July 23, 2018
NSS Paperclips: On That Note

I hope you’re having a good summer and that your sales are as hot as the temps outside! Puns aside, it seems that consumers (especially Millennials!) are finding stationery products cool again, and we’re seeing new stationery and gift stores opening up – such as Hucklebeary in Duluth, MN, featured in this issue of Paper Clips.

Consumers are increasingly playing an active role in our industry, thanks to social media. Companies are using Instagram to test out the popularity of new designs; and retailers are asking customers to vote on Facebook for the products they’d like to see their store carry. Read on to find out how four NSS exhibitors have incorporated consumer feedback into their product lines.

The Greeting Card Association has also embraced the end user with the addition of its “Consumers’ Choice Award” that gives everyone the chance to vote for their favorite LOUIE finalist card on the GCA’s Facebook page. Keep reading to find out this year’s winner!


Hucklebeary is a new, Duluth, MN-based store that carries novelty gifts, quirky greeting cards and whimsical gift wrap. The store’s owner, Emily Ekstrom, attended the National Stationery Show® for the first time this past May and took full advantage of all the Show had to offer. Here, she shares what makes Hucklebeary unique and what she did at the 2018 NSS:

1. We started as a pop-up shop on Small Business Saturday in November 2017; now we are a destination spot in Downtown Duluth.

2. In my past, I was a store manager for Paper Source; now I am a proud wholesaler for its product line, Waste Not Paper.

3. The name Hucklebeary was inspired by my dog, Bear, who is typically seen wagging his tail at the front door of the shop welcoming customers.

4.The building we are located in was once a T-shirt screen-printing shop and now is a retail and creative space where we host workshops and events. We are passionate about bringing the community together and hosting community workshops and events in our store’s creative space.

5. Hucklebeary is a stationery-based store, so being able to shop as a buyer at the NSS was a dream come true! I went on the Retail Bus Tour and attended two seminars at this year’s NSS: Hashtag Queens and Focusing on the Future.​​

What’s the most helpful consumer feedback on your line that you’ve ever received?

“The most helpful feedback we’ve had is to offer a larger range of product. Consumers love to shop a story and have their pieces relate to each other. When we are working on product development, we make sure that each piece links.”

Ellen Powell, Creative Director + Founder, Blushing Confetti, an Australian maker of quirky greeting cards, stylish desk essentials, agendas and more that blend classic elegance with cheeky charm.

“I learned early on that there is a space for cards celebrating women. When I first started out, I wasn’t sure how consumers would respond to cards without a specific occasion. However, my cards celebrating strong women, female friendships and boss ladies quickly became my most popular, which really shaped the direction of my line.”

– Theresa Berens, Owner + Illustrator, Boss Dotty Paper Co., a Ridgewood, NY-based paper-goods company celebrating strong women through playful illustrations laced with humor and a can-do attitude.

“When we saw the third order from our first recurring customer, we wrote to her asking politely, ‘Why do you keep buying from us?’ The kits came from the idea of reducing the cost of Adrian’s art to make it more accessible, and we didn’t expect people to buy more than one. The customer said she used the kits to relax after work and then compared them to mindful crafting activities. This made us realize that our kits were not just home décor, and for some were more about the process of building them. This led us to future partnerships with mental-health nurses and organizations and changed the way we talked about our work.”

– Britta Evans-Fenton and Adrian Ocneanu, Co-Owners, Low Poly Crafts, a maker of pre-cut, pre-scored geometric papercraft puzzles and kits, based in Ottawa, Canada.

“Now and then I receive emails from women and girls who have purchased Persistent Sisters women’s history trading cards. They’ve been used for slumber parties, book clubs, and women-centered events. Recently, a customer sent a note that said, ‘Yesterday I was supporting a friend through her chemo treatment and I took the three card sets I have. We had fun going through them. They helped keep the conversation positive, uplifting and inspiring!’ Not only was this wonderful feedback, it also led to my own realization that the trading cards would be a wonderful addition to hospital gift shops. They are, in fact, a perfect kind of easily digestible inspiration to be shared between hospital patients and their visitors.”

– Ellen Schaeffer, Founder, Persistent Sisters, a Springfield, MO-based creator of beautifully designed and illustrated women’s-history trading cards to help young women feel empowered.

Maps and Travel

Wanderlust has hit the stationery and gift industry, with travel-related motifs and lots of map images finding their way onto cards, prints, home accessories and more. Steer your customers toward these trendy products this summer, such as these from NSS exhibitors.

GCA Names 2018 LOUIE Consumers’ Choice Winner

The Greeting Card Association announced that 417 Press has won this year’s “Consumers’ Choice Award” for its “Eat Cake” blank card, featuring holographic foil on pink cardstock. The contest was open to all consumers for voting on Facebook from May 21 through June 8. The card, which also won a LOUIE Award in the “Rising Star” category, received more than 450 Likes. 417 Press will be presented with this award at next year’s LOUIEs ceremony.

SURTEX® 2019 Show Dates Announced

The SURTEX tradeshow is moving from May and will be held February 3-5, 2019, at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. SURTEX will be co-located with the National Stationery Show and the NY NOW® winter market. One show badge will give attendees access to all three shows. The new date pattern for SURTEX coincides well with the fashion design development cycle.

75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
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