Monday, June 23, 2008

About to be Summer

The NSSGirls are taking it slower now that the demands of National Stationery Show have calmed. Our blogging will be occasional through the summer and will pick up steam as we move into fall.

It’s been a lot of fun to chronicle the experience “show side”, talking with you, cultivating our community of “blogatives” – that’s our pun for relatives in the blog world – our extended family, so to speak. We’ll surely stay in touch through our favorite blogs. Remember, you can always find us at

Thanks for your loyalty over the past several months, and for sharing your stories. We’ll be back soon!

Have a wonderful summer,

The NSSGirls

Patti, Kelly, Arque, Jess and Rosanne

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jessica's Fond Farewell

Although June is dedicated to post show talk, this week we’re taking a break with a special show team announcement. Our show coordinator, Jessica Reiche, has been promoted to Administrative/Conference Manager of the International Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Show (IH/M&RS) as well as the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) within GLM. As a result, tomorrow is her last day on the NSS/TSS team and this will be her last blog as part of the NSS Girls. Please join us in wishing her the best in her new role.

It’s with mixed feelings that I’m leaving the Show. With excitement for my new role and new shows but with sadness because of the great memories I have working with the NSS Team and of course the exhibitors. The Stationery Show was not only the first trade show I’ve ever worked on – it’s the first trade show I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t believe all the hard work and effort that goes on behind the scenes involving many people and companies to make an annual 4 day show so successful. At first it was so exciting to see the big displays and meet key people in large companies I only knew of from shopping in the stores, but as I got more involved I saw the excitement behind the smaller companies as well. Each new company has a dream and a story and I love hearing how the National Stationery Show helped them grow and succeed.

Looking back 2+ years ago, when I joined the National Stationery Show, I realize that I have changed a bit due to being in the industry.

No longer can I pick up (or receive) a card without turning it over to see who made it.

I truly appreciate handmade cards and will buy much nicer cards for my friends and relatives than I used to.

I’ve always loved stationery and “pretty paper” as I used to call it, but now I’ve got some of my friends into it also.

As a pen lover, I now know why people spend a lot of money on “the perfect pen.”

And I think most importantly to the Show, as a member of the “paperless” generation, and a person who communicates mostly through email and text messages (even with my own mom!), I truly know the importance of writing and receiving a handwritten letter or note.

Now I could end this blog here, but what fun would that be? Here are the top 10 things I will miss about working on the Stationery Show (and I apologize in advance to anyone that may get embarrassed by this – that’s what you get for not being in the office on my last day!)

10. Tuesday morning team meetings that usually do not have an “end time.” There’s nothing like walking into a meeting realizing that you probably shouldn’t have had a large mug of coffee right before sitting down.

9. Patti’s excitement when something good happens. It’s contagious.

8. Sitting between Rosanne and Arque every day – it’s always an adventure!

7. Answering the group line – you never know who’s going to be on the other end and what they’re looking for. I think we’ve all ended up in some really strange conversations.

6. Food shopping for the Show Office. It’s always interesting when Rosanne and I have to shop for 15+ people for 8 days, some with very specific requests!

5. Talking to really nice exhibitors. I think the Stationery Show probably has the most chatty, personable exhibitors around and its fun to hear their stories. So many of them really appreciate my help and it makes the job much more pleasurable.

4. Sitting down the hall from my best (work) friend. With a new position comes a new desk and I’ll be on the other side of the office! I think we became best friends because we see each other countless times during the day.

3. Sitting next to the copier that many people in the office do not know how to work. Lucky for them I knew how to help them, but they’re in trouble now!

2. Working on the blog. I’ve had a huge role developing and maintaining the blog; it’ll be hard to not be a part of it.

1. The NSS Girls as a whole. I’ve learned so much from each one on the team and I’m extremely grateful for this experience. I know whoever takes my place on the Show will learn as much as I did!

So farewell NSS/TSS and hello IH/M&RS & ICFF (what’s with GLM and all of our acronyms anyway??) - I’ll see everyone at the 2009 Show (although I’ll be downstairs now!)


Friday, June 6, 2008

We’ve got that After Show Glow

Though a couple of weeks have passed since the conclusion of the National Stationery Show, this team still has that “After Show Glow!” On Wednesday, the last day of the Show, I think we would have meant the glow that comes from hard work (packing up boxes, just like the exhibitors – all that stuff we hauled in – phones, files, etc. had to be packed back up). But today, I mean that kind of glow that comes from knowing that the Show was incredible – “a triumphant Show” to quote a source!

As Jess said last week, we have loved reading the blogs being posted by exhibitors and attendees alike. The many members of this stationery-loving, design-oriented community clearly enjoyed – in fact, couldn’t get enough of – all the offerings at the Show.

We didn’t have enough time to blog from on-site once the NSS was open (we promise, we’ll work it into the schedule next year!) but here are some highlights:

I was beyond thrilled to meet Leslie Moak Murray, creator of Murray’s Law, the funny, funny line of cards, books, and other products she whips up for (and with) Design Design. Here I am with Leslie (center) and Don Kallil, president of Design Design at the Show’s Opening Night Party at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center.

It was a whole lot of fun to present the Best New Product winners with their awards on Sunday afternoon! Here’s a photo of Melissa and Brad Foster of Elum. They won for their Wood Grain Desk Set, a complete collection of varying sized letterpress note cards and custom envelopes, each designed with the latest interior design color trends and packaged in a custom-printed fabric box. I’ve known Melissa and before they’d ever exhibited in a trade show. It really was a thrill to present this award to them.

This year, our operations team came up with a great way to help attendees figure out where the line ended for each shuttle bus route. The start of the line is indicated with a big sign, but often lines can get so long, it’s hard to tell where, say, Route 1 ends and Route 2 begins. Here are our intrepid on-site staff members demonstrating the signage for the “end of the line!”

That’s Scott Kramer (#1), Mike Ruberry (#2) and Randi Mohr (#3). Note that Arque (bottom right) thinks this is pretty funny!

I also got to meet the “lips lady” at the Show this year. “Who is the ‘lips lady’?” you might ask. Well, if you’ve attended the Show, I’m sure you’ve noticed our big blue banner at the entrance. The design is of a back of an envelope, and it bears the Show name at the top, and then has this big “S.W.A.K.” (sealed with a kiss….) mark on the bottom and reads “P.S. we’re glad you’re here.” The banner was designed by the talented Cliff Doenges of Freeman, and it debuted at the 2007 Show. We love this banner, but had to know where the lips came from. Story is that he asked his colleague, Anita Moreano Zales to put on some red lipstick and kiss a piece of paper a few times. The rest is history. It was fun to meet Anita. Here she is under her big smooch!

By now you’ve seen some awesome booths at the Show from the pics posted on these various sites. Kudos to all those great companies who spend their year working on designs for paper, but for the Show, diverted their attention to designing for walls that are 8’ high and of various depths and widths. This is no small challenge, and we applaud the creativity that was so apparent.

Every year, I wonder what the color trend will be in booth design. To get a hint on this, I ask Lloyd Stone, of Manny Stone, to tell me what color of foam board was most requested. This year, not surprisingly, the color was brown (BTW, last year it was green). Check out all of these brown booths!

Abby Jean line by Fontaine Maury – sleek and stylish. I love the white carpet and those “ghost” acrylic chairs.

Always a Girl’s Girl – I like that she’s brought in the pink lilies that match the pink border.

9SpotMonk – very inviting booth, Vivian! Great job! The side walls were a different shade than the back wall. Check out that sofa - I bet the buyers were happy to have a chance to sit.

Marsupial – I like the different colored dots at the top, and the clever creation of an extra short wall inside their booth.

That Sky Blue - An unpredictably brown back wall, with great shelving used to display their designs.

Here’s the new team photo, taken during the Show…

Rosanne, Jess, Arque, Kelly, Patti

I know you’ve seen and heard lots more than this, and I am just scratching the surface. We plan to give you more pics and insights from our perspective of the 2008 National Stationery Show in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

- Kelly