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National Stationery Show Recap: Part 2

by April May

Now onto the good stuff: the show!

SUNDAY, MAY 15

NSS 2016: Booth Display | Smudge InkWe felt great entering the booth on Day 1—even better after Eric gave Deb the thumbs up that the Starbucks line had finally dwindled down. With the lights on and the aisles cleared, it’s amazing how the Javits seemed to magically transform overnight. For those of you who couldn't be there, I thought you would appreciate this hyperlapsed booth tour I captured on my phone!

The Stationery Show is when many retailers start to shop in preparation for the holiday season. That’s why you’ll see nearly half of our booth was devoted to our holiday collection. We also had new everyday stationery, boxed notes, and gift wrap as well as a brand new line of edge painted correspondence flat notes (coming to our online shop soon!). I really enjoyed connecting with our customers face-to-face and getting their feedback. To our delight, we received a lot of enthusiasm for the spring release.

NSS 2016: Booth Details and Products | Smudge InkNow you can’t exhibit at a trade show and not have fun swag for visitors to remember you by. This year, we gave away little wildflower seed packets that we made to coordinate with our booth design. We also participated in Legion Paper’s ‘70s-inspired trading card set and had our interactive Name That Do cards out for people to collect. Check out the entire collection here.

Tip(s): You meet so many people that it’s impossible to remember who’s who at the end of the day. Save yourself the guesswork and write a note on everyone’s business cards as a reminder of your conversation and how to follow up. Also, avoid the Starbucks in the Javits at all costs if you don’t want to wait an hour for a cup of coffee.

MONDAY, MAY 16

We kicked off Day 2 with a few one-on-one meetings with our sales reps. We are always in touch with our reps over email and by phone but we don’t get to see them too often. In fact, it was the first time meeting some of our reps in person for both Sarah and myself. Unfortunately, Sarah could only stay through the morning; we needed her back at the studio to start working on orders! Clayton joined us at that point to help man the booth and field any questions. The traffic was steady, and it was probably the busiest day in terms of taking orders too!

NSS 2016: Postable Party | Smudge InkThe day ended with a fun rooftop party hosted by our friends at Postable! The photo was an afterthought taken in the stairwell as Eric and I were leaving (and very tired!).

Tip(s): As back up, it can’t hurt to take snapshots of your completed order forms at the end of the day. Keep your hard copies in a safe place but this is just one of those tips you don’t want to learn the hard way! Also, for a delicious and (comparatively) healthy lunch, forgo the food court and walk about a block north to Sunac Natural Market.

TUESDAY, MAY 17

On Day 3, we finished up our meetings with sales reps, and I had a chance to walk the show and visit many of our paper-loving friends! It’s always inspiring to see everyone’s booths and newest designs (more on this later!).

NSS 2016: Paper Party Photo Booth | Smudge InkA big highlight was going to Oh So Beautiful Paper's Paper Party. Kudos to Nole and her team for a fun, disco-inspired evening! After another long day on our feet, we kicked back with some refreshments, more friendly chatter, and photo booth glamour shots. Deb introduced me to a bunch of great folks, and by the time we left I could barely speak from all of the shout-talking. :)

Tip(s): Say hello to your suppliers on the Supply Side. Here again it’s a chance to put a face to the name which I think is always so helpful in continuing a relationship where so much of the communication is online.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 18

NSS 2016: Breaking Down | Smudge Ink
The last day of the show is only a half day, and not surprisingly, it's usually fairly quiet. A few more customers visited our booth, and we invited them to sit down with us because we were honestly too tired to stand anymore! As soon as the clock struck 1:00 we started breaking down the booth. We had everything taken down and packed into the van in less than two hours. By that point, we just wanted to get out of there and get home. The drive back was, thankfully, completely uneventful.

Tip(s): Provide extra seating. Our little side bench was a very popular spot for people to rest. If they can sit, they (and potential orders) will come!

Stay tuned for Part 3: Favorite Booths!

Catch up on Part 1!

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