May 20-23, 2018 Javits Center, NYC
Stationery, Distinctive gifts & creative pursuits

Stationery Stories - What is Yours?


“It’s through putting in time that we become great at something. Don’t look at Da Vinci and say ‘I can’t paint’ or Oscar Peterson and say ‘I can’t play piano’. Those cats are practicing 8 hours a day everyday, so of course they are genius at what they do. Don’t compare and discourage yourself. Be a genius too.”


Cayla Mattea Zeek, NSS exhibitor and founder of Mattea’s Hand

It all started the summer I had moved back to Lafayette, LA after what seemed like a failed move to New Orleans. I was still in college and landed a job in a local shop gal for Red Arrow Workshop. It was there that I met two of the best store owners I’ll ever know, Jason Brown and Jillian Johnson. It was a duo like no other, and I was the third wheel in the equation. Jason would teach me about discipline, sales tactics, and keeping organized, and Jill helped me harness my inner creative designer and strong business lady that was just waiting to come out.

With their advice and love, I gathered up courage and launched Mattea’s Hand, a card line named after my middle name, in April of 2015. I finally was able to recognize my talents and wanted nothing more than to be able to work for myself while getting to make art. I am inspired by Louisiana culture, birds, traditional tattoos, children’s literature illustrations, my dad’s humor, and traveling experiences. I would say my greatest advice to anyone would be not to undervalue your skills of creating, but most of all practice and create every day. It’s through putting in time that we become great at something. Don’t look at Da Vinci and say “I can’t paint” or Oscar Peterson and say “I can’t play piano”. Those cats are practicing 8 hours a day everyday, so of course they are genius at what they do. Don’t compare and discourage yourself. Be a genius too. I guess what I’m saying is nothing is out of reach with hard work and tons of practice. It sounds cheesy and simple, but it’s the underlying theme in everything I accomplish.

My amazing experience will definitely be exhibiting at the National Stationary Show this May, but other amazing experiences are how my business has connected me with other individuals in my city and state. There is something so great about watching someone’s face as they read one of my cards and laugh to themselves, or watching a guy sneakily buy a heartfelt love card while his girlfriend is distracted. This industry restores your faith in love and human connection, because what more connection can you ask for than something that was hand written and delivered? Beautiful greeting cards are the ultimate gift in my mind and I will continue to work hard to share them with the world.

Want more Stationery Stories? Read them here.