art Impressions


MeetTheExhibitors2Art Impressions is the next exhibitor in our “Meet the Exhibitors” series. Art Impressions is a family-owned business, which opened in 1987. Since starting out primarily selling educational stamps, the company has grown significantly over the past 28 years. Today, Art Impressions is well known in the craft industry for its comical characters, whimsical designs and interactive stamping techniques. What makes the company stand out is its incredible diversity of images, each one created by the company’s sole designer and co-owner, Bonnie Krebs. All of Art Impressions’ products are made in the USA.

Art Impressions LogoWhat products are you most excited about featuring at the Paper Arts+ Show?
We will feature some of our brand new Watercolor releases as well as some new interactive stamping ideas! You won’t want to miss seeing our new Spinners and holiday images.

Why should people stop at your booth?
We love attending CHA shows and spending time with our customers. Whether you order from us or a distributor, we always want to support our stores in any way we can. Stop by for some free stamps, promotional products for your store, demos and make-n-takes!

Why should buyers come to Paper Arts+?
We attended Paper Arts+ in 2014 and loved the experience. Spending quality time with our storeowners is truly invaluable. Events and food breaks were contained to the Show floor, which gave us extra time to mingle. We can’t wait until July to do it all over again!

Beyond your products, how can you bring additional value to the buyer?
Many of our current storeowners know that we love to do whatever it takes to help our independent retailers. At our booth, we love to show off new product and give you the tools to better promote it. Also, you’ll have the opportunity to grab some freebies and promotional products, as well as literature and packets for upcoming wholesale promotions, including our semi-annual Catalog Party. In addition, we will include card samples, posters and window clings when requested with wholesale orders!

You can visit Art Impressions at the Paper Arts+ Show in booth #301. Registration opens on June 3, 2015. For more information, visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts.