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Creativeworld 2016 | Experience Frankfurt & Messe Frankfurt

The month of January typically is host to two trade shows in the crafts industry. Despite being part of the same industry, their locations on different continents makes them very different experiences. Here’s the first part of my look at Creativeworld 2016, hosted at Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany, and what the experience of attending the show was like.

[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt is a sponsor of this website, and sponsored my travel to Creativeworld 2016.]

Talking the Talk

Creativeworld 2016 was my third year attending the Creativeworld show. When I talk to people about my experiences traveling to Germany for the show, one of the most common questions I get is about navigating the language barrier. In fact, language is one of the smallest concerns in traveling to Creativeworld for English-speaking attendees.

English is the common language meeting ground of many Creativeworld 2016 show attendees who do not speak each others’ native language, and is one of the official languages of Messe Frankfurt. It’s not uncommon to walk into a booth and see people from (for instance) Germany and Russia speaking to each other in English because they don’t know each others’ languages but they both know English. Translator headsets are available in English for organized events like workshops, and signage is created in an easily understandable way for speakers of any language.

But what about outside of the Messe and its accommodations for international visitors? Again, language is not much of a barrier to English speaking visitors to Frankfurt. Many Germans speak English quite fluently thanks to excellent mandatory language programs in schools. Signs in areas like the airport (below) and the major train stations are also in English, as well as critical announcements. Once you get familiar with a few terms and signage system from seeing them on the bilingual signs, you’ll have no difficulty navigating areas without bilingual signs.

Frankfurt Airport Signage

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Update: Creative Scrapbooker, Hancock Fabrics, Pantone

February has kicked off with some interesting news out of some of the industry’s largest organizations…and some good news for some of its biggest names.

Canadian Scrapbooker - soon to be Creative Scrapbooker

Changes. Canadian Scrapbooker magazine, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary of publication, has changed its name to Creative Scrapbooker magazine effective January 1st. The publication is now accepting submissions from outside of Canada. The new name will begin appearing on the magazine’s cover with the Spring 2016 issue, which will also be the first issue of the magazine to appear on Barnes & Noble newsstands.

Financial. Hancock Fabrics has filed for bankruptcy for the second time. The 250 store chain filed for Chapter 11 restructuring on February 2nd, and is reportedly considering the possibility of selling itself. Continue Reading →


Michaels Buying Darice Parent Lamrite West

The Michaels Companies, Inc. announced on February 2nd that it had purchased Lamrite West, Inc. for $150 million dollars.

Lamrite West was founded in 1954 by the Catanzarite family, and remained privately held until the acquisition by Michaels Companies. The current CEO, Michael Catanzarite, was the son of company founder Pat Catanzarite. According to the announcement, Michael Catanzarite will continue as CEO of Lamrite West post-acquisition and will serve on the Michaels executive committee. Lamrite West will continue to operate out of its Ohio headquarters as “a distinct business within Michael’s” according to Michaels Companies’ press statement on the acquisition.

Youngsville, Ohio-based Lamrite West operates a 34 store craft chain in the Midwest named Pat Catan’s. There are Pat Catan’s stores in four states: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Continue Reading →


Basic Grey Closing Down Paper Operations

Announced today: Basic Grey closing down its scrapbook operations to focus on its fabric licensing business and its new printable design company Modify Ink.

BasicGrey logo thumbnail

Once one of the industry’s hottest brands, Basic Grey was launched a dozen years ago by Rachel & Greg Brenchley at the height of the scrapbook industry boom, and immediately made their presence felt. Their innovative designs became instant bestsellers. The company’s “first come, first served” policy for shipping CHA orders lead to retailer frenzies in their booth on the first day of the CHA show, as buyers clamored to get their hands on the numbered tickets that dictated their place in line to turn in their order so their store could be one of the first to have the industry’s hottest designs.

However, in recent years, the company had struggled to keep up with changing consumer tastes and changing conditions in the industry downturn. They had ceased exhibiting at CHA, last having a presence at the CHA Mega Show in 2014. The company did have a presence at last summer’s SPC Mixed Media show, which took place in Salt Lake City. An attempted overhaul of the company’s design aesthetic in 2015 produced beautiful results but apparently was too little too late. Continue Reading →


Update | Faber-Castell CEO, Design Team Call, CHA

January is just jam-packed with news as the new year gets off to a busy start with shows and companies embarking on new endeavors.

Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell

Passages. Faber-Castell has announced the passing of its CEO, Count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell, who had been at the helm of the family-owned company for nearly 40 years. He leaves a wife and four adult children after his death in Houston on January 21st at age 74.

Brain Trust. The Craft & Hobby Association has announced a new membership category: CHA Emeritus. This membership, which can be purchased for $50/year, is intended for retired industry members, to allow them to keep up with the industry and participate in CHA events. Eligibility for the CHA Emeritus membership requires previous participation in the industry for a minimum of 10 years. Continue Reading →


CHA Mega Show 2016 | Succulents are Hot!

The CHA Mega Show is a great place to distill scrapbooking trends and craft trends, with so much of the industry and its products in one place for the show. Walking the show floor, patterns and themes become easily apparent – trends!

One thing that kept popping up as I walked the floor of this year’s CHA Mega Show was succulents for crafts! This trend, an outgrowth of the general 1970’s trend in crafts, fashion, and home decor, started to manifest in 2015, but really became prevalent at this show.

Several companies were using real live succulents in their booth decor as a touch of green:

Webster's Pages planner display with succulents

Webster’s Pages planner display with succulents

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