12/31/2013

oh 2013…

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 11:25 pm by meant to be sent

oh 2013, where to begin. you were quite the year, my friend….a good one but also a tough one that was full of challenges that, at times, seemed to be one. after. the. other. there were major misunderstandings. insulting situations. some big disappointments. oh and our house caught on fire. it was quite the roller coaster ride.

there were moments of being proud, humbled, excited, scared, stressed beyond belief, mad, sad, frustrated, confused, happy, determined, relieved and exhausted. let’s just say i definitely learned a lot this year…about everything…myself, my business, who my friends are, just how much pressure and stress i can handle and when enough’s enough.

so yea…you, 2013 were a doozy. don’t get me wrong though…there was lots of good this year, too! some really good things…so let’s go out on a high note and focus on some highlights, kay? :)

here goes…

actually, the year started off pretty great… i was selected as one of stationery trends magazine’s 10 designers to watch in 2013. a huge honor that i was so proud and humbled to receive. (and in great company!) so awesome.

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then, january – april was pretty much a blur. i was crazy busy at work prepping for and art directing a photoshoot in LA —  a great experience and saw some much needed sunshine!

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i also decided to return to NSS this year (after sitting out in 2012)…so from january – april i was also in the process of finalizing my new line of paper goodies (over 100 new products!), and i decided to refresh the mtbs brand and build my own booth this year, too…soooo things were pretty crazy with lots of pieces that needed to fall into place leading up to the show in may.

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just when things were starting to come together…we had a fire at our house. the week before NSS. not good. thankfully we were ok and the damage could have been a lot worse. but with the show just a week away, the whole thing was a logistical nightmare. we had to move to a hotel which made it absolute madness to finish getting ready, but, managed to pull it together (thank you times a million to my boyfriend jon and my good friend kate. seriously couldn’t have done it without you!) 

i really wasn’t sure what to expect this year with the new line, but i knew i was really excited about it and proud of all the hard work i had put into it over the previous year and a half. at this point it was so great just to have made it to the show and have it all come together. that was almost enough right there!

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but to top it off, the show was awesome…i was so happy about how well-received everything was. plus, i met some awesome new friends, caught up with some old pals and ended up reaching my goal of having my line in 50 stores by the end of this year! yippie! 

after NSS we ended up living in the hotel for another month while they finished repairs and cleanup from all the smoke damage. we couldn’t wait to get back home.

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once we finally moved back in, i spent most of the summer filling show orders…

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but i managed to sneak in a quick little weekend getaway to the bahamas with my sister. ahhhh…a much needed break!

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^ that’s me, windblown and catchin’ some rays :)

then a couple of almosts happened…

i got some amazing new contacts while exhibiting, too…some of which led to some really exciting opportunities. over the summer i was working with a major clothing retailer that was planning to carry a special line of my note cards that i’d customized just for them to coordinate with their holiday collection. it was so exciting…i’d signed on the dotted line ‘n everything! but it fell through at the last minute when they pulled all “gift” type items from their plans. *sigh* (major sad face) still, an amazing contact to have and i had a great experience working with them, learning along the way. maybe next year!

around the same time, i was contacted by two big magazines (one being my absolute favorite. what a DREAM email that was to receive!) … both were interested in featuring items from my holiday line in their december issues. so. exciting. then those fell thru. again. both of them. at the last minute. *super sad face* ahhh! thiiiissssss close…seriously, had any one of these worked out it certainly would have made for a very different (read: awesome!) holiday for mtbs…fingers (and toes) crossed for next year! :D

the year wrapped up with something ALMOST as exciting…just before the holidays i FINALLY launched my new shop, which had literally been years in the making (so. many. delays.). so it was really really great and a huge relief to finally open the shop’s virtual doors in late november.

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there were other lots of other little victories, fun adventures and happy dances along the way. but that’s the quick highlight reel with some almost-super-awesome moments mixed in :)

it’s kind of crazy how taking a minute to stop and reflect on the past year can give great perspective heading into the new year…celebrating the good stuff and letting go of the not so great stuff. i’m ready for a fresh start and to leave this year behind and make 2014 a great year. i’m hopeful, super excited and can’t wait to see what new adventures it holds.

so here’s to a super happy, shiny + bright new year for all!

xo
robyn

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06/29/2013

it’s been waaaayy too long!

Posted in business, meant to be sent, NSS national stationery show tagged , , , , , , at 4:24 pm by meant to be sent

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a big hello! and whoa. it’s been FORever! i’m still here and a super busy bee (hence the looong silence!). soooo much has happened in the past few months! i have lots of fun new stuff to share in the coming weeks!

for now a few quick things…

first. the mtbs brand got a little makeover!!! SO excited about it… it’s so me and (i think) the perfect evolution of my brand.

the updated logo incorporates a version of my “happy arrow” design (that i’ve been having so much fun using in a few new products too!)…it seemed like a perfect fit and the “mark” that my brand has been missing. i thought it was such a fun way to incorporate more of my full color palette into the logo, too! and it complements the candy stripes pattern i use as an accent graphic and in lots of products too!

oh, and the update also involves the touch of glam i’d always planned to incorporate — shiny gold of course! ahhhh. just right. all these little details add up to the “casual luxury” aesthetic behind my designs and the perfect look for mtbs. i hope you love it!

me and my shiny new brand went back to nss this year too, with over 100 new paper goodies and a shiny new booth design in tow! (we built it this year so lots more to come on that!) it was tons of work but the show was AMAZING. insane as always (especially the prep leading up to it topped off by a house fire the week before the show! we had to move out for over a month!!! :/ ) but, it all worked out and the show went better than i could have hoped for —  tons of awesome new stores added (updated list coming soon!), some super amazing new connections made and maybe the best part…catching up with old friends.

now, here i am (in nearly the middle of summer(??) seriously. where has the time gone?!) busy filling nss and wedding orders, working out details of some exciting new things (!) and definitely trying to take take in the summer while it lasts!

that’s the quick update for now! but the whole new line will be available in my new shop — which yes, is STILL in the works. *sigh* BUT is getting very close and am hoping for a launch still this summer.*fingers and toes crossed*!

BUT, you can still check out the paper goodies catalog and let me know if you’d like to order something! or if you have a retail store and would like to carry mtbs in your shop, drop me a line!

ok, that’s all for now! but stay tuned for lots more updates and an nss recap too!

xo
robyn

01/23/2013

nss prep school :: booth details

Posted in NSS national stationery show tagged , , , , , , , , at 9:15 pm by meant to be sent

more trade show talk today…i’m trying super hard to catch up with some nss detail posts, so here’s one i’ve been meaning to do for a loooonnngg time (pretty much since after nss 2011!).

so without further ado…

this goes along with a post you may have seen last week with a fun infographic about something not so fun — budgets. the infographic made it more fun, but now it’s time to get serious. well, not really. but we’ll at least talk specifics and get into a bit more detail about costs and options for saving money etc. first lets, talk about the booth… (and please excuse the not so great iphone pics!)

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your booth is pretty much your storefront for the 4 days you’re doing a tradeshow like NSS. your booth should represent your brand and be designed to showcase your line. it’s not so important whether you use curtains or foam or hard walls as it is that the space is well constructed and styled to reflect your brand and line…and is of course cohesive with everything else from your show mailer to your website…

……………………walls……………………

depending on your budget and style, there are lots of options for the walls of your booth…let’s start with the most basic…

CURTAINS: these actually come with your booth (yay for that!) but they are not anything particularly special…they may work for you if you have a more earthy or vintage brand since they’re a neutral color and what i believe is a cotton of some kind. (maybe?) most people don’t use the provided curtains, but that doesn’t mean curtains are not a viable option…. you can certainly bring your own curtains that are a perfect reflection of your brand — maybe in a bold color, silk finish or zigzag pattern…whatever goes with your look.

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above : the curtains and sign that come with the booth.

budget wise, curtains are the least expensive option. the cost is pretty much whatever curtains cost….so, like anything, you can go economical and grab some from a store like ikea or you can splurge at store like restoration hardware! it just depends on your budget and the look your brand calls for.

FOAM WALLS: these are probably the most popular type of booth walls at the show, especially for smaller companies and first-timers. why? they look great (like real walls!) and are fairly inexpensive, again, depending on the look you’re after, budget and booth size you have. one thing that’s for sure is that these go up right in front of the existing curtains and are typically zip-tied to the pole frame. but there’s a variety of ways to go about getting foam walls…

  1. DIY: if you just want plain (white or solid color) walls, and are the DIY type, you’re in luck! because you can by your own large sheets of foam board at an art supply or set design shop or other similar stores and have it delivered to javits (buy local and save on freight!)… just make sure they’re flame retardant! a SUPER important show rule.
  2. HIRE OUT: if you’re not the DIY type, you can use an exhibit company for your walls (and lots of other stuff!). they can do them in white or even pms colors so you can match your branding…they are more expensive than the other options mentioned here, but include installation and provide peace of mind knowing that it’s all set when you arrive at your booth. several exhibitors go this route.
  3. SORT OF DIY: somewhere between DIY and using an exhibit company to do it for you, is the option to source your own foam walls and hire union guys to help you set them up (or set up yourself). this is what i did my first year…i used foam walls but wanted an all-over printed pattern. despite originally planning to go with option 2 above where it was all set up when i got there, it was not in my budget given the wall printing i needed. so i found my own source to order printed foam walls from (they even flame proofed for me) and had them shipped direct to javits. the cost was less, but somewhat close to doing the plain, installed, solid colored walls mentioned above. BUT, i got the look i wanted for my brand. it was perfect! though, not really re-usable. so while foam is great and fairly cheap for a really pulled together look, it doesn’t get you further than one show.

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above: my printed foam walls and carpet, mid set-up.

HARD WALLS: ahhh, the “real” walls :) these are the most pricey OR most time consuming option depending on how you go about it. hard walls are typically made with a base of plywood or other hard material (maybe even actual drywall for some of the huge companies??)…and then painted or finished in another way (people get super creative!) so the cost varies widely. but this option gives you the opportunity to really do some unique finishes. (adrienne from dingbat press is AMAZING at this! check out her blog to see her booth form the last couple years and more planning info!) and also are more durable so these are typically reusable for future shows. here are some ways to go about it…

  1. HIRE OUT: using an exhibit company to do hardwalls for you is going to cost you…more than having them do foam walls for sure, however, the price can vary depending on many factors. there is an option (a somewhat strange concept) to RENT your hardwall booth. basically, the exhibit company will create the booth from your design, but you don’t really own it. and also therefore do not have to worry about storing or shipping or installation of said booth. you just show up and it’s set up for you! (like the installed foam walls above). but in this case you would contact the exhibit company prior to the next show and discuss using the booth again and modifications you might need to make, if any. an easy-breezy-peace-of-mind option, but a pricey one.
  2. DIY: again, if you are the DIY type, you can create an entire booth at home and use a freight company to ship it to the show. or drive it there yourself! driving there is the (possibly) cheaper option but depends of course where you are driving from vs the cost of flying + freight…and parking in NYC…but, this point spills over into travel, so more on that in a bit!but if you price out the materials at the hardware store needed to DIY, you’ll quickly start to see the savings for creating your own hardwall booth. HUGE savings. so much so, we’re talking possibly less than foam (installed walls option)! BUT, enter lots of hard work, mega planning (and carpentry skills!) and freight cost. however, with great planning you could use this fabulous creation year after year! yay MORE savings! plus, going this route you can still request union help to set up/tear down and pack up your booth to take back home OR, choose to store the booth in a warehouse near the convention center. this is a good option if you want to use the same exact booth year after year and only plan on doing shows in that area. BUT, it does make it difficult to modify it if needed, since it’s not in your possession or being stored with a company that can modify it for you. but LOTS of people do this.

……………………furniture + fixtures……………………

like the walls, there are lots of ways to go about this, and all depends on the look and budget you have. but one thing is for sure — every booth seems to have furniture of some kind…whether a seating area with couches or a counter area or even just a chair or two. (psst…chairs are key —you’re likely going to want something. even just to sneak a quick rest — it’s a looooonnng day of standing and buyers appreciate the break too when they’re in your booth!) here are some options to consider…

  1. USE YOUR OWN: lots of people bring things they may already own, or will invest in pieces they can see reusing at future shows or in their home or studio. doing this is an awesome way to save some cash in the long run (and get some fun new stuff for your house!) especially if you are planning to ship freight anyway.
  2. BUY IT: an alternative to using existing pieces is to purchase new items (of course), but consider having them shipped directly to your booth. you can also ship stuff to most hotels (check with yours to make sure). but, don’t forget you have to get said items to javits from your hotel. that’ll be tricky if they’re bulky like a chair or table! then, you’ll of course need to ship them back home or store them with your booth if you go that route. or, depending on the items, some people just leave them behind if it’s not worth the cost of return shipping (or they’ll sell items to passers by at the end of the show!)
  3. RENT IT: another route is to rent furniture…a great way to get some unique pieces without breaking the bank! while there are tons of things available through exhibit companies, don’t forget about local event companies too! it’s NYC after all so there are TONS of neat places with really unique stuff if you are looking to go a different route.i loved renting and will likely do it again. especially for things like ghost chairs (just $15 each to rent!) that are a pretty penny to purchase…and when i first exhibited i was not psyched about the idea of shipping larger items back and forth. i don’t know why but it just scared me :) i think just because it required a pallet or crate and i just thought whoa. was just another thing that i’d not done before and was my way of eliminating one unknown. but this year, i will likely take the plunge and go with a freight shipment. stay tuned :)

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above: the ghost chairs i rented

……………………fixtures……………………

fixtures are completely based on your products and how large your line is.

  1. BUY IT: lots of exhibitors will buy their own shelves or cabinets and reuse year after year. this may be what i do this year, at least in part. ikea is an awesome place for this. their products are pretty durable, inexpensive and usually pretty lightweight (makes for cheaper shipping!) in particular the picture ledge shelves and billy bookcases and expedit shelving units are popular items…as are many others! again, depends on your look, but there are lots of basic items there that you can finish or modify to fit what you need (again, check out adrienne’s booth!) there’s even an ikea delivery service in the NYC area! people use it for last minute/emergency items or just as a way to skip the chaos and shipping. a great way to save is to go in with a group at the show and split the fee for delivery.
  2. RENT IT: another route is renting fixtures and display units. either existing pieces or, you can even design something yourself and have it built! (see below) yep, a custom designed piece that you can rent! crazy! that was the route i went my first year…i launched a collection of wedding albums and a small line of boxed imprintable invitations and wanted a piece that would showcase the albums. so i used my walls to display pieces from each of the four collections and the cabinet i designed (below) to hold the actual books and boxed invitations. this worked out really well for me. and though it was pricey, it was the centerpiece of my booth and really helped to highlight my collection and gave buyers a comfortable spot to peruse the heavy albums. plus it was the main fixture/furniture in my booth, so i felt ok to splurge on it :) and i can reuse if i want and don’t have to worry about storing/shipping because it’s owned by the exhibit company. win win!

below: snaps of the cabinet i designed and had built by manny stone

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above: my cabinet in the aisle before making it into the booth, and a bit of dingbat’s booth with hard walls in the background :) she silverleafed the walls! so neat.

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……………………lighting, flooring and signage…………………...

once you’ve got your walls and furniture set, it’s all about the finishing (but super important) touches. things like lighting, flooring and signage. the reason i say they’re finishing touches is because while they’re important decisions they didn’t seem AS monumental as the walls and furniture decisions. maybe just me though! :)

……………………lighting……………………

there are tons of ways to go here too. initially, one might think that a huge convention center would provide enough overhead lighting. not true! you really want your work to shine (no pun intended!) and the best way to do that is to make sure it is properly and adequately lit…not just so people can see it, but so that it photographs well too! especially for when bloggers and other members of the press come by and want to take some snaps!

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above: a peek at the clip-on lights

  1. BUY IT: an easy, effective and inexpensive option is to use clip-on lights. mine were from home depot and were $10 each. much, much cheaper than going through an exhibit company and there are similar options at stores like ikea, lowes, target and wherever else sells these kind of lamps! but like everything else, depends on what you’re looking for! also, consider a chandelier, tabletop or floor lamps to highlight products if those work with your booth design. a note: chandeliers may require approval to be hung or will need to be installed by the union workers if it needs to actually hang from the convention center ceiling. (something i had to eliminate last show due to the huge installation fee. sigh.)
  2. RENT IT: alternatively, you can rent lighting from an exhibit company who works with javits and the union to complete installation. or can request lighting directly from javits…they can provide you with a parcan — a big spotlight — that is hung in the rafters and positioned to highlight your booth. they are on the pricey side but give off great light. i added one at the last minute (on site at the show) and it cost much more (somewhere around $400 instead of about $300!!) than if i had ordered early. lesson=learned!

ELECTRICITY & INSTALLATION: this is a separate fee and a must for having any lighting  in your booth (other than a parcan). and this fee is pretty minimal in the grand scheme of things.  just make sure to bring some extension cords and a power strip to plug your lights into along with any electronics you may have (cell phone, laptop etc).

……………………flooring……………………

another item that has a lot of possibilites is flooring. carpet, or wood or masonite or??? the sky’s the limit. one big thing to consider though…COMFORT! it is a loooonnggg day of standing and buyers definitely appreciate stepping into a cushy booth floor! :)

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above: jon and our union guy working on the carpet tiles.

  1. BUY IT: again, this is an area that you can easily buy and repurpose for future shows. even if you end up changing booth sizes it might be possible to add on to your existing flooring if that product is still available. this is the route i went with. i bought interlocking carpet tiles from an online store and had them shipped directly to my booth. (i ordered sample swatches first to pick a color) and after the show, i packed them up and shipped them home. easy breezy and not a huge package to deal with.
  2. RENT IT: yes, you can even rent flooring! an exhibit company is probably your best bet here. they’ll provide you with options for carpet or laminate flooring and install and remove for you. of course, this is then an ongoing cost but is not TOO bad.

whatever flooring you go with, consider adding padding of some kind underneath. some carpet tiles are available in various grades — think economy, standard, premium — but you can still add extra padding. if you do, your floor will be raised a bit but it’s worth the comfort!

……………………signage……………………

signage is so SUPER important! it’s how buyers know who you are and which booth they’re in and which products they’re looking at. you can help too by making sure all your work is grouped / displayed / organized in a way that makes sense and is clearly labeled (with product name and/or item number if applicable). so it’s as easy as possible for buyers to order your awesome stuff!

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above: my walls with signage and booth number printed on the walls (lighting actually was much brighter than this pic shows!)

my signage was part of my printed walls, which made things really easy with nothing extra to worry about there. (except sticking my designs all nice and straight on the walls!) a super important part of signage is to make sure you include your booth number and make sure it’s very visible! it’s like your “address” for the show and how buyers find you. so make it crystal clear!

there are of course tons of ways to go about creating signage for your booth but sooo much depends on your branding regarding materials used and what it looks like. dimensional signs made of acrylic, metal, wood etc are great options and look super professional. as do decals, which can be adhered right onto the walls (foam or hard walls) and are fairly economical. printed/mounted foam board signs or words stenciled onto your (hard) walls work well too. if using curtains, you’ll most likely need to create separate signage that you’ll hang from the poles in front of your curtains. 

……………………RECAP……………………

well, that about does it for the booth details! let’s recap…

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WALLS

  • curtains
    they come with your booth but bring your own to coordinate with your brand. cost: $200-250. (based on ikea curtains)
  • foam walls
    DIY with foam board from an art store or flame retardant boards from set shop ($300-400). does not include labor or shipping. if buying regular, non flame retardant foam board make sure to buy flame retardant spray and keep the empty bottles and certificate as proof in case anybody asks during setup!
    – installed foam board walls white ($1000) or in pantone color ($1800). these are early bird rates!! price goes up after a certain date!
    printed foam walls $1400 + freight from mega print. they’re in new hampshire so not TOO far from the show. though i got hit with extra freight charge for delivery to a “tradeshow zone”. something to keep in mind!
    – union labor cost for setup $200-300 (based on 1 person for 1 hour on weekday or weekend day at the higher end)
  • hard walls
    DIY painted plywood walls starting at $200-300 (cost of plywood) + hardware + freight
    – use an exhibit company…(price varies) peace of mind and convenience but lots more than DIY

FURNITURE

  • use your own pieces (FREE!) + freight
  • buy new ones! sky’s the limit, but use ikea or target for inexpensive pieces you can reuse or discard if shipping back isn’t worth it
  • rent it! either from an exhibit company or local NYC prop houses or event companies.
    – in my booth i rented. ghost chairs + table ($350 total, including delivery and pickup. table was too much in my opinion but was convenient!)
    -rent from manny stoneprops for today or ruth fischl to name a few.

LIGHTING

  • BUY/DIY get ’em yourself and save! you can install lighting in your own booth if you have a booth under 100sqft and 6 or fewer lights. BUT check the manual because this seems to be unclear from year to year!
    – clipon lights: $60 for six.
    – buy from home depot, target, lowes, ikea etc.
  • RENT clip on lights: from an exhibit company: $99 each, installed. (this is the early bird rate. price goes up from there!)
  • RENT from javits: parcan spotlight, approx $300 (pre-show pricing)

FIXTURES

  • DIY: buy picture ledges, shelves, bookcases and cabinets from stores like ikea or target. cost varies. toss after or ship back to reuse each year.
  • RENT from exhibit company or prop houses listed above. (my custom cabinet: $600 + tax)

FLOORING

  • carpet
    DIY: buy interlocking carpet tiles ($350) at coco mats and more.  or FLOR which is super popular too. both reusable!
    – RENT from an exhibit company…similar pricing to above, but pay each year.

SIGNAGE

  • PRINT ON WALLS included in printed foam price above
  • DIY jut the cost of materials if you have access to a large format printer or a way to create decals!
  • OUTSOURCE there are lots of places for dimensional signs, decals, etc…. even etsy!

well, that does it for the booth details! hope you find this helpful and will use this as a starting point for your own booth prep research.

want more? for tons more candid info and real show experiences, be sure to sign up for tradeshow bootcamp! you’ve probably seen me rave about it before….that’s because it’s a must going into your first show! (or your second or third or….) i’m a HUGE fan and highly recommend it. :)

happy planning!
xo

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

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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

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!

01/01/2012

2011 :: what. a. year!

Posted in meant to be sent, NSS national stationery show tagged , , , , , at 12:06 am by meant to be sent

ahhh! i can’t believe the new year is here! 2011 just flew by. and what a year it was…a crazy-amazing-beyond busy-scary-stressful-super exciting-fun-full-of-new-things year!

i had some big plans for mtbs this year, which took up pretty much every minute of every day of the first half of the year! from january til about june i was busy re-branding, designing a new line of invitations and getting ready for my very first national stationery show. pure insanity, but somehow it all came together and i went to new york in may with a collection of four new wedding albums filled with over 500 paper goodies, a small line of boxed invites…and a shiny new brand that evolved out of a super-fun collaboration with the kendra at hi design…just in time for the show!

me in my booth with one of my albums

 

my booth!

the show was awesome. a total whirlwind and an amazingly-exciting (and stressful!) experience that i learned SO much from…best of all, i made great connections and lots of new friends!!

chandra greer’s nss party! so fun!

whew. a quick sigh of relief after nss…then the epic assembly line began for most (ok, all) of my summer. at the end of summer, i had made 16 books from thousands of pieces and sent them off to their new homes at stores around the country. (eeeek!)

a look behind the scenes…

stacks of pages ready to have tons of invites stuck to ’em!

 

teeny tiny paper swatches stuck on a style board

 

16 feet of tables with stacks of collated pages ready to go in the binders!

 

the amelia collection pages in the binder and ready to go!

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in the midst of that i was working on a super exciting project — my first celebrity wedding!!! specifically, deanna pappas from the bachelor and bachelorette!! i was SO thrilled to get to work with deanna and stephen on their wedding stationery—it is my favorite design to date! i did her save the dates, invites, escort cards, table numbers, treat bags, and thank you notes. i just looooved the way it all came together! (below are some behind the scenes pics…a big post on all the details coming soon!)

as if that wasn’t exciting enough, we were invited to the wedding!!!  it. was. awesome. such an neat experience and a truly amazing wedding. deanna and stephen are such fun and genuine people…as were all of the guests! really just a great crowd…i mean, how could it not be with the likes of leslie and earl (“mr frostings”) from fantasy frostings who made the cake (seriously amazing cake, you guys) and my twitter pal kelly! SUCH a fun girl!

to top it off, deanna wrote the sweetest post for wedzilla about working with me. you can see the inspiration board there that started it all! the wedding was shot by callaway gable and covered exclusively in Us Weekly (where you could kinda see the table numbers i did!) and is going to be on green wedding shoes in january! can’t wait!

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and lastly, meant to be creative (my branding + design biz) was buzzing this year too! i plan to grow that more in 2012 and can’t wait to show the new brands and websites i’ve been working on as soon as my new site launches in january!

oh! speaking of which, the new site and shop where you can buy—and customize!! — all of the new collection and some old faves— has been another big project that has taken up a good part of the year. seeing as there are just not enough hours in the day (or year!) i’ve been working on the site in another fun design collaboration—this time with aeolidia!  they were a huge help. it’s almost ready…just designing away and putting the finishing touches on for the big launch! after that, this ol’ blog will get a facelift too!

such a great and eventful year that wouldn’t have been possible without the support from my friends and family. a huge thank you to all of them and especially to my boyfriend jon for all of his support and help thru all the craziness!  i’m so proud and grateful for all i’ve been able to do this year and can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store…
hopefully a vacation! :) oooo maybe here? that would do :)

i hope you all had a great year! here’s to an even better 2012! have a safe and super happy new year!
cheers! xo

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?! :)

06/17/2011

NSS recap…the inside scoop coming soon…

Posted in wedding invites tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 2:14 pm by meant to be sent

my next installment of the NSS recap mega post will focus on behind the scenes details, do’s and don’ts and must have tips. let me know any questions you have that you would like to see covered in the the inside scoop post!

comment below or shoot me an email!

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!

04/06/2011

NSS update!

Posted in NSS national stationery show, wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:49 am by meant to be sent

whew. it sure has been a while! but i am still here :) just been working like crazy getting ready for the national stationery show (just over a month away!!!! ahhh!) there is SO much going on behind the scenes over here and hope to start posting some pics (if i remember to take them!) of all this stuff very soon! so what has kept me so busy you ask? i have been working on an entirely brand-spankin’-new line of wedding stationery (which i hope to debut ALL of at the show, but it is still TBD just how many will be completely polished and ready for the world…BUT i will tell you there are 60 designs in the works! and some of those designs will also (eventually) be offered as DIY imprintables, as well as notepads and some other fun items. i cannot wait to get this all done and ready to show you!

so, how about a little more detail on the new stuff?
this entire process of developing the new stationery line has been based on one main idea :: a fresh, simple approach to wedding stationery. not only in look and colors, but also in the shopping and ordering process. i wanted a new idea that i could wrap my collection around that wouldn’t feel as overwhelming and cumbersome as some of the giant albums out there. so i decided to shake things up and create a style library —you guessed it!— with books organized by style/theme! with the way weddings continue to evolve and become more and more personal, it just feels right and new and fresh…and a way to really focus on personal style when looking for the perfect wedding stationery. each book within the library will also be a bit streamlined (15-20 designs per book) with its own color palette, papers and fonts selected specifically for each style. pricing and options will be clear and simple too! all designs will be offered with flat printing with some available in letterpress and thermography. as i mentioned, the initial roll out at NSS is TBD as i polish them up but hope to initially include  four styles—perfectly preppy, completely classic, well traveled, and very vintage. and the line will continue to evolve into a full library of styles with something for everyone!! the books will be offered to retailers individually or as a set for a special rate.

the designs will be available for wholesale, thru retailers and on my new site. (eeeeek!) yes, that is what else has been going on—a complete rebranding, new site + blog are in the works! my new look along with my new line will debut at the show…and for the site, i will likely do a soft launch right before NSS and have the fully functioning, shiny new site ready just after!

so. that’s the scoop! stay tuned for more NSS updates and be sure to stop by my booth #2154 and checkout some books from the style library and my shiny new look! :)

01/12/2011

a little math + a preview!

Posted in invitations, wedding invites, wholesale tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:43 pm by meant to be sent

wedding season + a new collection + new branding + new site and blog + national stationery show = a super busy girl!

that is going to be me for at least the next four months while i get my new collection, branding and site launch ready, all before the national stationery show in may.

it. is. a. LOT. of. work. and definitely going to be tough…but, i am so so so excited that it makes it all a little easier. i cannot wait to finish it all and show you guys! so stay tuned for updates and sneak peeks along the way! i am going to attempt to log my progress pulling this all together on my personal blog.

so. my new collection. well, it will definitely include a wedding album (of course!) with lots of fun, fresh new designs in four mini collections with something for everyone! in addition to the wedding invitations, i am planning holiday, baby, everyday and accessories albums in the near future.

though i am still doing some planning + tweaking + editing + deciding…below is a little update / quick sneak peek at a couple of the ensembles i am working on, just to give you a little taste :) these designs are from just a little part of one of the mini collections…hope you like them…i would love to hear what you think!

my new albums including these designs and lots more will be available for wholesale purchase for retailers, and on my new site as well!

 

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05/18/2010

tuesdayshoesday!

Posted in tuesday shoesday, wedding invites tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:45 pm by meant to be sent

its time for my latest pick! for your tuesdayshoesday viewing pleasure, i have selected this nautical number from dune (a tuesdayshoesday fave of mine!) i just love the stripes and crisp colors. now if i could only find some paper like this— it would be just perfect for a version of the tying the knot invite i am working on! ooo and goes with the nautical glam design as well!

and a little extra shoe love inspired by my recent jaunt to new york for the national stationery show…FLATS (for ALL THAT WALKING!) in the same fresh nautical look by dune .

don’t forget to follow gwyneth paigelandlocked bridelife in the super burbssimply & forever and swatchbook weddings for more fabulous tuesdayshoesday finds!!

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