Why Should a Blogger Attend CHA’s Creativation?

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This is a guest post by Carolina Moore, 30MinuteCrafts.com.

As a craft blogger who has attended half a dozen CHA Mega Shows, I can tell you that I look forward to January every year, and attending the CHA trade show. It is a not-to-be-missed annual event for me. This year, CHA has changed the name to “Creativation”, and I’m even more excited. They have made some fantastic changes that are right up my alley! I’d like to share with you the many ways that I benefit from going to CHA. If you’re a blogger, vlogger, or social media influencer, you’ll find that many of these will apply to you!

1. Face Time
Meeting with someone face-to-face immediately takes a business relationship to the next level. Lots can be done with e-mails or conference calls, but being able to sit with someone face-to-face is worth 100 e-mails or 50 conference calls. It allows both parties to see each other as human beings, instead of items on a to-do list.

Before the show, scroll through the website to pick 5-8 companies you’d love to work with. Send them an e-mail asking for 15 minutes of their time before, after, or during the show to discuss ways you can work together. Not all of them will say yes – some of them won’t be sending their marketing team to the show – but you’ll be able to make connections with several.

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Bloggers meet face-to-face with an exhibitor.

2. Seeing New Products
At Creativation, companies will have their newest product lines out. They’re displaying them so that shop owners and other decision makers will see their product, and decide to carry it in their stores. The trade show is for business – stores are deciding which products they will sell in their shops over the next year, and placing orders with the manufacturers. This puts us in a unique position – we see the products before they show up in stores! We can share images on social media to our followers, getting them excited about upcoming products. We can even try out some of these products, and create videos of how they work right on the show floor!

Many manufacturers have staff on hand who will demonstrate the products for you. Simply record video, and ask a few questions – in 5 minutes or less you have new content your audience will love!

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Why not give your next project a nice bubble gum scent?

3. Make-n-Takes
To show off their new lines and new products, many manufacturers offer “Make-n-Takes”. They have all the supplies ready for you to make a craft project. Walking the show floor is hard on your feet – sit in a chair and make a project. If you have a partner with you, they can record video while you make the project – which gives you a quick and easy video tutorial. If you don’t have an extra set of hands, you can take still photos of each step to turn into a written tutorial later. Convention center lights are fine for step-out photos, but be sure to take a photo of your finished project in natural light for a “Pinterest-perfect” image. When you write up your post, add affiliate links to help offset the cost of your trip.

While sitting and making the Make-n-Take, be sure to chat with those around you. The demonstrator will likely be able to give you information about the company, and who you should contact after the show if you want to work with them. Be sure to chat with the other people at the table as well. You might run into a local shop owner who would love to have you teach in their shop, or another blogger you can collaborate with.

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There are plenty of “Make-n-Take” projects for Bloggers to develop content with!

4. Collaboration
Creativation is one of the few times during the year when you’ll get to surround yourself with so many like-minded people. The creative industry is a very collaborative one, so take advantage of this opportunity.

Take photos with other bloggers to post on social media – be sure to tag everyone in the photo, and encourage your followers to follow them. They’ll do the same, and you’ll all grow your following.

Record video together, either on the show floor or on a field trip. I know two vloggers who, at a past CHA Mega Show, went to a local shop together. They both recorded video, and were able to link to each other.

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Three creative bloggers Periscope together.

5. Education
The show is more than what happens on the show floor. Upstairs there are classrooms of experts teaching craft and business classes. Learn more about e-mail marketing or how brands and bloggers work together. Or take a class on a new technique that will up your crafting game. Take some time away from the show floor to learn something.

Each summer, CHA opens applications to teach classes. If you’re an expert on a subject in our industry – offer to teach a class. You’ll be able to help our industry grow, add “CHA speaker” to your crafty resume, and you’ll be attending the show with a speaker badge. Last year I spoke at the show, and had great conversations with manufacturers that started because they saw my badge and asked what I spoke about – having a speaker badge gave me instant credibility.

6. Blogger-only events
Many manufacturers offer events exclusively for bloggers, social media influencers, or media. These events often take place before or after the show floor opens, and give you an exclusive peek at the new products they are unveiling. Brands that offer these exclusive events are looking to work with you. The best way to get on the list is to register for Creativation early – most of them use the list of attendees as a starting point when creating their guest list.

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Exclusive events for bloggers? Now we’re talking…

7. “Free” Stuff
At the show, some companies offer samples of their product. However, because many companies are showing products that won’t be in stores for months, they often only have a few samples for display, because the rest are still in production or being shipped from overseas. Even companies that are showing existing product may not have brought inventory because of the freight costs involved.

However, some companies do have samples they would like to share with you. And others are happy to ship items directly to you after the show. When accepting samples, only accept samples you reasonably believe you’ll be able to share with your followers. Companies aren’t providing samples to fill your supply closet or for you to give to your child’s school. Use the samples to create innovative projects that your followers will love – creating engaging content for your readers, and a relationship with the brand.

8. After-hours CHA
After the show floor closes, you’ll be on your own to grab dinner with friends. This is a great opportunity to catch up with others in your niche – talk about the latest social media trends, come up with ways to collaborate the rest of the year, and share resources. The relationships you make with your peers at the show will be something you can lean on all year.

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A group of bloggers grab some drinks and recap the day.

9. After-after-hours CHA
If you absolutely need your 8 hours of sleep each night, you’ll head to your hotel room. But if you can get by with less shut-eye for a few nights, you might enjoy the witching hours. As bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers, we often work from home alone (or with small children “helping”). While CHA is not a conference, the late hours away from the show floor give you a chance to catch up with your peers in a casual setting. Hanging in the hotel lounge after others have gone to bed, that’s when bloggers plot to take over the world.

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The fun doesn’t end in this community!

If you’re a blogger, vlogger, or other social media influencer who works in the creative or crafting niche, attending Creativation might be the best thing you do for your business all year. And it is as simple as getting a membership with CHA, registering for the event, then making your travel plans. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

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Carolina is a creative blogger, living in sunny San Diego, California, a recent transplant from even sunnier Las Vegas, Nevada. She loves to come up with original craft ideas, as well as re-invent old favorites. Many of her crafts are perfect for adults to create, while others are fun for children. She loves to create with and for her two young boys, as well as for herself, her friends, and her home.

Creativation University: Meet the Faculty Blog Series

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Registration for Creativation University is open! Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to some of our workshop teachers and seminar speakers here so you can learn what to expect from taking their live classes in Phoenix this January.

This week, we are kicking off this blog series by meeting Seth Apter!

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Sign up to take Seth’s fun and technique-heavy workshop, Mixed Media to the Max, and discover the many possibilities that mixed media offers both beginner and seasoned artists and crafters.

Keep reading to learn more about Seth and what you can learn from him at Creativation.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a mixed media artist from New York City with a passion for art, crafts and all things in between. From my own personal experience, I recognize the importance for those without formal training to have an opportunity to learn creative skills. I therefore spend a good deal of my time teaching art workshops in the U.S. and abroad.

I have had the good fortune to publish several mixed media art books and workshop DVDs through F+W Media and to write an ongoing column in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. As a designer, I have product lines with StencilGirl Products, Impression Obsession, Spellbinders and PaperArtsy.

In a few words, tell us about the education session you’re teaching at Creativation.

I am teaching a workshop called Mixed Media to the Max. This class explores approaches to creative layering that are the basis for mixed media art.

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We will be using stamps, stencils, die cuts, paint, ink, gel pens, and more to create the complex layers that will set your art apart. The approach is creating random with abandon so that you can maximize your creativity and minimize that inner critic.

Who and why should someone attend your session?

This workshop is open to all attendees who are interested in learning the techniques that are the hallmarks of mixed media. The class is perfect for both beginners and more seasoned artists. Store owners looking to be able to show their customers varied ways to use mixed media products will leave with a full menu of techniques.

What are you looking forward to the most at Creativation in Phoenix?

I always look forward to attending this event. Being surrounded by the all-stars of the industry gives me the opportunity to connect and network with so many creative professionals at the same time and place. And, as I am a supply junkie, I love to be able to walk the aisles to see the newest products and trends. Plus, I am extra excited to be there this year to see all the changes in store.

What do you love most about your job?

I absolutely love the fact that I am able to be creative every day. No matter how hard I work, there is an element of play too, which I believe is absent in many other professions.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

There is an excitement and energy that is evident throughout the year as new ideas are developed and new products released. And, it is those products that offer many people an opportunity to play, relax, develop their own creativity, and heal.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: SEO & Blogging


As we head into the summer, we’re doing one, final throwback to the education you received at the 2016 CHA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim in January.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week, our final throwback is Ann Butler’s and Theresa Cifali’s seminar: SEO & Blogging – What the Heck is Google Looking For? Watch their recap video here and get a refresh on seven of the key indicators that influence your business’s post rank in Google’s algorithm.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: Improving Your Social Media Strategy


So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to Amberly Dressler’s seminar: Improving Your Social Media Strategy.

Watch Amberly recap her seminar to learn how to improve your ROI on utilizing social media.

31 Days of Crafting: National Craft Month Giveaway

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March is National Craft Month! All month long we will be sharing stories from your peers about what they are doing to celebrate and how they are encouraging others to discover the benefits of creativity.

In celebration of National Craft Month, Marjie Kemper is giving away a free seat in her online class with Craftsy called Inventive Ink: Colorful Mixed Media Effects. Watch this video to learn how you can win!

Read more about this class on Marjie’s blog.

Stay tuned for more stories and tips on the CHA Blog and all of CHA’S social media channels.

What are you doing to celebrate National Craft Month? Share your story by emailing marketing@craftandhobby.org or using the hashtags #WeAreCHA and #CRE8TIME on social media.

2016 CHA MEGA Show Recap Told By Our Attendees


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top Tweets

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

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

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

The Countdown to the MEGA Show is on!


CHA MEGA Show

The CHA MEGA Show floor will soon be bustling with educational demos and inspiring make-n-takes. The schedules linked below include just some of the amazing opportunities for Show attendees to try new products and learn a few tips and techniques. Bring on the creativity!

Saturday Exhibitors

Sunday Exhibitors

Monday Exhibitors

Tuesday Exhibitors

Designers in Action

Paper Trail Designers

Don’t forget to use the official #CHAShow hashtag on social media to follow and join in the festivities!

Celebrating 75 Years of Creativity with Fairfield Processing


 

FAIRFIELDNAMETAGCHA teamed up with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to pinpoint Places of Invention in the creative arts and craft industry. To celebrate 75 years of creativity at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show, we are sharing our members’ stories of how they made their mark in the history of our industry.

The Poly-Fil® brand Fiberfill is a staple product in the craft industry. Did you know it has ties back to hats?

In its early days as a company, Fairfield Processing manufactured natural fibers that were used to make hats and other apparel. When Sam Young, the company’s founder, noticed John F. Kennedy did not wear a hat during his inauguration, he sensed a culture change and sought new opportunities for his business. Sam learned some of the locals in Danbury, Connecticut were using the then new invention of polyester to stuff the toys that they handmade. Ever since, Fairfield Processing produces Poly-Fil® brand Fiberfill and other products to serve all facets of the fabrics industry, including general crafts, quilting and home décor.

Join us and Fairfield Processing in booth 1427 in Anaheim for the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show to celebrate the latest craft industry products and innovations.

Read Fairfield Processing’s full story.

Meet the Instructor – Julia Benben


Registration for the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show is open! Over the past several weeks, we’ve introduced you to some of our Workshop instructors so you could hear about their live classes and what you could expect to learn from them.

Last, but certainly not least, today we meet Julia Benben!

Has your store hopped on the adult coloring bandwagon? Take Julia’s Workshop, Color Therapy – Learn How To Use Chameleon Pens to Drive Sales In The Growing Trend Of Adult Coloring, to learn how Chameleon Pens are great additions to your product line for this growing customer base.

Plus, Julia will lead a second Workshop, Coloring Faces and Hair – Blending Made Easy With Chameleon Pens, where you’ll learn how to master difficult coloring techniques and more about Chameleon Pens’ ability to blend colors.

Keep reading for more about what you will take away from her Workshop.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Julia Benben. I’ve been in the art and craft industry for almost 20 years. I started out as an on-air craft presenter on QVC for toys, home décor and crafts, but quickly fell in love with and got hooked on the craft side of the business.

How many years have you participated in the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show?

I attended my first Show back in 1999 when it was HIA. I have attended pretty much every year since!

What is your favorite part of the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show? 

The MEGA Block Party! Just kidding J. As much fun as the MEGA Block Party is, I actually love the fact that I get to meet up with all the great creative and like-minded people in the industry, and share new products, ideas and techniques in person! So much of what I do with the folks I work with is over Skype or email. There is no substitute for the personal face-to-face interaction.

How would you describe a live workshop at the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show to someone who has never attended before?

Workshops are well worth attending for your business. They give you an opportunity to learn new and creative things about craft products and projects. Also, they offer a chance for you to chat about industry trends as well as what is working for your peers! Between seeing new things, finding out what is on trend and connecting with your industry counterparts – and doing it all in one place – they’re very efficient, and fun!

Why should buyers and creative professionals take your workshop?

Buyers need to understand the hands-on experience of the products and projects their customers are buying. This knowledge makes them more capable of troubleshooting, understanding the key benefits and structuring selling to the end user; plus, it gives them ideas on how to cross promote with other products that they currently sell.

How does your workshop relate to emerging trends and the current state of the creative industry?

We really keep a close eye on what is trending by following social media conversations and talking to all our buyers and distributors. This helps us create projects that are timely for what the customer in your store is looking for!

What is the best advice you can offer about attending the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show, whether someone is attending for the first time or is an industry veteran? 

Get in there and TRY some stuff! Don’t prejudge an item by what others might have said. Experience products for yourself and make your own call on what you like and dislike about items. I hear people chatting in the aisles, “Did you see anything exciting”…“No … not really” – that is their view. I know when I walk around, when I really take the time to look, I find cool, creative and innovative stuff everywhere. You just have to be open to it and take the time to look closely.

What do you love most about the creative industry?

The creativity, innovative ideas, pioneering spirit and dedication of the people involved.

Where do you see the creative industry in five years?

Chugging along and coming up with new stuff every year. As technology and trends change so does the sort of things people do for crafts and creative outlets.

What do you love most about CHA membership?

Nadine. The staff is great to work with!

Register to take Julia’s Workshops, Coloring Faces and Hair – Blending Made Easy With Chameleon Pens and Color Therapy – Learn How To Use Chameleon Pens to Drive Sales In The Growing Trend Of Adult Coloring, and our other CHA MEGA Conference programs before they sell out!

Thanks for tuning in for our Meet the Instructor blog series! Click here to read all of the blog posts in this series.

CRE8TIME Do-It-Yourself


By Marjolaine Walker

Created Canvas

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Hello CHA friends! My name is Marjolaine Walker and today I have a quick tutorial using one of my new layering stencil sets that will be coming out soon. This is an easy project where you can quickly create a beautiful gift to give to a new mom to decorate her nursery. I hope you will give it a try!

Supplies:

Watercolor paper

Blending tool: Ranger

Sponge

Painter’s tape

Distress Ink: Ranger Ink

Ink: Tsukineko CO.

Created Layering Stencil Set: Twelve Stones Scrapbooking

Black cardstock: Bazzill

Adhesive: X-Press It Double Sided Tape

step1

Step One: Use painter’s tape* to tape down the first stencil over a 5”x8” piece of watercolor paper. Use a blending tool or sponge to apply the ink to the open area of the stencil. For more detail you can blend two inks together. Remove the stencil once complete.

*The painter’s tape helps to keep the stencil steady and does not tear the paper when removed.

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Step Two: Repeat step one with the second stencil to add the words. Make sure that the stencil is lined up properly to fit the words inside the silhouette. Use a contrasting color to make the words more visible. Remove the stencil when you are done.

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Step Three: Use the blending tool or sponge to apply ink around the silhouette, leaving a bit of white space around it to create a light effect. Repeat this step again with a different color of ink, blending both inks together.

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Step Four: With a brown ink and the blending tool or sponge, add shading around the piece of watercolor paper to frame the artwork.

Step Five: Adhere the finished piece of art to a black piece of cardstock.

Step Six: Repeat step one through six with the other two sets of words.

Step Seven: Adhere all three finished pieces inside a frame.

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