CHA and Making New Friends
Being a lifelong lover of all things craft I have always wanted to go to the Craft and Hobby Association trade show AKA CHA. But alas one cannot just show up at CHA…one needs credentials….as a retailer, designer or press. Thankfully my prayers have been answered….my dreams have been fulfilled. I was able to go to the Chicago show as “press” as a contributor to Things Crafty and OH what fun I had!
I will begin by saying that the concept of “craft and hobby” is a little broad considering it is pretty much “scrapbooking and stamping” show but I am not complaining as I ADORE all things paper. I no longer have any local scrapbook (or stamping) stores and we all know Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s carry limited products so this was my first opportunity in years to actually see and touch the bulk of the new products being released over the next 6 months.
I am sure it will surprise no one to know that I was mainly interested in Tim Holtz, Ranger, Heidi Swapp, and Jenny Bowlin. I drove to Chicago with a friend, Mandy Koeppen. Mandy designs for Cocoa Daisy and is an avid scrapbooker. I enjoyed walking the floor with her and seeing the booths she was interested in- most I would have barely glanced at-and finding all sorts of fun new designs and embellishments. She introduced me to Crate Paper, Elle’s Studio, Simple Stories, and Lawn Fawn. She reintroduced me to Maya Road, a company I used to love but let fall off my radar.
I assumed the entire floor would be mobbed..it wasn’t'…I was shocked at how easy it was to watch demos, do “make and takes” and speak to the representatives…attendance was low. It is sad. Partly, it is another fall out of the economy…. but I think the other problem can be summed as “lack of innovation”. Most of the companies continue to rely on 12×12 papers and a handful of embellishments- this years embellishments are wooden buttons, washi tape, ribbons, small stamps, letter stickers and 3D stickers…that’s it…at booth after booth. The exception to the been-there/done design concept is Tim Holtz and Heidi Swapp. Yes, I LOVE everything Tim does, but my devotion to the designer doesn’t make my next statement any less valid…Tim Holtz continues to stand alone and push the envelope; he shows up with NEW product CONCEPTS, products that haven’t E.V.E.R. been seen before.
|Deb, Paula and me!|
Regardless of how fun it was seeing the new products, it was amazing to meet so many talented people who have as much passion as I have for creativity. I have never been in the presence of so many creative individuals and it was a little over whelming and whole lot of wonderful. Some of the people at CHA are the rock stars of my crafty world and it was fun to chat with them about their ideas and their products. But the #1 most amazing part of the experience was turning two blog friends into real friends when I finally meet Paula and Deb. They are the amazing designers on One Lucky Day- and the newest members of Team Tim Holtz. Paula and I have been emailing and become “blog friends” over the last year but after meeting we are true friends. Deb was there was well and the 3 of us really hit it off. For the first time in a long time I have 2 friends who love creating as much as I do and that feels terrific.