Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The National Stationery Show NSS 2015 - The Preparations Part 1

At the start of the year my big business goal was to take my brand national. Part of this plan included doing THE tradeshow for stationery, the National Stationery Show. To the uninitiated this is a BIG deal and unlike the craft shows has a 3 day set up period and the show lasts three and a half days.

It took me a while to commit (late February) but a few things fell into place and it seemed like the right time to take the plunge. Due to the lateness I had already committed to Renegade London and Unique LA which meant I was crunched for time. It's only me making/packaging/shipping all the inventory. For 2 1/2 months it was 7 day work weeks and for the last 3 weeks an average of 5 hours sleep a night. For me, one of the biggest benefits of doing a trade show was the deadline, after investing in a booth you don't want to waste that oney by not having a linesheet, catalog etc. At the start I read every blog post relating to NSS that I could find and started a pinterest mood board.

 As I was on a modest budget for the show I didn't want the added expense of freight shipping this can cost 1,000 each way to ship a crate,  so this booth needed to fit in a big suitcase. I was lucky enough to find someone who lived in New York and would be in London during the show, through a friend and saved a heap in accommodation. I was able to have IKEA furniture shipped to the apartment in New York which was a big relief to not have to go shopping during set up.
So this is how it began with some wonky lines and questionable perspective on a large piece of paper. I had a minor attempt at a mood board but ended up sticking 3 things to it and mostly just kept ideas kicking around in my head. The process was not unfamiliar, back in the day when I did my BA Fine Art Show or studio shows in London it was a similar amount of planning and frantic making in the lead up and it all mostly came together in the end. I think I probably averaged 5 hours sleep a night in the final weeks lead up, not through lack of trying to sleep more, my brain was just over saturated with to do lists and tight deadlines. Alongside this was still the day to day business stuff too. Shops decided to place wholesale orders which was great but made things even more hectic.
Some people do full booth mock ups with walls, (alas there was no space to do this) I made do with large sheets of paper cut to size and placed on the floor, I then started laying out product. Not the most ideal prep, but it does help to lay it all out, I didn't want any super high or low shelves and it helped to see the signage in proportion to the mock wall. I realized my original booth numbers were giganto and didn't use them.
Thought at the time... how the hell am I going to put up 100+ cards by myself !
Notice the not so helpful helper walking all over my walls !
Testing sticking power of glue dots
Yeah,  I ended up having major issues in the end with keeping stuff stuck to the fake walls at NSS, I went through, glue dots, double sided tape (two kinds) and then finally Industrial Velcro.  My point is be prepared, some things don't turn out as you would expect so be prepared to improvise.
Mounting the cards took 2 days
Card Armageddon
So I ended up with about 130 designs up on the walls and grouped them into : Birthday, Love, Friends, Holidays, Baby, Wedding, hello, thank you and other. When you have a Footmoose card you need an other category !
Laser Cut and Spray Painted Numbers
Signage was one of the easiest things for me, all the blogs said put your booth number on everything so people can find you, quite right too, Javits is a huge overwhelming space, you can get lost going to the restroom!
In Part 2, the hard stuff and to do list.

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