This year’s National Stationery Show was amazing!! We more than doubled our first year’s orders. We were nominated twice for Best New Product. Our “Bumps in the Road” card was acknowledged for the Paper Love category and our new Inkable Envelope Stamp Set was featured in the Do It Yourself category. We met many talented, influential people and caught up with old friends. We were able to enjoy all of this success because we went into this year’s show with more realistic expectations and the confidence of who we are as a company.
This was our second year exhibiting and the overall experience was as different as night and day compared to last year. I do not mean to diminish last year’s experience. It was certainly wonderful (you can read more about it here), but I am beyond proud of our company for the fact that we decided to exhibit a second time.
Last year was a great experience, but it was a huge expense for our business and initially we weren’t sure if it was necessarily worth it. But, here’s the thing, I’m a competitive person. I knew we could do it better. You can only learn so much from listening to webinars, reading blog posts, and asking other people. Doing it was really the only way we could truly know if it would be worth it for our company. We saw first hand what worked and what didn’t, what was worth the investment and what we should have spent more money on. So, for that reason alone – I knew we could do it better - we decided to exhibit at the Stationery Show for the second time.
I joked a couple times we did the show a second time just so we could use a small notebook and tiny stapler to collect business cards. Last year we used a three ring binder and a huge stapler. It as almost comical.
Best decision ever! We took strategic actions and made informed decisions to improve the outcome of the show this year. Each one led to a boost in our morale and in our sales. We consider that a win-win!
We wanted to share some of what we learned in year one and how we executed in year two, so we have made this post two parts. Scroll down or click here to read our top two misconceptions from year one.
If I wasn’t so competitive we may have not exhibited at the show this year. I had to prove to myself we could learn, grow, and continue to take Love Jac to a new level. We have to thank all of our family and friends who constantly support us, this company, and exhibiting at this trade show. They trusted us that this was the right decision and supported us in every way possible.
Chad Carter – I can’t tell you what a great husband this man is. He is constantly putting our family and my crazy ideas first! He shows his love in his actions and that does not get overlooked! Who he is always makes me strive to be a better person as well.
Cathy, Tom, & Tommy Conroy – My family…what would I do without you? Who would I be? Thank you for being amazing and in this case taking our children on the best adventures while we were working at the show. Also, thank you for the garage space, the cargo van, and the weekends of prep work!
Jen Jones – There are people who would love to spend an entire day with the one and only Jen Jones!! I feel honored that I had the opportunity. This woman is inspiring on so many levels – plus, she’s a true friend!!
Thanks to what feels like the entire staff of an Emmy Winning Talk Show! -- You know who you are and I am beyond grateful for how you without hesitation have supported and helped us out. Everything…from your encouraging Instagram likes to physically helping set up our booth. I thank all of you. I honestly think one of the reasons your show is so successful is because it is produced by such wonderful, talented, and good-souled individuals.
Our customers – and our friends. I am purposely listing these two together because I believe that our customers are our friends. Thank you for your text messages, emails, Instagram comments, and Facebook likes. Every single one is like getting a big hug. And thank you to all our friends who actually came by to give us a hug! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Once again we met many new people at the show this year. We wanted to introduce you to our neighbors this year!!!
Caz was one of the first people we met at the show this year. She was setting up next to us and, wouldn’t you know, she’s based in Brooklyn too!! She makes some wonderful cards, prints, and of course, the pillowcases that got everyone’s attention.
Allison and Daniel run their letterpress company from their studio in South Carolina. They want you to Text Less and Write More! And with their beautiful and well designed cards, you will be happy to oblige. Our favorite new addition is their line of fill-in invitations – making it more affordable for you to get the luxury of a letter-pressed card. Genius!
The people behind this company are veterans in the industry. They launched this branch of their company at the show. They offer themed sets of 10 unique notecards.
Emily is the owner of Sweet Domino Designs and she is a fellow Trade Show Boot Camp Alum. Her color scheme and sweet sayings make her cards stand out.
Lisa is a very talented illustrator who has a great esthetic. Her cards, prints, and calendars are whimsical and bold. We particularly love her colour me postcards.
I met Mollie when I first walked the National Stationery Show in 2007 -- when Love Jac was just an idea. It was her first time exhibiting and she was hand cutting the beautiful paper images on all of her cards! Now, her company has grown and her cards can be found in over 200 stores nationwide. We've kept in touch over the years and it was wonderful to have dinner in Brooklyn and get to know her a little better. Oh - and we also ran into Nick Lachey on the way to the Paper Party! So that's pretty amazing!
We met Kim online. Ok, that sounds weird. But after last year’s show we both commented on each others blog posts and then we found each other again in one of the NSS webinars….or was it on The Oh So Beautiful Paper post? Let’s just say if the Internet was a city, we kept running into each other at the same parties. You must check out this great video showcasing their business. Kim and her husband Brett make beautiful letterpress cards and prints in their Utah studio.
We knew about Trade Show Boot Camp during the preparation of our first show, but felt a little pricey and we couldn’t justify spending the money. This year we decided it would be a good investment. We had a little extra money in our budget and we had heard nothing but positive reviews. Plus, we looked at it as supporting another small business as well. Let me tell you, after the first five minutes of the first webinar I knew it was worth every penny. Katie Hunt started Trade Show Boot Camp after she exhibited at her first trade show. She felt that new companies could benefit from the knowledge of professionals in the industry. What she built is an amazing community of talented designers, store owners, and members of the press that all want to help each other succeed. We 100% recommend this program. If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly!
Year two at The National Stationery Show was awesome. We are proud and so happy with where our company is right now. Please be sure to check out our new retailers: Read Between The Lines Shop in Dallas, TX; Verde in Philadelphia, PA, Cocoon in New Platz, NY, Curate in Millburn, NJ, NOMAD in Cambridge, MA, and The Coop Arts & Antiques in Peekskill, NY. When you stop by make sure you tell them we say hi.
I love this. Thanks for featuring Paper Bandit too. I love counting you as my friend. You are so adorable!!!
Way to learn, grow and continue to inspire!
Loved your blog… As usual, as my son says, YOU ROCK…. If you weren’t already family, I want to know you more, just by what you’ve written…. Congratulations Jac, you make our family proud…. XOXOXOXOOXXO