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Craft and Hobby Blog


Thousands of creative products buyers from chain and independent retailers, and distributors attended the 75th Anniversary of the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) MEGA Conference & Trade Show. The Show took place  January 7-12, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.  This annual event, which is the largest marketplace for the creative products industry in North America, had more than 370 exhibitors, 67 countries represented, and 12,000 new products on the exhibit trade show floor.

            “This year’s CHA MEGA Show succeeded in bringing the entire creative products industry together to learn, connect and discover new trends, innovations and ideas that will help their businesses grow and provide their customers with the right products, techniques and materials to express themselves creatively,” said Mark Hill, the newly announced President & CEO of the Craft & Hobby Association.

            The CHA MEGA Show was a hotbed for what is trending in the industry, kicking off with a Keynote Address by international forecaster, Philip Fimmano of Trend Union/Edelkoort. To a standing room only crowd, he shared eight archetypes of a consumer and also provided insights into the mindset of millennials, who are seeking out handmade products and hands-on hobbies.  “They want more and more customization on what they buy and input in the making process,” said Mr. Fimmano.

            CHA’s Designer Committee also presented a showcase representing what is currently “Trending Now” with 3D portfolio displays of current trends in colors and motifs, handcrafted home décor, renegade crafts, jewelry art and more.  Other Show floor destinations included the New Exhibitor area, with more than 100 companies participating, including some first-time toy, kid crafts, papers, and paint manufacturers.

            A group of companies from the Netherlands were a draw with their booths in the Dutch Pavilion, which embodied the charm of the area, as well as the Art & Paint Pavilion, sponsored by the Society of Decorative Painters, which included hands-on make-n-take painting classes for attendees. 

            Celebrities who love to craft and social media stars including Vanna White, Sondra Celli of TLC’s “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding”, Amy Tan, Julie Fei Fan Balzer, Rebekah Meier, Julie Comstock, Mark Montano, Allison Gharst and Kellie Dooley, Tim Holtz, Katie Sabin, and Sizzix’s surprise guest David Tutera, drew crowds to exhibitor booths and led live demonstrations of new creative art trends and techniques.

            As the creative classroom of the industry, the Conference Program was well attended. There were 213 total educational programs, of which 51 were sold out. The Conference included workshops, business seminars, and demos that provided on-point knowledge and a sensory education for craft retailers, distributors, creative professionals and designers, to help grow their businesses and strengthen their skills.                   

The CHA Hot Product Showcase, a Show highlight, featured 21 Hot Product finalists in eight categories along with new-to-market innovations from exhibitors.  The winners of the Hot Product Awards, were announced at the CHA Foundation Gala on Sunday, January 10.  The winners represented an array of products that will appeal to experienced crafters as well as those just learning a new craft or DIY skill. Click here to view the 2016 CHA Hot Product Awards winners by category.

            More than 400 people attended the CHA Foundation Gala, benefitting the Kids In Need Foundation (KINF), and watched presentations for Exhibiting with Excellence Awards, 2016 CHA Hall of Fame inductees, and Industry Recognition Awards for service and philanthropy.

            “I had an amazingly wonderful time at the CHA MEGA Show! It was my first time attending and I hope there will be many more in my future to spark creativity and excitement!” said Pat Kato, Paper Made Bakery  

            In 2017, the CHA MEGA Show is moving to the Phoenix Convention Center, in Phoenix, Arizona, and will take place January 19-23, 2017.  A State of the Industry Report and other major research findings will be unveiled at the 2017 event, along with many other new features!  For more information visit www.craftandhobby.org or www.chamegashow.org.  For exhibiting information contact: Nadine Schwartz at nschwartz@craftandhobby.org for U.S, inquiries, and Andrew Morton at amorton@craftandhobby.org for international inquiries.