As I fought off the sleepies at LAX yesterday while waiting for my plane to board, I started a list of things that really stuck in my mind from CHA. I'm convinced that it's impossible to see everything on the floor even if one has a strict schedule and route, but half the fun is building in some wandering time anyway. I like lists of ten, so I worked on my list until I had ten items on it and then I took a little nap. I'm not too proud to sleep in public. : )
Without further delay, here is my list.
1. Hello, Pennant Banners.
I love pennant banners, so it was especially serendipitous that I saw approximately 8 billion of them at the show. OK, OK, so maybe not that many, but it was exciting all the same.
October Afternoon, Making Memories, The Girls' Paperie, American Crafts, AdornIt, Jenni Bowlin, Studio Calico, Canvas Home Basics, Maya Road, Karen Foster, We R Memory KeepersThis is just a sampling. Is there a meeting where everyone gets together and decides this kind of thing?
2. Ohayo Gozaimasu, Nihon. (Read: Good morning, Japan.)
Japanese cute has reached the CHA floor. Are you familiar with the zakka movement? Part of its charm can be found in things that are two parts cute and one part kitsch. A good example of what I'm talking about can be found in the book Cute Stuff by Aranzi Aronzo. Or, in some of these photos.
3. Tools, Reinvented.
The show had a back-to-basics feel to me in a lot of ways, but not in a boring, humdrum kind of way. More in a "what can we do to stretch the functionality of x product or make it more exciting again" kind of way. One such example we found of this? The many new punches offered by EK Success. Just when you thought you'd figured out all the ways to punch paper, they've figured out some more.
4. Tools, Improved.
Another trend we noticed was to take existing tools and make them better. (Well, maybe this isn't really a trend as much as normal business practice. But you know what I meant.) The most noticeable example of this was the new and improved hands free Slice cutting system by Making Memories.
This giant mobile was made with a Slice. I have visions of someone at Making Memories being chained to a desk while they sliced all these butterflies. I have a very active imagination. : )
5. Fabric For All
A number of scrapbooking companies (Basic Grey and Cosmo Cricket are the first to come to mind) are turning their delightful patterned papers into licensed fabric lines these days. We saw evidence that this isn't the only crossover on the horizon between the worlds of People Who Use Paper and People Who Use Fabric. Fabric was everywhere we looked—and we liked it.
6. The Influence of Etsy
There were a few instances where I had the glorious feeling that if I closed my eyes for a minute and opened them up again, I'd be standing inside an Etsy shop. Companies are paying attention to the handmade movement and bringing elements of it to the scrapbooking world. EK Success seems to have really tapped into this phenomena (doesn't hurt to have Martha on your team) but there were other places that are seamlessly bridging the two worlds.
7. Staying Home
If I hear one more person start a sentence with "In the current economy" my head might explode. But in this instance, there's only one way to say it: In the current economy, people are staying home more. I saw a handful of travel lines (Making Memories always does this well) but there were far more new products devoted to or inspired by the time we spend at home. Interesting to see how current events shows up in chipboard and stickers.
Cosmo Cricket, Little Yellow Bicycle, a laundry decor sign from AdornIt Carolee's Creations (Marnie is trying to look stern about the laundry rules, not mad that I was taking her picture), EK Success, and a little more AdornIt.
8. Made in the U.S.A.
This was completely an after-the-fact observation, but I had three very interesting conversations with people about how their companies manufacture their products in the U.S. I don't know if this is a trend or not, but it was fun to learn more.
I had a great time chatting with company co-owner Ewunike Jackson and design team member Simone Pursiful of Clear & Simple Stamps. Their stamps are manufactured in the U.S. out of clear photopolymer, and they offer a huge product line. They're a relatively new and small company, but definitely one to watch. Another made-in-the-U.S.A. outfit is AdornIt Carolee's Creations; that's me with my fellow Big Picture Scrapbooking teacher Georgana Hall, the president of the company. It's a family operation—even Georgana's dad is involved; he cut the beautiful metal scrollwork that graced their booth. Finally, I learned from Studio Calico co-owner Greg Foster that their new lines of paper are printed down the road from their office.
9. Haiti's Presence
It was heartening to see people wearing Craft Hope for Haiti logos on their nametags and lapels, and even more so when we learned that Lark Books is currently editing a book about the organization Craft Hope and was able to rush a chapter about the efforts to help Haiti through their special Etsy store (which, by the way, has raised over $27,000 since the earthquake to donate to Doctors Without Borders).
We also spotted a sign at the booth of My Little Shoebox that pledged a donation of every order placed at CHA. Every little bit helps!
10. Friendly Faces and Friendly Atmosphere
Tina, Marnie and I really noticed a friendly atmosphere present at the show this year. Scrapbooking—and hobbies in general—have been shaken up a bit in the past year or two, but we saw example after example of good, solid customer service and old-fashioned friendliness. The people who love scrapbooking and aren't in it just for the money (though of course the money is important, too) are landing on their feet with a thousand ideas of how to continue introducing innovation and injecting creativity into everything they offer. That's the best trend of all, don't you think?
Stay tuned tomorrow for Marnie's wrap-up! Thanks for reading this week.