“Meet the Exhibitors” Blog Series: Art Impressions

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

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

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

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

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

You can visit Art Impressions at the Paper Arts+ Show in booth #202. Registration opens on June 3, 2015. For more information, visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts.

Online Education at Your Fingertips

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EducationHomePageBanner.noclickhere

The Craft & Hobby Association has a new focus on its education offerings this year. That focus is on your success, by whatever means necessary. We’re going to be providing you with different formats to easily access the can’t-miss education you’ve come to expect from CHA, without ever having to leave the comfort of your home or even your business. All you need is a computer and internet connection.

Here’s what’s available today

eCourses
craftandhobby.org/ecourse
Deep-dive online courses that are set up in a series of one-hour sessions where you will have the option of learning live, or at your own pace, through recorded sessions. eCourses are an easy and efficient way to expand your business knowledge throughout the year. Programs include the following:

Recorded Seminars
craftandhobby.org/recordedseminars
Did you miss any seminars at the CHA 2015 MEGA Show? Here’s your chance to catch up!

Webinars 24/7
craftandhobby.org/webinars
Education at your fingertips! Join our 60-minute educational power-hour webinars conveniently scheduled, recorded, and archived for your access anywhere, anytime of the year.

Thought Leaders
craftandhobby.org/thoughtleaders
Each quarter, interviews will be conducted with top business leaders from within and outside of the craft industry. These thought leaders will answer your questions in addition to providing advice and insights through a web-streamed interview. Here’s the schedule:

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Coming soon in 2015

Online Workshops
craftandhobby.org/onlineworkshops
An exciting new opportunity to learn projects and skills at your convenience, CHA’s online workshops are video craft classes filled with creative inspiration and art instruction. You’ll learn a variety of techniques that you’ll be able to implement immediately in your store or business.

If you are a designer or supplier member of CHA and you are interested in presenting an online workshop, or are an instructor interested in teaching an eCourse, please contact education@craftandhobby.org.

CHA remains committed to providing our members valuable education to keep your businesses ahead of the competition. For more information visit www.craftandhobby.org.

“Meet the Exhibitors” Blog Series: Meet Stampendous

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MeetTheExhibitors2CHA is returning to the Chicago area for the Paper Arts+ Show, July 21-23, 2015 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center. Once again, the Show will host exhibits featuring the industry’s leading manufacturers. We will highlight this year’s exhibiting companies in a blog series called, “Meet the Exhibitors”.

Over the next several weeks, we will introduce you to some of our Paper Arts+ Show exhibitors so you can learn more about the companies, products and what you can expect to see at the Show.

The first exhibitor in our series is Stampendous.

Stampendous has been in business for over three decades under the sole ownership of Fran Seiford, CEO & Chief Artistic Stampendous_Logo_450X350Officer. Fran’s first investment in the craft industry was a $25 order of custom rubber stamps made from her own illustrations. Soon her investment developed into a wide range of craft tools and products to help others in their creative expression.

Today, Stampendous is the manufacturer of products including Fran•táge Embossing Enamels, Essential Elements, Wood Mounted Rubber Stamps, Perfectly Clear™ Stamps, Cling Rubber™ Stamps, Class A’Peel™ Stickers, Stack Art, Creative Palette, Glitzy Glitter, PEARLustre™ Embossing Powder, Fuzzy Fun Flock™, and Stuftainers™, 86 percent of which are manufactured in its facility in Anaheim, CA. In January 2015, Stampendous purchased Dreamweaver Stencils, a line of stainless steel stencils along with Embossing Paste and Tools. Stampendous’ licenses include House-Mouse®, Nathalie Kalbach and Andy Skinner.

What products are you most excited about featuring at the Paper Arts+ Show? 
A new line of Halloween, Fall, Christmas and Winter Stamps, Dies and Stencils, with traditional, whimsical, inspirational and nostalgic designs. We’re also excited about our new Holiday House-Mouse® designs and Board of the Month programs and surprises!

Why should people stop at your booth?
We will feature amazing models by our talented design team to inspire how to use all of the new products. Attendees will learn new techniques as we demo in two areas using our new designs in Stamps, Dies and Stencils.

Why should buyers come to Paper Arts+?
Fourth quarter sales are the most important time for any retail store. Buyers must entice consumers to make their store their holiday shopping destination. Buyers should not miss the opportunity to see the very latest in what creative new products are being introduced at Paper Arts+ to lure shoppers into their stores.

Beyond your products, how can you bring additional value to the buyer?
Stampendous is teaching a workshop and providing two demos every day, all day, in our booth. Also, we also cross merchandise our product with other manufacturers’ products that will be exhibiting. Our stamp line and accessories are not just for paper crafting, but enjoyed for jewelry making, painting on canvas, wood and fabric, clay designs and all types of mixed media.

You can visit Stampendous at the Paper Arts+ Show in booth #113. Registration opens on June 3, 2015. For more information, visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts.

Arts and Crafts Grant Opportunity For New Jersey Teachers

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KidsinNeedBanner-600pixelswThe Kids In Need Foundation is offering grants sponsored by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Foundation for arts and crafts classroom projects. Applications are available through March 31, 2015.

Purpose:

To fund classroom projects to be conducted during the 2015-2016 school year that use arts and crafts materials in the activities of the projects.

Eligibility:

All certified preK-12 teachers working in New Jersey public schools.

Application Deadline:

Midnight, March 31, 2015.

Grant Amounts:

$100 – $350

How to Apply:

  1. Apply online
  2. After completing the application, click on the Submit button.

 

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!

O’Captain! My Captain!

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By Andrej Suskavcevic, CAE
President & Chief Executive Officer at Craft & Hobby Association

Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989)

Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989)

Hearing of the passing of Robin Williams brings profound sadness. The world lost one of the greats. An individual who delighted the masses and brought so much joy to peoples lives only to have lost his own to a terrible mental illness. There is much work to be done in the battle for mental wellness and I am proud to be part of an industry that is playing a role in that battle. Art and other forms of creative expression are important tools in helping achieve mental wellness and we are seeing more and more facilities and hospitals incorporating art therapy in their programs.

Our own research at CHA indicates that crafting has helped people relax and feel a sense of accomplishment. Crafting is just one tool in the battle for mental wellness but more needs to be done.

Many today will be looking up Robin Williams on YouTube and watching his movies. I for one tip my hat for his role in Dead Poets Society and share with you a Walt Whitman classic. For you Robin, O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

But O heart! heart! heart!

O the bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here Captain! dear father!

The arm beneath your head!

It is some dream that on the deck,

You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

Exult O shores, and ring O bells!

But I with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

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!

20140730_194217– Terri Burson

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