Serving on the Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) Board of Directors is a unique way for members of the organization to give back and help steer the future direction of AFCI. The individuals serving represent diverse backgrounds and have significant experience in the arts and crafts industry. We recently had the opportunity to speak with board member, Lawrence Hoffman on his experience and why he chose to serve.
AFCI: We’d love to hear more about your time in the industry and the role you play in your current organization.
LAWRENCE: My experience with arts and crafts started at 12 years old in Richmond, Texas, working for Mike Dupey in his Michaels store. My job was cleaning restrooms and breakrooms for $1.00 per hour. From that point, I had the opportunity to work in almost every facet of a retail organization from stocking shelves to managing departments. After college, I worked for 12 years managing the POG department for Michaels/MJDesigns until MJDesigns went out of business in February 1999.
From there, my career took a different turn. I went into the staffing business selling engineering and IT staffing along with IT solutions. Four years later, the familiar retail itch needed scratching. I became a Visual Merchandising Manager with a retailer by the name of Gadzooks, creating store layouts and designs, merchandise presentations and advertising campaigns.
When Gadzooks sold to Forever 21, I got back into the craft industry working for Randy Putnam and Associates (now known as CSC). I helped manufacturers design, develop, sell and market products to retailers primarily in the arts and crafts/home décor retail channels.
My tenure at RPA gave me the opportunity to work with world-class manufacturers and retailers. Now, I’m the vice president of Sales and Marketing for Uchida of America, leading and directing the sales and marketing operations, product development, packaging development, social media and email marketing, trade show management, catalog and sales sheet production and more.
AFCI: What do you hope to achieve serving on the AFCI Board?
LAWRENCE: I have been involved in the arts and crafts business for more than 30 years in many different capacities. With my experience on the retail side, the representative side and the manufacturing side, I feel that I have a well-rounded perspective and have a lot to offer the board and organization.
I have also had the opportunity to experience other industries, such as junior apparel, IT and staffing. I can tap into this experience to provide creative suggestions and direction. I love this industry (it is in my blood) and feel that I can make a positive impact on helping create a sustainable future.
AFCI: What would you say to someone who is interested in joining the Association?
LAWRENCE: I would say that it is vital to join the Association. Things are evolving quicker than ever before. It is important for people to get involved with the industry that they are in. You need to know what is going on but also be an active participant. There is so much we can learn from each other. There is a wealth of experience and information available, and not tapping into that will definitely make the path more difficult.
Board nominations are now being accepted through May 15. Nominate yourself or someone you know to serve on the 2020 AFCI Board of Directors before the deadline.
Do you need more reasons why you should serve? Check out our recent blog post “The Top 4 Benefits of Serving on the AFCI Board of Directors”.