surprise, i’m alive!

Posted by debbie lee on

i know, i know… it’s been MONTHS since my last post!  i never even finished my national stationery show recap… sigh.  not like i’m making excuses, but i don’t find blogging a priority.  eh, is that bad?  i really don’t blog for SEO or for people to pin images to pinterest.  to be honest, i blog because it’s a good way for me to chronicle my adventures in letterpress, to hopefully encourage a reader or two to pursue creative entrepreneurship, and quite frankly, it’s fun.  afterall, my undergrad degree is a bachelors of arts in english with a concentration in creative writing {who would’ve thought, huh?  with all of my lowercase writing, excessive use of the ellipsis, and occasional typographical and grammatical error}, so writing has always been a favorite pastime.  when i was a younger, i always thought i would write a book… eh, i can’t even keep up with this blog… c’est la vie.  i promise to bring you up-to-date with the ongoings of penelope’s press… stay tuned!
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national stationery show recap part 2

Posted by debbie lee on

back to my national stationery show recap…

lesson #2:  when you think you packed everything you need and have double or triple checked…. check again then again… and then have someone else with fresh eyes check too!

it was in the wee hours in the morning when i packed for the show,  so while i swear i checked everything twice and three times, apparently my eyes failed me.  not only did i forget 3 or so cards from the line,  i also forgot one of my lined envelopes that coordinates with my fill-in-invitation collection.  so on saturday before heading to the javitz for day 2 of setup, we ran a few errands.  i did a quick stop at paper presentation, the retail side of one my wholesalers, to try to find the liner for the fill-in-invitation that i forgot.

paper presentation store in nyc

paper presentation store in nyc

while i was in paper heaven, they didn’t have what i needed.  unfortunately, i had to showcase the fill-in invitation collection without any of the envelope liners since one was missing.  fail.  hence, lesson #2.

after rushing around the city doing errands, we finally made it to the javitz.  i dropped off my board for the best new product competition {we didn’t win, but was honored to have been a finalist!} and we were off to finish up the booth.

best new product finalist at NSS

lesson #3:  when in doubt, use tape.

i use a lot of tape in my little business, but goodness, tape was our best friend at the show!  we used double-sided tape to put up the wood logo sign, heavy-duty double-sided outdoor tape to hang a picture frame, and duck tape to tape our walls to our neighbor’s walls for reinforcement!

tradeshow prep at NSS

after all the tape, putting up product on shelves, and ordering last minute lighting due to the hard wall fiasco in the last post {lesson #1}, we were finally ready, with i must say, a pretty good looking booth!  {i posted a ton of pictures throughout the show on instagram and facebook… let’s connect on social media!}  stay tuned for more on the show tomorrow!

penelope's press tradeshow booth at NSS, national stationery show


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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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workday wedensdays: in over my head in nss prep!

Posted by debbie lee on

i’m not up to my knees in national stationery show prep, i’m drowning in it!  the national stationery show is just days away and i’ve never been busier preparing for the BIG debut!!  i’ve been so crazy busy that i forgot to share some exciting news… penelope’s press was recently featured {i spy “penelope” – my first press + the baby of the group – a craftsmen superior tabletop press} on page 72 of issue 17 of the awesome uppercase magazine  i am honored to be included among an amazing group of stationers featured.  that’s it for now… time to get back to stationery show prep!

uppercase magazine feature

uppercase magazine feature

uppercase magazine feature

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tradeshow thursdays: sign + booth prep

Posted by debbie lee on

diary of a nss newbie, post #4 {37 days left}

it’s down to the wire folks… the show is less than 6 weeks away.  in the alumni forum of the tradeshow bootcamp, everyone is hustling.  anything outside of my normal online orders and handful of wedding and custom orders, is difficult to squeeze into the schedule.  it’s been late nights, nail-biting, and stress induced eczema and acne.  it’s not cute.

knocked off {or near completion} of my laundry list of to-do’s are:

  • –pre-show mailer design complete
  • –logo sign was ordered and received
  • –flooring chosen
  • –booth building has begun
  • –accommodations booked

alright… now that i’m looking at my list, it doesn’t look like i’ve accomplished much.  time to stop blogging and keep going.  until next time… but before i go, here are a few pictures…

logo mock up taped up on my living room wall to help visualize size:

tradeshow signage

and here it is!  one custom laser cut mdf logo:

laser cut wood sign

booth building underway… one of many visits to home depot:

NSS tradeshow booth building

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