It's been a little over 2 weeks since the National Stationery Show, and for those of you following the #NSS2015 hashtag, sitting on the sidelines and cheering us exhibitors along, here's a little behind the scenes as an exhibitor. (I'm guessing this is gonna be a long one...so sit back, get comfy, and sorry for rambling as much as I do.)
The Show Itself:
I am totally, TOTALLY, grateful for the encouragement I received at this show. I think this industry is just made of all the good, kindhearted people in the world, and they were all in Jacob Javits Center on May 17-20 . I have never received this much praise and advice from folks I just met.
- I received a ton of exposure, with folks peering into my booth saying words like "so cute," "pretty," grabbing some info and jotting down my company name.
- I made a lot of new friends, veterans as well as fellow newbies, and was able to walk the show to take in all the amazing talent I was surrounded by for those 4 days.
- I received some orders, met a lot of owners of cute brick-and-mortars, and even got to attend the beautiful Paper Party 2015, hosted by the adorable Nole, of Oh So Beautiful Paper!
- The great Sarah Schwartz of Stationery Trends Mag, and blog The Paper Chronicles, even stopped by to say how sweet my booth and collection was, (and then I did a happy dance right after she left!)
- I learned a LOT more about the business side of the stationery industry. I learned a whole new level of confidence when asked about my products, and I was more relaxed as the days went by. I can now answer a ton of questions at ease, about my business.
- I was selected as a finalist in two categories for the Best New Product Competition, Paper Love, and Desktop, and it was amazing to see my work among so many greats in the industry.
It's easy to show the good--the awards and accolades, the overnight successes, and the pretty instagram posts you've been seeing--but for the other 80-90%, it's not so easy-peasy. Post-show blues are real. And they come in huge waves. The key is to NOT just wait around. Be active in the community, and keep busy, looking for new doors that you may miss just waiting for that email or phone call. DREAM, BUT ALSO DO!
- I've kept busy with fulfilling the few orders I did receive, and am SO grateful for, and following up with those who stopped by my little booth, and those that didn't get a chance to as well, because you never know how your stuff may resonate with someone, and when! I've also been curating my etsy shop, and adding all my new products a few at a time, so that's another task almost complete!
- I've been focusing on how to better my collection, and doing a little product analysis. Since I had launched my collection at the show itself, which was a personal choice, I hadn't had much of consumer feedback beforehand. Now, I can look back at all my products and see what was most successful, what caught people's eyes the most. The funny thing is, the illustrations that were my favorites, were what the crowd loves the most!
Which leads me to say, as I always do, create what you love. It shows. The work that you did while stressing to get a good enough number of products will not be as great as the work you did with a smile on your face, that you did because a thought triggered in your head, or you wanted to express a feeling....so always remember, CREATE WHAT YOU LOVE!
One thing I really learned was not to compare. It is really tough though, especially when you're so active on social media, you're seeing success from every angle. But the insta-world is very different from the real world. We only show the good. You drink coffee-cart coffees all month, and then one day you 'gram that fancy macchiato in Brooklyn, and it shows the world that you live that dreamy "girl-in-cafe" life. The pictures above show the pretty end-products, but not the months of frustration of proofs, color palette mistakes, scraps of paper and a whole folder of failed designs that go along with it.
So DREAM, but also DO! I've been back in the studio working on new designs, sketching and scribbling, and I will keep working towards this goal. And I won't lose sight of why I create in the first place, to make you smile, to bring you positive vibes, so that you can go after your dream, so you can be motivated to dream, and do, and make things happen!
Here's a little doodle, download and save it as a wallpaper, or print it out, to remind you to keep doing!