creative dragons

Creative Dragons is an annual event which takes place at the One Big Show giving suppliers, designers and any member with a product idea or concept the chance to pitch a team of experts and gain vital feedback, advice and potentially lucrative contracts. Several of those who pitched, including Florartisry, Wildspider Designs, Polly All Sorts, Threads, Deflecto and many others, have gone on to grow their crafting businesses substantially.

creative dragons

  • Selina Dudley – Creative Dragon Applicant

    Overall it was a great experience, I was last of the day so I was very nervous about my idea. Or was it the fact showing off it in front of 5 experts in their fields, then I thought they should know if my idea would be a winner or not. I had done my research beforehand like if there was anything on the market place like it, what the cost of the item and the type of amount and packaging with in them. I made a very crude model of the item myself. As I always like to see something in hand rather than just pictures or someone giving me a description of the item they are describing.
    Well I think I woke the whole room there was a really good buzz about what I had been saying and all the question that I had been ask I had an answer for most of their questions. They even made suggestions on how this could of materials etc. The nerves disappeared when I saw the change in the room and all very interested in getting involved. I was very lucky to have a mentor which we met up and made further plans for the item.
    So no matter how strange or different your item, product or idea is then do have a go. 15 minutes of your life could change it for ever.

  • Stephanie Weightman – Creative Dragon

    Creative Dragons is an absolute godsend to people who have a burning idea that they need to get out into the world but are lacking the experience to know how to refine it. With the help of people like myself, they can make those ideas the best that they can be. I wish something so invaluable had been around when I was starting out! And who knows? Creative Dragons could be the start of the next solution to take the crafting world by storm!

  • Sharon Callis – Creative Dragon Applicant

    Having worked in this industry for many years designing products for companies I was accutely aware of the time, effort not to mention ‘leg work’ it takes to put your ideas in front of industry decision makers as getting a foot in the door is almost impossible. When the opportunity arose to attend Creative Dragons it was an opportunity not to be missed. Having a platform to showcase my concepts to a panel of the leading decision makers in the industry in just one presentation was invaluable. No other event will provide you with this level of access to product feedback, mentorship, business direction and with the right support you are on your way to making your ideas a reality.

  • Chris Crombie – Creative Dragon

    AFCI.UK's Creative Dragons brings together some of the leading players in the industry, who are keen to pass on their knowledge to others. If you’ve got a great idea, need advice and support this is the perfect place to showcase your product of the future.

The Creative Dragons panel is filled with individuals that have huge experience, knowledge and expertise.

This is your unique opportunity to get constructive feedback, advice, support and help from those who have experienced the highs and lows of the creative, craft and hobby industry.


Chris Crombie

Chris Crombie is managing director of the retailer C-Crafts. Operating from three sites within flagship Garden Centres across the UK, the company offers a convenience-style offering of best-selling art & craft brands. Prior to founding his current business Chris was part of the team that started HobbyCraft, a business where he was buying director for six years and then chief executive until 2011. With over 20 years in the craft industry, Chris is uniquely placed to spot a good idea. But more importantly he has the retail knowledge to help advise how to monetize the idea and format it for retail, to help ensure it flies of the shelves.

Barry Short

Barry has been at the sharp end of the creative industry for over 17. Having worked at all the key levels from sales agent, retail owner, manufacturing and supply agent. Barry has a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with buyers, suppliers and has a keen eye for detail, product and branding.

Jayne Owles

Jayne is an experienced dynamic merchant with excellent market awareness, strong commercial and business acumen and a wealth of senior level buying and sales experience across a variety of retail sectors. Having held senior buying positions at QVC and Personal Impressions, currently the Director of Sales, Europe with Notion Marketing.

Sarah Hurley
Founder and Director

Multi award winning entrepreneur, Sarah Hurley, is the Founder and Creative Director of the Sarah Hurley brand.
Now leading an International team, Sarah designs every product herself, overseeing every stage of design and production to ensure excellent attention to detail.
Sarah also works on design, licensing and product development projects for other clients, is a Brand Ambassador for a select number of brands, a creative and business expert, International Businesses and Motivational Speaker, Create & Craft TV Ambassador & Co-Presenter, Lean In Partner, NotOnTheHighStreet Partner Ambassador and Published Author. A passionate advocate of entrepreneurship and business, Sarah established Spark! in 2015 as an online resource and mentoring platform for other creative entrepreneurs.

Stephanie Weightman
Product Creative Director

Stephanie is the Product Creative Director of Create & Craft and an all-round crafting guru. She is the vision behind such brands as Tattered Lace and Screen Sensation and has had a passion for crafting for as long as she can remember. A presenter for Create & Craft, she is constantly active and kept up-to-speed with all things craft. As a founder, maker, designer and innovator, Stephanie has a wealth of experience with which to inspire, inform and educate those looking to take their ideas further.

Linda Ayres
Sales Director at Katy Sue Designs

20 minutes before you enter the Creative Dragons, you will have time with Linda. She will help calm nerves, go over plans and ideas.
Having been part of Creative Dragon for 3 years, Linda has seen it all and has helped so many people and business.
Linda will also get any NDA forms signed for you prior you session.

Sharon Callis
ounder / Creative Director at Florartistry

Sharon Callis, a 2016 Creative Dragons entrant, will be alongside Linda to give you support, helpful hints and tips.

An Irish based designer with over twenty years experience in the field or arts and crafts. Having worked with many of the leading names in the such as Xyron, DCWV, Canvas Corp and Deco Art.
As a designer Sharon, presented her unique die cutting 'One Cut, One Fold & One Roll' flower making concept to the Creative Dragons panel in 2016.
Since then Sharon, has had phenomenal success, launched ‘Forartisty’ in collaboration with AVEC (who she met at One Big Show), is having sell-out TV shows, getting 5 star reviews and has European distribution. 2018 will see more brand collaborations, growth and the launch of new concepts for Sharon Callis Crafts.

Who better to give you advice and support before you enter the Creative Dragons!

Craig De Souza
Executive Director - AFCI.UK

Even before you enter Creative Dragons or attend One Big Show Craig will help guide you, listen to your pitch, help with detail, advice on approach, help with paperwork and will make sure you have everything you need to give you the best chance possible. If you are still unsure about any aspect give him a call and he will help. 


Why do I need to be a AFCI.UK member to take part

Because AFCI.UK will give you all the advice, support and help you need to be successful prior, during and after you Creative Dragons session. This helps to develop your business with the advice given back by the Creative Dragons.

Will Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA) be signed

YES – AFCI.UK will supply you with one. A signed copy will be given to you and one kept by AFCI.UK.

Will the dragons offer money, contracts or investment.

NO – in your session with the Creative Dragons panel their are only there to give you advice, support, help and guidance.

Will Creative Dragons fro recorded or filmed

NO – to keep your ideas and session private no recording or filming will be allowed. There will be the odd p.r picture taken. But this will be before or after your session.

What information do I need to share

As much or as little as you like. But the more the Dragons know the more they can help.

To apply for a session we do ask for a few details:

  • Company Name (if you have one)
  • Type of idea or product/s
  • A brief (250 word) description of your what will be in your session
  • Whats your target market.
  • Your aims and goals.

How long is the session

You’ll have up to 15 minutes, but please allow for questions and feedback.

Also keep in mine you’ll have 10-15 minutes with Linda and Sharon before hand.

When are the Creative Dragons session.

Creative Dragons session are on Sunday and Monday, you can select which time best suits you.

Depending on applications the following time are:

Sunday – 24th June – 11.15-3.15 will an hour lunch*

  • 11.15 – 11.30
  • 11.45 – 12.00
  • 12.15 – 12.30
  • 12.45 – 1.00
  • 1.00 – 1.45 – Lunch
  • 2.00 – 2.15
  • 2.30 – 2.45
  • 3.00 – 3.15

Monday – 25th June – 11.15-2.45 will an hour lunch*

  • 11.15 – 11.30
  • 11.45 – 12.00
  • 12.15 – 12.30
  • 12.45 – 1.00
  • 1.00 – 1.45 – Lunch
  • 2.00 – 2.15
  • 2.30 – 2.45

*Times are subject to change, depending on applicants.

How to apply

To apply:

  • You will need to be an AFCI.UK member – click here to join or call +44 (0)1206 364 977
  • Email: – Subject – I’d like to enter Creative Dragons or call +44 (0)1206 364 977
  • We will then send you a form to fill in and return.