Friday, April 15, 2016

CHA Wrap Up

Yes, I am finally getting to this post.  My life is finally getting back into a routine.  I have been procrastinating writing this post because so much happened and I didn't know where to start.  If you know me, then you know I like to be prepared.   It is safe to say, that I was prepared and unprepared at the same time.

I was nervous about the booth because of all the videos I had watched that were about CHA.  I was assured that everything with the walls of my booth were okay.  Then I walk into the trade show floor and see this:

By the way, they won the best booth award.  I told myself that MISTI is clean and simple and our booth would portray that.
Can't get much simpler than that.  So simple that it took 15 minutes to set up our tables.  Luckily, I was blessed with some amazing people to help me.

This is my voice of reason, Lydia Fiedler.  Otherwise known as Understand Blue.  I really think she needs to change her alter ego to Understand Pink.  She has the knack to make me see the "right way" instead of "my way".
What can I say about Melanie Hopes and Maureen Wong.  We hand picked these two because we knew that we would mesh well together.  Mel kept us laughing and Maureen was my quiet spring of strength.  Let's just say Maureen rocked her MISTI skills.

First stamp celebrity I meet is Sandy Allnock.  She is so sweet and so awesome!  She has coolness dripping off of her.  When I grow up, I want to have her confidence and her skill.
 For years I have been watching Julie Ebersole's videos.  Her laugh and sense of humor have always been a highlight of my YouTube watching.  To finally meet the person behind the contagious laugh was truly amazing.   I also met Ellen Hutson.  We have corresponded several time since then and she is an incredible business woman, so incredibly sweet.  When I grow up, I want to make myself crack up like Julie.

Then Jennifer McGuire approached the booth.  My mind was about to explode.  There she was and she hugged me!  What a class act she is.  When I grow up, I want to be classy and organized like Jennifer.
Then there as CATHERINE POOLER!!!!  I think we were separated at birth.  If we lived in the same city, there would be trouble.  She gets my humor, poor thing.  She came with me to "press conference" and pretty much held my hand until I went on stage.  When I grow up, I want to be cool like Catherine.
My meager beginnings as a papercrafter started with Shimelle.  I was a scrapbooker before I was a cardmaker.  I went looking for Shimelle at CHA and finally found her at the Heidi Swap booth.  I was the typical stalker.  Later she went to the My Sweet Petunia booth and put it all together that I was not crazy.  I sent a Memory MISTI home with her to try out.  When I grow up, I want to be Glitter Girl.
I finally got to meet my first customer.  Kelly Marie Alvarez.  How cute is she?!?!  She is an inspiration and happiness permeates the air around her.  The Lawn Fawn booth was so adorable.  Kelly's dresses each day were so beautiful.  When I grow up, I want to have Kelly's happiness and wardrobe.

On the last day, Amy Tan came by.  She said she had heard all about us.  Unbelievable!  She even gave me some of her scrapbook paper collection.  Amy was like the most popular girl in school and she came by to see me! She took home a Memory MISTI, too. When I grow up, I want to travel like Amy.

This is an amazing group of stampers and I got to be the center of attention.  If I could have a pinky worth of their talent I would be in heaven.  When I grow up, I want to be stamp royalty and stamp like them.

My mini me Ilina Crouse.  What a sweetheart.  She said that on her first day there people thought she was me.  Ilina still gets Facebook messages from people thinking she is me.  Ilina helped me on the last day of CHA after my crew left to catch their flights.  See why Mel kept us laughing.

This little duckling also helped the last day.  Jeanne was so willing to help in any way possible.  I had met Jeanne through Lydia at an Understand Blue summer retreat.  We message back and forth talking about critters.

I also had the pleasure of meeting another inventor, Kellie DeFries, AKA the Crystal Ninja.  She found a need to make her work better and invented the Crystal Katana.  I met her at her booth and she walked over to see my invention.

Kellie had this car in her booth that she totally covered in bling.  I believe she said it was 480+hours to cover the car on gem at a time.  The car is totally drive-able and can go through a carwash.  When I grow up, I want to own this car.

So now that I have gotten through all the people I met, I can tell you about the whole Hot Products experience.  This was where I was unprepared.  We had to decorate the display and had nothing but chocolate to do it with.  The other displays were done by an interior designer while mine was done by Hershey's and Lindor.

We were to attend a presentation, where you had one minute to talk about your product.  I wanted to cry.  I begged Lydia to do it and she said no.  How mean was that?! We practiced my spiel for 20 minutes.  When we showed up they sat us at a table with the MISTIs.  Lydia and I looked at each other because we were not prepared for this.  I thought it was just a sales pitch I was doing to a small audience.

All the other tables were decorated by those interior designers that we knew nothing about.   People kept coming to our table and we had nothing to demonstrate with.  Superhero Lydia made a call to Mel and Maureen.  They showed up with a couple of stamps and paper.  Lydia had pulled out a distress ink that she had in her purse and we managed with that.  It was perfect.  Distress inks are not great to stamp with, but the MISTI showed you can stamp with any ink.
The crowd around us grew bigger and we could not see passed our table.

Finally, they lined us up to do our one minute pitch.  I made one last plea with Lydia to see if she would do the pitch.  Nothing.... One by one, each presenter made their pitch.  Professionals form Silhouette, Craft Retail, and Fiskar's were ahead of me.  It was my turn.  Lydia was with me holding up the Memory like she was Vanna White.  I focused on the red head in the center of the room.

I started, "Hi my name is Iliana and I am the inventor of the MISTI."   People clapped and cheered.   That is exactly what I needed to make it through that long minute.  Just thinking about it makes me cry with joy.  Up until we made our pitch the room had been quiet.  I finally felt like we had a chance to win the Hot Product Award.

The Gala for the awards was on Sunday, January 10th.  It was a long and tortuous dinner.  I was a nervous wreck so much that I could not enjoy the convention food.  Then there was the topic of, "What are you going to say if you win?"  Seriously!  I could not think, I just wanted to go home.  I thought of something short and wrote it on a piece of paper.

Here is what I said:

I want to thank God for blessing me with such an amazing crafting community.  Thank you all for creating the exciting environment that helps small businesses like mine grow a dream into reality.

I put together a video of the highlights.  I sorted through a ton of photos.  I can't believe how long it took to edit this video and add music.  Thanks for sticking with me to read this incredibly long post and for waiting so long to hear about CHA.


  1. Brava! Loved reading about your fears and your successes! You go! You rock! You deserve this.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience - I LOVe my MISTI!!! I would feel like you when it came to speaking, even if it was 1 minute. Bless you and your life with this invention!!

  3. Congratulations to your award! You are worth it!

  4. Awesome! Congratulations Iliana, I am happy that you shared the story of this journey! Happy Travels girl! :D

  5. I remember how nervous you were to go to this. Now it looks like you had a blast. So glad your Misti won best product. Keep up the good work.

  6. Wow, you must of had a blast! Congratulations on winning your award for your oh so amazing MISTI!!! I'm sure you have heard it before, but it needs to be said, the MISIT has changed my stamping world! Thank you for sticking with it and making such a magnificent tool!

  7. Congratulations! This is such a well deserved award, Iliana. You've changed the face of stamping.

  8. Congrats Iliana. Thank you for sharing your wonderful and exciting adventure with me.

  9. Thanks for taking us along on your journey! I am truly loving my Misti and wonder now how I ever got along without it. The crafting world is blessed to have you!

  10. Well Congratulations again Iliana. I couldn't be happier for you! Thanks for sharing the highlights from CHA it was fun watching/reading your experience. I am always happy to hear a true success story when a woman's dream becomes a reality. Good for you! TFS!

  11. THANK YOU for sharing your CHA ADVENTURES Iliana!!!
    It is such a JOY to see you being recognised for the AMAZING impact you have had on the crafting community!!! I am THRILLED now that I have ordered one and will soon have a MISTI of my very own :)

  12. Congratulations on your win! All of us Misti owners knew you'd do it! LOVE my Misti!

  13. Congratulations!!!!! I understand why you won, you are an amazing person and care so much about your customers/crafters and the MISTI is the most INCREDIBLE stamping tool ever. I love mine to death and keep learning more and more ways to use it. I use it every time I stamp even if it is just one small small thing to stamp. I only have the original but just love it. Thanks again for creating this.

  14. And we are still cheering for you, from coast to coast and across the seas!

  15. First off, congratulations to you, Iliana! You deserve all this goodness. I absolutely LOVE my MISTI, and wonder how I ever got along without it. I hardly do any stamping anymore that I don't pull it out! :) Thank you so much for your wonderful invention, & congrats on winning the Hot Product award at CHA!!! ~ Andrea

  16. I'm still so excited for you and how the Creator of the universe implanted His creativity in you and you are so faithful to Him. Blessings and joy!

  17. Hi Iliana ~ Waiting for this post has been well worth it!! You had the chance to meet so many of my "girl crushes" (LOL) and your photos and descriptions were spot on!! I was SO excited when I saw the CHA video (by CP, maybe) that you had WON the Hot Product 2016!! I know the MISTI has changed your life but, as I've written before, the MISTI (and the mini) have changed my life as well. With nerve damage to my neck and hand as well as the herniated discs in my neck and back, you have enabled me to get back to the card making that I have loved for over 20 years!! One of these days, I'll also order the one that will get me back into scrapbooking!! Thanks so much for all you've done for all of us papercrafters!! ~HUGS~

  18. Woo HOO you so deserved to win!!! Thanks for sharing your experience with us. We love to hear about you meeting all the talent in crafting!!! Thanks for making the misti it makes my life much easier to stamp.

  19. Congrats. What a wonderful CHA experience. I love so many of those ladies, too, including you. Well, I just bought my first MISTI at the CK STL and I love it.

  20. How wonderful reading about your CHA experience and win!!! Congratulations!! I remember when I first heard about the MISTI way back when, and bought one when you were still making them by hand! I quickly became spoiled, and can't stamp without it! It has saved me paper, time, and stress! I just love your product, even have a backup, and will now get the big scrapbook size! Thank you for creating such a wonderful product to make my stamping so much more pleasurable!!!

  21. What a wonderful experience and great win!

  22. What a great post about your experience. Your hot product win was well deserved! I tried out my sister's MISTI last fall and immediately bought one for myself. It is GREAT!

  23. Fantastic pics! and you so deserve that award! Thank you for your marvelous invention!

  24. Congratulations Iliana! You deserved it!


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