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2007 New York Stationery Show Report

Earth-friendly products and creative new designs.

by Ellie Joos (June 4, 2007)

After fabrics and ribbons, high on my list of beautiful products that I like to collect is paper, so the New York Stationery Show is always one of my favorite trade shows to visit. This year's show was no exception with more than 200 new exhibitors according to show management.

How optimistic it is in this digital age to see so many new companies designing and producing products that appeal to our creative side and need to reach out and communicate in ways other than e-mail.

One other observation: this year's show was arranged to integrate products, rather than group like-products together. Show management reported that the vendors were much happier since they were being visited by new buyers who might have otherwise overlooked their booth.

As for the trends at the show, as with my recent visit to Quilt Market, I was curious as to how many companies I would see with "green" products and this being a paper show, I expected to see far more this year than I had at past shows.

Earth Friendly Products.

These products include handmade papers with soy and vegetable inks, paper products made from recycled paper, soy candles, plant-able papers with wild flower seeds embedded, and several new fibers I had not heard about, such as Kenaf (related to hibiscus) and Bagasse (sugar cane waste product). These fibers are used by Tree Free Greetings to make their greeting cards and their booth display reflected their commitment down to the plywood used to make their booth. This company, as several others, is also about education with flyers and brochures that tell about their products and promote the importance of contributing to a better world.

The Arbor Day Foundation, exhibiting for the first time, featured their Give-A-Tree cards. For every card purchased, a tree is planted by the U.S. Forest service. Since 1990, more than seven million trees have been planted.

Among the many other companies, one of the oldest, Green Field Paper Co., makes plant-able cards, journal, note cards, and does packaging and product tags for other companies, including the card that Target is using for their new biodegradable gift card. Rick Smith, owner, said about his company, "We used to be vague and now we are vogue."

Bloomin' Flower Cards has a colorful line of plant-able cards, bookmarks, and invitations embedded with hundreds of seeds, as does Symphony Handmade Seed Papers.

What was really clear at this show is that earth friendly products are also beautifully designed as were the hip and modern gift wrap papers from Fish Lips, another new exhibitor. This company also gives ideas for reusing their papers on its website. EcoJot featured very chic stationery on 100% recycled paper, using vegetable-based glues and inks, and made in a mill that uses alternative power, while donating a portion of sales to environmental causes.

Cause-related marketing.

As with eco-friendly products, another trend is giving back to charities and organizations. Art with Heart donates 100% of the proceeds from its line of greeting cards and books featuring the art of a number of contemporary artists, including Mary Grand Pre of Harry Potter fame, to benefit youth in crisis or facing profound challenges.

Another first time exhibitor, Cards from Africa, sells cards made by Rwandan orphans with all proceeds going to help these children with medical care, education, and to learn important skills. Red Raven's products fall into several trends soy based inks on recycled papers, great animal prints, and a portion of their proceeds are donated to charity.

Show trends.

Color, Color, Color. Pink and green for a preppy look and blue and green are still evident, monochromatic color schemes of color on color, black and white, brown and white, navy and white, bright colors mixed with pastels, Wasabi green with any number of colors including brown, yellow, red.

Textures. Flocking or velvety, wood looks, embroidered, sparkles. Eco Friendly Papers had lovely handmade embroidered papers and Ephemera had great hand-stitched note cards.

Design Motifs. Birds, owls, silhouettes, flowers, chain link, pirates, skulls, vintage 50's faces, aprons, lingerie, shoes. Smack of Jellyfish features silhouetted animals in their unique line of products.

Organizational Products. There's no excuse for a messy home office with fashion colored and designed products, calendars, list making products, and planners for the "Alpha Mom." Buttoned Up has a line of organizers and kits for the busy woman in themes from Moving, and Collision to Do&Delegate to Valuables. MO, Inc. has folders , binders, and accessories in fashion right colors.

Kids Interactive. A number of companies had kids in mind with such products as cards for kids from Express Greeting Cards to color and record 10-second messages, cards with pirate or princess masks inside. One of my favorites was Minikin Press, exhibiting for the first time with its Upside Down Book, The Wishing Star books that turn into wishing stars, and the new King's Crown, a waterproof book and crown to make any child feel like royalty. Goffengel Workshop has the most remarkable pop-up albums and cards that are incredible feats of paper engineering and the booth was designed with whimsy and charm.

Sophisticated Holiday. Blue with red and white is new for Christmas from TwoTrickPony. Great Arrow (this company also has a line of cards with the Paint Box Project which supports national research to help end cancer) also featured lovely blue, red, and white designs. Motormouthpress has a great line of food-themed stationery and greeting cards that double as mementos and ornaments, including several done in the blue, red and green color combinations.

Gift Wrapping Kits. They including ribbons and tissue, reusable boxes, fabric bags, and wrappings. Firefly had a beautiful line of coordinated boxes and bows.

Pets. Greeting cards, wrapping paper, and unique kits that include ribbons and D-rings from Just Fur Me. The Bow Wow Leash Bow is decorative and functional. Sweet Petatoes has scrapbook kits, bags, and calendars for pet lovers and their best friends.

Girlfriend. Humor, encouragement, and tea time in cards and social stationery, and good looking men doing housework in a calendar from Urban Photography, a company from UK, that also donates a portion of its proceeds to charities.

Craft Influence. Stationery stores have many products from which to choose to capture some of the scrapbooking and cardmaking business. SEI was at the show for the first time with new scrapbook and cardmaking kits. Jumpstart Scrapbook introduced scrapbook kits for the busy mom who wants the look of great pages in a fraction of the time. AMH Design combined needlepoint with paper to offer contemporary, stylish kits for photo albums, journals, cards, and more.

Beautifully Designed. The Gift Bag Factory, another first time exhibitor, has taken gift bags to a new level: great colors and designs, hand-assembled and stitched, reusable bags that are too pretty to ever toss out. Designed Reflections has given coasters a new look with oversized flowers that are multi-purpose and reusable. IScream launched a line of colorful lenticular covers on journals and notebooks that have a very fresh and young appeal.

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



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