Earlier this month we were crazy busy preparing for the National Stationery Show in New York City. There, we launched a brand new line of cards and some spanking hot journals (that were nominated for a Best New Product award), as well as adding over a dozen new designs to existing lines. Somewhere in there we held a big open house (huge success), a special blogger tour of the studio, and did I mention the myriad new custom wedding jobs? Oh, and a brand new baby. Somehow we made it through in one piece.
Here's the studio in the pre-show prep: walls and trim for the booth painted and ready for packing, and our ever-changing whiteboard of things to print.
I eked out a new series of cards that I've been meaning to design for years now. A blank page in the catalog demanded filling, so on Sunday night I designed them, Monday put them into the catalog, Wednesday printed them for real and by Sunday they were on display for their grand debut. Meet our series of Barnyard Greetings:
I shared a booth once again with my dear friend Angela of Carta, Inc (those are her ribbons, cards and books on the right). The Italian cotton ribbons bring such a pop of bright color into the display. She also introduced new cards this year as well as showing her Francobolli line of books. Perhaps my favorite part was her bowl of vintage stamps she offered to visitors as keepsakes (you may remember my ongoing love affair with stamps).
I'm really pleased with the way the whole booth came together. Each year it gets better and this year's successes included a brighter wall color (thanks to Angela's prodding) and vinyl decals for our logos. Though the smaller letters were a pain to transfer, they looked great. I saw some really phenomenal applications of vinyl decals at the show - extra large designs applied to the walls. It really inspired me to think even bigger for next year.
Another challenge to resolve for next year is where to hide our bags without making the booth seem more cluttered.
I spearheaded another Small Studios Big Ideas collaboration (though didn't quite manage the time to promote it properly before the show). It was never-the-less a success. Five studios contributed cards with new designs inspired by nursery rhymes. We produced a cover and binding to house the cards and buyers went from booth to booth to collect them all.
Clockwise from the top center, many thanks to Laurie & Carrie at Two Trick Pony, Anna & Sean at Sub-Studio, Basak at Small Square Design and Liz at Linda & Harriett for their time and contributions to the project! (our bit and cover detail are on the left).
Perhaps the best part of the show was having baby Sadie there with us. She was the hit of the show and no fewer than fifty people asked if *she* was for sale. I don't think so! She was charming and adorable in her Albertine Press onesies (courtesy of QRST's) and was even blogged about! Just think, not yet two months old and she's already a Design*Sponge veteran.
The show was much, much smaller than in previous years, though I prefer "leaner and meaner," as the exhibitors and buyers who did attend were much more serious. I didn't get around to all of the booths I hoped to visit, but it was certainly a pleasure seeing the new work from familiar faces: 9spotmonk, Paper Stories (so glad to see them here for the first time!), Smudge Ink, B Designs, Two Piglets, and more.
Though it's enjoyable to shop talk with other desinger-printer-exhibitors, the show is, after all, for business. We did a goodly amount, taking in more sales in the first day than all of last year. Hooray! We're adding about a dozen new stores to our lists and loved seeing some of our regulars like Lion in the Sun and Rugg Road. Everyone was digging the new journals, which were part of nearly every order. Fire up the presses!
Perhaps the last big thing of note was the change in the Press scene. While in past years it has been largely print press, this year seemed pretty devoid of these fine folks (perhaps not in a small part due to the closing of several shelter mags). Instead I noticed a plethora of design bloggers from across the spectrum. With no agenda other than to enjoy the show and discover fabulous paper goods and creators (the bloggers are all paper and design fanatics), the bloggers tended to spend more time on the small studios, chatting and hobnobbing. It was really wonderful to meet the faces behind much of my daily blogroll.
Whew, well, that's about all I can muster for one day. I hope to post more of our new custom work soon - there's a lot of very exciting work coming through the shop these days and I can't wait to share.