For the first time, the Craft & Hobby Association is opening up its Winter Conference & Trade Show to exhibitors who are not members of the organization.
The strategy behind the decision, according to CHA officials, is to be aligned with the show’s renewed focus on the power of building a creative community and commitment to serving the entire industry.
By allowing nonmembers to exhibit at the show, Jan. 29-Feb. 1 at the Anaheim Convention Center, CHA is inviting the entire industry to participate in and experience the craft and hobby community first-hand and participate in the hobby industry’s largest event of the year.
"A challenging economy and increasing competition both domestically and internationally have caused many organizations to pull back and focus on their core business function," said Tony Lee, acting president and CEO of CHA.
He added, "The risk in this mindset is the missed opportunities to open and diversify the craft industry. By focusing on inclusion, CHA believes we can share the benefits of the Show with the broader crafting community and as a result the entire industry, CHA and our members will all benefit."
Last year, the winter show was revamped in several ways to boost attendee and exhibitor attendance, including a flat fee to attend events instead of paying ala carte.
The event also was held in the city of Los Angeles for the first time in its 70-year history before it switched back to its long-time home in Anaheim for this year’s event.
This 2012 show will debut new features, including a new experts program, a matchmaking program and an appointment-scheduling tool.
In addition, the show will utilize the latest technology to support a new exhibitor invitation program that makes inviting the right buyers easy using smart phone applications.
To shine more of a light on its educational offerings, the association changed the name of the show last year from the CHA Convention & Trade Show to the CHA Conference & Trade Show.
This year’s conference begins Jan. 28 and will offer sessions for the crafting community to develop new skills, gain knowledge and share best practices and lessons learned with other attendees through workshops, seminars, demo-nars and special events, according to show officials.
Last year’s winter show saw tremendous growth in the number of exhibitors and showfloor space and, as a result of changes made to spur the increases it is nominated for the inaugural TSNN “Best of Show” award. The winner of this award will be announced during the 2nd Annual TSNN Event Excellence Awards Nov. 4-6 in Washington, D.C.