Now, I’m all for keeping things local, but there’s one other thing that’s rather irresistible, and that’s New York in spring, which brings us to the National Stationery Show (NSS), now entering its 70th year and well worth a visit if time and budget allow.
Taking place from 15 – 18 May at the iconic location of the Javits Center in New York, America’s Stationery Show is a doubly attractive prospect for being co-located with specialist surface design show Surtex – a thrilling hotbed of design trends – and the super-luxurious International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Make no mistake, this is an inspirational week to have abroad if you can make.
The NSS features nearly 800 exhibiting companies and attracts over 10,000 buyers and industry professionals from around the world. The Show also presents high-calibre educational content, industry events, and networking opportunities throughout the market week.
While the US stationery market is considerably different to the UK and there are major product categories that haven’t yet crossed-over, New York is also the starting point for a lot of compelling design trends, such as personalisation, hand-crafting, letterpress stationery, lofty graphics and minimalist design, plus growing sending occasions such as Halloween.
For the third consecutive year, the NSS will feature #fresh, a juried section of trending and emerging businesses, showcased within their own creative community on the Show floor.
#fresh is comprised of approximately 100 companies that have been in business less than five years. To be selected for #fresh, candidates must demonstrate product and packaging creativity and authenticity. Not only do #fresh exhibitors design their own products, but more than ninety percent of them are Makers.
“The #fresh section provides a distinctive environment for companies new to the industry to launch their businesses and show their wares,” said Patti Stracher, vice president and Show director. “By creating a separate, intimate community, buyers can get to know the owners, hear their stories and find some of the freshest products in the Show.
Many exhibitors within #fresh section are part of the growing ‘maker culture’ broadly known as the Maker Movement. These terms encompass independent inventors, designers and tinkerers who combine shared learning, contemporary design and technology.
Made From Books, is a company that designs and produces jewellery from old and recycled books; Paper Punk (left) takes 2D paper designs that can be transformed into 3D geometric pieces to create paper toys and art forms. Timbergram is the creator of original postcards made from wood and Three Bluebirds developed reusable kitchen towels, handmade in the U.S.
On the whimsical yet practical side, Zootility Tools will display multipurpose animal-shaped tools. Crowns for the People will showcase felt party crowns for kid and adults and the Re-marks booth will feature adult coloring items.
Of the other NSS exhibitors we are especially taken with Inklings Paperie, which produces sustainable paper goods featuring beautiful typography, thoughtful design, and a dash of whimsy. The company is by-product of two hippies who met and fell in love at art college and, after getting married, began designing games and stationery for friends’ weddings and baby showers. From these romantic beginnings, Inklings Paperies was born in 2009.
Going from strength to strength, in 2012 the company was a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards and their paper goodies were featured in the celebrity swag bags at the Emmy Awards that same year. Their mission is to inspire kindness, create fun, fresh and innovative products and foster a creative workspace that values individuals and their families. If you need another excuse to savour New York City in the month of May, here it is!
Images from top to bottom: Inklings Paperie, Notes & Queries, Paper Punk, Inklings Paperie, Notes & Queries