national stationery show recap part 1

Posted by debbie lee on

the road to nss

was long and tiring… i can’t believe at about this time two weeks ago we were on the way to new york city for the debut of penelope’s press at the national stationery show!  it’s been a week since we’ve been back, but i haven’t felt “normal” or well rested yet.  months and months of preparation and it was all over in a few days {it reminds me of a wedding day… months of planning and in a weekend, it’s all over.  so surreal}.

i’ve decided not to bore you too much and break up my recap over the course of a few posts.  let’s start from the beginning…  with 3 kids, life happens.  we got off to a little bit of a late start.  we packed the car with everything for the show {sans booth walls that were shipped separately a few days prior} and after 13 some hours of driving through the night, we finally made it to nyc.  we drove directly to the javitz for curb-side self unloading and was greeted with the hustle of bustle of set-up.

national stationery show at the javitz center

national stationery show at the javitz center

national stationery show at the javitz center

set-up days were crazy… people, product, crates, and palettes everywhere.  the first thing i did was check to make sure the walls arrived.  when i arrived to the booth space, our palette of walls had arrived, but i was completely surprised to see white hard walls up in my space.

tradeshow booth at the national stationery show

lesson #1:  do not assume you will have access to behind your tradeshow booth walls!

in preparation for the show, i had read several blogs on people’s first hand experiences with the show and i participated in tradeshow bootcamp {a series of workshops to prepare you for a tradeshow– highly recommend!}, but unless i missed it, nobody mentioned that you might not have access to behind your walls.  everyone talked about the dreaded pipe and drape that came with the hefty exhibit space cost and how building your booth is like fitting a box within a box.  people recommended building your booth so that it’s free-standing and to do a dry run.  well… we did all of that and more, so we were completely shocked to see hard walls in our space.  there are many aisles at the show where you have  an “alley” behind your booth.  my row didn’t haven an alley and our booth neighbors to the left and right of us and behind us all took the {very expensive} option to have rented hard walls installed, which is the reason why my space was enclosed with hard walls {tall hard walls too.. they all paid to have 10 ft walls versus the standard 8 ft walls}.  if you’re not familiar with exhibiting at a trade show, you’re probably wondering why this is such a big deal.  well, the hard wall surprise basically threw off how we got the booth up and standing, made it difficult to install the shelving, and all of the clip on lights {that’s what many people typically use} that we purchased and brought with us were useless.  can you imagine my stress?  the husband and i were dumbfounded… at one point my husband wanted to trash the walls and pay for last minute foam core walls {$$$$}.  ummm… no.

after tossing around a ton of ideas and on zero sleep and food, we finally got the wall up, shelves in, and flooring down.  at the end of the night, we felt a little better.  the only problem was that the only thing holding up the back wall were the two side walls and the only thing holding up the side walls was the furniture {not a good idea}.   we left the javitz center close to midnight and prayed that overnight none of the union guys or fellow exhibitors would come in and decide to move the chair or console table.

tradeshow booth setup at the national stationery show

we tidied up, did some spot painting of the walls, and headed to the hotel.  check back next week for more…

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