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Details on the Orlando Trade and Consumer Shows
An interview with CHA's Tony Lee, VP Meetings
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
CLN. Any advice for how retailer and manufacturer exhibitors can
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.