Saturday, August 11, 2012

Who is Andrej Sislavcevic and Should You Care?

Andrej Sislavcevic is the new (January 2012) CEO of the Craft & Hobby Association or CHA for short.  I'm sure many of you have heard of CHA.  Long before my wife and I opened Everything 4 Scrapbooking we enjoyed watching and reading about CHA trade shows.  However, there is much more to CHA then just trade shows.  CHA is responsible for keeping the wheels of the scrapbooking industry constantly moving forward.

However, in recent years CHA hasn't been moving forward at all.  In fact, the CHA trade show before last actually had horrible attendance with many scrapbook manufactures deciding not to attend.  Low attendance trade shows means fewer new scrapbook papers and supplies on the market.  But worse then low attendance trade shows scrapbooking has been on the decline with few young people joining the hobby.  Some wondered if the scrapbooking was doomed to die a slow death.  A change was needed so the old CEO of CHA was replaced by Andrej Sislavcevic.

I was worried for all of scrapbooking when I heard about Andrej leading CHA.  Andrej is not a scrapbooker and did not know about the industry at all.  His previous job before leading CHA was CEO of the Commercial Finance Association.  "What on earth are they thinking and how is this guy going to save scrapbooking", I thought to myself.

Andrej, blissfully unaware some lacked faith in him, stepped up cape blowing in the wind behind him.  He was not shy about expressing what he wanted to change.  He wanted to develop programs that help small craft stores grow, inspire communication in the scrapbooking world, and find out what young people want to see in scrapbooking.

Andrej hit the ground running and although he knew little about scrapbooking he traveled learning all he could.  Step by step he's improving CHA.  All his work seems to have made a difference.  The last CHA trade show was a huge success and scrapbook manufactures have came up with some really great new products.  I was far to quick to judge Andrej and hope we continue to see great improvements in scrapbooking.

This article was based on many things I have read including the Jun 2012 issue of Creative Retailer.

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