Our very first CHA! (part 1)
What a week it was!! We attended and worked our very first CHA! For the uninitiated, CHA stands for Craft & Hobby Association. And this past week was their Winter Mega Show, attended by anybody and everybody in the crafting industry. Companies big and small are there to promote and sell their crafting wares, while buyers from shops around the world are there to find new and unique items for their stores.
We were there with a dual purpose: to promote our book, Mixed Media Masterpieces with Jenny & Aaron...and to launch our debut scrapbooking collection with Melissa Frances called The Sweet Life. Yeah...we're totally psyched about the amazingness of these two otherwise unrelated releases landing so close to each other on the calendar. As far as we're concerned...the book and the scrapbooking collection go together like PB & J...or whatever your personal favorite combo may be. Well, anything that me and Aaron do will always bear the hallmarks of Everyday is a Holiday...so we can safely combine aspects of whatever worlds we're dabbling in and it's unlikely that the colors or flavors will clash. But our book and our Sweet Life collection really really work well together! Both the book and our Sweet Life collection are creatively open ended...meaning they are both starting points. Starting points for you guys in your own creative endeavors. But I'm getting ahead of myself...lets stick to the script...a little recap of our trip out west.
It was such an amazing experience on so many levels...and in hindsight, we wouldn't change a thing. But the lead up to the trip was definitely less than ideal. In the days before leaving for California it was so freezing here in Jersey and all over the east coast. We took the proper precautions for sub-freezing temps here at home. We left the faucets trickling when we went to bed at night. But despite our efforts to keep the water flowing we still woke up to frozen pipes. What a nightmare! It was Monday and we were to depart for California on that Friday. We looked at the weather forecast and saw that we probably weren't going to thaw out until Saturday. That meant we'd have no running water all week and we'd leave for California shower-less! ha! So my little brother Walt brought in a big kerosene heater to thaw the pipes. Oh sure, they thawed out...but they also burst in almost a dozen places. Within 15 minutes we had a river running under our house. So Walt shut off the main and at that point we really had no running water...not until some major repairs got done. So ok...at this point me and Aaron feel like we were put on this earth to deal with junk exactly like this. We had all sorts of prep work to do for our CHA trip, plus the normal stuff you gotta do prior to traveling...like laundry, packing...showering! ha! Luckily, we live close to Aaron's parents and we were able to borrow their shower. And on the very last day in Jersey, hours before our flight, my little brother Walt and a couple of his buddies crawled into our muddy crawlspace and replaced nearly all of our plumbing. We're lucky to have a manly little bro. So, ok...it pretty much goes without saying that me and Aaron were more than a little excited to be leaving frozen New Jersey for sunny California!
And yes, Jersey was literally frozen. Our plane had to be de-iced...the concept of having to de-ice gives me the willies...and it also delayed our flight. Which is un-fun for a few reasons. One of those reasons is especially un-fun. We had a connecting flight...and as we have found out in the past...connecting flights don't care about your delays or your de-icing. Connecting flights like to leave right on schedule and they don't care how fast you run through a Houston airport. In short, connecting flights are jerks...and next time I'll pay whatever dollars and bend my schedule to fit whatever straight through flight the universe would like to offer me. But alas...we made our connection! And we rewarded ourselves with that United Airlines snack box that has the pita chips and the hummus in it. I also took some pics out the window. The landscape in the image above reminded me of a microchip.
And then as we flew over the mountains and desert I spied this strange scene. Just this handful of circles way out in the middle of nowhere.
And then the undeniable landscape of Southern California presented itself, letting us know that we'd soon begin our descent.
We got to our hotel in the early evening, where we checked in and met our sweet friend Carolyn Peeler. We have known Carolyn since way back in 2007...aka "The Good Ol Days"...the Silver Bella era! We were all instructors at the '07 Silver Bella, and now she just so happens to be the Creative Director for Melissa Frances. We are the very first signature designer for Melissa Frances and it's a perfect fit! Carolyn and Melissa are our kind of people. Don't ask me to explain what "our kind" is exactly. It would take me a very long time and the examples would be very obscure. But I'm sure you know what I mean. We click with them.
Exhausted from a week of frozen New Jersey and stupid connecting flights, me and Aar met up with Carolyn and Breigh for a late Friday evening dinner. Breigh is Melissa Frances' daughter, and she was there at CHA filling in for her mom. Melissa couldn't make it because she was taking care of her ill father back home. Not getting to hang out with Melissa was a huge bummer for us...but we totally get it...family first. And we have to commend Melissa for her substitute selection...Breigh was great...is great! A total crack up among many other things!
So after some great Mexican food we went to bed early so that we'd be well rested for our first day at CHA. Here's me bright and early on day one.
And even though we took this photo on the very last day after we packed up, and most vendors and buyers had run for the hills...let's pretend this is Aaron showing up at the grand entrance for the first time, before all the crowds etc etc...(in truth, we arrived at the back entrance, which is way less attractive.)
Here we are with Carolyn on day 1! Booth all set up...ready for a day of meeting and talking to hundreds of awesome people. And I mean that...we met hundreds of awesome people!
And here is our set up within the Melissa Frances booth! Like I said, we were not only at CHA promoting our brand new scrapbooking/paper collection but also our book! On the back wall to the right you'll find our Sweet Life collection and right up front we've got our little pink table, complete with a handful of projects directly from the pages of our book...like the Fauxbulous Keepsake Cake, Supercute Mini Faux Doughnuts, Sweet Spot Necklace, Lovely Lady Layers and Lines, and more. And we were thrilled with how our banner came out. That was another last minute task...completed on the day before we left.
Ahhh!! here they are! Our papers! so so fun to finally see them in person! Amazing to see how our paintings translated to papers!
In "The Sweet Life" we have adorable chipboard accents, treat bags, journaling cards that fit project life folders, washi stickers, wrapping papers, word stickers, resin, mini album kits and more!
(press play above for a little instavid)
(press play above for a little instavid)
We'll be blogging a little tutorial for the bunny pin seen in the above video very soon! It is so fun seeing him on one of our papers! We're so excited about the Mixed Media Doodles page...we love that it's left for you to color in as you see fit.
Here's our new pal Breigh!
And here is just one of the many cute vignettes in the Melissa Frances booth. Karin Aguirre made many of the samples...including those faux cupcakes!
Look at our resin embellishments! They came out perfect! Taken directly from our drawings and paintings! There's even a little plate of macarons!
Like I said...we met and talked to hundreds of awesome peeps. Some of them were old friends of ours, like our dear friend Kim Caldwell! So many friends of ours who we only get to talk to online actually showed up in the flesh to wish us luck, to congratulate us, and to order The Sweet Life for their stores! It was just amazing! It was overwhelming (in a good way)...what a shock to the system! We went from being total shut ins who spend weeks on end in our studio, to spending multiple 8 hour days on the convention floor, up close and personal with our people!
The show is massive and it's not easy to capture the scope of it with a camera. Let's just say that we were there for four full days and we saw maybe a sixteenth of the show. Anyone that you can think of in the world of crafts is there. Companies ship their booths in these gigantic crates, which are stacked up and left outside the convention center for the duration of the show. The pic above honestly doesn't show the scale accurately.
This post was really just an intro. I'm going to follow up with some details...some specifics about what it's like to do the show and what we accomplished there. I seriously want to try to share as much as I can with you guys. I know that I always like to hear about the what, where, and why of things...and hopefully I can shed some light for you guys at home who plan on attending CHA in the future, either as a buyer or a vendor.
I guess what I'd like to get across at this point is that the show was totally a success for me and Aaron. We accomplished pretty much everything we aimed for...and made some very exciting connections that are going to turn into full fledged big deals. I can't wait to share the rest with you guys! Thanks for reading! Back real soon!
xo, Jenny...and Aaron