Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

All of us here would like to wish you and your families a very Happy New Year.

- The National Stationery Show Bloggers

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's a Wrap!

So there I was last night, December 23rd, standing at my ironing board* wrapping the gifts I will be giving to my family and friends on Christmas Day. You can only imagine my frustration as gift after gift poked through the cheap wrapping.

Q. Why the %$#@ do I have this cheap, thin, gift wrap? (Don’t I know better?)
A. The design was cute, it came in a coordinating pack of 3, and was inexpensive – and purchased last year at one of the more design-forward “big box” stores. And yes, I do know better.

Luckily for me, I have a nice inventory of much thicker, higher quality gift wrap. Some of what I found in my stash was from Turnowsky. Oh, such a difference. The thickness of this high quality paper was truly a wonder to me last night, in comparison to what I’d tried to use. And the design, you must know, is just gorgeous – layered, with foiling, rich colors - sumptuous! The feel of folding this paper is just so much more enjoyable. Seriously. With the thin paper, it’s like a fight – this stuff folds in on itself, and of course there’s that ripping thing. With thick gift wrap like this, wrapping does become a joy. Instead of feeling like Mr. Scrooge – “bah humbug!” - I feel the spirit of the season, and know I can proudly present my gifts to each recipient.

To top off any present, ribbon or other decoration is a must. I am not a stick-on ribbon kind of gal. I have skeins of double-faced satin ribbon from Berwick Offray, in practically every color. I also have some absolutely gorgeous velvet ribbon from Midori, and one of the gifts I am giving my mother got this special treatment! (I may try to take it back so I can re-use it next year!!) And wire-ribbon is also a must. If I decide to get really crafty, I will tie on a pinecone, or sticks of cinnamon – or something else clever like that.

In order to keep things straight, there’s the gift tag. Often, I do not have tags specifically coordinated with the wrap. Instead, I try to find tags that are in the same color family as the wrap. I have some wonderful gift tags from Pikme. Designer/Owner Kirsten Reynolds is truly prolific. From this line, I have tags of Christmas (pine) trees, holiday florals, mermaids, flamingos – and so much more. One of my niece’s presents has the mermaid tag on it. I also recently bought some cute letterpress gift tags from Delphine – they feature a polar bear and the paper is shimmery! (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – I love a little glitz., shimmer & sparkle!)

Finally, there’s the * above to be addressed. Do any of you wrap like me – on the ironing board? I am nearly 5’ 11” and I find that the ironing board is the perfect height for me – ergonomically. Instead of sitting (and likely slouching) amidst all the wrap, ribbons and tags, I like to stand so that I am able to move about. (To retrieve each gift, back and forth to the kitchen for just a little more bubbly…)

I should have taken a few photos of all of this, but instead, visit each company’s website to get a taste of their wonderful offerings.

Happy Holidays to you!!! Enjoy the season, and remember – if you have been thinking of exhibiting in the National Stationery Show, give me a call 914-421-3228. And if you are in retail and would like to attend, please remember to register for your badge on our website!

Until next time –


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Humor IS the best medicine!

Please don’t tell my husband, but I have a secret passion. I love greeting cards.

Nothing enchants me as much as finding an unexpected greeting card in my mailbox. As much as I delight in the designs—each card a miniature masterpiece of artwork – it is the messages that each card delivers that really wins my heart. No matter how many greeting cards I receive, I never fail to tear up at heartfelt sentiments of connection and support, friendship and encouragement contained in one small piece of card stock.

But of all the cards I’ve collected over the years, it’s the funny ones I love the most. Everyone needs a little humor these days, and greeting cards – filled with wit, “I can’t believe they thought of that” surprise, and clever charm, can pack lots of laughs in a challenging time. Writers often struggle with finding “just the right words” to convey a message; greeting card writers have to deliver huge amounts of humor in just a sentence or two. Two of my favorite birthday cards still have me smiling: “Be Yourself…Everyone Else is Taken…” proclaimed a delightful, vintage-looking Madison Park Greetings design. In another Recycled Paper card design, sent to me by my best friend, two well-dressed matrons are discussing health routines: “To stay young, the doctor said to exercise and eat the right foods…” “What?!” exclaims the other, “I thought he said ‘accessorize and buy nice shoes!” It was worth getting a year older to receive such warm gifts of laughter from people I love.

I’m looking forward to the National Stationery Show—it’s my favorite time to catch up on all the hilarious cards I haven’t received. You’ll recognize me—I’ll be the tall brunette, standing in the Design Design, Mikwright, Avanti, and Noble Works booths, opening greeting cards, and laughing out loud!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Social Media: Are You on the Bandwagon?

So here I am, plugging away at my job as Marketing Manager for the National Stationery Show, when the following Twitter message stops me in my tracks as I attempt to Tweet:

Twitter is over capacity.
Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again.

But I have something to post that our 524 followers need to hear now!

We are addicted to social media, this much is true. Approximately 25 million U.S. adults are utilizing Twitter with more than 2 million tweets sent daily. Likewise for Facebook, which touts more than 350 million active users and 55 million status updates daily.

What does this mean to us? Lots of opportunity to communicate with those who matter most to us, and with those who want to hear from us.

So why am I pushing this social media craze in our NSS blog? We’ve jumped on the bandwagon as a means of communicating with our customers year-round, in a way that works for you. Gone are the days of having time to read long, detailed emails or casually peruse websites for information. We need information quickly and we need it concise. For all things 2010 National Stationery Show – from the latest Show news and event information, to newly-signed exhibitors and special features – check us out at:

If you have news that you want us to share with our fans and followers, send it to me at

Happy Tweeting,

Stats courtesy of Pew Internet.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Visit to the West Coast

Last week, I took a trip out to Santa Monica, CA to spend Thanksgiving with a good friend, who also has her birthday around that holiday. It was a great trip.

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know that no matter where I am, I usually find myself visiting a stationery store or two! This trip was no different.

On my first full day in town, my friend and I went to the J. Paul Getty Museum, and I was thrilled to spend the day there. Of course a visit to a museum also includes a nip into the gift shop. Inside of course, were a great number of products from companies that exhibit in the National Stationery Show. There was a great display of journals by Paperblanks, lots of beautiful product from Mudlark (they are doing something really right – I see Mudlark everywhere these days!), lots of calendars, and of course a great display of holiday cards, including boxed cards from Galison and Great Arrow Graphics.

This sign was posted in the Getty’s store, just above all the holiday cards for sale.
Way to go, Getty! The greeting card industry salutes you, and your great message encouraging holiday card sending!

My friend lives very near to Fred Segal Santa Monica. Despite having visited her many times, I had never been in the store (in Santa Monica, it’s two buildings on opposite sides of Broadway). This time, we went in both stores (hurray!) I love the sign on the building’s exterior.

I never knew that Fred Segal has a bunch of boutique shops inside (different stores, different buyers). We went into several, including the cool ZeroMinusPlus store.

Inside there was puzzles, jewelry, wallets from Alicia Klein, cool gadgets, and of course, lots of cards – and from so many different companies, I took notes. Here are just some: Amy Smyth Made It, Constance Kay, Frantic Meerkat, La Familia Green, Quotable Cards, Random Thoughts, and Shannon Martin. I knew all of these companies from having exhibited in the NSS – it almost felt like I was on the Show floor at Javits.

Here’s a quick pic I snapped of one of the displays:

Note to ZeroMinusPlus buyer, Darrylynn: it’s not too early to plan your visit to the NSS this May! Many of these companies, and hundreds more, will be at the Show waiting to see you. We’d love to see you back.

On my last full day in CA, my friend and I went to Pasadena. I had never been there, either. I’m embarrassed to tell you this, but I will anyway – I was “totally psyched” to see the painted pink line up Colorado Boulevard – part of the New Year’s Day Rose Bowl Parade trail. I’ve watched that parade every New Year’s Day for as long as I can remember.

We visited the Huntington Library (finally saw Gainsborough's "The Blue Boy"). Plenty of great products in that store, too, including a number of items from Pomegranate (books, calendars), and cards from Caspari. If you've never been to the Huntington Library - I recommend it - their gardens are varied, and tremendous!

Another great thing about Pasadena: Leigh Jackson of Bella Adorna! When I told Leigh I was coming to her home town, she suggested we meet. It was great to have a “no agenda” get together over a little glass of vino. (Hey! I said I was on vacation!)

Here I am with Leigh. She did tell me she’s got some new designs coming that will be ready for the May 2010 NSS.

After visiting with Leigh, I made tracks for the stationery store Carmody & Company on Union Street. I had read lots of great reviews about this store’s customer service online, and couldn’t wait to get inside and chat with the store’s owner, Terry Clougherty.

Terry shared with me her own tips and tricks for keeping loyal customers coming through her store’s door (sorry – can’t tell you!). She sells a lot of invitations – some through albums – she carries William Arthur, Crane & Co., and Chatsworth, to name a few; and she has a great number of imprintables for customer to buy and finish at home. Terry also has a graphic designer on-staff so that invitations can be custom made for her clients. Quite the business!

When I visited, a set of holiday cards was being assembled for one her clients.

And finally, here I am with Terry, (below).

Hope you enjoyed the recounting of my trip out to the “left coast!” Keep the holiday spirit going this season!

Until next time - Kelly

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

All of us here would like to wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving.

- The National Stationery Show Bloggers

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Husband’s Savior (Well, mine really)

His name is Jack. Jack Cards™, to be more specific.

Ladies, listen up. How many of you became responsible for finding, signing and sending all the birthday, anniversary, get well and holiday cards for your husband’s family the moment you said “I do”? After 2+ years, I recently relinquished the duty to my husband’s new friend, Jack, after one too many “Babe, my sister’s birthday is tomorrow.”

We in the social stationery biz know that handwritten greetings are still – and always will be – the most personal and thoughtful way to send a greeting. E-cards can be fun and interactive, but nothing beats a handwritten note with a personal sentiment that lands in your mailbox.

Jack Cards allows you to do just that, without needing to memorize 25 birthdays and anniversaries or rush to buy and send a card for an occasion you remembered just the day before. In one short visit to their website, you can plug in dates of important occasions for the entire year, select cards for each, and receive them in the mail (ready to mail!) to personalize and send.

Worried about the quality of the cards? Worry not. Such designers as Kate and Birdie, Bald Guy Greetings, Bob’s Your Uncle, Night Owl Paper Goods, Peaceable Kingdom Press, Wooster & Prince Papers and other top companies are among the choices.

The men in our lives will never stop doing this to us, so sign up ladies! No regrets from this Jack Cards member.


Friday, November 13, 2009

A ramble

We’re almost done with booth changes for returning exhibitors to the National Stationery Show! Hurray!! Here, back in our glamorous offices at 1133 Westchester Avenue, we have been toiling away on behalf of companies looking for new spaces in the Show. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish and takes up most of mid-October right up until Thanksgiving. It is like this every year, without fail. If you are attending the Show this May, I hope you notice some of your favorite companies in their new locations. Hundreds of exhibitors have moved. (This is typical, too!) Sometimes exhibitors tell us they want to be near each other – to create a neighborhood. Again, this can be a challenge, but it is so very rewarding to be able to accomplish something like this. In fact, (am I letting the cat out of the bag?) you should look for Egg Press, Hello Lucky, Hammerpress and eieio at the Show. They’re all in new booths, and they’ve each staked their claim on a corner spot facing each other. I can’t wait to visit this area of the Show myself, because I know these companies are all friends, and they’re cooking up some collective fun for May. Hint: find them on the 1500 aisle.

I truly enjoy working on the change process because it gives me the excellent opportunity to chat with exhibitors. As we map out new booth spaces together, I get to hear how their year has been (October was great – lots of re-orders and new orders, too), the new products they will be introducing in May (everyone will), and about their sleepless nights putting the finishing touches on their products and packing and shipping them. Hello Anthropologie – you were busy buyers this year! So many of the NSS exhibitors I’ve spoken with got some nice big orders from you, and they all seem to be shipping RIGHT NOW!

We’re also welcoming tons of new companies to the 2010 Show, and have been busy getting them situated into booth spaces for May. I love speaking with the folks at new companies. These talented individuals are on the brink of success! They have great designs, and just need to do the Show to get their products in the hands of customers. It’s fun to talk with folks at this stage – before they’ve “made it.” It’s also great to catch up with them a few years later to hear how much they’ve grown! I have tons of stories, and one that comes to mind is Night Owl Paper Goods. The name of the company came from the fact that our good friend Mr. Stuart Alan Henderson started this company at night – while working a “day job.” Well, the years of hard work have paid off, and now Night Owl is actually run by day!

I applaud and admire each and every one of you who took the brave step to put your designs out there and start your own companies.

It’s not too early to decide to exhibit in the National Stationery Show. If you are on the brink of success, give me a call so I can learn about your company and the kind of stores you hope to “be in.”

If you are a retailer – it’s also not too early to register for your badge for the Show. Our hotel block has been set for a while now, and you can start planning your visit.

Sorry no pics today – I’ve been too busy staring at this floorplan getting things done. You should see my bloodshot eyes. Really!

Until next time - Kelly

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Halloween Scrapbooking Journey

Ever since I’ve been working on the Show where there is so much fantastic scrapbooking and papercrafting product, and in particular this last year, I’ve considered getting into scrapbooking. But, to be honest, I find it intimidating! I give you scrapbookers a lot of credit; it’s time-intensive, requires a lot of creativity and from my experience, is really overwhelming to start. Time and time again I go to art supply and craft stores to visit the scrapbooking aisles only to leave empty handed and discouraged.

So here is my question for you readers who are true scrapbookers – do you scrapbook specific holidays? I was recently in Michael’s and A.I. Friedman. to explore the product options. Then, I spent time looking around the internet and discovered that Halloween actually has its own scrapbooking items. This really piqued my curiosity. Here are a few things I found that would definitely make it into my scrapbook (if I ever start one):

This scrapbook paper from Masterpiece Studios is so cute! I love how it incorporates fall leaves with traditional Halloween symbols.

I’m not a fan of anything scary so these embellishments from K & Company make Halloween seem more like a holiday I wouldn’t mind being a part of. Look at the smiles on these fun characters!

If you’re anything like me, the only reason you participate in anything Halloween-related is for the yummy candy; so my scrapbook would not be complete without these stickers from SandyLion.

And just because Halloween is supposed to be a little creepy, I would add a few spider web stamps to my photo filled pages. Inkadinkado makes a lot of fun Halloween themed stamps.

What are your favorite scrapbooking items? Are you creating a Halloween page? We’d love to hear your scrapbooking ideas and stories!

Have a safe Halloween,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Out and About

I’m on the road for work or vacation just about every month of the year. I don’t know about you, “dear reader”, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to paper. No matter where I am and no matter if it is for work or pleasure, I am known to stop in my tracks to step into a stationery store! I also like to visit customers whenever possible.

At the beginning of September, I logged in a visit to Envelopments, and got to see the cool work environment that Mark and Deborah Smith have created for themselves and their employees. The vibe is collaborative and California cool. Employees can wear jeans every day (boy did I feel out of place in my dress!) Their warehouse area was organized and clean – so pleasant for all the workers in that area who were doing their thing when I stopped in. The outdoor space at Envelopments even includes a little Zen meditation area! Everyone I met was a happy employee. Impressive!

Here’s a pic of Mark and Deborah at the office.

I was in Italy at the end of September through the beginning of this month, and while in Rome I went to visit NSS exhibitor Luca Natalizia, of Natalizia. Luca’s family also owns Cartoleria Pantheon, a wonderful little store located off to one side of the Pantheon.

Here’s a glimpse of the storefront, as well as a shot of the giftwrap on display on the sidewalk just in front of the store.

I also stopped in the large chain La Feltrinelli – there are a few in Rome – this one was in Largo Argentina. I would liken La Feltrinelli to a Barnes & Noble here – they have everything from books, to music, to journals to greeting cards. Here are a couple of covert shots from inside the store.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Greeting Card Association’s annual Convention in Scottsdale, AZ. The Convention is just one of many highlights of the year for me, as it is always inspiring, enlightening, and honestly – it’s just plain fun to hang with leaders in the greeting card industry. One of the discussion panels during the convention was called “The Realities of Retailing” and four local retailers discussed their businesses. They were so very generous to share their information and insights, and as you might imagine, they had a rapt audience – we were all attentive and taking notes! Afterwards, I had the happy opportunity to visit 2 of the 4 stores represented on the panel. The Paper Place (this store is family owned and operated, and has been in business for 31 years) and Celebrations in Paper, which owner Rene Showalter opened in 1997.

Here’s a photo of the many invitation albums at The Paper Place.

And check out just a slice of their greeting card offerings. This store is fab – and I spent some $$ there on holiday cards and general greeting cards (could not resist several gorgeous cards from J&M Martinez). I loved visiting with store owner Nancy Silver – and fully expect to see Nancy in May at the NSS. Her sister Betsy (also co-owner of the store) was on the discussion panel earlier in the day. Thank you, ladies for your time!

Down the street and around the corner is Celebrations in Paper. Rene has an interesting set-up as she shares her space with a florist. This is advantageous to both businesses, as they work so often with wedding and party planners. You can bet I happily plunked down a few dollars here, too. (Hello to Brent and Charmaine of Yellow Bird Paper Greetings –I picked up a birthday card and a thank you card of yours here). While I was visiting Celebrations in Paper, I met up with a few other industry folks!

Here’s a picture showing those who stopped by. From left to right:

George White, Up With Paper; Nicky Burton, Calypso Cards; Rene Showalter, store owner; and manufacturers’ representative Chuck Nelson, who works with the stores in Scottsdale and the region.

Visiting retail stores and the talented people behind the products we all love to buy, use and mail is certainly a passion for me. The people in this industry are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet – including yourselves, without a doubt! If I’m ever in your neighborhood, I’d love to come and visit!! (o:

- Until next time, Kelly

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Change of Seasons

It’s fall…and in New York that’s a big change of season! The air starts to crisp, the fields turn to brown and summer fun comes to an end. The last of the flowers show their brilliance and fade away quickly. My little garden always looks so sad without the flamboyance of its more colorful early-season relatives.

I suppose that’s why cards, notes and visuals with pretty flowers will always be popular. They fill the needs of those who appreciate delicate petals, long stems or vibrant eyefuls. For me a flower means happy, friendly and special. My curiosity took me to the 2009 NSS Online Catalog Gallery (which runs thru October 31) for a quick peek at what’s fresh and different for cards. I easily found what I was looking for – Jet Papier had a variety of floral beauties while Vera Bradley presented some updated versions. Sheer delight!

For those who haven’t checked out our Online Catalog Gallery, put it on your “Must Do” list for this month. It’s a great tool for buyers – exclusively featuring NSS exhibitors – providing easy access to complete catalogs with just a click of the mouse. Keep this in mind as we approach the 2010 National Stationery Show, for a sneak peek at all the great products to be found on the Show floor!

I will miss the Summer with its endless flowering but in the meantime, I only have to turn the corner to my local card shop to pick a vivid jonquil or hearty wildflower. As the days get darker earlier, send someone something that will perk up their spirits and get them through to Spring!

Talk to you soon!! Alyson

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Press of Tradition

Tradition is something that I have heard a lot about over the last year or so. When times are tough, families and individuals alike return to a “simpler time”; a refrain used over and over again on the news, in commercials, on talk-shows. Whether “simpler” means family game night or entertaining at home, people look to the past for both comfort and the reminder that we can and will get through these tough times.

There is no style of social stationery products that is more traditional than letterpress. With its crisp lines and beautiful antique styling pressed on rich, textured paper; letterpress conveys a look and feel that is comfortable, safe. Letterpress also has a unique elegance that lends itself to everything from birthday cards to wedding invitations, to coasters and gift wrap. And by its very tactile quality, something letterpressed adds an extra dimension, an extra sense, to the joy of receiving.

The letterpress contingent comes out in full glory at the National Stationery Show. From the bright, stylized nature motifs of Old School Stationers

to the simple,witty one-liners of Albertine Press,

to the elegant lace patters from Copper Willow Paper Studio,

to the luxurious invitation designs by Elum or Twig & Fig – to name but a few among the nearly 100 companies that feature letterpress in the Show - letterpress is as diverse and prolific as the industry itself.

We are seeing growth in the use of this very specialized printing process, and expect that the 2010 Show will delight buyers with new interpretations and uses of a process that has been around since the 1500’s. A process that, in my opinion, has aged quite gracefully.

- Aaron

Friday, October 2, 2009

Face the Facts!

Sitting where I do today in this age of digitized transactions and impersonal exchanges that while speedy lack the warm-fuzzy (personal) or the gratification of a negotiation completed (business), I am regularly engaged in reinforcing something that is anything but old fashioned: face to face interaction.

I feel like Andy Rooney in writing this, but can you imagine choosing a doctor, deciding on a caregiver for a loved one, choosing a money manager, firming up a business relationship - or any number of significant commitments - without first meeting the person with whom you are seriously associating?

While the pace of change has gradually increased, this past year it shoved its way in and created a new reality. As a world community, we were pushed harder this year to function in new ways and adopt new practices, primarily because of the economy and the internet. While intense and unfamiliar, ultimately change is good. But, I don’t think progress requires “throwing away the baby with the bathwater”. As it relates to doing business, there simply is no substitute for looking a person in the eye to talk and explore ideas and opportunities together. How else can you authentically develop trust, confidence and a general comfort level?

At their most fundamental, tradeshows, conferences and other events provide that opportunity.
I know I have a vested interest in reinforcing this format – so maybe you think I’m biased - but I believe this to my core. There are many opportunities to build new and profitable relationships, along with what I call “high touch schmoozing” that is integral to keep current relationships fresh that can’t be replicated outside this format.

May seems a long time away, but not at NSS headquarters! We are in the thick of renewing exhibitors, developing exciting partnerships, orchestrating innovative promotions, welcoming new companies planning their debut on the exhibit floor, as well as welcoming back exhibitors that took last year off.

I hope everyone that reads my blog this week buys into this reality: what you make and what you sell is core to our social culture and may it long live! So, if you’re in this business then doing business face to face at the 2010 National Stationery Show truly is anything but old fashioned.


Friday, September 25, 2009

NSS Community-Based Site Live!

Today we “go live” with the National Stationery Show’s new website. More an industry site than purely a show-centric one, we hope it inspires you, and as it develops, becomes a regular stop in your daily clicks. I know, I know another website to follow, but let me tell you why this one will be worthy for you and your business to keep up with.

We’re setting the bar high and aiming to engage professionals on all sides of the business. The reason is simple: to communicate on a regular basis with our industry community well beyond the 4 days each May that we convene. will feature industry and business news, product features, flash polls, links to blogs, and other websites we find valuable, and will present what’s timely and relevant about the Show to exhibitors and buyers. It will be dynamic and participative. And, above all, we hope it builds community.

And speaking of community, don’t you find that this word is so often used to describe our industry? It surfaces in almost every business conversation I have, whether in a meeting, in the midst of a phone call with a customer, a planning session with the team, or during a special event. Community is a defining characteristic of the Show, as all sectors of our industry come together: manufacturers, retailers, distributors, reps, designers, licensing agents, suppliers, consumer and trade press. This is a hallmark of NSS (no pun intended!) and something that, if I do say so myself, is pretty unique in the spectrum of shows and business events that are out there. As our community grows, changes, and spans every corner of the world, we hope that the site becomes a global “town center”.

The soft launch will help us uncover any glitches, any clumsy navigation, and maybe even a mistake! But, in a true community we can and should be ourselves – bumps and all. So, go easy on us, but be sure to let us know what you think of this initial debut. And, allow me to invite you to be a part of this community. Please visit the site often, take our polls, contribute ideas, visit the product gallery and enjoy!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Sneak Peek

Okay, readers. You are a privileged group! We can’t contain our excitement any longer, so we’re giving our blog readers a tiny glimpse at the new vibe of the National Stationery Show. And our new vibe isn’t just a new look – it’s a new philosophy and outlook on our obligation to the industry as its leading event. This new vibe can be summed up in just one word - Community.

Gone are the days of the National Stationery Show as just a 4-day event…although no doubt among the most productive four days of your year! We are about to unveil a new website that will intrigue and inspire you year-round with breaking industry news, new product features, industry polls and more. Creating a sense of community is our goal, and we think you’ll agree that we have achieved just that.

Be sure to check out in another week or so to see our dynamic, community-based new website. Spend a few minutes taking in the latest industry headlines, scoping out some great new products and learning about the Show itself. And did I mention the user-friendly navigation? We always enjoy talking to our customers, and will miss those “where can I find…?” phone calls.

Let us know what you think…and of course, send news, product announcements and anything else you think might be a good fit for our new website.

Happy navigating,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Creativity Fuels

Creativity is a big part of what the National Stationery Show is all about. Our exhibitors are creative. Our attendees are creative. Our staff is creative.

The one thing I’ve realized with the technology vs. paper debate I’ve heard about for years is that no matter what, all great products are because of great creativity; and the world will never stop buying great, creative products.

How often do you go into a store not planning on buying anything, and end up with “the cutest thing ever?” There is something inside all of us that has this “I just have to have that” adrenaline rush when we see something new and creative. I know I’m on a budget, I know I already have 4 unused notebooks at home in my desk, but that color…that design…that paper…I must own it. Sound familiar?

Maybe you’re not a notebook nut like I am. But maybe it’s pens; maybe it’s magnets…how about frames and photo albums? Desk novelties and mugs. Or it’s the newest design of post-it and organizational systems. No? Well maybe it’s your kids. It’s the folders and stickers and plush toys. That back to school shopping you just finished doing. If you’re in your 20s or 30s maybe it’s a girly laptop sleeve or a men’s leather messenger bag. It’s a new makeup bag or pocket mirror. Or it’s an iPod cover or cell phone case.

Whatever your guilty purchasing pleasure is, I bet it’s because of someone’s creativity. Some designer/manufacturer/retailer/marketer/sales representative/store manager saw a fresh, new idea and got creative.

So, we want to know:

1 – what fuels your creativity?
2- what’s your guilty purchasing pleasure?

We love to hear from our readers – please post a comment below!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Card Sending Begets Card Sending!

The 2009 National Stationery Show hosted the launch of the national grassroots movement called HOPE is in the cards. The mission is to spread HOPE across America one card or letter at a time through the mail - what a concept!

The greeting card business - and the US Postal Service - have been dramatically impacted by the proliferation of technology tools that people use to communicate. And not to mention our culture that is quickly losing touch with the meaningful gesture of putting pen to paper to communicate. The HOPE program has the potential to remind us of that "mail moment" - the wonderful feeling you get when you see a hand addressed envelope in your mailbox.

I am proud that NSS is among the founding sponsors of HOPE. We are behind Russ Haan, its founder, to forge ahead with incredible ideas to build momentum. One such is the first Week of Hope that launched two days ago and continues through September 7th. You won't believe some of the amazing stories, some of which you can read about on the Hope site.

Retailers across the country are united in their support of the program. They're bringing it to their customers and their communities in ways that help promote traffic to their stores and ultimately sales. The fundamental gesture in common is that every customer that purchases a greeting card gets a free first-class stamp from the retailer. It's that easy.

Do your part and send a card during the Week, for as so many in the industry put it "card sending begets card sending."


Friday, August 21, 2009


This past week, I was “out and about” (code for attending or working some other trade show) and I could not help but notice what must be a trend – robots! There were robot products and images all over the place. Where is this coming from? I saw little robot key chains, images of robots on t-shirts, paper products, tote bags - and more. All the products were meant for adults, but the robots had a certain look to them – they were kind of cute, not scary. And most of the robots I saw had square heads, not the round-ish head like that of the robot on the classic TV show “Lost in Space.”

Today, we received an exhibit space application for the NSS from a company with something like robot paper dolls (3-D). This product is meant for kids, of course. Look for it at the National Stationery Show in May 2010 – the company who makes them will be getting a booth.

Has anyone else spied this trend out in the market? Where have these robots come from? I thought the craze for robots that rose from the movie enterprise that brought us cute little R2D2 had run its course (for now). Has “The Robot” dance made a comeback and no one told me? Are we being invaded? Is this some social commentary on how technology has affected the population at large? (Just kidding).

I feel a bit like a robot today, (Friday), after having been away from my desk for a solid week! I'll be back to my usual self on Monday, and I can promise you, I'm way too "animated" to ever be called robotic!

Have a great weekend and a good week ahead!

Until next time -


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Getting Back to Nature

I love the Adirondacks. Located in upstate New York, the Adirondacks National Park is the largest national park in the lower forty-eight states. I have gone there with my family every year since I was born, some years more then once.

This year I was on the lookout. Of course I knew that there were greeting cards in the ADK (as it is referred to by those who go there), but I never really realized just how many different types there were. As I looked over the cards in probably two dozen different gift stores, I realized that there was one broad category of cards that predominates there – nature themed cards were everywhere.

One company who I had the pleasure of speaking to at the 2009 NSS was “Haymaker Press”. A Vermont based company; they specialize in nature photography from the Adirondack and Vermont region. Their cards really evoke the sense of peace and beauty of the area. Just looking at a picture of a still lake surrounded by green, rolling mountains has the ability to calm me.

But it is not just nature photography that predominates. Take this beautiful boxed Christmas card set of snow on birch trees from “Peter Pauper Press”:

Nature has a way of calming the soul. I believe that everyone needs a little bit of nature in there life in order to thrive (I need a lot). Help someone you know thrive, you never know who needs a peaceful mountain lake in their life!

- Aaron

Thursday, August 6, 2009

When the message really matters, it’s paper!

Over the past few weeks, several items arrived in my mailbox, and they have reminded me once again about the power that paper has to inspire, touch and brighten our lives.

First, I was delighted to receive a lovely wedding invitation, showcasing a beautiful, floral-inspired design from imprintables pioneer Colors by Design. Several days later came a handwritten note of thanks from a friend. Then our mailbox overflowed with cards helping to celebrate my husband’s birthday. All of these items from the social stationery industry could seem insignificant in the rush of our daily lives, but for my husband and me, they delivered messages of connection, caring and celebration that made us feel cherished.

Like everyone, I receive hundreds of emails per week—a never-ending flood of information, requests, spam, unwanted sales pitches, and every once in awhile, an occasional laugh. But except for business purposes, I have never kept an email, let alone saved one in my keepsake box for treasured memories. And I know that the greeting cards, invitations and personal notes I send other people are tucked away in their keepsake boxes as well.

There’s no doubt we are living in challenging times right now. Many people feel disconnected, unappreciated, and under siege. A card, a personalized note, an invitation—these are small actions make a huge and positive difference in someone’s life. I know that the power of paper continues to make a wonderful difference in mine. I’ll surely do my part to keep this enduring tradition going.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Whole New World of Paper Possibilities!

Long before I started at GLM®, I was an art major in college, hoping to do interior design. My art classes required me to sketch all my design projects on graph paper. Graph paper or lined paper helps the artist to correctly measure and accurately proportion their drawings according to the original reference point. Now, if you ever used graph paper, you’ll remember that it begins to get extremely difficult to differentiate between the actual drawing and the lines from the page especially when drawing with black pen or pencil. The dark, harsh lines cause your eye to sway from the drawing to the line. This sway causes the lined paper to compete with the drawing, rather than display the drawing. This distraction can, in fact, drastically alter the completed drawing. Instead of the viewer seeing the picture, they also see dark squares and/or dark lines intruding on the finished work. There is another crucial factor in drawing; this is known as the eraser. Once an eraser hits the surface of lined paper, it can cause the dark lines to smudge, further destroying the art. As an alternative to lined paper there is plain paper. Plain paper is just a blank slate, hoping to display art, writing, etc. However, when an artist uses plain paper they almost always have to use a ruler to make sure that the picture is level and proportionate. I thought there was no other way, until recently…

Whitelines® a new company, was started because of this very struggle. Just as the company name describes, Whitelines® has developed a paper with white lines. So that the dark markings from pens, pencils etc. do not interfere between the lines on the paper, making the writing, sketches, and drawings really stand out.

Whitelines® sells a plethora of products such as: notebooks, graph paper, notepads, journals and more. Each of their products helps to show off the picture and not the line. This is a genius idea, that not only helps artists but also mathematicians, bringing geometry equations to a whole new level!

I was so happy to meet a couple of the guys behind the company and this brilliant idea at the National Stationery Show® this past May, and I look forward to seeing them again next year! To all the artists out there, check out their website for a whole new world of possibilities.

Until next time,
Rachel Veach

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Daughter's Baptism - Oh the Decisions!

August 30 marks my daughter’s first momentous occasion – her baptism. So this oh-so-proud mama has been on the hunt for the perfect invitation and party accessories…right down to the napkins. What I’ve discovered is that the market for baptisms is expansive, with both practical and luxurious options. Who would have thought? And the colors! I never expected to see baptism invitations with bright hues and patterned ribbon embellishments. In fact, I very much expected to start my hunt for invitations, favors and party d├ęcor and be done 30 minutes later. Instead, 4 hours later I returned home with several options floating in my head.

But alas, the winner of the invitation is revealed...SanLori Designs! (And for the record, my deadline for this blog forced the decision.)

And after much debate, I decided that my daughter’s guests will leave her baptism party with these cute little Crystal Angel keepsakes, which are custom cut from crystal and packaged in a cushion-lined gift box adorned with a customized ribbon featuring my daughter’s name and date of her baptism.

…and of course…the napkins “I just had to have,” as my husband says.

Who would have thought a baptism would be so much work. Long gone are the days of just a few options…and only white options!


Friday, July 17, 2009

Comfort is in the Cards….

It’s probably no surprise that I grew up a greeting card addict. I had boxes and drawers filled with cards, piles stashed under my bed and even in my book bag. My friends and I designed and wrote cards after school for years – an old fashioned version of a play date I suppose. I actually thought at one point, I’d write cards for a living. But, I found a better niche for this card-passionate, aspiring PR professional, first working for the Greeting Card Association and later – for 20 years - as the show manager of the single most important event for greeting cards – the National Stationery Show.

So, when HOPE is in the Cards ( launched @ the 2009 show my propensity for activism kicked into gear. I vowed I would pick up the torch again to promote the power of the written word in this age of digital sentiments that have little staying power once the delete button is pushed. I’ve decided my focus will be local, taking the lead from Russ Haan, HOPE’s founder, and get into the elementary schools to orient tech savvy kids to the high touch concept of ink on paper. Our social culture is starving for this, in my humble opinion and it’s up to the next generation of humans to carry on the tradition.

Now, fast-forward to two weeks ago when so suddenly, my father passed away. The greeting cards have been pouring in since, and I cannot express with enough emphasis the comfort that I derive daily from every read, every passing by the area in my home or in my office where these sweet offerings embrace me. I have come to rely on them when I least expect the grief to take over, and more than ever this reinforces the quality that cards possess to comfort, support, help heal, help cope, feel the love of another human being, understand the power of the written word – this only next to the hug of my husband, mom or very best girlfriend.

The cards I received vary in style, size and shape, printing sophistication, paper quality, eco chic, philanthropic orientation. Some are versed, others are blank. Some are layered, others are flat. Still others are handmade. I counted the number of companies whose cards I received – 17 in all! And, while stylistically very different one from the next, the enduring fact remains that when the message really matters, there’s absolutely nothing more powerful, more personal than ink on paper. Yes, indeed, comfort is in the cards.


Friday, July 10, 2009

GLM Summer Outing

There is a proverb that says “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Well, we don’t have any Jacks on the NSS team but we sure have a lot of people who would enjoy a little play time! So twice a year GLM shuts its doors, turns off its phones and puts all trade show related work aside to have some much deserved fun. This year we took a trip to West Point a.k.a. the United States Military Academy located about an hour from our office here in New York. Our day began with a tour of the grounds:

We then returned to our army themed tent for a hot lunch, flight simulator games, a rock climbing wall and our annual GLM softball game. The NSS Marketing & Sales teams cheered on our co-workers who were adventurous enough to play – one of which being our Show Manager, Patti Stracher.

Kelly Bristol, NSS Sales Manager with Kristen Hamilton from the NYIGF team

NSS Marketing Team: Melissa Gray, Jessica Reiche, Rachel Veach & Stephanie Leon-Santiago

Here’s wishing everyone a happy summer – make sure to take a little time off!