Seriously?! It has been 2.5 months since CHA SHOW in Las Vegas? Yup, time flies when you're creating :)

Really amazing things happened at this last show for me and for the companies I work with. And, it is kind of a memorial to all Summer Shows as this was the last “Summer CHA” there will be! I will miss traveling to Chicago – it had become something I looked forward to as I really loved that city…some day I'll go back with the family!

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One of the best things about attending CHA is meeting with friends, making new friends, and just SHARING creativity! I love this photo of Jen Cushman, Wendy Crafts, and I that was taken in the Cre8time Lounge in front of my Cre8time Designer Display. The Designer Display was one of the great benefits of being a Designer Member of CHA. We applied for one of 16 spaces and pitched our idea to fit whatever the theme was. The theme of this show's Designer Display was “cre8time”, after the cre8time.org initiative CHA started in January 2013. My display was all about “Creating Time for a Handmade Holiday”, a sort of preview of what I'll be sharing on the Handmade Holidays Blog Hop next month. With the economy being in flux, I know so many people who are opting to truly make this holiday HANDMADE because it doesn't make sense to spend thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts. The theme of my display was the make it meaningful.

And of course I had to get a photo of my friends at Clearsanap, hard at work! One of the best thigns that happens at the show is that the Designers actually get to see and meet and talk to their manufacturer partners in person, face-to-face. Many times we live 100 of miles if not 1000s of miles away from the home office of the manufacturers with whom we work and the show is the only place where we actually see each other. LOTS of work is done in this 3-5 trade show week because we all try to take the most advantage of having access to one another in person.

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Another benefit is seeing, trying, and learning about new product first-hand. Sure, you can read about a product and wait a month until it comes in the mail to try it, but actually being able to get your hands on product and speak to the creators and developers themselves, well, you get alot more information that you can then share with your followers, students, and friends, like you!

At the ilovetocreate.com booth, Kathy Cano-Murillo, aka The Craft Chica, was teaching retailers and designers how to use Tulip's new Spray Dye Kits to dye silk scarves–the results were seriously stunning! Again, this is one of those instances where trying to the product, with the company rep right there to answer questions, can really help you learn how versatile a product is.

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That wasn't my make-n-take – I was having a paparazzi moment in the booth. At the CHA Shows, it is a good idea to ask permission to take photos before going into a booth and snapping away. It is easy to assume that photos are allowed because we see so many sneak peeks and posts about the show on social media but in reality, photography is generally discouraged. Just ask and you'll never have to worry.

Every time you turn a corner at the CHA Show, you'll run into someone you know! Or someone you want to meet, like my friend Jenny Barnett Rohrs, The Craft Test Dummy. If you see someone you want to meet, just walk up and introduce yourself. Make sure they are not in the middle of a conversation and definitely do not interrupt any one who is making a purchase or selling in a booth. Everyone is there to buy/sell as their #1 priority so make sure you allow that to happen. Networking is one of the biggest benefits of the show. Just like meeting in person with companies we already work with has incredible value, meeting someone in person for the first time, especially someone you “know” on the internet, can really help establish roots to a good working relationship.

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Even if you don't have a reason to work together today, you might want to chat with another Designer who you would like to work with in the future or whose work you admire. Here, Jen Cushman is chatting with Kathy Cano-Murrillo in the ilovetocreate,com booth. I don't know what they were talking about but this is how friendships are made. And then those friendships can turn into business opportunities and vice versa.

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My good friends at Charity Wings are at every CHA Show. At this show we had a “Designer Throw-down Challenge” on Charity Wings' LIVE FROM CHA online streaming event. I was the first designer to “throw-down” and I made a huge mess with the glitter! It was pretty fun. As the Designers started getting into their groove, what was a one-person show morphed into a throw-down – Designers going head to head against one another to see who could create the best project with the mystery box of supplies we were given. Someway, somehow, Liz Hicks and I talked our husbands into going head-to-head in a crafty hubby throw-down!

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I think Xaver did pretty good!  What do you think?

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Duct Tape to the rescue! LOL

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You can see alot more photos from this escapade on my Instagram page: http://instagram.com/hydrangeahippo

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So I kind of went backwards. The very first day we went to seminars … its Education Day so that means classes and meetings and seminars while staff are setting up the booths on the trade show floor. Debbie Cole and I hung out a little on the first day – she would not stop bugging me about her necklace! LOL That's one of the reminders about what to do at a show — compliment people on the things they are wearing, especially if they made it. Debbie made this gorgeous steampunk style necklace–I want to say it was just pubbed in the most recent Belle Armoire but I could be wrong…

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Sometimes seminars are boring or they are covering info you already know OR you are double booked for that time slot and need to cut out early. Sit towards the back or near the door if you know you have to leave so that you don't disrupt everyone when you leave.  Also, dont drop your stack of postcards all over the floor in a big explosion like I did!

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Waling the show floor is one of the most fun and overwhelming things to do. Everyone has new stuff, old stuff, for sale stuff, stuff they want to show you…. it is A LOT to take in. Imagine Michael's Joann's and Hobby Lobby combined, 10 times bigger, and on steroids! It is best to make a plan of action before the show opens. The map is usually online and you can plan your trip around the show floor. Truth be told, I plan to plan my route and after about 30 minutes on the show floor, my entire plan is rubbish and I'm just wandering aimlessly. And then, you miss stuff and you end up going to the same booths over and over. SO don't do what I did — plan and stick to the plan! That way you don't miss stuff.

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One of my jobs at the show is to take photos of new product for my clients. These are some of the new products from the Clearsnap booth that I sent out over Instagram. Sometimes lighting at the show is not optimal for photos. Check your camera settings and adjust your flash accordingly.

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Another really cool thing that happens at the show is that your friends (or maybe YOU) come out with their own products – whether they are inventions or licensed designs that are put on products. Here my friend Jen Goode is sharing Rollagraph Design Wheels by Clearsnap featuring her illustrations. It is really cool to celebrate in this triumph with friends!! Anything really is possible at the CHA Show.

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Also, you'll see friends who have new jobs, new relationships, and other new good news you can share in! Just a fun snapshot of me and Vicki O'Dell, Creative Goddess!

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I have no idea what me and Julie McGuffee are laughing about …. wait, I think it was me trying to use her iPhone and put Instagram on it…there's always a lot of fun to be had at the CHA Show!

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The CHA Show is also where you'll find out about big news regarding the industry and CHA Shows. This is CHA CEO Andrej Sushavcevic telling the new PaperCrafting Section about changes to the show format in 2014.

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More friends and more fun!! Jamie Dougherty and me at the Clearsnap booth….check out Jamie's shirt — she drew that!

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Candice Eilliott from our Design Team and Brandin O'Neill, the owner of Webster's Pages!!

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Me and Candice and then below, that's Heidi Swap, me , and Cindy Fahrbach in the Pink Paislee booth.  How come I have to leave So Cal to see Cindy!? That's one of the great things about CHA show — catching up with everyone!

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I have even more to share but that will be in another post. Are you planning on attending CHA Show 2014 – the MEGA Show? It's going to be the only CHA Trade Show each year so if you miss it, you're looking at 2015. And doesn't 2015 seem EONS away?! I can say that the majority of my business is done and is  set in motion at the CHA Show. I hope to see you there!

Author: Jennifer Priest

It started with jewelry, beading, sewing, home decor, painting, basket weaving, pottery, and cross-stitch. Marry that to an entrepreneurial spirit & at 9 years old a girl is selling her wares at craft fairs as far as her parents and grandparents would drive her. These days, Jennifer enjoys crafts of all genres from sewing to scrapbooking to jewelry with a little dabbling in the mixed media world. Her style is approachable and she wants everyone who sees her work to feel that they too can embrace creativity and make their home and life beautiful.

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5 thoughts on “CHA Show Reminiscing … What Happened This Summer in Las Vegas – Plus Tips for Attending a CHA Show

  1. I really need to take more photos at CHA, what a great post!

    Posted on October 21, 2013 at 4:34 am
  2. great tips – I love that you dont know what you and Julie were laughing about who cares you were having fun and you caught it on camera!

    Posted on October 21, 2013 at 9:28 am
  3. Great photos and comments… it was a fun show!

    Posted on October 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm
  4. Great post! There’s such fun energy at a trade show!

    Posted on October 24, 2013 at 4:00 am
  5. What a great post! You captured the excitement and energy so perfectly! I loved the tip about trying not to spill your cards all over the floor! :)

    Posted on October 30, 2013 at 6:31 pm