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Thousands of manufacturers, retailers, distributors, designers and bloggers experienced innovation, networking, and high-quality education at Creativation, the Association For Creative Industries’ (AFCI), formerly the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), rebranded, city-themed trade event. Recognized as the premier conference and trade show for the global creative arts products industries, Creativation took place January 19-23, 2017 at the Phoenix Convention Center, its first year in Arizona’s capital city. Creativation featured 338 exhibitors and over 3000 attendees from 54 countries.
“There has been incredible buzz and energy since we stepped foot in Phoenix,” says Mark Hill, AFCI President & CEO, “It was incredible to see everything the AFCI staff worked on for 14 months come to life, and to watch our attendees and exhibitors respond so positively to it and enjoy the show.”
Creativation introduced new areas that highlighted social learning, emerging product categories, and the global marketplace. One of the most popular attractions was the Art Studio, where attendees tried their hand at action-style painting in the Splatter Room, sponsored by 3M, DecoArt and Pinspiration. Other highly-trafficked booths were the Hachette International Pub, where attendees networked and sampled craft beers after visiting companies in the International Pavilion; Satin Ice Edible Arts Shoppe, which introduced professionals to edible arts products and projects; Maker Space, where CREATE at the Arizona Science Center and several show sponsors taught about technology and traditional crafts, like 3D printers, woodworking and sewing tools; and Innovations Center, which showcased interactive displays of 25 groundbreaking ideas, techniques and products.
The Ultimate Pitch, another highly anticipated event, put a spotlight on participants in the Innovations Center and gave five entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their product for a chance to win $10,000. Armando and Alfredo Ulloa, the brother duo from Dallas, Texas, won the grand prize for their innovation, Let’s Hang, a tool that helps you hang frames and pictures level and precise. The four runners-up were: Tara Sturm for The Craft Tree Crafting App; Teresa Griffin for HotFix® Fabric; Dee Farrell and Wayne Rothschild of Neat-Oh! International for Link™ Craft Kits; and Julie Haymaker Thompson for Shrink It Plastic Bead Molds. The judging panel was made up of executives from Michaels, Jo-Ann Stores, HSN, 3M and Crayola.
Tanya Memme, the award-winning actress, former Miss World Canada, and the host/producer of the Emmy-nominated TV shows “Sell This House” and “Sell This House EXTREME” on A&E, emceed The Ultimate Pitch.Other celebrities who attended Creativation included Valerie Mayen, Project Runway Season 8 Alum; David Tutera, celebrity wedding planner, designer, author and WE television host; and Vanna White, American television personality and the hostess of Wheel of Fortune.
Creativation University, the conference portion of the event, had 150 workshops, seminars and product demonstrations. The educational programs provided knowledge and training for popular products and techniques, including sewing, fabric painting, edible arts, and home décor, as well as best practices for blogging, branding, digital marketing, ecommerce and social media.
The keynote presentation unveiled the findings of the 2016 Creative Products Size of the Industry Study. Presented by MaritzCX, the keynote shared the size of the creative products opportunity at over $43 billion, plus other critical data on crafters that can help companies make critical business decisions. The full research report was published on AFCI’s website on February 1, which is available to AFCI members for free and to other interested parties for a fee.
“With our event rebranding, we approached this first year knowing we had to provide enhanced value and experience – and we believe we delivered on that,” says Andria LaJeunesse, CEM, Vice President, Events and Education. “We expect the buzz to continue and to see growth in 2018.”
2018 Creativation will take place January 18-22; education will begin on January 18 and the trade show will open January 20-22. The event will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center through 2019. Companies interested in exhibiting should contact Nadine Schwartz, Director of Sales & Sponsorships, at (201) 835-1203 or nschwartz@afci.global, or Julie Wagner, Sales Representative, at (201) 835-1232 or jwagner@afci.global. For information about attending and more, visit www.creativationshow.org.
The Association For Creative Industries (AFCI), formerly known as the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), is the premier trade association for the global creative arts products industries. AFCI strives to deliver innovative high value services as we support our Members who provide products and services to educate, entertain, and inspire creative consumers. Our Members include the manufacturers, retailers, distributors, designers, educators, digital content providers, professional makers and DIYers, and other creative professionals that comprise the $40 billion+ creative arts industries around the globe. For more information about AFCI, membership, or its annual Creativation trade event, visit www.afci.global.