National Stationery Show (NSS) is just over a month away, and I for one simply can’t wait! Especially when I see the fabulous work from these three first-time exhibitors hitting my in-box. So without further ado, let me virtually introduce you to the wonderful wares — and the minds that make them tick — at Bracket, Dear to Me Studio and There Will Be Cake.

Bracket is the brainchild of Alivia Gibbens, owner and creative director, and this modern party goods purveyor brings a sleek, fun-loving and most welcome perspective to the category. “I’ve always loved planning and hosting parties,” she told me.“Anytime I host a party, I love to add a unique touch or custom element to it that makes my guests feel like they’re at a special event. (S0) I started with fun custom headbands and banners and people loved them, so I continued to expand the brand to offer more custom products, party kits, balloons, gift wrap and more. Our aesthetic is colorful, modern, and fun. We make party products for birthdays, bachelorette and bridal showers, baby showers and everyday celebrations. We (offer) party headbands, fun cake toppers, gift-wrap, drink stirrers, coasters, banners, garlands, cake stands and balloons.”SS: Had you walked NSS before? What made you decide to take the plunge?

AG: I haven’t walked NSS but have followed along on social media for the last two years and loved it. Virtually seeing what some of my favorite brands were showcasing, how they brought their brand to life in the form of a booth was so inspiring. Our business has been steadily growing and gaining more exposure but needs that extra nudge to get to the next level. So we decided that NSS was the right next step!
SS: 
Can you give readers a sneak peek at your booth?

AG: We love color at Bracket so we are going to have an all white booth with some added designs on the booth to make the colors really pop. Our products are also very colorful so those will really pop on a white backdrop. Since we are a party product company, expect some fun, unique touches too! SS: Are you planning on having any incentives/special promotions during the show?

AG: Yes! We are offering free domestic shipping on orders of $300, 10% off your total of orders $400+, and 15% off orders of 500+. We also have some fun flair to give away! SS: Is there anywhere outside of your booth that you have to get to (e.g, seminars, best new product display, etc.)?

AG: What? I’m not sure! We’re new to the show and can’t wait to take in as much as possible! SS: What is the best advice you’ve gotten so far about exhibiting at NSS?

AG: To go all in! It’s a great opportunity to share your business and brand with a new audience. While it can be easy to get overwhelmed and be nervous, you really have to put yourself out there and get out of your comfort zone. Be ready with your booth, products, and most importantly yourself to share the company you love!  SS: Is there anything else you’d like to share with TPC readers?

 AG: We are SO excited to be going to NSS for the first time! We can wait to meet and great with new and old faces and bring a bit of a party to the show!Be sure to hit Bracket in Booth #1354!

Dear To Me Studio was founded by Elly Vvaller. The former fashion and interiors stylist has design studios in England & Sweden — but will be bringing her luxe range to American soil for the very first time next month!  Elly studied design at Chelsea College of Art in London and worked for over 10 years in the fashion industry for brands like Net-A-Porter, Burberry and Harrods. After having her first child, Bruno, and moving, she began sketching and producing invites and notecards for a local clientele. Now, three years later, Dear To Me Studio encompasses notecards, greetings cards, notebooks and wrap. Their designs are always minimal on cool Colorplan stock, often featuring a playful motif from Elly’s extensive sketchbook!SS: Had you walked NSS before? What made you decide to take the plunge?

EV: Since I launched in 2015 I have followed NSS and its exhibitors closely. Inspired and motivated by the high regard for stationery and paper goods in the US, I felt the NSS was a major goal for me and the brand. Several European peers had also recommended the show to me and I am excited to exhibit alongside them this year. It’s always nice to have a familiar face around the corner when you’re so far from home!SS: Can you give readers a sneak peek at your booth?

EV: The Dear To Me Studio aesthetic is modern, playful and simple. We pride ourselves on our clean design and fresh use of color, inspired by our British/Scandi heritage. Our booth will take a similar turn. Think white walls and natural fabrics. From beach wood shelving, to leather and sheepskin details, our paper heirlooms will be centre stage.SS: Are you planning on having any incentives/special promotions during the show?

EV: We are offering free shipping for orders over $200. We’ll also be offering 12 free cards for minimum orders and there will be lots of samples and Swedish candy available from our stand!

SS: Is there anywhere outside of your booth that you have to get to?

EV: I’ll be making a bee line for Boss Ladies on the 22nd! A great opportunity to hear from some of the most influential industry professionals. I’ve also been nominated for a LOUIE Award so will be looking forward to seeing their exhibit as well as attending the gala.SS: What is the best advice you’ve gotten so far about exhibiting at NSS?

EV: I was recently awarded the scholarship to Tradeshow Boot Camp, focusing mainly on NSS. Did I mention it was in LA?! Katie and her team of alums were incredibly generous sharing past experiences and contacts to make our experience of NSS that bit smoother. So much valuable information has come to light since doing the course, one of the best being that there is an Ikea guy who will do your shopping for you and deliver to your aisle!SS: Is there anything else you’d like to share with TPC readers?

EV: This will be my first time exhibiting in the US. I’m very excited to show my product line and to meet so many others as passionate about paper as me!Don’t miss seeing this Hygge-rich range in Booth #1440! 

Last up, we’ve got the delectably named There Will Be Cake, created by wife-and-husband team Jessica McGuirl, Designer and Creative Director, and Robin McGuirl Operations and All The Other Stuff.  As you can see, the aesthetic here is colorful, illustrated, and hand lettered. “We have a lot of pattern design and whimsical influences,” Robin described. “We definitely can’t separate the work from our own attitudes, so it is always a pretty accurate representation of our own tastes and senses of humor. Since this is our debut, we decided to keep the product offerings simple. Gift Wrap, greeting cards, flat note cards (they are super thick and awesome and we love them!), notepads and notebooks.”“While we had dabbled here and there with making cards before, what really started us down this path was our wedding,” Robin continued. “Since we couldn’t find any stationery that really matched our aesthetic, and since we’re both illustrators — we met at art school! — we decided to make our own. We ended up going totally crazy with it and had a lot of fun.

“People really responded to it, and we started getting requests from friends and family to do their invites, and from there, we decided to make the stationery its own company, rather than just a freelance thing. On top of that, one of the fun things about having your own business is that you can make whatever you want! So, having a wholesale/retail aspect to our company made sense, as we are constantly getting ideas for things we want to make, or we’ll make a pattern for one thing and decide it will also go great on something else. So now we get to have the satisfaction of working closely with people on their wedding suites to make those exactly what they want, as well as working really closely with ourselves on whatever WE want. Also, if we have an idea for someone that they don’t end up going with, but we really like, we can use it later on something for us!”

SS: Had you walked NSS before? What made you decide to take the plunge?

RM: We have! Jessica had walked the floor years ago while attending SURTEX as a freelance illustrator, and last year we both walked as a scouting mission. We decided we wanted to branch into wholesale because we were looking for ways to get our work out into the world beyond our wedding clients. We love the wedding work, but people kept telling us how much they liked our stuff but were already married. We figured that meant there was opportunity for us to branch out and get some other revenue streams coming in.  SS: Can you give me a sneak peek at your booth?

RM: As this is our first NSS, we opted to go simple with the booth. Our work is the main star, so expect to see lots of it out. Since Jessica loves working with surface design and patterns so much, we will definitely have a large accent wall with one of our signature patterns. You won’t be able to miss us! We’ll also have some fun little give aways, since we can’t help ourselves.

SS: Are you planning on having any incentives/special promotions during the show?

RM: We plan on having shipping deals! Again, we’re keeping it simple and streamlined for our first time out.

SS: Is there anywhere outside of your booth that you have to get to (e.g, seminars, best new product display, etc.)? What?

RM: YES! There is a talk with a bunch of awesome people that we are dying to see, Boss Ladies: The Secrets Behind Successful Stationery Stars. These titans need no introduction, and they are all absolute inspirations. Also, I need to high-five Emily McDowell at some point. (I’m) also a cancer survivor of 16 years, and her empathy cards perfectly encapsulate my attitude about cancer, illness in general, and how stupid and aggravating it is and how hard that is to explain to people.  There is also a breakfast we are going to with a bunch of our friends from Tradeshow Bootcamp, and we’re super excited to see all of them again.

SS: What is the best advice you’ve gotten so far about exhibiting at NSS?

RM: The best and simplest advice comes from Claudia at Fig.2. To paraphrase, she said “No one visiting your booth is going to notice the little things you didn’t get done, you’re the only one who is going to know.” Things go wrong, we may not get to everything we wanted, but, ultimately, it doesn’t matter. As long as the work is good, and people can come see you and meet you and buy your stuff, everything’s gonna be ok.

SS: Is there anything else you’d like to share with TPC readers?

RM”: Yeah! Peep our Instagram for sneak peeks on what we’ve been up to, and don’t forget to come see us at Booth #1539!

Thanks so much Alivia, Elly and Robin for letting me share your work here! And, I’m so glad to hear so much enthusiasm for my seminar panel. I am really excited to sit down with Emily McDowell (Emily McDowell Studio), Anna Bond (Rifle Paper Co.), Chandra Greer (GREER Chicago), Chelsea Shukov (Sugar Paper Los Angeles) and Audrey Woollen (Urbanic Paper Boutique)— and I heard Friday that tickets are being sold at a brisk pace. Be sure to get yours here so you can be sure to snag a seat!

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