2024 Conference Program

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 have an incredible lineup of masterclasses, business classes, panels, and keynotes topics. You’ll learn from the best instructors in the industry. Purchase classes a la carte, or get a class pass and attend as many as you want. Craft Industry Alliance members get a discount on both!


10:00 am – 11:00 am
| Cultivating Media Relationships: How to Build a Media List and Land Press Opportunities

Nicole Lewis
Art 2 the Extreme | Art 2 the Extreme


Be the boss of your own PR by growing long-term relationships with the media. In this class, You’ll learn how to go about building your own media list, and how to craft your story to land publicity effectively, efficiently, and confidently. Networking and connecting with members of the media is a slow burn, but when done correctly, provides value for the writers you would like to work with resulting in earned press for you. Learn how to find contact information, what research you need to do before starting a relationship, and where to look for calls for product roundups and expert advice. Whether you are just getting started with PR or want to level up and fine-tune your pitch + build relationships, you will leave with actionable steps to immediately implement towards successfully landing earned press!


10:00 am – 11:00 am
| Lights, Camera, Action: How to Use Video for Business Growth

Vanessa Vargas WilsonVanessa Vargas-Wilson | Crafty Gemini

In this course, Vanessa will share valuable tips and ideas on how to effectively incorporate video into your business strategy for maximum growth. From creating engaging product videos to showcasing your shop’s unique personality with behind-the-scenes footage, this lecture will include loads of tips and ideas. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from a professional quilter and former quilt shop owner who has been producing and editing online videos for 14+ years!


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
| 10 Visual Merchandising Tips for Your Store from an Anthropologie Designer

Michelle Sherrier | MC Design Collaboration and The Retail Whore Podcast

From fixture design to floor setting to window displays, learn visual merchandising from one of the industry’s best. Expert Michelle Sherrier will bring her visual merchandising know-how from years at Anthropologie to show you how to create stunning displays that sell. Make a great first impression, increase traffic flow in your shop, and wow your customers! Transform your store into an eye-catching showroom you can be proud of, all while encouraging shoppers to notice products and buy more.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm | Creating a Logo and Visual Brand Identity That Inspires Customer Connection


Arianne Foulks, Helen Hulskamp, and Christine Castro Hughes | Aeolidia

Intentional, strategic, and memorable brand design helps you delight retail and wholesale customers, stand out in a crowd, and create effective marketing campaigns. This class aims to prepare you for each stage of developing your brand, from new businesses to established businesses that need a refreshed look. We’ll cover:

– The basics of brand strategy
– What makes an effective logo
– What graphic elements you need
– How to evaluate your current brand
– When to hire and how to choose a designer
– How to work successfully with a designer

Branding is a big deal! All your marketing and selling efforts get easier when you have a strong brand foundation. Make sure you’re informed before taking your next step with your brand.

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Craft Trends: A Deep Dive into Color, Motifs, and Materials

Trisha Malcolm | DMC

Whether we realize it or not, trends influence so many of our decisions in making, buying, and living. This lecture will look at the key trends influencing our society right now. We’ll 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, taking a closer look at design trends within each category, as well as innovations in yarns, threads, fabrics, and tools.


10:00 am – 11:00 am | Scaling Systems for Growth

Holly Howard | Ask Holly How

If you’ve ever found yourself saying that you’re always putting out fires or you feel like you never have time to focus on the creative work you love, scaling your operating systems will change your business and your life. In this class, we’ll look at best practices for codifying and documenting all of the systems we need to run a thriving business.

10:00 am – 11:00 am |Training Your Staff to Sell: The Blueprint for Creating Your High-Performance Team

Cathy McKillip | Retail Profit Makers

Get ready for a retail revolution! Your exceptional team is not a stroke of luck. Training your team is a dynamic process involving strategic recruitment, training, and ongoing coaching for peak performance. In this session, you’ll learn the key to consistently effective training that propels every new hire toward success. You’ll discover three common challenges that hold employees back and solutions to boost performance as well as strategies to break free when an employee seems to be holding you or the team hostage. Get set to supercharge your success with the blueprint to create an unstoppable retail team!

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm | Management Best Practices for Retail

Holly Howard | Ask Holly How

The workforce is evolving and the retail landscape is more competitive than ever. The people part of operating a successful business is always the hardest. This class will look at how management best practices are rapidly evolving and what you can do to meet the changing needs of a workforce while pursuing your path for growth.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm | Integrating AI into the Fabric of Your Business

Alanna Wilcox | Alanna Wilcox

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a major concern for many creatives, there are smart ways to use the technology to enhance your business. In this class, you’ll see actual examples of how to manipulate text prompts to generate useful, unique material you can use for marketing and ecommerce to save you time and be more productive. You’ll also learn how to create AI-generated imagery to help promote your business and inspire new ideas. AI can truly be a game-changer for craft businesses. Alanna will discuss how to incorporate AI into your business in ethical and creative ways. Come away with new ideas to implement in your business right away.


10:00 am – 11:00 am | How to Build a Standout Brand

Emerald-Jane Hunter | myWHY Agency

How do you create a standout brand that others recognize immediately? It’s all about storytelling. In this session, you’ll learn how to find your “why,” the driving force behind your business. Then, you’ll learn tangible steps you can take to turn that mission into a brand story that ensures your business remains memorable to your audience for years to come. We’ll focus on creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive marketing choices to help craft messaging that rises above the noise. It’s a crowded marketplace out there. Learn how to make yourself stand out!


10:00 am – 11:00 am | What Should You Do If You Get Canceled? How to Plan For and Manage a Social Media Crisis

Jodie Singer and Matt de Nesnera | Edelman

What should you do if you get canceled? Is it better for you to speak out on a societal issue or stay silent? In this session geared toward craft businesses large and small, crisis communications experts from leading global communications firm, Edelman, will provide best practices and tips and tricks for navigating the tricky world of social media in crisis. Be prepared! Know the steps to take when things get heated.


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm | Harness the Power of Live Selling with CommentSold

Carolyn Williamson | CommentSold

When you host a livestream shopping event you have the opportunity to create a personal, one-to-one feeling with your customers, providing an online shopping experience that comes directly from you as the shop owner. Consumers love shopping from home. During the live stream, they have the opportunity to interact in the comments, ask questions live, and participate in the energy and excitement of a limited sale. Give your customers a sense of accomplishment after the event knowing that they scored a great deal or a limited edition product! How can you host a successful live selling event for your business? Join industry leader CommentSold to learn how to plan and promote your event, the nuts and bolts of live selling, how to hook your audience, and best practices for following up after the event is over.


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
| What Should You Do If You Get Canceled? How to Plan For and Manage a Social Media Crisis

Jodie Singer and Matt de Nesnera | Edelman

What should you do if you get canceled? Is it better for you to speak out on a societal issue or stay silent? In this session geared toward craft businesses large and small, crisis communications experts from leading global communications firm, Edelman, will provide best practices and tips and tricks for navigating the tricky world of social media in crisis. Be prepared! Know the steps to take when things get heated.