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We survived! Our second National Stationery Show in New York City concluded on Wednesday. I am consistently amazed how we are able to transform a sparse 8’x10’ space with a concrete floor and black curtains at the behemoth Javits Center into our cheery, orange exhibit space.

Booth: Our booth was constructed with pvc pipes, spray painted silver to give a metal, industrial feel. Small aluminum lights hooked onto the pipes & illuminated the booth. The rugs were graphic orange & white polka dots. Orange draping is now our signature color and everyone identifies us with the “orange booth.” All of our letterpressed cards were strung from wire and hung with little metal clips, all brightly showcased.

Business: We received many reorders from our existing clients, all of whom were very excited to visit with us and see our new card designs. It was a reality check for me. I work as a graphic designer and design all of my projects for clients, but the cards are designed by me and for me. It’s my chance to “play.” I am realizing my cards fit a very small niche. Stores that carry my designs cater to “bookish” customers who appreciate great typography and design. My cards are not generic, nor are they a fit for the average stationery store around the country. I did learn that my cards sell very well in the stores that carry them!

Positive: Overall, the show was a fun experience. Breakdowns on my behalf were few. Kosher hot dogs were actually a tasty lunch for three days! We found most of the other exhibitors gracious. Coming to NYC to exhibit is a big endeavor and everyone has a great story to share. I love learning about everyone’s products, processes and what inspires them.There were some beautifully designed booths and creative new products, but I have to admit the International Furniture Fair, one level below, provided the true eye candy. The colors, shapes and textures of the furniture, lamps and fabrics truly inspired me.

Negative: Standing on my feet for eight hours is grueling and I attempted Day 1 in heels. Not advised. Saw some Big Egos peddling mediocre letterpress.­ I also think the NSS should do a better job vetting the attendees who walk the aisles. They should admit more people who want to do serious business and less folk who want “free stuff” and steal items while an exhibitors back is turned. And booth breakdown is at noon on the last day of the show. Not 11:50 am. Unbelievable.

Inspiration: We are looking forward to filling our all orders. Plates are being made for new cards and I already have some new designs in mind. Thank you, New York City, for the experience + inspiration.

 

 

photo of booth 2013

photo from booth 2013 w:cake

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It’s been over three weeks since Rosemary Rae Design Shop’s National Stationery Show adventure. New York City, as always, was bursting with creative energy and we survived our two set up days (not without some small hiccups) and the show itself, which lasted four days. Walking around the Javits Center, we got lost in the sea of paper-madness. It was reassuring, at least for me, that type and paper joy is thriving!

Immersing myself in this project was a full-time commitment of my talent and time, in the months leading up to May. Completing a card line was a dream! As a full-time graphic designer with other design obligations and looming deadlines, my project always became a secondary priority. Recently I read this great quote by Ray Bradbury: “You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” It perfectly expressed my feelings about this endeavor. Attending this show motivated me to accomplish the design and presentation of 40+ greeting cards, gather feedback, and return to San Diego with a lot of creative momentum.

“What was your favorite part of the show?” I would have to say meeting all of the designers, bloggers, type-afficionados, and of course, the retailers who stopped by our booth. Everyone had a wise word to share and expressed their appreciation of my creative typography and good design. One blogger, Sonjia from bluebergitt.wordpress.com was super-complimentary and enthusiastic about my new card line and shared these kind words a few weeks ago on her blog: http://bluebergitt.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/best-of-show-rosemary-rae-design-shop/

It was also great to meet the other vendors who had booths in our row. We shared inspiration and learned more about each others’ product and businesses. I enjoyed meeting Sarah McCoy, http://www.thepermanentcollection.net, a graphic designer, who made the trip all the way from Des Moines, Iowa to present her collection of custom-designed letterpressed cards, and Monica Garrett, papercutindustries.com, a boutique wedding and event invitation designer based in Long Beach, California. Both of these women were friendly, talented and fun NSS “neighbors!”

Booth 1866 was cleverly constructed (pvc pipe painted silver with rows of taught wire to pin my cards) and we received many compliments on its simplicity and cheeriness. My cards definitely popped off the bright orange backdrop, their many colors reminding me of swirl candy! It was also an invigorating color for overwhelmed NSS buyers with fatigue! (A big thank you to Conrad Firestein, my handsome mate and partner through all of this. He was an amazing source of support, ideas and humor! I could not have done this show without him. xxoo!) Orders were written and lots of interest was generated for my unique designs.

Now I am in the midst of filling orders, developing new card designs, and completing the design of my website! And if you are reading this, watch for your happy fourth of July card!

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