9TH LETTER PRESS: Trade Show Lessons Learned from a Rookie Exhibitor

Hello, all. Today’s guest post consists of all the “ah ha!” moments Sheli and I had while exhibiting at the 2013 National Stationery Show. If you’re planning on exhibiting or are just curious in general, this post is for you. –Isabel of 9th Letter Press

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper 9th Letter Press 9TH LETTER PRESS: Trade Show Lessons Learned from a Rookie Exhibitor

The 9th Letter Press booth at the 2013 National Stationery Show

I tend to think in “lists” (which is the extent of my organization talents) so I thought I’d provide one for you all with the most important lessons worth sharing:

  1. Absolutely research, prep, and plan for the show. The best resources available come from Trade Show Bootcamp, Show Time and Pushing the Envelope. Grab a highlighter and take lots of notes. I can’t tell you how useful these resources were!
  2. Excited to fill out order forms at the show? Get equally excited about printing inventory before you leave. You’ll be so happy doing the legwork beforehand and not afterward. Make your best educated guesses of what your bestsellers might be and have those printed, packaged and ready to go for when you come back. If you letterpress print your products, I would suggest having twice as much of everything printed before hand, because you may be surprised what gets ordered. We were shocked by how much more we needed to print once we got home! We will certainly be printing more inventory ahead of time in the future!
  3. Make sure you have a good selection for the most popular card-giving occasions. Ex: birthday, thank you, sympathy, etc.
  4. Make sure to bring extras! By the end of the show your cards will not be in the pristine shape that you brought them in. It will give you peace of mind knowing you can switch out a card that has suffered from being dropped, stolen or gotten dirty in some way throughout the show.
  5. Ship and pack a set: we ended up shipping a set of our products directly to our hotel and also packing two carry ons full of our products. If something happened to either set, we figured we’d be covered. (We were).
  6. Don’t forget to decorate your booth! Adding little touches of your brand throughout your display will go a long way.
  7. No matter how cute they are, leave your wedges and heels at home. Your feet will thank you.
  8. Make sure to have something to send to your retailers before and after the show. The first should arrive somewhere between two to three weeks before the show. We opted to do a more elaborate mailer to a smaller group of retailers so that we could focus on stores that we knew were a good fit for us. I also liked the idea of the mailer being personal with lots of detail and an accurate representation of our brand. Doing a mass run can limit just how creative you can be.
  9. You might consider getting an app like Handshake that will consolidate orders, information and reports to help with turnaround time after the show.

Here are a few pictures of our booth building out in New York, which was an adventure in of itself:

Sheli 9TH LETTER PRESS: Trade Show Lessons Learned from a Rookie Exhibitor

Meet Sheli, the left brain of 9th Letter Press. She’s the person who puts into motion my big ideas. Without her, I’m not sure how anything would have come together, let alone have gotten to New York. We packed up our booth on an 8 foot pallet, which we packed with lots of care in the studio parking lot. When the freight company came to pick up our wrapped up pallet, we said goodbye, and crossed our fingers it would arrive safely in New York — it did!

Signage 9TH LETTER PRESS: Trade Show Lessons Learned from a Rookie Exhibitor

That’s me working on our signage! I wanted the booth to match the look of our studio in Winter Park, Florida, which has a very old New York meets the industrial revolution feel. In order to keep with that aesthetic, we built a super tall bar complete with purse hooks and a brass rail, added dark walnut shelves, and found foam “wood” floors.

finishedbooth1 9TH LETTER PRESS: Trade Show Lessons Learned from a Rookie Exhibitor

And here’s the end result! Sheli and I were thrilled with how everything turned out. We did spend a few late nights at the convention center to get it done, but it was well worth it. I really hope all or at least part of that was helpful!

Our mailers were travel themed so we included an old fashioned train ticket, a packing list, gold foil pressed luggage tags, and a gold pen to write down their information on the tag. After the show, we followed up with sending sweet little cards with an illustrated lady liberty on them.

NSSbundle wood 9TH LETTER PRESS: Trade Show Lessons Learned from a Rookie Exhibitor

NSS layout wood 9TH LETTER PRESS: Trade Show Lessons Learned from a Rookie Exhibitor

NssMailer wood 9TH LETTER PRESS: Trade Show Lessons Learned from a Rookie Exhibitor

Photo Credits: 9th Letter Press Team

Paper Party 2013: The Invitations!

After sharing the photos from Paper Party 2013 the other week, I’m so excited to finally share the invitations for the party! I was lucky to work with a really amazing team this year, including Linda & HarriettSmockMohawk, and Meant to Be Calligraphy – it was definitely a group effort from start to finish! The invitations involve pops of bright neon pink, hand lettering, and a fun pattern. I couldn’t love them more!

Paper Party 2013 Invitations Oh So Beautiful Paper Linda Harriett Smock Mohawk 6 Paper Party 2013: The Invitations!

I was beyond thrilled to work with Liz from Linda & Harriett on the invitation design; I’ve been dying for an excuse to work with her for years! Liz no longer offers custom design services, but you can her beautiful designs on Minted and Paperless Post. I gave Liz our general inspiration – lots of bright color and geometric shapes – and just trusted Liz to do the rest. I love the resulting design,which features her gorgeous hand lettering and a background pattern of illustrated envelopes. Liz also used her hand lettering to create the envelope return address.

Paper Party 2013 Invitations Oh So Beautiful Paper Linda Harriett Smock Mohawk 7 Paper Party 2013: The Invitations!

Paper Party 2013 Invitations Oh So Beautiful Paper Linda Harriett Smock Mohawk 57 300x375 Paper Party 2013: The Invitations! Paper Party 2013 Invitations Oh So Beautiful Paper Linda Harriett Smock Mohawk 47 300x375 Paper Party 2013: The Invitations!

The invitations were letterpress printed by Smock on Mohawk Loop Smooth 160 lb White paper in two colors: a light pink for the background and a bright fluorescent pink for the main text (Pantone 812 for those of you interested in such things). I love the texture of the neon pink printed over the light pink envelope pattern background!

Paper Party 2013 Invitations Oh So Beautiful Paper Linda Harriett Smock Mohawk 56b Paper Party 2013: The Invitations!

Paper Party 2013 Invitations Oh So Beautiful Paper Linda Harriett Smock Mohawk 23 Paper Party 2013: The Invitations!

The envelopes were printed on Mohawk Via Smooth A7 envelopes in Light Gray, and we used the same neon pink for the return addresses. I love the way the neon pink pops against the light gray envelopes, but oh boy are neon colors hard to photograph!

Paper Party 2013 Invitations Oh So Beautiful Paper Linda Harriett Smock Mohawk 39 Paper Party 2013: The Invitations!

The talented Michele of Meant to Be Calligraphy addressed the envelopes in her Edwards style in charcoal gray ink. We mailed approximately one hundred invitations before the show, then distributed the rest in person at the Stationery Show.

Paper Party 2013 Invitations Oh So Beautiful Paper Linda Harriett Smock Mohawk 64 Paper Party 2013: The Invitations!

Paper Party 2013 Invitations Oh So Beautiful Paper Linda Harriett Smock Mohawk 9 Paper Party 2013: The Invitations!

I hope you all love the invitations as much as I do!

Design: Linda & Harriett

Letterpress Printing: Smock

Paper: Mohawk

Calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy

You can see the rest of the photos from Paper Party 2013 right here!

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

National Stationery Show 2013, Part 13

Lucky Number 13! With a grand total of 103 booth recaps, I’m ready to call it a wrap on the 2013 National Stationery Show! And maybe take a nap for an entire week. But first, we have some photos from a few final booths to share – including a couple more stationers making their debut at this year’s show (there were so many this year!). Enjoy!

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Riverdog Prints 1 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 13

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Riverdog Prints

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Paper Freckles 4 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 13

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Paper Freckles

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Love this new collection of full color offset-printed cards!

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Oddball Press

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Everything Little Miss

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Ornamental Letterpress 22 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 13 National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Ornamental Letterpress 14 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 13

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Ornament Letterpress

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Dolce Press

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Viva Greetings 3 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 13 National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Viva Greetings 1 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 13

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Viva Greetings

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The Permanent Collection

And that’s it! You can check out all the posts from the National Stationery Show (including the previous four years) right here – and I’ve also organized the last three years of show coverage into Pinterest boards, which you can find right here. I hope you enjoyed this year’s recaps!

Photo Credits: Nole Garey and Kelly Lanza for Oh So Beautiful Paper, please ask permission prior to reposting any photos

National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

We’re nearing the end of our coverage from the 2013 National Stationery Show, but this recap may be the most diverse yet! From a new-to-me exhibitor – Holstee – to eco-friendly wood greeting cards to office supplies, and even some pretty party supplies! A little something for just about everyone!

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Avie Design 1 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12 National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Avie Design 4 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Avie Design 30 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

Seriously GORGEOUS laser-cut wedding invitations!

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Avie Designs

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Holstee 1 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12 National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Holstee 11 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

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National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Holstee 17 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12 National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Holstee 12 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Holstee 4 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

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Holstee

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Plane Paper 1 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

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Love these laser-cut calendars!

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Plane Paper 28 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Plane Paper 15 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

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Plane Paper

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Pancake and Franks 11 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12 National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Pancake and Franks 3 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

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National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Pancake and Franks 9 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

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Pancake & Franks

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Cardtorial 1 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

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Cardtorial

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National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Girls Can Tell 8 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

Love the architecture-inspired lunchbags and notebooks!

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Girls Can Tell

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Max and Bunny 1 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

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Max & Bunny

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Martha Celebrations 1 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12 National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Martha Celebrations 16 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

Hello pretty party supplies!

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Martha Celebrations

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Russell Hazel MaraMi 110 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12 National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Russell Hazel MaraMi 29 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 12

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Russell & Hazel + Mara Mi

I’ll be back again in just a bit with the final recap from the 2013 National Stationery Show!

Photo Credits: Nole Garey and Kelly Lanza for Oh So Beautiful Paper, please ask permission prior to reposting any photos

National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

From screen printing to offset printing, greeting cards to fabric gift wrap, this recap from the 2013 National Stationery Show is FULL of color, along with a healthy dose of illustration and plenty of quirk. The perfect combination for this show recap!

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper An Open Sketchbook 1 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

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An Open Sketchbook

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Cute notepad blocks!

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Ilee Papergoods

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Power Light Press 5 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

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Love these letterpress postcards with illustrations of old U.S. post offices!

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Power Light Press 11 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

Power & Light Press

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper L2 Design Collective 9 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

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National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper L2 Design Collective 16 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

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L2 Design Collective

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Chewing the Cud 1 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11 National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Chewing the Cud 4 300x450 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

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Chewing the Cud

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper La Familia Green 5 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper La Familia Green 1 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

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La Familia Green

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Orange Twist Tutta Lou 11 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

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Tutta Lou

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Orange Twist

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Papillon Press 3 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

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Papillon Press

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Paper Boat Studios 17 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

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Love the constellation note cards (of course!)

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Paper Boat Studios 8 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

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Paper Boat Studios

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National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Kelp Designs 11 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

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National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Kelp Designs 12 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

Love Katie’s new masculine collection!

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Kelp Designs 15 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

National Stationery Show 2013 Oh So Beautiful Paper Kelp Designs 3 550x366 National Stationery Show 2013, Part 11

Kelp Designs

I’ll be back again tomorrow with the final two posts from the 2013 National Stationery Show!

Photo Credits: Nole Garey and Kelly Lanza for Oh So Beautiful Paper, please ask permission prior to reposting any photos