Phew!  What a crazy January I had — many of you wondered what I was thinking and by the time I was done, I did too!

The Craft & Hobby Association started a “License & Design” section a few years ago — this is the first year I had a booth. There were 30 booths in our section and they did a great job making them stand out from the rest.  Of course there were many retail store owners who would wander in, complete confusion on their faces, some brave enough to say, “What exactly are you selling?”  The closest artist would kindly explain that we weren’t selling anything, but rather looking to license our designs to manfacturers so they could buy them on products down the road.

Similar to Atlanta, the overall buzz on the show floor was that attendance was down but those that were there were buying. The majority of exhibitors (that were actually selling product) were happy with the results — with only a few telling me it was a really bad show in terms of sales.  A few people also said they were surprised by the percentage of international buyers vs. US buyers this year.

cha-overviewHeld in Anaheim, California, CHA was right across the street from Disneyland and California Adventure.  (I didn’t venture into either as I was exhausted most nights.)  Only at CHA would people talk to a woman dressed as a baby, talking baby talk, in order to get headbands with brightly colored pony tails on top!  (See my green pigtails above)  Perhaps I’ll be “Cindy Lou Who” for Halloween!  It is a creative show all around — exhibiting manufacturers, artists and retail buyers.  These people have no problem letting their inner child come out and play!

I got to meet a lot of artists who read this blog and my weekly newsletter which is always fun — I love to put faces and voices to Twitter names or email addresses.  As a 3 1/2 day show, we had plenty of slow time to chat and bond — but that isn’t to say it wasn’t a good show by any means.

When all was said and done, I have added a substaintial amount to my “January Show Follow Up” pile — 30 companies in all.  Some of these leads are much better than others but all will be followed up on.  80-90% of doing a trade show is in the effort you make to follow up with the people you meet. It is VERY RARE for a manufacturer to make the first move but if they do — start a happy dance immediately!

If you don’t follow up, you might as  well have taken the cost of your booth and travel and feed the money to squirrels! (Yes, squirrels, meaning, don’t waste your money going if you have no intention of following up after the show.)

So… I need to stop blogging and get back to logging my plan of action to turn these leads into business!  Until next time — have a creative day!

~ Tara