Jul 28, 2009

CHA!

I'm at CHA helping my friend Kim (who own an LSS) shop. This is what I posted on my own blog and I wanted to share it here too!

Julie-kim

I took 398 photos today.

398.

Including the very silly photo of Kim and me above.

The show opened at 9am this morning. We got our badges, our free CHA tote bags, grabbed our maps, and made it to our first appointment about fifteen minutes late. Retailers, who have relationships with salespeople, often like to make appointments rather than stand around the booth waiting for a salesperson to be free.

In case you don't know how the buying at CHA works, here's the breakdown (taken from this post I wrote after CHA-Winter):

Buying is a long, slow process that seems like it should be much more fun than it actually is. Let's break it down, step-by-step:

  1. You go into a booth that looks good or that you know you need to buy from.

  2. You find an available person to help you buy. This is often a very
    difficult step. Sometimes the booth is super busy and sometimes the
    salesperson is busy chatting you up instead of getting the business
    done.

  3. Once you find the salesperson, you ask about the show specials.
    Most booths offer some sort of special during the show. Sometimes it's
    a special price for a particular product. Sometimes it's a discount
    over a certain dollar amount (i.e., buy $500 and get 5% off). You also
    have to ask what the minimum is (most companies won't sell to you
    unless you purchase a minimum dollar amount of product) and then each
    product has a minimum (i.e. you have to buy six tubes of red paint at a
    time).

  4. You do math in your head and try to figure out if the show special
    works for you, whether you can meet the minimum, and if the product
    minimums are too high. This is all complicated by the fact that there
    are no prices listed anywhere. You have to ask about everything.

  5. You walk around with the salesperson while they either fill out a
    sales form for you, or scan UPC codes with a little machine. The
    little machines were cool, but they're slower than you'd think. The
    benefit, of course, is that you get a total really quickly and a very
    neat print out of your order. For the most part, I found that most of
    the salespeople were really fantastic and once they figured out your
    vibe, they were great about pointing out things you'd like and not hard
    selling the stuff you didn't like.

  6. The salesperson totals your bill and you pay.

  7. You get a receipt and walk on to the next booth.

At most booths, this process takes 30-60 minutes. There's always a fair amount of discussion and debate too. I tried to help Kim by being opinionated, but not pushy.

Our first appointment was with American Crafts.

Lettermanthickers

Thickers, Thickers, and more Thickers, baby! They had some new fonts and new finishes, but my favorites were the new smaller size Thickers. I'm kind of over big huge letters, I have to say.

Glitterthickers

And trendspotting-wise, glitter and bling were all over everything!

AC-Halloween

AC-JeweledBrads

Our salesperson, Ikwo (pictured below on the left), plied us with sodas (at 9am no less)...

Kim-Ikwo

...but the sugar worked and we spent almost two hours in the booth buying albums, cardstock, buttons, and endless Thickers. Found these cute stickers too....

Brightlightsbigcity

But, the biggest find of the day was a white gel pen that seriously rivals the Uniball Signo, my absolute go-to white pen. The Uniball Signo is hard to find, so this is *huge*!!!!

AC-Pens

The American Crafts white gel pen is milky, really juicy, and totally opaque. I was thrilled! Kim ordered a bunch, so I'm excited to have them land in Manhattan very, very soon!

The very talented Judean, who runs the challenge site, The Creative Type, was also at the American Crafts booth. We had a brief conversation and I totally spaced on taking a photo with her. She has the most beautiful red hair!

After completing our order (and Kim did a genius thing - she has a stack of papers that have her name, contact info, shipping info, credit card info, tax ID, etc. so that she never has to fill out paperwork at any of the booths), we headed for our next destination.

Let me pause here to mention that we learned from our last CHA experience.

Last night, we sat down with a map of the show floor and a notebook. We made note of which booths we wanted to make it to, aisle by aisle. Then, we broke it down by which day (Tues, Wed, Thu) we wanted to make it there. Tuesday = Must Buy. Eager to see what's new. Wednesday = Must Buy. Thursday = Browsing. Maybe Buy. Basically, we made a game plan with a triage system.

So, we headed straight for Basic Grey. Last year we bought on the second day and they had run out of the "free gift" paper packs. Boy oh boy was Kim pissed off! She wanted to be sure to get there in time for the free paper. And we weren't the only ones....

CrowdedBGBooth

Boy-oh-boy was their tiny booth crowded. It was difficult to navigate and getting a salesperson was a serious fight to the death. But, I've got to give those salesgirls credit because the ones I saw were all wearing heels!

Heels

I know it looks like sandals on the right, but those are serious wedges. And, yes, the floors are carpeted, but I wore sneakers all day and my feet hurt. More power to them.

While we were waiting around, we bumped into the very sweet and very talented Lucy Edson. We took a photo together in the Basic Grey booth, where she was shopping with A Million Memories. But, the photo is in her camera, so I'll have to wait for her to e-mail it to me! We also browsed the projects:

BasicGrey-1

BasicGrey-2

BasicGrey-3

After twenty minutes or so, Kim managed to tackle a salesperson and we were off to buy! Warning, lots of pictures ahead....

Layout2

Basic Grey had these little boxes (pictured below) to coordinate with all six of their paper lines.

Boxes

They also had card kits.

Cards

I'm scared of dogs, but these ones had me grinning from ear to ear. Cutest paper ever!

Dogs

Pardon the terrible photo...

Doily

...but I just had to share this doily paper. So unique! I loved all of Basic Grey's lace paper:

Lacepaper

I especially liked the fact that it's all distressed (like their regular patterned paper). You can see a bit of the distressing below:

BatLace

Love the whole Nook&Cranny line:

Chipboard

Nook&Pantry

We had serious technical issues all day. These stupid handheld bar code readers are supposed to make the ordering quick, easy, and accurate, but they just weren't working! We had problems at every booth that used one. I think something in the convention center was blocking the signal.

Technology

I had to drop the drool off my face when we got to this line: Indian Summer.

Collection

IndianSummer

I love the rich jewel tones and the patterns are divine! You can see lots more photos from all the lines below:

EskimoKisses

Layout

Halloween

HalloweenEmbellies

Lemonade

I like the way the Basic Grey booth is set up. They have these large wooden structures. On top of them are lots of project examples (cards, layouts, etc.). All the paper is in trays down the side. And smaller versions of each of the papers are on the end caps. All the coordinating embellishments, alphas, etc. are glued to the center of the structure. You can see it all here:

SetUp

You can see Kim going in for a closer look:

CrouchingKim

We bought all the Basic Grey we could -- Kim did buy enough to get the free paper pack -- and moved on.

CratePaper

Crate Paper was our next stop. It was a somewhat unexpected stop for Kim. It wasn't on our Tuesday list, but when she saw the booth, she came around. And, I suppose that's one of the major reasons that manufacturer's should attend CHA. Seeing the product in person really does make a difference.

There was lots of stuff to love at their booth, but I loved the fact that their chipboard was matte and not shiny. It sounds silly, but combined with the hand drawn effect of the graphics, it looks so darn cool!

ChristmasChipboard

Lovechipboard

Chipboard

Chipclose

That last chipboard is from my favorite line: Season. Check out some of the paper from Season:

SeasonFull

Clouds

Flowers

Cloudborder

And here's a super fun layout using that border paper. So cute, right?

Layout

In the photo below, Kim is re-ordering some of the older lines from Crate.

Oldlines

I don't remember being able to buy old lines at last CHA, but that may have been an issue of inattention. Or it may be because things from last season didn't sell out like they used to due to the economy.

Since we had Coca-Cola for breakfast, by the time noon rolled around, we were more than ready for lunch. There were a collection of carts set up in a sort of dining pavilion. We had Chinese...

Lunch

...and really timed it right, because the lines became ridiculously long right after we got our food. And it became really hard to find a seat too!

After lunch, we headed towards a vendor we found last year, Kodomo.
We bought some of these adorable foam stamps:

FoamStamps

They are the most detailed foam stamps that I've ever seen. We didn't buy any of the scrapbook paper...

KodomoPaper

KimatKodomo

...but we did buy a few sets of these matchbox stamps. So tiny and cute!

MatchboxStamps

We restocked on this washi tape, which I think is so cool. It's just paper tape and looks a bit like masking tape when you use it.

WashiTape

Kodomo was a quick buy and we were off again! Here's a nice general shot of the show floor:

Generalshot

We hit the Provo Craft booth very briefly. Kim bought a few Cuttlebugs (a die cutting and embossing machine) along with some of these very cool embossing folders. I really love the frame on the right. I may have to invest in a Cuttlebug....

Cuttlebug

And (eek!) she bought a couple of the Yudu screenprinting machines. If you read this blog at all, you know that I've been coveting a Yudu for a while! It's a (relatively) small and (relatively) easy and (relatively) inexpensive way to do screenprinting at home. You can see a photo of it being demo'd below and if you click the link, you can see it in action.

YuDu

I know I mentioned it last time I went to CHA, but it bears repeating. Men run the craft industry.

Men

Women may be the face of many of the companies, but it's the men who are at CHA having meetings, making deals, and running the booths. And nowhere is it more obvious than at the big booths like Provo Craft and our next stop, Making Memories.

MenAtcomputer

Crafting is big business. Just look at all those computers and printers! I *loved* so much of what Making Memories had to offer. So, I'm warning you, there are a thousand photos coming at you!

First things first, I loved that their booth had 6x6 layouts. They were so tiny and cute and really made the embellishments look fantastic!

6x6layout-2

6x6layout-3

6x6layout

Loved these frames!

Frames

Lots of Halloween...

Ghosts

HalloweenAlbum

Halloweenpaper

...including this totally brilliant method of displaying double sided paper! Rolls of paper shoved into a basket with some tissue paper! So clever!

RolledHalloweenPaper

Here's a photo of Kim shopping. We continued to have bad luck with the electronic scanning devices.

KimShopping

Making Memories was giving away mini foam Slices...

Minislices

... and pink aprons.

OverallBooth

If you wore your pink apron around, you could win a free Slice! I have to admit that I'm a bit of a Scrooge on that kind of stuff. I didn't wear one. Here's some Christmas...

Mistletoe

Tape

...and the deals at the Making Memories "outlet" were outrageous!

OutletSign

But, my absolute favorite collection was their new Vintage collection. Gorgeous stuff:

Embellies

Paper-2

Paper-3

Paper

I even loved the vintage staging that they did at the booth. How divine is that lamp?

Vintagestaging

Ribbon

Silver

VintageFindings

My favorites were these cool vintage kits of miscellaneous bits and pieces. So darn cool!

VintagePack

After Making Memories, we were off to Ranger! The Ranger booth is always full of gorgeous projects!

ClaudineExample

CrackleAccents

Projects

And, in my opinion, they do the best job of demonstrating the ways in which their product can be used!

StickyBackTechniques

Stuff
UTEE

As the day wore on, not unsurprisingly, we got faster. So, we breezed through Ranger and...

Cosmo

...headed to Cosmo Cricket. Yum. They've really changed their look from a kind of distressed, dark style to a bright and fun one. I love it! Our salesman explained that they felt in depressing economic times, people were craving some bright and fun papers in their lives! I couldn't agree more! Look at this year's Christmas collection...

Snowman

...compared to last year's:

6a00d8341c766153ef01157055a4b7970c-pi

I love the new "Boyfriend" line, but most of all, I love those woodgrain alphas in the photo below.

Boyfriend

Doghouse

This was one of the few layouts I saw at the show that had paint on it.

Layout

Musicnotepaper

This kitschy spinner card totally made me grin.

Spinnercard

We finished the day by shopping at Prima, Pink Paislee, Beacon Adhesives, and Advantus. But, it's almost 1am and I'm ready to go to bed. I'll be sure to put up the rest of my day one photos on my blog ASAP. (I can't wait to share my Prima projects! Eeek!)

But, before I go, some random ramblings:
  • The show was really dark. As in there was no light anywhere. It was seriously dark. I've had to edit every single photo I took because they were so, so dark. I can't decide if it's because it's a new venue for CHA or what.

  • The show is really small. About one third the size of the Anaheim show in January. And people complained at that show that it was small. The nice thing is that you don't have to walk for miles. The weird thing is how quiet it is. Like a library. There seem to be fewer "tourists." Everyone who is at CHA seems to be shopping, selling or reporting.

  • Vintage, vintage, vintage. Almost every manufacturer seemed to have found their inner Jenni Bowlin. Distressed papers, vintage looking embellishments, etc.

  • Hand drawn elements were everywhere too! In stamps, paper, embellishments, etc. That style (which I *adore*) was everywhere!

  • The layouts seem very detailed/delicate this time around. Lots of smaller alphas being used. And many more "little touches" like tiny pearls, stitching, glittered edges, etc.

  • Altered items were everywhere. Most booths had tons of houses, hats, boxes, trees, etc. I loved seeing things that were beyond the page!
Thanks for stopping by! Let me know what you think!

6 comments:

Cathy said...

Thank you Julie for sharing SO many photos with us from CHA~!
Wow! you must found a lot of great stuff for taking 398 photos in just 1 day! I wonder how many you will be taking in total at CHA show! Have a great time!!

amybluestar said...

That is SO COOL - thank you so much! Found you searching for CHA photos. I feel like I was there!

Amy

Jennifer Y said...

WOW!! How awesome to see everything! Thank you! :))

merryheart2 said...

thanks for sharing.
love the little 6x6 pages.

.charity. said...

Oh thanx for sharing ...such an amazing adventure!

LisaW said...

Totally loved reading this post! We don't have anything close to CHA in Australia, so this was a real eye opener...looks like you had a fabulously productive time!