I'm back from my second National Stationery Show (but first time flying completely solo). We had a few bumps along the way, but in general the show was a huge success for AHWA, bringing in over 20 new wholesale accounts and continuing relationships with current accounts. It was such a blast getting to see hang out with my paper people! And, it was my first time being away from Wiley for a WHOLE WEEK!
Last year, my husband John and I drove out with our then 7-month-old baby and my booth in a trailer. This year, John stayed back with our (now 19 month) toddler and I flew out to NYC, so we built a crate and shipped the whole thing freight.
I got into NY on Thursday night before the show (NSS always starts on a Sunday), and showed up at Javitz bright and early Friday morning to start setting up. My crate should have been in my booth waiting for me when I got there, but it turned out that it had been completely smashed in transit. Like, unfixable. Luckily, all of the contents had made the trip okay, so all I could really do was laugh and deal with it later.
I am lucky enough to be a part of the TSBC alumni group, and prior to the show we'd compiled a list of attendees and volunteers. I was lucky enough to wrangle up two volunteers (the amazing Kaila and Maria of Swanky + Bold) who wanted to a first-hand look at the behind-the-scenes of setting up before a trade show. I would have been eternally grateful if they had just helped me get my walls up, but those angels stayed the entire first day of setup and helped me get the walls, floors, shelves and signage up. I came back the next day (Saturday) to put out the actual product and pretty the place up a bit.
The show itself went great. I can't speak for the overall show, since I was there alone and didn't get to leave my booth too much, but our booth was very busy almost the entirety of the show. We had more than twice the orders that we did last year, and will be VERY busy for the next few weeks -- not that I'm complaining!
So, the age-old question: will we continue to do NSS? I had hoped to exhibit at the summer NYNOW this year in addition to NSS, but the thought of doing another (bigger!) trade show in just a couple of months seems like too much for me this year. I think that we might make that one our goal for 2019.
It turns out that the NSS is moving to February to coincide with Winter NYNOW moving forward. Unsure what that will mean for the future of this show, or whether we will be participating next year, but it will be interesting to see what happens!
P.S. How did we get our stuff back without a crate, you wonder? Luckily we were able to get everything stacked and shrink-wrapped onto a few pallets, which is not a permanent solution but works for now!