the National Stationery Show





Last week, Loop caravanned to the Javits Center in New York City for the 2009 National Stationery Show. NSS is always such an undertaking for this small business, but it’s an important event … even in this recession, I felt it was necessary for Loop to present its portfolio of eco-goodness. All of the work that goes into getting there and all of the work that follows is worth it when I step back, exhale, and survey the sum of the parts.

I had never shown my work publically before I launched Loop at the NSS in 2007. Opening my portfolio and creating our first collection was so exhilarating; scary, wonderful, surreal, serene… hello, Unknown !  I tend to act first and think later when it comes to things I feel passionately about, and Loop was definitely an exercise in following my instincts. I remember printing samples of all our designs on my ink jet, lovingly perfecting all the details, and hoping something intelligent would come out when I introduced the drawings, paintings and Doodlespark collection to buyers, peers, and members of the press. 

In 2008, I was super emotional about our presentation.  Loop had a fantastic debut year, and I found myself worrying that we’d be a one-hit wonder [ cue A-Ha ]. As an artist, I put so much of myself into creating our work; as a business woman, I try to learn as much as I can about the industry and make the best choices possible. The combination can be heady sometimes, overwhelming, out of control, but when we hang the last sign at NSS, I always feel like its okay, its manageable, wonderful, alive and real.

This year, our third showing, found me enjoying the process much more. Even though we had many more issues leading up to the show – our printer ran our entire note card suite on the wrong paper stock, we had issues prototyping the binding of our new journals and jotters, and we were waiting on overnighted samples for key portions of our product line – I felt deep down inside that everything would turn out fine. [ thanks, ed ! ] I put aside my OCD, my nerves, my sleeplessness and focussed on the dream of the thing, the vision I have for Loop, the shining possibility that is born of the process.

I don’t mean to romanticize this, don’t get me wrong !  It’s a trade show, for goodness sake ! It’s packing boxes that fill my living room for weeks, its shleping everything down two flights of stairs into the car, hoping it will fit, driving to NY, unloading in hot sun or pouring rain, working 9 – 7 getting the booth just right, standing, smiling, meeting, greeting for 9 hours a day, taking it all down, mad packing and dashing to the car, driving back, and cramming everything into the basement in a reasonable fashion so that the whole process can be repeated the following Spring. Deep breath. And then the email follow-up, the sample-sending, the hoping-the-seeds-will-grow into new business season begins. [ I have to say, I COULD NOT do this without the genuine support and pitch-in-with-a-smile love from my mom and my husband, booth mate / booth architect extraordinaire ! ]

So, Spirit of NSS past, present and future, thanks for visiting me this morning !  My intent was to simply share some images from our foray…. From top to bottom, above : pics of our new wrap and jotters, our new organic fabrics [ launching officially SOOON ], the new doodlespark pairings, our new blank journals and jotters, the Loop oasis amid the green plastic NSS carpeting, the view from 17D [ thanks, edwin ! ], a superb Starbucks artist, and my mom and me smiling on the first morning…. check the tote, made from our new organic Inari fabric by my amazing mother-in-law !

[ ps : so sorry for the lousy quality of the pictures .. love those fluorescent lights ! ]

I really need to get out of my booth more next year to take pictures of some of the amazing work presented by my peers. In lieu of photos, I’ll make a quick list of some of my favorite exhibitors, here :

substudioeieio  kamalpancake and franks susyjack

THANK YOU to all of the bloggers, reporters and other designers who so sweetly shared Loop with their readers.  Here’s a list of some of the great post-show mentions Loop was a part of :

treehuggerbirddoghip hostessperideau


Betz White said...

What an undertaking , but WOW! Your booth and all of your work looks amazing! Great job. I'm so happy for you!

daisy janie : scoutie girl said...

So wonderful to read about your experience(s), Elissa! I felt like I was right there b/c your writing pulls me in quite easily! Designs and display looks smashing - I wish you ever-so-muchly-much more continued success with loop!!!

Lauren La Cascia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
alamodestuff said...

Your booth looks so cohesive and nice!

Those trade shows are exhausting, but fun as well. Hope you enjoyed it and are recovering nicely.