NYC Summer Market Report, #3

The more distant NY NOW gets in my mental rear view mirror, the more I’m dreaming of February ’23, when NY NOW once again comes to vibrant life. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s look back at my last installment of fabulous Summer NY NOW finds.

Rumble Cards

With the passing of the Queen and Charles now in charge, those saucy Brits have legitimately taken over the American news cycle. Meanwhile makers like Jess at Rumble Cards are staging their own design invasion, fortified with a freewheeling festival of eye-popping color and icons accessorized with zany messaging — to say nothing of mighty tongue-in-cheek star power. Whether it is Kanye, Taylor, Snoop Dog, Frida or even Albert Einstein, no one lampoons the American circus quite like someone from outside our three crazy rings.

Slightly Stationery

Navy blue is my favorite neutral, so I was absolutely smitten with Alicia’s entire booth. Why I can only find this one shot (I SWEAR I remember taking a lot more) is a mystery for the ages.

Anyhoo, I am really digging what I am calling the ‘stacked title’ theme — what a great means to communicate so much with just a few words — and the example below is accordingly stellar in my book. This range is looking so sharp and vibrant, and these calendars are some of my faves for ’23. They’re even more dazzling in person and promise to provide uplifting eye candy throughout yet another unprecedented year.

Smitten on Paper

I am a big fan of honestly named places and businesses — there is a housing development near me, for example, called Sterling Lakes that is neither sterling nor has a lake; semantic lies that I must drive by frequently get under my skin and fester.

Mitigating this is the always-charming Smitten on Paper, which is thankfully exactly what it promises. This California house of paper not only releases exquisite ready-to-wear stationery offerings, but their custom stationery and invitations infuse Old World craftsmanship into polished creations to knock one’s proverbial socks off. I just adore their color stories and signature blend of vintage imagery with more modern elements for creations that feel completely of our time.

Their cards as always are posh + exquisite — I shot that ‘grumpy old man’ card since that’s my husband’s nickname as well. Apparently there’s a lot running around! The final shot was a show giveaway that was inspired by yours truly. I took the pic at home and am waiting for the perfect person/occasion to use it for!

Thank you Team Smitten! This nerd is blushing.

Spaghetti & Meatballs

As always, this booth — decked out in a ‘Christmas Strip Club’ theme — was a pun-a-rific celebration of color and pop culture. Maria never disappoints with her many meatball masterpieces, and we captured it all in an IG Live! Honestly, there’s no better way to time travel back to Day 1. In that video, check out Maria’s new giftwraps — her work really pops in that format as well. After my visit here, I’m forecasting a very splashy holiday season — what’s up grinches indeed?!?

Steel Petal Press

I love this brand so much, not only because Shayna is such an inspiring creative, but since her work is inspired by what she sees shoppers responding to in her Logan Square shop in Chicago. Thus Shayna has a really inherent understanding of her audience’s mindset and what they seek. This girl does not hold back, and it shows!

In a sea of letterpress, Shayna’s stands out thanks to her perspective. I don’t know for sure that she was the first to release Mood Trackers, Anxiety Trackers and the like, but she was the first I saw doing it. New this season is her Grief Companion Journal, which you can see in the last shot as well as a little bit of The Self-Discovery Notebook. I love where Shayna is leading us all with her self-paced, self-care offerings!

The Paper Curator

Cecily — AKA The Paper Curator — was back, and this design powerhouse didn’t disappoint. First up, check out her new stickers, everything else looks pretty gray in comparison now, no? Meanwhile, if pulchritudinous, pattern-driven pouches, pads, cards, giftwraps and notebooks are your bag, this is the place! Good luck stopping with just one.

Tiny Hooray

Genius that I am, I walked in this booth and said out loud, “Wow, this looks just like Little Goat Co.,” just as Beth came over and told me she rebranded! I really like her new name; but honestly, whatever she calls herself, I’m going to love it. The path to my heart is lined with Beth’s sweet yet snarky perspective. Her awkward offerings (Thanksgiving and Baby Showers are shown below) bring back so many memories as we make more!

Tortoise Designs

I can’t tell you how many times when someone told me an item was “hand-painted,” I would wonder if that meant each individual item was really hand-painted. Other than one notable and amazing stationery maker (Moglea, who I saw at Shoppe Object & will share in those forthcoming market posts), they never are — rather what people mean is that the original was hand-painted before being sent off to the printer.

But, stop the presses everyone, this young maker, Lauren Santiago, hand-paints her stationery — and it’s really marvelous and artful. And, her wedding invitation suites are clean, modern and definitely worth a look. That Elizabeth Suite *almost* makes me want to plan a vow renewal! This is a very modern, cool world Lauren has created, and I’m so happy to see vellum and glassine reimagined and presented to a new generation.

The Twentieth Decorative Arts and Antiques

Here’s a really fun range that doesn’t look at all like anyone else — thus what a perfect maker to close out summer NY NOW with. I love it when the alphabet works in my favor. Accordingly, Emma comes to stationery from a different background than most makers: She is an art historian with a PhD! This Chicagoan is obviously obsessed with all things vintage, and this range is both her passion project and pandemic pivot.

“My business is meant to raise others up with affirming messages of support, the [same] way this career change has empowered me as a mother of a pandemic baby and former art history teacher,” Emma writes on her site. “I create cards that are purposely over-the-top because I believe now more than ever, it is vital that we share our true feelings with our loved ones and empower ourselves through community-building.”  

Hear hear! This is precisely the kind of maker discovery that makes NY NOW so dynamic and surprising. For my next series of posts, I’ll be sharing my Shoppe Object finds.

Meanwhile, today is the day that registration opens for the winter NY NOW market February 5-8…. your next visit starts here!

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