Welcome to TPC’s third installment of the National Stationery Show’s Insider Guide. In the spotlight today: Smudge Ink! This Boston house of letterpress and stationery has a major announcement, co-founder Kate Saliba told me.

“We’ve been in transition, as Deb [Bastien] and I sold Smudge Ink. Yes, big news! After much consideration, we decided it was time for us both to start new chapters. It’s bittersweet: We will miss our team and this industry but we are excited for the adventures to come. Deb will stay with the business for a few months to help with the transition, and I began a new job in mid-March. April May, our old studio manager, is the new owner. She’s been running her own stationery business for a few years now, so she has plenty of industry experience. I know she will do well, and we are excited for her.”

Congratulations, April! Here’s a sneak peek at some of the great design Smudge Ink will be showing next month in Booth 2635. I remember those letterpressed cocktail ladies from LOUIE judging, and they are so colorfully divine in person. And how fun is their illustrated masculine range? 
smudge-ink-ladies-lounging-cards smudge-ink-modern-gentleman-notesApril has shared her booth pics, and first up is Richie Designs + Letterpress in Booth 2170. “I learned about Richele’s work after a former Smudge Ink employee moved to the West Coast and started working there! Last year was their first year exhibiting, and the booth was wonderfully happy and a perfect reflection of her quirky cards. I can’t wait to see what’s new this time around.” 

I can see why — that Chill Pill design needs to be a print (on my wall)!PC.CHILLPILL PC.SASS COFFEE.STYLED.retouched.low.web PC.grocerylist pc.PAD.COFFEEPAD SNUGGLE.WEBNext up: E. Frances Paper in Booth 1758. “I met the E. Francis team when they exhibited for their first time in 2014,” April recalled. “They’re fellow New Englanders, and it’s been fun keeping in touch via Instagram and watching them grow. I love their enthusiasm and their beautiful work.”

Debuting at NSS are gift tags, printed on a luxurious, thick paper, die-cut with some foil-stamped. I like the alternating ribbon and baker’s twine. E. Frances also recently debuted new sizes of notepads: a giant 11″x11″ square plus a sweet new 4″x5″ mini notepad. So pretty and chunky! Untitled 2 copy 2EFP_Notepads_Web EFP_Holiday_Web EFP_LittleNotes_WebNext up: Yellow Owl Workshop in Booth 1756. “I always look forward to seeing what Yellow Owl Workshop does with their booth because it really stands out in a great way and highlights fun new products,” April told me. “Of course, I love seeing the new stamps, too!”

Their booth design — which is always stellar — will remain a surprise until show doors open May 15, but here’s a peek at their new stamps (love the emojis!) plus lots of risograph printing. Talk about touchable texture, I can’t wait to see those vibrant colors in person.Untitled 2 copy 2 Untitled 2 copy 5 Untitled 2 copy 3Untitled 2 copy 4 Untitled 2 copy 6 Untitled 2 copy 7Next up we have a familiar pick: Sapling Press. “Lisa’s cards always make me laugh and feel like someone understands my inner thoughts and daily tribulations,” April observed. “It’s a real treat in the middle of a long trade show day!” I can’t think of a better way to mentally unwind than a quick visit to Booth 2353. Sapling_Press_#020 Sapling_Press_#918 Sapling_Press_MugLast up we have another of my favorites: Thimblepress. “It’s really fun to see Kristen’s products in person at the show because the Thimblepress Instagram feed is like a party, which really builds the anticipation!”

Kristen has a slew of new releases this year, all of which are the stationery equivalent of an unforgettable party. Be sure to not miss her confetti cards and gift wrap. The foiled cards really come to life in a dynamic way once the confetti is opened, while the gift wrap is gorgeous on its own, but adds a fresh, artisanal edge to gifting.

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Stay tuned for more picks in this series from Rifle Paper Co., Sugar Paper, Hello!Lucky and Twig & Fig. And, thank you so much April for sharing all this with us! I can’t close without one more peek at the design that awaits in Smudge Ink’s Booth 2635. To me these fabulous florals really capture the fresh spring vibe so ubiquitous at NSS.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t made your NSS plans yet, the time is now. Register to attend here and apply to exhibit here!

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