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.

Treat Yourself to Food & Knowledge


By Saema Khwaja, President, CHA Southern California Chapter

Our Southern California Chapter is proud to host its Second Annual Business Luncheon on August 10 at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Duarte, CA! Be sure to register and meet our amazing panel of successful professionals in finance and investment, advertising and marketing, human resources, philanthropy and more!

Attendees will have the unique opportunity to learn from experts and gain valuable strategies and suggestions to benefit their business. Take advantage of the opportunity to network and create connections in the craft industry, further your business with advice from experts in the field, and learn what others are doing in the industry! This is a great opportunity to have one-to-one time and get answers to all of your business questions.

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We also offer members the opportunity to reserve a showcase table to display products/project samples. It’s a fantastic way to easily promote your company to other chapter members! As part of your showcase, we’d love to feature your business on social media as well!

Click the link for more details about the Business Lunch and to RSVP: http://bit.ly/2aiEcZS. We’d love for you to join us!

Create Your Summer Bucket List With HotelStorm


Twenty-three days into everyone’s favorite season and we know what you’re thinking – time for a well-deserved vacation!

As the days are longer, the temperatures are warmer, and our attention spans are shorter, summer travel is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Whether you’re dreaming of soaking up sun on a beachfront resort, or taking an adventure-filled excursion to explore a city’s hidden treasures – you’re in luck! CHA has partnered with HotelStorm to provide exclusive members-only hotel discounts to make booking a summer getaway a lot more affordable. Simply head over to HotelStorm and unlock worldwide hotel deals of up to 55% off other online travel agencies with the CHA member password. Find the password online on the Member Benefits page when you’re logged in to your CHA account. Questions on how to access this benefit? Call the CHA Membership Department at 201-835-1213.

Want to take advantage of the savings, but not sure where to go? Here are HotelStorm’s top three destinations where CHA members should add to their 2016 summer travel bucket list!

1. San Francisco, California

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Haven’t visited the Golden Gate Bridge? Make it happen this summer! San Francisco boasts a lively, diverse culture, many iconic landmarks and some of the most unique real estate in California. Some must-dos include visiting the infamous federal prison on Alcatraz Island; walking through the waterfront, tourist hotspot Fisherman’s Wharf; spending a relaxing afternoon at Golden Gate Park; and hiking at Twin Peaks. Book your next Cali getaway with HotelStorm here!

2. Austin, Texas

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Known as one of the most creative and art-centered cities in the country, Austin is definitely having its moment. If you’re looking for some motivation to get your creative juices flowing, this town should be the next stop on your summer bucket list. Some places to visit include Blanton Museum of Art, iconic 6th Street – the “Live Music Capitol of the World” – and Umlaut Sculpture Garden and Museum. Feeling inspired? Book a room in sunny Austin for your artistic getaway here!

3. Chicago, Illinois

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Voted as one of the top destinations for summer travel in the country, Chicago is a popular spot for people looking to explore everything the ‘Windy City’ has to offer without facing the harsh cold. Some must-dos include catching fireworks at Navy Pier; shopping on the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue; attending a neighborhood summer festival; and visiting the popular Art Institute of Chicago. Make sure to book your next visit to Chicago in the summer here!

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: How to Host a Local Craft Event


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 past several weeks, we’ve 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 Rina Gonzales’ seminar, How to Host a Local Craft Event. Rina gives five tips for organizing and preparing for a successful event that any business can follow.

DSC_6563-2How to Host a Local Craft Event
By Rina Gonzales

Hello!

I am so glad to share some tips on “How to Host a Local Craft Event”. As you may know, I created an event called “Crafty Happy Hour” where crafters of all levels and ages come together and create greetings cards. No experience is required, and all supplies are provided.

Here are some tips for planning a fun event in your area:

  1. Pick a venue, event date and theme for your craft project.
  1. Create a fun graphic to promote your event. Now, you can get the word out to your community!
  1. Market your event with social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other media you like; draft a press release, send it to your local newspapers and invite them to send someone to your event; send out your own personal invitations through text message, phone calls and Facebook messaging. You can draft a message that can be used on all social media efforts and for your personal contacts you invite.
  1. Pack your crafts! Plan what you need to pack for your event and also keep your venue informed of what you will need as far as space, tables and any special requests, like what type of music you prefer.
  1. Host your event. Be sure to arrive early to set up, and have helpers for your event that can help navigate issues, like how to use craft supplies/tools.

Good luck!

Rina Gonzales is the owner of Mothership Scrapbook Gal and created “Crafty Happy Hour” in 2013. Her craft business is based in Riverside, California, with a mission to help people craft their special and everyday moments through craft events, DIY card kits and custom orders. Follow her on the Mothership Scrapbook Gal page on Facebook and @mothershipscrapbookgal on Instagram to see what exciting events and workshops she is hosting in her community.

 

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: Inventory Management 101 and Rejuvenating Your Inventory Mix


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.

Are you turning over your inventory every 90 days?

This week we’re doing a throwback to Lee Kellogg’s seminars: Inventory Management 101 and Rejuvenating Your Inventory Mix.

Watch this video for a recap of what Lee says are the top three ways you should be managing your store’s inventory.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback: Tips for Better Email Marketing


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.

Have you implemented what you learned to better your business yet?

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 this seminar: Capture Their Attention and Leave ’em Wanting More – Tips for Better Email Marketing, taught by Lisa Fulmer and Carolina Moore.

Read their seminar recap below and watch this quick slideshow to remember the key points discussed.

Seminar Recap
By Lisa Fulmer and Carolina Moore

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You may have heard that email marketing is, at worst, dead…or at best, old-school. But email is still very much alive and still totally cool, even in this age of social media, texting and instant messaging.

Email marketing is an integral part of your overall sales and marketing efforts. Email helps you capture quality fans and followers who are more likely to become paying customers. By creating customer-centric emails that support your brand, you can build more loyalty.

Successful email campaigns are like a favorite TV show. If you produce great “can’t miss” stories with characters they love, your customers will want to watch every episode, then tell their friends…and they can’t wait for the next one!

Here is a quick slideshow on the topic that we gave in a seminar at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show. If you missed it, here are some of the key points we discussed:

  • Email is vital for bringing customers through each stage of the marketing funnel and it augments your customer service.
  • You can attract new customers, deliver exceptional value and generate repeat business with email campaigns.
  • Email allows you to provide exclusive, subscriber-only content that helps you build stronger relationships and makes your customers feel special.
  • You can craft more commercial messaging with email than you can with social media to build revenue – just make sure you comply with CAN-SPAM laws!
  • Email marketing is highly measurable with many automation features, plus you can test and target by demographics and interests.
  • Many email services are free at first, then fees kick in as your subscriber list and/or email frequency grows. Most can be fully integrated with your customer database and social media platforms.
  • There are many tactics for making your emails more engaging and effective – an easy way to start is by taking note of the mass emails you receive from the lists you subscribe to. What do you like or not like about them, what impression does the email give you, how compelled are you by the message and visuals?
  • Content is king – whether you’re sharing inspiration, special offers, company news or funny trivia. Give them great reasons to look forward to your emails.

Let us know if you have questions or need help with your email marketing!

Lisa Fulmer

Carolina Moore

Let’s talk insurance!


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What you might not know is that CHA is part of a national pool of over 300 national associations, which allows us to offer our members special health and business insurance plans and rates through our partner, Association Health Programs.

Our year-round health and personal insurance programs are off to a big start in 2016.  Many of our members are saving as much as 50% on their premiums!  The program is a great opportunity for members who don’t have health insurance or can’t afford the very expensive plans offered through Healthcare Reform.

Visit www.associationpros.com/cha today to learn more!

In addition to regular health insurance, there are 5 basic types of personal insurance.  Many people don’t realize that incorporating at least one of these can help alleviate a financial hardship later on.

  1. Disability Insurance provides you with a monthly payment which replaces part of your lost income due to an illness or injury. It allows you to maintain your standard of living if you are disabled or unable to work.
  2. Critical Illness Insurance pays you a lump sum amount on the first diagnosis of a serious medical condition (such as cancer, heart attack, etc.) covered by your policy. The payment allows you to cover additional costs incurred by the illness or to use for any other purpose during or after your recovery.
  3. Long Term Care Insurance provides payments if you require care in your home or in a facility, and allows you to cover some or all of the cost of long term care instead of using your savings. As a reminder, Medicare does not cover long-term care.
  4. Life Insurance pays a tax-free lump sum amount to your named beneficiaries upon your death. This allows your beneficiaries to pay off your debts and maintain their standard of living after you die.
  5. Supplemental Health Insurance covers a remaining portion of health care costs not covered by your regular health insurance, including Accident, Dental and Travel Insurance. These give you and your family access to health care you may need at home or abroad.

If you’re interested in learning more about CHA’s Health or Business Insurance Programs, contact Jason Baum, Director of Membership, today at 201.835.1218 or jbaum@craftandhobby.org.

 

 

Time to Start Being the Change

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By Laura Kelly-Walters

My creative life is a never ending journey and one that causes great joy for me and many others.  I started on this path when I was first pregnant and that baby is now TWENTY.  After 20 years of doing the same things (all things that I love like doodling, painting and making), I decided it was time to keep doing these things but also make a big change.

I love licensing my art and am proud of my relationships and partnerships in the craft industry, including with Sizzix, AdornIt, Tombow, Sculpey and Kunin Group.  With so much growth, I decided that it was time to start sharing my designs in a bigger way and to change the way I thought about social marketing myself and my works.  I have been doing everything on my own for 20 years.  I decided that I was ready to change and be the leader of a team, a design team that is all about me and my mission.  I wanted to create a team that would support these manufacturers through the sharing of my doodles and designs because when it all comes down to it, we are in this together.

I put an application out there and was floored at the crazy huge number of responses.  More than the shock and excitement, I was empowered and honored.  I thought this change would be challenging, but truth is, it has been a blast.  I struggled to choose who to put on the team and wish I could have chosen them all.  It is like I created a big creative party with a team of amazing and talented colleagues who not only support me 100% but also each other.  We are a winning team filled with love, passion and creativity.

I am convinced that my journey starts with me. If I want change, I get to cause it. I guess that is why I love Gandhi’s quote so much…”BE the change you wish to see in the world.”  I accessed my courage and caused change for me and the members of my team.  I am now BEING change and it is awesome sauce.

Meet the inaugural Laura Kelly Design Team and learn how they will be sharing different ways to make Laura Kelly products, designs and doodles part of your life.

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Laura Kelly-Walters
Licensed Doodle Artist/Designer/Project Maker/Mom/Tombow Senior Ambassador
www.laurakellydesigns.com

 

31 Days of Crafting: Three Ways to Celebrate with Prime Publishing

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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.

Each day in March, Prime Publishing will be sharing a new craft tutorial on its blog, CraftPaperScissors.com! Check out the 12 tutorials that it has already shared, and stay tuned for 19 more!

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Also, the company is holding six giveaways throughout the month – five sponsored giveaways and one grand prize! Here is the list of giveaways, so you can learn more about how to participate.

Lastly, the company will be using Periscope to tape live craft projects daily throughout the month! Join the team at 3:00pm CST on each day to see a new craft video.

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, #CRE8TIME and #NationalCraftMonth on social media.