I've just come back from the Summer Craft & Hobby Association trade show in Rosemont IL. This is a 3-day exhibition which is not open to the general public, but only to designers, store owners, magazine publishers and professionals looking for the latest and greatest in the craft world.
There is nothing to buy here - it's strictly an exhibition. In fact there are rules against selling any item in the booth. It's also an enormous show. Probably at least double the size of the CreativFestival. The overwhelming impression that struck me was how much scrapbooking has taken over as the ascendant craft of the moment. Probably 90% of the very large booths here were dedicated to manufacturers and distributors of scrapbooking papers, stickers, stamps, pens, paints, and fancy cutters.
Since the exhibitors can't sell anything directly, they had to use more indirect methods of getting their products into the attendees' hands. "Make It and Take It" tables and free draws were the preferred methods here. Large colour catalogues and brochures were everywhere in spite of the prevalence of websites these days.
Nevertheless, it wasn't a total waste for a bead store buyer. It just meant that I had to look harder and look with an open mind. Stay tuned. You'll see the results of my searches in a few weeks when the products arrive from the manufacturers.