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.

AFCI Announces New PR Member Benefit!


While many business owners understand the value of public relations, most businesses do not generally have the time, resources or budget to hire an in-house PR representative or an outside agency to manage their public relations efforts.

AFCI is pleased to announce a partnership with Project PR to offer free and discounted PR services to AFCI members. As part of your AFCI membership, you are now entitled to free Public Relations services including: (1) 30-minute PR consultation, (4) customizable seasonal press release templates, a national craft industry media list (North America Only), and access to quarterly PR training on AFCI’s iDiscover Chats.

Through this partnership with Project PR, AFCI members also have access to PR in a Box—an affordable, introductory PR service to jump-start any PR program for just $650.

Tiered PR services can be added to PR in a Box as a la carte options or layered including: customized media lists, press kit development, media and influencer outreach programs, wire distribution, satellite, radio, and blogger tours, tradeshow coordination, collateral development and much more. For more information about this valuable PR member benefit, contact Lisa Miller or Victor Domine with Project PR at prforafci@gmail.com.

Project PR is a 10-year-old, New Jersey based boutique agency that specializes in strategic PR, media outreach, blogger and influencer relations, special events, and consultative communications services. Project PR strives to provide customized PR and communications programs that are tailored to meet individual client needs and budget parameters while delivering meaningful results.

Member Benefit of the Month: Peak Branding

PBI Mountain Logo in Electric Blue

Peak Branding, Inc. is proud to be an affinity program partner of AFCI. Since 2006, we have been providing our customers with the very best promotional products to help brand their businesses. We also have an extensive line of corporate apparel and awards. We have been honored to provide the AFCI Industry and Hall of Fame awards given out at Creativation in both 2017 and 2018.

As an AFCI member, you receive a 10% discount off any of our product prices (discount does not apply to set-up charges, artwork fees and shipping). We currently have over 20,000 products listed on our website, www.PromosR.us, and we have access to nearly 600,000 products from hundreds of vendors.

We also have worked extensively with our international partners to direct import large quantity products for our customers, particularly for larger events.

Our website is divided into major product categories, so searching for just the right item is easy. We have also created specific “Showrooms” for popular categories, including one for tradeshow ideas. Just click on the “Showroom” tab on the website.

At Peak Branding, we work closely with our customers to select the best products to meet your promotional, event, or company needs and search through all of our vendors to ensure that we bring you the best quality and prices. Call us at 719-528-1391.

Peak Branding, Inc. is owned by Tim and Elaine Collins. We have been AFCI members for over 10 years and are dedicated to the crafting industry through The Collins Group, a multi-line manufacturers’ rep group focused on the paper crafting industry and independent retailers.