tradeshow thursdays: nss countdown

Posted by debbie lee on

national stationery stationery show nss contract

diary of a nss newbie, official post #1 {121 days left}

if you aren’t already sick of me mentioning NSS {acronym for the national stationery show} you’re going to get real sick of me come may.  i’m going to try my best to document my nss adventures {to help out any nss virgins thinking of taking the plunge} because this here said trade show is a big deal {“The National Stationery Show® is the world’s most comprehensive collection of social stationery and related products for gift giving and self-expression.” -NSS website}.  when i’m not on mommy duty or printing a current order, every moment going forward is going to be spent thinking about, making lists for, brainstorming for, and stressing about this show.  this is no joke.

here’s a little timeline to bring you up to date:

  • may 2012 – walked the show, talked to exhibitors, snapped a bunch of photos
  • september 2012 – completed online application
  • october 2012- received booth assignment {#1866!!} + contract + submitted deposit
  • fall 2012 – completed tradeshow bootcamp
  • january 2013 – paid remaining balance of booth {yup, going broke already and it’s only january!

i have lists on my computer, my iphone, ipad, on paper of a bazillion things i need to think about and do for this show…

  • booth design?
  • decor?
  • flooring?
  • signage?
  • lighting?
  • product lines?
  • press kit?
  • samples?
  • product photography?
  • line sheets?
  • paper or online catalog?
  • update website?
  • pre-show marketing?
  • mailers?
  • promos + giveaways?
  • drive or fly?
  • leave booth and store in new jersey?
  • accommodations?
  • ????????

wow.  breathe.  i probably shouldn’t be writing this post right before i go to bed.  hmmm.  well, regardless of the stress, i am excited.  follow along as i blog my nss journey!!!

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tangent tuesdays: my youngest

Posted by debbie lee on

today is my baby’s second birthday.  i remember that day clearly… i went to my regularly scheduled doctor visit and at to everyone’s surprise, it turned out i was going to deliver sooner than later.  the doctor told me to tie up loose ends at home and head to labor and delivery.  i remember leaving the doctor’s office stunned.  i called up my husband and told him we were having a baby, but to first come home as quickly as he could to help me package my orders and drop them to the post office {i know, crazy.  it was probably all the hormones making me a little nutty.}  she was so tiny, born at only 4lbs and 3 ounces.  now, 2 years later, she has a full mouth of teeth, running fast, and doesn’t stop talking!  i am so blessed that i have the opportunity to run my business from home while raising my children– it’s a difficult feat, but incredibly rewarding.  happiest 2nd birthday to my baby girl!

k at birth

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mommy mondays: handwriting + letterpress gift tags

Posted by debbie lee on

i save all of my off cuts {aka “scrap” paper”} for all of those small orders and projects {mini business cards, gift tags, etc}.  it’s probably getting out of control… i have stacks and stacks of small pieces of paper, organized and bundled by size {one day i’ll have to snap a picture of my stash to show you just how out of control it is}.  so, when my two girls celebrated their birthdays at a joint party this weekend, my off cuts came in handy!  i used my eldest daughter’s handwriting, turned it into plates, and letterpress printed gift tags for their goodie bags.  if you want to see your handwriting or your kid’s handwriting letterpress printed, let me know!

custom children's tag with child's handwriting

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recap of 2012 highlights

Posted by debbie lee on

2012 was a great year for penelope’s press!  here’s a quick recap of last year’s highlights…

new presses -  i said goodbye to my first floor press {remember rusted and dismantled gertrude?} and hello to a new-to-me chandler and price 10×15.  i also welcomed a second craftsman superior tabletop.

                                rusted printing press

10x15 chandler and price printing press

craftsman superior tabletop

an assistant - in the summer, lisa joined me as ‘assistant extraordinaire’ of penelope’s press.  she has helped around the studio in many different ways– everything from taking inventory, printing, assembling wedding invitations, etc.  here’s lisa looking helping me setup at my first craft fair

penelope's press assistant

industry events – in may i was able to attend the national stationery show {often referred to as NSS}.  since the start of penelope’s press, i knew that exhibiting at the show would be a long term goal.  walking the show, seeing the booth set ups up and products, and meeting industry folk was an incredible experience.  i cannot wait to experience the show as an exhibitor when i debut in 2013!

national stationery show 2012

i also attended the ladies of letterpress conference for the second year in a row.  it’s always a great time when you’re in a room full of printers and letterpress aficionados.

ladies of letterpress conferencebusiness development - i was able to participate in a few classes and workshops this year to improve on and learn some new skills.  i have always wanted to develop my photoshop skills and this past year i was finally able to take i heart blogshop -  photoshop for bloggers.  in addition to being a class participant, penelope’s press was also one of the sponsors for the chicago class and have some of penelope’s press chicago theater notecards included in the swag bag of goodies.

blogshop chicago

blogshop chicago swagbag

i also took an online modern calligraphy class with melissa esplin.  the class got my feet wet with basic calligraphy techniques and experimenting with different inks and nibs.

online modern calligraphy for beginners

i met katie hunt of kelp designs when i walked the stationery show.  katie runs a series of workshops called tradeshow bootcamp where participants prepare for exhibiting at a large scale tradeshow.  the bootcamp was intense and packed with information overload.  it has really prepared me for how much work i have in store as i get ready for nss 2013.

tradeshow bootcamp at nss

shows and fairs - speaking of tradeshows… my application as an exhibitor was accepted for the 2013 national stationery show!  i submitted my online application in late september and a few weeks later received notice that my application was accepted.

national stationery show application

up until a few months ago penelope’s press products have only been sold online and through referrals.  in october i participated in my first craft show, the diy trunk show hosted by chicago craft mafia.  it was a lot of work preparing for the show- printing product, preparing my setup, printing signage- but now i am officially hooked!  getting in the face of customers gives you instant feedback on the products that customer’s love and what they are looking for.

chicago craft mafia diy trunk show

marketing - in 2012 i had my blog re-designed by the amazing lindsay nicole design {now known as hello monday} and moved over wordpress, i had a short letterpress video put together by the rad vince of stizomedia , and had my letterpress business cards featured in cake & whiskey’s launch issue– the first time penelope’s press was featured in print!

penelope's press in print

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everyday musings

Posted by debbie lee on

happy new year faithful blog readers!  i know it has been quiet here for most of 2012, but i hope to post more this year!  if you follow penelope’s press on instagram, you saw that i posted this picture on new years day…

today i will letterpress list

what are your big plans for 2013?  big things are brewing here at penelope’s press… our big debut at the national stationery show , our first wedding show next month, new products, creative collaborations, and so much more!  2013 will prove to be a busy year… i hope you stick around and come along for the ride!  a recap + highlights of 2012 will be up on the blog soon… until then, i wish you a happy, healthy, creative 2013!

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