I was in New York last week. I meant to tell you beforehand, but there are times when I'm just grateful to get to the airport on time. At any rate, I was at the National Stationery Show, helping my friend, Whitney (from Whisker Graphics) make her trade show debut.
It was my first time being on the exhibitor end of a trade show and I'm in awe of what small businesses and designers do to get their wares to market. There's an extraordinary amount of time, energy, and expense that go into what's essentially a gamble. And in fact, the trade show floor feels very much like a casino floor, minus the bells and whistles that alert you to a winning streak. But if you're sensitive to your surroundings, the losing streak is easy to spot and heartbreaking. One thing I know - it usually takes just as much time and energy to create a poor or mediocre idea as it does to create a great one. And sometimes it's not the idea at all, but the timing or marketing of an idea that fails. But still, especially with smaller companies, you know that it's someone's hopes, dreams, and livelihood on the line.
Fortunately for us, we had a great show and I didn't make it out of the booth all that much (which is the best possible scenario). But the beauty of a trade show is that lots of great people come to you. I met Amy Atlas, who was delightful, as is her book Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It. I also met the talented and gracious Elizabeth Demos, whose first book, Vintage Wedding Style, is being released this fall by Chronicle Books (definitely one to watch for). Then there were the bloggers and magazine editors, shop owners and other exhibitors - a tremendous number of energetic, thoughtful, detail-oriented, passionate people under one roof. It was a lot of fun.
As far as products go, I barely touched down, so I can't give a complete report. But I'm mad for just about everything offered by Chewing the Cud. Also, Rifle Paper Co. has some gorgeous new products that I look forward to getting my hands on. I have a big crush on East of India and I'm in love with every single product from Set Editions. Oblation Papers is one of my new favorites as well, along with their line of irreverent cards from Hat Wig Glove.
I know there are so many other vendors and products that deserve recognition. If you're interested, google "National Stationery Show" and you'll find reports from lots of other bloggers. As for myself, it was a great experience, but it's good to be back!