ScrapbookIndustryNews: 10 Things :: February 2012 | pretty paper. true stories. {and scrapbooking classes with cupcakes.}

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10 Things :: February 2012

10 Things on the Tenth :: February 2012
On the tenth of the month, a bunch of us share ten things. Any ten things. All different kinds of ten things. And you’re welcome to join us.

For February, I’m running late. I have a sort of megadeadline for a big project staring at me right now and I’m still trying to wrap up all the CHA posts (look for the rest of those through the weekend – I really want to be all done with that by Sunday and get back to other posts on Monday!) and I’m also wanting to get those boxes from earlier today out the door and into the post as soon as possible. So we can do basic things like… walk to the kitchen. It will be awesome.

I also wanted to write a sort of wrap-up post with my overall notes from CHA so in terms of efficiency, it’s time for two birds and one stone. Except I don’t want to throw stones at birds. Not ever. But I do want to tell you ten things that struck me at CHA this year.

chevron paper
1. Everybody loves a chevron.
This was the most obvious trend and it appeared at almost every booth, and it cracked me up that it was unanimously termed the ‘chevron’ and never the ‘zig-zag’, though if someone said ‘what’s a chevron?’ the answer was invariably ‘you know, a zig-zag’. Love it. And clearly I’m loving this trend as I really didn’t see a single chevron paper that I didn’t want to add to my shopping list. Look for 2012 to be the year of the zig-zag layouts.

2. Tape and twine must have an awesome profit margin.
I only say that because nearly every manufacturer added washi tape and coloured twine to their collections this year. (Trust me, nothing really has an ‘awesome’ profit margin in scrapbooking. But it did make me giggle that so many companies must have looked at those two products and thought they made good business sense.) And when I was working for Jenni Bowlin, who didn’t add tape and twine to her collections? Buyers specifically said ‘and where is the tape and twine?’. In a serious tone. Not sarcasm. And this happened multiple times throughout the day. That’s just how much tape and twine was scattered around the show floor.

3. Hype marketing is gone.
The show takes up physically less space now than a few years ago. I think the non-paper craft manufacturers have really decreased in exhibitors – I’m sure two years ago we were still seeing a lot of cake decorating and wood blanks and more yarn companies on the floor, and of course we’ve lost many companies in the scrapbook world too. The show used to include the basement, but everyone is on the same floor these days. There used to be so many exhibitors that it was difficult to see the full show in three or four days, so companies really tried to hype their booth so you would seek it out. They would give away t-shirts and badges and bags and hats and all sorts of things with their name and booth number so you would see it and be reminded that you needed to get there and check out their new stuff. To encourage people to wear all that branding, there were lots of on-the-spot prizes given to random people wearing the free stuff. Sometimes enough companies would do this sort of thing that it seemed like people were walking billboards! And really, there wasn’t much of that this year at all. Just an observation. My guess is that if the show is small enough to see everything, the expense of the hype marketing goods and giveaways just isn’t worthwhile. (But that’s my guess, of course.)

clever handmade
4. We like a good comeback.
There was a lot of good discussion about the return of Heidi Grace Kress and Heidi Swapp. Literally every single comment I heard about both designers and their respective lines was positive. There was good buzz about some other things that made a return after a bit of an absence too – like the new Dear Lizzy line (which just hit Two Peas here by the way!), the return of BasicGrey after their decision to skip the summer show and Margie Romney-Aslett now happily designing at Bazzill.

5. Some companies are sorely missed.
We all have our favourites who aren’t in this game any more. Mine is Sassafras. I’m sure I’ll get over it some day, but it’s not now. KI Memories were missing from the floor but haven’t closed their doors – they recently launched a new digital set-up and shipped the Hot Date paper line to stores. Let’s hope this is a successful regrouping and we see them back very soon.

6. This isn’t the time for new exhibitors.
Newer names in scrapbooking, like Ormolu and Elle’s Studio, are following a very different business model these days. Is it possible to become a major player and never sell at CHA? Possibly – if the company is happy to grow at a steadier pace rather than go to the show in hopes of becoming a major player straight away. But really, there were very few new exhibitors and many that were technically ‘new’ were comebacks of some sort. So we can still have new in the industry without new at the show… which is a shift.

patterned paper display
7. Things are simpler.
This show is expensive enough when it comes to paying for the booth space and fixtures, shipping everything in giant crates, employees, travel and so on and so forth. It appears that manufacturers have chosen to reserve the extra expense that comes in commissioning huge booth endeavours with custom carpentry and so forth. Instead, we see companies using displays they can use at multiple shows, with simple branding and products and project samples easy to see. Not so many layouts blown up to four feet square, not so many walls in crazy accent colours or anything like that. That said, in general there were fewer sample projects and in talking to store owners (and sometimes just listening to store owners as they shopped), I think there are certain products that would have been better sold with examples that effectively showed a product in use. Simple booths can be great, but not at the expense of letting buyers see just how awesome it would be to have this amazing piece of paper that will let you make this fabulous project. I do wonder how many manufacturers are aware of which projects on their booth did and didn’t sell product. (I know, if I didn’t have things like that on my mind, combined with a lifetime of random song lyrics, I could totally find the cure for the common cold or something. But sadly, this is what plays on my mind.)

Of course, we’re also seeing simpler innovations rather than big risk products. In almost every case, I think that’s a good thing for this point in the market. There were a few things out there that confused me a little, but by and large the floor was filled with products that will be attractive to the scrapping masses rather than something totally oddball that will only appear to a select few.

hexagon paper
8. Hexagons are cool.
They are. They aren’t circles. Nor rectangles. Nor squares. So we can throw them into layering as something new. Simple, but different. Hexagons were big with Jenni Bowlin Studios and Rhonna’s line for My Mind’s Eye and a few bits and pieces elsewhere too.

9. If my normal life were like CHA, I would be exhausted and not fit into any of my clothes.
I am never prepared for the crazy hours that happen at CHA. It seems like you can get so much done in four days, but it’s almost every hour of those four days. At the end, no one has slept properly for at least a week, as the last few days of preparation are usually a bit mad too. And all the big meetings happen over food. CHA is basically the only time in my life when I schedule every single meal for several days. I love the energy and the ideas and the getting to talk to people I don’t see the rest of the year, but oh my goodness, at the end my body is seriously asking me to lay off the cheesecake and go to bed. (In fact, after the show closed, I meant to just sit and veg for a couple minutes while I went through my notebook, at about 6:30pm. I still needed to book my ride to the airport the next day. Next thing I knew it was 6:30am and I still had my notebook on my lap. Oh wow, that was not the plan.)

10. I never get tired of looking at paper.
A few of you have commented on things like ‘doesn’t it all blur into one?’ and I’m sure it does for some, because there really is a lot of stuff entering the brain at once. But I really do have a childlike love of paper and every new line that I like still makes me exclaim. I talk to paper at trade shows. Not like an actual conversation, I hope. I assure the paper doesn’t usually talk back. But all those words I overuse in life? Lovely, amazing, cute, lush, brilliant, fab? I find myself saying them time and time again. So every year when I decide if this trip will be worthwhile, I finish the show thinking it has been more worthwhile than ever. Looking at paper is almost as awesome as making things from paper.

And if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s about time I go do that now.

10 February 2012

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30 Comments for 10 Things :: February 2012

  1. jane Says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, so much pretty stuff to buy!

  2. jimjams Says:

    Well done today – I was beginning to wonder if your 10 would be 10 separate blog posts LOL!
    Enjoy your walk to the kitchen :o}

  3. Lydia Says:

    I have loved all your posts on CHA – very insightful and thoughtful. Thanks!

  4. Kelly Says:

    Great wrap-up! Thanks Shimelle.

  5. Jill Says:

    Thank you so much for all of your product posts! I enjoyed them all and appreciated your narrative. I very much enjoyed your wrap up today!! Thanks Shimelle!!

  6. Tammy Says:

    Sounds like it was a great show! I can’t wait to get my hands on these new products. I never get tired of looking at paper either! :)

  7. NancyLee Says:

    I love your Cha report and I think I have yet to read the last 2 or did I miss anything? Anyways, thank you for the recap. I will surely make this one as my source of products when I search for one;)

  8. Natalie Says:

    I just wanted to chime in with all the other commenters and thank you so much for your CHA coverage. I have really enjoyed it. I am so impressed with your thoughtful commentary on all the different product lines, and your photos have shown such wonderful things to inspire me. Your posts have really been my favorite coverage of the CHA trade show this season! Thank you!

  9. Karen O Says:

    Thx for all the CHA reports – they have been delightful. And , I think I understand your paper love because I am the same way. I have an insane memory for paper manufacturers and lines because I love pretty papers way too much :)

  10. Jen Hart Says:

    Hi Shimelle, thanks for the insight into CHA and your take on the collections and your ten things post has wrapped it up nicely.

  11. Lisa M. Zepponi Says:

    Thanks for sharing all your info.

  12. margie visnick Says:

    Thank you for all of your hard work putting the pictures and stories together! It felt like I was there, just reading your posts!

  13. Lina Says:

    Awesome post – thanks for all your reports on CHA and especially this one. Such a great read, and now I no longer feel bad for talking to paper :) Allthough I swear I sometimes hear it talk back…

  14. Jennifer Grace Says:

    Thanks for more interesting CHA info, you know I love it! My 10 things post is up too, also on a CHA theme (my fave things) but I can’t link it yet as I’m away from home and I’m blocked from linking it on the system here! Ah well, I’ll link when I return! Or anyone reading this comment before can see it at

  15. kirsty A Says:

    I’ve sent you a Versatile Bloggers Award

  16. Jacky S Says:

    Have really enjoyed your CHA posts….thanks.

  17. Julia M. Says:

    Great overview! I don’t think I ever tire of just looking at pretty paper either.

  18. LisaE Says:

    Shimelle, your coverage of CHA was simply awesome. I feel like I’ve been there. The industry news and business side of things has been particularly interesting as I’ve missed this kind of discussion from my corporate days (in a totally different industry but still). Many of the changes you noted sound like sign of time times – scale down, simplify, etc. Thank you!

  19. Meghan Says:

    I really appreciate all the work that you put into these CHA recaps. I feel like I was there!

  20. Denise Says:

    So true about never getting tired of looking at new paper. :)

  21. saycindy Says:

    Thank you for all the pictures and detailed recaps. So excited to hear about Heidi Grace!

  22. Debra Says:

    Great post, Shimelle. I’m always interested in what you have to say about things…
    I love the cloud rub ons from Heidi Grace Kress – nice. Heard you on PRT trying to explain them to everyone – I knew what you were talking about because I’d seen your write up first and I was nodding with you…yep, such a good a idea from her. I hope the others got what you were saying. Maybe Amy Tan will put out templates of her SWEET word so it can be stitched. Maybe not! Bye now…have a great rest of the weekend. It’s noon on Sunday over here (Aust).

  23. Antoinette Says:

    I just want to thank you for sharing CHA with us. You are a fab writer and i loved all your post and pics.. Def my fav posts of CHA.. You are one awesome and talented lady. Tons of hugs

  24. angela Says:

    Thank you Shimelle for the CHA insight. After reading your post and listening to the PRT show at CHA.(yes I heard you there) It was like I had been. Looks like changes ahead for scrapbooking companies. But one thing that will never change is your fantastic blog. Keep up the good work and again Thank You

  25. Nina Says:

    Hey Shimelle! Love this post! Great thoughts and insights and I can totally identify with the things you say about paper love ;) I don’t know if you remember me, we’ve been at CAR3 together and I was interviewing you and we talked about Crimes of the Heart and such :) BTW I’ve finished my thesis (last year, of course) and it was a hit with my professor – I got an A+ :) Of course, you are duly included in the acknowledgements :) If you’d like to, I could send you the PDF, but it’s in German only, so I don’t know whether it is of any use to you :)
    I have a question concerning the stamp set you designed for the workshop at CAR3, I’d love to get in touch with you about that, if you have a second. Thank you for everything and best wishes from southern Germany – Nina

  26. Kim Says:

    Oh wow I’m loving this idea! And your 10 things are very insightful! I understand your love of paper, it’s so refreshing to know I’m not the only one!

  27. Anne Essex Says:

    Great write ups of CHA. Please tell Glitter Girl I am loving her videos :-D. I know you are very busy, but please could you post the completed starting point challenge for the rectangle and 6 circles when you have some free time. Please do not add it as another deadline, I’d just like to see it sometime. The starting point challenge was from just before you moved. Thanks Anne

  28. Nathalie Says:

    This was a great 10 things post! I loved reading your take on the whole CHA experience and seeing what jumped at you.

  29. Victoria Says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to report so extensively on CHA. It means such a lot (plus your great photos) for help with ideas for purchasing, and just to feel we in the UK are slightly up to date despite our shops being so last decade, to say nothing of my supplies being last century!

  30. Jeannine H. Says:


    Just wanted to say thanks for the great reporting from CHA. You’ve done the best job of bringing that show to those who cannot attend than any blog I’ve seen! Thanks a bunch!