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New York Stationery Show Report

Eco-friendly products were dominant.

by Ellie Joos (June 2, 2008)

The handwriting was on the wall, or rather on the paper, at the New York Stationery show: Eco, Environmental, Green products were the big story at this show. From Elephant Poo paper, greeting cards, and journals (that's right, paper made from elephant poo (www.poopoopaper.com) and (www.mrelliepooh.com) to paper made from used, shredded cotton clothing (www.archpaper.net), and paper made from calcium carbonate CaCO3, the main constituent of stone (www.cacooopaper.com), the number of new, earth-friendly products increased significantly since last year's show.

Many card and paper lines were proudly featuring their recycled paper lines, often printed with non-toxic soy inks. In addition, shades of green, natural tones, and print and pattern motifs taken from nature were also important. Plantable cards, gift tags, bags that bloom (www.giftsthatbloom.com), wine "neckers," and paper products with flower seeds embedded in them (www.greenfieldpaper.com) also increased in number, including the new Meant to Bee line from Cast Paper Art with flower seeds meant to attract honey bees to combat Colony Collapse Disorder. Peridot Paper (www.peridotpaper.com), exhibiting for the first time, launched their Gone Green packaging kits and are proud to employ the services of the Association for Retarded Citizens.

As for overall trends, taking a cue from fashion colors, pretty bright colors – purples, yellow, pink, and blue, as well as chocolate brown with blue and pink – were strong. For Christmas, blue continues as an accent with red and green. Bold, artsy designs, strong retro influenced motifs, flowers, and geometric-inspired graphics looked fresh.

Great Arrow Graphics demonstrated the silkscreen process that makes their gorgeous bold card line so unique (www.greatarrow.com). From Fresh Frances, a great line of holiday cards, notebooks, and gift tags in quirky, 50's and vintage inspired designs (www.freshfrances.com). (This line made me think of last year's hit show Mad Men, about an advertising agency on Madison Avenue in the early 60's.)

Glitter appeared as an embellishment in a number of card lines, with fewer handmade-looking cards as in previous years. Bird and owl motifs were prominent as were silhouette designs. Goosey Press, exhibiting for the first time, uses vintage silhouettes featuring Mother Goose motifs for cards and gift wrap (www.gooseypress.com). Chocolate-wrapped messages and pet motifs are continuing, as are new organizing products, including the well designed line from Dotmine Group created by two busy women (www.timemine.com).

A number of first time exhibitors launched new gift items, as stationery stores diversify their inventory. Baby products were unique from several exhibitors. Twinkle Kids had an adorable line of infant onesies designed with twins in mind, featuring pairs of motifs on each onesie, such as salt and pepper, and chick and egg (www.twinkle-kids.com). Urban Tots, another first timer, and started by a former Gap designer, had great bold fruit and animal motifs on 100% organic cotton fabrics (www.sweetspotte.com).

Knowing where products are from has also become important, given some of the problems with Chinese products lately, and Kinderware™ featured really cute infant toys and sweaters made in Bolivia and Peru and following Fair Trade guidelines (www.kinderwareonline.com).

Gift wrap and packaging products were also making "green" statements, especially when it comes to recycling. The Gift Bag Factory's line of bags are so beautifully designed that they would be impossible to throw away. Each design is approached as an original piece of artwork (www.thegiftbagfactory.com). The Friendship Gift Bag™ has a completely unique approach with gift bags for kids that they decorate and are passed on. The key is to register the bag online and then follow its journey from one gift giver to the next (www.friendshipgiftbag.com). This line was created by a product development manager turned mom who observed her child's attraction for the online Webkins community. The Oblong BoxTote, winning Best New Product from a first-time exhibitor, is a sturdy, laminated-paper, water-resistant tote in striking and eye-catching patterns that is packaged flat and opens up and snaps into shape (www.oblong.kr).

Several other new items caught my eye: For a new way to display photo cards, The Card Stand™ is a mailable easel for any size photo card (www.thecardstand.com). Wallpops, brightly colored dots, stripes, and flowers and Zoo-Wallogy, barnyard and zoo animals in vintage fabric printed motifs, from Brewster Home Fashions, are peel-and-stick and moveable for instant wall decorating (www.wall-pops.com). BYOBliss, another newcomer to the show, introduced Wedded Bliss, The First Ten, a keepsake journal that documents important life events through the first ten years of marriage, in a very elegant book with matching slipcover (www.byobliss.com).

On the days I visited the show, the aisles seemed busy and the companies I chatted with, especially the newcomers with unique products, reported doing better than expected business. With the growing awareness for earth friendly products, I left the show feeling more optimistic about the challenges ahead and the ability of companies small and large to make a significant difference.

(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, click on the titles in the right-hand column. To contact Ellie call 908-459-9269 or email eleapple@hotmail.com.)

More News From The Stationery Show.

Gifts & Decorative Accessories reported, "A number of vendors told [G&DA] that they had come to the show without high expectations because of the current economic climate, but were extremely pleased with the business they were doing. And some that had not shown here in a while – like Colorbok, Mrs. Grossman’s and Flavia – returned to the show with great results."

Fancy That! won the Best New Product award in the paper craft/scrapbooking division for its decorative packing tape.

Mrs. Grossman's had a good show, in part because of POUF! (Pat Off Unwanted Fur), a line of playing-card-size adhesive sheets that remove pet hair and fuzz from clothes, upholstery and car seats. Andrea Grossman got the idea for POUF! many years ago explaining, "My dogs have always come to work with me, and I was constantly covered in dog hair. I started using some of our stickers to remove the hairs from my clothes and discovered they worked like a charm. POUF! looks like a little work of art – but it's a work of art that works."

Mrs. Grossman's, which encourages employees to bring their well-behaved dogs to work, will donate a portion of POUF!'s proceeds to Guide Dogs for the Blind.

To read additional reports on the show, visit www.scrapbookretailermagazine.com and click on Editor Beth Mauro's blog.



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