I took 398 photos today.
Including the very silly photo of Kim and me above.
The show opened at 9am this morning. We got our badges, our free CHA tote bags, grabbed our maps, and made it to our first appointment about fifteen minutes late. Retailers, who have relationships with salespeople, often like to make appointments rather than stand around the booth waiting for a salesperson to be free.
In case you don't know how the buying at CHA works, here's the breakdown (taken from this post I wrote after CHA-Winter):
Buying is a long, slow process that seems like it should be much more fun than it actually is. Let's break it down, step-by-step:
- You go into a booth that looks good or that you know you need to buy from.
- You find an available person to help you buy. This is often a very difficult step. Sometimes the booth is super busy and sometimes the salesperson is busy chatting you up instead of getting the business done.
- Once you find the salesperson, you ask about the show specials. Most booths offer some sort of special during the show. Sometimes it's a special price for a particular product. Sometimes it's a discount over a certain dollar amount (i.e., buy $500 and get 5% off). You also have to ask what the minimum is (most companies won't sell to you unless you purchase a minimum dollar amount of product) and then each product has a minimum (i.e. you have to buy six tubes of red paint at a time).
- You do math in your head and try to figure out if the show special works for you, whether you can meet the minimum, and if the product minimums are too high. This is all complicated by the fact that there are no prices listed anywhere. You have to ask about everything.
- You walk around with the salesperson while they either fill out a sales form for you, or scan UPC codes with a little machine. The little machines were cool, but they're slower than you'd think. The benefit, of course, is that you get a total really quickly and a very neat print out of your order. For the most part, I found that most of the salespeople were really fantastic and once they figured out your vibe, they were great about pointing out things you'd like and not hard selling the stuff you didn't like.
- The salesperson totals your bill and you pay.
- You get a receipt and walk on to the next booth.
At most booths, this process takes 30-60 minutes. There's always a fair amount of discussion and debate too. I tried to help Kim by being opinionated, but not pushy.
Our first appointment was with American Crafts.
And trendspotting-wise, glitter and bling were all over everything!
Our salesperson, Ikwo (pictured below on the left), plied us with sodas (at 9am no less)...
The very talented Judean, who runs the challenge site, The Creative Type, was also at the American Crafts booth. We had a brief conversation and I totally spaced on taking a photo with her. She has the most beautiful red hair!
After completing our order (and Kim did a genius thing - she has a stack of papers that have her name, contact info, shipping info, credit card info, tax ID, etc. so that she never has to fill out paperwork at any of the booths), we headed for our next destination.
Let me pause here to mention that we learned from our last CHA experience.
Last night, we sat down with a map of the show floor and a notebook. We made note of which booths we wanted to make it to, aisle by aisle. Then, we broke it down by which day (Tues, Wed, Thu) we wanted to make it there. Tuesday = Must Buy. Eager to see what's new. Wednesday = Must Buy. Thursday = Browsing. Maybe Buy. Basically, we made a game plan with a triage system.
So, we headed straight for Basic Grey. Last year we bought on the second day and they had run out of the "free gift" paper packs. Boy oh boy was Kim pissed off! She wanted to be sure to get there in time for the free paper. And we weren't the only ones....
Boy-oh-boy was their tiny booth crowded. It was difficult to navigate and getting a salesperson was a serious fight to the death. But, I've got to give those salesgirls credit because the ones I saw were all wearing heels!
I know it looks like sandals on the right, but those are serious wedges. And, yes, the floors are carpeted, but I wore sneakers all day and my feet hurt. More power to them.
While we were waiting around, we bumped into the very sweet and very talented Lucy Edson. We took a photo together in the Basic Grey booth, where she was shopping with A Million Memories. But, the photo is in her camera, so I'll have to wait for her to e-mail it to me! We also browsed the projects:
After twenty minutes or so, Kim managed to tackle a salesperson and we were off to buy! Warning, lots of pictures ahead....
There was lots of stuff to love at their booth, but I loved the fact that their chipboard was matte and not shiny. It sounds silly, but combined with the hand drawn effect of the graphics, it looks so darn cool!
I don't remember being able to buy old lines at last CHA, but that may have been an issue of inattention. Or it may be because things from last season didn't sell out like they used to due to the economy.
Since we had Coca-Cola for breakfast, by the time noon rolled around, we were more than ready for lunch. There were a collection of carts set up in a sort of dining pavilion. We had Chinese...
After lunch, we headed towards a vendor we found last year, Kodomo. We bought some of these adorable foam stamps:
I know I mentioned it last time I went to CHA, but it bears repeating. Men run the craft industry.
Women may be the face of many of the companies, but it's the men who are at CHA having meetings, making deals, and running the booths. And nowhere is it more obvious than at the big booths like Provo Craft and our next stop, Making Memories.
Crafting is big business. Just look at all those computers and printers! I *loved* so much of what Making Memories had to offer. So, I'm warning you, there are a thousand photos coming at you!
First things first, I loved that their booth had 6x6 layouts. They were so tiny and cute and really made the embellishments look fantastic!
If you wore your pink apron around, you could win a free Slice! I have to admit that I'm a bit of a Scrooge on that kind of stuff. I didn't wear one. Here's some Christmas...
After Making Memories, we were off to Ranger! The Ranger booth is always full of gorgeous projects!
As the day wore on, not unsurprisingly, we got faster. So, we breezed through Ranger and...
...headed to Cosmo Cricket. Yum. They've really changed their look from a kind of distressed, dark style to a bright and fun one. I love it! Our salesman explained that they felt in depressing economic times, people were craving some bright and fun papers in their lives! I couldn't agree more! Look at this year's Christmas collection...
We finished the day by shopping at Prima, Pink Paislee, Beacon Adhesives, and Advantus. But, it's almost 1am and I'm ready to go to bed. I'll be sure to put up the rest of my day one photos ASAP. (I can't wait to share my Prima projects! Eeek!)
But, before I go, some random ramblings:
- The show was really dark. As in there was no light anywhere. It was seriously dark. I've had to edit every single photo I took because they were so, so dark. I can't decide if it's because it's a new venue for CHA or what.
- The show is really small. About one third the size of the Anaheim show in January. And people complained at that show that it was small. The nice thing is that you don't have to walk for miles. The weird thing is how quiet it is. Like a library. There seem to be fewer "tourists." Everyone who is at CHA seems to be shopping, selling or reporting.
- Vintage, vintage, vintage. Almost every manufacturer seemed to have found their inner Jenni Bowlin. Distressed papers, vintage looking embellishments, etc.
- Hand drawn elements were everywhere too! In stamps, paper, embellishments, etc. That style (which I *adore*) was everywhere!
- The layouts seem very detailed/delicate this time around. Lots of smaller alphas being used. And many more "little touches" like tiny pearls, stitching, glittered edges, etc.
- Altered items were everywhere. Most booths had tons of houses, hats, boxes, trees, etc. I loved seeing things that were beyond the page!
Oh, and a bit of more good news! I had five layouts picked up by Scrapbooking&Beyond Magazine! Yay!