‘Tis the Season for December Trends

This Trends Report is brought to you by the AFCI Trends Committee

The Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) Trends Committee is always on the lookout for creative trends to keep your business in the know about what’s popular on the Internet and with crafters, makers and DIYers. Here are the current trends we are seeing.

1. Lighted Christmas Trees

Submitted by Kathy Cano-Murillo, CraftyChica.com

This holiday season you’ll see these vintage style trees, reminiscent of the one Grandma used to have.  You can purchase them in retail outlets or better yet, make your own version at a paint your own pottery studio.   The motif is also used in illustrations, jewelry, wall art and more!


Mr. Christmas Ceramic Christmas Tree Figurine at Target

2. Fa la Llama

Submitted by Debra Quartermain, DebraQuartermain.com

The Llama icon trend continues with the fun “No Prob-llama” and “No Drama Llama” sayings on everything from pillows to signs. Images appear in holiday gift wrap, party decor and housewares. Of course the creative world is filled with adorable stuffies, ornaments and pillows. Expect to see many llamas wearing holiday attire this season!


Photo credit: Debra Quartermain, DebraQuartermain.com



Happy Llamakah Card from Paper Source

3. Pa Rum Pum Pom Pom

Submitted by Jennifer Priest, Smart Fun DIY

Pom pom crafts and felt ball crafts are everywhere this holiday season!  Pom pom garlands, trees and ornaments are showing up as holiday décor.  With multiple pom pom maker tools to choose from, crafters can make pom poms in any size to DIY their own pom pom holiday decor. Looking for a trendy gift?   Pom pom scarfs, pom pom edged blankets, pom pom wall hangings, and pom pom keychains are on point.


Pom Pom Christmas Tree found at Hobby Lobby


DIY Ice Cream Cone Ornaments by Jennifer Priest, Smart Fun DIY

Eclectic Products Launching TOP SECRET Product to make you come UNGLUED!

This is a sponsored post by Eclectic Products

Eclectic Products has a collection of brands and products consumers know and love, like E6000, Unicorn SPiT, Amazing Goop, Shoe Goo, Allure, and Glaze Coat.  We realize crafters spend a tremendous amount of time and creativity bringing inspirational visions to life, so we make sure all our products are made to the highest quality and performance standards to allow your creativity to flourish.

We want to kick off the New Year with our most loyal and creative supporters, get inspired, and let you in on our TOP SECRET product launch. Our chemists have been working around the clock to produce something SO innovative and SO elusive — we may have to “unglue” your jaw from the show room floor!

And speaking of something new…… if you come see us at booth #1013, we will let you in on some TOP SECRET information…… It’s a new product that we are VERY excited about sharing that is making everyone come UNGLUED!  We can’t reveal too much. The new product is part of our E6000 family and is almost limitless in its uses.  IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PLUS! – You’ll find out what that means when you visit us at our booth!


We are hosting our resident “Glue Guy” and expert, Mark Montano. Mark, designer extraordinaire, prolific author, and TV host, is determined to make crafting HIP! Come visit our booth and create a project with Mark using the newest product from his favorite adhesive brand – E6000!

One of the things we enjoy most at Creativation is meeting folks face to face and demonstrating what our products can do. This year we will have Unicorn SPiT inventor, Michelle Nicole, at your disposal to ask the “need to know” questions! Turn ordinary objects into holographic-like MASTERPIECES. We will be creating magic with Unicorn SPiT SPARKLiNG, and sharing ideas that will get your creative wheels rolling.  You will also have the ability to bring a little “Sparkle” back home with this year’s make-n-take project. Unicorn SPiT is ideal for creating beautiful jewelry, amazing craft furniture and tables, beautifying clocks, picture frames, embedding keepsakes, making bed trays, jewelry boxes, plaques & much more!

We are eager to see everyone at Creativation in Phoenix in January! Visit Eclectic Products at booth #1013 and let’s paint the town!  We promise to make you SPARKLE and leave a lasting impression that will STICK with you forever!

Tapping into Attitudes, Emotions, and Values for Craft and Hobby Marketing


This article provided courtesy of Stitchcraft Marketing, a niche agency specializing in craft-centric small businesses. If you’d like more information about anything contained in this article, feel free to contact the owner of Stitchcraft Marketing, Leanne Pressly at Leanne@stitchcraftmarketing.com for more information.

Annual sales of $36 billion. It describes the amount of money spent annually in the US on the major categories of crafts and hobbies, according to the 2016 Creative Products Size of the Industry Report Update created by MaritzCX for the Association For Creative Industries (AFCI). Among American households, 62% participated in some kind of craft activity in the preceding twelve months and almost a third participated in one to three different activities within that year. It’s a big market whose consumers have discretionary income to spend on the materials and tools associated with their preferred crafts and hobbies. Successful marketing will incorporate appeals to the attitudes, emotions, and values they associate with their crafting. Here, we share some insights from the MaritzCX study to help you find the best approach to market to your customers.

The study defined eleven broad categories of crafts:

  • Paper crafts
  • Beads and jewelry
  • Floral crafting
  • Edible arts
  • Wood crafts and home decor
  • Knitting and crochet
  • Needle arts
  • Sewing and fabric
  • Painting and drawing
  • Kids’ crafts
  • Other

Survey participants rated their emotions, values, and affinities about craft participation on a size-point scale from lowest to highest association over a range of keywords, which are highlighted in bold italics*. (Associated marketing concepts are also highlighted.) What emerged was a clear picture of positive associations that manufacturers and retailers can employ to market their products effectively to their intended audience. There’s enough consensus across the craft categories to make some general recommendations, but we will break out specific crafts when the differences are significant.


There’s no doubt crafting makes people feel good, but they give the highest associations to feeling relaxed and proud as they engage in their crafts. That means that crafting is an antidote to the other stresses in their lives, and they are willing to spend both time and money to access that sense of relaxation. In current terms, crafting is a form of self-care, not unlike a pedicure, a massage, or a new set of high thread-count sheets. Product marketing that appeals to a desire for accessible luxury also taps into the high association with relaxation.

The pride crafters feel in their work and the projects they produce suggests that they value the skills they have learned and the appearance and/or utility of their projects. The craft segment mostly highly associated with pride was painting and drawing; the sewing and fabric segment and the knitting and crochet segment gave it the second highest association assignment. Being proud to wear something a crafter has made puts fashion, style, and skill into the mix of positive associations for these craft categories.

We note, too, that the craft category of Edible Arts is an outlier in the survey of emotional associations. Participants in this craft associated it most highly with feeling joyful and excited. Coupling those emotions with food brings celebration to mind as a concept around which to appeal to crafters in this category.


Closely associated with the emotion of pride is the value of accomplishment, which received the highest or second-highest rating across 9 out of 11 craft categories. It’s clear that crafters value the end product of their efforts as well as the process of creating them. Crafting is not merely a pastime such as playing games or assembling jigsaw puzzles – rather, it’s an investment of mental and physical energy around an envisioned result. Crafters are makers, and making is a part of their self-identity. Whether they keep the things they make or give them to others, the association with accomplishment means that they intend their work to have a life beyond its completion. Heritage, memory, and legacy could be ways in which crafters think of their work in relationship to the rest of their lives.

Again, within the survey of values associations, the Edible Arts category stands out. According to participants, they strongly associate Edible Arts with warm relationships, as well as being fun and enjoyable. These are not surprising results, as they track closely with the emotional associations mentioned above. While crafters may engage in any of the craft categories on their own behalf, food, by both quantity and effort, is more likely to be shared or gifted and thus have an impact on relationships in a way the other craft categories do not. As for the fun and enjoyment aspect, eating the end result of a craft project might be more fun than wearing it or looking at it! So although Edible Arts as a craft category is directed toward appearance and presentation, deliciousness, flavor, and taste also matter to these crafters.


As we said earlier, crafting is a segment of the maker culture, and in this way creates a sense of cultural identity for its participants. By realizing that crafters, especially the millennials, see themselves as having as much in common with artisanal food producers (like beer or kombucha brewers) , the Maker Hacks community (such as those who share 3-D printers in their maker spaces), as well as traditional domestic arts, you can reach them by appealing to their affinity associations.

Across craft categories, survey respondents assigned the highest or second highest association rating to the idea that their craft makes them feel special. It is something they do that sets them apart from the general population and shows that they are people who are willing to value time and effort over convenience. Crafting is a way they express their individuality and creativity. It is also something that they strongly associate with missing if it were no longer a part of their lives. That missing has such a high association across craft categories suggest that an opportunity exists to reach out to crafters who used to (engage in a particular craft), reminding them of the enjoyment, fun, and relaxation crafting once brought to their lives. Remembering the pleasure of accomplishment and pride that one craft creates can provide a bridge to expanding a crafter’s repertoire.

Using the positive emotional, value, and affinity associations that crafters cite aligns your brand with the reasons they engage in crafts and need your products and materials. By incorporating these associations into your marketing campaigns such as blog posts, social media posts and e-newsletters you are more likely to reach those emotional touchpoints that are as strong as their practical needs.

*bolded words are directly from the survey or suggested marketing concepts to use in your marketing.

For more information about the 2016 Creative Products Size of the Industry Report Update and to obtain a copy, visit research.afci.global.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: SEO & Blogging

As we head into the summer, we’re doing one, final throwback to the education you received at the 2016 CHA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim in January.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week, our final throwback is Ann Butler’s and Theresa Cifali’s seminar: SEO & Blogging – What the Heck is Google Looking For? Watch their recap video here and get a refresh on seven of the key indicators that influence your business’s post rank in Google’s algorithm.

CHA Member Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames Redmond Celebrate a 40+ Year Milestone in Business

Store FrontWe are excited to congratulate long time CHA Members and supporters, Bob and Shirley Ferguson of Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames in Redmond, WA, on reaching their 40th year in business in May 2015! Not only have they been in business for 40+ years, but they have also remained in the same location throughout.


The Ferguson Family

To commemorate this milestone, they launched a 40th anniversary celebration with year long special events and sales and on weekends with free cake and  free make and take projects for both children and adults.
Coloring Books

Originally California natives, Bob and Shirley decided to move to Redmond, WA from Hawaii when they were seeking a lifestyle change as well as new career opportunities. Their store was started in 1975 as a variety store, and has since evolved into an entertainment, activity-driven business dedicated to outstanding customer service and innovation.

Frame ShopTheir team of 75 staff members also includes second generation family members. Their sons, Neil and David Ferguson manage the store. The store employees are remarkable, long-term employees that are passionate and knowledgeable about their departments and the customers they serve.

Paper Crafts

In addition to selling component supplies in crafts, beading, paper art, home décor, framing, fabrics and yarn, they also offer hands-on activities where seasoned crafters can discover and learn how to use new products and novice crafters can channel their inner creativity.

The secret to their success? They cite their creative staff who stay current on trends, understand their target market, travel to trade shows throughout the United States and in Asia and stay active in the craft industry. In today’s economy customers are looking for things to do at home and rediscovering nostalgic pastimes. Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames uses its successful business model to continue filling those needs.

For more information about Redmond’s Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames, call (425) 883-2050 or visit www.craftsandframes.com.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: Affiliate Marketing

So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to Sarah Crosby’s and Zoe Pedziwiatr’s seminar, How to Earn More and Establish Strong Relationships with Brands You Love Through Affiliate Marketing. Sarah and Zoe give expert tips and three strategies to increase your income through affiliate marketing.







Most bloggers start blogging because they’re passionate about something and they want to share it with the world. Whether it’s photography, cooking, home renovation, fine art, or DIY and crafts, most new bloggers are surprised when they find out that people out there are actually reading what they have to say and even more surprised when they realize that they can make a living from saying it.

You might find yourself organically referencing and linking to products or services you use in your content (i.e. your camera and lenses, your favorite fabric scissors, the spiralizer you used to make that beautiful zucchini dish you made). Your readers are inspired by you—they want to make what you’ve made. They want the products that you recommend. You’re an influencer and you have an audience, which places you in the perfect position to partner with the brands you love through affiliate marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate, at its core, is about a relationship between three parties:
1. Advertiser (brand with an online store)
2. Publisher (blogger/you)
3. Consumers (your blog’s audience)

The brand partners up with a blogger to put tracking links (i.e. product links, banners, etc.) on its site in hopes that its audience will click through to the site and make a purchase or sign up for a service. If one of your readers clicks through a link on your site, the affiliate link provides the tracking technology to be able to track clicks and sales. If your reader makes a purchase, you will earn a commission on that sale. Although commissions tend to be small, if your blog gets a decent amount of traffic and the product or service resonates with your audience, they can add up fast!

One of the most glorious things about affiliate marketing is the potential to earn passive income from long-term traffic. If you have affiliate links in blog posts that consistently receive traffic from search and Pinterest, then there’s a big chance that you could be earning money from these posts for a long time without a ton of maintenance. All it takes is some work up front.

Three Strategies to Increase Your Affiliate Income
1. Update old content with affiliate links. Take a look at your Google Analytics to find your high and medium traffic blog posts. Replace the normal URLs in those posts with affiliate links or figure out how to weave some in.
2. Add links to organic posts. These are the fun posts you plan on writing anyway. Are you referencing products? Put links in there. You never know which posts will blow up.
3. Write awesome affiliate posts. An affiliate post is a strategic, informative, product-centric blog post that strives to push your readers to make a purchase.

Start by solving a problem. What products or services are big right now? What do people want to know more about? What do YOU want to know more about? Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and think about what information pushes you to actually pull the trigger on a purchase. Write the post that you would want to read.

Affiliate Post Examples:
• Product reviews and comparisons
• Resource lists: “Where to Find X”
• Expert Info: “Best Things to Do in X”

Expert Tips
Make it personal. Figure out how to relate all this product information to your life to tell a story and make it feel organic and relatable.
Do the research. Provide all relevant information to your readers. When linking out to products, include details in your content like brand names, alternate retailers, prices, sizes, colors, material, etc.
Time it right. Consider seasonality and publish your post before expected product demand.
Use strong SEO/pinnable images. Search and Pinterest are how new readers will find you and your content. New readers equals more clicks and sales!
Spread the word! Share your affiliate post on social, add it to your blog sidebar, reference and link out to it in future posts. Keep promoting this post. Make sure to update the post with new links when relevant.

Looking to get started with affiliate marketing? Sign up as a publisher with CJ Affiliate and apply to be a part of our blogger friendly Content Certified Program. We provide everything you need—leading brands, great publisher support, resources and more!
Zoe Pedziwiatr, Content Development Manager, CJ Affiliate by Conversant

AffiliateCJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is a leading global affiliate marketing network, specializing in pay-for-performance programs to drive results. Our network helps to create connections amid millions of online consumers daily by facilitating equitable, lucrative relationships between advertisers and publishers. Many of the world’s most recognized and specialized brands run their affiliate programs on CJ’s platform.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: How to Host a Local Craft Event

So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve be featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to Rina Gonzales’ seminar, How to Host a Local Craft Event. Rina gives five tips for organizing and preparing for a successful event that any business can follow.

DSC_6563-2How to Host a Local Craft Event
By Rina Gonzales


I am so glad to share some tips on “How to Host a Local Craft Event”. As you may know, I created an event called “Crafty Happy Hour” where crafters of all levels and ages come together and create greetings cards. No experience is required, and all supplies are provided.

Here are some tips for planning a fun event in your area:

  1. Pick a venue, event date and theme for your craft project.
  1. Create a fun graphic to promote your event. Now, you can get the word out to your community!
  1. Market your event with social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other media you like; draft a press release, send it to your local newspapers and invite them to send someone to your event; send out your own personal invitations through text message, phone calls and Facebook messaging. You can draft a message that can be used on all social media efforts and for your personal contacts you invite.
  1. Pack your crafts! Plan what you need to pack for your event and also keep your venue informed of what you will need as far as space, tables and any special requests, like what type of music you prefer.
  1. Host your event. Be sure to arrive early to set up, and have helpers for your event that can help navigate issues, like how to use craft supplies/tools.

Good luck!

Rina Gonzales is the owner of Mothership Scrapbook Gal and created “Crafty Happy Hour” in 2013. Her craft business is based in Riverside, California, with a mission to help people craft their special and everyday moments through craft events, DIY card kits and custom orders. Follow her on the Mothership Scrapbook Gal page on Facebook and @mothershipscrapbookgal on Instagram to see what exciting events and workshops she is hosting in her community.