This report was written by George Little Management, producer of the National Stationery Show.
WHITE PLAINS, NY, June 4, 2010…Optimism and a decisive need for face-to-face connection among some 900 social stationery manufacturers and nearly 10,000 buyers resonated throughout the aisles of the 64th annual National Stationery Show® (NSS), held May 16-19, 2010, at New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The 900 exhibiting companies - an increase of more than 125 from the previous year - cited this year's NSS as critical to connect with new, prospective customers and to reconnect with current accounts, as the economy show signs of improvement.
"The 2010 NSS served the full spectrum of business interests in this sector - whether to buy, sell, license, collaborate creatively, develop rep and distribution deals, launch a business or new product release, source, brand and so forth," said Patti Stracher, show manager. "Its niche attracted an exhibit hall full of serious professionals with a shared interest in expanding their businesses. More apparent than ever was the importance placed on connection, networking and public relations as core to building sales."
Throughout the Show, exhibitors reported significant numbers of focused, serious buyers looking to increase inventory, as well as international buyers and consumer press, representing opportunities for growth and exposure to a worldwide audience.
"Clouds & Ink had a phenomenal debut at the National Stationery Show," said Amy Margalit, owner. "We received orders from around the world - from Switzerland and Australia to Brazil and Canada - and many countries in-between. We are thrilled that Clouds & Ink cards will be traveling around the globe."
"We were delighted with the buyer turnout at the Show," said Mary Clampett, vice president of sales for The Gift Wrap Company. "The buyers who came to the Show came to write. Our orders were up, and so was the confidence level of manufacturers, reps and buyers."
"At this year's NSS, iota experienced quite a bit of international traffic," said Kelly Alford, founder and vice president of design for iota. "We made contact with retailers and distributors from 13 different countries - including Brazil, Egypt, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and others - some of which have never before carried iota. We find it an exciting opportunity not only to sell our products abroad, but to widen the visibility of the iota brand outside of the U.S.
"The 2010 NSS far surpassed our expectations, in terms of connecting with both big box retailers and media contacts," said Sarah Nicoli, vice president of sales for Dotmine Dayplanners. "Our discussions with visitors to our booth resulted in increased orders over past years, as well as great potential for future partnerships. Foot traffic was steady and the mood of the Show was extremely upbeat. We can't wait for next year's Show!"
"The 2010 NSS proved to be a tremendous opportunity for us," said Christian Fulghum, vice president of Midori. "We tripled last year's sales, doubled the number of orders, and more than doubled the number of new customers. Our success could not have been replicated anywhere else."
The need to connect and reconnect also resonated with retailers, with many noticing a resounding focus on networking, collaboration and unconventional methods of business-building.
"The energy at this year's show was great," said Jennifer Boyce Morgan, founder of A Fresh Bunch, a consortium of retailers and wholesale stationery designers. "What was most exciting to see was retailers and designers talking, collaborating and helping one another in ways that were unheard of a few years ago. The Show has become about so much more than sales, and is now more important from marketing and networking perspectives than anything else."
"The NSS has evolved, grown and contracted with the industry over its 64 years. There has been a paradigm shift in the way we transact business, with caution as a core value. Stores are sending fewer buyers to cover the Show and exhibitors are taking smaller booth spaces," Stracher commented. "While this year's NSS housed 125 more companies than in 2009, it did so in a more compact presentation. The bottom line is that we have to adjust our mindset to content rather than size and quality versus quantity."
In addition to opportunities on the Show floor, this year's NSS was highlighted by several events and special features that allowed exhibitors and retailers to meet and connect off the Show floor. The Opening Night Party at Battery Gardens provided a distinct New York City networking experience after a great opening day, while seminars addressing everything from trends and bridal to social media and merchandising added value for some 750 total participants. Daily Demos, celebrity book signings and in-booth exhibitor promotions further added to the buzz and enhanced the market experience. In addition, nearly 2,000 industry professionals took to Twitter and Facebook as a means of communicating, arranging meeting locations, and alerting colleagues to "must see" features.