08/30/2013

growing

Posted in meant to be sent, NSS national stationery show, paper goodies, shopping, wholesale tagged , , , , , at 1:47 pm by meant to be sent

IMG_6863

oh, hello!

just checking in here! is it seriously the end of august?! sheesh. time just keeps flying by and posts (i mean to write) keep piling up. (like, remember that stationery show in NY. yea. that was 3 months ago. i’ll post about it someday!) but it’s all for good reason…lots of growth in the past few months. which is super awesome and tough all at the same time.

we are literally buried in boxes of new inventory (somewhere in the neighborhood of 60+ boxes at the moment in a-not-so-big-space) so things have been busy around here, filling orders from said stationery show and getting my perpetually-almost-done shop ready to launch.

oh, the shop.

you know, the one i’ve been talking about for, oh…EVER.

i just keep reminding myself that it’s all going to be sooo worth it to have a shop that is super custom to fill with all the new goodies, that works the way i want it to and to have all my products under one virtual roof. it. will. be. awesome. ahh. i feel better just thinking about it all being streamlined and integrated with some awesome organizational tools for shipping, inventory, taxes (ewwww), marketing and more. but that’s just all the  behind-the-scenes stuff that’ll make my life easier! :)

but the stuff that will make it superfun to shop at the new mtbs…all the shiny new goodies and a super-clean design…not to mention an online customizing tool (phase 2) that will make it really fun to shop for invitations and photo cards so you can see a preview of what your order will look like — even before i do! (um side note, this part has actually been in the works on paper/in my head since ohh, 2009?! omg.)

we’re going to be launching in phases  — the main shop with all the new goodies first and then add on the customizer and some other functionality updates in the next phase. can’t. wait. (<—understatement!)

i’ve also got a fun “studio” makeover plan brewing that definitely calls for a blog post (or three). right now everything is in complete disarray as things grow and inventory piles in box after box. (i’ve resorted to begging my printers to keep some stuff for me. yea.) so it’s high-time to get creative with this limited space, ikea-style and see how that goes.

one part i do know about this “studio” plan is there will be something like this in front of my work table (ehem read: dining room table that we never eat at!). there’s a perfect nook for it, and i’ve already got it mapped out what will go where — i am definitely thinking of something like this for all my greetings and note card inventory…seems like a nice visual system for sure! (totally check out the whole blog post for a look at the swoon-worthy hello! lucky studio). and then envelopes will be stacked neatly in their boxes with an envelope stuck to the front for easy color searching.

gift wrap sheets will be stored flat on wide shelves, and all my packaging and shipping stuff will be within easy reach (hopefully on a super-wide shelf integrated into the shelving system at about table height. perfect for easy order picking and packing in one spot.) ooo and would LOVE to have this integrated in this area too…how handy for printing packing slips and shipping labels!? seriously genius.

if you want to check out some really dreamy spaces, i’ve collected lots of fun studio and organizational inspiration on pinterest. love.

i’ll be sure to share as i DIY my organizational disaster into a hopefully super-streamlined inventory system and workspace. and also will keep you posted on the shop progress. promise. and be sure follow along on instagram for all the latest snaps of new products and goodies heading out the door!

in the meantime i’m going to try to get some posts up highlighting some of the fun new products and all the new shops that have been added. i hope there’s one nearby and you’ll stop in to have a peek at all the new stuff!

anywho, that’s the scoop for now! stay tuned for more soon!

xo
robyn

06/30/2013

the big ta-do™

Posted in meant to be sent, NSS national stationery show, wholesale tagged , , , , , , at 6:08 pm by meant to be sent

thebigtado

oh, hello! just another quick post to introduce one of my fave new products that launched at nss last month…

leading up to nss i was virtually swimming around in endless to-do lists. i’m not the most structured person on the planet, but i still think it can be super overwhelming if there’s no structure and just epic lists everywhere.

that’s where this shiny new product comes in…

enter: the big ta-do™! it’s an oversized list pad with 52 sheets, one for each (work) week of the year, sectioned into manageable mini-lists. the end result might still be a long list, but filling out action items for each day makes it all seem a bit more doable. and, each day is perforated so you can tear off that mini list to keep handy on the go, or keep it all together for an overview of your work-week! (better pics coming soon… above: an iphone snap at nss)

and, there’s nothing better than a superluxe notepad sitting on your desk to inspire you to get ‘er done. so we made big ta-do™  kind of a big deal :) with 52,  7 x 14″ perforated cover weight pages wrapped in one of four fun colors (aqua, raspberry, papaya or lime juice) and finished with shiny gold edges. *swoooooooon*

these lovelies will be available in tons of new stores around the country in just a couple weeks and in the shiny new mtbs shop when that’s done, too!

let me know if you are interested in pre-ordering to get your hands on one hot off the press or if you have a retail store and are interested in carrying these in your shop!

xo
robyn

02/09/2013

meet the style library designs :: tee time

Posted in style library collection, wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:07 pm by meant to be sent

tee-time-suite

next up, from the perfectly preppy collection — the tee time design.

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the tee time design was created for a preppy pair with country club style. they swoon over fun colors and sweet details. and since they met at a company golf outing…naturally he got down on one knee on the green.

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about the style library…
at mtbs, we are all about color, pattern, simplicity and something for every style and budget. so this, and all of our designs can be customized with colors and fonts and printing to fit with your personal style. then, dress it up even more! add envelope liners, bellybands and backing layers to mix and match pattern and color to create a one of a kind look!

each of these designs (and more!) will be available in our online shop (launching soon!!) and are already in stores nation wide! check out our list of stores on our website to find a retailer near you! or contact us directly if there’s not one nearby :)

if you’re a retailer interested in carrying our line, please contact us and let us know which albums or products you are interested in!

awesome photos by caroline & evan photography / styled by every last detail

meet the style library designs :: cabana chic

Posted in style library collection, wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:31 pm by meant to be sent

cabana-chic-suite

next up, from the perfectly preppy collection — the cabana chic design.

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the cabana chic design was created for a the couple with sophisticated, seaside style. their taste is impeccable, but they’ve got their casual side too. in fact, they’re the perfect mix of casual and luxury…and certainly don’t mind getting sand between their toes.

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about the style library…
at mtbs, we are all about color, pattern, simplicity and something for every style and budget. so this, and all of our designs can be customized with colors and fonts and printing to fit with your personal style. then, dress it up even more! add envelope liners, bellybands and backing layers to mix and match pattern and color to create a one of a kind look!

each of these designs (and more!) will be available in our online shop (launching soon!!) and are already in stores nation wide! check out our list of stores on our website to find a retailer near you! or contact us directly if there’s not one nearby :)

if you’re a retailer interested in carrying our line, please contact us and let us know which albums or products you are interested in!

awesome photos by caroline & evan photography / styled by every last detail

meet the style library designs :: gramercy park

Posted in style library collection, wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:38 pm by meant to be sent

gramercy-suite

next up, from the perfectly preppy collection — the gramercy park design.

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the gramercy park design was created for a preppy pair with modern style. they love pattern, but want something classic, yet with modern sensibilities. oh, and they’re not afraid of color! they love to take strolls in their quaint downtown and wouldn’t miss a round of golf at their posh country club. you can bet they’ve got a super chic event planned.

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about the style library…
at mtbs, we are all about color, pattern, simplicity and something for every style and budget. so this, and all of our designs can be customized with colors and fonts and printing to fit with your personal style. then, dress it up even more! add envelope liners, bellybands and backing layers to mix and match pattern and color to create a one of a kind look!

each of these designs (and more!) will be available in our online shop (launching soon!!) and are already in stores nation wide! check out our list of stores on our website to find a retailer near you! or contact us directly if there’s not one nearby :)

if you’re a retailer interested in carrying our line, please contact us and let us know which albums or products you are interested in!

awesome photos by caroline & evan photography / styled by every last detail

01/12/2013

nss prep school :: budgeting

Posted in NSS national stationery show, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , at 12:30 am by meant to be sent

hello all! it’s approaching that time of year again…time to prep for a major paper-palooza….at NSS of course! so i’m picking back up on my NSS series from last year (oops! i promise to try and post tons more!) and i thought it’d be great to pick up with a post on budgeting.

this is a somewhat tricky topic because it all depends on the individual. BUT. there seems to be an overall budget range that i fell into and have heard many other first-time and repeat exhibitor friends say they landed on as well.

i thought since we’re all creative types, it might be fun to look at a visual representation of a basic budget….enter, the nss by the numbers infographic! i had a lot of fun putting this together and was a great refresher on budgeting for my own planning purposes for this year’s show!

this is of course in no way affiliated with nss and is just a basic budget based on my own show expenses. so, take what you will from it and hopefully it will help you to see about how much to expect to spend in some general categories.

nss_infographic

the infographic is divided into these categories:

  • booth costs: booth fee, walls, electric, lighting, furniture, flooring, fixtures, general supplies (office type stuff, like pens, scissors, stapler, xacto knife, ruler etc., along with every kind of adhesive under the sun for quick booth repairs if needed)
  • marketing: preshow mailer, catalog, press kits, order forms, line sheet, giveaway, business cards
  • travel + shipping: your travel / airfare / cabs, shipping (freight and/or shipped boxes)
  • lodging: hotel / apartment, food

one thing the infogrpahic does not include is cost of actual products. this is SO different from person to person, so there’s no good way to put a number to it. so that will need to be figured separately — and should be anyway, since it is likely not part of the SHOW cost as much as part of the cost of goods you’ll (hopefully) sell!

that being said, producing products for the show CAN be a big cost, so definitely consider it in your overall budget! especially if you are producing invitation albums with all new designs, or doing cards with specialty printing like letterpress or foil. because, you’ll want to be able to represent the actual finished product, and with letterpress for example there’s really no quickie way  to fake it til you make it…so, you will likely have to do a full run pre-show . which can really add up when running several new designs.

however, if your products are flat printed, digital is a great way to run samples of your work for minimal cost just for the show and then do a full offset (or larger digital) run after you gauge interest at the show. either way, plan to drop some cash on product production!

some other things to consider are: parking (at the airport or in the city if you drive), entertainment (there are lots of fun things to see and do in NYC along with events and parties during the show!), also, consider the many opportunities to enter awards shows and other competitions during the show — some are even FREE!!!

there will inevitably be some unexpected costs and things you may have to add on-site or ship last minute (which always costs more than doing ahead of time!) but in general, this should be a pretty good guide to how much you can expect to spend to exhibit at NSS in an 8×10 booth with foam walls and hang out in NYC for 6 days.

i hope you find this helpful! another post coming up soon with a bit more detail budgeting and more specific costs!

01/11/2013

happy new year + an update

Posted in NSS national stationery show, wholesale tagged , , , , , , at 11:20 pm by meant to be sent

Image

oh, hello! sorry i’ve been a little quiet over here! the end of the year was crazy!! and have been spending the beginning of 2013 wrapping up a few projects and planning and organizing for the year ahead.

but wanted to pop in to wish every one a big huge super HAPPY new year! i hope your holidays were amazing and that your year is off to a great start!

i thought about doing a year-in-review post like i’ve done the last couple years, but instead i thought it’d be fun to focus on the NEW year and what’s next! it IS after all a shiny new year! :)

so what’s new? well, one of the big things i’m working on is planning for my return to the national stationery show in nyc in may! and i’m SO excited to go back!!! i took last year off from exhibiting but did a virtual booth to mix things up a bit and allow me to focus on a whole new line of paper goodness….appropriately called paper goodies! i’m so excited about it!!! it’s been a big project thats been in development since last spring/summer!! i cannot wait to launch it at NSS this year! eeeek!!

also in development, my brand new shop! where you’ll find allll the paper goodies and all sorts of other new stuff! including the line of wedding invitations i launched at nss in 2011!

and, another exciting announcement coming next week…just can’t share quite yet! so check back in sooooooon!!!

also, one of my goals for this year is to blog more, so i am super hoping i can stick to that and get my new blog design launched too. nothing like a new space to inspire new posts!!

in the meantime, if you’d like to be the first to hear about the shop launch, you can sign up for the shop announcement email and get a fun surprise deal after the launch!

xo
robyn

06/10/2012

meet the style library designs :: yacht club

Posted in style library collection, wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:56 pm by meant to be sent

next up, from the perfectly preppy collection — the yacht club design.

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ahoy mate! with a love for all things nautical and a life full of adventures,
a wedding aboard a yacht was a must for this couple. their their style is
simple, but full of personality, so mixed typography and simple graphics
are the perfect combo to pull this look together.

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about the style library…
at mtbs, we are all about color, pattern, simplicity and something for every style and budget. so this, and all of our designs can be customized with colors and fonts and printing to fit with your personal style. then, dress it up even more! add envelope liners, bellybands and backing layers to mix and match pattern and color to create a one of a kind look!

each of these designs (and more!) will be available in our online shop (launching this summer!!) and are already in stores nation wide! check out our list of stores on our website (launching this week!) to find a retailer near you! or contact us directly if there’s not a retailer near you :)

if you’re a retailer interested in carrying our line, please contact us and let us know which albums or products you are interested in!

awesome photos by caroline & evan photography / styled by every last detail

05/29/2012

meet the style library designs :: park avenue

Posted in style library collection, wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:07 pm by meant to be sent

next up, from the perfectly preppy collection — the park avenue design.

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the park avenue design was created for a preppy pair with park avenue style. they’re not afraid of color, or mixing stripes and polkadots for that matter! and are likely to be found weekending in the hamptons and jcrew is surely their favorite shopping spot.

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about the style library…
at mtbs, we are all about color, pattern, simplicity and something for every style and budget. so this, and all of our designs can be customized with colors and fonts and printing to fit with your personal style. then, dress it up even more! add envelope liners, bellybands and backing layers to mix and match pattern and color to create a one of a kind look!

each of these designs (and more!) will be available in our online shop (launching this summer!!) and are already in stores nation wide! check out our list of stores on our website (launching this week!) to find a retailer near you! or contact us directly if there’s not a retailer near you :)

if you’re a retailer interested in carrying our line, please contact us and let us know which albums or products you are interested in!

awesome photos by caroline & evan photography / styled by every last detail

05/27/2012

meet the style library designs!

Posted in style library collection, wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:08 pm by meant to be sent

long long overdue, but better late than never :)  …a new series highlighting each and every one of the style library collection designs!

first up, from the perfectly preppy collection — the row house design.

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the row house design was inspired by the chic parties that i imagine take place in the quaint row houses in new york’s upper east side. a silhouette is the focus of the design…it’s paired with crisp barbershop stripes and bold colors…making row house a perfect invitation suite for a couple with a uniquely modern, super-polished yet fun style.

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at mtbs, we are all about color, pattern and simplicity and something for every style and budget. so this, and all of our designs can be customized with colors and fonts and printing to fit with your style. then, dress it up even more! add envelope liners, bellybands and backing layers to mix and match pattern and color to create a one of a kind look!

each of these designs (and more!) will be available in our online shop (launching this summer!!) and are already in stores nation wide! check out our list of stores on our website (launching next week!) to find a retailer near you! or contact us directly if there’s not a retailer near you :)

if you’re a retailer interested in carrying our line, please contact us and let us know which albums or products you are interested in!

awesome photos by caroline & evan photography / styled by every last detail

05/20/2012

NSS 2012

Posted in meant to be sent, NSS national stationery show, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:26 pm by meant to be sent

it’s that time of year again…time for the biggest paper party around — the national stationery show! the party’s in NYC but this year, we’re doing something a little different…a VIRTUAL BOOTH! (a little preview of the site above!) we couldn’t make it to the show this year, but we  have a ton of fun things in the works and still wanted a way to for retailers, press, reps and the like to be able to see what we’re up to! the result: a virtual booth you can check out right from your computer!!

we’re working on a whole new line of paper goodies — sweet treats for your paper cravings — that includes notebooks, notepads, matchbook notes, giftwrap sheets + tags, and flat and folded notecards and greeting cards! the booth is just a preview of the new goodies that are shipping this fall, but you can pre-order now to be the first to carry these in your shop!

we’re really sad to miss the big show, but super excited about all that’s shiny and new at mtbs and hope you’ll check out our virtual booth! you need a password, so if you didn’t get our mailer and are a retailer, member of the press or rep, contact us to get the secret password!

also, launching in just a few days…the brand new meanttobesent.com!

stay tuned…so much going on around here! :D

xo
robyn

03/06/2012

make a list, check it twice

Posted in business, NSS national stationery show, wholesale tagged , , , , , at 9:31 pm by meant to be sent

with three months to go until NSS 2012, it’s time to kick off my prep post series…and what better place to start than with a list?! being organized and on top of things is super important to maintaining any kind of sanity while getting ready to exhibit. especially if it’s your first time.

for me, it’s more organized chaos, but the lists are the glue that helps me hold it all together :) i’ll make all sorts of lists throughout the process, but this first one is one of the most important. why? it holds all of the major to-do items according to GLM’s timeline and due dates associated with them. meeting these dates (if using their services — which some you have no choice but to use them!) will save you money in the long-run. missing a date will either cost you more money and/or cause you to lose out on that service. the second list is my OWN basic show plan. a general list of things to do to help keep me focused and on track.

so…..you guessed it…

tip #1 :: make a list! or borrow mine :) either way, do your very best to stay organized and hold yourself to the lists as best you can throughout the process. it is by no means a perfect science, so adjustments will be made as needed, but, there are some things that are set in stone, so keep those top of mind!

NOTE :: the lists below only includes things that apply to my booth, so if you’re getting ready to exhibit, be sure to read through the setup manual thoroughly to make sure you have all the dates and info you need! (plus, sometimes they update them so keep an eye on the NSS site!)

click on the images to enlarge them!

 

03/04/2012

Posted in business, NSS national stationery show, wholesale tagged , , , at 11:07 pm by meant to be sent

it’s that time of year again…time to get ready for the national stationery show!!

this year, i’ll be writing a series of posts sharing lots of tips as well as chronicling my adventures as i get ready for the show this may. i’d planned to do this last year but time definitely got away from me while getting ready for my first show. hopefully things will be much less crazy this time around! stay tuned to find out!

09/06/2011

i’m still here…but where did summer go!?

Posted in invitations, NSS national stationery show, wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , at 5:12 pm by meant to be sent

ack! it has been FORever since i have posted! i wish i could say i have been on some fabulous getaway chilling out after working my tail off on NSS and my new line, but no…the work continued…through the whole summer. while i am in serious need of a vacation, i am SO excited to say that i am DONE with the albums and they’re on their way to their cozy new homes in two shops in california, three in texas, one in louisville, one in wisconsin and another right around the corner in ann arbor, michigan…some stores got all four books, and others mixed and matched to build their perfect library! oh! and i can’t forget about the boxed invitations that hit stores in nantucket and virginia earlier this summer! SO excited!

my new site will be launching later in the fall too and i should have my shiny new images of everything very soon, so be on the look out for those along with a full-line catalog.

AND i’ve been working on another exciting project…i cannot wait to share all the fun details later this year!

for now, here are some behind the scenes pics of the final albums coming together…

so. there it is…a little peek into my summer (mostly) indoors…at least i had bright colors to look at…right?! :)

07/17/2011

super fun boxed invites :: now shipping!

Posted in wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , , at 1:08 pm by meant to be sent

super fun imprintable designs all boxed up and ready to ship to retailers…these guys are headed to nantucket and virginia! i think they’ll feel right at home :)

interested in carrying these in your shop? contact me!

digitaluxe + perfectly preppy

Posted in wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , , at 12:41 pm by meant to be sent

the very first customer order from the new style library with digitaluxe printing hit the streets earlier this month! check it out below :)

this design is from the perfectly preppy book and customized with a vellum wrap and monogram seal.

the style library albums will be available in retail stores nationwide in just a couple weeks!

interested in carrying the style library in your shop? contact me!

06/17/2011

introducing :: digitaluxe

Posted in wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , at 12:00 am by meant to be sent

i have seriously been on the edge of my seat waiting to share this exciting news! after lots of investigating, testing and crossing my fingers…finally, a super luxe option that is budget friendly…truly the best of both worlds!

so, what is digitaluxe you ask? it’s just what it sounds like…digital printing on luxe paper! 100% cotton lettra, to be exact. and will be available as an option in all four of my new style library albums and is sure to bring a new level of luxe to standard digital printing.

for those of you familiar with the ins and outs of digital printing—where paper options can seem pretty limited—you know this is a big breakthrough!

so now you can have the feel of letterpress paper, adding a super a luxe feel, but with the price of digital! an awesome option for the budget conscious and the perfect addition to the style library which was founded on the idea of having something for everyone!

the first wave of albums will be shipping very soon…contact me if you are interested in carrying the style library books with this exciting new option in your shop!

06/06/2011

NSS recap :: part 6…showtime!

Posted in meant to be sent, NSS national stationery show, wholesale at 11:42 pm by meant to be sent

after months of planing and being up til about 3 am almost every night, things were finallllllly falling into place. was i still frantic? yep… pure madness…for sure. but, coming together? DEFINITELY! so lets get this show on the road! :)

so it was the night before leaving for the show (err morning of) at 4 am when i finally went to bed. our flight was supposed to be at 11 am on friday, but didn’t quite go that way…

i had gotten REALLY sick earlier that week with some kind of flu/stomach bug that knocked me on my butt for a good day and a half (which i reallllly couldn’t afford to lose!) and slowed me down bigtime the rest of the week… so being up til 4am the day of our flight out did not exactly help…

i woke up to get ready for the flight feeling HORRIBLE. i felt really queezy and was visibly shaking for about 45 minutes. i had kept pushing thinking i was ok. nope. so i made the executive decision to change our flight and went back to bed.

i couldn’t believe i did that or that i felt the way i did, but i knew i could not get on a plane. no way. normally i would just push thru, but i guess i knew i had pushed enough and i would still get there… just a few hours later.

soooo we changed our flight, got a couple more hours of sleep and woke up feeling better…at least enough to get it together and go. whew.

now onto the next minor issue… i had scheduled the labor guys to set up my walls on friday afternoon. of course with the flight change, we were not going to be there for it.

(tip: the union people will set up if you are not there, but you have to specify union supervision, as opposed to you supervising)

thing was, i said i would be supervising the union guys in my request for labor, months earlier. so i wasn’t sure they would do anything without me there. so i called from the airport to let them know that we had to change our flight and that i wanted them to supervise and still put the walls up so that they would be ready to go when we got there.

um. yea…no.

i called several different numbers from the contact list i had…no answer. at. all. anywhere. so i left a message that apparently didn’t matter, which we found out later.

so we finally got to our hotel until about 7pm and you have to be at javits by 5 pm to get in for set up…so we just took the night to rest up and grab some food.

ok total side note, but i have to share this…while out grabbing a bite we found the biggest salad bar i have ever seen! huge right?! this is in one of those teeny tiny little convenience stores that are all over the city. whoa.

and regarding the hotel…we managed to find one that was pretty glam, yet for the same price as most of the others (lobby below) although it was a bit misleading because the glam look pretty much ended at the elevator doors. lol…but the rooms were actually huge and just fine…they just did NOT go with the vibe of the rest of the place. still nice, though not quite what we thought. also, it said it was 4 blocks from javits…not so much. it was 4 AVENUE blocks, which are the looooong blocks plus about 3 more street blocks over.

ok back to the show…

so while i had gotten everything wrapped up as much as possible before leaving for NY, there were still things to be done once we got to the hotel…like packaging my imprintables! which, fyi, were not in my hands until we checked in because of a printing issue causing a last minute reprint and overnight shipping to the hotel! yikes! same with my final color palettes for the books, which i found out on the way to NY that they would be coming in a separate shipment on SATURDAY because they didn’t make it in the box sent for friday delivery! sheesh. what next!?

after getting those packaged up, we called it a night, got some sleep and woke up feeling a lot better. saturday in the late morning we made our way over to javits to start setting up….hoping…PRAYING…that the walls were up. NOPE.

we walked in to a pile-o-stuff in the middle of the booth. the good news? everything that i shipped actually made it to my booth, despite my fear that the boxes wouldn’t get sorted in time or worse, go missing completely. woohoo! small victories are key :)

below :: checking in at javits

finding the booth space…with nothing up

the picture above definitely sparked a moment of panic, but i managed to pull it together, found the labor desk and was able to get a great labor guy to help us put it all together!

my boyfriend jon and andre the labor guy putting down the floor tiles (which ended up being the PERFECT color!!!)

below :: the cabinet i designed — it turned out great and looked just like my sketch :D

below :: the flooring is done and walls unpacked and leaned up against the frame ready to be installed! (such a relief to see the walls turned out just right!) p.s. see that strip of white foam board? jon had the brilliant idea to use them as baseboard! what a fab idea!! and it worked great…(see finished booth below)

the walls up and cabinet in place along with the mess of other stuff to be put up, including the shelves jon is working on!

next step was to get the lights up!

below :: lights attached…oddly enough, the booth looks darker with more lights! not the case at all..it was actually really bright! so strange!

speaking of lighting…though i thought i did not need one, i added a big, bright spotlight (called a parcan) at the last minute. once i was on site and saw the lighting in person and that lots of booths around me were using one, i was worried my booth might look too dark if i didn’t.

{ tip: this was an almost $600 game-time decision (ouch!)…it is way cheaper if you request it before the show. }

i’m still on the fence about if i reallllly needed it or not, but it definitely didn’t hurt (well, except my budget and that it was really hot if you stood right under it!!)

now, time to take a break to drop off my press kits! there they are on the rack in the press room!

and now…time to get my samples stuck to the walls!

i designed the booth to highlight each of the four books i was launching at the show…so there were two frames on each of the side walls, one for each book, and a cabinet and table to hold the books and boxed imprintables, which were also attached to the wall just above the cabinet/below the logo.

though i had a pretty good idea of how i wanted to layout the samples on the panels, it was completely eyeballed! i just didn’t have time to layout a plan before hand, but it worked out fine.

{ tip: eyeballing the layout worked pretty well, but it’s a good idea to layout your panels at home and snap a picture and/or make a map of it to use as a guide }

below :: me (looking soooo sleepy!!!) putting up the perfectly preppy collection!

annndd….the preppy panel is done!

on to the rest of the panels!

somewhere between the completely classic and very vintage panels, i had a surprise visit from one of my friends that happened to be in NYC at the same time! she squeezed in some time to come by and check out the booth…a super fun surprise and much needed break! thanks denise :D

after my little break, i finished the walls, added some baseboard (such a fun, unplanned detail!) and tidied up the booth before leaving for the night.

below :: the booth, all shinny and ready for the big show! (check out the baseboard!)

the next morning we made our way over to javits for the first day of the show! i was finally feeling better, definitely nervous and even more excited. i had no idea what to expect, but couldn’t wait to see how the booth and new collection were received, after all that work.

below :: the booth all set up ready for buyers!!

some detail shots of the booth and albums

the 2100 aisle where i lived for the show (as you can see this is the “low ceiling area”)

and finally me with my collection…

so there it is! whew. i did it!!! and i couldn’t be happier with the outcome. my booth and new line were really well received, i got a bunch of great contacts, met lots of new friends and caught up with some old ones…and am going to be in some amazing shops! (the only thing i wish is that i had better pictures! i was stuck with my iphone and regular ol camera. definitely time to invest in a good one! :)

i am so excited about the whole experience and now working on filling orders from the show! so keep an eye out for my collection that will be in stores later this summer…hopefully one near you! and stay tuned for my new site (coming soon!) with the whole collection and a list of retailers!

and don’t worry…there’s still more!

next up :: part 7…the inside scoop

06/02/2011

NSS recap :: part 5…pulling it all together

Posted in meant to be sent, NSS national stationery show, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:58 pm by meant to be sent

though the researching phase never realllllly ended, (actually is STILL going on for a few minor things) i did finally get to a point where i had gathered a ton of info, vendors and ideas (TOO much!) and it was time to make some decisions and begin to pull it all together.

like i mentioned, my branding was TBD for most of the planning process…which made it a bit more difficult to decide on anything, but it finally started coming together just in time to pick out and finalize all the fun stuff!

also, i had been testing several printers to use for my new collection, but had pretty much narrowed it down…and just in time because the it was finally coming together plus i had some super fun ideas for my catalog/mailer (one piece would double as both) and press kits to do. so now, to just execute it all and make some FINAL DECISIONS. but honestly, making decisions and moving on was one of the hardest parts…because every decision feels so monumental. but, once they are made…it is the. best. feeling. ever!

there was a ton to pull together, so where to start…lets see…how about…

the line…
as my line started to come together, the concept for the collection did too and it was feeling more like a real line. i had decided on four styles (perfectly preppy, completely classic, well traveled and very vintage) to launch with and the designs were really starting to feel like a cohesive collection. so i finally got everything together (all four books!) and sent it off to the printer (which i finally picked too!!)…and a few days later i had a TON of paper goodness delivered to my door!!! this made it all so real…i actually screamed out loud (and may have jumped up and down) when opened it! eeeek! it was like christmas at my house for a good week or two with everything arriving…

below :: the shipment of alllllllll my new designs :D

SO. with the designs all figured out, i was super excited, but felt like i still was missing just a little something for my line…

the basic premise of my collection is “something for everyone”…hence the different styles…soooo to build on that even more, i decided to offer several types of printing —digital, offset/thermography, letterpress—for all of the designs in all books. this worked well since most designs lend themselves to all types of printing, so it seemed like a plan! and something for every budget too! and that was the missing little something…check!

even tho my designs were all printed, i was still having a zillion convos with my printer about using special papers to help set my line apart even more, at least for digital printing (actually STILL finalizing this, but should know this week!). so along with the different printing came different pricing…to help keep it super simple, i decided to offer pricing based on printing and type of piece across the board instead of different pricing per suite. easy-breezy.

to even further expand on the something for everyone idea, i took six designs from the preppy collection and turned them into a line of boxed imprintables…those REALLY came together at the last minute as there was a printing mistake and had to have them redone and shipped to my HOTEL! ahhh! so i literally packaged them up in our hotel room right before the show started! yep. that’s them below in a horrible iphone picture on the bed at the hotel! :)

while i was finalizing the collection, i started to realize that i was essentially creating a library of style books…so i started referring to it as the “style library”…and bam! it all started to fall into place. (well, at least conceptually :D)

along with my new style library concept came all sorts of fun ways to tie everything together and really have things feel cohesive. i was SO excited to have a bigger idea to wrap everything around…

and it all started with…

the albums
even before the name came to me (and maybe this actually sparked the whole idea!) i knew i loved the idea of a library spine on my books, as well as the idea of a thick chipboard cover….just something about the mix of the textures that spoke to my aesthetic and what i typically do with my custom work (i.e. tons of layers and texture whenever possible!!)

so i asked some of the album vendors i had found to price these out, and ultimately, i picked a vendor that had awesome fabrics and allowed me to do just the number of albums i needed to do for the show. (that was a HUGE relief since a lot of places require you to do 50 or 100 as a minimum and couldn’t fathom that at the time)

at one point, i thought i might want to do a different color spine per book…but i couldn’t decide which colors!! i had gotten hung up on enough of these kind of decisions and was running out of time…plus it felt right to keep them consistent, airy and neutral like the booth, and let my designs bring in the bold colors and pop out of the books. so i found an awesome shimmery whitish cream color that was perfect against the greyish chipboard. yay!

i decided to add a pocket to the inside to hold “style boards” that would show all of my colors, papers and fonts for easy viewing while looking at a design in the book (rather than having to flip back and forth with these on pages in the binder). all about keeping it simple ;) oh and the pocket was also made of the shimmer fabric..it turned out sooooo neat!

below :: a picture of the chipboard and fabric swatch from my album vendor and the sketch of the pocket i added.

i got it all finalized and ordered soon after…the books came in and they were SO stinkin’ cool! it made it feel like everything was finally coming together…except you’ll notice the books are blank!

below :: the books when they arrived!

for the outside of the books, i had to improvise at the last minute because my original plan to screenprint each book title and my logo on each book was astronomical at such a small quantity. so, i had to kick researching into overdrive again and thought i had found a local vendor to pull it off (and for a great price), only for them to bail on me the week before the show. NICE. so i tried to think of any way i could to salvage the plan…i considered doing decals, iron ons, rub-off transfers, you name it. but ultimately i ended up doing a sticker on the spine and a raised plaque on the front with my chevron pattern and logo, both printed on shimmery paper to match the look of the spine. it turned out great and will be keeping the cover plaque but screenprinting the spines for the albums that were ordered at the show!

here’s how they turned out

{ tip: it is SUPER important, and might seem like a no-brainer…but you need to make sure that everything is consistent…from your website to your biz cards to your mailer to your products and booth to your catalog and press kits. it just makes everything feel like you have a strong brand and a solid business as well as a professional and pulled-together look. definitely something you want! :) }

to keep with the neutral, high-end look, i decided to use chipboard pages in the same greyish color. they seemed perfect since they were super substantial (1/16″ thick!) and of course matched perfectly with the books since it was chipboard. but to my surprise, even the super-thick board still tore during the show from all of the turning of the pages! which i guess is good because that meant a lot of traffic! but i was so not happy that happened…so i have since found another route that is super similar and even stronger, since it is not as soft as chipboard. more on that later….

the rest was in the details…
coming up with terms, pricing and process for ordering. finalizing the color palette (SO not easy if you heart color like me!) and font list for my style boards along with the paper swatch board…and finally laying out and sticking the printed samples to the chipboard pages. it was amazing how everything really came together when i added the fun envelope colors.

below :: pictures of the madness in progress!

this is the process of making the swatch boards. i xyroned my paper colors and used my handy-dandy accucut to cut out sticky-backed squares for the boards! brilliant! (or so it seemed at 2 am two nights before i left for the show!)

doesn’t this shot remind you of candyland!?

more candyland…and as you can see a big ol mess…running out of space too!

album pages in progress!

the booth…
for the walls, as my branding was finalized, i knew i wanted to use the all-over chevron pattern and i had a pretty solid idea of how i would layout the whole booth. from the start i knew i wanted frames of some kind (real, printed or decals) on the walls to represent each collection and that i would fill them with the different designs. and i knew i wanted the whole thing to be pretty neutral (so i could let the work stand out against what could be a crazy pattern!). though i felt really good about it, it just seemed SO scary to send the art over to be printed on a BIG scale and not see it first! yikes!

so i had asked the vendor i was almost positive i would use… A. if i could get a test print (aka chunk proof) so i could at least see the how the colors and pattern would print on the material and on their printer. and B. when is the last possible date i can get you the artwork (crucial to know this!!!) so i would know how much time i had to tweak.

they were AWESOME to work with and more than happy to send chunk proofs (and fast!).

so i did a quick mini mockup of one wall and some swatches of color and my logo to see how it would all print. i did a couple different navys and tested some different tints of the chevron pattern and frames. they came back and looked great, so i easily narrowed it down, but still somehow kept tweaking the design ever so slightly up until the last possible day i could send the art. ha!

below :: the chunk proof with swatches of materials for my albums

i had a few vendors in mind for the walls…but the pricing pretty much decided for me! so at least that part was easy and proved to be the right decision all around!!!

whew! what a RELIEF that was settled!!

on to the rest of the booth.

like i mentioned with the furniture, i had all sorts of scenarios and combinations of pieces in mind…and only one thing was constant—the ghost chairs!  i knew almost right away (though i very seriously considered using some fabulous louis chairs in a cool pattern or bold pop of color) that these were perfect and would add to the airy feel i was after, and not feel heavy in a super small space. all of the rental places i looked into had the ghost chairs too, so that wasn’t an issue. but, i was on the fence about the table i would use with the two ghost chairs, and was still deciding if i would move forward with the cabinet i had designed (see below).

instead of the cabinet, i was considering a buffet/console type table but it was all dependent on how much product i would have and was waiting to see if i would need the extra space or not. in the end, i did not end up having the extra product ready in time, but i still went with the big display cabinet and was glad i did because it gave me lots of extra space and a lockable cabinet!

below :: initial sketches of booth and cabinet design

again, i asked this vendor to give me a “MUST ORDER BY” date to help me keep everything straight and on track. (i work better with deadlines!) i pretty much made the decision on the walls, the cabinet, and the furniture all at once. then i just prayed it all looked good together when i got there!!! (thank god it did! pictures of everything in the next post!)

so now, the only big thing that was outstanding for the booth was flooring. i had finally decided to use interlocking foam carpet tiles, A. for comfort and B. cost was not bad. and TONS of places sell these, so i was able to find a spot that had good prices and would send me sample swatches of the colors.

i knew i wanted grey to go with the rest of the look, but as you can imagine, its hard to tell from the swatches online, so i eventually got the samples i requested (after like a week of wondering if they were even sent despite my urgent request) only to find they did not even send the lightest grey color swatch, which of course was what i realllllllly wanted! i found out there was an error on their website and that the light grey color was not available in the cheaper tiles! UGH. more money! but luckily not TOO much more…but now the problem was, i was out of time and couldn’t wait for another sample. but they assured me the color was MUCH MUCH lighter grey than the two swatches i had…and so again, i ordered and prayed it was right! (and it was!! whew!)

carpet settled!

{tip: request samples (early if you can!)…even if you have to pay for them…and, have your final order shipped direct to your booth or hotel! most stores i ordered from seemed open to that…just beware of extra handling charges that javits applies for sorting anything that is not part of a freight delivery)

then there was lighting…i hemmed and hawed over that for a while too, but kinda decided somewhere along the line that clip-on lights from home depot were jussssst fine. especially when i found out that to have them provided by javits was $99 PER LIGHT to RENT! yikes! so i bought the home depot ones a couple weeks before the show and, to keep it easy, shipped them as part of a bigger shipment direct to my booth, despite the extra handling fee. which meant that WE were installing them, (which you are allowed to do in a small booth space up to a certain number of lights). it was not difficult and worked out fine. but this was one of the things i compromised on from my original just-have-it-all-done-for-me-no-matter-the-cost plan.

so the booth was pretty much set (but we were about three weeks away from the show so it better be!! )

now on to the mailing!

i had a super fun idea for my mailing and was on the fence about doing a catalog since they would be another huge expense and take lots of time to design… so, instead i had planned to do a dual-purpose piece that would be used as a mailing and a catalog type handout at the show! it was one large sheet that would be mailed out folded, but as it unfolded, each panel revealed more information about my line. and finally unfolded to a 17×22″ poster showing 3-4 designs from each of the style library collections! was a fab idea, and totally would have worked but i was cutting it a bit too close with time and budget to print enough to cover both the mailing and handout quantities i needed.

so, i ended up doing it but printing a smaller quantity of the poster and designed a simple postcard to mail out instead. saved big-time on postage and printing going this route! and being down to the wire, totally needed a little savings!

below :: the postcard mailing ready to go out the door!

{tip: postcards are only 29¢ to mail vs 48¢ for a letter rate/1oz size. even the bigger companies do postcards, so don’t sweat it! though, if your time and budget allow DEFINITELY consider a more unique approach that will stand out in the mail…i design a LOT of direct mail stuff at work, so trust me on this ;)

poster images coming soon!

press kits
next up, i had to tackle the press kit.

i was super excited about these and had a fun way to tie them into my style library concept. i handmade custom chipboard folders that mimicked the look of my albums and added a library pocket and custom library cards to the inside front cover with information about my business and my line…on the right hand side i created slit pocket to hold the poster and added slits for my shiny new business cards! i lined the inside front cover with printed shimmer paper with the chevron pattern and of course my booth number! (you will hear about your booth number A TON as you look into exhibiting. it is pretty much as important as your SS#!) i finished them off with a shimmery library spine and a wrap label with a circle sticker that had my booth number stuck at the end of the label. i was SO happy with how they turned out. one of my favorite parts and really glad i stuck to my plan and was able to pull it together.

below :: the kits in progress

the cover with library spine

the library cards (the top card was set up to look like books had been checked out and those books….were from the style library of course, with the date checked out being the date of the show :)

the second card was some info about meant to be sent and the last two were blank cards for taking style notes!

the inside spread with folded poster, biz card and chevron panel!

the final inside spread with the library pocket in place

the front cover with wrap label

back cover wrap label and circle sticker

lots of kits piled up and ready to ship to javits!

aside from those i had one other thing to put together…i had been nominated for the best new product competition in two categories! yippie! so i had to put boards together super quick before we left for the show…here is one from the perfectly preppy line, entered in the “all things wedding category”! sadly, i did not win, but it is AMAZING exposure just to be entered. your boards are prominently displayed at the main entrance for all to see. DEFINITELY enter if you choose to exhibit!

so i think that about covers most of the pulling it together part…all up until just hours before we hopped a plane to JFK!

up next: PART 6—showtime!

05/31/2011

NSS recap :: part 4…finding the end of the internet (aka researching)

Posted in meant to be sent, NSS national stationery show, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:05 pm by meant to be sent

once my collection got under way and i had signed on the dotted line for my booth contract, i kicked my researching into overdrive…

researching for my booth, researching for vendors/printers/products to use for my collection—an ongoing process that is a big task in itself—and researching the (many) rules for the show. i can tell you i have done a lot of research for my business, but never have i ever done so much research in a six month period. ever. ever.

after a certain point (probably starting in about december) i literally spent every ounce of time i had (that i wasn’t designing or working) researching. and boy did i learn a LOT—about what i wanted/needed for my products, what would work and what wouldn’t and who i could depend on.

{ sidebar :: during this time i also may have gotten a bit sidetracked by wanting to expand my product line for the launch at the show. i went back and forth about this for a while…going to add stuff…not going to add stuff…ultimately i did end up introducing a line of boxed imprintable designs! though i kept trying to add more! cA-raZy! that’s what sleep deprivation does i guess! }

though i researched what seemed like a million and one little things, the two main things i researched like crazy were: potential vendors (for printing, albums, paper, packaging etc) and stuff for my booth.

vendors
when i decided to do this new line, i knew i did not want be my own printer any more. the time and energy it takes to prep files and do the actual printing and fulfillment was just not something i wanted to deal with. and in the spirit of simplifying and streamlining (the premise behind my collection) it made a lot of sense to shift the production outside to allow me to simplify things and focus on designing.

so the search was on. i knew i needed a great digital printer. but i also wanted to offer letterpress, offset and thermography as options in my books. again, trying to be a bit different.

my goal: find a one stop shop that could do it all and at wholesale prices. i needed a place that understood wedding stationery but that was flexible enough to be open to other sizes, products and papers. this. was. DAUNTING. and i can tell you i pretty much found the end of the internet in all my searching. seriously. i even started a petition in hopes of alerting printers that there is a need for what i was looking for…as i suspected, there are lots of other designers looking for a one-stop-shop, too! (feel free to sign it if you want! :D )

i’ll tell ya…finding a good printer is not easy. and it’s even harder to find one that offers multiple types of printing, is good at what they do, will offer wholesale pricing and not require you to run 1000 pieces as a minimum.

so after TONS and TONS of researching, asking around, tweeting and networking, i found a handful of good options (that are actually all still in play) and have landed on two printers that cover it all, and will be my go-to’s.

below :: a look at the first test run from one of the digital printers

so why did i choose these printers?
because of these key things that were super important to me:

1. pricing: obviously had to offer wholesale pricing
2. quality: obviously had to be great quality
3. response + turnaround time: so important to feel important! so if it takes weeks to (or worse never!) hear back from someone, it’s just not going to work out.
4. flexibility: i am trying to be a bit different so it was key that i find a printer open to that as well…someone willing to testing papers that did not have limited sizes/products

{ tips }
on top of the things listed above, make sure you can get test prints from your printer. if it is digital printing, find out what kind of digital press they are using and (attempt to) understand the capabilities and limitations of their equipment. ask them to push the limits if that is what is best for your product…all they can do is say no! also, make sure you are working with pantone colors from the start. good digital printers can match pms colors! (initially in my sleepless haze, i was just using cmyk colors and had to backtrack! no fun!) but DO A TEST. pick your colors and send a swatch sheet to them to run. find out what settings you should use in your file to get the closest to PMS colors as possible. then match up the test swatches to a pantone book and marvel at the results! :D (FYI most colors are pretty dead on, but not all, hence the testing!) starting with pantone colors (even when printing digitally) just makes it that much easier to A. get more consistent color in your orders and B. transition to other print methods that use PMS inks.

if you are using an offset or letterpress printer, find out if they have a house PMS inks and/or paper options. understand what the fees are to use colors outside of their house inks/paper and if paper is included in the pricing they are giving you. also, keep in mind if you are supplying paper, make sure you know how much overage they require (extra paper) per color or run.

fulfillment is something to consider as well when selecting a printer—and i am still thinking on this. but there are some vendors who will not only fulfill for you (ship printed orders direct to your customer), but will package orders just how you want them! using tissue paper,  a logo sticker or clear bags and a nice gift box and ribbon etc. talk about streamlining! definitely something i am considering.

paper, paper and more paper
beyond printers, there are paper and envelopes to consider…if you are only going to offer white/ecru as options, then you are likely not going to get hung up on this…but for me, color is a HUGE part of my collection and my style. i heart color! :) so just white was not going to cut it in the new collection. another thing i got hung up on was wanting to use euro flap envelopes. ahhh euroflap envelopes. can i just say that EVERY envelope in every color should be available as a euroflap?!

below the beginnings of my vast paper swatch book library (it’s about double this now)

oddly enough, the envelope thing was another huge sticking point for me…and, like the color palette, took waaaaay longer to finalize than i anticipated. i just sooooo wanted that extra touch of style in using color and euroflaps…but was having a hard time A. finding a printer who had them as part of their standard line-up even just in white/ecru, and B. finding all of the colors i wanted to use with that flap style. loooooonnng story short, i did not find what i was looking for. BUT i did land on a color and paper palette with lots of colors available in euro and some in both square and euroflap…which ties right into wanting to offer lots of options in the books. yay!

albums
finding an album vendor can feel somewhat elusive. trust me they are out there, you just have to master your google skills and network and ask around. one thing i found to be a great way to search (for multiple things) was doing an image search instead of or in addition to a regular web search. i am a visual person, so it was easier for me to spot what i was looking for that way and quickly see if it was at all what i was looking for. however, there is some great stuff hiding in regular web search too, so don’t discount that entirely!

one of the things that was super tough was finding someone to do just a few albums for the show, so i could launch the line without having to purchase 50-100 albums up front. this was not easy and i had to do some improvising to put the finishing touches on them myself (which will be slightly improved for the final albums in stores!) but, i ended up finding a great source that was able to do just the quantity i needed for a decent price and they turned out great!!! more details on those up next!

the booth
when i first set out to exhibit, i knew i wanted to do whatever i possibly could to make the whole booth process an easy-breezy one…even if that meant it was more expensive. that probably sounds a bit strange, but when faced with something so big and unknown, there was comfort in just knowing it would be taken care of. at the time, totally was worth the extra cash for a tiny bit of sanity. so while i pretty much stuck to that thinking, i did make some compromises and eliminate things as it got closer to the show and charges started to pile up. more details on where i landed and what was left out a bit later….

i am not gonna lie…there are a TON of things to consider and research regarding your booth. for me, on top of everything else, one HUGE thing was that i was re-branding during all of this, and my new look was not done until mid march! so a LOT was up in the air look-wise… BUT i knew the vibe i wanted for my new brand, so that helped steer me in a good direction from the start, even tho i had no idea what my logo would look like or the final color palette would be for most of the process! yikes!

i did know i was going for a preppy, modern, glam, sophisticated look. i picked out a handful of chairs/tables all with similar looks, some more glam than others, a FABULOUS chandelier (which i later found out due to my booth location and astronomical charges to install it, i could not do—but…maybe next year! :D) and a cabinet (i designed!) for product and albums.

below is a quick idea board i threw together with some of my finds that i was swooning over for my booth

really, i pretty much had the booth figured out very early on. however, i did not finalize and order it until the month before. yea, i know. crazy…started early again, but still so much to consider, plus things evolved along the way that made me reconsider a few things…like my product line for instance…i had hoped to have another new product ready for the show, but found out about a month before NSS that it wouldn’t be ready, so that was a big deciding factor on how much storage / display shelving etc i would need.

one thing i highly recommend when researching is pinterest. it. is. amazing! it is also a huge time sucker too, so beware of all the pretty pictures! :) but i used it a TON to gather inspiration for my line, my brand and my booth. follow me on pinterest to see more!

so it was ironic that the one thing i thought i had figured out way early on and just needed to “place the order” for, turned out to be just as chaotic as the rest of the preparation and still came down to the wire!

the furniture
like i said, i knew i wanted to keep things simple…with a glam, sophisticated look using stuff that would add to the booth, not overwhelm it or take away from the products. that coupled with the fact that the idea of freight terrified me with the cost and potentially having to assemble things on site and then having to store things after. don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine option and most people do that, but for me for the first go at it, simplicity felt better and just couldn’t wrap my head around the logistics of all that on top of everything else at that point.

so, very early on in my booth planning, it occurred to me to rent furniture…it was a perfect idea for me not only for simplicity’s sake but believe it or not, cost as well…at least given most of the furniture i was interested in. of course over time, it would eventually pay off to buy some bigger pieces and do the shipping, but i had a feeling i would also be changing things up from year to year and had already started racking up the bills for this year, so buying a pricey (though fabulous) statement piece was not on the table.

so i looked into lots and lots of boutique-y event rental spots around the city. of course, being in MI i had to rely on their websites for pictures and dimensions. some were super easy to work with and got back to me very quickly, others not so much. but most had pretty similar prices but, of course they get ya with the shipping/delivery charges too. and one of my favorite places that had SO much amazing stuff was way higher on the delivery charges.

so, i had to compromise a bit, but it all worked out and ended up with simple pieces that fit the booth perfectly and did not entirely break the bank.

FYI: with any shipping/delivery to a tradeshow they really get you on charges…more on that later.

the walls
i originally looked into both hard walls and foam…hard walls were thrown out the window pretty much right away…so i was considering foam walls with a flood of color and a wainscot along the bottom of the walls with one of my patterns. i still like the idea of this and just might go that route next year :) but i was having a tough time deciding on a color and pattern without my branding final.

but as my brand came to life, we decided to use a few signature patterns as part of my look…the main one was going to be a chevron pattern, and i had seen a tone-on-tone version on pinterest and fell in love. and so the quest began to find a way to get my chevron pattern on my walls.

again, i researched a TON…and just when i thought my dreams were crushed by the waaaay more expensive show recommended vendor, i found a source that was MUCH cheaper even though i had to have the walls freighted to javits. (lots of you asked about the walls so, more details on this later!)

below :: the inspiration for my booth walls that i was swoooooning over!
(click image for source)

and…all the other stuff
there are soooooooo many more things to look into…and for now, let’s just quickly skim the surface…
for the booth, as mentioned there’s of course the walls and furniture, then there’s lighting, flooring, shelving, electricity (yep, electricity is not included in your booth fee!), shipping/freight…and before the show (aside from any preparation for your products), there’s a preshow mailing (to design, print and mail) for which you need to gather a list of retailers (NSS supplies a list, but it is not targeted specifically for your audience, so you need to comb thru it for solid leads), and order forms, line sheets, catalogs, giveaways and best new product entries to prepare, as well as a press kit. then a bunch of general things like travel, hotel and planning for any kind of events or meet ups you might want to go to…

so if you are going to be exhibiting, or at all interested, research as much as possible. you’ll learn a ton and it is super important to do the leg work even if ultimately you get a great vendor referred to you…because only you can know what will work best for your brand and business PLUS you will stumble on some unexpected stuff and learn a lot along the way.

a great source was an amazing bootcamp put on by my pal katie from kelp designs along with other fabulous exhibitors, retailers and press peeps…you MUST check it out! NSS puts on seminars too, but there was something about the bootcamp that was so real and candid that really made a difference.

much much more details on the booth, albums and final collection coming up!

up next :: PART 5—pulling it all together

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