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All That Happened at h+h Americas Trade Show!

h+h Americas Trade Show Recap

I recently got back from attending h+h Americas trade show for the third year in a row. You may remember that the first year I drove all the way to Chicago from Seattle. Thankfully I flew this time!

h+h Americas is a fiber arts trade show that is based in Rosemont, IL (a suburb of Chicago, IL) and is the sister show to h+h Cologne in Germany. Having attended for the past 3 years, it's been amazing to see how this show has grown in such a short time. The first year I attended, there was so much yarn! Since I'm not a yarn person, it was a little overwhelming. Bt year three, the show was an impressive mix of fiber arts, fabrics, yarns, and notions as well as distributors, and publishers. If you're in the fiber arts industry, this is the show to attend!

As a vendor, my goal was to connect with new shops and have them carry my work on their shelves. I also wanted to connect with fellow makers, make new business friends, and look for potential collaborations.

MCreativeJ booth at h+h americas Sample It event

The first night of h+h Americas, I took part in Sample It! This was a new event that allowed attendees to shop participating vendors for 1.5 hours. Participating shops were encouraged to bring new product items for shops to sample. I brought an entire suitcase of Peel Stick and Stitch Patterns, as well as some of my new kits and a handful of copies of my book, How to Embroider Texture and Pattern. And let me tell you, I was NOT prepared for the shopping frenzy that attendees had! It was a little bit like a shark feeding frenzy, and I was the bait. It was very encouraging to see so much interest in my Peel Stick and Stitch Patterns, my first book, and my new Cyanotype Botanicals embroidery kit.

MCreativeJ booth at h+h americas

The next few days were the trade show. Thankfully, many of the attendees who picked up samples from the event stopped by to see my booth in full, as well as, pick up a few more samples to take with them.

Some of the shops that added MCreativeJ kits and pattern to their shelves include: shop M.A.B.E.L, Magpie Knits, A Stitch In Time, Village Fabric Shop, Barn Door Quilts, Off the Rails Quilting, and Kiriki Press Shop!

Additionally, I was able to connect with so many of my fellow business friends. I will admit, I was so busy chatting that I lost my voice and forgot to take photos, so I stole some from my friend's instagram accounts.

I finally met Kate from Modern Hoopla in person! Kate makes gorgeous hoop frames, stands, and all sorts of fun accessories that you didn't know you needed for needlework.

Kate from Modern Hoopla

And funnily enough, she knew my friend Tracy from Splash Fabric. I actually bunked with Tracy at Camp Thunder Craft a few years ago and ever since then we've chatted business and been at many of the same shows. The three of us and a few other business friends ended up going to dinner.

Tracy and Dave from Splash Fabric

At that dinner, I reconnected with Anne from Flax and Twine. I'd previously taken her class on raffia basket making at Craftcation. She and I started chatting and have some fun ideas in the mix.

Kirkki Press at h+h americas

Another online connection that I finally made in person was with Michelle of Kiriki Press! I've been a long time fan of the Kiriki Press embroidery doll kits and I finally met the maker in person at this show too. It was a big fangirl moment when she reached out to say she was attending and wanted to connect. We chatted about some fun ideas too and might have something cool in the works as well.

This show was really all about connections!

As a member of the Craft Industry Alliance, I attended their networking dinner. While there, I ran into my friend Sara Barnes's book editor from Schiffer Craft. I also had a lovely conversation with Kate from Barn Door Quilts about how we both got into business, busy seasons, trunk shows, and what's working and what's not for our businesses.

While trade shows are often about making sales, they're also about connections. Being able to attend h+h americas helped me connect with so many people that I'd only ever chatted with online. Over the years, it's helped me grown my business network, find resources and help me be a resource to others.

You can bet I'll be back next year! See you in 2025, h+h americas!


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