On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about h+h americas, a brand new trade show for the crafts industry, with my guest Darrin Stern.

Darrin Stern has worked for Koelnmesse (Cologne International Trade Fairs) Inc for 18 years. In that time, he has supported hundreds of clients from more than ten unique industries to grow their business worldwide. One of the industries Darrin supports is fiber arts. Since 2015 Darrin has helped companies from North America exhibit and visit the h+h Cologne show in Germany. In Darrin’s role with Koelnmesse Inc, he services as the Director of Business Development, IT & Systems Manager, and the show Director for h+h Americas. Before Koelnmesse, Darrin was a University Professor, Service Consultant, and Business Owner.  Darrin lives in the greater Chicago area with his two daughters and wife.

This episode is sponsored by Sunlight Digital.

A marketing agency for craft and DIY enthusiasts.

Sunlight Digital is a marketing agency that helps eCommerce stores who sell to makers, creators, crafters, artists & DIY enthusiasts. They are behind some of the biggest brands in the creative industry, responsible for strategies to move your online traffic from prospects to buyers to raving fans. And now, the team at Sunlight Digital is offering a customized review of your shop to help you uncover what’s keeping you from selling more. Go to sunlightdigital.clickfunnels.com/ciawebsitewalkthrough for more details.

We begin this conversation with Darrin explaining how he came to work in the events industry, specifically in the trade show industry for a company based in Germany.

Darrin talks about h+h cologne, a premier trade show for the crafts industry that’s been happening in Cologne, Germany for a long time. He explains what makes this particular show so special and why wholesalers and retailers from all over the world attend each year.

We talk about COVID and how the pandemic has impacted trade shows overall, and the h+h show in particular. Koelnmesse was able to provide full refunds for exhibitors who were scheduled for the March 2020 show in Germany and successfully pivoted to hosting a vibrant online show in the spring of 2021.

Next, Darrin explains the rationale behind Koelnmesse expanding into the American craft market by establishing a new show here. h+h americas is scheduled for June 22-24 in Chicago at the Rosemont Convention Center and everyone who has a business in the fiber industry is invited to attend. The goal of this show is to be a uniting force bringing together retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, influencers, designers, and more in one place to connect and people the whole industry forward.

Darrin talks about the COVID safety protocols that will be in place at the show. He also talks about the Rosemont area of Chicago and the restaurant and entertainment options nearby for attendees who would like to host their clients for an outing while in Chicago.

Craft Industry Alliance is excited to be the strategic partner for h+h americas. Our role is focused on helping to market the show and to plan the educational offerings including classes, demonstrations, and panel discussions.

Finally, I ask Darrin to recommend great stuff he’s enjoying right now. Darrin recommends:

Register to exhibit at h+h americas, check out the Indie Untangled Newcomers Pavilion, and follow h+h Americas on Instagram for more updates.

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