October 30, 2013 • Sarah Schwartz
The Show of Shows
As I begin this letter, it is day three of National Stationery Show (NSS), or rather, day three ended five hours and 21 minutes ago — at least according to my hotel room clock. My poor, aching feet are elevated, and I am writing this the “old-fashioned way,” scribbling this all down in my notebook.
I should be packing or, better yet, sleeping, but like so many NSS exhibitors and attendees, I am somehow walking on air, sore feet notwithstanding. As has been said many times before by people far wiser than I, this is an industry about relationships, and if my fading voice is any indication, my relationships are thriving. It is such a treat to meet our readers in person, and you never know which old friend is just around the next corner.
But much more important than my personal experience, the show has a palpable positive energy. So far I’ve heard lots of gleeful exhibitor reports of “Our best Sunday ever!” or “Our best Monday ever!” And earlier today I waited in a line in the ladies room for a full 10 minutes — I can’t recall the last time that happened on the Tuesday of NSS.
This is all such amazing news, as stationery over the last several years has been hurt by a triple threat comprised of a wounded economy, a pervasive digital culture and a drastically altered buying climate. But no dark situation is without hope. Much of the younger generation is understandably wowed by the artistry of paper — and many understand the importance of branding and expressing oneself through it in an increasingly impersonal, screen-driven world.
They are really the future of our industry, and it is due to them that the seminar I moderated earlier today — called Blogging and Social Media Secrets to Success — was not only so well-attended, but those there were taking notes the entire time.
I give all the credit to my four brilliant retail panelists, all of whom Stationery Trends has profiled or will profile very soon: Lisa Mattison Roberts of Rock Paper Scissors; Holly Bretschneider of Salutations; Grace Kang of Pink Olive and Olive Box; and Audrey Woollen of Urbanic Paper Boutique. Look for Urbanic’s Retail Profile on page 50, and enjoy this issue, the second of our new look!