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


  1. I'm just attending the show this year for the first time - your post has me excited to be part of everything!

  2. I am so incredibly excited to be attending for the first time this year!!!

    I tried to click on the Webinar link but it is not working. HELP!!!

  3. Can't wait to be there! It's like a family reunion!

  4. Really enjoyed reading your posting today - thanks!