Koelnmesse Launches First h+h americas Handicraft Trade Show

Marlene Goldman, Executive Editor
First h + h americas Handicraft & Soft Crafts Trade Show Draws Strong Support

ROSEMONT, Ill. – Koelnmesse’s first h+h americas trade show, a new platform for the North American handicraft industry, set a strong precedent, bringing together 195 exhibitors from the soft crafts industries, more than 2,000 attendees from 38 countries and 35-plus conference sessions. The trade show, the U.S.-based sister event of the German h+h cologne, which is the world’s leading trade fair for the handicrafts industry, was held June 22-24 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention & Conference Center in Rosemont, Ill., near Chicago.

The decision for bringing this trade show to the U.S. was based on an overwhelming demand among buyers and sellers in the handmade business, according to Mette Petersen, President and Managing Director of Koelnmesse Inc., the North American subsidiary and marketing arm of the Koelnmesse Group, one of the world’s leading organizers of international trade shows.

“The most rewarding moment for us was when exhibitors came up to us and thanked us for unifying the various segments of the handicraft industry under one roof in Rosemont,” Petersen said. “We had buyers from all major retailers as well as store owners from all across North America, Europe and as far as Australia coming to our event. Many attendees praised the diverse product range and appreciated the exposure to international product lines from 39 countries normally not seen in the U.S.”

Sessions at h+h americas included Craft Industry Trends, DE&I for Retailers, MultiChannel Retail in a Digital World and Web 3.0 for Crafty Business Owners. There were also workshops on spinning yarn, meetups, and talks about topics like NFTs for artists and makers.

“Because of strong demand, we are planning to integrate even more categories for our event next year such as beading, scrap booking, cake decoration and many others,” Petersen said.

Talks and panels addressed sustainability and inclusivity in the soft crafts industry, as well.

“Leading up to our event we built strong relationships with organizations and supporting partners who either support buyers and sellers in this industry or are engaged in diversity and charity causes within this industry,” Darrin Stern, Show Manager of h+h americas, said.

Some of those handicraft industry organizations and partners included the Creative Industry Association, Indie Untangled, Women Create, The National Needlearts Association, American Crochet Association, Road 2 California, Knit the Rainbow and Help Heal Veterans Group.

Following h+h americas, the Digital After Show ran from June 27 – July 1 for those unable to make the in-person trade show. The virtual event offered video-based meetings, instant messaging and access to all pre-recorded educational sessions.

The next h+h americas will take place June 22-24, 2023, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention & Conference Center.

Reach Mette Petersen at m.petersen@koelnmessenafta.com; Darrin Stern at (773) 326-9925 or d.stern@koelnmessenafta.com