MEET THE AFCI STAFF – KATE PURDY


This month, we are pleased to introduce you to Kate Purdy, the Association For Creative Industries’ (AFCI) Marketing Manager based in the Washington, D.C. office. Kate will be overseeing all of the Association’s marketing and communication efforts. She is also a self-taught knitter.

Where are you from?

I’m from Schenectady, New York and have been in the Washington, D.C. area for 11 years.

KP3

What’s your favorite craft and/or hobby?

I love to knit! I taught myself about seven years ago after purchasing a starter kit from a local yarn store. I try to tackle a few projects each year. I wish I could spend more time knitting than I currently do, but I have a project ready and waiting for me for my upcoming summer trips!

Any cool DIY projects you’ve tackled?

The biggest DIY project I recently undertook was for my daughter’s first birthday party in December. It was a penguin-themed party, and I constructed the invitations and party décor. She loved it and I’m already starting to brainstorm what I can do for her next birthday!  

What’s a creative project you’d like to try?

I am really interested in learning how to spin and dye my own yarn. I attended the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival a couple of years ago and loved seeing makers spinning yarn on different spindles and wheels. The festival really showed me the big picture, from seeing sheep being sheared to the raw fleece, dyed wool, yarn and finished products for sale. I’m not quite sure where to start and maybe when my daughter is a little older, we’ll learn how to do it together!   

Meet the AFCI Board of Directors – URSULA MORGAN


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. Today we introduce you to Ursula Morgan.

AFCI:  Congratulations on rejoining the AFCI board. How long have you been a member of AFCI, and what initially drew you to join the Association?

URSULA:  In 2006, I became a member of the Association and attended my first AFCI ursulatrade show with Future Publishing as the publisher for Simply Knitting magazine. I didn’t initially know much about the Association, but I had heard the event was a great place for inspiration, information and new contacts that would help build our magazines and websites.  As I worked my way up to vice president at Future Media’s U.S. operations, the Association continued to be an integral part of our growth strategy.

In 2013, I joined Creativebug. While at Creativebug, I was lucky enough to serve on the AFCI Board of Directors. My tenure as president and CEO, as well as my AFCI board role, ended in April 2017 when we were acquired by JOANN. Now, as SVP of Digital Innovation at CSS Industries, I get to lead the Digital Innovation team designing and building the absolute best software and experiences in the celebration and life event space.  I’m excited to be joining the AFCI board again and bringing the knowledge I’ve gained.

AFCI:  What do you hope to achieve by serving on the AFCI Board of Directors?

URSULA:  My motivation is the same as it was back when I first served. I have a deep love and passion for the industry, and I want the Association to be an important part of people’s craft business.  The Association was vital in helping me build my career in this industry. It has helped me stay relevant and introduced me to people whom I adore. The industry is rapidly segmenting and changing, making it as important as ever for the Association to be relevant for its members, and I see myself aiding in that process.

AFCI:  What would you say to someone who is interested in joining the Association?

URSULA:  You will get out of it what you put into it. Utilize every aspect of your Association. It provides great business intelligence, such as the research, networking and support.

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”.

MEET THE AFCI STAFF – TARA GRAY


This month, we are pleased to introduce you to Tara Gray, the Association For Creative Industries’ (AFCI) Convention Manager.  Tara is an energetic and organized event pro.  She will be working with the events team to ensure Creativation is a success for everyone in attendance.

Where are you from?  I was born in Robinson, Illinois. tara_gray

What’s your favorite craft and/or hobby?   I make 20 hand-decorated purses each year for the Mystic Krewe of Nyx.  The Krewe of Nyx hosts a Mardi Gras parade with 3,383 women riders, 44 floats and more than 60,000 hand-decorated purses that are thrown to crowds of more than 150,000.  The purses are considered one of the top 10 special throws of Mardi Gras each year.

Purse

Any cool DIY projects you’ve tackled?  My Mardi Gras headdress for 2019.  The jewels in the photo below were all hand placed.

headdress.jpeg

What’s a creative project you’d like to try?  This is a real thing, even though it sounds crazy.  For Mardi Gras 2020, I will be decorating plungers and purses for special throws.  That being said, I need to figure out how to put glitter transfers on plungers!  If you have any ideas, please let me know in the comments below!

Plungers

Tara can be reached at tgray@afci.global or 312-637-5358.

MEET THE AFCI STAFF – LYDIA KAMICAR


This month, we are pleased to introduce you to Lydia Kamicar, the Association For lydiaCreative Industries’ (AFCI) Director of Education and Learning Services based in AFCI’s Chicago office.  Lydia will be overseeing all of the Association’s education offerings both at Creativation and throughout the year.  She is also a DIY aficionado who isn’t afraid to push her creative comfort zone.

Where are you from? I’m from Northeast Wisconsin but have called Chicago home for the last 15 years.

What’s your favorite craft and/or hobby? I like paper and stamps – making gift tags out of old holiday cards is a particular favorite!

Any cool DIY projects you’ve tackled? I made most of the décor for my wedding and was particularly proud of keeping our centerpieces to $25 a table. This involved IKEA lanterns, blue votive candles, painted kraft boxes, and many many hours spent hot gluing gray, yellow and navy yarn around Smoothfoam balls.

Photo credit: GReyes Photography

A few years back I found a tutorial to make a shag rug out of t-shirts and had to give it a try. It involved about 8,000 strips of white t-shirt, dyed with Rit in the washing machine. After 60+ hours, I ended up with some latch hook skills and a 2.5’ x 3’ shaggy gray rug that looked great in our living room and was soft on the feet.

What’s a creative project you’d like to try? I’m starting to plan out a “grocery store” for my kids’ playroom. We’ll make some felt food and craft a fabric awning over the counter-height shelving. I haven’t done much with felt before, so excited to give it a try. My inspiration is coming from Lucy Sparrow’s Convenience Store art installations.

Lydia can be reached at lkamicar@afci.global or 312-673-5725.

SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT: Alice Globus, Winky&Dutch


One of the Association For Creative Industries’ (AFCI) newest members, Winky&Dutch, became an instant success after winning the New Product Award at Creativation 2019 for their Machine-Washable Picture Buttons.   We had a chance to sit down with Winky&Dutch owner, Alice Globus to learn more about her entrepreneurial spirit and her award winning product.

Alice Globus, President of Winky&Dutch

AFCI:     Tell us more about you!

Alice:     I am a former rocket scientist from Wall Street who left my career to run the family business after my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  Driven by my love of Star Trek, I studied chemistry and astrophysics later working at an observatory in Chile before entering into finance.  As a fierce supporter of women, I am a member of the board of the Financial Women’s Association, an organization that works to propel women’s careers within the financial sector and empowers underrepresented women by teaching them about financial literacy.

AFCI:     How did Winky&Dutch get started, and what do you contribute to its success?

Alice:     Winky&Dutch was founded by my father, Ronald Globus, and my uncles, his identical twin brothers, Ric and Steve, in 1987. Most observers would consider our founders eccentric with a flair for photography, engineering and fashion. They revolutionized photography with the invention of the first panoramic camera and the lenticular lens, which they lovingly called “Winky.” The Globus Brothers’ search for creative ways to share photographic art led to the Winky&Dutch legacy. Today, I’m proud to be running this women-owned family business.

AFCI:     Tell us more about your award-winning Machine Washable Picture Buttons.

Machine-Washable Picture Buttons by Winky&Dutch

Alice:     I conceptualized our new patent pending machine-washable cabochon shank buttons while I was pregnant with my son, Theodore. I was too tired to hand wash my laundry adorned with Winky&Dutch buttons. Not letting the baby bump slow me down, I applied my chemistry background to design picture buttons that I could just throw in the washer and not worry about hand washing!   

The result was the creation of quality art buttons for handicrafts, knitting and home sewing. Now, I want to make these buttons as widely available to not only moms but also to anyone who wants something fun, unique and creative without a hassle and can trust that their crafts will hold up over the long term.  This is the first innovation in buttons in more than 50 years!

We can create the perfect images within our cabochons to meet the targeted market crafter based on needs of a geographic location or seasonal trends. 

AFCI:  As an accomplished entrepreneur, what advice can you share with entrepreneurs in the creative arts industries?

Alice:     I am a firm believer there are three things that make for a successful entrepreneur:  

The first is finding a niche market that is being underserved. What problem are you solving?  In our situation, there are no machine washable picture buttons on the market. Markets in multiple sectors are taking notice. We have a technology to allow for customization on one button at a time.  How fun would it be if you could upload a photo or pieces of artwork that you made and then a week later, have a denim jacket with those buttons on there?  This is something we are working on developing now.  

Persistence is the next attribute that makes for a successful entrepreneur.  It took me close to two years to design, develop and now begin to execute on a new concept.  We had a lot of bad product before a final product was available.  This rule of persistence also applies if you are trying to raise capital, bring on advisers or the right partners.  You will hear a lot of no’s before your first yes.  You must stick with it to get the results you want.  It is also important to know when something is not working.  It can be extremely difficult to give up after a lot of time and money has gone into something, but you need to acknowledge when you are throwing good resources into a bad well and learn from it.

Lastly, and most important to me, is having the support of your family.  This may sound sappy, but you generally need to have two years’ worth of cash in the bank in order to start a new business.  During that time, you will be in a state where having the emotional support of your family to believe in you when you are putting in the hours is extremely important.  If your husband, wife or parents do not believe in what you are trying to create, it will be very hard to justify to them why you are traveling so much for investor meetings or working long hours to prepare for a sales meeting.  Fortunately for me, my family and fiancé truly believe in me and how I can execute.  

Learn more about Winky&Dutch by visiting their website https://www.shopwinky.com/.

Association For Creative Industries Announces 2019 New Product Awards


The Association For Creative Industries (AFCI), the international trade association for the design, manufacture, distribution and retail sales of creative arts products, announced the winners of its popular New Product Awards.

In January 2019 at Creativation, AFCI’s international conference and trade show, manufacturers from all over the world submitted new and innovative retail products in the Show’s New Product Showcase. The judges, consisting of leading industry buyers, influencers and editors, selected the winners based on what makes the product unique, how the product will improve the crafter’s overall experience, and the interest and excitement the product generates for those outside of the crafting community.

The New Product Winners for 2019 are:

FOIL QUILL by American Crafts/We R Memory Keepers

FoilQuill

The Foil Quill heat pen allows you to foil projects using your electronic cutting machine! Simply insert the Foil Quill into your machine and foil any design with precision. It works great on paper, chipboard, vinyl, leather and more. With multiple tip sizes and dozens of foil colors, the customization is endless.

MACHINE WASHABLE PICTURE BUTTONS by Winky&Dutch

winky&dutch

These new patent pending machine washable picture buttons are the first innovation in sew on buttons in more than 50 years. Each button is handcrafted in the United States.

ADTECH DRIP-LESS GLUE GUN by AdTech

adtech

The DRIP-LESS glue guns are a joy to use! The patent pending multi-chamber design reduces dripping and stringing, while providing a top-notch gluing experience with more power, faster heating time, ergonomic design, specially engineered nozzles and precise three-finger trigger.

Other New Product releases displayed during Creativation 2019 include:

New Blog Series: Meet the AFCI Staff – Familiar Faces and New Team Members


As part of the transition to our new management partner, AFCI looks forward to introducing a new staff team who will serve our members and help the Association continue to thrive. The team has spent the last few months working together to ensure a seamless transition.

Each month, the AFCI Blog will introduce you to two staff members who are excited to join the AFCI team.

One name members may already recognize is Jason Baum, who will continue to support AFCI as the Director of Membership. Jason has served AFCI for the last 7 years and has fostered strong relationships with members and industry leaders.

JBaum_revisedJason is a father of one beautiful little girl, an avid (or rabid) football fan, record lover, audiophile, coffee addict, Ugly Christmas Sweater aficionado and guitar player.  He is a professional communicator and collaborator with over 13 years of experience in the marketing, customer service and event world.  Jason’s dream is to win the lottery and invest in a McDonald’s franchise (seriously).  He’s fueled by his love of tequila, 90’s hip-hop and tortilla chips.

Jason would love to hear from you!  Give him a call at 201-835-1218 or send him an email at jbaum@afci.global.

We would also like to introduce Kris King, a Sales Manager based in AFCI’s Kristina_King_032315_144Chicago office. Kris will be an integral contributor to Creativation 2020’s success, as she leads exhibit space and sponsorship sales for AFCI’s flagship event.

  • Where are you from? Waynesville, MO
  • What’s your favorite craft and/or hobby? I love to bake. I have dreams of opening up my own cupcake shop one day!
  • Any cool DIY projects you’ve tackled? I love cake decorating. I have made a few cakes for friends and family that were a little more extensive than a box mix, and I have done a few character cupcakes. Recently, I have ventured into cookie decorating, which I really enjoy.  Years ago, I was really into scrapbooking and would love to get back into that as well. Crafting, in general, has always been a feel-good project for me: When I feel stressed or need a pick-me-up, its easy to pull out my KitchenAid or my scrapbook box and see what happens. It’s a wonderful creative outlet.
  • What creative project would you like to try? I want to learn how to knit. I have tried to teach myself and have failed royally! Anyone have some good pointers?

Kris can be reached at sales@afci.global or by calling (312) 673-5505.

Stay tuned as AFCI introduces more Association staff members.