Five CHA Tips for Scrapbook Store Owners

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.”

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