Monday, May 23, 2005

What I learned at the National Stationery Show

1. Sore Feet - Standing on your feet all day is *HARD*. Not to sound like a complete and total whimp (b/c I know people all over the world do this as part of their everyday jobs), but I had no clue how insanely hard that aspect of the show would be. Comfortable shoes or not, I came home walking like Frankenstein every night and had to put on 2 or 3 pairs of socks to cushion my feet during the eve so that I could recharge for the next day. Needless to say, I have a 40 minute foot massage scheduled for today that I hope will rescue me from the world of aching feet (and I'm thinking for bumping it up to 60!).

2. Smiling - As much as I said hello and smiled at everyone I could, I swear I had more people come into my booth the minute I walked away, turned my back, leaned over to pick up lint or ran to the bathroom. I didn't give up on the hellos or smiles, but it just struck me as funny.

3. Candy - Thankfully, I did not have any candy in my booth. Based on the number of times I ran around the corner to my neighbor's booth to do a "candy drive by," I'm quite certain I'd be deep into a sugar coma by now, popping pixie sticks like they were glasses of OJ. But I will say, I often saw people stop in booths that they might not normally stop in due to a particularly good bowl of I'll reconsider that one next year.

4. Water - Bring your own damn water. At $2.50 a bottle for a *small* bottle of Poland Springs, this gets pricey. Seriously, what a racket they have going on there (I think it was $3.00 for a cup of tea!).

5. Badges - I quickly learned the first day that I needed to perfect my "casual badge glance." It's almost like being in a bar and seeing a cute guy walk want to look over and check him out but not be too obvious about it. Thankfully they color code the darn things, but the writing is still fairly small, so its hard to read names/stores/locations with a quick glance. The trickiest of the bunch flip their badges around (as if they had casually gotten caught up in their shirts and didn't notice...oops!). As it turned out, the flipped badges peeps were always the most interesting for us (usually press). Bmiinc told me she had a much rougher policy than I did for the flipped badgers (my policy was basically be nice and see what happens!), but I'm a first time newbie and basically was happy with any traffic I got.

6. Creativity - MY, OH MY, I was so blown away by how much talent and creativity there is out there. I literally would walk around in awe gawking at all of the wonderful lines, creative booths and interesting ideas that people are exploring. I swear if the Javits center was a big stationery store, I would not have my rent money for this month. I was way intimidated at first to the point that I almost had an anxiety attack when we were setting up my booth, but of course, in the end realized that there really is room for us all. Just really inspiring to see the creativity bursting from the seams in there.

7. Good show/bad show? - Ok, this was *the* question of the century: "did you have a good show?" Having never done this before, it was super duper hard for me to answer as I had nothing to compare it to. Did my fantasies of a mobbed booth ever come true with people waiting in line velvet rope style to get in? no. Did I make enough money to quit my job and retire? no way. But for me, I'm trying to look at the big picture. A month ago, the only people in the world who knew about Paper Bride was my family, you guys and a few stray blog readers. After the show, I'm thrilled to report that I'm in a number of stores throughout the country (PB is big in the Pacific NW for some reason, go figure!), handed out lots of catalogs and *may* (pllllleeeassse, fingers crossed, toes crossed, eyes crossed) get some good press out of this. So, with nothing to compare it to, yes I had a good show...there I said it. That felt good.

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