March 2017




I love visiting stationery and gift
stores, so I didn't mind braving the
20-something degree weather to attend the recent grand opening of Grace Kang's fifth Pink Olive store – this one in Cold Spring, NY (her other locations are in Manhattan and Brooklyn). Pink Olive's new store is part of a resurgence of independent shops opening on Main Street there (a wine shop, a Greek-imports store and an olive oil shop are all coming soon). America's main streets and smaller retailers continue to be an important part of our neighborhoods and lives.

Pink Olive was crowded with customers of all ages making purchases, and the store's atmosphere truly felt like a party. Grace offered a special VIP goody bag with any purchase of $50 or more – wow! I bought a couple of baby items, along with several cards from Idlewild Co. and Wild Ink Press, and two sets of beautifully stitched notebooks from Rifle Paper Co. You'll see me carrying a notebook from Rifle's "Lively Floral" set at the NSS for sure!

While there, I spoke with the manager of Pink Olive's West Village location, Johanna, about how stationery stores are doing really well these days. People are out and buying cards and other paper items! It's a great time to be in stationery!



Gus & Ruby Letterpress

Samantha Finigan and Whitney Swaffield are the co-owners of Gus & Ruby Letterpress – a letterpress print shop and paper boutique in Portsmouth, NH, that's filled with the freshest stationery and a carefully curated collection of artisan gifts for the home and office. The pair are passionate about creating truly custom wedding and party invitations, and they believe in celebrating all of the big and little events in life. Here are five more things that make their business special:

1. Our store is named after our two dogs – Gus (Sam's Brussels Griffon) and Ruby (Whitney's hound) – so we can tell when a buyer hasn't done their research if they call and ask to speak with Gus!

2. We started out as a design and letterpress print shop before we opened our brick-and-mortar retail space. Now we operate the printing and design end of our business out of our print studio one town over from our storefront.

3. Whitney is a third-generation letterpress printer, and we started our business printing on an antique press (circa 1896) that had been owned by her grandfather.

4. Our first retail space was super small – we moved into our current space (more than double the size of our first space) less than one year after opening and haven't looked back since.

5. With an ever-growing team of awesome ladies (and one fabulous pressman!), we never hesitate to find an excuse for many G&R family dinners throughout the year. We've been known to order WAY more food than we can possibly eat, and we all love a good cocktail. We are truly, truly blessed to have such an amazing staff.

(All Gus & Ruby Letterpress photos: Emilie Inc. Photography.)


Why are independent brick-and-mortar retailers important to your business?

"Boutique businesses make up about 80 percent of our business. In addition, we feel very much that the shop owners who purchase and sell our products are our feet on the ground and the connection to our customers. Those people who love 1canoe2 and tell our story share the spirit of our brand. We're all in this together, and we rely on our shops to provide the excellent personal service that we believe in."

– Beth Snyder, Owner and Creative Director, 1canoe2, a Columbia, MO-based illustration and letterpress studio whose line includes greeting cards, calendars, home goods and art supplies.

"Independent brick-and-mortar stores are essential to every neighborhood. Whether in a small town or a large metropolis, specialty retail stores are the pulse of each community. The variety and uniqueness of an independent store is simply different. The products a buyer chooses caters to the flavors of the locals. Some of the most quirky and amazing gifts are found in these stores, and the service offered is more personal. Decisions are likely made by someone that could be helping you. These are several important elements of an experience that you cannot get in a big-box store. The foundation of Paper Pop Cards, PuzzlePop, and all of our products began in independent brick-and-mortar stores. We plan on supporting them as long as we're operating our business and they're running theirs." 

– Lawrence Yeh, President, Paper Pop Cards, a NYC-based designer and manufacturer of meticulously handcrafted 3D pop-up greeting cards and paper products.

"Writing instruments are one of the most personal of accessories. From laying down a signature to journaling, a good pen is an extension of the writer herself. Subtle differences in size, weight, balance and color all can combine to make the perfect pen for one's particular needs. Brick-and-mortar stores allow the customer the ability to test dozens, if not hundreds, of different pens and are often happy to share their years of fountain pen knowledge and experience. This extra bit of service welcomes the consumer into a world they sometimes barely knew existed, often resulting in a lifelong passion."

– Ross Cameron, National Sales Manager, Yafa Brands, a Canoga Park, CA-based source of fine writing instruments, with distribution of its Monteverde and Conklin brands in 40+ countries worldwide.



Flamingos continue to fly off shelves in stationery and gift stores. It's no wonder, since they combine two currently popular trends – birds and the color pink – plus, they're super cute! Here are several flamingo-themed products available from NSS exhibitors.


Live @ NSS Workshop Schedule Announced

Three informative and interactive "Live @ NSS" free workshops will be taking place on the show floor from Sunday through Tuesday of the NSS. At 10:30am each day, designers from The Gift Wrap Company Studio will be presenting "Clever Gift Wrapping Hacks." At 1:30pm, artists from Hallmark's creative team will conduct "Envelope Decorating Ideas to Increase Card Sales." And, at 3:30pm, "Retailers' Daily Trend Picks" will feature two different retailers offering a show-and-tell of what they've discovered in the aisles that day. For full details, click here.

NSS and Gift for Life Team Up Again for AIDS Walk New York

The NSS and Gift for Life – the gift, stationery and home industries' leading charitable organization – are once again joining forces to sponsor a team to walk in AIDS Walk New York on Sunday, May 21. AIDS Walk New York raises funds to benefit the GMHC to help fight AIDS and find a cure. The GFL/NSS team raised more than $36,000 at last year's event, and this year's goal is to raise $40,000. For complete details and to donate, please click here.

Kikkerland Celebrates 25th Anniversary, Founder Honored

Jan van der Lande, founder of Kikkerland Design, Inc. – which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017 – was awarded Gift for Life’s "Chuck Yancy Lifetime Achievement Award" at GFL's recent Party for Life gala, held at The Boathouse in Central Park in NYC. Van der Lande founded Kikkerland in 1992 from his houseboat in Manhattan by selling products made by independent self-producing designers; and, in the first few years, he delivered his orders by bicycle. Today, Kikkerland has its own design studio and produces about 150 new whimsical stationery and gift items every six months – which can be seen at the upcoming NSS.


National Stationery Show • 1133 Westchester Avenue, Suite N136 • White Plains, NY 10604 USA