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by Association For Creative Industries
January 14-18, 2021

Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, AZ
Education begins January ​14
Show floor open January 16-18

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2017 Highlights

From the street of our trade show floor to the announcement of our new brand, Creativation was truly a jammed-packed event that featured innovation, education, and optimism for the business year ahead.

Enjoy our show highlights and relive your favorite moments by viewing pictures in our 2017 Creativation Facebook album.

A New Brand

During our Annual Business Meeting, we announced our new brand, the Association For Creative Industries (AFCI). A name change is only the beginning of refreshing our brand. New and exciting programs, benefits and opportunities are in development and designed to deliver greater value in our membership. Click here to read the press release announcement and explore our redesigned website,

The Annual Business Meeting was well attended and took place on Sunday, January 22 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The meeting was followed by a Town Hall with our President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Hill.


A Creative City

For the first time, we transformed our trade show floor into a creative city where our exhibitors’ booths were storefronts and new areas that represented places you would see on “Main Street America”.

Our trade show floor opened on the morning of Saturday, January 21 at the Brother Train Station with a presentation of the key to the city and entertainment by a mime and jazz band. Attendees networked and explored Creativation following street signs and on our hop-on hop-off tour bus. Highly trafficked areas included our Artisan Plaza, Art Studio, Innovations Center, International Pub, Maker Space, Michaels Bookstore, and Satin Ice Edible Arts Shoppe.


The Ultimate Pitch Winner

Armando and Alfredo Ulloa are the winners of The Ultimate Pitch contest for their innovation: Let's Hang. They were awarded a check for $10,000 from InventionLand and launched as the Top Creative Innovation of 2017.

Five out of 25 of the innovators showcasing their innovative product or idea in the Innovations Center were selected to give a five-minute pitch to our panel of judges. Each innovation was critiqued on uniqueness, and its potential to change the industry, a user’s habits, and create new opportunities in the creative arts products industry. The five innovators who participated are:

  • The Craft Tree     
  • The Hot Fix Fabric
  • Let's Hang
  • Link Craft Kits
  • Shrink It Plastic Bead Molds

The judges who served on the panel are:

  • Chris DiTullio, Senior VP, Marketing & Omni-Channel – Jo-Ann Stores
  • Brigid English, Vice President - Global Sourcing – Michaels
  • Danica Villegas, Senior Buyer - Organization, Crafts, and Pets – HSN
  • Jeff Birkins, Key Account Sales Manager – 3M Stationery and Office Supplies Division
  • Christine J. Stoelting - Business Intelligence Lead – Marketing - Crayola LLC

The Ultimate Pitch was held on Monday, January 23 in the Maker Space on the trade show floor, and was emceed by Tanya Memme, an award-winning actress, former Miss World Canada, and the host/producer of the Emmy-nominated TV shows “Sell This House” and “Sell This House EXTREME” on A&E.


Industry Research Revealed

Our Creativation Keynote revealed findings from our long-awaited 2016 Creative Products Size of the Industry Study. The keynote was given by Sara Swenson, Sr. Research Manager, Strategic Research Services andMary Barnidge, Client Success Director of MaritzCX, our research partner for the study.

A key finding was the size of the U.S. creative products industry is $43 billion. Other key findings include:

  • 63% of U.S. households participated in at least one creative activity in the past 12 months
  • 65.5 million households indicated they participated in a creative activity in the past month
  • 60% females / 40% males make up the overall participation in most crafts

The full report is available at as of February 1. AFCI members are able to access the report for free. Non-members interested in purchasing the report should contact Keri Cunningham, Senior Director of Marketing and Research, at


Creativation Celebration

It was the inaugural year for our new charitable event, Creativation Celebration, where we celebrated our industry veterans and benefited The Kids In Need Foundation, a non-profit organization that distributes school supplies to students and teachers. 

The evening kicked off with a cocktail hour in CREATE, a 6,500 square-foot maker space where science, technology, engineering, math and art collide. Following the cocktail reception, we recognized our annual Industry Award winners and Hall of Fame honorees, where food and drinks were served.  
The 2017 Industry Award recipients are Mark Peters, Duncan Enterprises; Therese Hennessy, The Honor Scrapbook; and ShurTech Brands. The 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees are Dave Catanzarite, Darice and Pat Catan’s; Emma Gebo, Crafts Inc., dba SIERRA'S; Jerry Hacker, Dee’s Delights; Catherine Kay, Elam – Kay & Associates; and Bob Ross, Bob Ross Incorporated.


The After Party

The winners of our Fashion Fusion Collaborative Challenge walked the runway along with models wearing fashions from Beadalon, Brother, Clover Needlecraft, Ellison/Sizzix, Fabric Editions, Faber-Castell, John Bead, McCall’s Pebeo, and Spellbinders at The After Party, which held at The Duce on Sunday evening. Faber-Castell sponsored Valerie Mayen, Project Runway Season 8 Alum, to get the crowd excited and emcee the evening. Michaels sponsored pedi cab drivers to take attendees to and from the restaurant, giving them a unique tour of downtown Phoenix. Everyone enjoyed food and drinks, had some friendly punches in the boxing ring, and celebrated the last night of Creativation with a bang!