Editor’s Note: Fiskars was one of the companies that joined the trend of not exhibiting at the CHA trade show, choosing instead to invest their budget in an off-site event for a select group.
The following is a guest post from Fiskateer and CHA Educator/Demonstrator member Betsy Burnett. Many thanks to her for sharing her experiences at the special Fiskateer event with Scrapbook Update’s readers, so that we can all better understand the impact that these companies get from hosting these special events.
How do you celebrate a 360th birthday? If you are Fiskars you take 50 Fiskateers, throw in some crafting celebrities and a heaping dose of Disney magic and you wind up with the birthday bash of the year.
When Fiskars first announced that this would be their 360th year, numerous suggestions were tossed around about how to celebrate. 360 crops held on the same day? A huge party at the Fiskars U.S. headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin? A large crop at the Waussau, Wisconsin warehouse complete with a private warehouse sale? Nothing seemed quite right until the news of CHA-Summer being in Orlando started sparking ideas.
As Stephenie Hamen, Fiskateer legend and the Design & Consumer Education Manager at Fiskars, said: “We wanted Fiskars’ 360th birthday to be magical, and what is more magical than Disney?”
50 Fiskateers met at the VIP gate of DisneyWorld’s Epcot theme park on Monday, July 27th, and were escorted to a private party room. Upon arrival, the Fiskateers sat at tables, decorated with orange and green balloons, orange Fiskars 360 water bottles, and more importantly orange mouse ears! After decorating t-shirts designed especially for the occasion, the real fun began.
Breaking up into teams lead by the five Lead Fiskateers, the groups then went on a wild scavenger hunt that lead them through the entire Epcot Theme Park. When they arrived back at the party room it was time for presents!
At each person’s seat was a gift bag filled with a fabulous assortment of Fiskars tools, paper products and embellishments. Attendees were then given the option to participate in make-in-takes and spend time cropping, or just visit. Not much scrapbooking happened due to the fact that many of these ladies had just met in person for the first time and wanted to socialize.
Fiskateers are a group of crafting ambassadors. Sponsored by Fiskars, this group of 6400 brand ambassadors (from 70 countries) is more than your typical online community. Fiskateers enjoy being able to have a say in the development of new Fiskars products (and product improvements) through chats and surveys with the people lovingly dubbed “Fiskaneers” (the Fiskars engineers.) More importantly, whether it’s through sewing, paper crafting, gardening or jewelry making, Fiskateers are united by not only by their passion for crafting but a desire to impact their world around them through their crafting. (For more background on the creation of the Fiskateers program, read Scrapbook Update’s previous profile of the program: The Genius of Fiskateers.)
This shared passion is what had turned this room filled with people that just knew each other by screen names and avatar photos into instant friends. Laughter was contagious as hugs were exchanged and photos were snapped. Things did settle down (at bit) when Disney’s own Mickey Mouse came to help Fiskars present a very special award!
Each year a person (or persons) is selected by Fiskars for most representing all that Fiskateers stands for. This year Maxine Hodges was presented with a 3 foot pair of Fiskars scissors declaring her “Fiskateer of the Year.” This announcement was met with much cheering, more hugging and the collective flash of no less than 48 cameras all at the same time.
Mickey wasn’t the only special guest. We saw Kathy Cano-Murillo (the Crafty Chica) and her daughter Maya. Margie Romney-Aslett, (along with Brooke and Meg Aslett) from the Girls Loft also came to party. Even Sarah Hodsdon from Sarah-n-Dipitous Designs joined in on the fun.
After Mickey departed, the Fiskateers were instructed to head downstairs for “Fiskars’ Finest,” a party celebrating the leading stores Fiskars does business with. After catching a private bus to the event, store owners and their guests were escorted through the park to the party room, complete with an open bar, desert stations, a sundae bar, and the most delicious looking (and tasting) birthday cake.
Store owners and Fiskateers were in for the surprise of their lives when Danielle Forsgren (from the Diva Craft Lounge) arrived with crafting legend Carol Duvall. Carol amused everyone by offering this advice: “Even with all the fancy cutting machines and systems out there, I still tell everyone they need to know how to do what they were taught in kindergarten and that’s cut with scissors!”
As the evening was drawing to a close, guests were escorted to a private viewing area to watch Epcot’s fireworks presentation, “IlluminNations: Reflections of Earth.” As the fireworks were ending, Fiskateer Laura Casey was moved to tears as she said “this day has been so amazing…I can’t believe that my crafting has brought me here!”
And amazing it was. It was Fiskars’ birthday, but those of us that attended felt like we were the honored guests. Just one more reason to understand why Fiskars has been around for 360 years. So Happy Birthday Fiskars, here’s to 360 more!