“The endless creativity inspired by the desire to help people stay connected in memorable ways constantly renews itself in this industry. There is so much room for imagination, risk-taking, and even failure – we are continuously trying new things and surprising ourselves.”
Rick Ruffner, NSS exhibitor and president, Avanti Press
When I created Avanti Press in Detroit 36 years ago, one of my first decisions was to exhibit at the National Stationery Show in New York. I was assigned the last booth at the end of the last aisle in a very crowded show. After the first day I was feeling pretty good. I had received really positive responses from the handful of retailers who made it all the way down the aisle!
As I was leaving the show that night, a fellow exhibitor asked me how my day had gone. ‘What did you write?’ he asked – which completely threw me. ‘You know,’ he persisted, ‘orders, how many orders did you write?’ I hadn’t even thought about that – writing orders wasn’t actually my goal. I just wanted to get product feedback.
That night I went to Woolworths to buy a generic order pad and some pens. By writing an order a day I took home four orders and Avanti was officially in business!
The way I see it, N.S.S. is more of a convention than a tradeshow. The connections we make with our sales reps, customers, suppliers, and competitors are priceless. We haven’t missed a show in 36 years. Even though our booth is a little bigger these days, we still show up every May with the same desire to learn and grow. And we still write at least four orders every year!