Trade Show News

April 23, 2014 •
The Only Certainty

It’s been said that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. While I agree with this, I actually have another to add to this list: change. Another spring means another National Stationery Show (NSS), and as we prepare for this year’s, it’s natural to look back and reminisce about the shows of years past.

Who remembers when NSS included a downstairs filled with all the funky upstarts? I’ve also heard more than one tale of crazy promotional stunts, like streakers, if you can believe it — but I can’t really vouch for any of that, as all that occurred before my time.

The show has indisputably changed in the last decade or so, but unfavorably comparing the present to the past is not going to improve the present. We can’t go back in time — and even if we could, would we even really want to? Most of us tend to remember only the best elements of the past, ultimately to our own detriment.

For every negative, there’s a positive full of opportunity. For example, the show is smaller now? Big names are sitting it out? Well, that’s all the more opportunity for the present exhibitors to stand out.

Now reborn as signature mix marketplace, this year’s edition brings a lot of exciting change. There’s the addition of Gift>it — reflecting the more diversified approach even the staunchest stationery stockist is taking — as well as the juried #fresh section.

I was really delighted too to hear about George Little Management’s partnership with Etsy Wholesale. The more I think about it, the more I realize that it is really a perfect marriage. Etsy is all about elevating everyday objects to something really special thanks to the individual perspective of the artist crafting it, and I can’t think of a single domain within the gift category more attuned to this outlook than stationery. The Etsy Wholesalers represent some of the brightest, funniest and ultra-talented voices out there — and as such, they will add a great vibe to the show floor.

With all this dynamic energy about, putting together this issue, our biggest of the year, was more of a challenge than ever. Simply put, I received so many amazing submissions it was quite difficult to whittle them down in these pages. I hope this issue inspires everyone who picks it up — regardless of the role they play in our industry — to put their best feet forward at this year’s show. And if you see me wandering about, please be sure to say hi!

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