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by Association For Creative Industries
January ​17-21, 2019

Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, AZ
Education begins January ​17
Show floor open January 19-21


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2018 Highlights

Enjoy our event highlights and relive your favorite moments by viewing pictures in our Creativation 2018 album or searching #Creativation18.

United States Postal Service Stamp Ceremony

Creativation kicked-off on Thursday, January 18 with the United States Postal Services’ Love Stamp issuing ceremony. The non-denominated (49¢) forever stamp dubbed "Love Flourishes" features a fanciful garden of colorful flowers surrounding the word 'Love' written in cursive script. The stamp’s illustration by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Company is hand-painted with opaque watercolors on paper.

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2018 Industry Awards and Hall of Fame Inductees

On Saturday, January 20 AFCI recognized excellence in industry service and philanthropy by honoring Jill MacKay, Jim Scatena and Robert Workman. These individuals were nominated by their AFCI member peers and selected by the AFCI Industry Awards Committee, which is comprised of AFCI Board Members and member volunteers. Read more.

Keynote Presentation

Shama Hyder, Chief Executive Officer of the award-winning agency, The Marketing Zen Group, and best-selling author of two books: The Zen of Social Media Marketing and Momentum delivered the Keynote Presentation. Shama provided actionable advice, tips, tools and case studies to help businesses improve the customer experience, be more transparent and make the right choices. To learn more about Shama listen to Episode 2 of AFCI’s podcast. The presentation recording will be available here.

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General Session

The General Session was presented by Executives from Crayola, LLC. Crayola shared key stats on the kids crafts category and trends they are seeing in the marketplace. The presentation also provided actionable steps that retailers should be taking to improve the in-store experience. To learn more download the presentation here or listen to the recorded session available here on February 9, 2018.

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The Ultimate Pitch

The Ultimate Pitch was held on Monday, January 22 on the trade show floor, and was emceed by Kerry Cahill, actress on The Walking Dead and national spokesperson for AmVets.

The 2018 Top Innovation was awarded to Little Pink Ladybug for their new product, the BowVy Cutter, a hand held, cordless, hot filament cutting tool with interchangeable tips. They were awarded with a $10,000 check sponsored by The Michaels Companies. See it in action.

The other three finalists that competed in The Ultimate Pitch are:

  • An inspiring website, created by The Folklore Company, where people can design a personal cross stitch pattern in a unique, easy and modern way making embroidery more accessible to more people. Learn more here.
  • A flexible, straight knitting needle with ergonomic benefits to improve comfort during knitting activity presented by Flex Knit. Learn more here.
  • A DIY Frame Art Drawing Pad by Blissfu Studio that turns flat drawing paper into 3D framed art ready for display. Learn more here.

The judges who served on the panel include:

  • Brigid English, Vice President of Global Sourcing and Product Integration – The Michaels Companies
  • Chris DiTullio, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Omni-Channel – JOANN
  • Danica Lichtenwalner, Hobby & Crafts Buyer – Home Shopping Network (HSN)
  • Christine Stoelting, Business Intelligence Leader – Crayola, LLC
  • Victoria Katsarou, Director of Arts, Crafts & Sewing – Walmart.com/Jet.com
The 8 other innovations featured in the Innovations Center are:
  • Woolla® Tapestry Weaving Kits: Woolla® by Gamma TH JSC has been among the first companies to offer a collection of Tapestry weaving kits. It suits interests of people who prefer learning new trends and creating pieces of art by themselves. Learn more here.
  • The Art Journal: A series of art journals by Tanya Allen designed to help journalers ease tension by connecting with their trauma in a safe and inviting space. The whole story can be found here.
  • D-Stash: A resell app by Ja'De Hardiman specifically designed for the creative community. Sellers are able to take a photo of the product they are selling and upload and sell it within minutes of downloading the app. Learn more here.
  • The Oil Pastel Smudge Technique: The Oil Pastel Smudge Technique by Carol Foldvary-Anderson works with oil pastels and a template, which you cut and make yourself. The process encompasses the use of math, understanding and working with positive and negative shapes, and utilizes cognitive thinking skills, in the acquiring of knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. Learn more here.
  • ShardWorx® Kits for Kids:  ShardWorx® Kits for Kids by Mary Hong Art LLC is a new an innovative way of making art on canvas using shards of glass that are not sharp! Kids lay out their design with crushed glass and non-toxic glue on a painted canvas! Let dry overnight, and you have a masterpiece ready to hang. Learn more here.
  • Memory Lights:  Memory Lights by Keith Grange is an all in one lighting system for crafting. Light battery and switch are a single unit, (Memory Light). The crafter simply places the Memory Light in their project, no need to wire it up.
  • Etched Accents: Etched Accents by Heather Kimmel provides a solution to getting privacy while letting sunlight and some of the view through glass without shades or curtains. ​The product makes it hard to see inside a room whether it is day or night outside. It can add aesthetically pleasing designs to a room, privacy to a view or safety allowing people to easily see if the window or door is open or closed. The designs are cut away to allow light and some of the view to be seen.
  • Hotfix Adhesive:  Hotfix Fabric® by Hotfix Lace™ is fabric selections from today's hottest designers that has Hotfix Adhesive™ applied to it and comes in 10X10 sheets. Consumers can use any of the home cutters available on the market like the Cricut, ScanNcut, Silhouette or Die cuts to create projects and apply with a household iron resulting in a permanent bond. Learn more here.
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Exhibiting With Excellence Booth Award Winners

Five companies were awarded the Exhibiting With Excellence Awards for their eye-catching booth designs that clearly communicated their product lines. Sizzix/Ellison won the Spotlight Award for the house they built inspired by the trade show’s creative city theme. Prima Marketing won Critic’s Choice for incorporating the large crate they used to ship materials to the event into their booth. The other winners were: Catherine Pooler Designs for Best New Exhibitor Booth; Concord & 9th for Best Linear Booth; and Red Heart for Best Island Booth.

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New Products & Trends

Creativation is the launching pad for new products, and 2018 was no different. More than 40 companies featured ​new products in the New Product Showcase, which served as a sneak peek at what’s new and trending before the trade show floor opened. The showcase included releases in paints, stamps, scrapbooking, embroidery, storage solutions, and more. Click here to view all the new products.

As for trends, paper flowers, travel journals, and shaker cards had a strong presence at the trade show. Hand lettering and fonts were everywhere, but not just in paint and marker projects. Brands are expanding the use of bold, cursive and whimsical fonts that are pleasing to the eye to sticker and stamp products. Llamas continue to be the dominant animal design, although sloths and birds seem to be gaining popularity.

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Attendee Giveaways

Our attendees were so ecstatic about our daily giveaways that were held in Town Square, they couldn't help but smile and do a series of photobombs! Thanks to all of the exhibitors who contributed to our giveaways!

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