Paper Views

November 2018

I hope this issue of Paper Clips finds you well!

Volume 13, Issue 3 • November 2018


On That Note

I hope this issue of Paper Clips finds you well! This is my last letter here, as I have moved on to a new opportunity. I have worked on the National Stationery Show for almost 20 years, and it has been my pleasure serving the wonderful exhibitors and buyers in this industry. My greatest joys have come from the many relationships I have built over the years and from the creative people I have met along the way.
 
The stationery industry is a wonderful and special community, and I am proud to have served a role in it for so long. Rest assured that the NSS is in good hands with my wonderful colleagues at Emerald Expositions. Whether you are an attendee or an exhibitor, I'm sure you'll be pleased with all of the new business opportunities you'll find at the NSS now that it will be co-located alongside NY NOW® this February.
 
I wish you much happiness and success in the coming holiday season, and at the NSS in February.
 
Sincerely,
 

Jenni Bick Custom Journals

Although Jenni Bick opened her Washington, DC-based store, Jenny Bick Custom Journals, less than two years ago, she's certainly no newbie to the stationery and gift industry – as evidenced by the "Five Fun Facts" she shares here about her business:
 
1. Jenni Bick Bookbinding started when new mother and college graduate Jenni Bick taught herself to bind journals and photo albums to sell at her husband Robby’s bookstore in Washington, DC. Jenni’s one-of-a-kind books were successful enough that, by 1994, she began selling at both wholesale and curated retail shows up and down the East coast. Jenni’s first appearance at the gift show in NYC was as a maker, not a buyer.
2. When Jenni’s family moved to Martha’s Vineyard, the business began to shift to directly serving the tourist market at summer craft shows on the island. Drawing on her love of quilting and degree in graphic design, Jenni’s books became collages of color decorated with found elements from the island.

3. Jenni went online in 1999 as a way to show her one-of-a-kind works to people she had met at shows. She added Italian leather and work from other craft bookbinders, and found more of her time being invested in the website, so she eventually gave up the craft-show circuit.
4. Personalization has always been key to Jenni's success – from an early Bar Mitzvah Book design with a scroll collage of the recipient's Torah reading, to hot-foil-stamping names on the Italian leather books she sold online. Individual consumers have always made up the bulk of Jenni’s business; but when she added Moleskine to her inventory, more corporate logo jobs began to come her way. In 2015, Jenni launched a second website to serve corporate clients.

5. When the kids grew up and left home, Jenni and her husband became homesick for the Washington, DC, area and decided to open a brick-and-mortar store to help finance the move. The store opened in January 2017. Located in the Dupont Circle area, the store caters mostly to local office workers but, increasingly, weekends are becoming key as people travel from around the area to shop Jenni’s unique selection of fine journals. Pens and greeting cards were added to the offerings from the webstores, and now each makes up 10 to 15 percent of store business on a seasonal basis.

Looking back, if you could do one thing differently when you started your business, what would it be?

"One of the things I wish we would have done differently was to organize our digital files better. We typically save all of our graphics, product files and orders, but we didn't save them consistently in the same place. So, when we go to find an old file, it takes us longer than it needs to. We eventually find what we are looking for, but a lot of time is wasted in the process. I just wish we would have been more deliberate in organizing our files … it makes life so much easier!"
—Katie Vincent, Owner, donovandesigns, a Columbus, OH-based stationery and gift company that was established in 1998 and is known for its simple, classic and colorful designs.

"Candy Striper" initial notepads from donovandesigns.

"I wish I had taken a business class specifically on Quickbooks. I didn't properly reconcile my expenses for the first few years, and now it's nearly impossible to clean up. Additionally, when I first started my line, each neon pop was hand painted. This became unsustainable and brought me to our wonderful printer in Brooklyn. When an entire print run was ruined because of lint in the paper, I found a new paper that was more reliable for offset printing. When we outgrew our tiny studio in Brooklyn, NY, we moved upstate where we live and work today. I think if you look at hardships as roadblocks and mistakes instead of learning curves, you're going to struggle as an entrepreneur, because there’s a lot of them."
— Emily Johnson, Owner/Designer, Hartland Brooklyn, a stationery and paper-goods design company launched in 2012 and located in Leeds, NY.

"To My Beautiful Mum" card from
Hartland Brooklyn.

"I wish I'd thought of the business in terms of a long-term brand from the beginning, rather than scrambling to keep up as I went. For instance, I designed a quick logo in pink and brown when I was asked for a business card at my first client meeting and didn't have one, not realizing that design and colorway would define my brand for more than a decade! I never loved the brown color and have slowly rebranded to pink and gray; but thinking through every little detail in the beginning would have saved time and cost (changing shopping bags was expensive!) in the long run."
Kate Davis, Owner, Pickett's Press, an independent brand of wedding invitations and stationery known for craftsmanship, quality and great taste; founded in 2007 and based in NYC.

Engraved custom wedding suite from Pickett's Press.

Purr-fect Products!

We featured dog-related items in the last issue of Paper Clips, so this month we're giving cats their moment in the spotlight. More than 47 million U.S. households own a cat, according to the American Pet Products Association's 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey. And, given the zillions of online views of funny cat videos, the popularity of kitties has never been greater! Cater to cat-loving customers with feline-themed products such as these available from NSS exhibitors.

"You're the Cat's Meow" blank card from Boss Dotty Paper Co.

"We Get It You Love Your Cat" foil-printed blank card from The Social Type.

Enamel "Kitty Keychain" from The Good Twin.

"Employee of the Month" iron-on embroidered cat patch from Frog & Toad Press.

NSS's 3rd Annual "Design Our Valentines" Deadline Is Nov. 30

Once again, the NSS will be showcasing the incredible talent of its exhibitors to thousands of retailers and buyers this Valentine’s Day. All 2019 NSS exhibitors are invited to submit new, original designs for consideration in the 2019 "Design Our Valentines" competition. A winning design in each category – Traditional, Contemporary, and We Love The NSS – will be featured on printed, mailed Valentine’s Day postcards, digital messages, social media and the NSS website. Two finalist designs in each category will be featured on digital messages, social media and the NSS website. The deadline to enter is Friday, November 30, 5pm ET. For full details, click here.

NRF Forecasts Healthy Holiday Sales Increase

The National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales in November and December to increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over 2017, for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion (this excludes automobiles, gasoline and restaurants). "Thanks to a healthy economy and strong consumer confidence, we believe that this holiday season will continue to reflect growth we've seen over the past year," states NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. By comparison, holiday sales in 2017 totaled $687.87 billion.

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