The industry as seen by top designers.
CHA's Inspiration and Design Faire
Designer-exhibitors faired well at CHA's newest
by Shea Szachare (March 7, 2005)
The CHA Atlanta show certainly was, as Ed Sullivan used to say,
"A really big (shoe) show" in many ways. I own a pedometer
and on one day it registered more than nine miles walking the show
floor. Iím not sure the exact distance between the last booth row
in Hall A to the last booth row in Hall B, but I never reached both
in a single day.
In between the two was a virtual ocean of products to be seen,
admired, and in most instances, touched. Just as there is no book or
video that can compare to one-on-one instruction with a real
teacher, there is no photo or virtual tour that can bring you the
true essence of a show of this caliber. Never full, the aisles were
wide and with so large a show they remained easy to traverse, yet
almost every booth appeared to be filled with attendees. The Inspiration
and Design Faire could have been lost tucked away in two short
aisles in Hall A, but Iím happy to report it was not.
The Scrapbooking and Paper Crafts category was large enough to
cover expansive areas in both halls. Compared to the first time
appearance of the Inspiration & Design Faire it was a
Goliath. Still, I found after interviewing many of the participants
in the Faire that all were pleased with the results of their
showing and said they would be returning next year.
If itís true that there is power in numbers, then the Creative
Spirit Cafť is a powerhouse
in the design area. A highly talented group of seven designers (all
members of the Society of Creative Designers) has come together in a
collaborative effort to offer a total design package to
manufacturers, retailers, editors, and publishers. Karen Booy,
spokesperson for the group, is a consultant, coach, and designer who
acts as liaison. Once the needs of the client are determined, it is
her job to unite them with the designers who are the right fit. Each
designer maintains her own business while still being a part of the
Cafť. This creative think tank
includes some of the most successful designers in the industry such
as Marie Browning, Cheryl Frase, Cindy Gorder, Debba Haupert, Jill
MacKay, and Debra Quartermain. With one call the client has access
to a smorgasbord of creative solutions. Visit www.creativespiritcafe.com
or contact Karen Booy by calling 604-820-8431 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcella Hayes Muhammad, a visual fine artist, showed outstanding
African-American designs, many of which were already being licensed.
She and her sister felt they had found an entirely new market for
her work and were very pleased with the business they developed.
or email email@example.com.
Lynne Farris of Lynne Farris Designs, a fabric artist from
Atlanta and an established licensing designer, was very pleased with
her first outing in this area. Traffic was not as heavy as she had
hoped for but as she said, "All that is needed is one or two of
the right people" and luckily she had them stop by. See Lynne's
unique fabric sculptures at www.lynnefarris.com;
email Lynne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lina Hoffman of Lina Hoffman Art Studio had a grape-themed
booth inspired by Tuscany. She was apprehensive in the beginning but
quickly found clients from both retailing and manufacturing who were
very interested in her use of texture paste in her designs. She
definitely will return next year.
Marty Segelbaum of MHS Licensing, displayed posters with
some of the work his company has licensed for artists. He was most
helpful in responding to the questions of many of the designers who
were being exposed to the licensing concept for the first time. It
was evident that in the world of licensing a single design cannot
stand alone. Each must be accompanied by several related versions
including close-ups, borders, etc. Marty can be reached at email@example.com
The only negatives I heard were in regards to signage, marketing,
and promoting the Inspiration & Design Faire itself. Once
this issue was brought to their attention, the CHA staff did their
best to add additional signage and promised to do much more in all
of these areas for 2006.
(Note: Shea Szachara is an award winning consultant,
author, educator, and designer who has been involved in the Creative
Industries for more than 25 years. As a speaker and consultant she
has recently launched a new business, Options-Plus. She is an
active member in all of the major trade organizations and has served
in numerous committee positions. She is currently a member of the
Board of Trustees for the Decorative Arts Collection and Museum.
Shea may be reached at 607-722-5518 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
A Designer's First-Hand Report.
Once upon a time there was a stay-at-home mom from Iowa with a
dream. For five years she had been teaching art one day a week,
teaching for community art programs, and teaching at a local
scrapbook store. Due to a recent family move, she had more time on
her hands and decided to start researching and creating art
specifically for the scrapbook market. She found information through
an online message board, started painting every spare moment, and
developed an online friendship with an artist already working in the
She took her portfolio to an ACCI and showed it to a handful of
companies, but nothing materialized. Rather than giving up, she
decided to try harder, paint more, develop a logo, and try again. A
scrapbook message board friend suggested this "new thing"
Ė the Inspiration and Design Faire at CHA in Atlanta. This
would be the riskiest artistic move of her life, but her husband
said, "Now is the time."
So she faxed her information off to CHA, purchased a plane
ticket, found traveling friends, and reserved four nights at the
Super 8. She set up a small tabletop display and started to hand out
her business cards, brochures, and compact discs of her designs.
Local scrapbook stores, magazine editors, and paper manufacturers
started walking by her booth. Soon book publishers, fellow
designers, and tv show producers were trading business cards with
her. Her list of prospective companies grew. Soon she was walking
from booth to booth with a full schedule of people to talk to.
The Inspiration and Design Faire has vaulted this
housewife from Iowa with a college degree in Elementary Education
and Art into a huge new world she has never dreamed could become her
reality. Her dream of seeing her artwork on a sheet of paper in a
scrapbook store has grown bigger than she imagined possible. She
doesnít know what the future will hold, but the possibilities of a
"happily ever after" are now becoming realities. Ė
Melynda Van Zee, Scrapbook with Passion (email@example.com)
(Note: To read previous Designing Perspectives columns,
click on the titles in the right-hand column.)