2024 Main Stage Program

Building on the success of last year’s Sofa Talks, our Main Stage Content will feature informative sessions hosted by small and large businesses. These sessions will delve into current and emerging issues and points of interest within the industry. Attendees will gain valuable insights and practical tips to help grow their businesses. This is a FREE program; this stage is located on the exhibit floor.

Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and connect in the crafting industry. Everyone is welcome to join us at the conference!

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

10:30 am – 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 pm -1:00 pm – 5 Things You Should Do To Make Your Facebook Ads Sell Like Crazy

We’ve worked on hundreds of campaigns over the years and have found 5 things that make the biggest impact on getting the most out of your ads…meaning more product sales in-store or online and more people to your classes and events. Implement these 5 things and you will be amazed at the results you get with your Facebook ads.

Presented by Josh Sutherland, Sew & Vac Media

1:30 pm -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 pm – 3:00 pm – In this Q&A, join gosadi co-founder & crafty coder Michele Costa and Soho Publishing CEO Carrie Kilmer to hear how these two powerhouse brands are coming together to harness the power of Ai to elevate our niche. Hear more about their upcoming collaboration to bring over 40 years of Vogue Knitting to the next generation of stitchers with gosadi.

With: Michele Costa, gosadi & Carrie Kilmer, Soho Publishing

3:30 pm – 4:15 pm – 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

10:30am -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 am -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 pm – 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: Mindy Lennon of Quilting Mayhem in Snohomish, WA; Andrea Riddle, The Yarn Club in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Moderated by: Sunni Scrivner, Yarn in Eureka, California

1:15 pm – 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 pm – 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 pm – 4:00 pm – Famore Cutlery presents h+h americas Cosplay Fashion Show Competition and Exhibition

4:00 pm -5:00 pm – Cosplay Meet-the-Maker

Friday, May 3, 2024

10:15 am -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: Northcott Fabrics; Marisa Marquez, Brewer; Joy Ercanbrack, Kimberbell

Moderated by: Brint Fanizza, Famore

11:15 pm -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 pm – 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 pm -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