Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Dallas Market Center : Total Home & Gift Show

What a fun opportunity for me! I was able to travel to Dallas, Texas last week for The Market Center Total Home & Gift Show.  We show our PSA Essentials line in Mario & Associates permanent show room and it's a great way to show all the buyers from Texas and all over the country our great stamps, embossers, inks, Peel & Stick packs and stationery show.  Above and beyond, I love going to this show because it's an incredible opportunity to connect with so many people in the industry.  I also love gathering all the trends and scoping out what's brand new before it even hits retail stores.

I snapped so many pictures with my iPhone, these aren't great quality, so forgive me! Here's Market Center (and here I am!) loving my time in Dallas.

Mario & Associates now reps Smock Paper, one of my favorites from National Stationery Show. I also met the awesome guys behind Paper Pop, these incredibly beautiful cards that are virtual works of art. These guys made some slow moments lots of fun.  Also pictured are Bert, Heidi and Heidi, our sales reps!

You can see our partnerships with Anna Griffin and Teresa Collins in the showroom!  And here's our overall display. A small but cute space!

One of the trends I noted was a lot of kitchen accessories and the idea of "dressing your kitchen" with paper products.  Grocery list pads re-imagined, recipe journals and cards, cocktail recipe books, and ways to dress your kitchen with beautiful tea towels in handwritten fonts.  From Lily Pulitzer to 1canoe2 to Riffle Paper to Roseann Beck.... each were awesome.

I spotted lots of gold desk accessories from Sugar Paper. Gold foil printed posters and artwork are still major. (Is gold ever going to go out of style?)

Anything marquee lit seems to be on trend still.  I stumbled upon a huge wall of marquee lights and all the Christmas showrooms had them too.  I fell in love with a book wholesaler called Assouline. Their coffee table books are the kinds of books you see in museum shops across the country and are beautiful works of art. I had to pull myself away and remind myself to get back to the showroom. I could have spent all day there.

Don't laugh and I know this is off topic from stationery, but have you seen this product? Poo-Pourri? My friends at Gigi's Boutique in Bluffton carry it and it's all the rage. I had to say hello to these ladies!  I also spent sometime in West Coast Reps (bottom, right corner.)  Think of it like a giant Pottery Barn outlet, only much better.

Spartina 449 is actually headquartered in Bluffton, South Carolina. I happened to be wearing a Spartina 449 scarf on Wednesday and as I stumbled into the Ivy Stone Showroom, I was greeted by reps who introduced me to the National Sales Manager and sales team of Spartina.  What fun! They are the cutest girls and I enjoyed chatting.  Even cooler, I got to see all the brand new Spartina coming out. LOVE the jewels and the new bags are fun and very young! 

I had the opportunity to visit the Dallas Museum of Art late in the day on Tuesday.  The museum is full of some fabulous installations and temporary work that was beautiful.  I am always inspired by art museums....

I got stuck in Dallas an extra day which gave me another awesome nights sleep in a great hotel and even though I am incredibly busy and have so much to do and follow up on, I did leave with the sense that still: "the best is yet to come."

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Stationery Binder Organizer

Last week, I made an amazing purchase at Target: a small, 3-ring binder and clear cover pages that fit inside. With these, I created my own organizer for all of the beautiful cards I've accumulated over the years but have yet to send.  When I was in London last summer, I visited some really cool old bookshops and several stationery stores and picked up some unique cards that I have never seen in the U.S.  I tend to stock up on cards when I am in a museum store. I literally have a stack of a hundred cards that I have purchased but never sent. Having them all in one place that is handy and organized will be a huge asset to actually getting these puppies in the mail.

I also thought that while I get organized on all my beautiful cards, I would get organized on all of my awesome stamps.  I organized my sentiment PSA Essentials stamps -- the ones that I use to switch out my monogram and add in a saying like "Way 2 Go" for a graduation card that I was sending -- into the binder too.   Now I will easily be able to pull out the "Happy Birthday" stamp or "Thank you" stamp when I am sending that type of card.

The cards and the clear acrylic stamps by PSA Essentials all fit nicely in the binder and they make me want to write just about everyone I know.  I also added tabs with "birthday", "anniversary",  "sympathy", and more greeting categories to know what I need (more like would like to...) shop for and where I have holes. (Strangely, I have an over abundance of baby girl cards...)

I've been searching for a stylish perpetual calendar so that each month or week I can look at see who I should sent birthday or anniversary cards to.  I would just love to be able to sit down with a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning and look through my perpetual calendar and send out cards from my stationery binder organizer.  The next part of this mini-project is finding that perpetual calendar.  I have yet to find a pretty and stylish one.  If you know of one, please leave a comment here! I even hinted to my friends at Lifeguard Press at the National Stationery Show that I was searching for one. Kate Spade should certainly add that to their new product line...

Of course, then I will stamp these beautiful cards with one of many of my PSA Essentials Personalized and Switchable Peel & Stick Stamps.  Eek! This is super fun for a stationery and stamp geek like me.

More on this project when I find my perpetual calendar!

Friday, May 29, 2015

PSA Essentials Videos

Back in April, I had a really fun opportunity. I hopped on a plane and headed for Oklahoma -- a state I had never been to before -- to meet and film with the exceptionally talented, humble, and sweet Lindsey McClannahan, who is Lindsey Lenae Photography.  The experience of filming the PSA Essentials videos was fascinating and we are proud of the results!

I am not an actress by any stretch of the imagination and though I know PSA Essentials products inside and out and completely had my "scripts" memorized, I froze up on camera. Quite honestly, I left Oklahoma feeling terrible about how I had done.  But that's the magic of Lindsey! Watching these videos, you would never know how many times we shot the same sentence (or paragraph...in some instances, I am guessing at least 15 times.) She has a beautiful aesthetic, attention for detail, understands light like not many other videographers do, and is a master film editor. She put up with my rounds of changes, edited like a pro, and really over-delivered on the project.  We appreciate her so much for all of her hard work and I will sing her praises from the rooftops. She's a gem.

Here's our "brand" video.  It's our explanation of what makes PSA Essentials different than our competitors and why we are unique and why we believe in what we do.  It's a two minute version of everything we've been talking about for years! It's almost like watching your child learn to walk. Okay, not really.... but watch:

As you may know, the biggest difference with PSA Essentials and other stamps on the market is that our PSA Essentials stamps are NOT GLUED onto the stamp. They use patented Peel & Stick technology so your stamp die (personalized portion) is interchangeable.  Switch it up.  You can change out your monogram for a Christmas tree or a cupcake (we have thousands of options to interchange).  This all adds to that further envelope style.  Here's the video on how to change your stamp die and what Peel & Stick is all about.

You know that you ink cartridge is also interchangeable, right? Black can be so boring. PSA Essentials now has 49 ink colors! We have new ones like Pantone's Color of the Year - Marsala, Lucite Green, Strawberry Ice, Titanium Gray.  We even have two-color ink cartridges like Kelly Green and Royal Blue.  Watch the video to see how easy it is to change your ink!

One of the most exciting things this year is our launch of a completely NEW SHAPE of stamps. For years, our stamps have been known for luxury rounds. This June, rectangular shaped stamps are available. They'll retail for just $25.00. And our designers have come up with a style for everyone. From trendy to vintage, modern to hand scripted -- there is something for everyone. They also use the same patented Peel & Stick technology and we've developed 4-packs for rectangular switchables to make it interesting.  Watch the video on our rectangular stamp launch!

One more major launch for the year -- a beautiful, luxury desktop embosser. This heirloom embosser is probably my favorite thing to come across my desk. They look great on the desk and make perfect impressions.  They retail for $120 but are well worth the money spent. Watch the video.

And lastly, I'd like to share our video on our Personalized Gift Box Stamps.  Though we launched this product over a year ago, some of our retailers and customers are still puzzled by it. Hopefully, this one clears it up! The idea of being able to give someone a personalized stamp right away -- to walk out of the store with the stamp in hand -- to give someone a stamp when you don't know the address or style the recipient will choose  --  well, all of those things make this product our hottest one yet. Watch now!

There are a few more videos on our Vimeo channel. Hop on over to see them all! Our retailers should feel free to embed or use these videos. Happy watching!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Post-Show Photo Recap

The past week has been an incredible whirlwind for us at PSA Essentials but what a fun and exciting one! The National Stationery Show at the Javits Center in New York City took place Sunday, May 17 through Wednesday, May 20.  It was an incredible opportunity to connect with our current retailers and a great chance for us to place names with faces. And what a great opportunity it was to introduce new retailers to our products and form the beginnings of a new relationships!  As I've mentioned a few times before recently, we are introducing a lot of new product and it was a perfect place to launch. The feedback and reception was exciting! (Stay tuned for more details...)

Also very special was the chance to connect with industry leaders and spend time with our partners. Over the last year, we've built some incredible partnerships with The Bonnie Marcus Collection, Teresa Collins, Kelly Hughes Designs, and more recently, Anna Griffin.  Each designer and brand is very different. Each brand and product reaches a different audience and all of them have so much to offer our customers. We all have so much to all be excited about as we delve deeper into the stamp industry. The show only reinforced how much opportunity there really is for all of us. 

It's also so inspiring to see what truly creative people are introducing and launching. I was incredibly inspired by so many companies booth designs, their products, and their innovations.  I've put together a photo recap of our booth, our new product, our partner events, inspiring booths, and anything that was just exciting.... so here's the photo recap! 

Here we are at booth 1653. We went with a turquoise/pink color scheme and the tag: "Envelope Style" because truly that's what we are all about. We showed a giant envelope stamped and a craft/party wall to illustrate all that you can do with our stamps. 

Here was our Champagne Toast with Bonnie Marcus on Sunday at 3 pm! 

That same day we had a drink with a industry leader and some-what mentor on the rooftop bar of a hotel on the West Side. What a fun experience and beautiful view!

Here was our event with Teresa Collins on Monday morning at 10 am. Unfortunately, I didn't find the time to take any pictures of Teresa herself! But I have some great pictures of stamps and donuts! 

We are so honored and humbled that industry leaders like the ones above have chosen to partner with us, and now adding Anna Griffin to the mix just brings us true excitement.  Here's a look at her exceptional booth and our self-inking stamper displayed there! I won't lie that I pinched myself just a little bit to see all of these dreams realized.

Here's a peek at some of the booths that I was incredibly excited to see! These are stationery companies and designers that I have long admired. 

Doesn't Kelly Hughes booth look amazing? We love the paper flowers! 

Some more booths that I loved....

I am really (really....) obsessed with Knot & Bow and especially their confetti balloons....you must check out if you have not seen.

And then there's this guy...In late 2013 when this one took over the company, no one was really sure what to expect. He's super private, avoids the camera like the plague, and I am pretty sure he asked me never to post pictures of him and if he sees, I am probably in trouble for this.  (Since he doesn't have time to read this blog, my job is hopefully safe!) 

I can tell you that the entire PSA Essentials team is grateful for this leader and the direction we are all headed.  He is the one that is able to execute all the crazy ideas, make them a reality, and is bringing the company to a place where we are all happy to be. For that, we are grateful,  The show showed me once again the value of the people on your team.   For all those that were with us at the show -- and then those who are supporting all the post-show efforts -- we cannot thank you enough.  Should I develop a hash tag, #teampsa? I'm doing it!  Thank you Lesley, Julie, Melissa, Jess, Adriane, and the one above that shall not be named, plus everyone else that's on the team at PSA.  

What a great National Stationery Show! Until next year, New York! See you at #nss2016.  Am I the first in that folder???! :)

RETAILERS: Please check emails Tuesday for updated show materials and information. Thank you!