“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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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:

ThoughtLeaders


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.

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

The CHA Paper Arts Show is a 3-Day Trade-Only Event in Atlanta


Get ready for the critical fourth quarter holiday selling season!
You can’t afford to miss this one-stop-shop buying event.

 

  • Paper Craft Industry exhibits including the latest products in paper arts to help get attendees ready for the critical fourth quarter holiday selling season!
  • A full day of hands-on workshops exclusively focused on the paper arts industry.
  • The Open Market – a trade-only cash-n-carry event – special night of hot deals and bargain pricing!

CHA members attend for free!
Badge Registration Is Now Open.
Workshop Registration Opens June 3rd.

Visit www.craftandhobby.org/paperarts for more information and to register.

An invitation from Joe Rotella to the Creative Retailer Retreat

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Joe Rotella of Delphia Consulting and the Craft and Hobby Association web expert, invites members of the Creative Retail industry to the Creative Retailer Retreat in Pittsburgh PA April 28th through 30th.

Joe talks about the sessions and offerings of the Creative Retailer Retreat.

The Creative Retailer Retreats are focused entirely on helping the Creative Retailer in day-to-day business needs. The Retreat experience includes highly interactive sessions covering social media, marketing, store/website layout, and much more. And of course a retreat is not complete without hands-on workshops and networking events. In just two and a half days: Learn, Craft and Connect for the future of your creative business!

To register, visit: http://www.craftandhobby.org/crr.

Joe Rotella is CMO of Delphia Consulting and the Web Expert for the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA).

Delphia Consulting is an affiliate of CHA and the publisher of CraftSuite – the eCommerce/blog/website solution for the craft and hobby industry.

5 Tips for Exhibiting Success: Turn Product Demos into Sales


Exhibiting at CHA Conference & Trade Shows allows you to showcase your products in person for your customers. But how do you turn those product demonstrations and make-and-take projects into orders on the Show floor? Veteran exhibitors Advantus and iLoveToCreate share some tips for success.

1. Do a project over a demo. “Projects are typically more impactful than a demonstration, because creative people need to feel the product and make a personal connection with it,” says Alyson Dias of iLoveToCreate. The more impactful the experience, the more likely the customer will be to make a purchase. Choosing projects over demos also allows for more face time between the demonstrator and the customer, time that “fosters relationships and builds brand loyalty,” notes Dias.

2. Let the product speak for itself. By nature, craft and hobby customers are visual and/or hands-on learners, so seeing products in action will do more to convince them to buy than a hard sales pitch. “Customers don’t need to be told how wonderful a product is—they want to create and determine that themselves,” says Rana Coggins of Advantus. The more they determine how wonderful your products are first-hand, the more likely they are to buy.

3. Keep it simple. “Keep your projects simple and timed under 10 minutes,” Coggins warns. This allows you to make an impact in a short amount of time where a customer can walk away feeling inspired—and more likely to make a purchase.  “We love seeing the ‘a-ha moment’ when someone creates a project that was quick and simple but looks amazing!”

4. Make it fun. If customers enjoy making a project at your booth, they will be more likely to not only make a purchase but become loyal customers. “Have all the necessary tools and supplies kitted so they can be easily distributed,” suggests Coggins. And make sure the person in charge is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the products, so he or she can be informative while making the experience fun.

5. Let everyone join the fun. It may be tempting to only make your project open to buyers, but remember to include bloggers, designers, and members of the media as well. “Their positive experience with products will translate into inspiration and education via magazines, websites, blogs and social media—which then inspires consumers to purchase at retail,” reminds Dias.

Using projects and demonstrations will help you have even more success at the CHA Conference & Trade Show. Sign up to exhibit at the 2014 MEGA SHOW today!

Walnut Hollow: Success Secrets of CHA Show Exhibiting


Walnut Hollow has been a leader in the craft industry for 41 years and a member of the Craft & Hobby Association since its inception. This inspiring company supplies fine wood surfaces, tools and accessories for hobbyists and crafters, and exhibiting at Craft & Hobby Association Conferences and Trade Shows has yielded them successful results for many years. Why do they have such successful results? Here are two secrets.

Success tip #1: Make personal connections.

Exhibiting at CHA shows gives you the opportunity to make personal connections with buyers, distributors, and other industry professionals. Face-to-face connections allow for optimal business and networking opportunities.

Walnut Hollow uses their exhibiting connections not just to make personal connections with buyers but to create partnership opportunities with other manufacturers for cross promotion. “Over the years we have built successful relationships with a variety of manufacturers to cross promote our products together,” says Christine Wallace, Marketing Communications Director for Walnut Hollow. “Buyers understand that their customers will not shop their stores for only our tools and wood products, but include other products in their projects.” Cross promoting with other manufacturers allows for extra exposure, as Walnut Hollow’s products can be showcased in partner booths as well as their own, so these personal connections really pay off!

Success tip #2: Showcase your strengths.

Exhibiting at CHA shows allows you to showcase your products in person directly to buyers, instantly inspiring them and answering any possible questions in the moment.

Walnut Hollow suggests you spend ample time considering various ways to showcase your products, narrowing down your ideas to what makes the best impression on the buyer. In order to sell their new and innovative products to CHA show attendees, Walnut Hollow makes sure knowledgeable staff members are on hand to demonstrate them and answer questions. “Sometimes interaction between those selling or demonstrating products and a buyer influences the buyer to help him or her understand why their customers would want to purchase Walnut Hollow products from their stores,” says Wallace.

Join Walnut Hollow and hundreds of others at the CHA 2014 Show. Make valuable business connections and showcase your products – exhibit today!

The 2014 CHA Hot 20


Be among the first to get your hands on the BEST NEW
PRODUCTS at the 2014 CHA Mega Show!

We’re talking Creativity . Originality . Ingenuity . INNOVATION! And the CHA 2014 MEGA Show is the ONLY place you can see all of the newest and most innovative products to hit the marketplace – and all in one place! You won’t want to miss the NEW Product Preview VIP Event (open only to Buyers and Media), on Friday, January 10, 2014.

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Let’s talk CHA Hot 20!

What’s the CHA Hot 20? Just the hottest new items of 2014, hand-selected by an esteemed panel of industry experts, from this year’s new product submissions. Attend the New Product Preview VIP Event and you’ll be among the first to get up close and personal with a select number of never released, newsworthy products, and the companies that created them. You’ll also have an opportunity to speak with the innovators and trendsetters who are shaping the craft industry.

CHA is dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to help you grow your business! Don’t miss the New Product Preview VIP Event. Space is limited. Be sure to get your tickets when Education Program Registration opens on November 5. .

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P.S. Exhibitors: We want your new items! If you would like to participate in the 2014 New Products Program, please click here to enter product/product line(s) that will launching to consumers in 2014. Please note that any product available for sale in 2013 will not be considered for display or for the Hot 20). In order to be considered, entries must be received by November 29, 2013.