Thursday, April 24, 2008

Are you ready yet?

Oh my gosh, the National Stationery Show is quickly approaching – in less than 3 weeks the NSS team will be on-site at the Javits Center moving in. You will find us on the floor walking the aisles, and you’ll find us in the Show office – “4B Terrace” - take the elevator under the big banner that reads “Show Office” up to the 4th floor, and you’ll find a friendly group, ready to help you.

I have had lots of conversations with exhibitors and buyers – of course this is an everyday occurrence - but the calls are more frequent as we get closer to the Show. We have talked about all kinds of things, too! One frequent topic is what to wear during set-up and the Show. So here it is, my expertise on What to Wear @ the NSS.

Exhibitors: Set up wearing closed-toe shoes or sneakers – it’s a construction site during set-up, lots of wooden crates & boxes, and lots of hammers, nails, fork lift drivers – you name it. You don’t want your toes to get crushed, and you want to be comfortable on that cement floor. Lately, I’ve seen a lot of Croc’s at the Shows. There must be a reason why… Also think of wearing layers – you may start off feeling a little bit chilly, but as you get to working, you’re going to want to peel those layers off – setting up a booth is fun, but still, it’s lots of unpacking of boxes, and displaying things just so. And you might think to wear khakis or jeans - something you'd be comfortable in while sitting on the floor. It can get dusty, and I see a lot of exhibitors sitting during set-up doing last minute fixes of things. If you’ve never done set-up before, it is something to behold! This is when I remind myself what a glamorous life we all lead! (Shared smiles and laughs over that, but we love it)! As far as Show days, dress to fit your company’s style You’ll see everything from suits and professional attire to trendy outfits and even costumes! But whatever you decide to wear, make sure you’re comfortable enough to be on your feet most of the day.

Buyers: Let me start by saying that ifthis will be your first show, you might consider signing up for our New Buyer Webinar taking place on Monday, May 5. This is a valuable call-in and log-on program, and industry experts will talk about preparing for the Show. Now as far was what to wear, think comfort. The Show is BIG and with so much to see, you will want to make sure you’re able to be on your feet all day long.

Aside from what to wear, we are fielding lots of calls from exhibitors about their displays. I have to say, the National Stationery Show is known for the beautiful booths (as well as for beautiful product) and from the calls we are getting, I know this year will be no exception. Be prepared for one gorgeous display after another!

Another question I get from buyers and exhibitors alike is about how many business cards and/or brochures to bring. My answer makes me feel like a mathematician (and I am so not!) but here we go: The Show is 9am-6pm for 3 days, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. That’s 9 hours a day x 3 days = 27. On Wednesday, the Show is 9am-3pm, or 6 hours. So add that in. The Show is 33 hours long, which is 1,980 minutes. That’s it! So, if you think you can speak with one person per minute (and you won’t…) then you will be fine bringing 1,980 business cards. But seriously, that’s a great place to start to figure out what you need. And, can you believe that’s all the time there is? Yikes! It’s like Thanksgiving, or a wedding, etc. You prepare for months, weeks, hours, for the occasion, and then it is gone in a flash. Make sure to make the most of your time at the Show everybody! Stay as long as you can, and get as much business done as possible. There’s so much talent on display at the Show, and so little time to take it all in. You will be wiped out by the end of it all, but energized, too. Attending or exhibiting in the National Stationery Show can be the most fun you’ve ever had while doing work!

And here’s the cheesy part…you will make lasting friendships! I mean it. This is a wonderful industry, and buyers appreciate what exhibitors have to offer, and exhibitors – you will inspire each other, and will really enjoy the camaraderie of seeing your new friends and neighbors for the duration of the Show. I told this to an exhibitor in NYC once, and although she politely listened to me, I could tell making friends with exhibitors and buyers wasn’t her top priority, let’s just say … Well, after the Show, she called me, and said she had to admit, it was a wonderful experience, and not only did she make friends, but her experience was benefiting her design work, too! “Who woulda thunk it?!”

To that end, we recently launched a “Mentor program” for our new exhibitors to be matched with exhibitors who have a little “trade show chops,” if you will. We’ve matched up a couple dozen pairs already, and we still have some new folks waiting for a mentor! If you are a “sage” exhibitor, and would like to mentor someone and share your knowledge, please email me at and we’ll match you up! We’ve heard from a number of our mentors already telling us how much they enjoyed talking with a new exhibitor and how refreshing and inspiring the conversations were. It seems to be a great program!

Oh, I wish I had pics for you this time around, but I don’t. Next time! And just to give you a sneak peak of what’s to come, we’ll be blogging from Show site! We’ll be bringing you stories, pictures and an inside look at what goes at the NSS (from setup to break down).

Can’t wait to see you at the Show… in comfortable shoes!
- Kelly

Friday, April 18, 2008

Love is in Bloom @ NSS!

Tying the knot has never carried with it so many social stationery options for the bride and groom. Customizing the look, the feel, the vibe, the ambiance of the big day - and the honeymoon - has never been as much an adventure. This year’s NSS is proof of this!

The product on the exhibit floor will be a veritable feast for retailers who want to cash in on this category – from the latest wedding invitations, announcements, save the dates, gift tags, packaging and bridal accessories to products for showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties, to travel gear. To outfit the honeymooners in style, the selection is remarkable.

So get ready for some serious bridal buzz @ NSS… Here’s why!

Reporters and camera crews from Get Married will rove the show floor to spot trends, in product and merchandising, as well as interview bridal experts on all sides of the business to be featured on future segments of Lifetime Television’s weekday morning program, hosted by celebrity event designer David Tutera. You can also visit in booth 3932 at the Show.

Educational seminars and trend forecasting will augment the bridal buzz:

The Association of Bridal Consultants(ABC) will exhibit, host an ABC member meeting during the Show, and present a seminar entitled “Wedding Invitations: How to Sell Them Alongside Your Event Planning Services.” Christine Figliuolo of Creations by Christine Events, LLC, will present the seminar. Registration is available online, at, under Programs & Events.

The Knot’s Senior Editor Christa Vagnozzi will reveal this year’s hottest wedding trends, including unexpected color combos, cultural twists on the typical wedding, styled catering presentations, seating arrangements, signature cocktail bars and more. She also will provide insight into how the stationery community can build relationships and better serve the engaged consumer in her program on Monday, May 18. Registration is available online, at, under Programs & Events.

Trends Predicted by Bridal Guide

Bridal trend predictions from Bridal Guide Senior Associate Editor Elena Mauer will be featured in the “Trend Walkway” in the Crystal Palace Lobby of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

You don’t want to miss this!
- Patti

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hello, cupcake!

Recently, I’ve received several calls, from different exhibitors in the National Stationery Show, asking if it would be okay for them to serve cupcakes in their booths. I’m thinking, what is going on here? All these requests for cupcakes!! Okay, we know they’re easy to serve, we also know that if you’re of a certain age, it was still okay for mom to bake 24 cupcakes for your kindergarten class to help you celebrate your birthday. So for some of us, cupcakes conjure up a great memory.

But here we are, and they are still going strong. After all, New York has its famous Cupcake CafĂ© – and I know many exhibitors in the Show have visited it! It’s so close to Javits – on 9th Avenue between 40th and 41st Street – an easy walk on a nice day! Here’s a photo of one of their delicious cupcakes. Yum!

I am totally excited to see all of the amazing cupcake wrappers offered by Paper Orchid at the Show this year. Here’s a picture of one – look at that intricate laser-cutting to make those butterflies! Just lovely.

Check out this cute birthday card – and wrapping paper - from Snow & Graham! (Ladies, can’t wait to see you again this year at the Show!!)

That wrapping paper is single sheet, by the way, and exactly how I like to buy gift wrap these days.

Boatman Geller has cute stationery (more pink and brown!)

Mrs. Grossman’s has these cute stickers! I like that the cupcakes on these stickers have sparklers on the top. I think a lot of folks actually are serving them that way these days. What fun!

I know I’m only scratching the surface here on the cupcake “thing!” I’m sure there are loads more exhibitors in the National Stationery Show who will be featuring cupcake product. My question is, when exactly did this get so hot? Jess and I were musing about this the other day, and we couldn’t quite put our finger on it. All we know is that it most certainly is a “thing!” By the way, if you’ll be offering cupcakes in your booth at the Show, please save me one! (My favorite would probably be chocolate with vanilla buttercream frosting!)

- Kelly

Friday, April 4, 2008

One More Thing!

Hello again! I can't believe I forgot to mention that Sarah Schwartz, trend expert and stationery correspondent for Party & Paper Retailer and I will co-moderate the New Buyer webinar that I mentioned in yesterday's blog. I just had to let you know!

Have a great weekend,

Thursday, April 3, 2008

It’s Cool to Learn; It’s Really Cool to Connect!

It’s amazing how much new technology has changed the way we do business. It wasn’t that long ago that we used a typewriter to create National Stationery Show contracts AND badges…imagine that; were wowed by the FAX; and we knew the voice of every exhibitor in the Show. While we surely aim to maintain a highly personal relationship with our customers, we are more widely using new technologies to enhance how we do what we do.

To this point, we just completed a 3-part exhibitor webinar series. The program covered the basics of exhibiting at the National Stationery Show, and it was a huge success! The topics included marketing, logistics & operations, and booth design & display. The technology tools were fantastic; the speakers were in independent locations (in one case, I was on a business trip and spoke from my hotel, while my counterpart was in another part of the country. Becky Taylor, my PR colleague, operated the program from the home base in White Plains). And, the 45-person audience was spread across the country and overseas. Amazing.

The Operations program included our partners from Freeman Decorating – and it was so helpful to the new exhibitors; it demystified the whole Javits/New York thing that people have in their heads. Kelly led the Design & Display program with Mike Oleskow of Max & Lucy and Modus Operandi, and in a word, it rocked. So many of the new exhibitors are artists, so we know that creatively there is no question of their sense of beauty. BUT, building a display that is inviting and which promotes sales is a whole new game. We got a big thumbs-up from our exhibitor customers and we know they’ll be in a more ready position as a result.

In a few weeks, we’ll deliver our third annual New Buyer Webinar. This is geared to first-time attendees. We have two veterans supporting the program, one a retailer that has attended for many years, and the other, a long-standing exhibitor. Both really know their stuff and are wonderful people! Becky Taylor is again orchestrating the program – she has become a real pro! Click here for more information on this Webinar.

We are all about customer service. Personalized and on-target customer service. It would be great to hear from you on this very issue – even if you’re not currently an exhibitor or attendee! What topics matter to you/your business at it relates to the National Stationery Show or larger industry issues? We intend to expand our Webinar series, in particular, and would greatly value your ideas.

6 weeks to go!