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Image courtesy of h+h cologne.

Are you interested in learning new skills to help you run your craft business? Join us this summer in Chicago for h+h americas, the premier trade show for the crafts industry, where you’ll find an incredible lineup of business-focused classes.

Craft Industry Alliance and the h+h americas Conference Committee collaborated to create a roster of forward-thinking topics taught by the best instructors in the industry. Purchase classes a la carte ($75), or get a class pass ($199) and attend as many as you want. Craft Industry Alliance members get a discount on both!

Conference Classes

Wednesday, June 22

Nichole Schneider – Coley International

Product Development from Concept to Retail Ready

12:00-1:30 pm

From Concept to Retail Ready: Product Development. In this class, you will explore the product development process from the initial concept through actualizing your vision with a retail-ready product. Nichole will guide you step-by-step through the various methods of product development.

5 Things I’ve Learned from Running a Subscription Box

12:00-1:30 pm

In 2018, shortly after the debut of The Knit Show (YouTube, Roku), host/producer Vickie Howell was approached by a major subscription box software company with the opportunity to start a co-branded subscription box business. Due to unforeseen structure changes, the business became 100% Vickie’s within weeks of launch, requiring her to learn how to run it in real-time.

Since then, based on a model of supporting and cross-promoting other small businesses, YarnYAY! By Vickie Howell has become a viable contender in the knitting and crochet sub-box category with a consistently low churn rate and revenue growth of 28% in 2021. The intent of this lecture is for one business person’s baptism-by-fire to inform and inspire another one’s Phoenix-rising moment.

Trisha Malcolm

Craft Industry Trends

12:00 -1:30 pm

Whether we know it or not, trends drive so many of our decisions in making, buying, and living. This lecture will look at the key trends influencing our society at the moment, then delve into fashion and color trends for the upcoming season, and look at maker trends, particularly relating to knitting, crochet, macrame, sewing, quilting, needlework, and embroidery.

Dr. Elizabeth Townsend Gard – Just Wanna Quilt

Legal Issues for Branding and Advertising

1:45-3:15 pm

You have the product and you are ready to get out there and make your entrepreneur dreams come true, or you are an established business with an increasing social media presence. This hour-long course will take you through legal issues associated with branding and advertising law, particularly in the social media space. Topics include ADA-compliant websites, influences and sponsorship, and basic concepts of advertising law like puffery, verifiable facts, disclosures, and disclaimers.

The course is designed to get you up to speed on legal issues that might arise in the branding and advertising of your company and products as well as working with other companies and individuals.

Bobbie Gentili – The Geeky Bobbin

Cosmic Content Creation: The 5-step S.O.L.A.R. System for Overcoming Online Marketing Overwhelm

1:45-3:15 pm

Learn how to use Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to attract and connect with your audience. We’ll talk about your most important digital asset, the surprising, most effective digital medium for increasing online sales and I’ll share my simple workflow to post to all 5 platforms in a fraction of the time!

Thursday, June 23

Jewell Washington – Our Maker Life

Keynote: The Modern Maker: Next Generation Insight with Our Maker Life

8:30-9:30 am

The opportunity to dive into making and pattern design in a modern way, one that embraces the value and forethought of slow fashion and simple living, is here. Highlighting artistic creation, vision, and fiber craft is an increasingly powerful dynamic among millennials and Gen Z. The crossroad of where art, skill, and community meet and is shared on media platforms in creative ways is one that should be embraced for true industry sustainability, and if not, could create a make-or-break situation for B2B.

Our Maker Life (OML) was established in 2016 and consists of knitters, crocheters, yarn dyers, business entrepreneurs, pattern designers, and industry influencers who share a collective passion for fiber arts + community. OML has connected thousands of makers online, and hosts fun and inspiring in-person conferences, meetups, yarn tours, and knit nights.

In our keynote, OML founder Jewell Washington offers challenging insight into the value of what, why, where, and how organizations can find practicability and advantage in embracing the talent of the modern maker while remaining true to traditionalism and industry roots. She’ll show the usefulness, hurdles, and wins next gen has provided in both her knit and crochet design and networking careers, both in small businesses and in the larger community. Learn how tradition + modern can be a win-win for fiber art.

Smartphone Photography Confidence

9:45-11:15 am

In this class, professional photographer Gale Zucker presents an overview of using your Smartphone /iPhone effectively and creatively to make eye-grabbing images for your business. Gale will present a slide talk sharing tips, tricks, and resources for leveling up photos of people and products.

Gale will offer simple lighting, compositional, and editing ideas to solve challenges shared by business owners and makers. The audience will leave with photo ideas they can implement immediately, and increased confidence in their ability to make compelling photos for social media, promotions, and marketing.

Pattern Launch Formula

9:45-11:15 am

How to earn a consistent paycheck with your patterns, without publishing new patterns all the time!

Pattern Launch Formula is a business model that anyone can easily follow, providing simple strategies that will lead to success, including:

  • How to build a community that will know, like, and trusts you and your work.
  • How to solve problems for crocheters (knitters, weavers, sewers…), by creating patterns they want and love.
  • How to create an effective schedule that allows you to sell every week without getting overwhelmed, or feeling salesy
  • How to release patterns when you’re ready

Virtual Teaching as Added Value: Community + Profit

9:45-11:15 am

Learn how adding online education to your current business model can provide added value and community to your audience, and added profit for you. Conserve your time and energy by using what you are already doing as your first educational offerings, You already have the equipment you need and it’s possible to learn as you go.

Come hear an overview of what it takes to provide live or on-demand workshops that will bring you, new customers, build relationships with your audience, and increase your income. Learn how even small bits of educational content can lead to more sales for your product.

How to Write a Best-Selling Craft Book

9:45-11:15 am

Before you can grab a knitter’s attention, you must get the publisher’s attention. This one-hour presentation will demystify the entire process, from queries to proposals. Learn how to write a persuasive marketing comparison, an eye-catching and powerful bio, and master the mighty push-pull to get what you want in the negotiation process from a bestselling craft book author.

Trisha Malcolm

How to Teach a Class

11:30-12:45 pm

Teaching classes, whether virtual or in-person, can be daunting! It’s one thing to know your content, but organizing and presenting your material is the difference between and good class and a great class. We’ll go step-by-step through the process of coming up with an idea, planning a lesson, right through to managing the class, planning timing, and then evaluations.

Nichole Schneider – Coley International

Suggestive Selling Through Product Placement

11:30-12:45 pm

Suggestive Selling Through Product Placement. Whether it’s a kit, bundle, or eye-catching display, Nichole will coach you to sell more through suggestive product placement. Make the most of your time and inventory by curating retail items before a customer ever walks in.

Spinning Yarn 101

11:30-12:45 pm

In this lecture and demonstration session, Alanna will walk participants through the basics of what spinning yarn entails including:

  • What supplies handspinners need and how to locate vendors/suppliers/sources
  • How to gauge if your existing customers would want to learn more about the craft
  • How to market to existing spinners in your area
  • How to teach your customers about spinning
  • How to learn more about spinning to better meet your customers’ needs

How to Cut a Quilt Pattern with a Cricut

11:30-12:45 pm

How many of you almost gave up quilting because you got tired of cutting hundreds of squares before you could start making your quilt? Well, today you will learn how to cut your prep time in half by using the Cricut Maker to cut your pattern pieces. No more crooked lines, with the Cricut Maker you’ll cut precise and accurate lines every time for your project. You’ll learn to work with the Cricut Rotary Blade to cut pre-formed shapes or you can be creative and cut curves, circles, inside and awkward cuts and we’ll review how to mark your sew lines all with your Cricut as well.

We’ll go over additional tricks of the trade such as how to cut several layers at once and how to use the design center to layout your pattern pieces to cut down the waste of fabric. The Cricut Maker comes with several patterns for you to use, and I’ll show you how to import your own patterns from your computer to the Cricut Maker. The primary objective of using the Cricut Maker is to cut your prep time in half. This will be achieved by making more precise and accurate cut lines for your projects. They will learn to use a Cricut to cut pattern pieces, and how to download your pattern.

Cecilia Nelson-Hurt – Creative Ceci

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Retailers

1:00-2:30 pm

A solid understanding of Diversity & Inclusion is essential in all industries, especially in retail/consumer-facing environments.  DEI impacts all business aspects across leadership, workforce, workplace culture, marketing, and consumer engagement. 
 
This session will highlight the opportunities to intentionally welcome various dimensions of diversity in a retail environment while creating a space that is seen as inclusive for all. 

Plan Your Year for Local Craft Retailers

1:00-2:30 pm

Let me show you how to plan your year and then break things down by month, week and day. I’ll talk about how to set attainable goals and the difference between goals and tasks. I will also give you tools to figure out how to decide which projects deserve your focus and which do not. You will want to bring a bullet journal or other calendar/planner with you.

Leanne Pressly – Stitchcraft Marketing

Web3 for Craft Business Owners

1:00-2:30 pm

The next evolution of the internet is coming in the form of blockchain technology, augmented reality, and the metaverse. Will this impact your craft business in the coming years? In this session, we’ll review features, definitions, and examples of web 3.0 including blockchain, NFTs, crypto, and DAOS, and discuss implications and preparations for your fiber or fabric business.

Kim McBrien Evans – Indigodragonfly

What Your Yarn Forgot to Tell You: Hand Dyed Yarn and Color

1:00-3:00 pm

“But what will it look like when it’s knit or crocheted?” Hand-dyed yarns have become more complex and varied in recent years. Colour, especially combining colors and using yarns dyed in different ways, often makes both designers and makers nervous. Come unravel the secrets and learn how to work WITH hand-dyed yarn to create different moods and visual textures. Learn how to understand how the yarn was dyed and how it might look when knit or crocheted. Bend color theory to your will. Define neutral colors that are not just black and grey. Build color combinations that express your vision: fun or sophisticated, professional or playful.

Note: This is a hands-on workshop, with many examples of hand-dyed yarns they can touch and look at to fully understand how they work. Students will get small yarn samples to take home as a reference, a resource for patterns for different types of dyeing to assist in building a sample collection, and gain confidence in predicting how patterns and yarns will work together.

 

Dr. Elizabeth Townsend Gard – Just Wanna Quilt

Intellectual Property Basics for Designers and Creators

2:45-4:15 pm

What are the key concepts that every creator or designer should know, whether for their person or professional work? This hour-long course will take you through the basics of patents, copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, and right of publicity. We will dabble in a bit more copyright – how to think about boundaries between common resources and your own work, and trademark – how to think about protecting the name of your products and company, Finally, we will talk briefly about the new Copyright Small Claims system beginning at the U.S. Copyright Office in June 2022, a potentially perfect option for small disputes without a lot of financial investment.

Valerie Moreno

Sales Metrics for Retailers

2:45-4:15 pm

Do you look at your POS dashboard and see green = good, red = bad and…move on? I think of sales metrics like a progress report in school – it’s a check-in point. Learn which metrics are important for your business and why. Metrics are a tool to help you achieve your goals. Your business metrics are relative to your goal and where you started. In this class you’ll learn the basics of sales metrics and where to find your metrics. Use the information to save time and make better business decisions.

5 Going Live Tips for Video on Social Media

2:45-4:15 pm

“Going Live” on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms is now an expected part of promoting your business. It conveys an authenticity for your brand and familiarity with your customers, followers, and community that’s invaluable. It can also be a little daunting. In this lecture, Vickie will share 5 tips that I’ve learned about live streaming for business from her time promoting TV shows like DIY’s Knitty Gritty, PBS’ Knitting Daily, and YouTube’s The Knit Show, and from her series, Ask Me Monday, the longest-running yarn-craft Facebook Live show.

Spinning 101 Workshop: Learn How to Spin Yarn Using a Drop Spindle

4:00-6:00 pm

In this hands-on enrichment workshop, you will learn how to spin yarn by hand using a tool called a drop spindle and wool fiber. The basic mechanics of spinning will be explored and participants will leave with their own drop spindle and wool fiber to continue practicing after the workshop.

Workshop costs will include a drop spindle and fiber.

Amy Meadows – Windows Matter

Made You Look: Eye-catching, Sales-driving Visual Merchandising Strategies

4:30-6:00 pm

This 45 minute presentation addresses the distinctions between display and visual merchandising, the most common stumbling blocks to success and affordable, actionable solutions.

Traci Reuter – Divine Social

MultiChannel Retail in A Digital World

4:30-6:00 pm

Gone are the days of a one-channel retail approach. The last two years have changed consumer behavior. 2020 catapulted global e-commerce growth. Consumers are hungry to shop for their favorite brands and products where and when it is convenient for them. There are no signs of this trend slowing down. You will walk away from this seminar with an understanding of what is working now and what are the future trends in multi-channel retail. Develop a digital acquisition strategy that is right for your brand and your customer and position your business for the years ahead.

Bobbie Gentili – The Geeky Bobbin

IGnition™: The M.A.R.S. Formula for Red Hot Instagram Posts

4:30-6:00 pm

Take a deep dive into creating Instagram posts that have scroll-stopping images and captions that demand engagement, and convert. The M.A.R.S. Formula will show you how to optimize your content for this platform, step-by-step, every time.

Friday, June 24

Plenary Session

8:30-9:30 am

The Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) works with young adults and teens to help find their voice through the art of quilting. Students learn how to cut fabric and make quilt blocks and, along the way, find the strength to express the systemic problems that plague their everyday life.

One branch of the SJSA is the Remembrance Project which focuses on lives lost due to violence and social injustices. Volunteers receive the name of an individual who has been killed and then research the individual’s case in order to create a quilt block in their memory. The blocks are sewn into banners that are displayed by organizations all over the US to raise awareness and ignite action.

In this lecture, SJSA founder Sara Trail will trace the roots of the SJSA and the Remembrance Project. She’ll show the impact these programs have had on both participants and larger communities. Learn how art can be a powerful tool for social change.

Valerie Moreno

Open to Buy

9:45-11:15 am

Open To Buy is an inventory budget. On paper, it functions like the envelope budget system. You choose how much money goes into the inventory envelope. You decide what inventory to buy and pay the vendor. Add money to the envelope with sales. Instead of envelopes and cash, we’ll use sales reports and spreadsheets. During this class you’ll learn the parts of an Open to Buy, the OTB math formula, and how to use historical sales and current trends to make an OTB for your business.

Natalia Uribe Wilson – YarnCon

Showtime! Show Prep 101

9:45-11:15

In this class, Natalia Uribe Wilson, co-founder of YarnCon, will share her experience as both show organizer and vendor to help you prepare to sell your wares at art and craft shows. She will take you through the process from the application to tearing down your booth at the end of a show.

You’re a maker and you’re interested in selling at art/craft shows, but where do you even begin? Natalia has years of experience both in organizing YarnCon, an indie fiber festival, and vending in a number of shows for almost 20 years, and she will share her knowledge and insights with you as you prepare to take the next steps for your business.

10 Tips for Fabulous Product Photos

9:45-11:15 am

No matter what your product or service, you need dynamic photography to get it noticed on social media and in marketing. In this slide talk class, professional photographer Gale Zucker will offer ten fresh, actionable ideas to enliven your imagery. Tips and tricks will include lighting, composition, and background advice. Styling and posing techniques will also be addressed. The class will be taught assuming that images are being created on iPhones/smartphone, though can be applied to any camera.

The concepts and ideas will support both artisans/ designers’ needs and shop owners/ retailers. Gale will share links for resources. Participants will leave inspired by easily implemented ideas to put into motion immediately, and the goal of creating images with a signature look for their business.

Kim McBrien Evans – Indigodragonfly

Why Inclusive Sizing Matters

9:45-11:15 am

Size inclusion is an important issue in the making industry, but what does “inclusive” really mean, and why should it matter to your business? When we look at who is being excluded, your business could be missing out on 2/3 of your potential market. Learn how to start building a size-inclusive size range as we look at important resources for sizing data, how to talk about sizing in your patterns, building a body size chart for design, how to be inclusive in your marketing, and strategies for designing for bodies that aren’t like yours.

West African Indygo Dyeing

11:30-12:45 pm

Have you admired West African Indigo Dye fabrics from afar? Come join me as we travel through the West African, specifically the Nigerian history of Indigo Dyeing and the meaning behind many of their designs.

During this workshop, you’ll learn about the traditional Yoruba techniques of Batik, Adire Eleko, and Tie-Dye. We will talk about and walk through the widely used resist process which applies colors or patterns to your fabric by using woodblock stamps, stencils, or by using the traditional Tie-Dye methods. At the conclusion of the workshop, you’ll be able to walk away with your own West African Indigo Dye Masterpiece. If you love all things blue, then this workshop is a must for you!

The primary objective is to introduce the workshop attendees to the traditional Yoruba techniques of Batik, Adire Eleko, and Tie Dye. They will learn the resist process to create vibrant patterns using woodblock stamps, stencils, and the traditional Tie-Dye methods.

Dana Connell – Columbia College Chicago

Cathy Donovan Wagner – Retail Mavens

Stop Giving Away Your Store: End the Cash Drain and Know Your Numbers for Ultimate Profit

11:30-12:45 pm

Want to increase your cash flow? Learn how to be more successful and profitable in your business – with the goal to increase cash flow and better sleep at night! Walk away from this seminar with simple, actionable, and thought-provoking steps that you can begin applying to your store right away! Finally, you’ll gain the secret to moving more inventory faster than ever and create a simple stock and sales plan for Fall 2022, which will allow your business to thrive by highlighting exactly what’s making the cash register sing!

Weaving 101

11:30-12:45 pm

In this lecture and demonstration session, Alanna will walk participants through the basics of what weaving entails including:

  • What supplies do weavers need and how to locate vendor suppliers
  • How to gauge if your existing customers would want to learn more about the craft
  • How to market to existing weavers in your area
  • How to teach your customers about weaving
  • How to learn more about weaving to better meet your customers’ needs

Jewell Washington – Our Maker Life

Pattern Template 101

11:30-12:45 pm

Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or weaving, a pattern needs to contain all the information required for someone to reproduce exactly what you’ve made. In this 101 lecture, Jewell will walk designers and participants through how and why knowing and utilizing the basics of personalized digital pattern templates are beneficial to success highlighting:

  • What digital design programs allow for pattern creativity and technical skill to shine
  • How to leverage financial gain and return customers from creating pattern templates
  • How to make pattern design work for your business, and your self-care
  • What exactly goes into a pattern template? A quick 101 refresh
  • How to overcome pattern template fatigue and stress

Rosann Fleischauer – First Byte Designs

Managing Excess Inventory

1:00-2:00 pm

As a business consultant to yarn companies and local yarn stores, the most frequent issue my customers face is how to deal with excess inventory. Everyone has had buyer’s remorse at one point or another in their career; bought the wrong yarn and watched it sit on the shelf, ignored by customers for an extended period of time only to end up in the sale bin where it may or may not sell. In this workshop, we will explore creative ways to clear the shelves of stale inventory to make room for all the new items you found at HH Americas and identify ways in which you can minimize the issue in the future.

Rae Cumbie – FIt For Art Patterns

Expanding Into Garment Sewing

1:00-2:00 pm

There is so much interest in garment sewing given the wardrobing trends that focus on personal fit, style, and sustainable living. Is your store or craft media company ready to expand into this market? Learn about choosing patterns, fabrics, tools and learning opportunities so your client base will have a successful garment sewing experience.

How to Teach Crochet

1:00-2:00 pm

Just knowing how to crochet will not make you a great teacher. In fact, even the greatest crocheters can have trouble teaching. That’s why I created a different approach to crochet instruction that includes teaching objectives, lesson outlines, homework, patterns, action steps, and more! And no, it doesn’t include granny squares. When you learn my approach to crochet education, you’ll build a community of crocheters who will know, like, and trust you! Let’s pass crochet through the generations in better hands than we found it, together.

Weaving 101 Workshop: How to Create a Woven Yarn Swatch Using a Pin Loom

1:00-3:00 pm

In this hands-on enrichment workshop, you will learn how to weave a 4″ square swatch using a pin loom. Participants will be given a Zoom loom kit and different samples of yarns to make the swatches. The basic mechanics of weaving will be explored and participants will leave with their own loom and yarns to continue practicing after the workshop.

Workshop costs include a kit with a Schact Zoom loom & yarn,

Rosann Fleischauer – First Byte Designs

How to Run a Craft-along

2:10-3:40 pm

The purpose of a craft-along (CAL) is to provide members of your crafting community with a common project to engage them, to reinforce and enhance your crafting community through the camaraderie which evolves organically during the journey from picking a project through completion of a finished object. It’s not as complicated as you might think, six steps and you’re on your way to building a community focused craft along to engage your customers. In this class we will explore these six steps and provide you the framework in which to host your own craft along.

Laura Cameron – Stitchcraft Marketing

Back to Basics: Newsletters 101

2:10-3:40 pm

A solid mailing list and a great newsletter are two of the best and most important tools in your arsenal. Your email list is composed of customers who have expressly told you that they want to hear more from you! If social media disappears tomorrow, you need a way to reach your customers directly and get the word out about the fabulous products and services you offer. And your email newsletter is one of the best ways to measure ROI (return on investment) – you can measure sales generated from each send. If you’re still not sure about newsletters, let us help guide you through how to start your own and why they matter!

Valerie Moreno

How Big Box Retailers Plan Inventory: Adding Top 10 SKU Weekly Review

2:10-3:40 pm

In this class, you get to peak behind the corporate curtain. I’ll show you how the big-box retailers plan their inventory and how you can use Inventory Planning in your independent business. You’ll learn a quick weekly process to add sales to your business. This is an intro-level class, you probably have everything you need – a POS system, a spreadsheet, sales, and inventory numbers. By the end of this hour, you’ll have the confidence to pick your SKUs, get started, and sell more.

Sofa Talks

Join us for Sofa Talks! These are panel discussions that take place on the main stage right on the show floor. No special ticket needed!

Wednesday, June 24

3:30-4:45 pm State of the Industry Panel Discussion moderated by Abby Glassenberg with Maureen Miller, David Gilliver, Trisha Malcolm, and Vickie Howell.

Thursday, June 23

10:00-10:30 am Pride Month Craftivism: Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community Without Engaging in Rainbow Capitalism with Austin Rivers of Knit the Rainbow

1:00-2:00 pm Fostering Creative Partnerships with Karin Strom (moderator) and Lucinda Iglesias, Michael del Vecchio, Mary Lou Egan, and Vickie Howell

2:00-3:00 pm Pivoting Out of the Pandemic Into a New Business Environment with Ellen Lewis (moderator) and Sarah Keller, Bug Richardson Seling, and Traci Reuter

3:00-4:00 pm Getting Press for Your Business with Sunni Scrivner (moderator) and Laura Zander, Lisa Chamoff, and Sandra Chandler

Friday, June 24

10:45-11:30 pm Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Fiber World: A Discussion with Cecilia Nelson-Hurt and Jewell Washington

12:00-1:00 pm Indie Magazine Publishing with Vickie Howell (moderator) and Pom Pom Quarterly, Making Magazine, Knitty, and SEWN Magazine

1:15-2:00 pm NFT’s for Artists and Makers with Joey Dunne and Hiram Villa (TEEL ONE)

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