In celebration of National Craft Month, we are having a “selfie” contest to promote creativity and craft retail stores. March is coming to an end and there’s only 5 days left to win!
Follow these easy steps to enter:
Join Now, Upload & Win!
The CHA MEGA Conference and Tradeshow, the largest event for the craft and hobby industry, concluded a successful 74th annual event, January 9-13, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. The CHA MEGA Show, produced by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), brings together the entire industry for five days of education, networking and product innovation.
Exhibitors began setting-up on January 8th and they quickly brought their booths to life, as they, along with Show staff and the decorators, worked quickly to get the Show floor ready for opening on Saturday morning.
The CHA 2015 MEGA Show drew thousands of buyers from 56 countries to see the newest products coming to market. Good Housekeeping TV, MSNBC, Better Homes and Gardens and a host of other global media outlets were present to get a glimpse of tomorrow’s craft trends, interview small business entrepreneurs, and report on innovation, new products and industry awards of excellence.
As a hub for learning, the CHA MEGA Show Conference offered more than 100 programs including Business Seminars and Workshops, Demo-nars®, Feed Your Brain seminars, Hands-On Labs and Artisan Workshops. Seminars with a focus on technology and social media were popular among attendees.
Rachel Shechtman, owner of STORY in NYC, delivered an inspiring Keynote Address on “Rewriting Retail: From Making Sales to Creating an Experience.” She gave attendees plenty of good ideas on how to re-think their retail space and make it a multi-sensory experience for customers.
Show opening day on Saturday morning saw the registration area packed with attendees lining up and exhibitors making last minute touches to their booths. The Show floor featured an array of education and interactive activities including an Independent Retailer Conference, product workshops, a Makerspace with live demonstrations a Designer Showcase featuring the hottest craft designers, celebrity appearances, and fashion shows.
New additions to the Show floor also included an Art & Paint Pavilion, sponsored by the Society of Decorative Painters, that featured the latest art materials and paint suppliers, live hands-on painting demonstrations and a curated art gallery showcasing artists’ best hand-made decorative paintings from all over the world.
The Hot Product Showcases were a top destination area for Show attendees and featured 24 nominees in eight categories. The winners of the Hot Product Awards, selected by a jury of expert media and celebrity judges, were announced at the CHA 2nd Annual Foundation Gala on Sunday, January 11, 2015. Click here to view the 2015 Hot Product Winners by category.
The Show had its own Maker Space area, combining tech influenced DIY and inspiring presentations by craft industry innovators, Sarah Hodsdon and Jill Mackay.
The Independent Retailer Conference — dedicated entirely to the unique lifestyle and responsibilities of retail small business owners—was an incredibly popular new Show floor feature that included 15 minute power seminar sessions presented by top small business experts.
More than 400 people attended the CHA Foundation Gala, a charity event to benefit the CRE8TIME Movement, the CHA Foundation’s consumer outreach program that is designed to inspire creativity in everyone.
In addition to the CHA Hot Product Awards other presentations at the Gala included the launch of a grant program with the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF) to support art education in public schools, Industry Awards for Exhibiting with Excellence and the 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Click here to view all awards recipients.
In 2016, the CHA MEGA Show will celebrate its 75th anniversary edition, January 8-13, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. For more information visit www.craftandhobby.org.
Click here to view the MEGA Show Facebook photo album.
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!
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!
The first hour was spent at the cocktail reception and silent auction, the proceeds of which benefitted CRE8TIME and The Kids in Need Foundation.
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!
The program kicked-off with the celebration of the CHA 2015 Industry Award Winners.
The CHA 2015 Industry Award Winners went to:
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:
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).
Every 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.
After 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:
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!
By Paula Jones
This summer I received an invitation to visit the Darice facilities in Strongsville, Ohio. I knew that Darice was a large craft company with gazillions of craft products, but I had no idea of what to expect. Darice is a privately held, family run business and the family feel is immediately evident when you enter the facility. I visited the day after the company celebrated its sixtieth anniversary. There was a huge outdoor tent where they hosted a company wide picnic still on the lawn when I arrived. From the moment you stepped into the facility, whether it was being greeted by the friendly receptionist to the genuinely enthusiastic staff, the atmosphere was welcoming and a hive buzzing of creativity.
The fourteen thousand square foot show room was amazing! It is larger than most craft stores, complete with sample project ideas and “Trend Caps” so that visitors and retail buyers can be inspired and informed of their latest products and ideas. Local stores who purchase from the show room are given a scanner to scan the items they want and the information is sent directly to the warehouse for pick up or shipping to their store.
I was particularly impressed with the new “LockerLooks” product display which Darice predicts will be a big hit for the back to school season. It included glitter paper wall liners, fuzzy soft mini mats, a battery operated chandelier to hang at the top of the locker, and magnetic containers that held all of the accessories you could possibly imagine.
From the show room I was escorted through a maze of office suites and introduced to various departments. Along all of the walls were motivational and inspirational posters. It was clear from speaking with the employees, many of whom had been with the company for decades, that the company practices what they preach.
The 500,000 square foot warehouse was overwhelming! The pick, pack and ship process was explained to me, and I was shown three levels of conveyor belts that feed various packing stations which are fully automated and help achieve over a 98% fill rate on each order. There is a constant loading of huge transport trucks at docking stations and delivery of shipping containers from overseas sourcing. The automated system can track contents of shipping boxes, refill packing stations, identify customers preferred shipping methods and get it out of the building for the most part within less than 24 hours. Overseas shipments have special attention to detail to ensure everything is as perfect as possible and minimize the hassles of errors with tariff codes and import duties.
Darice also distributes for many companies, owns several previously independent companies and also has its own brand of products. The company ships to retail customers all over the world and gives back to their local community, which was evident from the various philanthropic endeavors in the town, including the local community complex.
After the warehouse I was given a tour through the rest of the office. They have an entire department dedicated to marketing and social media, a “Darice University”, to upgrade employee training. Then it was on to my favorite area, research and development. The R&D department was like going to craft heaven. 3D printers, huge laser cutting machines, piles and piles of supplies to play with and ideas hanging from ceilings and walls.
I particularly loved the plastic tie and the necklace display chandeliers. The design staff could not wait to show me what they were working on and demonstrated how their tools worked and even cut out some samples for me. I was in designer heaven! I also met the trade show booth designer who creates all of the cool ideas that they show in their CHA booths.
Next up was the play room where I met a gentleman whose job is to play with the products and come up with sample ideas to help promote them. He was playing with a plastic fork, paint and a paper plate and created the picture to the left. The walls were floor to ceiling full of every imaginable craft product, I wanted to stay and play, fancy being paid to do that work, sign me up!
Next to R&D was the photo studio where the projects and products are photographed. Darice designs their own packaging and creates its own images. On the way back to the show room we passed by the wellness wall, which contains literature and information on employee health and benefits. Darice takes care of and values their employees.
The next day I was introduced to buyers from various craft segments that walked me through the show room again to show me the latest trends and hot products as well as upcoming projects. The bead and jewelry buyers explained the close links to fashion and how they spend significant time and energy following trends and pantone colors to predict and produce products ready for the next season release. The children’s craft buyer showed me how their own branded products integrate with other craft lines and how products are developed at different price points for various markets.
The Director of Programing Planning and Sourcing showed me some of the products Darice had developed, how they contine to evolve and the process that Darice goes through to get products to market. For example, a children’s hand puppet program was developed at a low cost price point and included a door frame puppet stage. This program is now being upgraded with better packaging, QR Codes for more ideas to use in the open stock kits and even its own app, where kids can pick a puppet they have made and make a video on an iPhone about the character. The Director also shared a new secret project she is working on, and allowed me to share my ideas on how this product, currently thought of as a “grandma” craft, could be updated for children of the twenty first century. I came away inspired and anxious to see how this project will develop.
Darice is an exceptional company. They imagine, innovate, source, create, test, safety approve, package, publish, market, educate through social media, display, sell through retailers, pick, pack, ship and provide support both to their retail and end user customers. After 60 years they are constantly evolving with the market, giving back to their community and caring for their employees, truly impressive. To learn more about Darice and their products go to www.darice.com.
CHA members Spinrite, Clover Needlecraft, Sizzix and Plaid, participated in an off-site gifting suite hosted by the Borgine Group at the 66th Emmy Awards held in Los Angeles, California on August 23, 2014.
Stars from hit shows like Breaking Bad, Seinfield, True Blood, Glee and Happy Days took the time to create make-n-takes using the amazing products from the participating companies.
“I was so happy to have the celebrities take the time to sit and craft with us!” said Laura Hollar, Sizzix Community Manager. “They were all very kind and gracious with us and seemed to be really excited about Sizzix, too!”.
The sponsors captured photos and autographs of the celebrities using their products that they were able to post immediately on social media, and will later use to enhance their marketing efforts.
“Spinrite L.P. is very excited to have participated in the 66th Emmy Awards Gifting Suite hosted by the Borgnine Group. It was a great opportunity to share our brands Paton’s and Bernat, with past, present, and future Emmy nominees, as well as our customers on social media!” Said Christa Baker, Brand Manager, Spinrite LP.
To view more photos taken at the gift suites, click here to view the CHA Facebook Page photo album. Search the #CHASwag and #CRE8TIME hashtags to view social media posts from the event.
If you are interested in participating in future Gift Suite events, contact Nidia Negron at email@example.com or 201-835-1204.
Eli Draws are a family and a team supporting their young son Eli’s passion for being creative and transforming it into a brand where other parents and kids can participate in the exploration, learning and collaboration.
In this blog post, Eli’s mother, Amanda, discusses the impact of creativity in our early lives – when creating was a priority, and gives ideas on how to engage and encourage children to #CRE8TIME for creativity.
Encouraging Kids to CRE8TIME
By Amanda Whitford Grundy
Eli Draws Education
This summer, we had the pleasure of having our 11 year old nephew and 6 year old niece from North Carolina stay with our family in New York City. We had lots of fun all over the city: exploring Governor’s Island, taking trips to the Bronx Zoo, going to the beach and having numerous playground adventures.
Although we had some great trips, one of my favorite moments was when we were at home one morning. The four kids (my nephew and niece along with my 6 year old and my 15 month old) were getting a little stir crazy in our New York apartment. I knew we had a birthday party to go to that night for a friend of mine, another mom who the kids all knew and loved from our summer zoo trips. I suggested the kids make her birthday cards and they jumped at the idea.
I got out stencils, crayons, markers, construction paper and the kids went to work. They were so thrilled to be making birthday cards for a friend and they put their heart, soul, and imaginations into their homemade card creations. Watching the kids made me remember my own childhood and how important making a birthday card for a friend can be. I posted on Facebook that I wished I could return to that time when creating something homemade for someone was my first priority.
1. An idea: Help kids to focus their imagination with an activity.
Make a birthday card
Put on a play
Make sock puppets
Just like adults, kids have to carve out time for creativity from all the activities that vie for their attention, even if that activity might be annoying their little sister. Kids also need to know where it’s ok to work on their creative projects and where their projects can be kept safely and valued by others.
4. Permission to make a mess and make a mistake:
Create a space where it’s ok for kids to get messy. We live in a New York City apartment, aka, a small space. We use inexpensive, plastic table cloths leftover from birthday parties to cover the dining table so the kids can use markers and glue worry free. And when kids make a mistake, an invaluable part of the creative process is teaching them how to turn that mistake into part of their project or that it’s ok to start over and try again.
Creating time to do things we love, and encourage our creativity. is not always the easiest thing to do even though it brings us joy. The same is true for the younger generation. It is much easier for them to sit in front of an electronic device and play a video game or watch a movie. There is a time and a place for that, but teaching kids how to CRE8TIME for projects like making a friend a birthday card not only brings joy to the creator, but also brings joy to others.
By Paula Jones
There was quite a buzz coming from the Brother Sewing machine at the recent Artwaves Conference, which took place at Fanshaw College in London, Ontario, August 8 – 9, 2014. Attendees at the conference, along with many staff and children from ChildCan, attended the Canada Sews booth to make Banners of Hope to be donated to their charity, to help lift the spirits of children and families undergoing Cancer treatment at the local London hospital. 25 banners were created throughout the day, while stories of survivors and current patients were shared with Canada Sews staff.
It was a heart warming event as well as a skill enhancing opportunity for many children and young adults, who learned to use a basic sewing machine and some simple hand sewing skills to add buttons and other trim elements onto the banners. The kids loved using the machine and were surprised at how easy it was to use, they even played with the various funky stitch elements. The local radio station was broadcasting from the event and featured a few segments about the banner project.
The most heart warming moment came when Stephanie, a three time brain tumor survivor, sat patiently concentrating on sewing on buttons for her dog themed banner, the quote that was most appropriate for her was, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog!”
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!
I 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.
There 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!
‘Creativity is our Business’ is the slogan of The CHA Designer Section. CHA Designer Members are the connecting piece between manufacturers and craft enthusiasts providing professional services that markets, educates and inspires consumers. The CHA Designer Members are a group of giving and caring individuals as well. One of the many crusades and campaigns that Designer Members lead is Susan Weckesser’s yearly endeavour of the Christmas Love Campaign.
“My father had recently passed away and I wanted to do something meaningful in his memory. Two of the most important memories of my father was the message to follow my dreams and that he was always helping other people. I approached Canadian Scrapbooker magazine and pitched an idea that became a theme for an article and grew to become so much more. In the article the call went out to all crafters, scrapbookers, artists, quilters, with the message of ‘create for kindness.”
Susan believes in the power of CHA’s Designer Members working together for the better of the community and drew upon their skills for a media campaign as an effective link to many of the manufacturers in the craft and hobby industry. When Susan Weckesser called upon the ‘wider’ crafting community to come together to make a difference, she received support from manufacturers to designers and creative professionals of all skill levels and positions in the craft and hobby community.
While it seems as though Christmas is many months away, for creative souls it is never too early to begin. Susan explained that the concept for anyone to join in the campaign is simple. All you have to do is to create something – anything – then give it to a random stranger or neighbor, just to spread some love. Susan said, “After six years I am SO thrilled to say that the campaign has been amazing; a real success! It is worldwide and through the campaign we have raised donations for the Cancer Society, helped Alberta flood victims, and sent packages of art & craft supplies to people rebuilding their lives.
We have had many wonderful designers contribute to the blog and Christmas Love Campaign Claudine Hellmuth, Mark Montano, Kelly Marie Alvarez and many more amazing artists. Please feel free to add a hot link in the comments section to share your own Christmas Love projects.
Christmas Love has been blessed with sponsorship from many of the manufacturers.
Ranger Ink provided inks and aprons to campaign participants and Westcott Brand sent supplies to a lady who needed help after the Alberta Floods. The past year sponsor lineup included: American Crafts, May Arts Ribbon, Fancy Pants Designs, Interweave, FW Media, ilovetocreate.com , Clearsnap, Core’dinations, Canvas Corp., Lawn Fawn, Scrapbooks andCards Today, Big Picture Classes, Project Life – Becky Higgins and Unity Stamp Co just to name a few.
Social Media is a huge part of the Christmas Love Campaign, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Cameo and instagram are wonderful ways to connect with people, share things going on with the campaign or how individuals have joined in.
Our hashtags for the Christmas Love Campaign are:
#craftuplove #tagsoflove #christmaslovecampaign
The Susan K. Weckesser Inc. Christmas Love Campaign runs every year from November to January. Sponsors and designers are always welcome to sign up to be part of the program, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember sometimes all it takes is one kind gesture to make the difference in someone’s life! “
We asked some of the designers who participated to share with us a little about their contributions. Please feel free to add more links in the comments section on this post of your own contributions.
|Ken Oliver: I was really happy when Susan asked me to contribute to the Christmas Love Campaign. After learning that she’d lost her father to cancer, I wanted to help her memorialize her dad, and wanted to share our holiday tradition of handmade gifts.I created hand soldered ornaments using photos and images of my grandparents and then gave them to my parents and brothers as Christmas gifts.
Amy Anderson: I joined in the campaign because I really love Susan. She has such an awesome spirit and always spreads the love! I thought her series idea was brilliant, especially during that time of year.
I participated by sharing some things I was thankful for in addition to some of my favorite Mod Podge Christmas ornament projects. I had a great time writing that blog post because it’s not typically what I write. A little variety is fun!
Susan asked us to contribute something creative that reflected the message of Simple Acts of Creative Kindness, so I wrote a short essay on the rapid disappearance of common courtesy in our technological age and the importance of moving out of ourselves enough to be kind to others.
The CHA Designer Members are the bond between manufacturers and craft enthusiasts, professional crafters and artists, and creative DIYers of many levels. CHA Designer Section members provide professional services in a range of marketing fields, social media, developing tutorials and editorials that support delivering product knowledge and inspiration to create. or ‘Creativity is our Business’.
To connect with CHA Designer Section Committee Members click here.
By Sallianne Mclelland
On a night when the storms and tornadoes were raging down in the southern states, artists from the Art is…You family gathered in Olive Branch, MS to create Banners of Love for the children of St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This Living in Generosity project, generously promoted by CHA and the #CRE8TIME Movement, received tremendous support from the wider creative art community.
We were inundated with fabulous banner squares from across the country. These squares were combined into over 40 banners that exuded color, joy, laughter and above all, love.
This project would not have been possible without the support of all those who contributed their squares including: Melissa Bolton, Jean Peters, Aleta and Katie Totire, Lora Frisch, Ms. Gangi’s 3rd grade class, Judy Hand Pitts, Alicia Caudle and Finn, Patricia Kierys, Monica M, Linda Quick, Roberta Decker, Patricia K. Kurowski, Jennifer Liston, Glenda Miles, Roberta (Robbie) Decker, Linda Quick, Barb Patterson, Kathleen Bricker, Patty Kierys, Susan Milo, Heather Brauner, Sandra Koterba, Elizabeth Fort Pisons, Danielle DeMont, Ellie Grossman and we would like to thank (left to right) Kim Griggs, Kecia Deveney and Linda Willis who committed hours of their time, talents and sewing skills to ensure that all of the squares were sewn together so beautifully.
The banners were hand delivered to one of the St Jude Family homes for distribution to the sick children and their families. It gave us great joy to coordinate the activity and this joy was compounded by the additional $2,150.00 that was raised at our Art Trunk and presented to St Jude’s.
To see the full photo gallery please visit the CRE8TIME Facebook page: www.facebook.com/cre8time.
Sallianne Mclelland is the owner of CHA member, Visually Speaking LLC, who puts on Art is… You retreats, which are all inclusive week-long art workshops, Buffet Bonanza Lunches, Morning Motivators, Eat Cake Create events, plus Art Trunk and so much more. For more information visit: http://www.art-is-you.com/