Getting Inspired at CHA 2014

Last fall I promised myself to make it to CHA this year. It's been three years since my last visit to the trade show and I really missed getting to drool over all the products and chat with all the amazingly talented people. Luckily for me, I also got to travel with some of the aforementioned talent - most of them being fellow designers from Pixels & Company.

Pixels & Company Designers visiting CHA 2014 together | shannonmcnab.com

Clockwise from top left: Jeryn, Deena, Kelleigh, Laura, Gennifer, Amber, Shen (and daughter), Me

We decided to walk the CHA floor on Saturday. I've never been on the floor with such a large group of women and although it was sometimes like herding cats. And every time we went to a new booth, it seemed like one of us would know someone there to chat with.

Meeting Mari Koegelenberg at CHA 2014 | shannonmcnab.com

Kelleigh and Laura both knew Mari Koegelenberg (above) from their time at The Digi Chick together, so we had to make it over to the Pink Paislee booth to see her new collections – all 4 of them. Seriously, this girl is a design making MACHINE!

I've always been a HUGE fan of Mari's digital designs and never thought I'd be pouring over her paper collections with her standing right beside me. And did I mention she is truly is the sweetest lady in the world and lives less than an hour from me?? I may have made plans to go wine tasting with her in the near future.

The most memorable moments of the day were getting to see my fellow P&Co designer's new product lines in the flesh. I felt like a real scrapbook groupie!

Amber LaBau in the Becky Higgins booth at CHA 2014 | shannonmcnab.com

Amber (above) has a brand new Core Kit with Becky Higgins' Project Life. And our store owner at P&Co, Gennifer, had her first ever line, Just Splendid, debut with My Mind's Eye. I'm hoping someday I'll be able to walk the show floor and be able to see my own work up in a booth.

My only regret of the trip was that I hardly took any photos of new product. There was so much to look at and too many people to talk to that my brain was truly on creative overload. Despite not being able to share photos of new goodies I'll be coveting, I did notice a few major trends:

  1. Non-symmetrical geometric prints
  2. Handwritten & watercolor typography
  3. Travel/vacation themed lines – I was surprised to see them out so early in the year
  4. Specialty albums – Instagram sized, PL centric, etc.

Overall it was a really inspiring day. I just hope the inspiration will last long enough for me to get some major design work done.

Then on Sunday, while a few girls opted to leave Anaheim, the rest of us headed to Disneyland. Several of us are big Disney fans – and me being married to a Disney employee helps – so we had to go and let off a little steam at the happiest place on earth.

Pixel & Company does Disneyland at CHA 2014 | shannonmcnab.com

And since I was the designated "tour guide" of our group, I gave them lots of fun facts about the park. I always worry about being too chatty about my park knowledge when I go to Disneyland with new people, but these girls totally indulged me. They sounded genuinely interested in all the crazy facts I had. 

All in all I think every single one of us found it to be a really successful weekend. We finally got to meet each other in person, made great new professional contacts at the CHA show, drooled uncontrollably at all the new pretty product, and even got to act like kids while spending the day at Disneyland. I couldn't have asked for a better weekend!