Spring 2018
NSS Preview: I’ll Paper Manhattan By Sarah Schwartz

National Stationery Show returns in May

The National Stationery Show (NSS), the only North American event for the global stationery market, convenes in New York City at the Javits Convention Center May 20-23, 2018. Thousands of industry professionals from the U.S. and around the world are expected to attend. Highlights include an expanded Buyers Education Program, Broadway Bound, The Boulevard, an exhibitor business development program, an expanded Best New Product Awards competition and the return of the Retail Tour.

“The NSS provides the marketplace for buyers and sellers — large and small — of specialty paper products and lifestyle gifts to interact, conduct business and build relationships,” said NSS Show Director Kelly P. Bristol. “It’s an exceptional experience to be part of an industry that has such a sense of unity. There are many enhancements to the show this year, and as our industry evolves, we strive to embrace our community, stay ahead of the needs and trends of the marketplace, and work to offer even more for those who are participating in the NSS.”

Haute Papier, Booth 1928.

Approximately 750 companies will exhibit their new product offerings, including greeting cards, custom invitations, giftwrap/ribbon, stationery, specialty party supplies, bridal accessories, customized products, writing instruments, paper-crafting supplies, journals, calendars, lifestyle gifts and more. “We’re pleased that key exhibitors including Rifle Paper Co., Meri Meri and Sugar Paper Los Angeles are exhibiting, as well as several companies that are returning after a hiatus such as FLB Group, LAMY and The LANG Companies, among others,” added Bristol.

Meri Meri. Booth 2212.

Education and Events

Nine new buyer education seminars presented by key industry experts are on the program, with three sessions offered each full day of the Show. Critical topics will be discussed including: the changing landscape of retail, selling to millennials, successful small business expansion, consumer buying behavior, social media and what’s on the forefront of trends. Three topics will be addressed by panel discussions: millennial-aged gift shoppers, successful store expansion stories and “4 under 40” – successful industry players who are on the rise. The panel is led by Gift Shop’s own Sarah Schwartz, and all the panelists are 2017 40 Under 40 winners. The full program and registration is open on the website.

For the first time, the NSS presents Broadway Bound, the opportunity for attendees and exhibitors to see a Broadway musical at the specially discounted price of $109, a savings of more than $60 over the normal price. Tickets for “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical” at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 20 are available for purchase through the website. A limited number are available on a first come, first-served basis.

beve! Booth 1651.

“The Boulevard” is another new area this year, uniting the NSS together with SURTEX and highlighting the synergies between the two events. The Boulevard aisle between the two Shows will be home to the social media lounge, daily activities and demonstrations and the Theatre, featuring free seminars and speakers addressing both industries.

The NSS workshop schedule features three separate tracks for attendees: Business Nuts & Bolts, The Art of Writing, and Trends from the Show Floor. Each track features a different interactive workshop session daily Sunday through Tuesday. Topics include: “Styling for Instagram,” “Why Cursive Handwriting Matters in the Digital Age” and “The Joys of Journaling.” Watch the NSS website for the complete program and schedule.

Smarty Pants Paper Co. Booth 1650.

The Boulevard will also feature calligraphy demonstrations Sunday–Tuesday. Each day highlights a different calligrapher with 30-45 minutes sessions throughout the day. Attendees will be able to create a takeaway. Plan to arrive early, as each workshop session will be capped at 12 participants. Demonstrators will be: Becky Park, Wellspring Writes; Chavelli Tsui, Studio Chavelli; and Danielle Rothman, Rothbyrns Creative.

Business Development

Debuting this year is a one-day conference Friday, May 18 for vendors and makers at the NSS focusing on Growth Strategy Essentials. Five one-hour seminars, led by industry professionals will focus on enhancing and growing business. Topics to be discussed include: Optimizing your website sales, safeguarding your business and maintaining a strong brand, working with manufacturers’ reps to grow your sales, working with a production partner, and more.

Retail Tour

at some point press & bindery. Booth 1743.

After nearly a decade, the popular Retail Tour is returning. It will take place Saturday, May 19 before the Show opens. Five New York City retail shops are included on the tour.


Once again exhibitors will vie for honors in the annual NSS Best New Product program. Due to the popularity of the program, the categories are being expanded this year to include “All Things Wedding” and “Cause-Related.” Other categories are: All Things Paper, Life/Style, Craft It Up—DIY and Let’s Celebrate.

The Greeting Card Association is re-imagining the 29th LOUIE Awards, “Raw Meets Refined.” It will be a new blow-out bash in response to attendees who wanted a more laid back, affordable and inclusive party to celebrate the best of the greeting card industry. Everyone is invited to “Street Pop,” May 20, 2018 as the LOUIEs head to the Flatiron district. The party is happening at SpiN, a fun, casual venue. The evening will feature street-style food and drinks, street performers, a DJ, ping pong and of course honoring the winners.

Ticket prices are $125 until May 1 and just $99 for first-time attendees until March 31. An exhibit of the finalists and winners, designed by Universal Presentation Concepts, will be on display during the NSS. Tickets can be purchased through the Greeting Card Association website at: https://www.greetingcard.org/louie-awards/

Charitable Events

The NSS will partner with Gift for Life to participate in AIDS Walk New York on Sunday, May 20, the opening day of the Show. The Gift for Life/NSS team will recruit walkers to raise funds to support HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and education. To join the team or to donate, go to: https://ny.aidswalk.net/GFLNSS2018

Attendees can also donate to Writes for Women during the registration process. Writes for Women is a society for paper industry professionals who aim to engage, motivate, empower, and educate themselves and others on economic and social justice for women, while raising funds for efforts for social, economic and equality nonprofit programs.

Show Details

Mohawk is the official paper sponsor of the NSS 2018, providing stock for the attendee and exhibitor materials and promotions.

Typoflora, Booth 1553.
The Regional Assembly of Text, Booth 1953.

Legion Paper (Booth 1667) once again brings a one-of-a-kind promotion to NSS. For this year’s Project Runway-esque challenge, they invited exhibitors to #PutAStampOnIt and design a stamp that expresses their brand and vibe — and Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. designed the commemorative box! Anna’s USPS Love stamp is at post offices around the country — but this limited-edition stamp box is only at NSS.

This means attendees can assemble their stamp collection as they walk the show. All the specialty papers used for the stamps and box are culled from the 3,000+ papers Legion distributes, and both will feature exquisite details such as foiling, die-cutting, debossing, letterpress, scratch-off elements and more.

The Show floor features two special sections: #fresh and the Supply Side. #fresh is a focused juried section featuring original products from more than 30 emerging trend forward businesses that are one to five years old. A few exhibitors participating in #fresh include Ash + Chess, Pretty Bird Paper Co., Marini Ferlazzo and PleaseNotes.

The Supply Side section services features product equipment, services and supplies including die-cutting, foil stamping, embossing, holography, lamination, packaging, converters, paper printing thermography, production machinery envelopes and more.


Two additional Emerald Expositions-owned design events — SURTEX, North America’s premier exposition for the selling and licensing of original art and design, and the ICFF — will run concurrently with the NSS. One badge provides attendees and exhibitors access to all three events, generating cross-market innovation and inspiration.

For additional information and registration, visit www.nationalstationeryshow.com.

Sarah Schwartz

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