The creative world is full of great ideas and products but getting those initial dreams turned into ideas can be a long journey. Just finding the right people to talk to can seem like an impossible challenge.

The Creative Dragons, sponsored by Create and Craft TV are made up of leading buyers, craft companies, legal people and publishers who are specialists in the craft industry. This panel meet at the AFCI One Big Show and look and discuss new ideas from designers and companies that are just starting out.

Toni Wilderspin was one of those people. She saw a need in the craft market with a great idea for Sticky Tape, a wide format double sided tape that makes crafting so much easier. As with most crafters, Toni has been crafting all her life. What started out as helping friends with wedding stationery and making birthday and Christmas cards has now turned into a fully fledged business.

But it was the Creative Dragons that gave her the insight and confidence to really push forward with her dream. So how did this come about? Toni heard about the AFCI and how it supported the craft industry. She got in touch with Craig De Souza, Executive Director of the Association, who instantly saw the potential of her idea and advised her about doing the AFCI and presenting to the Dragons at the One Big Show, the AFCI’s annual conference.

Toni said; “After plucking up the courage (and to be honest, I did need some confidence instilling into me) I went along to the AFCI ONE BIG SHOW at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. The calibre of speakers, the helpfulness of people I look to as Crafting Yodas and the encouragement I received from the Crafting Dragons when speaking about my first product, Sticky Roll, gave me that belief that this dream could become a reality. Six months later and it seems that a large quantity of people are loving Sticky Roll as much as I do. So much that I’ve been able to fulfil an ambition of demonstrating live on Create and Craft. An experience that I will never forget”

Since presenting to the Creative Dragons Toni and her company Wild Spider Designs have gone from strength to strength, appearing exclusively on Create and Craft TV.

If you have an idea or a product that you want to take to market then it would make sense to present to the Creative Dragons at the AFCI One Big Show, Ricoh Arena in Coventry on 18-19 June 2017. For more information just contact Craig deSouza at craig@afci.uk

About the author

Michael O’Connor is a partner at Grey Sergeant and specialises in marketing communications and PR in the craft and hobby industry. Grey Sergeant provides strategic advice and planning and promotes businesses through integrated marketing, media relations, social media, digital marketing and events. For more information please contact michael.oconnor@greysergeant.com