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

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