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Hit the Floor for Creativation 2019 Show Education!

Juggling schedules to fit in everything you need to do is one of the hardest things about attending a trade show! But help for crunched schedules that want to find some education time at the show has arrived, in the form of the Creativation Schoolhouse and Stage! 

[Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of AFCI and the Creativation 2019 show.]

Creativation Show logo

At Creativation 2019, the Schoolhouse and Stage will allow show attendees to attend a slate of educational events without leaving the trade show floor. Pop right into your event or class, and when you are done, you are right back in the thick of things at the show, ready to go again!

Clover Needlecraft project – Creativation 2019 Class #W501

Sponsors of workshops at the Schoolhouse, which will be located at booth 2231, include Pink & Main, Catherine Pooler, Studio SN, and Ranger. On Monday, Clover Needlework is hosting two workshops at the Schoolhouse on some very trendy items: needlework & felting [W501, 10am-11:3oam], and macrame {W502, 12:30pm-2pm]. Each of these beginner level workshops is 90 minutes long, and registration is $20 for AFCI members. Rest your feet and learn some new skills!

Clover Needlecraft macrame project

The Creativation Stage, at booth 1324, will be home to a series of business seminars on the Saturday and Sunday (January 19th & 20th) of Creativation 2019. Marketing will largely be the focus of these free events. Attendees interested in email marketing can catch Lindsay Anvik on “Why Email Marketing Isn’t Dead” on Saturday [12:00pm-1:00pm] or you can learn from Kaylee Pope at 11:30am on Sunday “Why Your Email Newsletter Isn’t Successful” (and how to fix it). You can also learn how to write search engine friendly content, social media timesavers, and the results of AFCI’s latest State of the Industry survey at the Creativation Stage. Conveniently close to the concession area, the Creativation Stage is perfect for a “lunch and learn” opportunity! (See the Creativation University schedule for full Creativation Stage session details.)

Another event that will be hosted at the Creativation Stage is the AFCI Awards Ceremony [E405]. This ceremony will honor the 2019 Hall of Fame recipients Ken & Barbara Griffin, and John Laurie, along with other annual award recipients. Honorees will include the Meritorious Award of Honor recipient Richard Brown, the Industry Achievement Award recipient Tammy Browning-Smith, and Special Recognition Award recipient Doug Earle. (For more information on the award recipients, click here.) AFCIs new Retailer Awards will also be presented at this event. The ceremonies will take place from 5:00pm-6:30pm on Sunday, January 20th. A cash bar will be available. Come celebrate the industry’s best while making new friends!

Speaking of networking and the industry’s best….hands down, the best winter trade show event that I’ve ever attended was a panel discussion on the state of the industry that AFCI (then CHA) hosted a few years ago. A few of the industry’s most experienced and brightest minds answered questions and discussed amongst themselves the big issues facing the industry.

I’m very excited to share that AFCI is re-creating that previous event this year, with a larger panel of experts and a networking reception afterwards for attendees to continue the discussion. The experts include:

  • Lynn Lilly, CEO/Founder, Craft Box Girls
  • Mike McCooey, President/CEO, Plaid Enterprises
  • Bobbie Medema, CEO, Notions Marketing
  • Ryan Newell, President/CEO, Sprinrite LP
  • Stacey Park, Owner, Scrapbooking Made Simple
  • Anthony Piperno, President ​& CMMO, A.C. Moore
  • Jennifer Vanderveldt, VP Strategy & Analytics, The Michaels Companies, Inc.

This should be a very enlightening event, and chance to get some perspective from many different parts of the industry in one place. The Creativation 2019 Industry Panel Discussion will take place on Saturday, January 19th from 5:30pm-7:30pm and is free with Creativation badge.

Visit the Creativation 2019 show website to register for these events and others.

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New Products & Innovation: The Key to Creativation

New products are one of the central reasons that attending a trade show is important. It’s not just the chance to see the products themselves, but to learn about them, and interact with them and the industry innovators that created them that is so important. At Creativation 2019, a combination of old and new events brings new products and industry innovations to AFCI members and show attendees.

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

Creativation New Product Showcase 2017

Creativation New Product Showcase 2017

New Product Showcase

For most Creativation show attendees, their first stop is the New Product Showcase in the convention center’s lobby area. (The showcase design has been changed to a single level of display since I took this photo in 2017, giving attendees a much better view of the products.) All products displayed in the New Product Showcase must have been released since the previous year’s show. It’s a great way for attendees to get a sneak peak of some of the most exciting new products before they even hit the show floor!

(Exhibitors who are interested in taking part in the New Product Showcase at Creativation 2019 can click here for more information.)

New Product Networking Event

One of the hottest events at Creativation is always the New Product Networking event on the evening before the show floor opens. The event takes place right in the New Product Showcase area in the Phoenix Convention Center lobby. It’s a must-do event for many Creativation show attendees. It’s the perfect combination of a chance to catch up with old industry contacts (and make new ones!) with the chance to explore some of the industry’s most innovative new products. Wander among the displays and check out the new products while chatting with other show attendees. (Don’t forget to bring something to write down all the booths you want to visit after seeing the new products!) In 2019 the New Product Networking event takes place on Friday, January 18th from 4:30pm to 6:00pm.

New Product Awards

The showcase and networking event are established traditions at Creativation, but something new is coming to join them in 2019 – New Product Awards! A panel of industry judges will judge products that are displayed in the New Product Showcase by the following criteria:

  • What makes the product unique
  • How it will improve the crafter’s overall experience
  • What makes it interesting to those outside of the crafting community

These awards are a brand new announcement from AFCI and more details will likely be forthcoming shortly. Watch for more information on the New Product Showcase page.

New Exhibitor Section

Another wonderful place at the Creativation show to find fresh new products (and new companies) is the New Exhibitor section of the show floor itself. This section, which for 2019 is housed right in the middle of the show floor between the Stamp Village and the Yarn Pavillion, can always be counted on to for exciting innovation and discoveries. Whether it is an up-and-coming new stamp company, a new craft organizer, or a tempting new craft to try…the New Exhibitor section is one of my must-do’s each show. Today’s new exhibitor may be tomorrow’s big thing!

Tim Holtz idea-ology make take 2017

Tim Holtz idea-ology make & take at Creativation 2017

Demos / Make & Takes

It’s one thing to see innovative new products, but just as important is learning about them. The Creativation show floor offers a plethora of options for seeing new products in action. In some booths you’ll find designers showing off their personal product line and sharing tips on how to use it. In others, you can sit down and get hands on with the latest paint or ink and take home a ready-to-display sample along with hands on experience with the latest product. Don’t forget to learn while you place orders and make new manufacturer contacts!

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

 

 

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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]

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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