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Reports on shows, trends, and more

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National Stationery Show Report

Save the earth, beautify your correspondence, and laugh..

by Ellie Joos, Ellie Joos & Associates (June 15, 2009)

(Note: Ellie is one of the industry's premier trend watchers, marketing pros, and product developers.)

 "Green" eco-friendly products and "value" in products, two key trends that have been the buzz words at trade shows and in the media for the past six months or more, were also evident at the National Stationery Show in New York last month. With the economy still in flux, customers and consumers are looking for products that give them a reason to part with their money, while also being aware of the impact these products have on the environment.

Stationery industry forecasters are predicting a 19% growth in green products through 2013, and "green" products at this show are appearing in everything from paper-based products, naturally, to candles and lotions that can be carried in stationery and gift retail stores. Perhaps because of the economy, and the comfort that comes from familiarity, there seemed to be an evolution of good ideas and styles from past shows with no new fad or trend emerging. That being said, there were enough new products and companies at the show to give retailers opportunities to use their allotted budgets to bring freshness to their stores.

Weddings are an important part of this market, and although wedding budgets have been reduced, brides still want their day to be the most special it can be. At one entrance to the show, Getmarried.com presented a beautiful eye-catching display of table settings to inspire retailers to create similar displays in their stores to boost sales. Their themes were a timely "Elegance on a Budget," "Eco-Chic," Bachelorette, and Bridal Shower. www.getmarried.com

Color and Patterns. Sunny, happy optimistic colors in this market are following the trends we have seen in fashion. Shades of purples, purple mixed with green, preppy pink and green, blue mixed with green, orange, yellow, alone or together and black and white appeared in many product lines. In wedding invitations, move over chocolate, grey/silver combined with turquoise, yellow looks new, again reflecting the colors that have had fashion importance. Pattern motifs include florals, paisley, lace, birds and owls, cupcakes, dogs and cats, and retro-inspired patterns. Monograms and personalization are growing in popularity in the stationery market as well as in other areas such as baby products, totes, and apparel items.

Products. Magnets are having a resurgence and The Rare Orchid (www.therareorchid.com) showed a lovely line of magnetic clothespins in Asian inspired patterns. The unique designs are also used for pendants, compacts, stickers and other items.

Unibind had several new introductions that would appeal to the stationery retailer who also services a scrapbooking audience. The new MyBook Collection and Photobook Kits are easy to assemble and personalize. The talking and singing card line make unique gift items and personalize the sending of a greeting card. www.unibind.com

Kookie Stationery, a first time exhibitor, takes personalization to an edible level with their pre-decorated jumbo-sized cookie card that is ready to personalize with an edible ink marker. www.kookiestationery.com

Packing boxes can now be fun and creative with the decorative line of packing tape from TapeSwell. The line of bold, colorful, and clever motifs are perfect for boxes, bags, and envelopes, as well as to use for scrapbooking, cardmaking, and other craft projects. www.tapeswell.com

Quilters and quilt lovers will be delighted with the line of greeting cards by Donna Jan Designs that feature color photography from Donna Jan's beautiful hand made quilts. www.donnajandesigns.com

Whimsy. In these stressful times, having a sense of humor is important and healthy. Companies like AnyHorribleOccasion can help with that. Their Greeting Cards. . . with Attitude are very funny and I love their tag line "Misery loves company now it has a card!" www.anyhorribleoccasion.com

Ikestar Enterprises targets undesirable personal behaviors with their very funny Penalty Pads, designed to look like police summons. These "Official Tickets" for "My Husband," "My Wife," "My Co-Worker," plus 40 more, list humorous offenses . Very funny! www.penaltypads.com

New exhibitor Wild Whimsy launched a whimsical and charming line of handmade, die-cut stationery and card kits based on zoo, bug, and sea creatures. www.wildwhimsy.com

Puppy Paws Productions displayed whimsical dog-themed notes and greeting cards using eco-friendly paper and envelopes. www.puppypawsproductions.com

New Exhibitor One Curly Girl debuted a line of simple and appealing hand-drawn characters in black and white for every occasion. www.onecurlygirl.com

Monkey Design USA launched a line of postcards with cut out components for animals and creatures inspired by nature and Japanese anime and manga, which become collectable models when made. The line also includes transportation and architecture designs. www.monkeydesignusa.com

Using images that look good enough to eat, Scentsational Greetings debuted the newest addition to its line of scented greeting cards. Gingerbread, cupcakes, peppermint, coffee, and chocolate are some of the yummy scents that make these cards memorable, while improving the mood of the recipient. www.scentsational-greetings.com

Eco-friendly. There were more and more products too little space to list them all but here are a few that caught my eye:

Green Girl natural and organic body care products, good for our skin and the environment. www.greengirlsoap.com

Mr. Ellie Pooh expanded its line of Pachyderm Paper made from 75% elephant dung and 25% post consumer paper to include greeting cards and cooperative efforts with other paper/card manufacturers. The products help to save the lives of elephants in Sri Lanka that had been killed by farmers because they interfere with agriculture, but now they have an economic value. www.mrelliepooh.com

VERT/Yoko Chapman launched the first zero-carbon wedding invitation line. This exquisite line was designed to minimize paper consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce waste. The website is one of the best for that bride-to-be who wants to personalize her wedding with DIY project templates and many other sources of inspiration. www.yokochapman.com

Wallies, a familiar name in the craft and home dcor market, is now packaging its fabulous wallpaper cutouts in 100% recycled paper from renewable resources. The reusable vinyl Peel & Stick murals and decals in holiday designs make decorating for festive occasions a snap. www.wallies.com

At every show, I always seem to find a product or two that really stand out, and the new products from Slice did just that at this show. This very cool manufacturer (www.slicehome.com) of cutting tools introduced three new items by famed designer Karim Rashid, whose work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. The Ceramic Precision Cutter can cut just about anything, including intricate shapes, with a never-rust ceramic blade and soft-touch grip in striking lime green, packaged in eye-catching orange. Other tools by Rashid include the Ceramic Y-Peeler and Ceramic Veggie Peeler.

Although the show was a bit smaller than past shows, there was enough energy and activity on the show floor to leave the impression of optimism and enthusiasm for this vital industry.

Note: Ellie is president of Ellie Joos & Associates, a marketing, pr, and product development firm. To read reports on other industry-related shows, click on the titles in the right-hand column. To contact Ellie, call 908-459-9269 or email eleapple@hotmail.com.

xxx

 

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