Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Few More Shots to Share

Robin and I both fell in love with the fun totes from Smitten Kitten. Being a farm girl, I particularly loved the apple bag, which says "We are cheerful and delicious for you!"

Brush Dance showcased a number of its beautiful stationery sets and journals during NSS. Inspirational quotes adorn many of the items.

The Jigster from Envelopments makes layering custom invitations super easy -- so easy, in fact, that even I could probably do it.

I simply couldn't resist including this photo from the Poo-pourri booth. It was just too eye-catching and funny!

This gorgeous display at William Arthur incorporated flowers and twigs.

There is just something about Mean Cards -- cards that say exactly what you mean -- that makes me chuckle every time. :)

Lilly Pulitzer's designs (Lifeguard Press) were as bright and fun as ever during NSS. The dress notes line is an especially cute way to send a card.

As cards slowly disappeared from the wall of HOPE at NSS, the word "HOPE" made its appearance. Russ Haan and the rest of the crew at HOPE is in the Cards was on-hand handing out free greeting cards and envelopes to help kick off the HOPE initiative at NSS.

Catbird Paper

Scentsational Greetings adds another of the senses to card-giving. When we stopped by the booth, April Seals let us try to guess their new scent from a sample: Pumpkin Pie. Admittedly, it took Robin and me several tries to get it exactly right. Perhaps our sniffers don't work as well as we thought they did.

- By Kimberly Warren, Great American Publishing (Photos by Robin McMurray)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Best New Product Winners (At Long Last)

As promised, I'd like to share photos of each of the Best New Product Award winners. NSS Show Manager Patti Stracher handed out the awards Sunday during NSS. Robin McMurray and I tagged along, and it was so fun to see (and hear) all of the fun reactions of those who won the awards. Let's just say there was a lot of jumping, screeching and smiling going on Sunday afternoon as our crew made its way around the trade show floor. Jacki Rigoni at Jacki Paper likened the Best New Product Awards to the Academy Awards and accepted her award with glee and "I'd like to thank my mom!" Needless to say, this is one of my absolute favorite parts of the National Stationery Show.

Think Green — Jacki Paper

Party — ThemeNaps

Social Stationery — C. R. Gibson

Desk Accessories — Woodessen

Lifestyle & Specialty Gift — Kookie Stationery

Paper Craft & Scrapbooking — Simply Renee

Luxury — Designers’ Fine Press, design by Margot Madison

- By Kimberly Warren, Great American Publishing (Photos by Robin McMurray)

LOUIE Winners

In my rush to get Day 3 issue of Stationery Today out during NSS, I neglected to blog about the LOUIE winners! Thanks to one of my Twitter followers for pointing this out. :) Here's the official release from the Greeting Card Association, followed by a list of the winners by category. Congratulations to EVERYONE who was nominated, and especially to the winners.

Winners of the 21st Annual International Greeting Card Awards – the LOUIES – were announced during the National Stationery Show in New York Monday evening. The industry’s equivalent of the Academy Awards, the LOUIE Awards were presented at CAPITALE in a special program themed A Celebration of Imagination.

Tam Tam Design Studio, of Arlington Heights, Ill., was named Card of the Year for its birthday card entry in Rising Star (above $3 price break), and Compendium Inc., of Seattle, received Card of the Year for Thank You ($3 & below price break). This marked the first time that both Card of the Year winners went to first-time entrants.

Fifty-eight awards were handed out along with the Cards of the Year in two price divisions. The Rising Star award for companies in business less than three years went to Shirley Bell Designs and Tam Tam Design Studio.

In addition to Compendium Inc. and Tam Tam Design Studio, first-time winners, all of whom were first-time entrants, included Charu Overseas (India), J-Dig Cards, Paper Belle, PostMark Press for Leanin’ Tree Inc., Shirley Bell Designs, some of me, Specialty Cards 4U, Spilled Ink Press, Sun Day Greetings and UNICEF.

Margie King of Paper Magic Group, of Scranton, Pa., served as this year’s awards program chair. King’s creative team developed the “Celebration of Imagination” theme featuring a butterfly, producing all collaborative materials from the call for entries to the souvenir program book.

"Just as a butterfly goes through metamorphosis, our designers, writers and illustrators develop greeting cards, invitations and imprintables from a basic idea to fabulous new and exciting products each year,” King said. “In recognition of its 21st birthday, A Celebration of Imagination recognizes this creative artistry.”

The Greeting Card Association previously announced the finalists for the best greeting card products of the year in March. All of the finalists are showcased in a special display at NSS at the back of aisles 2200-3500.

Cards of the Year
(Above $3) Tam Tam Design Studio
($3 & Below) Compendium Inc.
Birthday – Children (Above $3)
American Greetings
Birthday – Children ($3 & Below)
Paper Magic Group
Birthday – General (Above $3)
The Three Maries, distributed by Collage Greetings
Birthday – General ($3 & Below)
DaySpring Cards
Birthday – Humrous (Above $3)
The Three Maries, distributed by Collage Greetings
Birthday – Humorous ($3 & Below)
Shannon Martin/Girl Designer, in partnership with Madison Park Greetings
Blank (Above $3)
à la cards
Blank ($3 & Below)
Paper Magic Group
Christmas/Holiday/Seasonal Counter — General (Above $3)
Meri Meri
Christmas/Holiday/Seasonal Counter — General ($3 & Below)
The Museum of Modern Art
Christmas/Holiday/Seasonal Counter – Humorous (Above $3)
Design Design Inc.
Christmas/Holiday/Seasonal Counter – Humorous ($3 & Below)
AVANTI Press Inc.
Christmas/Holiday/Seasonal — Boxed/Catalogue — General (Above $1.25)
Masterpiece Studios
Christmas/Holiday/Seasonal — Boxed/Catalogue — General ($1.25 & Below)
Christmas/Holiday/Seasonal — Boxed/Catalogue — Humorous (Above $1.25)
J-Dig Cards
Christmas/Holiday/Seasonal — Boxed/Catalogue — Humorous ($1.25 & Below)
max & lucy, distributed by Sunrise Greetings
Creatively Finished (Above $3)
Paper Magic Group
Creatively Finished ($3 & Below)
The Museum of Modern Art
Easter (Above $3)
some of me
Easter ($3 & Below)
AVANTI Press Inc.
Everyday Assorted — Boxed/Catalogue (Above $7.50)
PostMark Press for Leanin’ Tree Inc.
Father’s Day ($3 & Below)
Designer Greetings Inc.
Friendship/Encouragement — General (Above $3)
Meri Meri
Friendship/Encouragement — General ($3 & Below)
DaySpring Cards
Friendship/Encouragement — Humorous (Above $3)
AVANTI Press Inc.
Friendship/Encouragement — Humorous ($3 & Below)
Any Horrible Occasion
Get Well/Feel Better (Above $3)
Pictura Inc.
Get Well/Feel Better ($3 & Below)
DaySpring Cards
Halloween/Thanksgiving (Above $3)
Sunrise Greetings
Halloween/Thanksgiving ($3 & Below)
AVANTI Press Inc.
Handmade (Above $3)
Charu Overseas (India)
Handmade ($3 & Below)
Paper Magic Group
Imprintable — Everyday (Above $1.75)
Anna Griffin Inc.
Imprintable — Everyday ($1.75 & Below)
Paper Belle
Imprintable — Seasonal (Above $1.75)
Meri Meri
Mother’s Day (Above $3)
American Greetings
Mother’s Day ($3 & Below)
AVANTI Press Inc.
New Baby/Pregnancy (Above $3)
American Greetings
New Baby/Pregnancy ($3 & Below)
Palm Press Inc.
Packaged Fill-In Invitation/Announcement ($3 & Below)
Designer Greetings Inc.
Personalized Invitation/Announcement (Above $5)
Personalized Invitation/Announcement ($5 & Below)
Spilled Ink Press
Rising Star (Above $3)
Tam Tam Design Studio
Rising Star ($3 & Below)
Shirley Bell Designs
Romance (Above $3)
Great Arrow Graphics
Romance ($3 & Below)
Sun Day Greetings
Special Occasion — Everyday (Above $3)
Second Nature Ltd. (England)
Special Occasion — Everyday ($3 & Below)
Artists To Watch
Superbly Stated (Above $3)
Superbly Stated ($3 & Below)
DaySpring Cards
Sympathy (Above $3)
American Greetings
Sympathy ($3 & Below)
Designer Greetings Inc.
Thank You (Above $3)
Specialty Cards 4U
Thank You ($3 & Below)
Compendium Inc.
Valentine’s Day (Above $3)
Meri Meri
Valentine’s Day ($3 & Below)
AVANTI Press Inc.
Engagement/Wedding/Anniversary (Above $3)
Engagement/Wedding/Anniversary ($3 & Below)
Paper Magic Group
Honorable Mention
Annabelle’s Creations
(Personalized Invitation/Announcement — Above $5)

- By Kimberly Warren, Great American Publishing

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Few More Show Floor Photos

As promised, a few more of my photos from the Show floor. There's so much to see that, obviously, I can't include everyone here. If you're at NSS, be sure to leave a comment here and let us all know what some of your favorite booths were during the Show.

Totes from Rock of Ages Press (booth #3054) are both eco-friendly and fun.

KatBlu Art & Design Studio (booth #3049) forecasts a big trend in birdcages.
An ever-busy Bonnie Marcus Collection booth (#2800) highlighted a number of the company's special products for brides and moms-to-be.

PJ Invites' new PJ Stamps feature whimsical designs that are appropriate for tweens and adults. See the stamps at booth #2949.

Iota's vivid patterns adorn products, including giftwrap, notecards and other stationery products. The company also recently launched its kitchen line that includes brightly patterned aprons. Check them out at booth #2849.

PaPaYa! (booth #3313) has a wide array of colorful products on display -- from greeting cards to magnets, jewelry and beyond.

This peel-and-stick chalkboard from Wallies (booth #3348) turns any wall into writing surface (that comes clean!).

Teeny Tiny People Greeting Cards (booth #3464) made its Stationery Show debut this year.

Whitney English (booth #3408) was showcasing its new line of initials matchboxes, which also have coordinating notecards and coasters.

Anna Griffin's booth (#3402), as usual, offered a plethora of gorgeous patterns on a wide array of products and accessories.

At Maude Asbury (booth #3545) be sure to check out their neat magnetic message boards and the magnets that go with them!

The MacBeth Collection booth had a lot of "stuff" to catch the eye. See it all at booth #3631.

Kookie Stationery's booth (#3351) had super-fun invitations and greetings that are so sweet they're good enough to eat -- literally.

- By Kimberly Warren, Great American Publishing (thanks to Robin McMurray for taking a number of the photos)

Monday Mentions

It has been a whirlwind of a show for me this year. Between putting together all of the editorial for Stationery Today, visiting with retailers and exhibitors, blogging and updating my Twitter page, my two days at NSS have flown by! There are a lot of things to see, and I constantly found myself distracted from my "Show Plan" by a cute new greeting card or a spiffy new desk accessory. Robin McMurray and I ended up abandoning our plan while trying to take in as much as we possibly could. I often found myself looking down an aisle I had completely missed on an early trek across the floor.

Robin and I had a really nice visit with several exhibitors today, among them Jacki Paper, Tiselle, Hicks Gibbon and iota -- too many to mention! I'm really excited by the enthusiasm and passion I hear from everyone at NSS. I know I'll be headed home invigorated and re-energized. And, I know I'll be feeling inspired. I'm going to post just a few of some of my favorites from the Show floor -- with many more to follow once I can get back to my office and sort through them all. Enjoy!

George White, Up With Paper, Booth #3104. Up With Paper is always one of my favorite stops during NSS. George says their pop-up notepads are getting a lot of attention this year. This photo was taken by Robin McMurray.

The Best New Product Awards Winners' Circle. Individual images of the winners are coming.

A raccoon invites attendees to take a look at the Gwen Frostic Prints booth (#3250). Gwen Frostic, who was a northern Michigan native like me, has been a favorite of mine since I first toured her studio in elementary school.

Since first seeing Smock (booth #2741) products, I was hooked. The booth reflects the cool, sophisticated design that is Smock Letterpress. Plus, make sure you check out the fun hangers Cyd said she got on Etsy for her display.

It's time to proof Day 3 of Stationery Today now, so I'm signing off until later. I'll post more pictures from the hotel.

- By Kimberly Warren, Great American Publishing

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Few Views from Sunday

- By Kimberly Warren, Great American Publishing

Passionate Paper People

It's after 11 p.m. and I'm finally back to my hotel room after a very productive, interesting and inspiring day at the National Stationery Show. The show floor was abuzz with activity: buyers buying, sellers selling and old friends meeting back up -- many it's the first time they've had a chance to catch up since last year's show. It's always a fun experience to walk the show floor and put a face to a name you've only seen in e-mail or a voice you've only heard on the phone. It's also fun to hear what's new and exciting.

My job during NSS is to cover the show for Stationery Today, the NSS daily publication. Robin McMurray (our creative director) and I walked the trade show floor with one goal in mind: Find out what the buzz is about. What are people talking about? What do buyers want? What to exhibitors see? There is, as always, a lot to see at this year's NSS. Despite any concerns about economic uncertainty, there was positivity in the air. Retailers were happy to be walking the show floor and picking out just the perfect product that will excite their customers. I spoke with several retailers who were happy to be at NSS -- many for the first time -- and amid the crowd of passionate paper people. Exhibitors shared similar stories of buyers visiting their booths and wanting to buy. These exhibitors were eager to visit with retailers and find out exactly what they want -- what drives their business and what their customers want to buy.

In addition to the business being done on the show floor, there were many learning opportunities for NSS attendees today. One such opportunity was the seminar given by Sarah Schwartz, Stationery Trends' editor, on the top trends for 2009. I don't want to give away too much because you can still hear her seminar if you missed it: It will be offered again tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. You can buy tickets at the door -- but hurry, today's seminar was standing-room only. Sarah talked about the colors that are going to be hot this year -- among them purple, yellow and orange. She also spoke of the way "green" is headed -- it's not enough that a product simply be eco-friendly anymore. It has to speak to consumers, fill a niche and provide something fun and novel. The "green" label, alone, won't immediately mean a product will sell. If you can't make it to Sarah's seminar -- or you're reading this away from NSS, be sure to check out my article in Stationery Today (which will be posted at after NSS) and future issues of Stationery Trends, where I know Sarah has some super trends coverage planned.

One of my favorite parts of NSS is being able to walk around with Patti Stracher, NSS show manager, when she hands out the Best New Product Awards. To see the true pride and joy the winners display when they find out they've been recognized is truly an honor. I enjoy being a part of this special day for people. This year's winners are:

Think Green — Jacki Paper, booth #1936
Party — ThemeNaps, booth #2266
Social Stationery — C. R. Gibson, booth #2840
Desk Accessories — Woodessen, booth #3167
Lifestyle & Specialty Gift — Kookie Stationery, booth #3351
Paper Craft & Scrapbooking — Simply Renee, booth #3369
Luxury — Designers’ Fine Press, design by Margot Madison, booth #3427

It's nearly midnight now, and I have an early morning -- and a busy day -- ahead of me. I'm eager to share some of my NSS photos with you tomorrow morning, so be sure to check back to see what's happening on the show floor and some of the fun, new products exhibitors are showcasing. And, I'd be remiss if I forgot to remind you to stop by the Stationery Trends booth and renew your subscription (only $10 if you subscribe during NSS) and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $500 Tiffany & Co. gift card. Plus, we're giving away some fun orange and pink tote bags (the color combination is another trend mentioned by Sarah in her seminar) to the first 500 people who renew their subscription.

- By Kimberly Warren, Great American Publishing