Javits Center. Photo © Sam Hirst for Aeolidia

What happens at the National Stationery Show?

The National Stationery Show is a trade show that has been held yearly in New York for the last 70 years. Stationery an interesting industry, and much has changed with the way we communicate since the show began. We at Aeolidia have worked with dozens of different types of creative businesses over the last decade, and most of our visibly successful clients are in the stationery industry. The success of these companies speaks to the ongoing desire to share our feelings and affection for the people we love in a tangible form.

Even those not familiar with who’s who in the world of stationery have likely seen a Rifle Paper Co. card in a store, purchased a Snow & Graham calendar, worn a Tattly tattoo, or laughed until they cried at Emily McDowell‘s hilariously relatable cards. It was so fun for us to meet past and present clients in person, and to chat with so many inspiring business owners.

Giddy Paperie Products. Photo © Sam Hirst for Aeolidia

June & December booth. Photo © Sam Hirst for Aeolidia

Why stationery in this digital world?

I’m sure this is an industry that has shifted quite a bit over the years. We talked to one business that has exhibited at the show for over 15 years who told us that the show, which is now on part of one floor of the Javits Center in NY, used to take up all three floors. According to Stationery Trends magazine, Peter Doherty, the Executive Director of the Greeting Card Association, says that, “within the last couple of years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of entrepreneurs entering the industry and launching successful businesses.” The number of smaller vendors is increasing and the NSS’ “fresh” category of new businesses has been growing.


While it’s easy and convenient to send an email or a text, stationery company Ink Meets Paper’s “text less write more” card echoes what people are thinking about showing your affection in this fast paced digital age.

What we loved about the show

My favorite thing was the general camaraderie among the exhibiting business owners, and the creativity and care put into the booth design, graphics, and general experience. Making a halfhearted booth is just not done at the NSS, and we saw so much thought and attention to detail. The Brylo Studio booth, for instance, had a scent diffuser making her booth feel homey. One booth we walked in had a thick beautiful rug that was lovely on sore feet. One super sweet exhibitor gave us a small cup of tea from her booth with a little branded cup!

At Aeolidia, we’re always looking for the businesses that transcend trend and do their own thing. We definitely saw some trends as we went from booth to booth (I started playing “spot the sloth” after seeing a fourth example of this slow friend on a card), and were delighted every time we popped into a booth which was unique and using one instantly recognizable style.

Christina and Alicia of Sea & Lake Paper Co. Photo © Sam Hirst for Aeolidia

Get the inside story on exhibiting at or attending trade shows

If you’d like to learn more about who attends the show, who should exhibit, how to choose between the different trade shows, and how to prepare for a show, please see our recent blog post, National Stationery Show 2016: What To Know If You Plan to Attend

If you love hearing behind the scenes stories from creative businesses, we’re interviewing many of the exhibitors at this show, and getting their advice on how to prepare, how this show compares to other shows, and even what to pack when you’re exhibiting at a trade show. You’ll want to follow along this summer. Sign up here to be notified when we have new stories to share (bonus: you’ll also get instant access to all of our resources for building and growing a creative product-based business).



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