Thursday, April 8, 2010

Get Smart!

It seems hard for me to believe, but I’ve been developing retailer education programs for almost 20 years now. Those two decades translate into over 500 seminars, endless retail roundtables, product demonstrations, make-it-and-take-it events, and all sorts of keynote addresses. I’m still passionate about programming educational events for trade shows, because these buyer education programs make a real difference for store owners large and small, novices and veterans alike.

I was reminded of the impact of educational events while speaking one year with a wonderfully talented and successful retailer, Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Carolyn owned five retail stores in California and Las Vegas, and all of them were thriving. Every year at the California Gift Show, Carolyn always would come to a variety of seminars, demonstrations and networking events, and I was fascinated that she would take time out of her very hectic buying schedule to attend so many events. Finally, I asked Carolyn why, and she replied: “I come because I’m always open to learning how to be better at what I do. I come because if I pick up one idea, one suggestion, one tip, one skill that serves my customers, and makes money for my stores, then my time was well spent. And I come because nowhere else can I meet face-to-face with industry experts for such a small investment.”

Buyer education programs are one of many things that make the National Stationery Show such a productive expertise for our valued retailers. And what a lineup of authorities we’ve gathered together for 2010! Linda Cahan is an internationally recognized expert in visual merchandising and store design. Leading trade magazine editors Sarah Schwartz and Caroline Kennedy are trend gurus. Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Weddings, Darcy Miller, is one of the foremost authorities and sought out speakers on the bridal market. Peggy Post carries on her family’s illustrious history as an heir to the Emily Post Institute’s famous guidelines for social etiquette. Stacie Francombe is on the cutting edge of the lucrative wedding market. And Patricia Norins, publisher of Gift Shop magazine, along with Carolyn Howard-Johnson -- who has transitioned from being a top retailer to a best selling author and speaker on retailing, promotions, and the social media -- will facilitate two intensive roundtable discussions on today’s most in demand subject.

Fun and entertaining are the Daily Demos on the show floor. These spot-on presentations provide terrific tips, techniques, tricks and ideas that you can readily bring to your stores to create excitement and stimulate sales!

Knowledge is power. Plan to become more powerful with the help of the National Stationery Show’s expanded and in-depth educational programs!



  1. How exciting to find myself quoted in your blog, Debra. Of course, there are fast ways to network now--on the net. But nothing beats the face-to-face friendships and help we get at trade shows--from the principals of our vendor companies, from fellow retailers, and--of course!--those fantastic seminars you put together.
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Blogging for retailers at

  2. Do you give tips and ideas about making wedding stationary