Featuring the Latest Industry Trends, Industry and New Product Showcase Award Winners

The Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) hosted Creativation, their 78th annual conference and trade show, on January 17-21, 2019. Creativation has long been recognized as the largest creative industry trade event in North America. This year, 250 exhibitors and 3,000 attendees returned to Phoenix from upwards of 45 countries. In addition to seeing the latest creative products, attendees were able to participate in more than 120 hands-on workshops, business seminars and events.

“There is nowhere else like Creativation. The quality of education is unrivaled, new trends, product innovation and networking opportunities make it the ultimate meeting place for like-minded professionals; the culmination of which drives the industry forward and fuels the creative talents of consumers,” stated Jim Thielen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, AFCI.

The future of the creative industry was a topic of discussion at an event entitled, Let's Get Real: The Challenges and Opportunities Within the Industry. The event was sponsored by SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. The Panel included representatives from A.C. Moore, Craft Box Girls, The Michaels Companies, Inc., Notions Marketing, Plaid Enterprises, Scrapbooking Made Simple and Spinrite LP. Topics of discussion centered around the end consumer, their ever-changing buying habits, the desire for new and innovative products and ways to enhance the customer experience to cultivate creativity and drive inspiration and sales. The panel discussion is available on www.CreativationShow.org.

Trends that were recognized this year include metallic and glitter paints, papers, prints and patterns, pom-poms, rustic décor made up of wood and galvanized steel, alcohol inks, foil, and a continued focus on whimsical animals with unicorn horns at the forefront.

New to the show floor this year was The Stamping Village, a feature area made up of a community of stamping companies emphasizing the mantra “Community Over Competition.” "The Stamping Village brought together nine stamp competitors to build a place that celebrated the industry, the show and the customer. It exceeded our highest expectations, acting as a focal point for the best of what our industry has to offer: fun, friendship and a true feeling of community. We hope this idea will grow and include even more vendors and customers next year, as this year was a great success. Visit thestampingvillage.com or find us on social media @thestampingvillage for updates, photos from the show and to get the exclusive 2019 stamp set," stated Aaron Leventhal, CEO of Hero Arts Rubber Stamps Inc.

Attendees arrived in Phoenix looking for innovation and found it in the New Product Showcase. Over 50 exhibitors’ new products and brands were on display and competing for the coveted New Product Award. Award winners were American Crafts/ We R Memory Keepers for their Foil Quill Heat Pen, Winky&Dutch for their machine washable Picture Buttons, and AdTech for their Drip-Less Glue Guns.

Each year, the Association recognizes excellence in industry service and philanthropy.

  • Ken and Barbara Griffin and John Laurie were accepted into the Association’s Hall of Fame for their extraordinary achievements in the creative arts industry.
  • The Meritorious Award of Honor, the highest award bestowed on a member, went to Richard Brown. Richard has been in the industry for over 40 years working in leadership positions for multiple major companies and serving as a Board of Directors for the Association For Creative Industries, Craft Yarn Council and Crochet Guild of America. He has been a dedicated member of the crafting industry and well recognized for his generous contributions to many people, business and organizations.
  • The Industry Achievement Award went to Tammy Browning-Smith for her contributions to the growth and vitality of the creative arts industry.
  • The Special Recognition award went to Doug Earle, Chief Executive Officer of his family-owned and operated business, H.A. Kidd and Company Limited. Doug has contributed creative products and services, and his personal time and energy to many charitable organizations that introduce the joy of crafting to consumers.

For the first time, the Association awarded creative retailers for their excellence in business. Brook Roe, founder of Pinspiration was awarded with the Brick and Mortar Retailer of the Year Award. Alexandra Stapleton of The Hedgehog Hollow took home the Online Retailer of the Year Award.

Creativation 2020 will be held January 16-20 in Phoenix, Arizona with education taking place January 16-17 and the trade show floor open January 18-20. For more highlights from this year and to sign up to exhibit or teach next year, visit www.CreativationShow.org.