There's a lot of fuss around the internet this time of year. People are
all a-buzz about CHA (pronounced C.H.A, never cha) and you might be
wondering what is CHA, and why should I care?
CHA is the Craft and Hobby Association - it's a craft industry trade association made up of both suppliers and buyers. CHA's members include manufacturers, publishers, wholesale distributors, service providers, retail stores, institutional buyers, professional crafters, designers, teacher/educators manufacturer representatives - note: these are all people related to the craft industry. CHA hosts a convention and trade show twice a year. The 2010 Summer show is being held this week in Rosemont, IL. There's two parts to the show - the trade show for CHA members (people involved in the industry) and the super show which is geared towards the general public. This is the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center where the show is this summer.
The convention and trade show has an education program as well as the manufacturer exhibition portion which is the part most people have heard about. The trade show is where manufacturers showcase their latest and greatest products. Buyers from retail stores and kit clubs can see the merchandise before they place orders, they can often do make and takes and bring home samples. Unfortunately, it's mostly for looking and you'll have to wait in order to bring product home with you.
We are Paula and Emily, or Emily and Paula, if you want to be in order of our pictures up there, and we are at the show this week and will be blogging from Chicago to give you an insider's view. We have our new video camera (hopefully we can figure out how to upload video...), and will be showing you different aspects of the show. We won't be covering specific products, more the gist of the show, so you feel like you're there. We arranged with some of the exhibitors to show you some of the booth set up - a little preview of what goes into putting on this show. Today the convention center is a crazy mess. The exhibitors are opening up crates and setting up displays. The floors are covered with cardboard and plastic wrap. There are fork lifts driving up and down the aisles. That's a little of what we'll show you tomorrow. Then Wednesday we'll show you the finished product. The transformation is truly amazing.
You might be wondering how we get into the trade show if it's not open to the public. Paula's going to be doing some reporting for The Scrap Review, she also works for Jillibean Soup and Coredinations Cardstock. Some manufacturers will use their designers to help out at the show. Some don't. It just depends. Emily is working for Studio Calico, doing make and takes to demonstrate some of their new products this show. She's also wearing her editor hat and looking for trends for Scrapbook and Cards Today.
So come with us as we spend the next four days in Chicago, kids in a candy store. We welcome any questions you might have for us to explore at the show.