Write Here...Write Now!
It's like theatre. When the curtain opens, the audience is filled with anticipation. By intermission, you know whether it's a hit. So, when more than 10,000 buyers and industry professionals – hailing from every state in the U.S. and from 59 countries – arrived at the 2012 National Stationery Show, we felt certain that the Show would be a big hit! The experience of seeing so many fabulous new products and meeting so many newcomers to the industry – primarily young designers who've found their artistic niche in specialty paper – in an atmosphere filled with color, texture, fashion, creativity and fun, definitely delivered the "wow" factor. By the end of its run, the Show drew much applause from both attendees and exhibitors.
There will be two post-show issues of Paperclips this month. In them, you'll get a glimpse of the Show through the eyes of two veteran retailers and from the perspective of two highly regarded bloggers, who share the impact that NSS 2012 had on them. You’ll also enjoy reading the stories about NSS from exhibitors Daedre Berryman and Jenn Sprinkle, as well as read about winners of the Show’s Best New Product and GCA’s LOUIE Awards. Finally, Exhibitor Josh Eisen, president of Mountaincow, interviewed for our Exhibitor Q&A, tells us how the engagement with serious buyers and other exhibiting companies makes NSS an unparalleled experience for his business.
If you came to the Show, you’ll be nodding in agreement as you read. If you missed it, you'll see why you must be at next year's Show. There's simply no better way to meaningfully engage with industry "greats" and tomorrow's leaders, to experience the latest product and design trends, and to be inspired by merchandising excellence, than to surround yourself with it all by being at the NSS.
Have a safe and happy summer,
Attendee Profile: Landis Gifts and Stationery
Each year, the National Stationery Show attracts a wide range of retailers from coast to coast – and beyond the U.S. – who travel to New York City to find the best stationery-related products for their stores.
Edie Frère, owner/president of Landis Gifts & Stationery in Los Angeles, CA, has been coming to the National Stationery Show for 20 years. The reason she makes the annual cross-country trek, she says, is because the NSS is the one place where she reconnects with her regular vendors to see what's new, and where she finds new sources – of which she found many.
"I loved Whisker Graphics, which has really cute little printed treat bags as well as labels and twine," shares Frère. "I also loved a company called My Buddy Pal, which features whimsical and adorable illustrations of the artist's dog." Another of Frère's favorite finds was Monahan Papers' kraft gift bags and greeting cards, especially the card that reads: "Let's Not Discuss This Now." Additionally, she liked many of the new invitation albums she saw – as well as their reasonable price points – and placed orders with Smock and Page Stationery, among others.
"I think the NSS is the only way to find new companies that don't have reps," adds Frère. "We're a small store, so I like buying from small companies and helping new businesses – that's part of the fun." She also found the Show easy to navigate. "It wasn't overwhelming, and I finished this year without a sense of panic," she relates.
Frère's positive NSS experience extended beyond the Show floor. She attended the Future Conference on Sunday morning, which she describes as spectacular. "I loved the quality of the speakers," she states. Another highlight of the NSS for her each year is meeting up at lunchtime with her fellow stationers in Club GLM. All in all, says Frère, "It's totally worth the trip!"
Exhibitor Blog: Jenn Sprinkle
Many National Stationery Show exhibitors also took to the blogosphere after this year's Show to report on their experiences at the NSS. Among them was first-time exhibitor Jenn Sprinkle, owner/designer of Jenn Sprinkle.
I have spent the last five years walking the floor of the New York National Stationery Show dreaming of the day I could have my own booth and sell my work. This year was the year and a culmination of eight years of blood, sweat and tears as we defined what our first national product launch would be.
I didn’t realize the impact our years of custom invitation work would have on our first launch, but it was so helpful to able to speak confidently about our designs, our process and our product. Not knowing what to expect from our first time at the National Stationery Show, we went in with low expectations. We knew we had a few things working against us: 1. We were first timers 2. We weren’t in the best location 3. We had a limited budget to work with to do pre-show marketing. But from day one of the show we were humbly overwhelmed by the response to our line – we kept being told “this is so new and fresh!” Music to our ears.
So many amazing contacts were made at the show – from licensing opportunities to retail partnerships. Our goal for this year was to be in 50 retail stores by 2013. After this show we will be partnered with over 60 stores across the country including two in Canada. There are so many stories we could share but the most humbling story had to be a moment that happened the second-to-last day of the show. We had just had a rush of retailers come by and suddenly things became calm. Little did we know there was a retailer seminar called "Stationery Retailers Success Stories." Later that afternoon, a retailer stopped by our booth and said, "I am warning you, you may get a flood of people stop by." I asked "Why?" She said, "We just left a retailer seminar where someone in the audience asked the panel "What is the hottest new product at the show." Melinda Morris of Lion in the Sun in Brooklyn, a 20-year veteran of the industry, stood up in the panel and said, "Some of you may not agree with me, but I have a rule I have always followed for 20 years, that I never buy from first-time vendors of custom albums at the show … this year I broke my own rule … I bought from Jenn Sprinkle Paper." First of all, Melinda is now our new best friend – we had no idea she believed in us that much! But secondly, that is the kind of PR you can only dream of. We are looking forward to our new retail partnerships and gearing up for what the NEXT Jenn Sprinkle launch will be!
Odd Balls, providing spirited imprintable invitations to the stationery industry for 20 years and always American made.
1004 S. Main Street
Pine Bluff, AR 71601
Exhibitor Q & A: Mountaincow
Mountaincow, based in Providence, RI, is a provider of innovative invitation software and stationery products, including its flagship product, PrintingPress. Owned by Megan Eisen, CEO, and her husband Josh Eisen, President, the company just completed its 10th year in a row as an exhibitor at the National Stationery Show.
Q. Why do you choose to exhibit at the NSS?
A: Mountaincow has been exhibiting at NSS every year since 2003. The National Stationery Show is a must for anyone interested in reaching serious stationery buyers. Each show is different, but we always come home with dozens of new accounts, hundreds of leads, and time well spent with our existing customers. In addition, this year's Future Conference was an unexpected highlight.
Q. What unanticipated connections have you made as a result of the Show?
A: Many of our major accounts and our partnerships with Envelopments, Crane & Co., William Arthur, Epson, Bonnie Marcus and AccuCut either originated at the show or included critical meetings at the show. In addition, every year we discover new potential products, partners and ways to expand our business. This year was no exception, and we expect to have some great new relationships to announce shortly.
Q. What has been your most memorable NSS moment over the years?
A: We tried to drive our entire booth down from Providence in a rental van last year, and when we arrived we were given the "opportunity" to back the van down the aisle from the loading dock right to our booth. There was about one inch of clearance on either side and it was fairly terrifying for us and everyone nearby, so we went back to shipping palettes again this year.
Q. Why would you recommend other companies exhibit at the NSS?
A: We have done a variety of shows, and we believe there is no comparable venue that brings together such a high caliber of senior executives from stationery manufacturers, retailers and supply vendors than the National Stationery Show and accompanying The Supply Side. New exhibitors can have their shot at opening dozens of new accounts and meeting with some of the top retailers in the industry for the low cost of a 10' x10' booth. There is nowhere else to buy that kind of exposure.
NSS Names 2012 Best New Product Award Winners
Seven National Stationery Show exhibitors were honored with Best New Product Awards on Opening Day, Sunday, May 20, at New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The coveted Awards are presented in eight categories and are considered a distinguished honor within the social stationery industry.
The winners of the 16th annual Best New Product Awards are:
Best of Show:
Up With Paper (Mason, OH) for Desktop Notes, a pop-up under a flip top lid, with 125 loose sheets of 60-pound stock designed note paper, and featuring a locking mechanism to display for retail display or desktop.
All Things Wedding:
Someday Designs, LLC (Syosset, NY) for Rita-Lace, a wedding invitation with three metallic cardstock layers, a band of fine leavers lace and Swarovski crystal and ivory satin ribbon.
Branch + Cotton (Corona del Mar, CA) for Striped Candy, a stylish and durable gift box ideal for gift cards, party favors, candy and more.
The White Cabinet (Greenport, NY) for Trés Chic Gift Wrap, a unique gift wrap made from 100 percent recycled paper and soy-based inks, ideal for innovative gift-wrapping and other creative projects.
SayItWithBookCovers (St. Louis, MO) for SayItWithBookCovers™, book cover kits that stack together to express messages that "say" just the right thing, featuring more than 100 quotes in eight categories.
Up With Paper (Mason, OH) for Desktop Notes, an engaging pop-up under a flip top lid, with 125 loose sheets of 60-pound stock designed note paper, and featuring a locking mechanism to display the pop-ups and note paper for retail display or desktop.
Wild Ink Press (Chico, CA) for "Three Things," a line of eight clever cards that are hand-drawn and letterpress printed on 100 percent recycled paper, and paired with recycled envelopes.
from you to me limited (Bath, UK) for Journals of a Lifetime, beautifully designed hardback gift journals with 60 fun and inspiring questions carefully designed to inspire family storytelling.
"There are hundreds of sensational products that debut at the NSS," says Patti Stracher, general manager. "The winners of Best New Product awards are among an elite group. They really are the best of the best."
Judges for the 16th annual Best New Product Awards were Patricia Norins, GIFT SHOP magazine; Caroline Kennedy, Gifts & Decorative Accessories; Susan Tucker, Giftware News; Sarah Schwartz, Stationery Trends; and Nancy Olson, Stylus. More than 500 entries were judged based on innovative product design or concept, how the product answers an industry need, aesthetic appeal, creative use of materials and innovative packaging.
For the first time this year, each category was sponsored to draw additional attention to the Best New Product display and competition. Sponsors were GIFT SHOP magazine for The Desktop, Stationery Trends for PaperStyle, Party & Paper Retailer for Celebrations, Stylus for Luxury, the Wedding Podcast Network for All Things Wedding, Gifts & Decorative Accessories for Lifestyle, and Green Retailer for Eco-Chic.
24th Annual LOUIE Award Winners Celebrated at NSS
The Greeting Card Association (GCA) honored the 24th Annual LOUIE finalists and winners in 54 different categories at a special gala event on Sunday, May 20, at Espace on 42nd St. in Manhattan, during the National Stationery Show. The winners were chosen by an esteemed panel of retailers, industry suppliers, independent sales representatives, and press and blogger judges during the official judging, which took place January 31 to February 2, in conjunction with the New York International Gift Fair, also in New York City.
For the second year in a row, Espace – located on Manhattan's West Side near the Jacob K. Javits Center – hosted 300 attendees composed of LOUIE Award entrants and finalists, industry members, retailers, sales representatives and press. This year’s fancy circus theme – "The Greatest Cards on Earth!" – was exemplified throughout the evening by ringmasters Rob Fortier and Meryl Hooker of Center Aisle Group, a signature "Candy Apple" martini and a cotton candy station.
The finalists' cards were displayed on strands of red and white ribbon and butcher's twine supplied by Ampelco Ribbon. A photo area with a Big Top theme, offering attendees handheld mustaches, clown noses and bowler hats, added to the fun. Gala attendees were also encouraged to tweet from the event using the hashtag #LOUIES2012 and the Twitter handle @LOUIEAwards, and to post on Facebook.
The Card of the Year in the Above $3.50 category was first-time LOUIE entrant Maginating's "Bacon and Egg" card, also the winner of the Romantic Occasions Above $3.50 category. Blue Ribbon judge and next year's LOUIE chair, Monika Brandrup from Up With Paper, states: "The quality of the luxurious heavyweight cotton stock, beautifully letterpressed and topped off with smart design, captures the simple pleasures in daily life, all in one neat little card."
In the $3.50 or less category, the Card of the Year was Ecka & Pecka's Congratulatory/Special Occasion card exemplifying the joy and humor in welcoming a newborn baby. "This card just simply gives you a feel-good, warm and fuzzy feeling all over," says Brandrup.
This year’s LOUIEs saw an enormous rise in the Invitation Suite category; as a result, the Blue Ribbon judges panel decided to award three Honorable Mentions in this category in addition to the Cards of the Year. The Honorable Mention for Design Excellence Above $15 went to Sugar Paper; the Honorable Mention for Design Excellence Below $15 went to Printerette Press; and the Honorable Mention for a Non-Wedding Invitation went to Create Studio's Bar Mitzvah invitation.
To view all of this year's LOUIE Award winners, visit www.greetingcard.org.
LOUIE Consumer's Choice Award Winner Chosen
The winner of the first-ever LOUIE "Consumer's Choice" Award, conducted via the LOUIE Awards Facebook page on May 21-31, is Sunrise Greetings for its Humorous Friendship/Encouragement – $3.50 and below card. Fans of the LOUIE Awards page were invited to browse through all of the cards that were posted on the page and vote for their favorites by "liking" the photo.
Sunrise will be recognized with the 2011/2012 Consumer's Choice LOUIE at next year's 25th Annual LOUIE Awards gala held in May during the National Stationery Show in New York City. Additionally, consumer Joe Miquelon was the one lucky winner chosen at random to receive a box of ALL of this year's winning cards as a prize for taking part in the contest.
"The Consumer's Choice contest came about because of a strategic endeavor to add to the value of what it means to be a LOUIE winner," says LOUIE Awards Strategic Chair Andy Meehan. "The contest is just the first step in further involving the consumer, encouraging them to voice their opinion and become a part of the Awards so that when a card in a store is identified as a LOUIE winner, it will mean something special to the manufacturer, and to the person purchasing that card."