The Road to The National Stationery Show

May 05, 2012

It’s hard to believe The National Stationery Show is merely days away! Happy Cactus Designs officially launched in September 2011, and our sights have been set on exhibiting at NSS ever since. Preparing for the show is not for the faint of heart. Here’s a brief breakdown of some of what has gone into preparing for the show.


Since Happy Cactus launched last year, it was pretty clear which of our designs were the bestsellers and really represented the brand well (including Garden Blues, Happy Birthday Blue Blooms, Welcome Baby Elephants, Budding Pinks, and Heart Drops). That said, I was eager to build out the collection. Over 70 designs will be making their debut at NSS this year, including a bevy of new patterned and thank you cards, colorful designs for special occasions (think Mother’s and Father’s Day, Congratulations, Christmas, Hanukkah), and even more Birthday and Baby cards.


Perhaps the most ambitious part about exhibiting at NSS is pulling together a booth design. Since Happy Cactus Designs’ work is so colorful and pattern-driven, the choice was made to keep our booth clean and simple. I’ll share a full breakdown of the different aspects of the booth (and photos!) post-NSS.

One thing I did not expect when I launched this company was the number of wonderful stationery designers, store owners, and consultants to the industry that I would have the pleasure of getting to know. Everyone has been so supportive, welcoming, and encouraging of one another, and I cannot wait to meet my new friends in person!
A lot of this “getting to know you” has taken place on Twitter and Facebook. It’s awesome to have a sounding board to bounce ideas off of, to ask stupid questions, and to support. A huge component of this has been Tradeshow Bootcamp, founded by Kelp Designs’ Katie Hunt. Katie created TSBC as a resource for newbies like myself to learn the ropes, and has done as amazing job pulling together NSS veterans to guide us through the process.

While I wish I could spend all day doodling, designing, and creating new products, I end up spending a lot of my days wearing different hats. While you may think just having a booth at NSS is enough, a lot of prep goes into the before and after, and I’ve been wearing my marketing “hat” a lot lately. Pre-show postcards announcing my company’s debut, booth number, and show special were designed and sent to a carefully curated list of wonderful stores across the country. The Happy Cactus Designs’ website underwent a revamp and I’m thrilled with the end product. New business cards were created, too. 

 A stack of catalogs!

Perhaps the most ambitious undertaking was creating and designing a catalog of my entire collection. This included taking styled product photography, learning an entirely new program to design and layout my catalog, and figuring out the details of printing the darn thing. Fortunately, the catalog turned out beautifully (you can flip through it digitally here), and I can’t wait to share it with retailers!

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