Meet AFCI’s New Executive Director


We are pleased to introduce you to Peter Finn, the Association For Creative Industries’ Peter_Finn(AFCI) Executive Director.  Peter will lead the organization and execute the newly defined strategic priorities.  We had the opportunity to talk to Peter about his prior experience and what he is looking forward to most in his new role.

Congratulations on your new role as the Association For Creative Industries’ (AFCI) Executive Director.  What initially drew you to our organization?

The potential growth of the organization is what initially drew me to the opportunity of Executive Director–AFCI has a fantastic value proposition. It became apparent during the interview process that AFCI has a passionate membership, strong leadership in its board of directors, and programs that are well positioned for success. Additionally, much of my work for the last 11 years has been in STEM but I’ve become increasingly interested in the intersection of the arts and STEM–or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) initiatives and activities. The chance to work for an organization that supports a global community of creators and artists of all ages is very appealing.

Can you give us a taste for what you hope to accomplish as the new executive director of AFCI?

At the start I want to listen and learn from members and stakeholders, while also looking at opportunities to work on expanding AFCI’s digital footprint, developing a content roadmap that informs the programming for Creativation and other activities through the year, and develop new educational programs for our membership.

What are some of the important initiatives for AFCI this year and next?

As the new Executive Director, I want build on the past success of the Creativation conference and identify new strategies to better engage conference participants onsite. I look forward to working with the events team and volunteers to source some new ideas and elevate the overall experience for everyone at the conference. We will also examine and audit the AFCI’s current content and generate ideas for new content and education through the year.

What type of creative activities do you like to do with your children?

My wife works at the Art Institute of Chicago and oversees a number of their educational programs. The kids and I will often participate in the family festivals that she runs on the weekends. There are often a number of activities going on from print making to drawing to textile arts.  Both of my kids go to fine and performing art magnet cluster schools (Chicago Public Schools) in Chicago so invariably there is some kind of creative project in the works on any given week.

What excites you most about the future of the creative industry?

What excites me about the creative industry is its impact on people in helping them cultivate their creative practices whether it be at home or as a professional.  There is also so much opportunity for the AFCI when you take into consideration that the US craft industry is estimated at $36 billion.

What is one thing about you that might surprise our members?

The first conference I helped organize early in my career was in Cape Town, South Africa about 6 years after apartheid had ended. I was able to meet many of the people involved in the anti-apartheid movement. I was about 24 at the time and it was a truly life changing experience to be around so many inspiring people. We had over 10,000 attendees and Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama were our keynote speakers.

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 Board of Directors – LAWRENCE HOFFMAN


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.  We recently had the opportunity to speak with board member, Lawrence Hoffman on his experience and why he chose to serve.

AFCI:  We’d love to hear more about your time in the industry and the role you play in your current organization.

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LAWRENCE:  My experience with arts and crafts started at 12 years old in Richmond, Texas, working for Mike Dupey in his Michaels store. My job was cleaning restrooms and breakrooms for $1.00 per hour.  From that point, I had the opportunity to work in almost every facet of a retail organization from stocking shelves to managing departments. After college, I worked for 12 years managing the POG department for Michaels/MJDesigns until MJDesigns went out of business in February 1999.

From there, my career took a different turn.  I went into the staffing business selling engineering and IT staffing along with IT solutions.  Four years later, the familiar retail itch needed scratching. I became a Visual Merchandising Manager with a retailer by the name of Gadzooks, creating store layouts and designs, merchandise presentations and advertising campaigns.

When Gadzooks sold to Forever 21, I got back into the craft industry working for Randy Putnam and Associates (now known as CSC). I helped manufacturers design, develop, sell and market products to retailers primarily in the arts and crafts/home décor retail channels.

My tenure at RPA gave me the opportunity to work with world-class manufacturers and retailers. Now, I’m the vice president of Sales and Marketing for Uchida of America, leading and directing the sales and marketing operations, product development, packaging development, social media and email marketing, trade show management, catalog and sales sheet production and more.

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

LAWRENCE:  I have been involved in the arts and crafts business for more than 30 years in many different capacities. With my experience on the retail side, the representative side and the manufacturing side, I feel that I have a well-rounded perspective and have a lot to offer the board and organization.

I have also had the opportunity to experience other industries, such as junior apparel, IT and staffing. I can tap into this experience to provide creative suggestions and direction. I love this industry (it is in my blood) and feel that I can make a positive impact on helping create a sustainable future.

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

LAWRENCE: I would say that it is vital to join the Association. Things are evolving quicker than ever before. It is important for people to get involved with the industry that they are in. You need to know what is going on but also be an active participant. There is so much we can learn from each other. There is a wealth of experience and information available, and not tapping into that will definitely make the path more difficult.

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”.

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 JRapp@afci.global .  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.

Management Change for AFCI Headquarters


Note from Jim Thielen, Chairman, AFCI Board of Directors

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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 jp_thielen@yahoo.com.

Best regards,

jim

Jim Thielen

Chairman, AFCI Board of Directors

 

‘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!

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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!

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Photo credit: Debra Quartermain, DebraQuartermain.com

 

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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.

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Pom Pom Christmas Tree found at Hobby Lobby

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

HEALTHCARE COST BURDEN: THE TOP 3 FACTORS IN MAKING HEALTH CARE RIGHT!


  1. Premiums & care continue to rise 
  2. High prescription costs lead to denying treatment 
  3. High Deductibles limit our ability to pay for everyday health care costs

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The Anger Index is a Consumer Reports summary of the problems facing every individual who is not insured or under-insured (meaning a high deductible plan)

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Clearly there is a continuing concern.  In fact, over 60% of uninsured and under-insured people and 26% of those fully insured say they cannot afford everyday health care costs.

With the end of the individual mandate within the Affordable Care Act, consumers now have choice.  They are no longer penalized for having coverage that does not really protect them nor fit their health needs or their budget.

The Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) has created a program that addresses these burdens directly for members who have these same issues and are considering what really can work for them and their family.

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AFCI HEALTH COVERAGE:  IT’S  JUST RIGHT

  1.  Low premiums and no deductibles 
  2.  Low co pays 
  3. Covers 90% of everyday health costs including a Prescription Drug Plan

When to Look for Plans:
You can start looking at AFCI Plans on 12/3/18 for coverage to start on the 1st of the following month. There is no open-enrollment end date!

Where to Look for Plans
Sole proprietors visit: www.1enrollment.com/afci
Businesses with more than 3 employees email: afci@enhancedcaremd.com

How to Ask Questions:
Email: afci@enhancedcaremd.com to ask questions or request more information. We will respond within 1 business day.

Who can Sign-Up for Coverage:

  • AFCI Individual/Sole Proprietors & Families
  • AFCI Small Businesses (Groups greater than 3 employees can request an adoption agreement & employee enrollment forms) via the afci@enhancedcaremd.com contact email.