West Coast Port Workers Reach Deal Deal After Labor Dispute

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Dockworkers at West Coast ports have reached a tentative contract agreement to end their labor dispute, a spokesman for the Pacific Maritime Association said Friday.
The five-year contract still has to be approved by the dockworkers union members.
The dispute had centered around contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping companies and port operators, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents West Coast dockworkers.

The two parties began talks in May but were unable to reach an agreement and had been operating without a contract since July. Operations have been affected at 29 ports.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez was in San Francisco to help mediate the dispute.
The Port of Oakland said on its website that it could take six to eight weeks for the situation at its facility to return to normal.

“Ships, containers and chassis are all out of balance. They’re not where they need to be to support cargo movement. Repositioning of these assets will take some time,” the port said on its Maritime Operational Status page.

CHA 2015 MEGA Show MEGA Show Brings Industry Together To Showcase Hot New Products

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The CHA MEGA Conference and Tradeshow, the largest event for the craft and hobby industry, concluded a successful 74th annual event, January 9-13, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.  The CHA MEGA Show, produced by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), brings together the entire industry for five days of education, networking and product innovation.

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Exhibitors began setting-up on January 8th and they quickly brought their booths to life, as they, along with Show staff and the decorators, worked quickly to get the Show floor ready for opening on Saturday morning.

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The CHA 2015 MEGA Show drew thousands of buyers from 56 countries to see the newest products coming to market. Good Housekeeping TV, MSNBC, Better Homes and Gardens and a host of other global media outlets were present to get a glimpse of tomorrow’s craft trends, interview small business entrepreneurs, and report on innovation, new products and industry awards of excellence.
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As a hub for learning, the CHA MEGA Show Conference offered more than 100 programs including Business Seminars and Workshops, Demo-nars®, Feed Your Brain seminars, Hands-On Labs and Artisan Workshops. Seminars with a focus on technology and social media were popular among attendees.

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Rachel Shechtman, owner of STORY in NYC, delivered an inspiring Keynote Address on “Rewriting Retail: From Making Sales to Creating an Experience.”   She gave attendees plenty of good ideas on how to re-think their retail space and make it a multi-sensory experience for customers.

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Show opening day on Saturday morning saw the registration area packed with attendees lining up and exhibitors making last minute touches to their booths. The Show floor featured an array of education and interactive activities including an Independent Retailer Conference, product workshops, a Makerspace with live demonstrations a Designer Showcase featuring the hottest craft designers, celebrity appearances, and fashion shows.

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New additions to the Show floor also included an Art & Paint Pavilion, sponsored by the Society of Decorative Painters, that featured the latest art materials and paint suppliers, live hands-on painting demonstrations and a curated art gallery showcasing artists’ best hand-made decorative paintings from all over the world.

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The Hot Product Showcases were a top destination area for Show attendees and featured 24 nominees in eight categories.  The winners of the Hot Product Awards, selected by a jury of expert media and celebrity judges, were announced at the CHA 2nd Annual Foundation Gala on Sunday, January 11, 2015. Click here to view the 2015 Hot Product Winners by category.

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The Show had its own Maker Space area, combining tech influenced DIY and inspiring presentations by craft industry innovators, Sarah Hodsdon and Jill Mackay.

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The Independent Retailer Conference — dedicated entirely to the unique lifestyle and responsibilities of retail small business owners—was an incredibly popular new Show floor feature that included 15 minute power seminar sessions presented by top small business experts.

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More than 400 people attended the CHA Foundation Gala, a charity event to benefit the CRE8TIME Movement, the CHA Foundation’s consumer outreach program that is designed to inspire creativity in everyone.

In addition to the CHA Hot Product Awards other presentations at the Gala included the launch of a grant program with the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF) to support art education in public schools, Industry Awards for Exhibiting with Excellence and the 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Click here to view all awards recipients.

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In 2016, the CHA MEGA Show will celebrate its 75th anniversary edition, January 8-13, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.  For more information visit www.craftandhobby.org.

Click here to view the MEGA Show Facebook photo album.

Industry Celebration and Giving Back Were the Prominent Themes of the 2nd Annual CHA Foundation Gala

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Wow, what a night! The 2nd Annual CHA Foundation Gala & Silent Auction, sponsored by Michaels, lived up to its billing of dinner, dancing and inspiration. The themes of the evening were celebrating the industry and giving back, and we accomplished both in a BIG way this year!

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Everyone was greeted by a glass of champagne and walked down the “blue carpet” as they entered a “Hollywood awards ceremony” just for our industry!

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The first hour was spent at the cocktail reception and silent auction, the proceeds of which benefitted CRE8TIME and The Kids in Need Foundation.

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We had two amazing hosts in Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender of KIZER & BENDER – who should be, if they aren’t already, auditioning for the hosting gig at the Golden Globes next year!

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The program kicked-off with the celebration of the CHA 2015 Industry Award Winners.

The CHA 2015 Industry Award Winners went to:

  • Meritorious Award: Herb Lantinga, Notions Marketing

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  • Industry Achievement Award: LaDorna & Robert Eichenberg, Ellison

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  • Special Recognition Award: Joann Pearson, Michaels

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For more about the winners and the Industry Awards, read the press release here.

The program continued with the Exhibiting with Excellence awards, which went to those exhibitors who were judged on overall visual booth appeal; clarity of product being sold; access to make-n-takes; engaging booth flow; as well as enthusiasm and friendliness of Booth staff.

The winners of the CHA 2015 MEGA Show Exhibiting with Excellence Awards were:

  • Island & Peninsula Group – Spinrite

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  • Linear Booth - ClearBags

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  • New Exhibitor – Little B

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  • Critic’s Choice – Spellbinders PaperArts

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CHA’s President & CEO, Andrej Suskavcevic, provided an update on the CHA Foundation’s goals for the future, including partnering with other like-minded organizations to continue to drive the momentum of raising awareness for the need to devote more time for creative expression. In addition to the CRE8TIME movement, proceeds from the silent auction and raffle went to support the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF).

Gala17Every year for the past 12 years, CHA has partnered with KINF to harvest product from exhibitors of CHA Trade Shows, which has resulted in the collection and distribution of $1,591,019.75 worth of donated supplies to teachers and their students at the neediest of schools. The funds from the Gala that will be donated to KINF will be used to fund two grants that will help build art programs at a school in the CHA office’s home state of NJ. Dave Smith, the Executive Director, accepted the check on-behalf of KINF.

Gala18After dinner, it was time to award the 2015 Hot Products! 112 products were submitted this year – a record number! A celebrity and media judging panel selected the award winners based on what makes the product unique; how it will improve the crafter’s overall experience; and the interest it generates in crafting for non-crafters.

For the full list of the 2015 CHA Hot Product Winners click here.

The program concluded with the induction ceremony of the 2015 CHA Hall of Fame. This year’s class included:

  • John & Edna Clapper

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  • Jane Anne Davis

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  • Andrea Grossman

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  • Howard Hoffman

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  • Vince Naccarato

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  • William “Bill” Neu

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  • John E. “Jack” Parker

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  • Tom Yaley, Sr.

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What can we say besides, “What an evening!” Congratulations to all of the nominees, winners and the Hall of Fame class of 2015. We can’t wait to celebrate again next year!

Introducing CHA’s New Blogger Membership

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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

Hire CHA Designers for New Product Development and More!

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The Craft & Hobby Association’s (CHA) Designer Section is a particularly busy group. Their tag line is “creativity is our business™” and it shows. CHA Designer Members are experts in their own craft mediums and experienced professionals in all aspects of marketing. The CHA Designer Section has created a directory that provides information about the Designer Section to help the industry search for professional creative services offered by our Designer Section Members. The directory includes graphic listings from over 70 current CHA designers that profile their work, and index of over 250 designers listed by company and geographical location which will assist manufacturers, suppliers and industry professionals seeking qualified designers to create, educate and promote their products.

Among other things, CHA Designers help promote new products, design or create new products and bring new products to market. The following Designers have found recent success developing products for industry manufactures.

Eileen Hull

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Last January at the CHA MEGA Show in Anaheim, a new product called ColorBox Blends™ was released which CHA Designer, Eileen Hull launched with Clearsnap. Prior to Christmas, Eileen was purchasing stocking stuffers for her kids when she noticed shoe polishers 3/$1. She purchased the shoe polishers for her kids in the military and couldn’t help but notice their unique design – they had a barrel and sponge attached at the other end to apply the polish with. She instantly knew it would make a great ink applicator!

She wrote a proposal and presented it to Clearsnap at the CHA 2013 MEGA Show. After some research and discussion, a contract was signed and at CHA in January, 2014, ColorBox Blends™ were launched!

ColorBox Blends are the ink pad, applicator and reinker all in one! The easy to use ColorBox Blends™ are available in ten unique colors of Crafter’s Ink and can be used on multiple surfaces including fabric, wood, paper, and matboard. They are permanent when heatset and are great for distressing edges, inking stencils, building backgrounds, using with embossing folders for a letterpress effect and using with stamps. Best of all there is no messing with an applicator or ink pad lid, the applicator is all you need keeping your hands clean!

Check out a sample project here and visit Eileen’s blog for more ideas on how to use this versatile new product.

Nathalie Kalbach

Recently, CHA Designer Member, Nathalie Kalbach launced a new line of stamps for Stampendous!® designed to create the look of textural backgrounds on a flat surface. Nathalie has always loved to use stamps in her Mixed Media and Scrapbooking projects in untraditional ways to create texture and layers.  Early on she dreamed of a line of stamps that could do exactly that but not take away from the focal point of her projects.

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Unfortunately the first company that Nathalie worked with went out of business and her designs never made it to market. Lucky enough, she discovered Stampendous!® and developed a good business relationship with them.  After some discussions about stamp designs and a number of business meetings, a contract was signed. Nathalie’s first three n*Studio Stamps for Stampendous!® were launched during the CHA 2014 MEGA Show.

The Cling Rubber Stamp sets include three stamps and a reusable stencil template. You can use them with ink and acrylic paint, they are very durable and perfect to use in art journals, cards, on scrapbooking layouts, for print making, on canvases or with any Mixed Media project. You can find some samples linked here or visit Nathalie’s blog for more inspiration.

Download the CHA Designer Section Directory today and use it as a resource all year long.

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Final thoughts from the CHA 2014 Paper Arts Show

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Well, it’s been a whirlwind ride these last 3 days at the CHA 2014 Paper Arts Show in Atlanta.  I arrived Tuesday and was thrown quickly into the chaotic fun of CHA Workshops.  They were fast paced and informative, with terrific teachers and sponsors that I was thrilled to meet.  The sponsors gave some really great products to the participants to take home, and get more comfortable with so they could use them as teaching tools in their stores. I was really floored by their generosity.  Thank you CHA for allowing me to participate in these super intense and informative workshops.  I learned so much!

wpid-wp-1406659429827.jpegI have to say, after sitting in on the Seminars and group discussions, I have a whole new respect for the challenges that independent stores face.  At the same time, these wonderful store owners continue to seek out new ways to grow and change with the times; looking for ways to incorporate growing trends, sharing obstacles but also rejoicing in the shared triumphs.

20140731_10125320140731_094204There were so many who supported me here at CHA, I couldn’t possibly name them all – but a few standouts: Keli and Tina from CHA, thanks for helping a girl out from time to time; Dave from Spellbinders, thanks for being my camera guy; Stephanie Barnard and Katharina Doyle, I adore you both!  Thanks for the hugs!  I could literally go on and on.  Jason, my guy at CHA headquarters, thanks for the tough love and lastly, thank you Mr. Andrej Suskavcevic, for taking a chance on me!  I miss you all already!

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Morning Jumpstart from the CHA Paper Arts Section

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The final day started off with a bang in the Grand Ballroom at the CHA 2014 Paper Arts Show, with interested store owners gathered in a round table discussion with CHA Staff and key leaders in the industry.  This was a time of sharing and information gathering to find effective ways to promote holiday sales and to discuss how to increase traffic to your store in new and interesting ways.

20140731_083042So what do you need to do?  How do you increase sales and keep people coming back to your store?  How do you grow your following and engage the community?  Let me share some of the hot conversations that took place.

20140731_085840First, find out what products your customers are using and show them the must have accessories that they need to have to go with the items.  Do your research and find out “What’s Hot” as opposed to “What’s New”.  What’s “hot” are the items that are flying off shelves, the hard to stock items; the products that are top best sellers.  What’s “new” may be new items in the market but not necessarily what people are flocking to buy or what’s currently selling.  So there’s the difference.  Ask the right questions!  And while you’re at it, keep PDF printouts to give your customers.  This has come up over and over at the Show this week.  Customers like having tutorials in their hands.  Take a look at the link below to see all of the handouts, graphics and more that CHA is providing here at Paper Arts 2014 to assist you in strategizing your marketing plan.

There’s some great handouts here, graphics and more right at your fingertips!  Go online to www.craftandhobby.org and click on Communities/Sections/PaperArts/downloads/ then, click on Atlanta Handouts. Or, click HERE.

20140731_083055Another topic of conversation at the Jumpstart Session: Do you exhibit at consumer shows?  Consumer shows are another way to promote your store.  Key things you should know for exhibiting are:

  • Find out who else will be there.  Know what they’re selling.
  • Know the price range.  Concentrate on thematic items depending on the focus of the show.  Is it a holiday show?  Bring holiday items.  Is it a summer show?  Baby or kid focused?  Bring products according to the theme.
  • Give great discounts on older products and have discount coupons for your store available.  Is another store selling the same product?  Mark your items accordingly to compete.
  • Let’s face it.  Theft can be a problem.  Keep your big ticket items within view.
  • Have a mock up plan of your booth setup in advance as it can take a long time for setup.  Maximize your space and make sure your booth has a flow.
  • Be prepared to make additional markdowns on items as the day progresses, if sales are slow.

Here’s a few more words of advice from key leaders present today.  Courtney from Creativebug says, find out what’s trending and look for new ways to highlight products in your store.  DIY is very popular right now.  Stamping Fabric?  Show displays of whatever is trending.

Several participants shared their participation with CRE8TIME and companies like Meet up, where you can pay a small fee to set up a “group” and link up to other groups in your region. The premise is to create a social media group so local crafters, and crafters from afar, can join your group.  Have meetings in your store for free, even thematic events, (knitters, scrappers, metal works, art, etc) and build a following in your area.

20140731_090405After the Seminar was over, attendees continued to hang around and share ideas and thoughts with one another.  I spoke with Tonya Minth from The Glitterie in Beechgrove, IN. She’s using Meet up and her group has quickly grown to 300.  She’s even utilizing a local artist for wine/craft events.  Use someone locally with skills to come in and teach at your meetings.  It’s a great way to grow and keep your following.

So much valuable information sharing today.  If you missed it, make it a point to be at one of these round tables the next time you attend a CHA Show.

Thanks again to the wonderful folks at CHA for allowing me this opportunity to sneak a peek at the inner workings of the crafting industry.  I can’t tell you enough what a wonderful time I’ve had getting to know everyone, meeting so many knowledgeable people, and the great new techniques I’ve learned……THANK YOU!

- Terri Burson 

Last Night’s Open Market at the CHA 2014 Paper Arts Show

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As I arrived at the CHA 2014 Paper Arts Show Open Market, the line of anxious attendees was already quite long. Everyone was happily chatting with their neighbors while waiting for the doors to open.

20140730_182524At the appointed time, the clock struck and we all filled into the Grand Ballroom. The vendors were ready and waiting and the tables quickly filled up with participants looking for some great bargains. Products ranged in price from $1.00-$75.00 and it wasn’t long before some vendors sold out completely of their stock.

20140730_182707I had the opportunity to chat with many attendees who were overwhelmingly pleased with the evening’s events. I especially enjoyed my conversation with the sweet ladies at my table; Debbie and Louise from Family Memories in North Carolina, and Lisa with Flamingo Finery outside Orlando, FL. They were so nice to answer my numerous questions and in particular, when asked about whether the deals were priced according to their liking? The answer was a resounding YES!

20140730_192626No matter the size of your pocket book, there were offerings for every price range and everyone that I spoke with was extremely happy with their purchases.

As I made the rounds with the vendors, they too were happy with the success of the Open Market, some noting that next time they would have to bring more! I’ll tell you that this crafty girl made a few purchases herself and I too was very happy with my new play things.

I’ve had so much fun getting to know the vendors and learning the history of different companies, like Kaisercraft and how the founder started out building things at the tender age of 7 and how Tilli Tomas is expanding from ribbon into other areas and actually wanted my input (as a crafter/cardmaker) as to what products I’m using and/or seeing used in online forums that I frequent, blogs that I participate in, etc. She had sequins along with her ribbon and fibers. I told her to make more sequins! We adore them!

I also enjoyed chatting up the lovely folks at Paper House Productions. If you missed the “Peace, Love & Sandy Feet” workshop by the wondrous Linda Auclair on Day 1, you missed a treat. However, here’s a link with a tutorial on the shadowbox project so you too can make one – http://www.paperhouseproductions.com/community/paper-arts-day-one/

I was drawn to their booth by the display of military products. I grew up an Army brat so of course, I had to zoom in on the Army selection. They literally have an army of products!

20140730_095150Stickers of all kinds; chalkboard, puffy (I need those owls!) 3-D, die cuts…. you name it.

20140730_095121And a terrific selection of papers to match and coordinate. I was flipping through their product catalog and quickly spied the Wizard of Oz collection. Oh my. There’s no place like home and there’s no place like Paper House Productions.

- Terri

More from the CHA Paper Arts Show Exhibit Hall and Crafty Inspiration!

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This afternoon at the CHA 2014 Paper Arts Show has been one of learning for me. Many of the vendors have make-n-takes set up and scheduled at different times in the exhibit hall. Who knew it would be such a learning experience?

I noticed that DecoArt had some displayed projects pertaining to Gelli plating. It’s a growing trend and one that I’ve wanted to learn more about for some time now.

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Lucky for me, Alison Craig from DecoArt was all set up to teach and I was a willing student. She showed me the technique involved and the ability to create layer upon layer, even taking basic every day tools (such as the cap of a sharpie marker) to draw into the paint on your gelli plate.

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The DecoArt paints come in so many fabulous colors. I was really loving the bright orange.

20140730_132434She also added some metallic liquid inks to the mix for even more drama and flair. I can’t wait to get home and try this technique for myself.

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I also had the opportunity to sit down with the incredible Fran Seiford, designer for Stampendous. She is so quirky and fun to be around.

20140730_134543I learned another new process, which is heat embossing with embossing mixes consisting of glitter and embossing powder, but no ink is required to adhere.

20140730_134900I couldn’t believe how easy this was! Actually, according to Fran, this process is an old one but has had a bit of a resurgence.

20140729_181233Here’s a few more pictures of some of the booths.

20140729_181343 20140730_092233 20140730_091756 20140730_111851 20140729_181302There is so much knowledge contained in this room amongst everyone from the industry. I am so blessed to be a part of it and thankful for the chance to learn from all of the tips, tricks and techniques that I’ve seen so far.

I’ll have more tomorrow about tonight’s events. Thanks for tuning in!

- Terri

Morning Jumpstart and Exhibit Hall

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This morning the CHA 2014 Paper Arts Show started off with a Jumpstart session from Courtney Cerruti of Creativebug.com. This informative seminar focused on creating an interesting environment to draw consumers to your store.creative bug

According to Courtney, it’s important to think outside the box. Use simple paper craft ideas to draw the eye to an area. There are so many avenues to get information including Pinterest. How about a paper chandelier? Now that truly is thinking outside the box.creative bug2

You can even use washi tape to guide customers in your store as an outline on the floor with arrows. Or wall art to again, create an area of attention. Customers love freebies, so create small items, tags, etc. to give away. Even PDF printouts are a popular item to give with project tutorials. And if you’re not utilizing hashtags? Better get busy. The hashtag symbol, #, is a way to tag images for your organization, even used for contests and giveaways.

Courtney was chock full of ideas and inspiration. I spoke with several store owners who are really loving the seminars and information that can help them impact their store and sales.20140730_085943

Next, is the Exhibit Hall. The line formed coming down the escalators and everyone was anxiously awaiting for the 9 am hour to begin.

20140730_085258I spoke to numerous vendors and staff and learned so much I couldn’t possibly contain in one post! I will share one store owner with you that I took time to get to know.

20140730_092911Pink on Main. Michelle Currie is the owner and she had a lovely booth set up with her own line of stamps and other products. Michelle has been involved in crafting in one form or another her entire life. She opened up a brick and mortar back in 2007 but eventually moved to online sales. She had a heart to design her own line, located a manufacturer and has her own line as of March of this year. What a go-getter!

20140730_093628 I’ll check in later with more from the Exhibit Hall!

- Terri