So you are going to CHA, the annual Craft and Hobby Associations mega show. Oh, lucky you! I am having to miss it this year. What am I missing out on?
Hundreds of vendors each with hundreds of fabulous products for art and craft making.
Many of these vendors offer demonstrations on how to use their products, as well as make and take projects. I love this time to just wander the aisles trying out new pens, test driving various glues. I mostly work in textiles, the yarny arts, as well as surface design, so its great time to try out so many products I don't really know. But my favorite? My absolute favorite? I love the fashion show by Lion Brand Yarns. Here is a short video I made several years ago from their 2013 Fashion show, narrated by Vanna White. They often feature the work from student designers which gives you a glimpse of trends in other parts of the world. In 2013 the students were all from Israel. If you aren't a knitter or yarn buyer, you may not get a seat, but that's okay. Get there a little before showtime to grab a good spot to stand. Bring your camera or video recorder, with Vanna White as MC, you know it's going to be a good show.
As a vegetarian, make sure you bring some food with you. I tended to stick to the wraps from one of the kiosks outside the show floor. I also brought a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated. I'd buy my wrap before heading to the show floor, so I didn't have to leave when I got hungry. I prefer to sit at the tables in the back area near the hamburgers and such. Sit down and ask folks what they do. I found it a great way to hear the needs of shop owners and to have a personal conversation with them about how I could offer them my services.
Be sure to bring LOTS of business cards. I generally go through 1000 per show. I followed another designer's advice, have your photo on one side. This has made a huge difference for me. Folks recognized me at the second show. And make some sort of swag for vendors and editors to remember you. I made lavender sachets with envelopes I made. I sealed them with a sticker feturing my website. The sachet was usable and a nice way to sent their belongings while packed and it was light weight and noncaloric. Yes, candy is nice, but one can only eat so much candy. I also have a personal trademark, I always where unusual, brightly colored glasses. It helps make me stand out.
Another must is a folder to organize all the cards you receive. I always jot down snippets of conversation onto the cards so I can directly follow up after the show. I then organize them in a folder so I can easily find them. You will collect dozens at a time and they are easy to misplace, so a folder keeps it tidy and useful to use. I then reviewed them each night, making a list of 10 people I for certain want to contact, writing notes of ideas, etc. It's easy to get distracted by all the fun, but this is about business, and hopefully making some money. Right?
My last piece of advice, you will see many women dressed in professional suits wearing heels. But you will be walking miles every day, wear good comfortable shoes. Not sneakers unless you designed them. And wear something you made. It's a great conversation starter. I know some designers who've landed book contracts this way. Someone comments on their jewelry and a conversations begins and then you are asked to send a proposal. Go for it!
To see my reviews of past shows -
In honor of CHA's 75th anniversary, we are celebrating with a blog hop and giant cash drawing. Their are just three entry options to win a $500+ Visa gift card:
- Leave a comment on my blog (mandatory) answering the question - "What is your favorite "can't live without" craft supply or tool?"
- Tweet about the giveaway (tweet text includes #CHAshow hashtag; can tweet daily for extra entries)
Answer a multiple-choice poll about how often you "cre8time" for crafting (double entry value)
a Rafflecopter giveaway