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My Experience as a First Timer at Creativation

If you remember reading I was heading out to Creativation, here is my wrap up from my first visit. I don't think it will be my last. Creativation is a trade show for the American Federation of Craft Industry. I met with a number of designers at a few evening gatherings. They are very supportive of the industry and each other. I attended a few sessions where I learned about the industry, the trade show its self, and a bit about Instagram.  I spent two and a half days walking the trade show floor, visiting booths, videotaping demonstrations, making make and takes to sample the products, and collecting contact information. And I walked A LOT! Looking back my time spent seems a bit sporadic, somewhat productive, and overall inspiring.

My first night I attended a dinner for designers at Mi Amigos. It was hosted by Carolina Moore and Angie Holden. They had reserved space for us to gather, eat, and craft with fun items donated by Plaid. I painted this cute flower pot, I think I need to add a succulent!

Other evening events I attended were Meet Me at the Show, and AFCI Networking Event. Both events were well attended and lots of swag were given. Somehow I was remiss in taking photos of the events. I guess I was a bit overwhelmed. 

Friday I was feeling under the weather and missed out on a few great sessions and another evening gathering. Thankfully, my hotel room was really nice and I was able to spend the day resting. 

My hotel room tour.

This display was one from We R Memory Keepers. I need to research it a bit more but you can create these neon looking signs as well as using other wire with their Happy Jig.

On the first day of the trade show floor, it was recommended to me to walk the entire floor first before stopping at booths. I started around the perimeter and made it a good way around to gain the feel for the event. My first stop was at the PMA Industries Inc. booth where I had seen an ad for their die cuts for jewelry making. They had a make and take, and I made these earrings. 

After visiting and chatting with PMA, I learned they were located in Arizona and were the manufacturers of most of the die cuts from several brands. They offered manufacturing of dies, stamps, and punched metals (as seen on the earrings). They were starting their own brand, hence the earrings. 

This was a fun booth with a painting make and take from Debbie Moore. She had a tea party set up with drinks and cakes along with the make and take. 

The following are videos I made while at the event. I felt at the time like I was constantly busy and documenting, but now that I am home, I feel like I missed so much. Seeing other's videos and photographs, there were some great things I missed altogether!

There were displays and awards for a group of new products presented at the show.

Tour the Gina K booth.

Tour of the very popular Lawn Fawn booth.

A very cool product from Bubbalux - I was impressed.

Some new tools from Fiskars.

I was really impressed with the Scan n Cut demonstration.

The award-winning Foil Quill from We R Memory Keepers.

Another demonstration I wanted to see, Gemini Foil Press.

Simon Says Stamp! swag.

A ton of make and takes from the first day on the trade show floor.

My first impression was that the show wasn't that crowded, but it made for easy navigating. Some booths that were popular were crowded and hard to visit. Those typically had big names doing demonstrations. I avoided those gatherings to be able to see and do a bit more. Besides, we can see them on TV and YouTube often.

The first day of the trade show floor being open I just wandered around and stopped as I desired, the second day I went with a list of booths to visit. This made for a more difficult day trying to navigate and locate booths. Once found, they were often busy or not exactly what I expected. 

While I didn't get any photos or video of the Velcro booth, I had a really nice conversation with their sales rep and learned that Velcro was developed from experience with burrs. That makes total sense. First used in the space industry, it has now become a general household name similar to Kleenex. A relatively new product, created in the 60s, definitely during my lifetime. While Velcro had been at Creativation in past years while the show was under a different name, they were welcomed back as first timers this year. 

The trade show is first and foremost an event for buyers, being a designer takes a back seat to conversations and connections. This is why my favorite events of the visit were the evening designer gatherings because of the ability to make connections with companies directly as well as the swag which feeds my website with materials to demonstrate and use. At the show I was happy to make connections with brands that I have worked with in the past like Style Tech Craft (really nice people) and Glue Dots

Having been my first time at Creativation I didn't know what to expect. With this in mind, I am happy with all that I accomplished. I now have a better understanding of the entire event which I feel will feed into attending again next year. I am hopeful over the next few months to make connections with brands I desire to work with. I need to sit down and prioritize my plans and make a ranked list of companies and products, and then get busy! 


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