Announcing the New AFCI Board Officers


The AFCI Board of Directors recently elected three new people to serve as officers.  We had a chance to sit down with each of them about their newly elected positions and what they are looking forward to most in their new roles.

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Jim Thielen – Chairman

AFCI:  Jim, congratulations on being elected as Chairman.  You’ve been in the creative industry for sixteen years and have dedicated your time to serve as a member of the Board.  In this new role as Chairman, what are you hoping to achieve?

Jim:  As a member of the Executive Committee, I am committed to the vision of creating a healthy, vibrant and innovative community that enriches people’s lives through creative activities.  I will work with the entire Board to ensure we are delivering high value services in support of our members, so together we can make the vision a reality.

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

Jim:  There are so many exciting and new opportunities in the creative industry.  The industry is rapidly changing and evolving to include much more than arts and crafts.  When you join the Association, you are immediately connected to a global community that you can engage with to exchange ideas.  You are also exposed to new industry opportunities that develop and may potentially grow your business.

AFCI:  As you already stated, networking is one of the biggest reasons for joining AFCI.  The Association produces events for the members so that they can connect with each other.  What is one of your favorite memories from an AFCI event?

Jim:  My favorite AFCI event was Creativation 2018.  The educational seminars and workshops were high quality and interactive, allowing people to share and learn from each other.  The topics were new and relevant so people that attended discovered new ideas that had the potential to spur the growth of their businesses.

Joe McClain – Vice Chairman

AFCI:  Joe, you are fairly new to the creative industry.  What will be your primary focus serving as a Board officer.

Joe:  First, I’d like to say just how honored I am to be elected to represent our membership as an officer.  I’ve been in the industry for just over three years since taking over as CEO for Help Heal Veterans, a nonprofit that manufactures and distributes therapeutic arts and crafts free of charge to veterans and active duty military undergoing health care.  As someone who comes from a career of service, and currently leads a non-profit whose sole mission is one of service, it should come as no surprise that I’ll be focused on how I can best serve our membership.  In my mind, that means working with some of the great industry leaders on our Board to help create and nurture an environment where our very diverse membership can succeed.  There’s a lot of change happening right now in our industry.   As we all know, change can be a challenging time for any industry, especially if we’re slow to adapt.  In my mind, it’s also a time of great opportunity.  As a new officer, I hope to help guide our Association to shape a future that best enables member success.

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

Joe:  Joining an association and interaction with your industry peers are key factors in keeping your finger on the pulse of trends, the business environment and innovation. Being able to adapt to a rapidly changing environment and leveraging the resources that only an association provides will help your business succeed.   There’s also the intangible benefit that creatives and innovators understand:  that creativity is often sparked by interaction with like minded individuals who share your passion. You’d be hard pressed to find another forum like AFCI to generate that spark.

AFCI:  What value have you gained by attending an AFCI event?

Joe:  At a recent event, I was talking to a group of Designers over a cocktail and discovered that the healing power of the creative process is something that applies across all demographics, not just the veterans I serve.  From that discussion and listening to their ideas on what may appeal to the diverse demographic I serve, we at Heal Vets expanded the product offerings for veterans by using materials that were different for us.  Our change has proven popular with clinicians, therapists and the vets they treat.  The confidence to take that leap came from the interaction and follow-up discussions made at an AFCI event.

Bradley Beck – Secretary

AFCI:  Brad, we’d love to hear more about your industry background.

Brad:  I have been in the creative industry for 35 years.  I started out as a Manufacturer Representative for my Dad’s company, covering the West Coast back in the Tall Mouse, Moskatel’s, H&H Craft & Floral Supply days.  I have been at DESIGN MASTER color tool, inc, the COLOR design resource, for the last 20 years.

AFCI:  What would you say to someone that was considering joining the Association?

Brad:  Join us and get involved. The benefits you gain from joining an organization like AFCI is directly proportional to how involved you get.  You can become an active member by exhibiting or attending Creativation, volunteering for a committee assignment, or networking at one of the many social events throughout the year.  Your investment in time will be richly rewarded.

AFCI:  You must have so many memories tied to our industry.  What is one of your more recent memories?

Brad:  Yes, there are so many.  More recently, I would say the time spent listening and learning from my fellow Board members.  Their expertise, knowledge and understanding of the industry makes me more informed and hopefully a better Board member.

 

Meet the AFCI Board of Directors at the Annual Business Meeting taking place during Creativation on Monday, January 21 starting at 7:30am.  Learn about your Association’s future plans, share your feedback and discover ways you can help impact the industry.  Register here.

JEJE Produkt Brings Exciting, New & Different Products From Europe


This is a guest post by JEJE Produkt

Attending Creativation?
Make sure to visit JEJE Produkt, booth #2526, Europe’s number one manufacturer of peel-off stickers, developer of craft techniques and craft products.

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Our new Dream Catcher Peel-off’s will charm you and you can collect a free sample by visiting our booth.

Looking for something exclusive? We can make it. Eric and Elly, owners of JEJE Produkt, will be happy to give you more information to develop your own range of peel-off stickers.

Completely new: ” Marij Rahder by JEJE Produkt”.
Marij Rahder, designer and artist draws cheerful and comical characters for clear stamps, peel-off stickers, 3D booklets and we know you will love them!

We offer you:

  • New, splendid and unique products
  • Ongoing demonstrations
  • Giveaways
  • Free catalog

Like us on Facebook and send a private message before January 15 mentioning: CHA and join our CHA raffle for winning prices!

Access our online catalog here.

Watch this video to learn more.

DIY Sewing for Family, Home, Fashion & Fun – Discover Dritz® at Creativation 2017


This is a guest post by Prym Consumer USA

Sewing. It’s an old-school craft, with plenty of new-school applications. Bag making. Easy-sew curtains. Doll clothes. Home and fashion hacks. Accessories and things for your kids. These are activities you might not traditionally associate with sewing, but that’s what today’s makers are doing with needle and thread. When it comes to sewing, Dritz® is a mainstay. Yes, Dritz® is your grandma’s tomato pin cushion. But it’s so, so much more. Visit us at Creativation and see for yourself!

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Our Products: Dritz® products empower you to make things you never dreamed you could. Our comprehensive product range includes tools for sewing, quilting and home decorating. Top-notch Dritz® products are easy-to-use, and allow you to accomplish a variety of DIY projects creatively and economically. At Creativation, you’ll be the first to see 50+ new fashion fasteners, tools for hand and machine sewing, and more. New to the game? No worries! We can introduce you to our standard line-up of must-have Dritz® sewing supplies.

Our Events: Experience Dritz® in action and see how easy DIY can be. We have a host of events going on in our booth (Prym Consumer #1315) allowing you to get a hands-on feel for Dritz® DIY. Come chat with our demonstrators, who will be using new and favorite Dritz® fasteners such as grommets, rivets, swivel hooks and rings. Finished projects will be displayed, providing inspiration for incorporating Dritz® into bags, accessories, device storage, clothing, items for kids and home.

Throughout Creativation, you’ll see Dritz® popping up everywhere! Find us here:

  • Fashion Fusion Collaborative Challenge (Thurs. 1/19, 11:00am, Lecture Hall/booth #1951: Fashionistas unite! At this exciting event you’ll make a garment and/or accessory. You’ll be able to use a Dritz® dressform, and talk with two of our experienced seamstresses who will be available to help you during the event.
  • Maker Space (Sat. 1/21, 1:00pm, booth #1759): Want to see sewing and jewelry collide? Make a funky bracelet using traditional sewing supplies (belting, fasteners, embroidery floss/needles). You’ll use these basic materials to make a bracelet that shows your unique style – sweet, boho, minimal, funky – it’s up to you!
  • Sewing 101 Workshop (Sun. 1/22, 11:00am, room 121D): Don’t let the word “sewing” scare you! Check out this workshop and learn about the essential tools and hardware you need to get started. You’ll pick up some time-saving tips, discover clever uses for basic products, and make some low-sew projects. Bonus: you’ll get to take some Dritz® tools home with you!
  • Pillow Talk Demonstration (Sun 1/22, 1:45pm, booth #1759): Pillows can transform pretty much any space in your home. You can change your look for a special occasion, or for the whole season with a few new pillows! During this demo, you’ll learn how to cut, shape and embellish pillows to create something fabulous regardless of your personal style. We’ll share tips for button tufting, inserting welting and trims.
  • English Paper Piecing Demonstration (Sun 1/22, 3:00pm, booth #1759): Have you heard about English Paper Piecing? Wondering what all the chatter is about? It’s an addictive way to hand sew small fabric shapes that are perfectly and precisely shaped. You can then use these fabric shapes in so many ways – accessories, fashion, quilting and more!

Our People: We’d like to meet you! Beyond the products and the demonstrations you’ll see in our booth, we’ll also have lots of friendly faces at Creativation, waiting to see YOU! Retailers, bloggers, makers, designers – if you’re engaged in sewing, quilting and DIY, please make sure to come by and say hello!

Our Digital Spaces: Like what you see at Creativation? It doesn’t end here – you can connect with Dritz® every day! You’ll find Dritz® on Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter, and our make something blog is packed with thoughtful projects and product information. The Dritz® website provides a complete online product resource for you – everything Dritz® is right at your fingertips!

Things to Remember:

  • See Dritz® in the Prym Consumer USA booth #1315
  • Getting social at Creativation? Use #Dritz and/or #DritzItYourself so we don’t miss you!

Treat Yourself to Food & Knowledge


By Saema Khwaja, President, CHA Southern California Chapter

Our Southern California Chapter is proud to host its Second Annual Business Luncheon on August 10 at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Duarte, CA! Be sure to register and meet our amazing panel of successful professionals in finance and investment, advertising and marketing, human resources, philanthropy and more!

Attendees will have the unique opportunity to learn from experts and gain valuable strategies and suggestions to benefit their business. Take advantage of the opportunity to network and create connections in the craft industry, further your business with advice from experts in the field, and learn what others are doing in the industry! This is a great opportunity to have one-to-one time and get answers to all of your business questions.

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We also offer members the opportunity to reserve a showcase table to display products/project samples. It’s a fantastic way to easily promote your company to other chapter members! As part of your showcase, we’d love to feature your business on social media as well!

Click the link for more details about the Business Lunch and to RSVP: http://bit.ly/2aiEcZS. We’d love for you to join us!

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.

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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.
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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.