The industry as seen by top designers.
CHA Summer Show Trends
"The simple, flat, non-dimensional page is
a trend of the past."
by Tracia Williams and Lynda Musante (July 30, 2004)
With industry unification complete, the Craft and Hobby
Association (CHA) Summer show was a great success. The combined
staffs of Offinger Management and the former Hobby Industries
Association created a smooth transition to the single, creative
While paper crafting continued to be a standout category, other
craft categories were busy and many line extensions and even new
product introductions were found throughout the show floor.
Paper crafting abounds in the craft industry! With several new
paper crafting periodicals coming from a wide variety of publishers,
support for this category's unprecedented growth continues.
The focus on card making did not seem to be as concentrated as it
once was – instead the focus has widened to include mini-books,
journals, tag art, and artsy jewelry made from slide mounts,
dominos, beads, etc. Basically, the combination of a wide variety of
materials used on a paper background is an additional way for
retailers to attract new customers.
Embellishments flourished with charms, ribbons, beads, wire,
threads, fibers, buttons, slide mounts, metal elements, and tags
being attached to everything! Acrylic medallions with etched
designs, letters, and words were seen in one or two booths at the
HIA show in February; we saw them in several booths at the summer
Scrapbooking appears to be continuing its tendency towards less
uniform designs with more eclectic, free-form, layered, and collage
styles with dimensional designs abounding. The simple, flat,
non-dimensional page is a trend of the past. In fact, Plaid featured
a new line of scrapbooks specifically designed to hold dimensional
We found it interesting that entire booths were dedicated to
specialty-themed scrapbooking products, such as spiritual products
the armed services, masculine, and even nostalgic papers themed to
popular US cities.
The results of acquisitions and investment in growing
scrapbooking vendors were seen through the paper crafting
categories. One popular scrapbooking vendor indicated that the
scrapbooking division had grown larger than the parent-investing
Stamping does appear to be a very strong category; the lines
between stamping and scrapbooking are becoming less distinct as
consumers are expanding their skills and experimenting with new
materials. New specialty inks that can be used on a variety of
surfaces to achieve special aurora borealis effects were featured in
the Clearsnap booth, as well as several line extensions to their Style
Tiles stampable surface accessories. Product Performers,
with popular designer Tim Holtz, showcased a variety of inks from
Ranger. Tim's unique usage of Adirondack Alcohol Inks and Color
Wash are very inspiring and have many fans. One of the most FUN
products we saw at the show was the Leisure Arts new line of
specialty scrapbooks in the shapes of hats, shoes, and handbags.
We noticed big crowds in some general craft booths:
Design Originals featured a demonstration of creating with bottle
caps ... AMACO featured a Red Hat Pin created with Friendly
Plastic ... Delta featured four make-it /take-its using a
variety of their products and had a video presentation of their
"Visioneering" process running in the booth ... Sulyn’s
new Keepsake Jewelry make-it/take-it was always busy ...
FloraCraft's Smooth Finish paint dries to a shiny, hard finish in
two coats and cleans with water ... Halcraft's new Book Effects program
helps a crafter create a one-of-a-kind book for a base for all the
paper crafting accessories ... Yarn companies who showcased yarns
featuring combined fibers in an expanding array of textures and
colors ... Blumenthal Lansing's inkjet fabric line attracted lots of
interest through the company's demonstrations.
Organizing craft supplies – especially paper crafting supplies
– seems to continue to increase in popularity. Scrapbook vendors
who entered the industry in a single category were introducing
additional related categories, including home storage and
fashionable poly-storage products.
We heard a lot of chatter about home party programs, with at
least five different programs being mentioned; it reminded us of the
HIA about four or five years ago when the hot topic was about
craft-related web sites. It will be interesting to watch if large
retailers embrace this trend – one benefit will be the additional
consumer education and research opportunities.
The House that Crafts Built returned for a second year with
new themes and color palette. This four-room display featured
designs from industry designers, with one of the highlights being a
larger-than-life snowman created by Dondi Richardson, the in-house
designer at FloraCraft. Seeing what designers can do with a few
craft supplies is inspiring – we hope this industry never loses
sight of the value and importance design plays in our industry.
Note: For previous columns written by Lynda and Tracia, click on
the titles in the right-hand column. Any comments or questions? Any
suggestions for topics for future columns? Email Lynda Musante,
Cardinal Brands, at firstname.lastname@example.org
and Tracia Williams, Tracia & Co., at email@example.com.