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Mike's often irreverent, thought-provoking analysis of the industry-- with an occasional guest columnist.

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Details on the Orlando Trade and Consumer Shows

An interview with CHA's Tony Lee, VP Meetings & Exhibitions

Staff Report (May 4, 2009)

CLN: Why move the trade show to Orlando?

LEE: Growth is the simple answer. The CHA Summer Show developed from the old ACCI show which had been held in Rosemont for about 30 years. Despite greatly increasing the expenditure on promotion and introducing a number of new sections and programs, CHA has not seen any growth in the show over the past three years. We feel that moving the show to Orlando (the South), where the consumer craft spending is the highest in the country would be good for the show and the industry. We also expect show costs to be lower in Orlando for most of our members.

CLN: Why have a consumer show?

LEE: There are several consumer shows already in existence, but we saw the need for a consumer show that represents the entire craft industry and not just one particular product type or niche. CHA is not well known as an organization by the consumer and we felt that we needed to connect with the end user and to get their feedback more directly for our members. With manufacturers being able to exhibit but not sell for cash at the show, we believe we can not only get this important feedback but also educate the consumer about an entire industry as opposed to a single segment of the industry. Also, if by running a consumer show we can create a situation of cross-crafting where the knitter also takes up scrapbooking or the needle crafter starts art projects, we can increase the market for our members and the industry.

CLN: Who exactly can sell and who can't at the consumer show?

LEE. First of all, only CHA members can exhibit. Only CHA members with a retail membership can sell for cash at the Craft SuperShow. So if you have a CHA Retail membership, you can sell for cash at the SuperShow. CHA encourages manufacturers to work with retail partners that have a retail sales license to have them run their booths for them. Additionally, we have asked manufacturers to plan make-it/take-its and demos and to work with their retail partners also exhibiting at the SuperShow as opposed to doing cash sales.

To promote this CHA is offering a free 10x10 booth to any member company that does make-it/take-it demos at the SuperShow. We want to educate the consumer and allow the manufacturer to receive direct feedback from the consumer.

The large retail chains who are exhibiting Michaels, Jo-Ann, and A.C. Moore will not be selling products, but will be doing make-it/take-it projects.

CLN: What are the plans for 2010? Will there be consumer and trade shows in Orlando again?

LEE. Having made the move to Orlando, we would want to make it our permanent home for the near future rather than keep moving the show around. This, however, will depend on the success of the 2009 shows.

With that said, we have the option to stay in Orlando for 2010 or to move the shows to a different venue. As CHA has never run a consumer event we have nothing to compare it to. If successful, we would seriously consider another joint trade/consumer event in Orlando and maybe rolling out the consumer event at other venues across the country for even stronger partnerships with our members.

CLN: How are the numbers of trade and/or consumer show exhibitors shaping up?

For the Craft SuperShow we are extremely excited about the way the show is coming together. To date we have over 20,000 square feet of exhibitor booth space filled. We have already increased our target for booth space upwards from our original estimates and have received support from leading retailers that have each taken 40x50-foot booths and will be exhibiting. So we are confident this will be a successful debut event.

The CHA Summer Trade Show, like most of the trade show industry, is being affected by the economy and at this point we expect it will be smaller than last year. Just how much smaller is hard to tell at this point and will depend on movement toward a more positive economic outlook. We do anticipate some companies will be making their exhibiting decision later than normal.

CLN: Why should retailers outside the Orlando area care? What's in it for them?

LEE: Driving new customers and new sales are very important in this economy. So far two thirds of the companies that have signed up as exhibitors are retailers. Many retailers sell online so geographical location is not so important. We see any opportunity to meet face-to-face with eager consumers willing to spend money on craft supplies as a great opportunity in this or any economic environment.

Getting meaningful consumer feedback is also something we think is a huge positive for both retailers and manufacturers. The only companies who can sell product at the show to consumers will be retailers, so many are working with their manufacturers or distributors to run booths for them. Any one interested in partnering with an exhibiting manufacturer or retailers can sign up by going to www.craftsupershow.com. Again, only CHA members can exhibit.

CLN: What are your plans for promoting the Craft SuperShow?

The CHA Craft SuperShow is being promoted heavily within the Central Florida Area and within a three-hour drive of Orlando as well as electronically with media partners around the country. CHA has secured a statewide proclamation from the Governor's office proclaiming a special craft week over July 27-Aug. 1.

To drive local Florida consumers to the SuperShow, CHA will be partnering with almost 60 local and online retailers providing them with special in-store displays, web-signage, and special discount codes. CHA will be distributing over 250,000 discount coupon flyers to consumers as well as with online retailers (including large retail chains such as AC Moore, Jo-Ann's, and Michaels) within Orlando and surrounding area.

CHA will be running an eight-week billboard campaign prior to the SuperShow. We've selected high profile billboards on Orlando's major highways I-4 (North/South) and on 408 (East/West). We will also be running a four-week outdoor poster campaign (billboards located in residential areas) prior to the show. Two weeks prior to the show CHA will be running a two-week high frequency on-air campaign with local radio stations WMMO (Soft Rock) and K92 (Country). This radio promotion also includes an online presence and additional promotion at other local community events like concerts and wine festivals.

CHA is also partnering with members to help get the word out including Splitcoaststampers.com, a web based community for paper crafters that will be promoting the show to its more than 215,000 members. DRG Publications is also promoting the show on their websites which include FreePatterns.com, CardMakerMagazine.com, and QuiltersWorld.com, as well as inclusion in their e-newsletters going to more than 1,000,000 consumers.

CHA is also getting the word out using Social Media vehicles including YouTube, Facebook and blogs. From a publicity perspective, CHA will be working with crafting celebrities like Terri O, Donna Dewberry, and Jo Pearson to get the word out to national, regional, and local media outlets as well as hosting local crafting events leading up to the Show.

Additionally, CHA is developing a national in-store retail program for CHA members who will not be able to attend the SuperShow. CHA will provide retailers with the tools necessary to run their own mini-Craft SuperShow events at their locations and drive traffic into their own stores.

CLN: Any special events for the trade show?

LEE: There are a few hot items we can address for the Summer Show, including a general evening session on the Future of Crafts featuring a panel of iconic celebrity crafters like Donna Dewberry, Carol Duvall, Kathy Cano-Murillo, Vickie Howell, and others that will be moderated by CHA's own Terri O. This is scheduled as a premier event at the CHA Summer Trade Show, Tuesday, July 28, 5:30- 7: 00 pm. The CHA 2009 Summer Show Awards will also be presented at this event.

Based on comments from the CHA PR Task Force, CHA is pulling together a PR session at the Summer Show called "PR for Manufacturers" (and retailers). It will be a panel discussion for retailers and manufacturers trying to address some of the various concerns specific to industry public relations efforts. It will be Tues., July 28, 12 noon to 1 pm. The panel will feature CLN's Mike Hartnett; representatives from CHA's Trade PR agency, H+A International; CHA's SuperShow Marketing agency Patterson/Bach; members of the international craft trade media; and industry marketing gurus who can provide some insight on how they get media coverage.

CHA Night at Epcot! Starting with motorcoach transportation from the Orange County Convention Center at 5:00 pm, Wed., July 29, attendees will be escorted to Epcot's main entrance. Attendees can celebrate the fascinating cultures and numerous wonders of the world around you. A buffet dinner will be served. Following which attendees can explore the Epcot promenade. The night wraps up with a nighttime spectacular, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, a show over World Showcase lagoon that combines video technology, water fountains, lasers, special lighting effects, and pyrotechnics, all programmed to an original musical score. For more information go to http://www.disneyurl.com/CraftandHobby.

CLN: Special events for the consumer show?

LEE: There will be fun and excitement for everyone at the CHA Craft SuperShow. Mary Engelbreit will be speaking on Saturday, August 1 about her inspirational tale of success and dedication to her creative passion. Plus, she'll also be signing attendees' favorite books or product. CHA Spokesperson, Terri O will be holding free hands-on, open sessions three times a day where consumers will learn some of the hottest craft techniques and walk away with incredible finished craft projects. CHA has also partnered with Marisa Pawelko to host the fun and exciting, America's Next Top Crafter a fast-paced crafting challenge involving audience participation that will leave attendees with lots of prizes and the inspiration they need to do more crafting. There will also be an entire space dedicated to Kids Crafting with make-it/take-its and fun surprises, as well as a theater stage for demos, fashion shows, give-a-ways, etc.

CLN. Any advice for how retailer and manufacturer exhibitors can work together?

LEE. Many retailers are working with their manufacturers to run booths for them. Retailers interested in doing this might contact their manufacturer partners directly and ask them if they are going to be exhibiting at the Craft SuperShow.

Additionally, retailer and manufacturers should check out the Craft SuperShow website (www.craftsupershow.com). There is a Matchmaking Program tab that lists all of retail exhibitors willing to partner with manufacturers. Any CHA member interested in partnering with an exhibiting manufacturer or retailer can sign up by going to www.craftsupershow.com.



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