Oh hey remember that time I went on and on about how excited I was for the Stationery Show and then didn’t say how it went for like 3 weeks? Me neither. If you follow my Instagram (which YOU DO of course…) you saw down-to-the-second updates about what I was doing and the stuff I was grabbing for the shop but I couldn’t fit EVERYTHING in there. SO. Saturday, Husband and I packed our shit and got on the road to the big city.
It was pretty easy-peasy getting there (because I didn’t have to drive) and picking up keys for our AirBnB was a bit of a shitshow (the meat-packing district doesn’t really look like you are supposed to be driving there..but you can…but you feel like you shouldn’t…) but we made it and it even had air conditioning. WIN. After bringing up our stuff, parking the car, and taking a deep breff, we went straight out and LITERALLY began basically eating from then until we left the next Saturday.
We hit Big Gay Ice Cream and I got probably THE most magical dairy and sugar concoction I’ve ever had. It was seriously BOSS vanilla soft serve rolled in dark pretzels and WAIT FOR IT chocolate dipped. OMFG. We also had BBQ and went to see some improv but ICE CREAM, you guys. So the next morning was NSS FOR REALS. Last year I started this week off completely panicked that no one would take me seriously and I would look like I had NOOB painted across my face. This time, all I worried about was what fab new outfit to wear first and where coffee was coming from.
When we reached the Javits I was so pumped up on caffeine and excitement I could have bounced all the way there. I’ll spare you every single detail of my first day (unless you want it?) I basically started at one corner of the show and went up and down every damn aisle to make sure I saw everything. I had some “definites”; people I “met” on Instagram and people who sent me mailers, but I intended to see E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
My first confirmed hit was Sea + Lake who was an IG internet pal. They make stupendous cards and gifts with the perfect sense of humor for me, but I vowed ( I VOWED!) I would collect catalogs and THEN shop. NO SHOPPING RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE! So that’s what I did. I wrote what I wanted on the cover of all my catalogs and mooooved along.
The thing that completely floored me, from the gals at Sea + Lake (at the very beginning in the #fresh section) to all the way to Ladies of Letterpress (almost the end!) I heard my name being called out. And squeaked and squealed. People read my name tag and hopped up and down to see me! On Facebook, I joked to friends and family that if this kept up my head would sink Manhattan but honestly my first thought was WHAT IN THE WORLD?!??! and my next was But WHY???? I know I’m pretty present on the interwebs but shit I’m not a Kardashian! And it’s especially amusing because AS outgoing as I am on the line, I am the EXACT opposite in real life. At Paper Party, Husband had to coax, nay, PRY me off a sofa so I would talk to people.
For three days straight, I had people whom *I* was excited to meet, tell me how excited they were to meet ME before I could even say, “I’m so excited to meet you!” And one girl told me my shop was on her wish list. My stupid little online store was where she wanted her gorgeous hard work to be sold.
After 2 days of shopping and chatting and meeting people, I had to tackle the most difficult task of all: DECIDING. This is heart-breaking for me, you guys. Do you know how many people I told, “I’ll be back to see you!” and then I couldn’t because my budget didn’t allow it? As a card-maker myself I know how it feels to hope and hope for a sale and have it fall through or not hear anything at all. It kills me that it’s part of my job to do it to other makers. I had a huge pile of YES YES YES catalogs that I had to then divide into 100% YES and 100% YES but later…
This took hours.
I had to consider my priorities: first and foremost I was looking for new makers that still did much or all of their own work. After that, I needed more patterns and luxury brands. I am QUITE heavy on typography. SO much of what I WANTED and what I was attracted to was more of what I already had. And so in the “Later” pile it went. Sadness.
My shopping day was Tuesday and my first stop that morning was Moglea. My girl-crush, Meg Gleason, was super busy Monday so I couldn’t say “OH HAI” so I made a beeline and BEFORE I COULD SAY ANYTHING she spotted my name tag and said how pleased she was to meet me (???????!!!!!!!!!) and thanked me for promoting her on Instagram and I was just like O.o and did what I do whenever I fan-girl and made her take pictures with me.
She was just so unbelievably gracious and we chatted as she wrote down my order (which was considerable because her work is so gorgeous) I think my favorite part was when I was debating on the Mini-Letterquette and she asked if the bigger ones were selling and I was like “Errrmmm nnn-oooooo…” and she said “Well then don’t get them!” and I wanted to be like “BUT *I* want one!!!” and “EVERYONE IS STUPID BECAUSE THEY SHOULD BUY THEM!!” etc etc.
On from there I finished my shopping in a whirlwind because I had to get to a seminar and then go help set up Paper Party (more on that and how I was positively reinforced for making an asshole of myself on social media and therefore, will CONTINUE to be asinine online…) and it was just one pleasant visit after another. From Allison and Daniel from Ink Meets Paper going “YAYY!! Kristina!!” when I went to see them to Jane and Andy at Bench Pressed letting us creep in their booth during their pizza party (yes) it was like a big family reunion or something!
I know I’ve said this before but there is seriously nobody in any other industry like stationers. In the time leading up to NSS, I made internet pals with Emily Blistein of OhSoBeautifulPaper.com fame and she included me on an invite to a fancy-pants NYC hotel for dranks with other ladies and you guys would be so proud because I WENT even though I am painfully awkward and I don’t drink! It was seriously a Cher and Ty situation. Except I didn’t get a crush on her step-brother and we didn’t have a subsequent fight only to make up at a skateboard competition. Luckily there were girls there I knew but the ones I didn’t were so sweet and they asked me questions and I got to know some really fab ladies.
And more or less, that was NSS. A whirlwind of meeting new friends, seeing old friends, and buying a metric buttload of cards.