With Creativation rapidly approaching, there has been plenty of discussion about the potential trends and innovations that will be showcased on the floor come January. This year, Creativation welcomes AFCI partner organizations, such as TNNA.
AFCI spoke with Susan Lane, TNNA’s executive director, to gain insight on how the aforementioned partner organizations plan to take advantage of this opportunity to have their own space on the show floor.
AFCI: How long have you been managing the relationship with TNNA? What are your core responsibilities?
SL: This is the 4th year of TNNA being with SmithBucklin. I serve as their Executive Director, so I oversee all areas of the association, including working closely with the Board on their strategic direction.
AFCI: What was the initial reaction upon learning that TNNA would have its own exhibit space at Creativation?
SL: I work very closely with Peter Finn, the Executive Director of AFCI, and I was thrilled. I thought it came at a really good time for TNNA because of our winter market and our overall financial situation. This is a great opportunity for our members to attend at a great rate. They’ve been asking for a show floor space, so it gave them that opportunity at a nice price in addition to a wide variety of education opportunities. It’s also in a warm location, which is a plus.
AFCI: Had this exhibition opportunity been in conversation prior to getting the green light? If so, for how long?
SL: I think the conversation started in 2014, prior to TNNA joining SmithBucklin. We then talked again in 2016. With TNNA coming to SmithBucklin, the relationship got stronger and it was just the right partnership at the right time.
AFCI: What is the goal/importance of the TNNA Pavilion at Creativation? What are some agenda elements you plan to include throughout the week?
SL: It will give our members a new opportunity and a new space. We get to interact and be part of a bigger show. A lot of our board members will be volunteering to help with the show. We’ll have a spot where attendees can come and ask our board members questions. We’re also planning to do some sort of member get together offsite so our members can connect. Additionally, we might do a few roundtable discussions where our retailers can meet and talk about the show. With that, we’re hoping to have some of our board members walk the floor with key AFCI members and really start to build that relationship.
AFCI: How will TNNA use this opportunity to introduce a new layer of innovation to the event?
SL: I think the innovation that we’re bringing involves showcasing different products on the floor. I know there has been some needle point and larger yarn stores there, but these are smaller business-to-business business owners that are much different than a bigger company. We’re bringing a new type of product to the retailers that might not be attending the show to look at it. What we’re trying to do is have retailers not just focus on one type of product and through this experience learn they can offer something else they see on the floor. TNNA is very specifically yard and needle, so we’re looking to expand and spark outside interest.
AFCI: How does TNNA’s (and the other partner organizations) presence benefit creative industries as a whole?
SL: In our strategic plan, we reference that we want to be part of the craft ecosystem and innovation space. We’re all doing crafts, so this is a nice way for everyone to be together at one time and truly showing everyone that attends that we’re cultivating a true ecosystem of craft. I know AFCI wants to get a craft in every person’s home, and our goal is to spread awareness, so Creativation is truly a perfect place to do that.
Susan Lane is an associate association executive serving SmithBucklin Business Trade Industry practices. With more than 20 years of association experiences, Susan serves as the Executive Director of The National Needlearts Association and Director of Operations for the International Live Events Association. Susan works with the organizations’ Board of Directors and volunteers in developing and setting strategic direction. Since joining SmithBucklin in 1998, Susan has handled various responsibilities, including overseeing all aspects of association membership services, annual conference and trade show management, certification and accreditation programs, industry governmental affairs initiatives, and marketing and public relations programs. Additionally, she designed and directed annual training meetings for client organization leadership, and has a wealth of experience working with boards and volunteer groups of all sizes.