CHA tradeshow musings…

I’m home from the annual Craft & Hobby Association Trade Show (CHA) in Anaheim and wow what a trip! There were a lot of great moments, conversations, products, and overall I’m so excited for 2015 as a creative person.

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I did notice that a lot of companies were absent from this trade show, and it got me panicked for a few minutes about things going away. Then I stopped and thought about it for a while and decided that it wasn’t things going away – it is evolution of the industry. When I first started going to shows as a buyer it was spending HOURS in hotel rooms pouring over catalogues and then rushing around turning in orders and running all over because you simply couldn’t see the whole show (there was so much!) and there was so much duplication. 6 paper lines that were all essentially the same. For every color/theme imaginable. 14 different stamp companies all offering the same basic product. It was a LOT. Too much, really, and it makes sense that things scaled back and thinned out.

Now what I see are small companies that are able to sell to stores, or directly to consumers (or both!) and give us all a lot more ways to get products. I see less “That’s just a rip-off of last show’s designs from —-” and more of companies doing their own thing. I see less pressure to be flashy and gimmicky at the shows and to simply present your best offering.

I like what I see. I also really like that attending a trade show is now one great option, not the only way. I really like that more avenues are open – thank you for that, internet.

There’s one thing I’m going to say I don’t like, and that is I don’t see as much innovation and big risk taking overall. We are never out of ideas. There is never ever no room for improvement or no place for fresh ideas. There were quite a few things I’d have loved to see and didn’t. I noticed a lack of a lot of fantastic materials from buttons to metal accents to interesting paper materials that add so much to the texture of our crafting. A lot of booths it was simply “more of the same” and not in a good way.

Despite that- there were some wonderful things being done, made, and shared. Those are the things I will focus on and report on here because that is my deal! I look at, find, and seek things to like and people to praise. Now home a full day from this show I find myself inspired, full of energy and ideas, and hopeful that I can bring even a small fraction of my creative thoughts into reality.

4 thoughts on “CHA tradeshow musings…”

  1. Hi, May. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! Cannot wait to see what you will do with the good stuff you reported on. Especially the new Pistachio Distress. I’ll go through the rest of your blog entries as the day goes on, just wanted to say thanks. Michelle t

  2. Re: lack of embellishments of the button or metal variety: If it wasn’t for Prima and Tim Holtz, you’d be hard pressed to find much, for sure. I wonder if (a) manufacturers are opting for things which are way cheaper to make (die cuts, enamel dots) that deliver a higher profit margin (b) it’s a cyclical thing and will come back around again (c) other trends have just pushed that sort of thing aside — such as the proliferation of dies so people can make their own dimensional embellishments?

  3. May, appreciate your perspective on the show. So nice to get to meet you in person. (I introduced myself outside the idea-ology booth). Off to check out your other posts on the show.

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