A Crepe Paper Revival in Full Bloom

By Emily Barnes, LiaGriffith.com

Crepe Paper Daisies (Extra Fine) Lia Griffith

Photo credit: Lia Griffith

Crepe paper was a popular crafting material in the late 1800s, used in the creation of ball gowns, home goods, and paper flowers. Since its popularity began to dwindle in the mid-1900’s, manufacturers have sought ways in which to recapture the glory days of crepe. With paper crafts making up 10.6% of today’s $36.2 billion US creative products industry, you can see why. Enter global manufacturer, Seaman Paper and their German subsidiary Werola.

Seaman’s expertise in manufacturing lightweight papers, coupled with Werola’s passion for innovation saw them develop a line of crepe papers that had never been seen on the US market before 2016.

“For our crepe paper we only choose the best raw materials. We have spent years perfecting a crepe paper with the ideal combination of stretch and stability,” says Bernd Firmbach, Werola.

Free of toxic and carcinogenic materials, this high quality crepe paper comes in a variety of 50 brilliant hues that are ideal for decorating, crafting, artful packaging, and more. But what has really captured the attention of paper lovers, is how this versatile material is being used to create exquisite paper flowers.

In 2015, AFCI Member Lia Griffith was already renowned for designing, making and sharing tutorials for making crepe paper flowers via her website LiaGriffith.com, but she had yet to find her perfect crafting material. When Werola approached her about developing a branded line of extra fine crepe papers, Lia fell in love with the product. It was clear that this would be a natural fit.

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Photo Credit: Lia Griffith

“I was already teaching people how to use crepe paper in their crafts, now I had the opportunity to bring high quality, beautiful crepe paper to the US craft market. It was a match made in heaven” says Lia.

In the spring of 2016, the Lia Griffith crepe paper line was launched to the American market via Pacon, a provider of art, craft and education materials. In a color palette inspired by nature, these papers complimented the art of paper flower making perfectly, and so the revival began!

Through a sustained marketing initiative involving Lia’s daily DIY project tutorials and those of a passionate community of paper flower makers across America (via Lia’s Ambassador Program), crepe paper quickly began enjoying the limelight as a versatile and forgiving craft material. Not only are crafters using these beautiful papers to make stunning works of art, we are seeing on-trend home décor projects, unique gift wrap ideas and party decorations all made with this innovative crepe paper.

Using crepe paper to make flowers Lia Griffith

Photo Credit: Lia Griffith

Due to the success of the 2016 Lia Griffith program, 38 new colors were added this year in both extra fine and heavy weights. The program now features 26 high quality paper products including frosted tissue paper packs, waxed tissue and floral tape.

The “crepe paper revival” continues to grow with over 150k followers on Pinterest alone. With Creativity International picking up the program in the UK, and interest from both Australia and Canada, the 2018 program is set to be a blooming success.

Emily Barnes is the Director of Marketing & Public Relations for LiaGriffith.com. LiaGriffith.com had humble beginnings as a one-person lifestyle blog, and with consistent, quality content has rapidly grown into a go-to resource for all things DIY. Now sharing up to 12 projects a week, the site continues to grow and gain new readers every day. Today Lia Griffith Media employs a team of 12 unique and talented individuals who together are passionate about sharing our knowledge and inspiration for a handcrafted lifestyle. Its daily blog posts and social media engagement focuses on nurturing a loyal community of makers and crafters. As the Lia Griffith brand grows and expands, the personal mission that Lia embarked on this journey with remains as strong as ever – to teach, inspire and reignite creativity. Because everyone can be creative!

Member Spotlight: Tanya Fox

Crafty Crafters LOGO_Color

AFCI Member, Tanya Fox, owner of Crafty Crafters Ltd., is a retailer located in Camrose, Alberta, Canada. You will often find her in her store, apron on and creating new ideas and projects or visiting with the fellow crafters hearing new ideas. In January, she attended Creativation for the first time. We spoke to her and asked her to share her experience.


AFCI Member, Tanya Fox, owner of Crafty Crafters Ltd.

Tell us about yourself and your business.
“I have been crafting for over 35 years. It has always been a passion of mine. After over 16 years of dreaming I finally took the leap my father told me to and made one of my dreams a reality opening Crafty Crafters in 2014. You will often find me in the store, apron on creating new ideas and projects, working on our YouTube videos or visiting with fellow crafters, seeing their creations and helping solve problems with projects of all kinds. Whether it is a new craft you want to try or help with getting back into it, I am always there to help share my passion and excitement about the crafting world.”

Tell us about your experience at Creativation 2018.
“This was my first year attending. The staff was AMAZING. Registration was like a well-oiled machine, which is nice when you are so excited to get into the venue. The information book in the welcome bag had a wonderful map, but the (Creativation 2018 mobile) app was above and beyond all my expectations! I was able to take so many notes and really track my booth visits with notes, which comes in handy since there were so many wonderful exhibitors and ideas.”

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Tanya Fox arriving to the Phoenix Convention Center for Creativation 2018

Why did you attend?
“My wonderful rep, Laura at Notions Marketing had suggested that I attend as she thought that I would really enjoy being able to see all the exhibitors as well as to help get some new ideas for the store as she knows we are always wanting to expand our lines.”

Laura with Notions Marketing Creativation

Tanya Fox with Laura of Notions Marketing at Creativation 2018

What benefits did your business see as a result of attending Creativation?
“I was able to connect with two new companies. We are now bringing there lines into our store. From seeing them at the show and the new product we will be the first in our area to carry the lines, which puts our business at an advantage. This would not have been able to happen without attending this event. Being able to speak directly with them in person also allowed us to create a relationship with them. This has made the ordering process so much easier and helped create a stronger initial bond, which is important to us!”

Donna with Needleworld Diamond Dotz

Tanya Fox with Donna of Needleworld Diamond Dotz

Who would you recommend attend Creativation and why?
“I would absolutely recommend this to any store owner. Not only does it help you to get ahead of the new trends but also allows you to see the product in person. As the world changes to more online ordering sometimes it is hard to truly know what it is that you are going to get. Seeing it in person helps you to get a better idea of what will work for your demographic. This event allows you to also meet the distributors and form relationships that can only further your lines. Business aside, how as a crafter, do you not get giddy like a child on Christmas morning, walking into a room buzzing with laughter and hands on craft projects to try new things at! It was heaven. I will be making a point of attending each year!”

Learn more about the benefits of attending Creativation at www.CreativationShow.org.

Connect with Tanya and learn more about her business at www.craftycraftersltd.ca.

Featured Product: Memory Lights

Memory Lights is a simple to use all in one lighting system for the crafting community that was featured in the Innovations Center at Creativation 2018.

We spoke to Keith Grange, the inventor, who shared more information about his innovation and his experience at Creativation.

Tell us about Memory Lights.

“Memory Lights came about from a simple conversation between my wife, Marcy and I. Marcy asked if I could come up with a simple way for people at her store, Memories and More, to bring illumination to their cards and scrapbooking creations. After some trial and error Memory Lights emerged.”

“The truly unique thing about Memory Lights is that the only thing the crafter needs to do is select where to place the light and they are done. Memory Lights are a light, switch and battery all in one. Adding additional lights is very simple with Memory Lights as well.”

What were your initial goals for participating in the Innovations Center and The Ultimate Pitch?

“Our goals with participation at the Innovation Center were to reach as many potential customers as possible and win The Ultimate Pitch. While we were disappointed with not being selected to participate in the finals, we did meet our primary objective of initiating contact with many potential customers. Just being part of the Innovation Center is a huge win! Participating was a great experience and has accelerated our introduction into the market. One of the biggest bonuses was meeting Scott and Teresa Mullins. They were truly inspirational to us, as well as being true mentors to all the participants.”

What’s the next step for Memory Lights?

“We are already in production and actively pursuing leads from the show. We have some larger orders pending and are expecting to see exponential growth for our product.”

Who would you say is your ideal customer?

“We are seeing demand from a broad range of customers, large retailers, craft channels and single storefronts.”

Where can people purchase the product?

“We are selling directly. Retail customers can purchase through our store Memories and More (www.memorycrafts.ca) and wholesale customers can contact us at memlites@gmail.com.”

“We have many other ideas for the Memory Lights system and will continue development on them to help illuminate creativity. The beauty of our enterprise is that we can service all types of customers, right from individual users through our storefront, Memories and More, all the way to large retailers through MemoryLights.ca.”

Click here to see more innovations launched at Creativation 2018 and event highlights.

DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad – One of the Top 4 Creative Innovations of 2018

The patent-pending DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad by Blissfu Studio helps upgrade the sketchbook/drawing pad function by turning the flat drawing paper into a 3D frame art ready for display. It inspires creativity in adults and children by celebrating their projects.

DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad was featured in the Innovations Center and was one of the top 4 innovations selected to participate in The Ultimate Pitch at Creativation 2018. We spoke to inventor Yee Wong, who shared more information about her innovation and her experience at Creativation.


What were your initial goals for participating in the Innovations Center and The Ultimate Pitch?
“Coming from the small country Malaysia located in Southeast Asia, our initial goal was to expose our new product DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad to the international communities. We hoped to knock on doors, make connections and collaborate with the right partner to help us take our innovative product to the global market. We came in with low expectations. In fact, we only aimed to be in The Ultimate Pitch in order for us to showcase our innovation to all the judges, without realizing we were so close to winning it. We highly appreciate the opportunity presented to us by being nominated as one of the Top Innovations Finalists. The Ultimate Pitch was such an amazing and exciting platform to kick-start the launch of our new product.”

What was some valuable feedback you got out of this experience?
“The experience and feedback we have received from the Creativation folks are beyond our expectations. DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad is a simple concept whereby the always flat and basic drawing pad is transformed instantly into 3D frame art for display on easel or hung on the wall. They have been praising it as a cool and smart idea and wanted to know where they can get it: Michaels, JOANN, or Walmart? Bloggers gave us their contact information for the chance to feature and review our product. Amazingly, The Ultimate Pitch host and actress from The Walking Dead, Kerry Cahill loved our product and even gave us her contact information because she wants to buy it too! The whole experience makes us want to start the production for our DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad right away!”

What’s the next step for you and the DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad?
“Recently, we have received the green light in our country to submit for an International Patent for our DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad and we intend to get it done first. We are looking forward to collaborating with our local manufacturers with their own distribution and export channels. Over at Creativation, we met some Chinese and Indian buyers who are interested in our product as well, so hopefully we will get to expand into the China and India markets too. We are so excited to see where they will lead us.”

Who would you say is your ideal customer?
“When we first created the DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad, our goal was to bring change and excitement to the classic yet humble drawing pad, which has stayed flat for centuries. We hope to bring new joy and delight to children everywhere in creating their own masterpieces in this unassuming piece of flat paper that can be transformed into 3D frame art ready for display. Overall, it will encourage a sense of achievement and accomplishment in children by proudly displaying their artwork properly in a 3D frame. The potential for our product is huge, especially as a supporting art material in art education, as well as in creative hobbies for adults. It is going to be very convenient, cost effective, and your imagination is the only limit when using our DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad.”

Where can people purchase the product?
“Presently we are still in production stage and with the right manufacturer, we hope to launch our DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad by the first half of 2018. For product updates, please visit www.blissfustudio.com.”

Click here to see more innovations launched at Creativation 2018 and event highlights.

The Folklore Company – One of the Top 4 Creative Innovations of 2018

The Folklore Company launched with the vision of making embroidery more accessible to more people by delivering an inspiring website where people can design a personal cross stitch pattern in an easy, unique and modern way.

The Folklore Company was featured in the Innovations Center and was one of the top 4 innovations selected to participate in The Ultimate Pitch at Creativation 2018. We spoke to Sofia Magnusson, the founder, who shared more information about her innovation and her experience at Creativation.

What was your initial goal for participating in the Innovations Center and The Ultimate Pitch?

“Our initial goal was to get feedback on our software from the craft industry. We needed to know for sure that what we can offer is unique, and also what people working in the business thought of it. There’s only so much you can do online from home, so we felt that a visit to Creativation was needed.”

What was some valuable feedback you got out of this experience?

“We got some good suggestions on new features to develop for the software.”

What’s the next step for The Folklore Company?

“Full speed ahead! We’re going to develop the features that we got feedback about, but also kick off our marketing strategy and get more people to love what we offer.”

Who would you say is your ideal customer?

“Anyone who is curious about embroidery, or even those who aren’t, but by accident visits our website, gets inspired and wants to try! As our vision – and mission – is to get more people to embroider, we are thrilled for all our customers. (But we have seen that the majority who buys our products are women in the age of 25-45.)”

Where can people purchase a custom pattern?

“At Folklorecompany.com.”

D-Stash – The New Resell App for the Creative Community

Ja’De Hardiman invented D-Stash to give crafters who are searching for a specific item a simple solution. D-Stash is an easy-to-use app for the creative community that crafters can use to sell and buy products within minutes of downloading.

Ja’De launched D-Stash in the Innovations Center at Creativation 2018. How could your creative business benefit from D-Stash? Watch this video to learn more about Ja’De’s experience at Creativation and how you can use D-Stash.

AFCI Honors 2018 Industry Awards and Hall of Fame Inductees

This morning we were pleased to honor our 2018 Industry Awards and Hall of Fame, recognizing excellence in industry service and philanthropy. This year’s honorees are Jill MacKay, Jim Scatena, and Robert Workman. These individuals were nominated by their AFCI member peers and selected by the AFCI Industry Awards Committee, which is comprised of AFCI Board Members and member volunteers.

The Special Recognition Award is given to individuals or groups for their extraordinary contributions in positively showcasing the creative products industry. This year’s recipient is Jill MacKay.

Jill MacKay is an accomplished designer, author and consultant with more than 25 years’ experience working in the creative industries. MacKay’s jewelry currently sells in over 2,000 stores internationally, on television, and online. In addition, MacKay has voluntarily spearheaded government and community programs that provided life changing experiences for people suffering from illnesses through arts and crafts. “[MacKay has been] Using creativity and the arts to help solve problems for children and adults in places it has never gone before, to serve those who have never been served by the arts before,” said Jennifer Davey, Designer, who nominated MacKay.

Inductees of the Hall of Fame are pioneers who have made extraordinary contributions leading to the growth and success of their organizations and the creative arts industry. This year’s inductees are Jim Scatena and Robert Workman.

Jim Scatena is a recognized industry leader who served as Chair of the Board of the Association. He is also the former President & CEO of FloraCraft Corporation; Vice President and General Manager of Wilton Enterprises; and Director of Sales with the art materials division of Binney & Smith. “His energetic contributions of time and creativity to [the Association’s] Committees and Boards were constant through his career. Add in his mentoring of fellow industry members and you have a role model for all future leaders,” said Mike McCooey of Plaid Enterprises Inc, who nominated Scatena.

Robert Workman worked in the craft industry for 27 years and served on the Association’s Board for six years. He purchased Provo Craft from his parents in 1985 and led Provo Craft & Novelty, Inc. to become the leader in craft innovation. In addition, he is the Founder of Goal Zero, an industry leader for renewable and reliable solar power. “He was an innovator that started trends for crafters in the creative industry as well as helped to invent and produce new products and trends that helped grow the industry and contribute to the growth and success of retailers,” said Gail Czech, who nominated Workman. “He is a humanitarian and has created many philanthropic venues to support the poor and underdeveloped countries and people worldwide.”

Watch the video below for more information about our Hall of Fame inductees.