Archive | July 26, 2008

A Few Facts About CHA-Summer 2009

I want to try to clear up a few things about the information about CHA-Summer 2009, because I’m seeing a lot of complaints and speculation online in various forums and much of it has little basis in actual fact.

The only thing that has been announced by CHA about their new plans for CHA-Summer 2009 is the move to Orlando and that there will be two days of consumer show. There has been no definition created by CHA yet of what exactly “consumer show” will mean, and in fact CHA is in the process of holding a series of conference calls with CHA members to try to define that.

There is actually precedent, especially in the consumer electronics industry, for consumer shows that are display only, with no sales, to show off the latest and greatest products. So we just don’t know yet exactly what that part of the event will entail. No assumption should be made yet that CHA’s definition of consumer show will be something like a Memories Expo or Creating Keepsakes Convention. It could mean no consumer sales, or those days could conceivably even get called off based on the conference call feedback from members if that is negative enough.

I definitely see why a lot of people can’t imagine this turning out to be a good idea no matter what the specifics end up being, but no specifics have been set. We’ll just have to wait and see.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about the undesirability of Orlando as a home for the event. It’s understandable of course that people local to Chicago would be upset about the venue change but I’m also hearing complaints about the Florida heat and concerns about safety in Orlando that I would like to address.

Most of you know that I live in Florida – about two hours outside Orlando. I frequently travel down to the city both as a tourist and to attend conventions (both scrapbook and other types). Orlando’s tourist areas are safe – or no more dangerous than any other tourist areas, such as the one around the convention center in Anaheim. Orlando has a reputation as a city with problems but those problems – the soaring murder rate, etc – are rooted in the city’s low-income residential neighborhoods. As long as you don’t plan on sightseeing in those neighborhoods (far removed from the tourist areas), and observe basic personal safety precautions like not walking alone after dark in the tourist areas, you should have no concerns.

As far as the heat, my experience when attending work-related events in Orlando has been that I am barely outside except to walk from the car to the convention building and then from the car into the hotel – only a few minutes a day, so the heat outside doesn’t matter. And I know the south has a reputation for being backwards, but Orlando’s hotels and convention centers do actually have that new-fangled air conditioning thing. Honest. And we use it – Florida’s carbon footprint isn’t very earth-friendly in the month of July. I’d actually advise bringing a sweater for when you are indoors, in fact. We set our thermostats to polar bear friendly temperatures. Just because we can.

Orlando has a lot of competitively priced convention space, abundant affordable lodging, and is one of the cheaper airline destinations in the country. It’s a very popular convention destination year-round, for a wide variety of industries.  Why shouldn’t CHA take advantage of that? They may even be trying to attract more international buyers to the show by scheduling it during the traditional summer vacation period in Europe, and in a popular (and currently very affordable) vacation destination for those buyers. Attracting those buyers might inject much-needed life into the show.


What Trends Does Pottery Barn Kids Predict?

Pottery Barn (and its kids division, Pottery Barn Kids) is a major style bellweather for the upscale home décor market. They are a major influence on the  styles Target translates into lower cost versions for their market (and bless them for it!) and a good source of what is considered mainstream in home décor. This means that they are also a good source of what trends will filter down into the scrapbooking and crafts market, and how well accepted those trends will be by consumers.

I got my copy of the latest Pottery Barn Kids catalog yesterday and was immediately struck thumbing through it by some trends that it seemed to predict for the future or current ones that it seemed to cement.

pottery-barn-pink-redRed and Pink: One of the hot new color combinations in their girls’ collection is using candy red as an accent color with pastel pinks (such as the Allie bedding collection shown).

Polka Dots: The girls’ collections feature polka dots everywhere. It wasn’t just limited to a single collection – polka dots were used for accent pieces in several collections, as well as the primary design element in the Marissa Collection.

Bright Orange: Orange, part of a design trend for a while now, remains a strong design element of Pottery Barn Kids’ boys’ collections. So it will probably be sticking around in scrapbooking for awhile too.

pottery-barn-owlsPaper Piecing – with patterned paper: No, there wasn’t paper piecing in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, but there was this Brooke quilt (quilts being a staple of Pottery Barn, of course) with pieced designs with printed fabric instead of solid colors. We’ve already been seeing paper piecing starting to make a comeback in scrapbooking. It was about time for it anyway in the “fashion cycle” of scrapbooking, plus paper piecing is a very affordable technique to use as economically strapped scrapbookers look to stretch their supplies. Last time around, it was done primarily with solid-colored cardstock, but I think this time around indicators are pointing to it being done more with patterned paper. Which leads me to the next trend in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog…

Small Patterns: The past few years have seen a trend of large patterns on paper that were clearly imported from home dec and which were challenging to use for many scrapbookers. A look at the Pottery Barn Kids catalog shows a shift, at least in this part of the home dec market, back to smaller patterns – which is necessary for scrapbookers if papers are going to be used in small pieces for paper piecing and for other small projects like mini-albums that stores are marketing to extend their reach.

Owls: While this design element has hit scrapbooking already, it hasn’t quite gone mainstream. The designs being currently seen in places like Pottery Barn Kids’ Brooke Collection (pictured above) could help the motif finally gain some traction in the scrapbook world and stick around for a while.

Black & Yellow (& White): On the more sophisticated side of their kids offerings, Pottery Barn Kids’ Sadie Nursery Collection uses black, white and yellow with graphic prints (and incorporates polka dots).

pottery-barn-star-warsRetro: History tells us that during bad economies like the current one, people turn to nostalgia for what they saw as a simpler time. This is reflected in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog in offerings of Star Wars themed sheets that are licensed with the original 1977 designs, vintage Spiderman designs, and antique cowboy and sports themes.