Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New York, New York!

The past few weeks have been spent catching up from our week away, enjoying the beautiful weather and many trips to the park (there is a new park just a block away from us and we just love it!).  Last Tuesday I took a break from all that and on a whim flew to New York to attend the National Stationery Show. 

Ever since I learned about the show 5 years ago, I have wanted to go.  At that time I had just left my corporate job (as a systems analyst/programmer - that seems so crazy and foreign to me now!) to do something less stressful and more 'me.'  I was hired as manager of a cute paper and gift boutique in the North Shore.  The owner (and thousands of retailers from all over the world) attends the Stationery Show every year to find the next best thing, see new designs and to place orders with the vendors to stock her store for the upcoming months.  To me, the idea of all that paper, all those designs, all that creativity in one place is so exciting!
One of my business goals has been to attend that show as a vendor and have those retailers buy my designs.  Knowing myself, the chances of me getting there next year would not be very likely having never been there to see what the whole thing is about.  So this year, since I am officially and legally a business in the stationery industry I meet the requirements for someone who can attend!  By the time we returned from Florida the show was only 8 days away, and it didn't seem likely that I could make arrangements that quickly to go, BUT after mentioning my idea to Jon and discussing with him the logistics and finding a cheap flight we both decided this was something I HAD to do!  So he, being the #1 Toluka Paper supporter he is, took a day off work to stay home with the kiddies while I left the house at 4:15am to catch my 6am flight to NY and returned at 11:55pm that same night.  It was a looong, but VERY exciting day.  I learned so much from walking around, chatting with this year's vendors, from visiting the booths of suppliers and fullfillment companies...and I also learned a lot about myself!  That trip was a big deal for a little, midwestern girl like me -  to get on two flights in one day (I HATE flying), maneuver to and from each airport reaching my destinations on time, and approaching many companies with my compliments and questions while being totally intimidated.  After all that, I KNOW that ...if I can make it there - I can make it anywhere!  See ya next year New York!!

This is one of the booths right at the entrance of the show.  If you can picture row after row after row of booths like this one (some smaller, some larger) taking up almost an entire floor of the Jacob K. Javits convention center.  It took me FIVE hours to walk the whole thing and according to people I talked to, it has been getting smaller each year for the past 3-4 years and used to take up TWO floors!  Whoa!

(I  know the pictures aren't super exciting, but the vendors aren't too keen on having pictures taken of their products, as copying of ideas and designs happens all to often in this industry...can't say I blame them!)

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