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The industry as seen by top designers.

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Designers Help Grow Your Business...

... in more ways than you can imagine.

by Katie Hacker (January 7, 2013)

(Note: Katie is a member of the CHA Designer Section Council. She is a designer, author, and host of the PBS TV series, Beads, Baubles & Jewels.)

Does your company make a special whats-it? Designers can help you sell it. Designers are creative professionals who are bridges between manufacturers and consumers. We speak the language of both parties and have a unique understanding of their needs. 

Mike Shields, VP of Sales & Marketing for Beadalon says, "Our designers provide a face for Beadalon and they act as spokespeople for our brand. They teach consumers about our products, our company, and how to transform our thousands of parts into finished jewelry."

While some companies have in-house designers who are employees, many craft industry businesses partner with freelance designers. According to the Craft & Hobby Association, designers must meet at least four of the following criteria for membership:

Company Check Work contract for services or licensing agreement Written recommendation from current CHA supplier members Proof of product design and development or design portfolio Sole authorship of a published book, 16-page minimum Proof of three published designs in any of the following media: a multi-author book, brochure, catalog, magazine, website, video, or manufacturer's advertisement or project sheet.

Designer Molly Schaller says, "As the lead designer for Halcraft USA's design team, I see the benefits of the designer/manufacturer partnership firsthand. The manufacturer receives high-quality, innovative designs from top designers in the field who are excited about the opportunity to use the newest materials before they hit the shelves and are available to the general public. Designers often also share their excitement about the new products in their online and social media outlets, such as blogs, Pinterest, and Facebook, which assert a strong influence on the crafting community.  

Another part of the designer/manufacturer relationship is the benefit that manufacturers gain from receiving feedback from designers at an early point in the design/development/marketing process. If a designer finds a secondary use for the product -- as would be common in the craft industry with its many facets and micro markets -- or sees a possible alteration to the product to make it more functional, the product can be developed, altered, and marketed as needed in a streamlined manner.

Having a strong relationship with designers also gives a manufacturer an edge in anticipating future design trends. The best designers stay up-to-date with, and ahead of, color and style trends by going to trade shows, doing a variety of research, and developing their own aesthetics within their chosen media, and will consult with a manufacturer, enabling that manufacturer to provide product to public at the time it is in demand.

Here are just a few of the services that designers provide for manufacturers: Trend forecasting/reporting Product development/research Writing books/magazine articles Public relations Design press kits and on-camera presentations Design projects for print, online media Blogging Consumer outreach Teaching Social networking Coordinating designer contributions Product reviews and consulting Securing editorial placement Ad campaign consulting. 

Diane Newman from Beacon Adhesives says, "Designers create unique projects using our wide range of craft glues and often will generate new and exciting applications that we never imagined for a particular product. Their creative input has been invaluable in both marketing existing products as well as inspiring Beacon to develop even more innovative adhesives."

CHA Designer-Manufacturer Events

Manufacturers who are planning to attend the upcoming CHA Conference & Trade Show should make plans to attend the following events which are designed to connect them with designers who will help them grow their business:

Friday 8-10 am: Roundtables

Friday 12-1 pm: Design Teams Panel Discussion

Friday 5-7 pm: Designer Product Sneak Peek

All Days: License & Design Section and Designer Showcase on the show floor 

For more information about the show visit www.craftandhobby.org.



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