Thursday, January 24, 2008

On the road again

It’s Show season! The winter markets are going strong, and our team is and will be out and about these next several weeks! I’ve already logged in my first winter trip of the season, and headed south. Attending Shows is one of the ways I get to spend time (even if just a few minutes) with the great people who exhibit in the National Stationery Show – or who want to exhibit in it; as well as talking with permanent showroom reps (invaluable!) and buyers. It’s also a great way to see trends.

Speaking of trends…what did I see? Still lots and lots of damask patterns out there, in all kinds of colors. Pinks and browns are still going strong. But I did notice a lot of black overlay looks. So take a color and then layer over it an intricate lacy, or tree branch, or flower, or bird pattern. Lots of this going on. One cool example was Wellspring’s Flipnotes. So far, we’ve seen these small metallic notepads in a single metallic color (pink, blue, a kind of gold, red…) but I just saw them with a black design on top, this is new, and you can’t even find it on the website. One of the reps in the showroom where Wellspring has a nice space told me they were selling like mad! There’s plenty of cards and stationery with this kind of look, and you’ll just have to wait to see it all at our Show. Believe me, it’s hot!

Another thing I saw a lot of was layered, or overlapping, colors. By this I mean that maybe there’s a red design with some orange layered color over color (not as distinct separates) and then one more time with a third color – a brown, or a deep green, or a blue. I felt like I’d not seen this kind of layering with a printed product before. I’m used to seeing it where the colors are next to each other, but not layered. Often the look used a branch and leaf motif. I think you’ll see lots of this in May. I wish I could show you an example!

I talked with a number of companies who have always been “green” –by nature of their product, or by diligence in design and printing processes – who were saying that now they are feeling the need to promote the fact that they are green, and always have been. Our collective growing concern about the warming of the planet has led to much discussion in our industries (lots others, too) about green products, and green manufacturing. In fact, there will be 2 seminars on this during the National Stationery Show in May. One for buyers, and one for exhibitors and other manufacturers. Stay tuned.

Of course, personalization is still going strong, and lots of companies are working hard to keep up with this strong trend. Anything with an initial or a name, or the ability to personalize seems to resonate.

I could go on and on! I am excited for my next trip – which is next week – out west, and then off to England to another show, and some trend-spotting. Patti is in Frankfurt right now visiting with customers and also trend-spotting there. Wonder what we’ll hear about that market! Can’t wait. Until next time…

- Kelly

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