Time to Start Being the Change


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: The Great Northwest Paper Chase


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.

The Northwest Paper Chase is celebrating with its annual three-week event for scrapbookers, paper enthusiasts and general crafters who want to have fun and support their local creative community!

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This year, 28 stores in Washington and Oregon will be participating in the “chase”, which runs from March 4 through March 20. The goal of the chase is to drive customers to local stores.

To participate, “chasers” purchase a passport and travel from store to store. At the end of the chase, chasers win prizes from event sponsors based on 1) how many stores they visit; 2) the amount of money they spent, and 3) the numbers of pictures they posted on social media. Participating stores offer discounts, exclusive page kits, make-n-takes, themed photo ops, giveaways and more!

Learn more about the “chase” and how to participate.

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.

31 Days of Crafting: Therm O Web


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 week, Therm O Web will be sharing amazing design inspiration, exciting prizes, and special savings on popular Therm O Web products.

Therm O Web debuted hot new Deco Foil products at the 2016 CHA MEGA Show in January. If you missed them, watch this video to see the new Deco Foil Adhesive Pen and Designer Stencils in action!

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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.

 

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.

Hot Product Showcase Success Story – Beadalon


logoThe Hot Product Showcase at the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show recognizes outstanding innovation, design and function in consumer craft products. In addition to getting eyed by thousands of buyers, these products are judged by a panel of media, celebrity and industry judges for a chance to earn the prestigious title of the Hot Product Award winner. The panel critiques products submitted in each of eight categories (Bead & Jewelry, Cake & Food Decorating, Fabric & Needle Craft, Floral Craft, General Craft, Kids Craft, Paint & Art, and Paper Craft), and ultimately selects the Hot Product Award winners from each.

So, how does being a Hot Product Award winner make your product hot? Here’s what Yvette Rodriguez, Event Manager & Marketing Coordinator at Beadalon, knows. Last year, Artistic Wire™ 3D Bracelet Jig by Beadalon won the 2015 Hot Product Award for Bead & Jewelry.

IMG_4044“It was a perfect opportunity to have a formal presentation to an influential group in the craft industry. Our company’s goal is to bring innovative products and beading supplies for the DIY jewelry making market in the craft industry, and having the one-on-one time was more valuable than just presenting it in our booth (which can sometimes be overlooked).

‘Hot Product’ is a honorable title to hold! It is a ‘badge’ that we proudly showed off to our wholesale customers and consumers, which helped with communicating that our new product was worth considering.

This program is a great platform where companies can present their innovative products to the industry.”

Submit your new craft product or prototype to the 2016 Hot Product Showcase by November 16 for a chance to be the next Artistic Wire™ 3D Bracelet Jig”. Stay tuned next week for more success stories from our Hot Product Award winners.

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What’s the big deal about the Hot Product Showcase?


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Dreaming up the next big product is no walk in the park. And once you do, your job only gets harder. You need to get buy-in, manufacture it and then bring it to market only to hope it flies off shelves. You don’t need us to tell you it’s a lot of work. However, you should listen to us when we tell you about a program that can help take your craft product to the next level.

hotprodsThe Hot Product Showcase at the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show recognizes outstanding innovation, design and function in consumer craft products. In addition to getting eyed by thousands of buyers, these products are judged by a panel of media, celebrity and industry judges for a chance to earn the prestigious title of the Hot Product Award winner. The panel critiques products submitted in each of eight categories (Bead & Jewelry, Cake & Food Decorating, Fabric & Needle Craft, Floral Craft, General Craft, Kids Craft, Paint & Art, and Paper Craft), and ultimately the Hot Product Award winners.

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So, how does being a Hot Product Award winner make your product hot?
Here’s what Lindsay Moore, VP of Sales at Hazel & Ruby, knows. Last year, DIY Décor Tape by Hazel & Ruby won the 2015 Hot Product Award for General Crafts, one of the most competitive product categories.

Kudos to the CHA staff for putting on such a great event. It was all first class. Having not participated in the past, we didn’t realize how important this was to our company and our industry. 

 Immediately after we were announced as a winner, our peers were so gracious about congratulating or complementing us on our achievement. Everyone was very kind and supportive. Competing manufacturers and retailers alike, took the time to stop and visit. We love this industry because of the people in it. Whether it’s the retailers, other manufacturers, the CHA staff, or sales reps. We are all rooting for each other and this is something we experienced firsthand. Make no mistake, we cheered for every manufacturer nominated as a finalist. We are some of their biggest fans. It takes a village to raise and keep a vibrant craft industry.

 Being a relatively new brand, trying to capitalize on a new growing trend, this event was something that helped give us credibility and validation for the vision of our company. Being a finalist opened doors that we believe would have taken nothing short of a miracle to happen on our own. We met wonderful, new retailers that we attribute directly to participating in this event.

 This event is needed for new companies and companies that have been around for a while to help grow the industry. I would encourage anyone and everyone in this industry to experience it. It’s a no risk, high-high reward situation.”

Submit your new craft product or prototype to the 2016 Hot Product Showcase by November 16 for a chance to be the next “DIY Décor Tape”.  Stay tuned next week for more success stories from our Hot Product Award winners. 

ENTER NOW!

Meet the Webinar Host


JoeRotella_400x400Meet Joe Rotella of Delphia Consulting. Register to attend his webinar, Hosting and Marketing a Special Event, live on September 30, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST, at no additional cost to your CHA membership.

Professional Experience

My professional focus has been on the user experience with new technology since I started my career in the early 1980s, working on the first PCs developed by IBM. After a distinguished career at Bell Labs, I became an Officer at Delphia Consulting. I now serve as Delphia’s Chief Marketing Officer and lead its Internet marketing practice.

I’ve also been a designer for as long as I can remember. My mother started my family on crafting. She crocheted, and when she brought home a Brother knitting machine, I was fascinated. Soon enough I was creating designs from christening dresses to ski wear. I’ve dabbled in macramé, string art and latch hooked rugs when they were hot in the 70’s. Now, at 50 years old, my eyes are on paper crafting. My work has appeared in Scrap & Stamp Arts, Just Steampunk! and Somerset Studio Gallery magazines. Also, I filmed a segment of Crafting at the Spotted Canary, hosted by Joy Macdonell, in 2011, and many segments for Scrapbook Soup TV.

Biggest Problem My Clients Face

Competition for audience share in the craft and hobby space is getting fierce. As parts of the industry consolidate, the pressure to get customers – like visitors to your site, readers to your blog or customers for your products, is growing. My clients are typically small independent stores or professional crafters that are looking for creative ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. Their resources are limited and they are looking for the biggest bang for their investment.

Why Should Business Owners Attend This Webinar

Special events can be a great way to attract new customers, retain existing customers and reinforce your brand. The challenge is learning how to market your event to attract attendees and them give them a “Wow!” experience so they will come back – and bring their friends! By investing an hour in this webinar, you’ll learn about the benefits of hosting events – demonstration, classes, workshops, trunk shows – get tips on how to do it well and hear ideas to make your events special.

CHA Webinars feature top speakers and leaders sharing tips, resources and solutions for today’s business world. CHA members have unlimited access to webinars for no additional cost to their dues. Visit www.craftandhobby.org to learn more about CHA education programs and membership.

Importance of Volunteering on a Board


By Mike Hartnett

Industry Awards- Mike HartnettI became aware of HIA, CHA’s predecessor, in 1979 when I was hired as Assistant Editor for an industry trade magazine, Profitable Craft Merchandising. I had no idea what a trade association was or what it did.

I quickly realized how important a trade association is to the success of its members and industry. It provides a venue for members to conduct business (trade shows); educates its members (seminars and webinars); and is the industry’s public relations arm (awareness). If I care about my readers’ success, I better help HIA.

As time went by, I served on various committees, and then on the HIA Board; I followed that by serving on ACCI (another CHA predecessor) committees and the Board. Finally, I served on the CHA Board.

Why did I spend so much time doing all this? Looking back, it was the best investment of my time in the industry. Here’s why:

If you’re on a committee, you can make real changes. For example, years ago, CHA MEGA Show exhibitors of a certain type were not scheduled together in one area of the Show floor. Why? Major Paint Company A did not want the booth to be anywhere near Major Paint Company B. Finally, retailers got together and complained to the Trade Show committee, whose members recommended a change, which the Board approved. So, now the Show has sections and the paint buyer doesn’t have to walk two miles to see three particular exhibitors.

When I was on the HIA Board, designers formed a committee and petitioned the Board for money to produce a pamphlet listing all of the freelance designers’ contact information and areas of expertise. That never would have occurred to me (because Board members and the staff aren’t mind-readers) if not for that committee; it was a great idea. Often new manufacturers have a product, but don’t know any designers who could create projects for them. The brochure helped both manufacturers and designers, yet it never would have existed without input from members.

The time required for serving on a committee is not much. Usually, there is a meeting at the Show and a few conference calls each year.

As for serving on the Board, you get a much broader view of the industry and how it works. It’s truly a revelation. If you’re a retailer, you’re focused like a laser beam on your business – as the overall industry continues to change all around you. The same is true if you’re a manufacturer, publisher, importer, designer or distributor. It’s so intellectually stimulating to focus your brain on a broader picture for a change.

More time is required – two weekend Board meetings a year; however, even that extra commitment is worth it because of the wonderful friendships you make with fellow Board and staff members.

Truly, serving on committees and/or the Board is well worth it.

Share your story of innovation in arts and crafts with the Smithsonian National Museum


banner-homeThe Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History launched a project to pinpoint where in the world inventions happen. The goal of the project is to answer the question, “What kind of place stimulates creative minds and sparks a surge of invention and innovation?” The Museum is compiling an interactive map that depicts these places. Yet, it’s currently missing something – stories about innovation in the arts and crafts industry! Help CHA fill the gap by telling your Place of Invention story, where and how you and your company made its mark in the history of our industry.

How can you add a story to the map? Think about the following three questions:

  1. Place: What’s special about this location?
  2. Invention: What was invented there?
  3. People: Who made it happen?

Submit your Place of Invention story. After you complete the online form, check back in a couple of days to see your story on the Places of Invention virtual map. Visitors from around the globe will read your story on the website and in person at the Places of Invention exhibition gallery at the Museum in the Lemelson Hall of Invention and Innovation.

For more information, visit http://invention.si.edu/tell-us-your-places-invention-stories.

Join the “See You at CHA!” Blog Hop


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You are invited to participate in the See You at CHA! Blog Hop to celebrate coming together at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show!

Hosted by the Social Committee of the CHA Designer Section, this big behemoth of a blog hop will be a tremendous opportunity for all CHA members to reach loads of colleagues and customers as we share our plans and promotions for the Show.

The link to an online registration form is at the end of this post – sign up early and plan ahead to generate lots of excitement for your week at the MEGA Show in January!

Hop dates: December 7-11, 2015
You will pick a date within this week to post on your blog. The master hop schedule with links will be posted on the CHA blog in November. Right-click and save the banner graphic above to use as a blog hop badge.

Participants: CHA members and craft media sites who/that plan to attend and/or exhibit at the MEGA Show (all membership categories).

Hop theme: The 2016 MEGA Show and CHA’s 75th Anniversary
Your blog post can be about any of these topics:

• New product sneak peek(s)
• Demo, class, seminar and/or make-n-take schedules
• Show specials and/or related offers
• Project inspiration and/or tutorials
• Memories of past Shows and/or craft industry anecdotes
• What you’re excited about seeing or doing at the 2016 Show
• Tips for getting the most out of the Show
• Behind the scenes Show and/or travel prep

IMPORTANT – Joint $$$ giveaway!
No blog hop is complete without a chance for people to win something fabulous!

Each blog hop participant will be required to contribute a minimum of $5 to the prize pot. We’ll be using Tilt.com to securely collect funds online from participants. The final sum of funds in the prize pot will be used to purchase a VISA gift card for the winner.

The more money in the pot, the bigger the prize value and the more traffic and excitement it will generate for everyone! You’ll receive a code for a Rafflecopter prize drawing widget to put in your post. The entry options will be limited to just three: a blog comment, a tweet or a pin. All blog hop participants (CHA employees excluded), their staff, and their customers, fans and followers are eligible to win – both domestic and international.

Click here to sign up today – the deadline to join is September 30. 2015.

Feel free to post any comments or questions you might have about the hop in the See You at CHA Facebook group. You can also email the blog hop organizer with questions: Lisa Fulmer – lisa@lisafulmer.com.

About the Social Committee of the CHA Designer Section:
We moderate a Facebook group called See You at CHA, where attendees and exhibitors can connect, socialize and network prior, during and/or after any CHA Show. CHA members in all membership categories are welcome to join, as well as craft media reps. The Social Committee is here to help you navigate the Show, share experiences, meet new people and learn about fun things to do at the Show. You can even use the group to find a hotel roommate, airport shuttle pal, or dinner companions – we want to do whatever we can to help you have a great experience at CHA!