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AFCI Creativation 2019 Conference Schedule Preview

Conference registration is now open for Creativation 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona from January 17th-21st, 2019, and you won’t want to miss out on the creative and business offerings on the schedule!

Creativation logo

[This is a sponsored post for AFCI, but views are entirely the author’s own.]

The Creativation 2019 conference schedule is more jam-packed with education than I ever remember it being, with over 100 workshops and seminars for attendees to choose from. One highlight of the workshop program is the addition of the track for Calligraphy, which is experiencing a recent resurgence. The program also features a strong emphasis on social media and marketing skill development for industry business owners of all types. Check out just some of the highlights below! (Visit the Creativation website for the full show schedule.)

Thursday – January 17th

Perhaps the most unique session offered at Creativation 2019 on Thursday is the Spellbinders-sponsored appearance of renowned calligrapher Paul Antonio. His 2:30pm session on “3000 Years of the Western Alphabet” [S107] promises to be both an amazing demonstration of calligraphy and a fascinating tour through history.

AFCI attendees wanting to learn more about managing their social media have two stellar options to choose from on Thursday: a Pinterest session by Jennifer Priest at 3pm [S103] and a Facebook session by Marie Segares at 12:30pm [S101]. And for retailers, Gwen Bortner’s 3pm session on “Creating an Open-to-Buy Report” [S104] is a must-do session on a critical (and often misunderstood) topic.

For those looking for creative sessions, there’s plenty papercrafting-related to choose from. Graphic 45 is back with another of their popular album classes [W116 at 4pm] and PaperArtsy has two mixed media workshops [W102, W116]. Art Impressions will be teaching how to create a trendy watercolor look with markers in their workshop taught by Kate Swanson and Bonnie Krebs [W110 at 3pm]. And speaking of trends, if you haven’t learned yet how to do the ultra-trendy gel plate printing…Gel Press will teach you how to do that in their two beginner sessions on Thursday [W105, W111].

Friday – January 18th

On Friday the lawyers are in the house at Creativation, bringing attendees sessions on important topics for creative businesses! Kiffanie Stahle will be presenting sessions on Defeating Copycats [S214 @ 11:30am] and the new GDPR in Europe [S203 @ 8am]. Tammy Browning-Smith will educate attendees on FTC disclosure rules for sponsorships & endorsements [S213 @ 11am] and the legalities of selling online [S227 @ 3:30pm].

Perennial favorites Kizer & Bender will be back at Creativation 2019 with two sessions for retailers on Friday [S209 @ 9:30am, S221 @ 2pm]. Business expert Lindsay Anvik is offering several seminars to retailers as well: Apps for Retailers [S208 @ 9:30am] and Sell More Through Wow Merchandising [S228 @ 4pm]

Ranger is offering a full slate of workshops on Friday at Creativation 2019 featuring Tim Holtz, Wendy Vecchi, Dyan Reavely, and Dina Wakley. But there’s plenty else to love for papercrafting and mixed media industry attendees. Rising star Catherine Pooler will be kicking off the day with an 8am Ink Techniques workshop [W203].  49 & Market is pairing with The Dusty Attic for a layout techniques workshop with their vintage look products [W203 @ 1pm]. And Kelly Marie Alvarez & Jenn Shurkus will be teaching trendy interactive cardmaking for Lawn Fawn at 4:30pm [W226].

Creativation 2017

Saturday – January 19th

The Creativation Stage will feature some great sessions on Saturday afternoon at Creativation 2019. Lindsay Anvik will start the day with her talk about “Email Marketing is Not Dead” at noon [S301], followed by Anna Ebert talking about “Social Media Time Savers” at 1:15pm [S302].  At 2pm, Terina Nicole and Nneka Mosley will take on “The Evolution of A Creative Career” [S303] while Kaylee Pope of Prime Publishing will be discussing content writing at 3pm [S304].

On the creative side, cardmakers won’t want to miss the Layered Cards class at noon Saturday from stamp company Pink & Main [W302]. And mixed media fans will really get into “Rustic Shabby Chic” using Gelatos with Mou Saha & Faber-Castell at 3pm [W307].

Sunday – January 20th

Sunday afternoon another speaker series will take over the Creativation Stage. Kaylee Pope of Prime Publishing opens it up at 11:30am with her session on Email Newsletters [S401]. At 1pm, Sakura follows with what is certain to be a thought-provoking session on “Why Cursive Handwriting Matters In A Digital Age” [S402]. At 2pm, Mark Hill and Keri Cunningham from AFCI will present AFCI’s latest Creative Products Size of Industry Study findings to show attendees [S403]. Finally, Arkon Mounts will close out the series with a presentation on how to improve the quality of craft demonstration videos [S404].

Stampers have plenty to choose from on the Sunday class schedule. Paper Artsy is offering two workshops (taught by Sara Naumann and Tracy Scott, respectively) to create mixed media projects. Art nerds will definitely want to check out Marabu’s 3pm class where attendees will create a Kandinsky-inspired mixed media work [W405].

Creativation 2017 New Product Showcase

Creativation 2017 New Product Showcase

Special Events at Creativation

If you are a new to Creativation, you won’t want to miss the free Newcomer’s Welcome Session on Thursday evening from 5pm-6pm. Host Jason Baum (AFCI Director of Membership) will share with new attendees everything that you need to know about how to have a successful show at Creativation.

Who says Creativation has to be all work and no play? On Friday night, show attendees can get down to some music and win prizes at the free Show Party [E205] from 6pm to 9pm. (And you can even do some networking while you have fun too!) Before you go to the party, be sure to check out the popular New Product Networking Event from 4:30pm to 6pm. [E204]

Think your elevator pitch needs some polishing? Get some inspiration and tips by attending The Ultimate Pitch event on the Creativation Stage at 9:30am on Sunday! Participants in the contest will have their pitch for their innovation judged and critiqued – and someone will win a $10,000 cash prize and be launched as the Top Creative Innovation of 2019!

If you are an AFCI member who likes to keep your finger on the pulse of the organization, you definitely won’t want to miss the annual business meeting and town hall event on Monday morning at 7:30am. It’s a chance to hear the Executive Team and Board of Directors talk about future plans for AFCI, and also to share your feedback with them.

Don’t miss out on your top choices of sessions and workshops…register now for Creativation 2019!

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AFCI | Why I Still Believe In the Importance of Trade Shows

The digital world has changed a lot about our daily lives. We can bank, grocery shop, and even see a doctor without ever leaving home. But can the digital world replace everything?

[This is a sponsored post for AFCI, but views are entirely the author’s own.]

Many of my long time readers know that I have always been, and continue to be, a firm believer that attending trade shows in person is a necessary and irreplaceable function for professionals in the craft industry as well as other industries. (You can read my previous articles on the topic here and here.)

Why, in the digital age, am I still an advocate for the importance of attending trade shows like Creativation in person? Simply put, there are some very important benefits that you can only get from being there.

(Looking for all the details on Creativation 2019? To view the full preview guide, click here!)

Creativation in Phoenix

See The Products

The most obvious benefit of attending a show like Creativation is that you get to see product in person. The importance of this is often dismissed, especially because I often hear from buyers that their reps will bring them the products. But product reps only bring stores the products that the rep markets. What about that exciting new up-and-coming company that doesn’t have a rep yet? Shows provide the opportunity for store owners to connect with and establish relationships with small and new brands that can be beneficial to both companies.

Products seen in person can also give a very different impression from those seen via digital images. For instance, I’ve lost count of how many times a paper line that I wasn’t excited about from a digital preview ended up impressing me when I saw it in person. (And sometimes it works the other way, too.) And booth displays give buyers the chance to see products in use in a variety of ways. A product that might not seem interesting or a good fit for your market in a marketing email might leave a different impression altogether when presented in use or even tried hands-on in a trade show booth.

Networking

A lot of regular show attendees think of Creativation as an opportunity to see our industry friends that we don’t see often. And that’s wonderful, of course – but the importance of connecting with other industry professionals goes so much deeper than that.

So much of the craft industry is built on collaboration. Success can be based not just on what you know but who you know. That business in the booth next door to you might become your next business partner for a cobranded product or event. The person who sits down next to you at the lunch table might be your next rock star designer, or sales person. That person snapping pictures might be the next hot Instagram-er that turns their popularity into a bestselling book (filled with your products, of course).

It’s not just brands that benefit from networking. Retailers, press, designers and other industry professionals can also benefit in various ways from expanding and maintaining their network of industry contacts. Whether it’s finding a job or a mentor, sharing information and expertise, or finding the perfect partner for a project – a large contact network is an invaluable asset for any professional or business to have as a resource. And what better way to expand your network than by attending a trade show where a large portion of the industry is gathered together in one place?

Spellbinders Succulent Dies

Spellbinders Succulent Dies

Industry Intelligence

It’s a fancy name, but really industry intelligence is just that information that all of us gather constantly without even thinking about it while we are at a trade event. It is all of the details big and small that we absorb from around us as we make our way through the day.

Whose booth is crowded? Whose is not? What new product is everyone we talk to buzzing about? What color are we seeing over and over? What new craft item seems to be everywhere all of a sudden? — The answers to these sorts of questions (and more) are the sort of industry intelligence that naturally get answered spending time at Creativation. This information provides valuable feedback to industry businesses about the direction of the industry as a whole and design and product trends – and much of it is only data that can be collected when a significant portion of the industry is gathered together in one place.

Speaking of feedback, that’s another kind of valuable industry intelligence that is facilitated by trade shows. The ability for brands and retailers to meet face-to-face at shows provides an important opportunity for brands and their top executives to have the kind of in-depth discussions with their customers that surveys and other types of feedback tools don’t allow. These partnership-building exchanges can enhance products, sales, and retailer loyalty to brands.

Painting with Plaid

Education

Whether you are a store owner teaching classes or a blogger showing off the latest products, creating happy customers depends on your skill level at what you are doing. Creativation is the biggest opportunity of the year in the United States to get education from the widest variety of companies in one place to keep your skills up on the latest and greatest. This is especially true now that Creativation’s pre-show education time has been expanded to two days, in addition to the classes that take place during the trade show. And outside of the classes, there is also always something to be learned on the show floor through booth demonstrations, whether it is how to use a new product or a new way to use an old one.

Education isn’t just a chance for industry professionals to boost their skills. It’s also an opportunity for companies to ensure consumers get the best first impression of a product by educating the people who will be customers’ first contact point with the product: store owners, designers and instructors. And manufacturers can use creative education to give new life to an old product by showing buyers and instructors new ways of using it.

To view this year’s full Creativation education schedule, click here.

Inspiration

Finally, for me, there’s another reason that I value attending Creativation. So many of us in the creative community work alone in our creative silos for a good portion of the year. Coming together at the show with so many other members of the community, sharing our creative energy for our businesses….it adds fuel to the passion I carry the rest of the year. I take back home with me from my time spent as part of that industry whole a renewed inspiration for what I do.


Don’t Forget – Save on your In the MKNG ticket!

Buy your tickets today and use the following promotional code to save $3 off In the MKNG™ tickets: PRMKNG13

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AFCI | Discovering Phoenix during Creativation

When I travel for an event like Creativation 2019, my primary purpose of course is to work. But let’s be honest, we all want to have some fun when we travel to a faraway city, too – especially a new one! Convention centers all look the same. Why not enjoy some real local flavor? So in the past few years I’ve tried to make it a rule that I add in some local touring fun whenever I take a work-related trip. 

[Disclosure: This post is sponsored by AFCI and the Creativation 2019 show.]

Creativation in Phoenix

Not having been to Phoenix or the American Southwest before, I needed to do a little research to learn what my options are for the upcoming show!

(Don’t forget when you are planning your Phoenix trip – registration is now open for Creativation 2019!)

Continue Reading →

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Update | A Special All-AFCI News Version!

The summer AFCI shows are coming up fast – and it’s even time to start thinking about the winter ones, too! Here’s all the details that you need to know about what is going on for the upcoming shows. 

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for AFCI.]

Mixed Media

Registration is now open to attend the Mixed Media Event for wholesalers and retailers in Sandy, Utah on July 16th-18th, 2018.

Are you a retailer that is not a member of AFCI or SPC? Would you like to attend the Mixed Media trade show on July 17th and July 18th? Use promo code NN2018 when registering to get free trade show access!

Visit the Mixed Media Event website to register today.

Fourteen workshops have now been announced for the Mixed Media Event’s education day on July 16th. Workshop prices range from $5 to $50 each for two hour long workshops. The education day schedule is arranged into four class segments, with multiple workshops to choose from to register for during each segment. Sponsors include retailer favorites Graphic 45, Lawn Fawn, Sizzix, Lindy’s Stamp Gang, Hero Arts, and Bella Blvd, among others. Click here to view the entire workshop line-up.

Wondering who else is coming to Mixed Media Event 2018? See the video below.

In The MKING™️

Details continue to be announced for the new AFCI consumer event called In the MKNG™️ that will take place in Bethel Woods, NY on September 29th-30th, 2018.

Sister Hazel

Today, AFCI announced the event’s headlining musical act. Sister Hazel is known to most music fans for their 1997 rock hit “All for You”. The band is touring to promote their latest album, Lighter In The Dark, which is their first country album and features a collaboration track with Darius Rucker. Other musical acts confirmed for the festival include CMA artist Lauren Davidson, pop/rock band Wild Planes, alternative rock band Don’t Believe In Ghosts, and singer-songwriter Zach Matari.

Tickets for In the MKNG™️ will be available starting on June 1st. Click here to learn more!

Creativation

It’s hard to believe it’s already that time again but badge registration opens for Creativation 2019 on June 12th!

AFCI Hotels for HopeIn addition to the impending opening of badge registration, hotel reservations are already open through the official AFCI portal for Creativation. This year, AFCI has a new hotel provider, Hotels for Hope. This new AFCI partner is a travel agent with a charitable twist – for every room booked through the AFCI reservation portal, a $2 donation will be made to AFCI’s selected charity.

Through Hotels for Hope, AFCI is now able to offer reservations for more (and more affordable) hotels closer to the Phoenix Convention Center than in past years. Book early to get your best choice of rooms!

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AFCI Mixed Media 2018: Know Before You Go

It’s hard to believe but it’s time again to start registration for another AFCI show! Snow may be still flying in some places, but registration for the summer AFCI Mixed Media show is now open. This year, the show has a new venue, so in true Scrapbook Update tradition, we’re going to get you in the know before you go about everything you need to navigate the neighborhood!

AFCI post banner

[Disclosure: This article is sponsored by AFCI, but article content and opinions are all the writer’s own.]

The new venue in 2018 for the AFCI Mixed Media show is the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy, Utah. The show dates remain in mid-July. The education day is July 16th, followed by a two day trade show on July 17th-18th.

Attendees visiting Sandy, a suburb on the south side of Salt Lake City, will still use the Salt Lake City International Airport as they did when the event was at the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake City. The convention center is about a 20 minute drive via I-15 from the airport (depending on the time of day).

Airport Transportation: A variety of airport transportation options to get from SLC to Sandy are available, but the cost and convenience of these options varies widely.

  • Taxi: $50 each way (approx)
  • Uber: $25-30 each way (approx)(Lyft is also available)
  • Trax Train: $2.50 each way
  • Shared Shuttle: $23 round trip

Attendees taking the Trax train from the airport will need to arrange transportation by taxi/Uber or hotel shuttle to get them from the Expo Center stop the rest of the way to their hotel.

Local Transportation: Unlike the urban environment of the previous Salt Palace venue, the suburban environment surrounding the Mountain America Expo Center is not particularly compact or designed to be walkable. Show attendees will definitely need to use some sort of transportation to get between their hotel and the Expo Center, as well as for finding meals and running errands.

Three of the four AFCI Mixed Media event hotels offer free shuttles within a small radius of a few miles. And of course taxis and Uber/Lyft are always an option as well for getting around. The event hotels are all less than 1.5 miles from the Expo Center, so the travel distances are not far. Depending on traffic, taxi fare estimates run $10-$15 and uberX fares estimate to $6-$9 for travel between the farthest hotel and convention center.

A quick survey of travel search engines estimates that car rental can be had for $200-$250 for Sunday to Thursday of show week – and that is before using the AFCI member travel discount. At that price, car rental looks to be a very appealing option as transportation in Sandy, balancing value and convenience.

Parking: If you do decide to rent a car or are driving your own from home, the suburban Sandy neighborhood is a much more car-friendly destination than a downtown venue. The event hotels all offer free guest parking in lots around the building. The Expo Center’s free parking lot has 2800 parking spots. Area restaurants and shopping have easy in and out surface parking, unlike downtown areas where you need to use of a valet or locate a parking structure.

Shopping: Like most suburban areas, Sandy is busting at the seams with retail shopping. Whether you are an exhibitor looking for booth equipment or a buyer who forgot to pack your socks, you’ll easily find what you need close by to the event hotels and Expo Center. (Let’s just agree to not talk about how I came up with that sock example, ok?)

Here’s some common retailers needed by AFCI Mixed Media show attendees that you’ll find located in the area. Most are conveniently located within a mile or two of event hotels and the Mountain America Expo Center:

  • Target: 10130 State St, Sandy, UT 84070 (also an Old Navy in that complex)
  • Walmart: 9151 S, Quarry Bend Dr, Sandy, UT 84094
  • Sam’s Club: 11278 South Jordan Gateway, South Jordan, UT 84095
  • Costco: 11100 Auto Mall Dr, Sandy, UT 84070
  • Michaels: 215 E 12300 South, Draper, UT 84020
  • Hobby Lobby: 9347 South Quarry Bend Drive, Sandy, UT 84094
  • Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts: 268 E 12300 S, Draper, UT 84020
  • Lowe’s: 9291 South Quarry Bend Drive, Sandy, UT 84094
  • Home Depot: 135 E 11400 S, Sandy, UT 84070
  • Ikea: 67 W Ikea Way, Draper, UT 84020 (6 miles from Expo Center)

Note that the Lowe’s, Walmart and Hobby Lobby listed above are all in the same complex together. For additional shopping, a large mall that includes a Macy’s sits between the two areas where the hotels are located.

Fun in Sandy: Looking for something fun to do while you have a few spare hours in Sandy? How about paying a visit to the legendary In-n-Out Burger, with locations in both Draper and Midvale near Sandy, for dinner? Or, less than 5 miles from the Expo Center, visit the charming Gardner Village for shopping and eateries in a historic setting. If you’d like to enjoy some mountain scenery while you are in Utah, take a one hour drive through Cottonwood Canyon. On your way to the canyon, you might want to pop into the Wheeler Historic Farm, a nearby living history farm and nature park. Of course, if you want to venture further afield from Sandy back into downtown, there are a myriad of options there to enjoy for sightseeing and culture. Check out Visit Salt Lake City to see all the options!

Don’t forget to check out the workshop descriptions before you start your registration!

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Winter Releases | A Few Thoughts & Favorite Products

Creativation is behind us, and the Creativeworld show starts in Frankfurt, Germany this weekend. Before I pack my suitcase and run out the door for that long transatlantic flight, I wanted to take a few minutes to share a few thoughts and favorite products that I’ve seen so far. (Note I have been observing Creativation from afar, since I didn’t travel to Phoenix this year.)

If you have yet to check out the product releases from Creativation, visit our Creativation Sneak Peeks page.

[Note that some links on this page are affiliate links that earn this site a commission at no cost to the reader when a purchase is made after a click. Creativeworld is a sponsor of this site.]

One of the first things that has jumped out at me from Creativation is that bright color dominated. Several companies have new “rainbow” type collections, and some companies like Graphic 45 that are very vintage in style have noticeably pumped up their color palettes for at least some products. Even Tim Holtz, who never met a shade of brown he didn’t like, was demonstrating at the show using bright colors.

Paige Evans 2x2 Paper Pad

We’ve been seeing the scrapbook page seemingly shrink and shrink as new forms have been introduced – 9×12, mini albums, planners, traveler’s notebooks, instagram pocket albums. But Pink Paislee may have hit a new level of miniaturization with the 2″x2″ paper pad in Paige Evans’ new “Pick Me Up” collection. I know that these cute pads will be great for punching and small die cuts, but it sure did give me a moment of pause to see that in the context of the trend in page sizes! Continue Reading →

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