This year was the year to step up the business. I dove in, like I always do, and reserved a booth at The National Stationery Show, the premiere show in the country for paper goods. The fact that I had never done anything like this before was intimidating, but with some chutzpah and a lot of help from family, old buddies and new paper friends via Trade Show Bootcamp, I can officially say that The White Cabinet and Hilda’s drawings were a smash hit.
We had a very small booth which served it’s purpose beautifully. Lloyd Stone at Manny Stone Decorators built it and he had the great idea to add that little extra corner to our space. That made all the difference. I love Lloyd! If you ever do a Javits Show, he’s the man to go to for all the booth details.
My husband Jim came to help me. He’s 6’4″, so any high stuff that needed to be done, he accomplished. The Javits Center is sometimes very strict about you using ladders.
And somehow it all came together like magic. I had envisioned a recreation of Mom’s studio. There wasn’t much room, but I brought her drawing table and a couple of other pieces. And in the end, it did have the feeling of a room rather than a booth.
Believe it or not, this was 5 months in the planning, 100’s of hours of work and 2 days of non stop setting up at Javits to pull it together. But it was all worth it.
Sunday at 9am the doors open and from then until Wednesday at 12pm, 11,000 people walked thru to discover the most beautiful paper products in the country. I really had no idea what to expect. I decided not to set my expectations too high as I wanted to avoid disappointment. Instead, the show exceeded all of my dreams.
My best friend Lisa Pines came to help on Sunday. She and I go way back to when we were 3 and 4. Our mothers were friends. In fact, I stayed at Paula Pines’ (mother of Lisa) apartment. The booth was packed and we were selling! Stores from California to New York to Florida, Dallas, Milwaukee were buying the products. And then Jack Haro tapped me on the shoulder. Jack was my liason with the GLM Group that manages the show. I thought he was coming by to say hi, but instead, he announced that we had won 1st place in the Eco Chic Category of the New Product Competition for our and Flavor Paper’s Tres Chic Gift Wrap! A trophy, a blue ribbon, photographers, reporters quoting me. Now I know how Meryl Streep feels.
And the next day, there we were in Stationery Today. Can you believe this?
It couldn’t get much better, but then it did. I was approached by reps, museums, and many many companies who were interested in licensing the images. I really thought I was having a great dream.
My friend Emily Lyon helped me on day two and three. By day two, my ankles had turned into cankles. Standing on cement for 9 hours a day really takes it out of you. But it was exhilerating and exhausting at the same time. I had visions of walking from Paula’s apartment on 8th street to Javits every day by way of Highline Park. That only happened on Saturday and it was beautiful.
But in the end, I was happy to flop into a cab and rest my weary bones.
What an extraordinary experience. Mom’s work will be seen nationwide and perhaps in Europe as well. (A store in London wants samples.) They LOVED it all. Every bit of it. I wish she were here to see it all, but I have a feeling that she has helped to orchestrate the whole thing. I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but everything fell into place perfectly. I think Mom would have gotten a kick out of people enjoying her work, but I think what would have really made her happy was seeing her daughter enjoying every moment of this new adventure.