We are so pleased to be able to present an all-star lineup of speakers on our Main Stage at h+h americas 2024. The Main Stage is located right on the show floor and attendance at these sessions is free for all attendees. Learn about product development, sustainability, cosplay, working with influencers, and so much more!

Plus, we’re also incredibly excited to announce our two incredible keynote speakers and our State of the Industry panelists! These sessions are also open to everyone in attendance at no extra charge. Kick off each day of the show with an inspiring and eye-opening session!

Main Stage

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

10:30-11:30 am – Sustainable Practices for Craft Businesses

Preserving and protecting our environment is one of the most pressing issues of our time. How can we, as craft business owners, work toward reducing environmental impacts, supporting local economies, and promoting our social responsibility toward the earth and each other? In this panel discussion, business owners* who have made sustainability a priority in their companies will share what they’ve learned and suggest actions that support people, the planet, and profits. Come away with practical ideas for making your business more eco-friendly and how to communicate this priority with your customers.

Panelists: Elise O’Malley, Rheaply, Lauren Venell, Maydel, Chris Hughes, Artifact USA

Moderated by: Katy Osborn, Nowhere Collective

12:00-1:00 pm – Using Social Media to Sell Products and Services Both Locally and Online

Come learn how to sell products and services online and locally. Josh will present proven strategies that have helped many sewing and quilting shops increase their visibility and revenue.

Presented by Josh Sutherland, Sew & Vac Media

1:30-2:15 pm – Special Guest: Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert is the designer of the Modern Prairie product line for Riley Blake, which finds its muse in the cherished series, Little House on the Prairie (“LHOTP”). Gilbert is known fondly as Laura Ingalls Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie television series. From fashion to home design, the product range is a testament to the enduring allure of Americana and prairie chic style, thoughtfully reimagined to cater to the demands of the contemporary world.

Presented by Riley Blake

2:30-3:15 – AI and SEO Harnessing the Power of Tech for Your Creative Business

AI doesn’t have to be a four-letter word when it comes to streamlining your workflow and putting time back into your creativity. In this Q&A learn from gosadi co-founder and crafty coder Michele Costa to push your brand to the top of the pile in search. Join Michele and Samantha of Team gosadi as they tackle common misconceptions and fears, best practices and ethics, and the key to SEO success.

Panelists: Michele Costa and Samantha Brunson, gosadi

3:30-4:15 – In-store Events that Bring in Customers and Profits

Whether it’s an in-store fashion show, craft along, book signing, or class with a famous crafter (in person or via Zoom), we’ll talk about how to dazzle your guests and your customers with your amazing organizational skills and your perfect hosting abilities. We’ll discuss the secrets of cross-promotion, the pros and cons of one-off events vs multi-week events, customer follow up, and more. Remember, events bring in customers!

Panelists: Cynthia Spencer, Stitch Your Art Out; Laura Rasmussen, 3 Kittens Needle Arts

Moderated by: Patty Lyons

Thursday, May 2, 2024

10:30-11:15 am – 10 Ways to Market and Grow Your Shop

Discover how you can optimize your operations, boost customer engagement, and increase revenue. Whether you’re a new shopowner or a seasoned veteran, learn ways to market and grow your shop.

Presented by FabShop News trade magazine

11:30-12:00 pm – Genesis Hall and a New Generation of Quilters

Learn how the next generation is becoming interested in quilting! In this interview, Irina Shaar of the popular YouTube show, Fiberchats, will interview Genesis Hall, a 14-year-old avid quilter who is also known as Genny From the Quilt Block. After many years living in different countries as a military child, Genny’s family settled in North Carolina and she is currently 14 years old. Genny has been sewing for three years and quilting for two and half. Though she doesn’t have very many years of experience, she’s notorious for taking on a challenge and always eager to learn new things. Quilting is Genny’s passion and expertise but she also enjoys sewing garments and bags.

12:15-1:00 pm – Creating In-store Special Events that Build Community and Generate Sales

In-store special events build excitement and loyalty among your customers and bring them into your shop to buy. Hosting a successful event, though, takes planning and coordination. Make the most of your shop anniversary, World Wide Knit in Public Day, or Local Yarn Store Day, etc. by creating special swag, inviting celebrity guests, alerting the media, and collaborating with other local businesses to generate buzz. In this panel discussion, you’ll hear from shop owners who have hosted successful in-store events (including some you may not have thought of) and you’ll come away with actionable ideas to implement in the coming months.

Panelists: Michelle Bailey, Poppy Quilt and Sew in Georgetown, Texas; Andrea Riddle, The Yarn Club in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Moderated by: Sunni Scrivner, Yarn in Eureka, California

1:15-2:00 pm – How to Buy or Sell a Business

 Most entrepreneurs have put at least some thought into how to sell their business eventually.  But what steps could you take now to make your business more appealing to future buyers? And how do you prepare your business for a sale? Or maybe you’re interested in potentially buying an existing business. Acquiring a business can give you a running start, but what should you look for and how do you know you’re making a good investment?

In this panel discussion with entrepreneurs who have bought and sold businesses, you’ll hear firsthand how these deals come to pass. Come away with concrete information to help you approach buying or selling a business.

Panelists: Tobias Feder, Malabrigo; Mark Hyland, HandiQuilter; Chelsea O’Hayre, Pink Door Fabrics

Moderated by: Amber Christian, Handmade Seller Magazine

2:15-2:45 pm – Digital Advertising 101

Digital ads can be an effective tool in your marketing strategy. In this session, we’ll explain ad types like programmatic, geofencing, retargeting, and video pre-roll. Leave with a better understanding of budgets and how to get started.

Presented by Leanne Pressly, Stitchcraft Marketing


3:00-4:00 pm – Cosplay Fashion Show

4:00-5:00 pm – Cosplay Meet-the-Maker

Friday, May 3, 2024

10:15-11:00 am – White Labeling to Create Your Own Branded Products

White labeling means purchasing products produced by another company and branding them to be your own. It’s a strategy that allows you to focus on what you do best, while also offering a larger assortment of specialty products to your customers. How do you find products to white label, and what does the process look like? In this panel discussion, you’ll hear from a variety of businesses with expertise in sourcing, branding, and white-labeling products. Come away with new product ideas for your business.

Panelists: Marisa Marquez, Brewer;  Joy Ercanbrack, Kimberbell

Moderated by: Brint Fanizza, Famore

11:15-12:00 pm – Crafting Your Path to Profit

Join Heidi Kaisand, publisher of Creative Retailer magazine and owner of Hen & Chicks Studio as she guides you through the steps to crafting a financial plan that can be tailored for your store. Heidi will share invaluable insights and strategies to ensure cash flow, empowering you to consistently have money in the bank. Learn five actionable tips that will enable you to pay yourself and your bills with confidence.
Presented by: Creative Retailer

12:15-1:00 pm – Today’s Craft Publishing Landscape

Craft books are a vital way for consumers to learn new skills and for authors to share their work with the public. Although the media landscape has radically changed over the last two decades, craft books remain important. Today’s aspiring authors have choices when it comes to how to publish a book and we’ll explore those options in this panel discussion. You’ll learn how to capture the attention of mainstream publishers, what it takes to self-publish, and different paths to marketing your book. Come away inspired and encouraged to write a craft book.

Panelists:  Sandra Korinchak, Schiffer Craft, Karla Overland, Cherrywood Fabrics, Anna Hrachovec, Mochimochi Land

Moderated by: Roxane Certa, C&T Publishing

1:15-2:00 pm – Interweaving Threads: Exploring the Versatility of Knitting and Crochet Yarns for Weaving

Join us as we unravel the innovative ways weavers can leverage knitting and crochet yarns in their craft, and how best to market to this demographic of yarn enthusiasts. This panel discussion will weave together insights from experienced artisans, shedding light on what weavers are actually looking for in a yarn, the real differences between weaving and knitting/crochet yarn properties, and the exciting possibilities that arise when you strip away the “rules” surrounding yarn usage. Don’t miss this opportunity to thread the needle between tradition and innovation in the world of weaving with any kind of yarn.

Presented by The Handweavers Guild of America


Wednesday, May 1, 8:30-10:00 am

Presentation of the Golden Scissors Awards + State of the Industry Panel Discussion

Join us for the first annual Golden Scissors Awards ceremony! The craft industry is made up of both world-class corporations and thousands of visionary small business owners, whose never-ending creativity continually lifts the entire sector to new heights. The Golden Scissors Awards are an opportunity for the industry to recognize those who have offered outstanding leadership and innovation in the past year. The 2024 award recipients will be announced live on stage!

What challenges and opportunities are craft businesses facing today? And what will tomorrow bring? In this panel discussion with industry leaders from the US and abroad, you’ll hear about developing trends, forecasts, and future outlooks for craft businesses. Come away with a global view of the crafts industry. We are all connected, from new businesses to established companies, from large corporations to independent makers, and this discussion will set the tone for what the show and the coming year will bring.

Panelists: Toni Lipsey, TL Yarn Crafts; Gina Pantastico, Cloud9; Virginia Johnson, Gather Here; Scott Stone, Gemporia Craft

Moderated by: Abby Glassenberg, Craft Industry Alliance

Amber Kemp-Gerstel

Thursday, May 2, 8:30-9:30

Keynote: Amber Kemp-Gerstel of Damask Love

Amber Kemp-Gerstel began her career as a child psychologist. In 2015, she shifted gears to creating craft content full-time. Since then she learned that her job is as much about crafting as it is about relating and engaging with people. After being on NBC’s Making It, she came to realize that there is truly no creative challenge she can’t take on.

In this keynote address, Amber will dive into the ever-shifting landscape of how creative businesses engage with customers and the incredible value of influencer marketing. Hear inside anecdotes from brand collaborations and what it’s really like to share DIY content every day with an audience of over 115,000 people.

Mark Hyland of HandiQuilter

Mark Hyland, Handi Quilter

Friday, May 3, 8:30-10:00 am

Presentation of Craft Industry Consumer Research: Quilting

Quilting Trends is an annual large-scale consumer research study conducted by Premier Needle Arts and Handi Quilter in collaboration with industry partners. Each year 25,000 quilters nationwide respond to survey questions that reveal important behavioral and buying trends. In this summary of the 2024 survey results you’ll learn about the profile of the average quilter today, their buying preferences, and where quilters are turning now to learn new skills. Come away with an understanding of the trajectory of the industry in comparison to years past.

Jan Hurwitz, Berroco

Friday, May 3, 8:30-10:00 am

Presentation of Craft Industry Consumer Research: Yarn

Yarn Trends is a periodic large-scale consumer research study focused on understanding consumer behavior in the yarn industry. Conducted by Berroco, the study’s findings reveal the overall size of the yarn industry now, the demographics of the average consumer in this sector, and trends in buying behavior. Learn how consumers are learning about new products, where they’re going to learn new skills and more. 

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