Thursday, March 27, 2008

Think Spring. Think Weddings!

Easter just passed, the bathing suits are on the racks, the winter hats are back in the closet…it could only mean one thing – it’s Spring Time! And with spring being the most popular time to get married, I want to extend a great big public “thank you” to my 5 friends (yes 5) who decided to get married between March and June of 2008. They sure are making this an eventful (literally) time of year for me. By the time the weddings are over and the National Stationery Show has passed I’ll be an official wedding trends guru!

This past Friday I attended one of my closest friend’s wedding and it was absolutely beautiful. She combined a little old with a little new, and wrapped it all together with the colors of spring. Not quite sure what I mean? I’m going to take you on a photo recap of the celebration to explain.

The wedding was at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor, NY. If you don’t know NY weather, let me give you a quick tid-bit of information, March in NY is colder than December. So although Friday was technically spring, an outdoor wedding was not an option. But Nicole (the bride) found a way to have an outdoor wedding, indoors.

I loved the flowers Nicole picked out. Each bridesmaid had a spring colored bunch of tulips and each groomsman had a matching rose or carnation. What a great way to incorporate spring colors into a wedding!

Now onto the cocktail hour where the big debate was whether the favors were little rocks or little candies. Any guesses?

Time to sign the guest book! Here’s where you’ll see that modern feel to her wedding but with the traditional, timeless accent of little pearls & doves – I love it!

The head table was beautiful – simple and elegant.

And last, here’s me and my husband lookin’ all fancy! 1 down, 3 more weddings to go (we’ll be missing the one in Niagara Falls unfortunately)!

Now speaking of weddings, the NSS Girls are cooking up some very exciting bridal additions to this May’s Show. We’re talking more than the elegant invitations & announcements, more than the fun bridal accessories & favors, even more than the already exciting seminar presented by The Knot – all of which are key features of the Show. Think big. Think new. Think fun. Think Show Biz. Details to come soon! I hope you’re getting as excited as we are – 7 weeks ‘til Show time!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

An early Easter

Yikes! Easter is early this year. Of course, we’ve known that, and surely you’re more ready with your products (shipped and displayed) than the throngs of folks buying cards at the last minute (that would be now). For those of you with stores, I am sure you keep statistics on which card holiday is the most last minute. How do the holidays stack up? I don’t think Easter is the most of the “last minute purchase” group, but this year it might be! Anyone want to chime in on this one? I’d love to hear.

My mom is a big card-sender, and this Easter is no exception. But this time, since we won’t be together, she sent me a box via UPS to the office. Inside was my card, from Ambassador.

My mom always chooses a “for my daughter” card no matter the holiday. She also sent me 3 packages of Peeps chicks – yellow, purple and green; 3 candy bars; and a pink kitchen towel, by Tag, featuring bunnies and carrots, and a pink potholder with Easter eggs on it . I love that there is so much product out there to help celebrate the holiday.

I was surfing the net, wondering what was out there in Easter card land, and I found this hand-crafted card by Pickled Paper Designs. It was on a blog, and the designer is Amy Sheffer. Amy says on her Feb. 10 blog that she has a rapidly approaching card-selling venture! Well, Amy, if there’s any place to get your cards into the market, it’s at the National Stationery Show!! Very cute card. I love the ribbons.

Easter is, of course, the holiest of the Christian holidays. DaySpring offers a very wide selection of religious Easter cards (and other products), for a wide variety of tastes. This card is available in a pack of 8, and contains a message and Bible verse.

I like the foiled, flourish design on the front - very pretty.

I really would love to hear from retailers – what is the most “last minute” card holiday? Though Mother’s Day (this year, May 10th in the U.S.) is one of the more popular card-sending holidays, according to the Greeting Card Association. I wonder if there are all those sons out there buying the cards on Saturday and even on Sunday. Write in and tell us!

Happy Easter, Happy Spring!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Irish, one day a year!

I don’t know about where you live, but here in the NY area, St. Patrick’s Day is BIG! I am not Irish, but St. Paddy’s day has been a part of my life, well… “ever since!” When I was little, we used to hang shiny green shamrocks (you know the kind – cardboard and foily green) on our windows and doors, and we used to watch the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The day was capped-off with corned beef and potatoes for dinner. And you know there was Irish Soda bread. Yum. Also, my Mom used to dress my sister and me in matchy-matchy green outfits (that girl scout body suit came in handy sometimes…) for this holiday. What was that about? Green ribbons in our hair and everything!!! I guess it is, for us here on this side of the country, just another advent of spring! We’re ready for warmer weather, and the bright green of those shamrocks give us hope!

The party and stationery stores in our area are filled with St. Patrick’s Day products. Check out the PartyCity website. I like this paper plate from Amscan. The green with green and the whimsical design is just happy. It puts a smile on my face.

There’s so much product out there (napkins, cups, tablecloths), it would be easy to put together a party in a snap! For those of you who’d like to get even more festive, beads and boas and hats, (of course, hats!!!) abound!

I was in my local CVS store yesterday - they have Hallmark cards. There are just so many from which to choose! I’m starting to think that the luck ‘o the Irish might bring a little pot of gold! Erin go bragh, indeed!

Check out these cute stickers from EK Success. They’ve got everything here that conjures up memories of the holiday! They’re great for scrapbooking, of course, but I might even stick a good old four-leafed clover on my computer!

Did you know that See’s Candy has St. Patrick’s Day products? I love See’s Candy, and it used to be pretty hard to get, as it wasn’t sold out this way (they’re a West Coast company)! I’m sorry, but I just can’t help myself to drooling – just look at these milk chocolate candy potatoes!!

They’re huge!! And forget bunnies, how about a chocolate leprechaun? Wow. And gold coins are a natural for this holiday.

After seeing all there is surrounding this holiday, I’m ready to host a party, Irish or not! Can anybody teach me to jig?


Friday, March 7, 2008

The Biz Behind the GCA

Kelly and I attend Greeting Card Association(GCA) meetings 3 times a year. Just last week we were in Washington, DC for a day of action-packed sessions, and I have to tell you, I am still thinking about it. In addition to the obvious business interests in common, this group of passionate manufacturers and suppliers work their tails off to serve the interests of “AUNT MINNIE”, the citizen mailer, in the lobbying efforts to keep postal rates down, as well as promote greeting card consumption through an active public relations committee. The leadership is 100% volunteer-driven. In addition to Postal stuff, members collaborate on so many different aspects of the business; it’s fascinating to be a part of such a generous-minded, brilliant group of people who compete strenuously in business, but work together seamlessly for the good of the industry.

I’m not writing an advertorial, but I am sharing my sense of what happens when talented people collectively commit to a cause. If not for the GCA, postal rates could be much higher. I’ll bet you don’t know, for instance, that the GCA is the only lobby for the first-class mail stream. Think about how postal rates, if not contained, could impact the sale and sending of greeting cards – and how sad it would be to miss the happy mail moments that come only from a hand-written envelope, typically a letter or a greeting card! How about square cards/envelopes? Bet you didn’t know that these are difficult to process by machine. Colored envelopes? A similar quandary. The GCA has subcommittees that work tirelessly to find solutions collaboratively with the US Postal Service so that greeting card publishers are not thwarted creatively and so that Americans will continue to send cards through the mail.

Then, of course, there’s all the schmoozin’. Serious schmoozin’ and serious fun. The friendliest business people I know either come from the tradeshow business – or the greeting card business. Here are a few shots from that January meeting. If you are in the greeting card business, you should check out to learn about the GCA and the great programs it offers. And, when the time is right, join the GCA to meet and network with all the great people in this business!

Chip Owen, Avanti, Susan January, Leanin' Tree, Mike Oleskow, Max & Lucy, Kelly Bristol, GLM, Steve Laserson, American Greetings, George White, Up With Paper, Sara & Laura from BJ Communications

Susan January, Leanin' Tree, Mike Oleskow, Max & Lucy & Alison O'Connor, Greetings Etc.

Jack Withiam, GLM with Marianne McDermott, former executive director of GCA & Patti Stracher, GLM

Andrea Liss, Hannah Handmade Cards & Patti Stracher, GLM

We’re counting down to NSS, so I’m signing off for now. Stay tuned! And, keep us in tune with your thinking. If you’re planning to come to NYC for the Show, book your travel and housing through the nss website now. Looking forward to seeing all of you!