In February 2018,  Craft Alliance Atlantic hosted the first ever Craft East Buyers’ Expo. The event evolved from the former Atlantic Craft Trade Show (ACTS), which started in 1977. After 40 years of operation as the longest standing pan-Atlantic provincial government cooperation projects, the show was taken in a new direction. The results of a pan-Atlantic consultation in 2015 have led to a full re-branding and re-imagining of the annual wholesale trade event.

Held once a year during the spring wholesale buying season and open to the retail trade, the Craft East Buyers’ Expo is the first entry point into export marketing for many Atlantic Canadian producers of craft, giftware and apparel products. 

ACTS Booth 1

Craft East 2

Slide: Craft East 5

Craft East 3

Craft East 4

Craft East Buyers’ Expo is held in February so as not to conflict with other major trade shows in Canada and the northeastern USA. All product in the show is juried and most companies are production craft oriented. Companies showing at Craft East Buyers’ Expo must be located within the Atlantic region and all products must be produced in the region as well. Many of our producers start off as small one or two-person operations producing handcrafted items and generally move into larger production and small manufacturing as the business grows and demand warrants.

Craft East Buyers’ Expo is produced by Craft Alliance Atlantic with funding support from our provincial government partners in the four Atlantic provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador. A permanent office is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Policy, planning and development of the Craft East Buyers’ Expo is managed by association staff and a Board of Directors’.

Craft East Buyers’ Expo is a unique project in Canada and is the standard for quality in the craft, giftware and apparel industries. It is one of the only giftware trade shows in North America that has an Incoming Buyers Program (ICB). Interested retail buyers can apply to the ICB program to access funding assistance to attend the Craft East Buyers’ Expo.

There is an application process for the program. This program assists retailers from outside Atlantic Canada to attend the Craft East Buyers’ Expo for the first time. Craft East works closely with the Canadian Consulates in the USA and abroad to identify qualified and interested buyers for the ICB program. This close relationship with the Canadian Consulates has resulted in hundreds of buyers having attended our trade shows over the years it has been in existence. In putting forth this effort to attract buyers from international markets, the Craft Alliance Atlantic has established this event as a launch-pad for many first-time exporters from the region.