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New Events Added to Creativation 2019 (& big AFCI news)

The holidays are over and now the AFCI Creativation show in Phoenix is suddenly just two weeks away! Where did 2018 go, anyway? Here’s some last-minute things you need to know before heading to the show, including details on two new events recently added to the Creativation 2019 show schedule – and some big AFCI news.

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

Creativation Show logo

The first new event recently added for Creativation 2019 is the Tricky Tray Auction. Thirty five show exhibitors have donated prizes for this auction, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Kids in Need Foundation. Each show attendee will receive three tickets to “bid” on their favorite auction prizes. Additional tickets are available for purchase (cash only) at $1/each. To place your bids, visit booth 1334 (next to the main stage) during show hours on Saturday and Sunday. And don’t miss the announcement of the winners during the Awards ceremony on the main stage from 5:00pm-6:30pm on Sunday evening – You must be present at the drawing to win that prize you’re wishing for!

Another new event added for Creativation 2019 since my last show news update is the Project Embellish Challenge. The challenge is sponsored by Now That’s A Jig as well as Beadalon, ImpressArt, Tierra Cast, Xuron, Craft Optics, Deflecto, and Beads Baubles & Jewels. Six designers will participate in the challenge, competing to see who can create the most beautiful piece of jewelry in only three hours. The theme of the 2019 Project Embellish Challenge is “charm & whimsy”, and contestants will be required to use sponsors’ products and a mystery item in their designs. To see the challenge in action, visit booth 925 on Sunday from 1pm-4pm.

If you fall in love with one of the Project Embellish Challenge projects you see being made, you’ll be happy to know that the finished jewelry items are being auctioned off to benefit Beads of Courage. Visit booth #925 to participate in the silent auction. Winners will be announced on Monday, January 21st at noon!

Also don’t forget an oldie but a goodie event, one of my favorites: the New Product Networking Event from 4:30pm-6ppm on Friday night on the show floor! It’s a great chance to catch up with old friends, and make new ones, while you get a sneak peek of new products before the show floor opens on Saturday. Don’t miss it! (Learn more here.)

And finally, don’t forget one of the most under-appreciated events at the show. It’s true that the AFCI Annual Business Meeting & Town Hall may not be the most fun event on the show schedule (and at 7:30am on Monday it’s definitely one of the earliest in the morning). But this year it promises to be an immensely informative and important event for AFCI members to attend.

The AFCI Board of Directors announced in mid-December that it has decided to let go all of the association’s current permanent staff and instead hire SmithBucklin, an association management firm, to run AFCI’s operations. This shift will take effect on April 1st, 2019, and the Annual Business Meeting will be members’ first chance to hear from the Board and others about what this means for AFCI going forward.

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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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Creativeworld 2018 Trend Show Tour, Part 2: The Colourist

Welcome back for part two of the Scrapbook Update series on the Trend Show at Creativeworld this year! In part two today, we’ll focus on what the Messe Frankfurt trend consultants call “the colourist”.

[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt and the Creativeworld show are a sponsor of Scrapbook Update.]

The Creativeworld trend show is divided each year into three themes that highlight a different trend happening in creative industries. For 2018, the themes selected by the Messe’s trend consultants were “the purist”, “the colourist”, and “the gardener”.

Yesterday, we looked together at “the purist” – a subtle, restful and modest style. Today’s style, “the colourist”, is absolutely none of those things.

Credit: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH

The “colourist” trend is full of bright, vital color, applied with exuberance. No matter the underlying surface, this design style is all about the color. Pattern is driven by color – often lots of it, contrasting and even clashing in a riotous mix. Continue Reading →

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Creativeworld 2018 Trend Show Tour, Part 1: The Purist

Without a doubt, one of the more interesting things that I look forward to seeing each year at the Creativeworld show in Frankfurt is the Trend Show display. (Or, as it is called in the Messe’s native German – “trend schau”.)

[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt and the Creativeworld show are a sponsor of Scrapbook Update.]

The Creativeworld trend show is divided each year into three themes that highlight a different trend happening in creative industries. For 2018, the themes selected by the Messe’s trend consultants were “the purist”, “the colourist”, and “the gardener”.

Credit: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH

This article focuses on the first of the trend show’s featured concepts, the purist. The trend named “the purist” by the Messe is perhaps best translated into English as “minimalism” – simple, clean, and subtle. That’s not to say the purist style is without detail. But what details are present are fine and modest. This is not a style of large exuberant floral patterns, or in-your-face bling. It’s restful, and elegant. Continue Reading →

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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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