National Stationery Show – New York – 2012
I have spent the last 5 years walking the floor of the New York National Stationery Show dreaming of the day I could have my own booth and sell my work. This year was the year and a culmination of 8 years of blood sweat and tears as we defined what our first national product launch would be.
I didn’t realize the impact our years of custom invitation work would have on our first launch, but it was so helpful to able to speak confidently about our designs, our process and our product. Not knowing what to expect from our first time at the National Stationery Show, we went in with low expectations. We knew we had a few things working against us: 1. we were first timers 2. we weren’t in the best location 3. we had a limited budget to work with to do pre-show marketing. But from day 1 of the show we were humbly overwhelmed by the response to our line – we kept being told “this is so new and fresh!” Music to our ears.
So many amazing contacts were made at the show from licensing opportunities to retail partnerships. Our goal for this year was to be in 50 retail stores by 2013. After this show we will be partnered with over 60 stores across the country including 2 in Canada. There are so many stories we could share but the most humbling story had to be a moment that happened the second to last day of the show. We had just had a rush of retailers come by and suddenly things became calm. Little did we know there was a retailer seminar called Stationery Retailers Success Stories. Later that afternoon, a retailer stopped by our booth and said “I am warning you, you may get a flood of people stop by.” I asked “Why?” She said “We just left a retailer seminar where someone in the audience asked the panel “What is the hottest new product at the show”. Melinda Morris of Lion in the Sun in Brooklyn, a 20 year veteran of the industry, stood up in the panel and said “Some of you may not agree with me, but I have a rule I have always followed for 20 years, that I never buy from first time vendors of custom albums at the show….this year I broke my own rule…I bought from Jenn Sprinkle Paper.” First of all, Melinda is now our new best friend – we had no idea she believed in us that much! But secondly, that is the kind of PR you can only dream of.
I couldn’t have done all this without the support of my family who has supported me with encouragement (and physical labor.) My right hand gal, Ashley who is my constant cheerleader and the best business manager, customer service rep and design assistant anyone could ask for. She always says yes with the best attitude. My in-laws joined us in NY and were a huge help. My mother-in-law even sold two albums on her own! And then my husband who keeps everything running seamlessly behind the scenes. He deserves so much credit. This is what I was called to do and the Lord remains faithful to fill in the details and prepare the way.
We are looking forward to our new retail partnerships and gearing up for what the NEXT Jenn Sprinkle launch will be! (excuse our photos – we were so gratefully busy that we only took photos with our iphones!)