It’s that time again….CHA Top Ten Hot Picks!
So what, exactly, are the Hot Picks? The Hot Picks are the Scrapbook Update equivalent of a buzz report from the show. On this list, you’ll find the scrapbooking products that were most talked about among show attendees on and off the show floor in Anaheim. (My personal picks from the show will be featured in a separate article.)
Let’s get started! What were the Mega Show attendees buzzing about in Anaheim, and more importantly – why?
Ranger’s Tim Holtz Distress Color of the Month Program
Ranger is releasing 12 new Tim Holtz Distress colors this year…but nobody knows what they are! The company is introducing a new program that will release one new color to the Distress line every month – but won’t announce the color until each month. Consensus on the show floor is that Ranger’s “kit club” approach to their release is brilliant. Instead of cherry picking their favorites from a huge new release twice a year and then ignoring the rest, consumers will be prompted to make a purchase each month, and speculation about what the color will be – and the announcement of it – will build marketing buzz. Retailers will be provided a sign to add a sticker of the new color to each month (pictured above), and the new releases come in a countertop display perfect for checkout sales. The first color release was Cracked Pistachio, signaling that perhaps the Distress palette will be getting a bit brighter in 2015.
Two completely separate products at Hero Arts were receiving a lot of word-of-mouth attention from show attendees. The first was the company’s new ombré ink pads. Ombré is really hot right now but really hard to create. These stamp pads are a shortcut to quick and easy ombré effects with small to medium sized stamps.
New signature lines often attract a lot of buzz and Kelly Purkey’s new line with Hero Arts, Clearly Kelly, was attracting a lot of attention – especially since she has a proven history of designing products for retailer Simon Says Stamp. Clearly Kelly is clearly designed to appeal to pocket scrapbookers, and has a hip young vibe that is badly needed in the marketplace.
Marion Smith Designs Color Lab
Do you have an inner chemist hiding alongside your inner scrapbooker? If so, you’ll love Marion Smith’s new Color Lab kit, which comes with pigment powders, a measuring scoop, and recipes for mixing them to make an entire rainbow of spray mists. The kit will make a whole assortment of spray mists for the crafter willing to experiment with DIY color.
Simple Stories Life Documented Planner
Planners are hot, and none was hotter than the Simple Stories Life Documented one. I heard it mentioned over and over by show attendees, despite the fact that it wasn’t really “new”, having been previewed some time ago in preparation for the new year. Among the planner’s appealing features are its modular format – each section is sold as a unit so you can build a custom planner – and its coordinating collection of scrapbook supplies. Unfortunately, the collection got stuck on the dock in California for weeks due to a labor issue, but was cleared and arrived at the Simple Stories warehouse earlier this week to be shipped to stores.
Project Life Photo Sleeve Fuse
Project Life has a new tool for modifying pocket page protectors. The Photo Sleeve Fuse has two uses. First, it can fuse extra pockets (sold separately, available as 3×4 or 4×6 sizes) onto your pocket page. The other use is to seal closed existing pockets, either to seal in contents (like glitter or other loose items) or to create a new edge after cutting a page protector to a custom size to hold a memorabilia item.
Minc by Heidi Swapp
Another new tool in the American Crafts family of brands was the subject of a lot of buzz – the Minc machine from Heidi Swapp. The machine, which looks somewhat like a laminator, applies foil to anything that is printed with toner when a sheet is run through it. The technology the machine uses isn’t actually new but it being affordable and marketed to crafters is a new development. Heidi Swapp is selling pre-designed sheets to use with the machine and foil with the color of your choice, or the machine can be used with laser printer or copier prints.
Alcohol markers, and the shaded look they create, are extremely popular with stampers. Unfortunately, the beautiful shading effect comes with a learning curve that is difficult for many to master. Chameleon introduced a self-shading marker at CHA that aims to make shading techniques easy and approachable for everyone. The technique works by touching the built-in blender to the marker tip before coloring. The color starts out light and then darkens as you color and the blender dissipates. If Chameleon is successful at getting scrapbookers who previously did not use alcohol markers to use their markers, it could create a trickle down effect to stamp companies as consumers buy stamps for coloring that they previously were not in the market for.
Ken Oliver Crafts
Popular designer Ken Oliver was launching his new product line at the CHA Mega Show 2015, and received a lot of attention for his efforts. Hi lines showed the depth of his talent, ranging from bold watercolor florals to detailed vintage in a subtle color palette. In addition to papers, the lines featured clear stamps, snap together alphabet stamps, and ink pads. Ken also has a new adhesive product called Stick It.
Hazel & Ruby
Everything Hazel & Ruby seems to do is hot! New paper designs – with foil – and washi were just some of their offerings in Anaheim gathering buzz. Getting the most attention was the wide washi options, big enough to use for home decor projects and covering albums. The wide chalkboard washi seemed to be the most popular new addition to the line, with show attendees buzzing about a wide variety of possible uses for it.
Create & Craft TV
It’s not exactly a product, but it sells products. Create & Craft TV’s presence broadcasting live from the show floor, along with their recent U.S. channel launch, was quite possibly the hottest topic at the CHA Mega Show. Everyone wanted to see what they were doing, make contacts, and promote themselves or their product for future association with the channel.