Shopping the show: tips from Urbanic for a successful trip to the National Stationery Show!
Whether you’re a first-time attendee or a seasoned Stationery Show vet, we know you’ll appreciate these 10 helpful tips from Audrey Woollen, owner of Urbanic Paper Boutique in Venice, California. Audrey travels cross-country for the show, and her shop always features an amazing mix of carefully curated paper goods.
MAP OUT A PLAN: The NSS walking map is a great tool to use prior to the show. When I start receiving booth invitations, I add the booth numbers of the lines I am interested in visiting and keep tabs on the booths per aisle as destinations. I’ve learned from experience that it’s easy to accidentally miss a booth (especially the smaller ones) if I’m not intentional about finding them. I save the lines that are more comprehensive for me to write until my last day — since they take a lot of time, I try to really hone in and focus without distractions.
PLANNING TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME SHOW ATTENDEES: When you arrive, walk the show first to take it all in — and keep track of the booths you want to make sure to visit. After you’ve done a walk-through, it’s always a good idea to start in the middle of the show and work your way to both ends. This will prevent you from getting caught up in the traffic cluster of the end aisles during those peak show hours and will help kick off your show pace at a more even level that you may need as a first timer.
GET ORGANIZED: I always come to the show with a notebook divided up by the months that I’m ordering for. That way I can mix up the product assortment, and keep track of what is coming in and when. This also helps budget out each month for our cost of goods and evens out the flow of entering and receiving.
As for show buying, I write all of my orders as I go from booth to booth and comb through all of them by month a few days after the show. This is where the real work comes in: moving around delivery dates, referencing catalogs, and editing where needed.
Since I travel across the country for the show, I try not to take too many catalogs home from the booths. I request that they be sent out to me and only take the ones I feel that I’ll need to reference right away or lines that I’m considering writing but have not committed to yet.
THINK AHEAD: I’m always on the lookout for product themes that go well together for promotional content. I’m always thinking ahead for store newsletters, features and merchandising concepts while I’m doing my buying.
FIND INSPIRATION: I let the booth displays, product trends and the pulse of the amazing NYC shops and restaurants fill my creative cup to overflowing with new inspiration for Urbanic. I take it all in and let this consolidated creative energy inspire and recharge me for store windows, line collaborations, special events and everything in between.
My phone back up charger is my #1 necessity at the show (…besides food and water, of course!). I take photos of everything, which helps me document the inspiration and the goods we have coming in. It also makes for great social media content during the show and after.
STOP FOR A SNACK: There is a little deli called Frame just up the street from the Javits on 33rd Street. This is an amazing little place to stock up on good healthy snacks for the day or even a great place to hop out if you want to get some fresh air and an amazing salad. Keep in mind it’s not open on Sundays though — I forget every time!
Whether you’re heading to show or following the action on Instagram, be sure to follow along with Audrey’s 68.4k followers on Instagram and see her snaps @urbanic! You can also see updates and new product sneak peeks on our account @smockpaper!
all photos provided by Urbanic