Our 3rd Annual Visit to the National Stationery Show

 

Last week, we returned from a whirlwind trip to New York city -- home of the National Stationery Show, which is now in it's 64th year. Walking through the NSS is an experience unlike any other. Picture thousands of colorful booths, adorned with the absolute best, most creative paper goods you can imagine.  Over 1,000 designers exhibited their wares, featuring over 10,000 product lines. (And just think... Paper Trails already carries over 200 suppliers every day -- so multiply the number of lines represented in our shop by 50, and imagine the sheer number of individual products increasing exponentially!) I thought it would be fun to share some of our objectives, accomplishments and random thoughts about the show.  For me, this really is the most important buying trip every year -- the show helps us find new products, see upcoming trends, and most importantly, visualize new possibilities for the shop.  My goal has always been to create a store that's authentic, where the products have their own voice, and speak to each customer on a very personal level. And in an environment like the NSS, seeing such a vast array of designs outside the everyday walls of Paper Trails can be a wonderful, eye-opening experience. Our objectives for the 2009 NSS were very basic -- and we accomplished them all!

1. Fill current merchandise gaps (We knew we needed more variety in baby shower, rehearsal dinner and bachelorette invitations, additional flat wrap designs, a wider selection of gifts for men, and a few others...)

2. Expand our boutique greeting card selection (Did you know that in tough economic times, greeting card sales actually increase? The same goes for lipstick and alcohol! The economy aside, card sales at Paper Trails have been steadily increasing since we opened our doors, so we knew it was time to step up our game.)

3. Discover new designers and products (Look for the "Mighty Wallet," a wallet made totally out of durable Tyvek paper material -- a perfect gift for the man who already has everything. In addition, we picked up over 40 new lines.) 4. Add to our growing lines of wedding invitations and designer holiday cards (New albums from Tag & Co, Paper and Ink Designs, and more are on their way!)

5. Conceptualize new ways to display our products (Ok, I won't give anything away, but I'll share a few key elements of our future displays: grass, hula hoops, trees, magnets, dressing screens, clothespins, easels and many more.)

After our three long days at the show, we had the luxury of walking around the West Village, eating fabulous food and drinking fabulous wine. (And we have the blisters and extra five pounds to prove it!) Overall, the trip was a huge success and I look forward to bringing many of our ideas to life at Paper Trails. /Katie