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Creativeworld: The Language Barrier

One of the most frequent questions that I get asked about attending the Creativeworld show at Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany, is how to get around in Germany and at Creativeworld while speaking only English.

[Disclaimer: Messe Frankfurt is a Scrapbook Update sponsor.]

The surprising first part of the answer to that question is that a lot of what show attendees will encounter, especially in places like major transportation hubs, is actually bilingual and perfectly understandable to English speakers. Even the automated rail ticket machines have a language option for English. (In Europe, remember that you’ll choose the British Union Jack flag on machines like that to access the English option.)

Believe it or not, even some of the trash cans are multilingual – like this one in the Frankfurt airport complex!

Within the Messe Frankfurt fairground itself, the signage is designed to accommodate their large populations of international visitors that come for their various shows throughout the year. Building numbers and names, arrows, and easy to understand graphics for things like the train stations and restrooms.

Cafe and restaurant menus are also bilingual, and many Messe Frankfurt staff can speak at least a small amount of English. In addition, the Messe makes most of its printed show publications on-site and the Creativeworld show app all available and readily accessible in English.

The biggest thing, however, that concerns many show attendees – especially exhibitors – is how to handle doing business in a booth when they don’t speak the local language.

In fact, many people overestimate the language barrier they will encounter dealing with international clients. English has become in many respects the common language of the world. A surprising number of people encountered at Creativeworld speak at least a little bit of English – often while apologizing for their lack of skill, which is quite humbling to hear when you don’t speak a word of their language!

But there is inevitably some language barrier to be encountered. Hiring European bloggers or designers is one way to bridge that gap (and it’s also extra booth help without the expense of travel for a U.S. staffer). In the American pavilion this year, Lou Ann Tischler of GelliArts was drawing a crowd doing demonstrations, and had a European designer that works with Gelli Arts (in the brown shirt) translating for her.

Gelli Arts demo

Another approach is to just hire a European designer to do all of the demonstrating. My German designer friend Baerbel Börn demonstrated for several companies this year, including demonstrating the new Tim Holtz Stamp Platform for Tonic Studios (below).

Baerbel Born

Of course, hiring a local staffer is no guarantee that you won’t encounter a language barrier when someone walks into your booth, since Europe has a multitude of languages and the show attracts global buyers. But it certainly can raise the odds that you will find common language ground when someone approaches your booth.

And, if all else fails…thanks to the era of the smart phone, we can all have an instant translator in our pocket with the right apps. It may not be the fastest way to communicate, but it can get the job done.

Remember, in the end, everyone at Creativeworld speaks the same native language…a love of creativity! And that goes a long way in understanding each other.

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Creativeworld: To Pavillion or Not to Pavillion?

There’s much to consider when planning a trade show booth. For American companies going to Frankfurt for the Creativeworld show, the first question is usually whether or not to use the U.S. pavillion, or book a booth on the general show floor.

[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt is a Scrapbook Update sponsor.]

Whether or not exhibiting in the U.S. pavilion is the right choice is a different decision for each company that considers it, based on a variety of factors. After visiting four Creativeworld shows and talking extensively with American exhibitors both in the pavilion and on the show floor, I’ve identified what some of the key factors are that lead companies to choose one or the other as the best choice for them.

But first, what exactly is the American pavilion at the Creativeworld show?

Creativeworld American Pavilion

The U.S. pavilion at Creativeworld takes up an entire “block” on the show floor. The outside of the block, along the aisles, is filled with booths of various sizes. In the center is a private lounge area (accessible from the rear of each booth) for the pavilion exhibitors that offers some food service, a Messe Frankfurt staff member to assist the exhibitors, and other services.

The pavilion booths come with a prepackaged set of booth furnishings, and exhibitors can order additional items if needed at extra cost.

Ken Oliver Creativeworld

The corner booths, like the ones in the top picture occupied by Doodlebug Design and in the picture above by Product Performers, are typically larger spaces (and priced accordingly). They also have two open sides as opposed to being enclosed on three sides like the booths in sides of the pavilion.
Stampendous Creativeworld 2017

A more standard booth option in the pavilion is the one occupied above by Stampendous. With one open side facing the aisle, and a back entrance into the pavilion’s lounge, this space allows plenty of room for display of product and doing small demonstrations.

American Pavilion advertising

Being in the pavilion also comes with some extra publicity, as the U.S. pavilion is advertised as a special feature of the show in places like show guides and the show grounds. This ad pillar is at the bottom of the escalator in the main lobby of Hall 4.2, directing show attendees to the pavilion and advertising who was there.

BoBunny Creativeworld

Of course, there’s a myriad of options on the show floor to choose from as well. BoBunny has occupied a booth in the same location in one of the Creativeworld halls for several years. Exhibiting in a non-pavilion booth is similar in a few ways to being in the pavilion – there’s still no need to bring an entire furnished booth, as all displays and furnishings can be rented from the Messe.

Creativeworld Co-op Booth

Renting a regular show booth allows room for some innovation in your exhibit planning. Three smaller companies that are well-known to papercrafters, Waffle Flower, Alexandra Renke, and Pinkfresh Studio, decided to share a large space on the show floor in an attempt to make a splash this year.

Waffle Flower Creativeworld 2017

So which choice is right for your company?

There’s no single right answer. I know companies that have tried the pavilion and then left it for a regular booth. I know companies that have stayed happily in the pavilion for multiple years. I know companies that have exhibited in a regular booth and then opted for the more structured option of the pavilion. I know companies that have exhibited for years in regular booths. The trick is deciding on the factors that are your priority.

Cost: On a per square foot basis, the pavilion is a more expensive way to rent a booth. But it comes with extra services that are included in that cost (which would have to be purchased separately) and it also includes extra support structure to help familiarize new exhibitors with exhibiting at the show. And while it is higher, the fixed price is a help when setting budgets for exhibiting.

Size: Booth options in the pavilion are limited to relatively small sizes, so if your booth preference is for a booth larger than around 10×20, you’ll need to choose a regular booth. On the other hand, for small to medium sized companies that would like to be able to exhibit with minimal manpower or shipping expense for booth decor, the pavilion is a win. The booths, especially the smaller ones, are the perfect size to be decorated and run by 1-2 people.

Decor: The pavilion booths come with a decor package, and for most exhibitors can be decorated probably by carrying a large extra suitcase or two with them on the plane. But if you’d like more freedom (and a less cookie cutter appearance), a regular booth will let you design your look from the ground up using the Messe’s furnishings rental service. Or you can even go to the extreme of shipping a crate if you’d like for a truly custom look.

Location: Since the U.S. pavilion is a fixed location on the Creativeworld show floor, if there is a particular area that you’d like your booth to be in, then you’ll need to do a regular booth rental. On the other hand, the U.S. pavilion is a “destination” at the Creativeworld show for many buyers, so a pavilion booth can have location advantages as well.

Stress: An exhibitor’s stress level may seem an odd factor to consider when selecting a trade show booth, but when embarking on something as ambitious as an international trade show – especially for the first time – it’s a factor that can make or break your success. The U.S. pavilion serves as something of a “safety net” at the show for its resident exhibitors, providing services and assistance. Especially for first time visitors not familiar with the show, this can be a great stress reliever. Pavilion staff can help facilitate securing needed extra services on site, provide information about Frankfurt and the surrounding area (such as where to eat), provide orientation to how the show operates, and just generally help answer questions that come up. And having neighbors that are quite possibly familiar to them from U.S. events is especially nice for those who might be working alone in a pavilion booth. In contrast, you’re quite on your own in a regular booth. Services are available but you must know how to seek them out, and there is no guarantee given the international nature of the show that your neighbors will even speak the same language as you do, let alone be familiar to you! All of this makes the pavilion an excellent option for first time exhibitors, or for exhibitors doing the show with a small staff.

To pavilion or not to pavilion….which option will you choose?

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CHA rebrands as Association for Creative Industries

The Craft & Hobby Association announced this week at the Creativation 2017 Conference & Trade Show that it is rebranding as the Association for Creative Industries, effective immediately.

Association for Creative Industries logo

The rebranding to AFCI (as the Association for Creative Industries will largely be known) was created over the past year by a task force consisting of members of the Association’s Board of Directors and the assistance of consultants from Verse Group, a strategic research and creative branding firm. In addition to the new name, the task force created a new vision and future plan for the Association that was the result of research, interviews, and membership surveys.

“Our rebranding coincides with our vision of a healthy, vibrant and innovative community that enriches people’s lives through crafting and other creative activities,” says Mark Hill, Chief Executive Officer and President, AFCI. “Our new name is the beginning of AFCI serving as the leading advocate, information resource, research partner, and friend for our thousands of global member companies. It was intentional for our new name to incorporate ‘For’ because everything we do and strive for is FOR our members.”

The first visible signs of the new AFCI branding are the Association’s logo and new website. The colorful logo is described in the announcement as “based on the role of AFCI as the heart of creativity”, and incorporates the same marbled rainbow of color as the recently unveiled Creativation logo.

The Craft & Hobby Association has increasingly struggled to find membership, along with exhibitors and attendees for its shows, since the decline of the papercrafts bubble in recent years. Removing the outdated “hobby” (which is a relic of the long ago time that model cars and other such items were seen at the show) from the Association’s name, and replacing “craft” with the broader “Creative Industries” is an attempt for AFCI to claim craft segments such as sewing and fine art under its tent. How much interest these industry segments, which already have their own dedicated associations and events, will show in the newly incarnated Association for Creative Industries is yet to be seen. Several major sewing companies, such as Coats & Clark and Prym Dritz, did exhibit at Creativation 2017.

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It’s Show Time! CHA Creativation & Creativeworld 2017 Preview

2017 is upon us…and that means it is show season in the craft industry! The end of January will bring us both CHA’s newly-revamped winter show – now called Creativation – in the U.S., and the Creativeworld show in Frankfurt, Germany. Both shows have major changes in store for 2017, so let’s take a look at what attendees and exhibitors can expect to see!

CHA Creativation

creativation-logo

The first change for the Craft & Hobby Association’s show is immediately obvious. It has a new name, Creativation, and along with the new name the show has been redesigned from the ground up. The show is also moving to a new location for the first time in a decade, having made its home in Southern California for the past nine shows (in Anaheim except for a year in Los Angeles). Phoenix is the show’s new home – a move so far not entirely popular with attendees as travel and hotels have proven to be expensive in the winter paradise.

The new Creativation show floor will be created modeled as a city, with different “neighborhoods” including a town square for attendees to recharge in, an artisan plaza for local Phoenix artisans to demonstrate their crafts, an international pub and a bakery to experience the edible arts segment of the industry. Attendees with tired feet can hop on a guided shuttle ride of the show floor to get a tour of Creativation city! There’s also a Maker Space – a popular attraction at previous shows – to get hands on as well as learn from short presentations called iDiscover talks.

Also new at Creativation will be entire product areas. The show is debuting an annual “focus” area. The first focus area is Sewing & Fabric, an area of product that hasn’t been visible on the floor previously.

Looking for new product information for the CHA Creativation show? Our annual CHA sneak peeks page is live now and will be updated until the show starts!

Creativeworld 2017

creativeworld_rgb_400px_dpi

[Disclaimer: Creativeworld is a Scrapbook Update sponsor.]

Creativeworld, taking place at Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany from January 28th-31st, 2017, is anticipating significant growth this year. The number of exhibitors is up over 10% from 2016, including 335 companies from 36 countries, and the footprint of the show within the Messe has been expanded greatly. Creativeworld will no longer be sharing Hall 4.2 with Paperworld’s school supplies section, which is moving to another hall to give Creativeworld all of Hall 4.2. Also moving are the sourcing halls, which were previously in Hall 10 and are moving to Hall 1 for 2017.

One interesting new event added to Creativeworld’s schedule for 2017 is the Visual Merchandising Competition, where the German Visual Merchandising Championships will be held in Stand F91 of Hall 4.2 over the show’s four days to determine who of six professionals will represent Germany in the the world championships in Abu Dhabi.

The popular hands on workshops will be returning to the Creativeworld Creative Forum in 2017, with a range of topics from paint to Zentangle to gift wrapping and featuring the talents of artists such as Beate Winkler and Ulla Büning. One of the focuses of the show will be graffiti art, and special exhibits on street art will include the appearance of German graffiti artist Akim Walta.

Perhaps the most dramatic addition to Creativeworld isn’t actually part of that show, but a new show in itself. Floradecora will showcase fresh flowers and decorative plants in Hall 11.1 of Messe Frankfurt. Running from January 27 through January 30th, the show will overlap with Creativeworld.

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CHA Rebrands Winter Show as Creativation

The Craft & Hobby Association announced this week that it is rebranding its winter show, previously known as the CHA Mega Show, as Creativation.

Creativation

The name change for the CHA Mega Show to Creativation is part of a larger – long overdue – overhaul of the show.

The overhaul began to be revealed nearly a year ago, when the Craft & Hobby Association announced that the winter show was leaving its longtime home in Anaheim to move to Phoenix in 2017.

Since last winter’s show, CHA has been hinting that major changes were planned for the next show. But the scope of the announced changes still caught many in the industry off guard. There is little recognizable remaining of the old CHA Mega Show in the newly announced plans for Creativation.

Many of the plans for Creativation center around the concept of it as a “creative city” complete with neighborhoods, parks for decompressing, and a “hop on, hop off” bus route touring the show floor.

“Creativation is our bright and vibrant city, the capital of the creative products industry. Make no mistake, in January 2017, the heart of creativity is here,” says Andria LaJeunesse, Director of Expositions and Events, CHA.

One major new element of the Creativation show is that each year’s show will highlight a different segment of the crafts industry. This year, the spotlight will be on sewing and fabric, a segment of the crafts industry with little presence at CHA shows in recent years. The spotlight will highlight sewing and fabric in the exhibitor listings, the lobby, and with several special events.

In addition, the new show will feature a Bakery space showing off the skills of cookie and sugar arts creatives, a hands-on art studio, a craft beer pub in the International Pavilion, and an Artisan space where local Phoenix area artisans will be demonstrating their arts. Returning from previous shows will be the popular Maker Space.

The Creativation education program – now called CHA University – will extend for two days before the opening of the trade show floor, an increase from a single day at the previous shows.

“Creativation is the place where the global creative products community of manufacturers, retailers, designers, makers, emerging businesses, influencers, bloggers and creative professionals come together to learn, connect and discover,” notes Maureen Walsh, Vice President of Membership and Marketing, CHA. “The future of the creative arts industry is bright and Creativation leads the way in showcasing the achievements, innovations, opportunities and importance of our industry.”

Many show attendees and exhibitors had been clamouring for change. In recent years attendance at the show had become lighter and many companies had decreased square footage or dropped their booths entirely. At this year’s show in January, the show was such a ghost town on the final day (Tuesday) that by lunchtime, the hall echoed with the sound of packing tape dispensers and crashing boxes as booths were disassembled in violation of show rules. Clearly, something had to change…is this the answer? We’ll know in January.

Creativation 2017 will take place in Phoenix, Arizona from January 19th-23rd, 2017. Registration will for attendees will open on Tuesday, August 16th. For more information, visit the Creativation show website.

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SNAP Conference 2016: My First Blogging Conference

Somehow, with all of the travel that I have done for my work running my websites in the past few years, the one thing that I hadn’t done was attend one of the major national blog conferences. I had attended local events like WordCamp here in Florida, but hadn’t traveled further afield for one.

I finally crossed “attend blog conference” off of my list last week when I attended the 2016 SNAP Conference  for creative bloggers in Salt Lake City. For those unfamiliar with it, SNAP Conference is a three day annual event based in Salt Lake City that serves home, craft, and DIY bloggers. The event provides networking, education, and opportunities to connect with sponsors.

Delta Flight Information

My journey to SNAP started with a 4am drive to Daytona Beach International airport to catch a 6am flight to Atlanta. I love Daytona Beach airport – it’s only a half hour away from my house and easy to use because it is tiny. It’s so tiny, in fact, that when I checked in for my trip to SNAP, the check-in agent handed me my boarding pass and said, “Your flight is at gate 2.” I told him, “You could have just said go to the gate with the plane at it.” He laughed and told me I was right. Once, I arrived a bit too early for my flight and spent quite awhile as the lone passenger in the secure area of the terminal, with only the airport’s police officer and the gift store clerk for company. Continue Reading →

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