Year in and year out, National Stationery Show unites the industry under one roof for a few too-short days. As such, the one-of-a-kind event is woven into the brands themselves that have flourished within its walls — just ask Sarah Meyer Walsh & Erin Miller, co-owners of the exquisite Haute Papier.
Erin and Sarah first brought their luxurious custom range to NSS from Arlington, Virginia, in 2009, and with a booth like this — it’s no wonder I have had to fight crowds every year to see their introductions. So, if you are not already acquainted with the fabulous that is Haute Papier, get ready to fall in love as you experience the next-best thing to an actual booth visit!
Looking at these, I can only wonder how many homes these lovingly letterpressed, foiled and engraved paper pieces have proudly been displayed in, how many milestone celebrations they have announced, and how many messages of thanks or condolences or congratulations have been sent.
Below you can see the two (Erin on the left, Sarah on the right) celebrating one of their NSS traditions — the “Peace-out NYC” photo! “We always leave the show feeling sooo thankful for the relationships we have with our vendors and it’s truly what we get most excited for and feel most fulfilled from post-NSS,” Sarah told me.
This dynamic design duo took the time to reminisce with me over the role NSS has played in their business.
SS: Any memories from your very first NSS you would like to share?
HP: Oh my goodness, where to start!? We had a TINY booth, spent HOURS steaming out velvet drapes (hello foam core!), didn’t print anywhere near enough catalogs, but left NYC that year feeling too excited to be a part of the wholesale stationery industry.
SS: How have your locations and booths moved over the years?
HP: As we all know, the show has really evolved over the years and with it, lots of changes both big and small. We’ve been in so many different booth setups, but our favorites were under the bright lights of the lower ceiling areas. It feels so much more intimate in those areas, and the lighting can’t be beat!
SS: Thinking back to your NSS experiences, what were the most valuable connections you made? I would love to hear more about the loyal customers you gained, or any big boxes who sent those magical purchase orders!
HP: Magical purchase orders can be magical and terrifying. (We’ve experienced both of these emotions and everything in between in working with the “big box” vendors.) That being said, nothing beats the loyalty of the repeat brick and mortar stores, many of which we’ve been working with for the last ten years and met at early NSSs. It’s always a good laugh when a long-time vendor shares one of their memories of us from our early years! Some of our favorite NSS moments are when a long–time vendor brings over a store owner that would be new to Haute Papier and gives the sales rundown for us — especially later in the show week!
SS: What have been your most successful releases through the years at NSS?
HP: We’ve always been all about the personalized products, and I think if you asked a few of our vendors, they would equate us with some of the finest custom stationery and home products. Each year we get really excited to share not only updates to our personalized collections, but also new products within them.
SS: How has the shift in NSS dates affected your business, if at all? Have you changed any of your policies and practices as a result?
HP: Again, with change there will always be pros and cons. This shift was a unique opportunity for us to take an in-depth look at our operations and how as a large company we were going to make it all happen to shift to preparing new products for launch right after our busiest quarter of the year. And you know what, it made us recognize where our inefficiencies were and what things we were only doing a certain way because that’s how we always had done them!
SS: What are your favorite memories, on and off the show floor, from past shows?
HP: There are so many! We’ve been so fortunate to win several Best New Product awards, be nominated for a LOUIE award, win several Gold Leaf Awards from the Foil & Specialty Effect Association and have an all-around great time with our stationery friends in NY. With five kiddos between us all born very close together, the week away is so special to our friendship too — we pack in all of the delicious food, fancy cocktails, splurge shopping and Broadway shows we can!
Thank you so much Erin & Sarah! To get better acquainted with Haute Papier, their personal stationery is a great place to start swooning. And they are currently having a flash sale to be missed at your own risk!
With all that said, February is going to be here sooner than you think. Have you registered yet for #NSS2020? If not, go here to get started!