“I told Michael Allport, ‘If I join, I’m going to work my ass off, and someday I want to own this company.’ Ten years later, solid with Allport’s mission and still in love with my job, I purchased the company from the family.”
Mackenzie Jeans, NSS exhibitor and president, Allport Editions Greeting Cards
This is my 15th Stationery Show—it’s really what started it all. In 2001, I had graduated with a degree in Architecture but felt isolated and unfulfilled. So I got an avoid-responsibility-just-have-fun job in a card store and a few months later, I was at NSS as a buyer. Soon after the show, Michael Allport came into the store.
Michael’s mother Ardys had started Allport Editions back in 1982. She owned an art gallery and began printing editions of fine art as posters and cards believing that art should be accessible to everyone. Allport became a national network of independent artists and retailers. When Ardys died in 2000, Michael took over and was trying to keep his mother’s legacy afloat.
Michael didn’t know how to move the company forward—he didn’t know what to print. I asked him to leave his art samples with me for a few hours. I gave him notes on artwork, suggested greetings, and outlined ideas for future cards.
A few days later, Michael offered me a job. I told him, “If I join, I’m going to work my ass off, and someday I want to own this company.” Ten years later, solid with Allport’s mission and still in love with my job, I purchased the company from the family.
I am thankful to be carrying on what Ardys created. My goals are the same as hers: work with independent artists, collaborate with vendors to support sustainability, and offer personal customer service. It’s that connection that I love—and I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones at each show.