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


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.



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.



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

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 or by calling (312) 673-5505.

Stay tuned as AFCI introduces more Association staff members.


Candidate Nominations Now Being Accepted for the 2020 Board of Directors

The Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) is pleased to announce that the 2019 Nominating Committee is now accepting candidate nominations for the 2020 AFCI Board of Directors. Nominations will be accepted through May 1, 2019.

AFCI members can fill out the Board Director Nomination Form or request a copy by contacting AFCI at ­­­­­312-673-5769 or .  Any AFCI member may nominate an Association member or submit him/herself as a candidate to sit on the AFCI Board of Directors for terms beginning January 2020.  Members who currently serve on the Board of Directors who are interested in extending their service must reapply through this nomination process.

The AFCI Board of Directors consists of individuals representing the various sections of the AFCI membership. Members of the AFCI Board of Directors serve a three-year term in which they meet quarterly to address the needs of the industry from a strategic viewpoint, strengthen the ties between AFCI members and the Association, and guide the focus of AFCI to provide member value. Members of the AFCI Board of Directors serve on a voluntary basis, through which they establish networking and business opportunities, advance their careers through industry leadership, and contribute their voice as advocates for AFCI members.

All nominations will be considered by the 2019 Nominating Committee:

  • Chuck McGonigle – Committee Chair
  • Bradley Beck (DESIGN MASTER color tool, inc.)
  • Eric Sauma (Mood Fabrics)
  • Stan Clifford (DecoArt Inc.)
  • Jessica Goursolas (The Creative Network, Inc.)
  • David Ferguson (Ferguson Merchandising LLC)

Board nominations must be received by May 1, 2019 to facilitate the review process. Nominated individuals who wish to be considered will receive a Board Nominee Profile Form to complete and return by May 15, 2020. If a Nomination was submitted and the nominee does not receive the Board Nominee Profile Form to complete, please contact AFCI at 312-673-5769 before the May 15, 2019 deadline.

The 2019 Nominating Committee will review nominations and submit a slate of candidates for the 2020 Board of Directors to the membership. The membership will be notified in advance of the Annual Business Meeting to submit their proxy ballot as outlined in the Association Bylaws.

Nominees will be contacted with an interview time scheduled for July ­­­­­18, 2019. Interviews will be conducted via Skype.

Free your creativity with Brother. Just add imagination!

Sponsored post by Brother International Corporation

Brother has the products that will stimulate your crafting imagination in new and exciting ways.  Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned crafting expert, Brother has a range of user-friendly machines to help you make outstanding projects.

BRTHR-026066 SNC Creativation Social Post 3 500x500 2

The ScanNCut series is the world’s only home and hobby cutting machines with a built-in scanner.  It’s just about the only electronic cutting machine you can pull right out of the box and get right to work creating sophisticated and stunning projects.

Now with the ScanNCut DX, you can precisely cut paper, fabric, leather and more with ease thanks to Brother’s auto-blade sensor technology.  This incredible, time-saving feature automatically detects material thickness, letting you avoid trial and error, to cut precise built-in patterns as well as your own custom patterns.

When it comes to sewing and embroidery, Brother has a wealth of crafting options all sewn up for you.  Whether you’re into fashion design, home décor or Cosplay, an affordable combination sewing and embroidery machine, like the Brother SE600 can really set your imagination free.

The SE600 comes with 80 built-in embroidery designs but also lets you import your own embroidery designs. It also includes built-in fonts for personalization and monogramming, a real plus for crafting projects.

Looking for more ways to personalize? Expand your options from A to Z!  Add Brother P-touch to your crafting machine lineup. With P-touch you can embellish satin ribbons, decorative tapes, and so much more.

With Brother, it’s easy to turn creative visions into creative realities. Just add imagination! Visit the Brother booth #1909 at Creativation.

How to be a Successful Retailer in an Online World

Sponsored post by POSIM

How do you keep your physical store competitive in a digital world where so much commerce now happens online?

It can be quite simple. Brick and mortar stores need to look for online opportunities to expand their customer base. There are lots of free options available through the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to name a few. Plus there are tons of tools out there to help, and it is not as intimidating as you might think. Dozens of companies are springing up all over the internet that can help you create ads, schedule them on a calendar and post them to the popular social media networks. These tools can greatly help you build the right size ads with the appropriate content that aligns with a specific network, and many offer free versions for the casual user who does not need a ton of analytics. This is perfect for beginners who want to get their feet wet without a significant commitment of time and money.

Email marketing is one of the most affordable online marketing tools. It gives you the ability to promote your brand, sell products, and increase sales. It even converts better than social media! According to a McKinsey & Co. survey, email is nearly 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. POSIM’s Point-of-Sale integrates with MailChimp, a simple and intuitive email platform to keep your customers in the know. When companies like POSIM and MailChimp work together, it makes it easier than ever to reach out to customers with the latest deals, events, and news from your store. You can even set up focused marketing campaigns to your top customers by using POSIM’s best customer report. Plus, Mailchimp’s “Forever Free Plan” allows up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 sends per month and gives you access to most of the Mailchimp features all for free.


Another great way to compete in an online world is through social media. Social selling is all about using social networks to build relationships and loyalty. These networks let you showcase your products using your style representing your brand and values. If you don’t already have a Pinterest account, set one up today. Pinterest can be one of the best ways of generating traffic and customers. According to the international brand and marketing firm, KANTAR | Milward Brown, “93% of Pinners have used Pinterest to plan for or make purchases.”

It is vital to understand your customers wants and needs and be able to adapt to them. Adapting to such changes could be the difference between a brick and mortar store failing or thriving. Kohl’s recently adapted by allowing Amazon purchases to be returned in stores and Nordstrom now offers a unique upscale shopping experience that includes tailoring and manicures all to expand their customer experience.

From online-only deals to the popularity of Cyber Monday eclipsing Black Friday, e-commerce is changing how retailers do business. POSIM’s fully integrated e-commerce solutions with Shopify, Zoey, and Magento give retailers more options to get their products to market quickly. After an online sale, information is updated automatically within POSIM creating a new invoice with the customer information, allowing you to easily fulfill the order.

These are just some examples of online marketing that is readily available right now. Once you see some success, you can expand your efforts, and the sky is the limit. New customers exist outside your local area, and the opportunity is waiting to bring your brick and mortar store into the world of online shopping. It is essential to partner with the right companies, ones that not only have great tools but are also invested in your success. The question remains, are you ready to take your physical store into the world of online?

Setting Clear Intentions

Guest blog post by AFCI VIP Creator, Carol Foldvary-Anderson /

carol vip

Life is not a sprint to the finish line. Life is an ever-changing path, walking up hill, gliding down and meandering through the meadow of abundant flora and fauna. Make plans to enjoy all of the delights and sweetness of life’s experiences. You will get where you wish to be, when the time is right and you are ready! Enjoy the journey!

“Setting Clear Intentions” following though to having a particular project come to fruition is key in getting anything accomplished, in your arts business and in life. Having a plan of action, and also leaving those options open, if something that truly captures your heart, will get you where you wish to be faster. I have found when you set clear intentions you program your thinking and doing to accomplish the final result you are reaching for. You are actually attracting what needs to be in your life for you to feel happy and fulfilled.

When I find myself going though what many psychologists might call “Monkey Mind,” when your thoughts go in all directions and you think to much and rethink, you then find yourself going in circles, and getting nowhere. By living the act of setting your thoughts to clear intention, focusing on what the real heartfelt issue is, and keeping your thoughts, emotions and actions aligned to achieve your goals, you will find yourself spending less time in your mind.

Set clear intention by writing to-do lists, separating what is most important to what can wait to be done. You can start with accomplishing three important tasks per day towards your goal. Set your mind and your actions to accomplish these tasks and by the end of your week you will have achieved fifteen action steps towards your dream goal.

If life, gets in the way, like it always tends to do, and you feel you are being sidetracked, catch up the next day by taking on more then three tasks or block out your to-do lists in a week rather then one day at at time. Work with what ever plan fits into your lifestyle. Remember you are creating a life, as much as an arts business!

Relax and have fun in the process! Live in the moment, and know all will come your way in time.

All in all, I have found that when attending CREATIVATION I see it as setting the right and clear intention to further grow my business as a AFCI Designer/Blogger. Planning to attend Creativation helps me set and develop a to-do list based on what I have learned and the connections I have made in the past, and the connections I would like to make in the future.

There is nothing more motivating when you know where you wish to be in your career and business and find the right avenue to expose you to the right people and influences that can make that happen.  You will find me in Phoenix, AZ at CREATIVATION!

By the way, I have been a AFCI Member since January of 2007. If you would like to know some unknown facts about me take a look below. Being a member of AFCI has enhanced my career in so many ways, by giving me the confidence I needed to be where I am today! Thank you AFCI, you ROCK!


Phone: 775.721.5338

Carol Foldvary-Anderson (varyCarol) is a Creative Artist/Designer VIP Member of the (AFCI) Association for Creative Industries formally the Craft and Hobby Association, Arts Educator, and grant recipient on several occasions from her home state of Nevada. She has found that teaching, encouraging and inspiring others to live their joy is her passion. Carol has been working her art and business for over 30 years.  Is she successful in creating an art-filled life? Yes, she certainly is!
Little Known Facts About Me…!

1. Early in my career I worked with a novelty company in San Francisco, CA and illustrated 15 mugs and plates… which were sold as souvenirs for the city and the Bay area. That project gave me the authorization to join CHA as a Designer Member back in 2007, and I have not missed a year as a member since then.

2. I have had the wonderful opportunity to have illustrated several Adult Coloring Books produced and distributed by Dover Publishing of NY, before the big boom of Adult Coloring Books took place. I made the contact with Dover Publishing early in my career when previous CHA, now AFCI provided Designer Showcase tables. Currently I am working with Prime/FaveCrafts designing FREE Downloadable Adult Coloring eBooks.

3. I enjoy working with and promoting non-profit organizations that instill the values that I believe are important. I donate works, auction off art, and provide classes/workshops for fundraising purposes.

4. I began my art career entering contests, one contest granted me the opportunity to design, produce, and built several large works of art in the public art realm, at a local community college working with contract labor and managing the overall project. 3 pieces that I was commissioned to create sold for $1000’s of dollars.

5. I avidly support the Nevada State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts as I have applied for and successfully received several Grants funded by these organizations. I was invited to create an ornament for the White House during the George W. Bush Administration through my participation with the Nevada State Arts Council.

6. I was accepted to the Nevada State Artist’s & Community Roster! Which took me to the level of applying for Art Residencies in all kinds of places I would not have thought otherwise. Yosemite, remote Baker, Nevada, and other opportunities in Museums. I have also applied and received state and national funding for areas of business that I would have done anyway to build my business, and to have the life experience.

7. I am the inventor designer of an art technique I am promoting “Oil Pastel Smudge”. A journey which has given me access to be able to present this article and others to AFCI. At CREATIVATION 2018, I entered and was accepted to compete in “Innovation Center” with my Oil Pastel Smudge technique and met some potential clients to further the journey.

8. For over 10 years, earlier in my career, I was an active member of the Nevada Inventors Association, where actual business practices are shared. I’ve been very surprised more artists did not see the value in joining such a forward thinking group, as I see inventors are artist’s on a different, yet similar level.  It’s all about “The Business!” and how you wish to live your life, is what I believe!

Management Change for AFCI Headquarters

Note from Jim Thielen, Chairman, AFCI Board of Directors


On behalf of the Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) Board of Directors, I wanted to share an important update with you.

The AFCI Board of Directors has decided to make a change in management and staffing for the Association.  After much discussion and a thorough review of strategic options, we have chosen to partner with SmithBucklin, an association management company that will assume the operational activities of the AFCI effective April 1, 2019.

SmithBucklin is a professional services company that manages well over 100 other associations.  They will bring to AFCI deep experience in supporting business trade associations, including some that complement and have synergies within our industry.

We would like to recognize our current staff team for all their contributions to the association and we are working with them individually on thoughtful transition plans.  We thank them for their work on behalf of the Association.

While the Board has decided to make a management change, throughout the transition, I assure you that we remain focused on hosting a successful Creativation event in January 2019.  Our current team will be working in tandem with new staff members from SmithBucklin and many of the new team members will be at Creativation.

Beyond Creativation, we are already mapping out timelines for a strategic planning process.  We are dedicated to maximizing the value of AFCI membership and will be working with our new team to further strengthen our member value proposition.  We will be seeking member feedback as a part of this process and there will be opportunities to get involved and be a part of shaping the future strategy for AFCI.

The AFCI Board of Directors has decided to make this change in order to benefit you as a valued member and ensure the long-term success of our Association. We look forward to seeing you at Creativation on January 17-21, 2019 and to all the exciting new developments ahead.

Should you have questions or concerns, please contact me directly at

Best regards,


Jim Thielen

Chairman, AFCI Board of Directors