Yesterday (Friday) was the first day of the CHA Craft Supershow in Orlando. When I arrived at the Orange County Convention Center shortly after 11am, an hour after the show’s official opening time, I was greeted by this sight at the registration area:
I couldn’t even get the whole crowd into the photo. What you can’t see is the line that stretches from the far end of the registration area in the photo, all the way across the back of the registration area to where I am standing, and then about that same distance again across the lobby area. Attendees were reporting a 20-30 minute wait to pick up their pre-registered tickets.
CHA officials reported that 5,000 tickets were pre-sold for this weekend’s show.
The vendor hall was not empty while all these people were stuck in line waiting to pick up their tickets, either. This is what it looked like inside the hall:
Quite simply, the place was wall-to-wall people the entire day. It was hard to move without bumping into someone. There was always a wait to checkout in booths, and waits for make-n-takes were lengthy. Every vendor I spoke to seemed thrilled about how their business was going on Friday. In some cases I saw signs that certain items had already sold out for some vendors.
At Papertrey Ink, a stamping company which usually only sells online, there was a line to even get into their booth to shop. They had their booth set up with a line coming in the door that snaked around the exterior wall before returning to the register at the exit. Customers essentially shopped as they were in line for the register. First thing in the morning, the line was a couple dozen people long just to get to the entrance of the booth to start shopping.
Make-n-takes were extremely popular and the waits were long despite them being offered in many booths for consumers to choose from. All the make-n-takes I saw were being offered at no charge. Consumers seemed to really being enjoying trying new things. I saw a lot of people having to have techniques explained to them, which meant they were trying something they hadn’t done before. Some of the make-n-takes were quite involved (which accounted for some of the waits of course) but the result was that the consumer could take home a really inspiring project and really learn something in the process.
Unlike many consumer shows, which seem to actively discourage the presence of children, CHA made an effort to encourage consumers to bring their children with them to the Craft Supershow. It’s never too early to start creating the next generation of craft consumers! There was a whole kids’ crafting area set up on the show floor along with a bounce house for the littlest kids.
Kids weren’t just getting busy in the area meant just for them, either. I saw kids taking part with real interest in make-n-takes all over the show floor. Hopefully this is a good sign for the future health of the crafts industry that a new generation of crafter is being nutured.
Misc notes from the CHA Craft Supershow:
- Several manufacturers (including Creative Imaginations and Nikki Sivils) were running make-n-takes and then had signs up to tell consumers what retailer booths at the show were selling the products that were being used.
- The crowd was very demographically diverse, especially compared to previous scrapbook shows that I have attended.
- Facts and figures: approximately 100 vendors and 5000 pre-sold tickets for the weekend