Five CHA Tips for Scrapbook Store Owners

January 20th, 2011

The paper crafting industry is gearing up for CHA 2011, the Craft and Hobby Association’s winter conference and trade show. This year, the event will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from Jan. 29 through Feb. 1.

CHA is a must for any serious scrapbook store owner. It is where companies unveil new lines of papers, embellishments and other scrapbooking essentials. Retailers can also get in on CHA-only discounts that won’t be available after the show.

New York Times Technology writer Nick Bliton will be the keynote speaker, on the topic of the impact of social media and technology on human behavior. There will also be business seminars on topics such as product development, creating web content, and social media.

The event can be overwhelming, especially for a first-time attendee, so planning is a must. Here are five tips for a successful CHA experience:

1. Budget, budget, budget. It’s easy to get carried away in the midst of cool, new product and great buy-now-pay-later deals. Know what you can afford to spend and stick to your plan, or else you may be freaking out later. Take some time before the show to peruse company blogs and preview new lines. Have a list of what you think you might be interested in, and finalize your choices once you see the products in person.

2. Wear comfortable shoes! You will be doing a lot of walking and standing.

3. Get your money’s worth. Go to workshops that interest you, especially when it will let you pick up on techniques you can use in your store’s classes or make and takes. Check out the business seminars, and don’t skip the keynote, especially this year, with a hot topic that can help your scrapbook store make money. While scrapbookers do have some unique characteristics, they still follow the key principles of consumer behavior, and it’s important to have a grasp on these concepts (including the impact of social media) as your business moves forward.

4. Network! You’re not on a one-person shopping spree here! This is your chance to make connections within the scrapbooking and retail industry that can go a long way toward building your business. Chat up company execs, successful shop owners, scrapbooking “celebrities” and everyone else. You never know when you’ll make a connection that will make a real difference. Plus, it’s nice to meet people!

5. Pay attention to the trends, even if you don’t like them. Your personal scrapbooking style is not as important as knowing what your customer likes and will spend money on. It’s smart to strike a balance between stocking classic products and the latest “big thing.”

CHA Winter Trade Show Tips

December 21st, 2009

Are you going to CHA? The Craft & Hobby Association puts on its extremely popular winter convention and trade show each January in Anaheim, California, near Disneyland. In 2010, the event is slated for Sunday, Jan. 24 through Wednesday, Jan. 27. (When you book a motel, ask for the “CHA discount.” There’s an “education program” for store owners looking to learn more about the products they sell, along with the latest techniques, but most scrapbook store owners go to CHA to check out all the new scrapbooking product lines and place orders – often with a CHA discount only available to stores that place orders at the show. (Here’s a tip: some manufacturers are willing to hold off on filling the order for a few weeks while still honoring the CHA price. This is great when you have limited funds or just want to stagger the new product you have coming in, rather than putting it all out at once.)

Host a Holiday Gift Workshop at Your Scrapbook Store

November 3rd, 2009

You’ve probably noticed that every winter, shoppers, even those who you don’t see around that much during the rest of the year, start frequenting your scrapbook store for supplies to make Christmas cards, mini albums and paper craft presents. How about catering to these handmade gift givers by offering ideas, sample projects and a place to work on them?

A holiday gift bazaar or workshop is a natural fit for a scrapbook store. Stampers, cardmakers and scrapbookers alike can get away from their busy, cluttered holiday-time homes and spend a few hours focusing on their special projects.

You could sell kits or simply set out completed projects for inspiration. Just a few ideas include: gift tins (Altoid size), altered advent calendars, calendars, birthday books and altered address or composition books.

The holidays are also a great time to introduce your customers to new products via a make-and-take. And, of course, consider offering a wish list program so friends and family can their scrapbooking friends exactly what they want.