CHA: The Reality

If you don't work or follow the paper crafting industry, then you must wonder when those of us that do start throwing out acronyms like "CHA." No we are not practicing for "So You Think You Can Dance." CHA stands for the Craft & Hobby Association, which is a large community of manufacturers, buyers and designers who craft, or create craft products, or sell craft products which includes everything from knitting, to jewelry making, to scrapbooking, and more. Twice a year this community gets together for a tradeshow in which buyers interested in purchasing products from these types of craft manufacturers come and buy products for their stores.

It's a big deal. And people come from all over the world to attend. It takes a lot of work for a manufacturer to get ready for one of these shows, and the work typically starts for the next show right after we return from the current show.

Next week crafters, manufacturers, and buyers alike will converge in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the big summer show. As a designer and employee in the crafting industry, this has been at the forefront of my brain for some time.

So what exactly does what I do have to do with this big tradeshow?

I work as the Social Media Director and Marketing Coordinator for Echo Park Paper and Carta Bella Paper. In addition, I serve as an Editor and Designer/Design Team Lead for both companies. My duties in preparing for the show include:

* Editing all papers, stickers, catalogs, order forms, etc. for spelling errors
* Prepping our web guy for all the website design and promotion of the new products
* Creating build up on the company social media sites with sneak peeks, write-ups, etc.
* Providing Press Releases for any media outlets based on the new products
* Managing the Design Team's projects for the show
* Creating additional projects for the show
* Managing additional follow-up marketing materials for the new products

This often amounts to hundreds and hundreds of hours and my crunch time usually comes about two weeks before the show. It's exciting, exhausting, and rewarding to see all the hard work of the Designers and Design Department come to fruition.

But this is how my desk looks after two weeks of long days, and sleepless nights:

Because my job doesn't necessarily require me to be at the actual tradeshow and I wasn't interested in paying my own way to attend this show, I'm going to be using the days of the show next week to recover. I'll be sharing the full release of the Echo Park and Carta Bella paper collections on their corresponding blogs. I'll definitely be cleaning up my office. And I'll be preparing for a brand NEW Echo Park Paper/Carta Bella Paper idea book based on some of the projects created for the show. Based on what I've seen of the designers' projects, you are going to be blown away by their creativity.

You might be wondering how one attends these awesome tradeshows. To attend you must be either a buyer for a store, a manufacturer of a craft product, or a professional designer recognized by CHA. At this point, I'm planning on attending the show in January independently to network with my fellow designers and social media gurus. The January show will be held in California and is typically quite large in size, while the summer show tends to be a bit smaller.

In the meantime, I'm sharing a small sneak peek at one of the collections you can see at the show from Carta Bella Paper. This Halloween collection is one you're bound to love:

Now that you know more about what I do, it may help explain that look of stress on my face if you bump into me. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We're nearly at the finish line. And I'm so proud and grateful to be a part of an industry that makes beautiful things. I'm a lucky girl!


  1. I can't wait to see all the new stuff Jen ;) I'm sure everything that u created will be amazing - I was bummed to hear that CHA wasn't allowing the press in anymore ;(
    I typically go to local events hear and around Michigan on a press pass ... Oh well- I have been watching sneaks like crazy - enjoy resting

  2. I hope to see soon new EP collections.
    And it was interesting to read about how it works.

  3. I can imagine it's a crazy busy time for you. I'm loving both your sneak peeks! I'm dying to see more of what Echo Park has up their sleeve! :)

  4. Very interesting, thanks !
    Now, you need to take care of you and have some rest...

  5. I am looking forward to seeing the new products and what you do with them.

  6. Wow! You definitely don't have any time to get into trouble! I'm amazed that you aren't "brought" to CHA because of all you do. I would think it would be good PR to have you there for your companies. It sounds like it's exhausting all around, though, so probably better to just stay home and relax a tiny bit. Thanks so much for sharing about the process! Very enlightening!

  7. I can't even begin to imagine how crazy it has been for you the last few weeks in prepping for the show. I hope you are relaxing and recouping from all the deadlines. Excited to see what EP has this time around.


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