Tag Archives: stationery

2014 National Stationery Show! (Part 5: COSTS)

The nitty gritty of it all — the cost of NSS (for queenie’s cards, anyway).

I already posted the cost details of everything booth related in Part 3 and I’ve elaborated (or, ranted) on specifics about prep (flight, hotel, catalogues, line sheets, order forms and marketing materials) in Part:2, all so I could summarize the cost breakdowns in this chart:

So there you have it! $11,356.54 is the (approximate) total I spent on my 2014 National Stationery Show experience. Yowza.

The hotel fee really ate into my budget, I’ve made a ton of New Yorker friends since the show so if I were to ever exhibit again I would love to cross this expense off my list! I was lucky I could at least fly on points.

The booth, well, there’s tons I could have done differently now that I’ve had my first experience. But honestly, looking back, I wouldn’t have changed a thing because it worked out so smoothly and I know if I attempted to put anything together on my own it would’ve been a disaster.

Shipping costs was more than I estimated, as I mentioned before, I will 100% plan a month ahead of all self-given deadlines so I can ground ship all materials. It was a pain in the arse to lug to and from the airport too, what a mess!

Inventory costs included all cellophane sleeves for the cards, press kits, tote bags, buttons/magnets/keychains, and of course the cards themselves (I brought 3 of each design with me but printed extras for orders).

Marketing materials: I got a great deal for my business cards and postcards (no tax and free shipping), I’m happy with my order forms because I can use them for future orders, but I spent way too much on catalogues and line sheets. I printed/purchased 100 too many of each and now they’re obsolete. I was paranoid I would run out so I handed them out sparingly, but next time I would give one to anyone who would want to take it and I’d leave extras at my booth for after hours incase suppliers were walking the show when it was closed.

I cabbed from the airport to my hotel (and back) because I had too much luggage to bother with the subway. Flying into JFK wasn’t the most convenient but it was the only flight I could get with my points so I made do. I didn’t even think to see if there were any shuttle buses available until I went back to NYC with the hubs last month and he looked into one — though we flew into Newark the round trip ticket was only $30. Argh.

Food in NYC is pricey. Thankfully, breakfast was included with my hotel stay (such a saviour!) but a boxed chicken sandwich in Javits cost $10 — so relieved I took fruit and bagels with me from breakfast everyday. Needless to say I didn’t eat much for lunch, especially because I didn’t eat in my booth and after a big breakfast I was ok until the evening. I did splurge on dinner and desserts, I told myself I earned it after each long day at the show. I went out with my new NSS friends every night and we had a blast, from Shake Shack to fancy sushi restaurants, it was totally worth it. Next time I would bring a crap ton of snacks though, just to have on hand at the airport, hotel and at the booth. Having a water bottle was key!

Other miscellaneous purchases added up too, I had to buy a $20 US data phone plan but went over anyway because I was already speaking with local retailers after the first day, I cabbed to and from dinner a few times because I don’t know my way around the city, and I bought gifts and souvenirs which isn’t technically in my budget (shhh).

All in all, over half a year later I still feel good about every purchase and I’m really curious what my expense report would be if I exhibit again. I would like to eventually, but for 2015 I’m concentrating on local Toronto shows now that I’ve reached a wide range of stockists, all thanks to the contacts and connections I’ve made at NSS! It was an absolute surreal adventure and I loved every bit of it! Next up is Part 6: Post-Show — what the heck has been going on since I’ve come back!

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2014 National Stationery Show! (Part 1: INTRO)

NSS2014, booth 1369 in the #fresh section!

Let’s start from the beginning of how I got into the whirlwind that is NSS :)

Last May, I was nearing the end of my 12-month maternity leave when I came across this video:

The National Stationery Show was nothing more than a pipe dream. queenie’s cards had only been a side business since 2008 and I just entered the world of wholesale that month (May 17, 2013 to be exact). I was scheduled to be back at my 9-5 like most moms after having a baby. As much as I enjoyed my job before I had Madeline (I was a photographer/graphic designer at a children’s toy company), I knew I was meant to explore other options. Having a stockist and then seeing this video all within a week left me wide-eyed with hopes to bring queenie’s cards to its true potential. I researched day and night and drove hubs crazy the next couple of months. The number one reason why I was hesitant to even submit my entry to this show was the cost. The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City is THE place to be for all sorts of tradeshows. This means exhibiting at this venue is super expensive. I’ve set up a toyfair here back in 2010 so I knew how grand it really is.

Fast forward to the fall, I was still thinking about the show and being away from Madeline for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week was unbearable. I needed to change this. On October 17, 2013 (I submitted my application a few days before, not thinking I would get accepted), I received the voicemail congratulating me on becoming an exhibitor! I must have listened to that message at least 3 times to make sure I heard it correctly. I felt completely elated, much like when I got accepted to university back in high school. I talked it out with hubby and accepted the offer (!!!). Before I knew it, the holidays rolled around, and with the support of my amazing family, I decided to leave my full-time position in the new year to pursue my own business.

On January 17, 2014, exactly 8 months after I dropped off my first wholesale order at a local retailer, I was saying goodbye to coworkers I’ve known for 6 years and was absolutely terrified. Part of me (and a lot of others, I’m sure) thought I was out of my mind to leave a secure job with benefits to risk it all for a dream — especially because I’m now a parent with endless bills to pay. But a part of me also thought this was the greatest move of my life (I must say, I’ve had nothing but support!). Designing and creating truly makes me happy and I sincerely believe queenie’s cards is my calling.

Since becoming a work-at-home mom, I’ve been working day and night to prep for this gigantic show. I read everything relating to NSS, watched all the videos, spoke to friendly fellow business owners who were kind enough to offer advice to a newbie like me, and I was totally overwhelmed. There was so much I needed to do in a very short amount of time. Companies spend a full year preparing for this and I had less than 4 months to catch up (another vital reason why I wanted to concentrate on the business 100%, evenings and weekends just wasn’t enough time). Plus, we had already planned a family vacation to Boston for a week just one month before the show! My calendar was starting to freak me out. I tried to do one thing at a time but really, I was multi-tasking like crazy. Oh, and did I mention I have NEVER done a show before? Not One of a Kind, not a local art show… nothing! I had no idea what I was getting myself into! So aside from documenting my NSS experience, what helped me get through a lot of unknowns was reading blogs that generously took the time to tell the world their journey through it all. I hope to be of the tiniest smidgen of help to anyone who might be going through the same thing as I was, and to also let you know how everything unfolded for me!

There is so much to say, I’ve divided this post into six parts:

Part 2 of this series will detail all of the prep that I went through leading up to the night of my flight. I’ll write about what worked and what I would do differently next time (if there is a next time!) and all sorts of tidbits for first-timers.

Part 3 will be about the booth from concept to setup and teardown. There are lots of things I’m glad I did and a few I would change if I were to do it again.

Part 4 is all about the show! From 10am on Day 1 to the last hour of Day 3.5 (it ended on a Wednesday afternoon). This was the fun part :)

Part 5 is the scary part… the cost! I’ll have a breakdown of the major expenses for my little 10 x 6 space. Everything added up so quickly.

Part 6 will be about breathing a sigh of relief! I’ve been back since last Thursday night and I’m still recovering from the utter exhaustion of the past week. This last bit will be continuous as I start to go through the post-show stages.

Thanks for reading and stayed tuned for the rest of the series! :)

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I’M SO EXCITED!

LOOK!

Website Screenshot

The new website is FINALLY ready! This was an ongoing project since last November and I stayed up all week to finish the last touches. There’s still a few kinks to sort through but it’s up and running, with FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING ON ALL ITEMS! This promo ends March 31 so place your orders now! I still have a ton of products to add but until then, feel free to let me know if you’d like any customizations, as always! I have a new blog but don’t worry, I will still be posting here because I like you all too much! :)

TWO more months until the National Stationery Show in New York City. TWO! I have sooo much to do, and a week will be lost next month when we take a family trip to Boston because hubs is running the marathon again. I’m stressed to high hell but hopefully everything will work out — it has to, right? I’m praying to the stationery lords that attendees will forgive my lack of budget for the display booth and focus on my designs. It’s insanely expensive ($2000 for the 6’x10′ space alone) and I’m now realizing I should’ve created a kickstarter campaign. If all goes well this time around, I will definitely try to rally up some backers next year.

This is what I’ve been up to since I left my full-time job in late January, working hard to get everything ready for this prestigious gala. Companies spend a full year prepping and I have less than 6 months to catch up. If any of you have any advice for tradeshows, please please please let me know! I’m all ears!

Side note, Madeline is turning two years old just 5 days before I fly out to this event. How did that happen?

EDIT
By the way, look what arrived from Society6!

queeniescards_S6 phone case

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