I've been trying to decide how to sum up the experience of this year's Creativation. It's a tall order! Hopefully, you followed my adventures on the My Creative Life Facebook page. That will give you some of the highlights from the week, particularly on the trade show floor. Today I'm going to summarize how I spent my time, then dive deeper into classes, trends, new products and more in future posts.
Wednesday, January 18
Steve, Trevor and I flew from Sacramento to Phoenix. We checked into the Sheraton and then headed out to complete the Phoenix Urban Adventure Quest. It was a great way to familiarize ourselves with the area around the convention center. Many of the Quest challenges had to do with the amazing public art in downtown Phoenix. We particularly loved The Arizona Bolas.
Thursday, January 19
We got up early and hustled over to the convention center to pick up registration materials.
Each attendee got a nice tote of goodies.
We spent the rest of the morning at the Arizona State Capitol and the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza. Both were incredible and so worth the visit. We spent over three hours and could have stayed longer.
At lunchtime, Steve and Trevor dropped me off at the convention center for my first classes. I'll be sharing details about all my classes in a separate post.
After my classes ended, I headed to a craft blogger meet-up at a nearby restaurant. I was a bit late, and my friends were already seated at full tables, so I sat with a group of strangers. I am so thankful I did, as they ended up being really awesome people and so much fun.
Meanwhile, Steve and Trevor went to the outstanding Arizona Museum of Natural History and had a great time. We had a lot to share with each other when we finally met back up at the hotel!
Friday, January 20
In the evening, I met up with Vickie and we attended the innovative products preview.
Steve and Trevor had a full day as well. They started their day at the Arizona Science Center, then went to the Pueblo Grande Museum after lunch. Both were fantastic and they enjoyed their day thoroughly.
Saturday, January 21
While the education portion of the show is very valuable, there's no question that the real fun happens once the show floor opens! And boy, did it not disappoint, with inspiration in every direction. And cacti in every direction. (More on that when I tell you about the trends I saw. Spoiler alert: cacti.)
I spent the day checking out new products, doing make-and-takes, and looking for trends. I stopped in to say hi to brand representatives I work with, one of whom I'd never met in person. I observed where the crowds were, and what was exciting them. Again, I'll share more about this later, but over and over I kept hearing two words that I'm sure I'd never heard together before: Unicorn Spit.
That evening, I went to a blogger networking event, sponsored by Prime Publishing. It's a chance for craft bloggers and manufacturers to meet off the show floor and is very valuable.
What did Steve and Trevor do while I was in crafter's paradise? Plenty! They'd intended to stay at the Musical Instrument Museum for a few hours and then do something else, but it was so awesome that they were there from the minute it opened until it closed! Then they raced over to watch an Arizona Coyotes game. Another great day for all of us!
Sunday, January 22
I got up bright and early to attend the annual Craft and Hobby Association Business Meeting and Town Hall. There were surprisingly few people who chose to attend, which is a shame for a number of reasons. I am VERY glad I was there to hear the huge announcement that CHA is no more. Effective immediately, our organization is the Association for Creative Industries.
Overnight, all the branding for the entire conference had changed from CHA to AFCI.
There are many reasons for the change, but the quick summary is that the name is more inclusive and does not carry any of the connotations that 'craft' or 'hobby' do. I'm onboard.
Unlike Saturday, where I was focused on trends, buzz and generally soaking things in, on Sunday I spent most of my time on the show floor talking with select manufacturers about working together. I am really excited about some upcoming partnerships. Stay tuned!
On Sunday afternoon, we parked Trevor in the lobby with homework and Steve joined me on the show floor. (No kids under 12 are allowed on the show floor. At 12, those with a business interest are allowed with restrictions.) While Steve doesn't play too large of a role in the crafting portion of my blog, he is critical to keeping the blog running and dealing with all the technical aspects. He is the behind-the-scenes guy that makes everything I do possible. It was great to be able to show him around the floor, introduce him to key people, and let him experience the show for an hour.
I left Steve and Trevor once again and headed with friends to the Creativation After Party at The Duce. The highlight for me was watching the incredible fashion show. Front row seats!
Monday, January 23
Up bright and early again, this time for the keynote, the 2016 Creative Products Size of the Industry Study. It was absolutely fascinating.
The craft industry is no joke. It's big. $43 billion big.
By noon, the trade show floor was a bit of a ghost town. I'd never stayed this long on the final day of the show, so it was fascinating seeing things wind down. I loved the opportunity to take photos and talk with manufacturers without dealing with crowds. It was really hard to see it end.
Steve and Trevor spent the day at the Desert Botanical Garden and returned with beautiful photos and lots of stories of the plants and animals they saw. I'm so glad they had as much fun during Creativation as I did!
Tuesday, January 24
Time to return home, my head filled with ideas and suitcases filled with craft supplies. Next year's Creativation show is already on the calendar!
And I can't wait!