You know that feeling you got the first time you visited Ikea? Aisle after aisle of well designed furniture and accessories, each vignette more appealing than the last – now multiply that feeling by 100 and you get some sense of what the National Stationery Show is like.
If you’re a first time attendee it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it but it can be manageable with a little planning and forethought. The following are some tips to help first timers to the event get the most of their experience this year.
1. Do your research ahead of time. I know it sounds obvious but if you’re like us, it’s easy to put off and before you know the event is here. Take the time to review the online catalog gallery beforehand and browse the exhibitors catalogs to get a sneak peek of what’s in store. Visit the NSS site and start building your list – you can even create a walking list to make navigating the show easier and insure you do not miss any of your must-see booths. Make sure to scour social media sites and google for more detailed info to help plan the experience. There’ll be over 800 designers and manufacturers at the show just to give you an idea of the sheer volume of it – preparation is key.
2. Allow for plenty of time. You’ll most likely under-estimate how much time you will spend at the show, but that’s ok – make a plan and at least you’ll feel somewhat in control. Make sure to not only include time to see the products you’re interested in but to allow for time to chat up the designers and stationers – everyone is welcoming and friendly, so ask questions, but do ask permission to take photos and post. Etiquette is really important, so if you’re thinking of opening a store and are not ready to buy, be up front about it so that exhibitors know where they stand and can answer your questions appropriately.
3. Revisit an additional day to fill in the gaps and what you missed from the previous visit. This is the perfect time to revisit those booths and designers of particular interest and ask the questions that you will inevitably think of after you left the first time. You’ll also want to make note of what’s new this year: Museumix and Officeworks are two new product feature areas exhibiting wares like desk accessories, organizers, calendars, etc. Also new this year is the Creative Lifestyle & Arts Show featuring products by manufacturers for all things arts & crafts. Your pass gets you into both.
4. Collect contact info. Make sure to collect business cards and press kits from those exhibitors of particular interest – they will come in handy. Be sure to wear your badge and don’t hoard, those catalogs and kits are expensive to produce so be respectful.
5. Prepare for the day. Wear comfortable shoes (seriously, really comfortable shoes). Bring a large tote bag, but not so big that you knock over people with it. Bring a snack & bottled water – you won’t want to miss a minute of the goodness so pack a snicky or two to tide you over.
If you’re attending your bound to have a memorable experience – a little planning will go a long way.