The New York Stationery Show 2012


Recently got back from NYC where I did my annual pilgrimage to the New York Stationery Show. This is the ultimate show for any one in the stationery business. All the new and existing vendors get to show their latest ideas and offerings. It’s the biggest and most prestigious.  Truthfully, it can be overwhelming. At the end of my first day I wonder how will I look at everything? What trends have I checked out today- in essence can I accomplish everything I have set out to do?


So I go back to my hotel, kick off my shoes, throw everything on the floor and flop on my bed for about 2 hours. Re-energize and re-fresh.

Then I go to dinner- usually in the hotel, even though it’s NYC and there are a billion restaurants to discover.

Because I know the task ahead of me. I need to go through the list of vendors, double-check to see that I’ve seen the important ones, make my list of the ones that looked interesting and need a return visit, and figure out how much time that will all take.


When I first went to the Stationery Show, I definitely was a newbie. Not a trade show novice as I had done that in my former life as a sales person selling software.

I would go to shows to see where I could create marketing alliances with strategic partners. Along the way, I started designing booths for trade shows and trained salespeople on how to work them your are not allowed to sit down and act like a bump on a log!). I also managed the collateral for the shows so they too functioned as an effective sales pitch.

But when I went to the Stationary world it was a new world I needed to learn.

That meant, in the beginning, going to all four days of the show and learning how to get the most information (plan breaks at important times to reboot so you can re-walk the floor).


Subsequent trips and key vendors have educated me.  I have gotten good at picking apart what to see, how to do it and what take-always I need. I’ve gotten better at asking questions. I know what my customer is looking for. And each year hopefully I will still bump into one or two things at the show that I didn’t think I would ever benefit from.

That last point is something you should really take to heart- be open to what you don’t think will help you in any way.

Because it’s this last point that always sends me home with a fresh outlook and some really killer ideas. I do not always see immediately how I’m going to use them. I call that the “soaking” factor. The ideas might be there for a long time. Or short time. And you never know what will come of them. Trade Shows – you always learn something.