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Events | CKU, Creative Escape and Spark Updates

The new frugal consumer is, not unexpectedly, making leisure travel a harder sell in the past couple of years, and the experiences of recent industry event organizers seem to be reflecting that.

Creating Keepsakes ended their CKU (Creating Keepsakes University) events in 2009, amid declining interest. Donna Downey recently downsized Inspire from an annual large scale conference event, and moved it into her new studio as a small group event that takes place more frequently.

Now, however, CKU is back – for at least one more go-around. A CKU Reunion event to celebrate the event’s 10th anniversary is scheduled for Oct. 27th-29th, 2011 in San Diego, CA. The three day event will cost $295 in tuition. Album tracks will be taught by Teresa Collins, Darcy Debord (Technique Tuesday), Megan Hoeppner (Creating Keepsakes), Michelle Hill (Polka Dot Whimsy) and Jodi Sanford (Fancy Pants). Core classes, taken by all attendees, will be taught by Stacy Julian, Christy Tomlinson, and Jen Cushman & Kristen Robinson.

CKU Reunion will take place at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine in San Diego. A special group rate has been set of $129/night rate for double occupancy rooms during the event. Parking is $20/night (self park) or $25/night for valet.

While one event is coming back (however temporarily), another is ending. Creative Escape, the event which bills itself as “the ultimate scrapbook indulgence,” has announced it will not be returning after its Aug. 25th-27th event in Chandler, AZ.

Registration for the three day event costs $749, and includes six meals. Creative Escape is put on by Bazzill, and 2011 featured instructors include Ali Edwards, Heidi Swapp, and Janet Hopkins. It takes place at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa. Rooms are available at a special rate of $119/night.

Creative Escape has appeared to be having trouble meeting its quota of room bookings at the host hotel for the event. As recently as August 3rd, a posting on the blog of Margie Romney-Aslett (a long-time supporter of the event due to her relationship with Bazzill) was offering half-price tuition to 15 people who agreed to book a minimum of two nights at the host hotel. This followed two other giveaway and discount offerings on Bazzill’s Facebook account and another blog that also carried conditions regarding hotel booking.

Will the new CKU event do better attracting scrapbookers than Creative Escape has apparently been able to do this year? Its price point – around half the price of Creative Escape – will likely help. But it faces stiff competition for Utah-area participants (or anyone else within driving distance of Lindon) from Spark.

Spark No. 3, which takes place in Lindon, UT a week earlier from Oct. 21st-22nd. Spark registration costs $350, and featured instructors include Amy Tan, Christy Tomlinson, Donna Downey and Emily Falconbridge. Spark was originally formed,  and the first two were run, by Margie Romney-Aslett, Liz Kartchner (Dear Lizzie), and Rhonna Farrer. This year, however, Spark No. 3, is being run by Romney-Aslett with three new partners: Christy Tomlinson, and April Meeker. (Alissa Holland was also a part of that team but was forced to bow out of the event recently by what was described as “health issues going on in her family.”  Her scheduled teaching slots are being filled by Cathe Holden.)

In a sign that Spark, like its competitors, may also be encountering difficulties with attendee budgets, the event announced on August 3rd that they are offering a payment plan (3 monthly payments of $120 each) as a way for participants to pay their registration fee.

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20 Responses to Events | CKU, Creative Escape and Spark Updates

  1. Delanie August 9, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    I wish they would turn their attention to other countries, such as Australia. Although I doubt we could sustain an annual event, there really seems to be nothing offered here from the scrapbooking ‘celebrities’ and believe an event would be quite popular.

  2. S August 10, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    I wish there were events like this schedule in the Midwest, there are scrapbookers located outside of Utah and Arizona, after all.

  3. LindaBabe August 10, 2011 at 5:48 am #

    $749 PLUS hotel, $998 rt airfare from the north east + transfers to the hotel? And, I’m SURE there’ll be shopping. It’s not happening in MY (retired person) budget.

  4. Gab August 10, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    A few years ago Cathy Z, Ali Edwards and a few others did come to Oz – sadly I didn’t go though. I went to CKU in 2005 and loved it! Thanks for the info Nancy

  5. Lain Ehmann August 10, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    I’d like to invite everyone to check out True Scrap. All the scrappy goodness and interaction associated with a live event, but from the comfort of your own home… The only thing missing is the high price tag! Our next event is Oct. 20-22 with over a dozen instructors. I’d be glad to give Scrapbook Update the exclusive on announcing the instructor list. ;)

  6. Mary L August 10, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    I wish we had a scrapbook store! (much less events that are way out of budget for me) even remotely close. I’d love to go to Creative Escape or Scrapping from the inside out’s event in Santa Monica but it all comes down to $$$ unfortunately.

  7. Ann August 10, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    I also live in the NE. I agree with LindaBabe. This event would have been close to $2500 to attend. Too bad they did not choose to move it to a different area of the country each year. If it was within driving distance or if it was in a hotel where people could use rewards points to book their rooms they would probably open it up to more people.

  8. Linda R August 10, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    I think too many events are in the Pacific NW – I’m in the Midwest near a city you may have heard of CHICAGO….but none of these awesome classes come there – how about Indianapolis? St. Louis? Just a though that the center of the country is easier to get to and less expensive than the West Coast. The cost is prohibitive except to very few. rethink…restructure…try something else ;-)

  9. Melissa Winstead August 10, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    SDU seems to be going strong still! We’ve got one scheduled here in Orlando in September I am thinking of attending.
    I miss the CKU days – a friend and myself would go whenever it was scheduled for Florida. We’d make a lovely girs-getaway weekend out of it and hit all the local scrabook stores for shopping that were normally too far from us. Oh, the good ol’ days!

  10. Dolli N. August 10, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    It’s too bad they won’t look to the Midwest for these events, especially in smaller cities like mine (250K in tri-state area). The hotel costs would be much, much cheaper, as well as the overall costs (lodging, travel, food) for attendees. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for 16 years in my community and we are much more affordable than San Diego, Chicago, etc., and even Indianapolis, St. Louis, Louisville and Nashville. I think these events would have a great turn-out in a city the size of mine as well! We have an airport, we are near major interstates and within a 2-3 hour drive of 3 major cities.

  11. WhamBamPam August 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Northern Vermont or northern NY state, excellent choices!

  12. Julie August 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Creating Keepsakes runs several retail consumer shows in the Midwest and Scrapbook Expo hosts an event in Chicago. These events are NOT CKU, but are large scrapbooking events, and the promoters look at the numbers of these shows to determine where other shows can be. Unfortunately the numbers for consumer shows in the Midwest just are never strong. This means they won’t host other events in Midwest. Scrapbook Expo is coming to Chicago (St Charles, IL) August 19 & 20…why not attend and show your support for the craft…let’s change the trend! I’ll be there selling product! — Julie Creek, Creek Bank Creations, Inc

  13. Candy August 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Well, these sessions would be fun, but fun without my kids, husband, etc. And priorities while on a budget have to include the entire family for “fun”. So, although we could budget for something like this, it would be selfish on my part. Maybe when the kids leave home and have jobs and rather not hang with the parents, then I could consider this….many years in the future.

  14. Vicki J August 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    I stumbled on the CKU reunion information and was stunned to realize the lack of publicity for it. I loved CKU at its height.. the frenzy over getting in the classes and the get away for 24/7 girl time–scrapping time–so much fun.
    I do think the industry itself has changed. Techniques like inking and paper tearing are no longer new and innovative to most scrappers. There are products today that we never dreamed about years ago so we had to “make it ourselves”. Which lent itself to CKU being able to come up with a whole class schedule.
    And yes the costs have sky-rocketed.. and I know vendor support has dwindled..

    I do agree that there is some distinct opportunities to a Northeast location or even like someone else mentioned Chicago or the midwest. There are never events in either location.

  15. Pam Prather August 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    I agree with some of the other ladies- there is a lot of interest on the East Coast, but the cost is unreal when you add in the airfare it is just too expensive.

  16. Debra Williams August 10, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    With the lack of scrapbooking outlets in South Texas, we would love for some events to be held here. San Antonio has several shops, but Houston is limited and going further South they are almost none existent. All I have in my town is a poorly stocked Hobby Lobby. I do most of my shopping and classes online, so don’t feel neglected Australia, the US has limited areas too. I dream of living in UTAH. They must have a store on every corner.

  17. Laura August 10, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    I have attended both CKU (Indianapolis, IN) and Camp Memory Makers (Dearborn, MI)–you forgot about that one—several years ago so these events have been held in the midwest. The tuition was relatively close to the CKU price today and so was the hotel cost. Since I was able to drive to both events, the cost was do-able in the budget and a real guilty pleasure (and a much needed break for a mom of 3 young kids who got to spend a fun weekend of quality time with dad). At CKU-Indy, the SB companies were quite generous with goodie bags and make & takes and contest prizes. At CMM-Dearborn, I noticed that there were less goodies but it was still fun. *FUN THING TO NOTE* If you attend CKU-Reunion, join a “dorm”. I’m sure there are those of you out there that remember those! Fun!

  18. Terri Harmon August 10, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    I have to agree with many of the comments stated above. The west coast is pricey and not travel friendly for most of the country. The midwest is much more doable if you can drive to the location. I also have to agree with Vicki J. that the CKU Reunion event is lacking publicity. I would have thought that as an alumnus of at least 4 CKU events I would have received an email invite before the start of registration. I, too, happened to stumble across it. Gone are the days when events sold out in minutes. I guess I still have time to figure out if there’s a way to get to San Diego.

  19. Stephanie Medley-Rath August 12, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    Scrapbookers and scrapbook industry workers do realize that they do not have to wait for CKU, Creative Escape, or Spark to come to them, right? There are local scrapbook store workers, design team members, and scrapbook experts that live outside of the west coast who could organize such events. I’m am not volunteering for the job, but we also don’t have to wait for these things to come to us. That being said, it would be nice if some of the yearly events did rotate locations. This is done in the other industry I am in (sociology). This year our conference is in Las Vegas. Next year, it is in Denver. Last year it was in Atlanta. The three events mentioned by Nancy could take place outside of their home-base every other year or only take place at “home” every third year. As far as the midwest goes, I know of at least four internet-famous scrapbooking experts who live in Illinois (and downstate-Illinois at that). The mentioned events could tap-into the local scrapbooking experts and reduce their travel costs associated with the event if they did opt to try out a new location.

  20. Lucie Hale August 16, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    I live in Delaware. I’ve been to the 3-day CKU at Kennett Square, PA, so that is close by, but I’d like to throw my mid-Atlantic geographical area into the mix for consideration purposes for future big ticket events. We are smack between Baltimore and Philly. Easy to get to via either airport, or if you live out here, to drive to! I know for my family it is undoable to spend so much money on airfare, hotel fare, and event registrations, not to mention the extra shopping, that would be required for a trip to the NW or even the MW. That is why I don’t attend those.

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