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Archive | January 30, 2009

CHA Winter 2009 Product and Style Notes, Part 1

Here’s part one of a compilation of general thoughts about product and style trends from CHA-Winter in Anaheim this week. (A separate post will also follow with notes relating to specific companies.)

Vintage is queen. The vintage/shabby look definitely dominated the new scrapbook offerings at CHA this week. However, I hesitate to call this a trend because the companies presenting this look are companies that have traditionally done this look. They were simply continuing with their signature style. The fact that those companies seem to dominate the floor may be indicative that this look is starting to become the signature look of scrapbooking as a crafts segment. Most crafts segments have a signature style that is considered “typical” of that segment (for many segments it is a “country” look, for instance). Until recently, “themed cutesy” could probably describe the mass market look of the scrapbook segment. It looks like that is transitioning now into the vintage/shabby look being the mass market look for scrapbooking.

There may be an economic explanation for the vintage domination right now – nostalgia for “simpler times” at a time of stress in our economy and our lives can create trends for “old-fashioned” styles.

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Just the basics, ma’am. Most companies, afraid to take risks on unknowns or huge product lines, stuck to core basics in their product offerings at the show: patterned paper, clear stamps (yes, it’s obvious they are a basic now), rub-ons, ribbon and chipboard. Only the most adventurous companies offered other things like metal embellishments of various sorts or fabric florals. Many embellishments were made of paper, such as pre-printed die cuts, to keep costs down.

Fun & Games. Several companies turned to retro style game elements for design inspiration, with Cosmo Cricket using spinners as embellishments, and with Bingo cards a design element in several lines, including Jenni Bowlin.

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Bling it on. Bling is everywhere. It’s the accent of choice for every look and style, from graphic to vintage. And best of all, it’s typically inexpensive, so it’s the perfect product for the market right now. Basic Grey came out with a huge line of new bling embellishments that I heard raves about from multiple buyers.

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Themed is out. Themed may not be dead, but it sure isn’t looking very healthy. In an apparent effort to make their products appeal to the widest possible market, most manufacturers are limiting their themed offerings to the most generic themes: baby, wedding, birthday and travel. The days of being able to find themed supplies for themes like “red hat ballroom dancers who drink tea on Thursdays” (ok, I exaggerate, but only a little) are probably over. Only a few companies that have tended to specialize in themes, like Karen Foster Designs, seem to be continuing to make anything beyond the few generic themes. (Below: Cosmo Cricket’s “Snorkel” collection, one of my hot picks from the show.)

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Stay tuned for part two, coming soon…

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